University Relations

Spring 2017 - Mondays - 12:00 to 1:00 pm - Elliott Hall S204

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January 30

Hollender, Nina, Cristian Hofmann, Michael Deneke, and Bernhard Schmitz. 2010. "Integrating Cognitive Load Theory and Concepts of Human–computer Interaction. Computers in Human Behavior 26(6):1278–88."

With the continually increasing complexity of e-learning environments, there is a need for integrating concepts of cognitive load theory (CLT) with concepts of human–computer interaction (HCI). Basic concepts of both fields were reviewed and contrasted. A literature review was conducted within the literature database "The Guide to Computing Literature" searching for "cognitive load theory" and "Sweller." Sixty-five publications contained "cognitive load" in their titles or abstracts. Each publication was checked to see whether it contained the concepts of intrinsic, extraneous, or germane cognitive load. The review showed that CLT concepts have been adopted in HCI. However, the concept of germane cognitive load has attracted less attention up to the present time. Two conceptual models are proposed. The first model divides extraneous cognitive load into load induced by the instructional design and load caused by software usage. The model clarifies the focus of traditional usability principles and of existing instructional design principles derived from CLT. The second model fits CLT concepts into the basic components of user-centered design. The concept of germane cognitive load illustrates that an increase of cognitive load can be desirable when designing e-learning environments. Areas for future interdisciplinary research are sketched.


February 6

Liang, Yuhua (Jake), Seungcheol Austin Lee, and Jeong-woo Jang. 2013. "Mindlessness and Gaining Compliance in Computer-Human Interaction." Computers in Human Behavior 29(4):1572—79.

  The computers are social actors (CASA) effect refers to the application of social rules when individuals interact with computers. Although the most plausible mechanism for CASA involves mindlessness, according to Langer, Blank, and Chanowitz's (1978) original theorization, mindlessness stems from a motivational deficit during a compliance gaining interaction. Mindlessness occurs when individuals view their behavior as relatively unimportant or inconsequential. However, researchers often employ a cognitive deficit approach and examine the CASA effect as a perceptual rather than behavioral outcome. Moreover, previous findings suggest that computer agents may activate the norm of reciprocity to induce human compliance (Fogg & Nass, 1997). To test the mechanism of mindlessness and address possible methodological artifacts from past work on Computer–Human reciprocity, an experiment employing a 3 (request type: direct, placebic, or sufficient) x3 (request size: large, medium, or small) design tested alternative hypotheses based on the cognitive and motivational explanations. The data are consistent the motivational hypothesis. In contrast to previous findings from Fogg and Nass, neither obligation, liking, nor mood correlated with compliance. The findings offer several directions for future work.


February 13

Winograd, Terry (2001) "Architectures for Context", J Human-Computer Interaction 6, 2 401-419

The development of context-aware applications will require tools that are based on clearly defined models of context and of system software architecture. This essay introduces models for each of these, examines the tradeoffs among the different alternatives, and describes a blackboard-based context architecture that is being used in the construction of interactive workspaces.


February 20

Yin Wang and Susanne Quadflieg, 2015 "In our own image? Emotional and neural processing differences when observing human-human vs. human-robot interactions" SCAN 10,1515-1524

Notwithstanding the significant role that human-robot interactions (HRI) will play in the near future, limited research has explored the neural correlates of feeling eerie in response to social robots. To address this empirical lacuna, the current investigation examined brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging while a group of participants (n = 26) viewed a series of human-human interactions (HHI) and HRI. Although brain sites constituting the mentalizing network were found to respond to both types of interactions, systematic neural variation across sites signaled diverging social-cognitive strategies during HHI and HRI processing. Specifically, HHI elicited increased activity in the left temporal-parietal junction indicative of situation-specific mental state attributions, whereas HRI recruited the precuneus and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC) suggestive of script-based social reasoning. Activity in the VMPFC also tracked feelings of eeriness towards HRI in a parametric manner, revealing a potential neural correlate for a phenomenon known as the uncanny valley. By demonstrating how understanding social interactions depends on the kind of agents involved, this study highlights pivotal sub-routes of impression formation and identifies prominent challenges in the use of humanoid robots. 


February 27

"Tripping up addiction: the use of psychedelic drugs in the treatment of problematic drug and alcohol use" by Celia Morgan, Amy McAndrew, Tobias Stevens, David Nutt and and Will Lawn.

Psychedelic drugs have been used as treatments in indigenous cultures for thousands of years. Yet, due to their legal status, there has been limited scientific research into the therapeutic potential of these compounds for psychiatric disorders. In the absence of other effective treatments however, researchers have begun again to systematically investigate such compounds and there is now evidence pointing to the use of psychedelic drugs in the treatment of addiction. In this review we focus on human evidence for the effectiveness of preparations used by indigenous cultures in the Amazon (ayahausca) and Africa (ibogaine) and worldwide (psilocybin), and more recently synthetised drugs such as the serotonergic hallucinogen LSD and the dissociative anaesthetic ketamine. Potential mechanisms explored are anti-depressant effects, changes in neuroplasticity and existential psychological effects of these drugs.


March 6

Spicer, A. (2016). Stupefied: How organisations enshrine collective stupidity and employees are rewarded for checking their brains at the office door. Aeon Essays

Each summer, thousands of the best and brightest graduates join the workforce. Their well-above-average raw intelligence will have been carefully crafted through years at the world's best universities. After emerging from their selective undergraduate programmes and competitive graduate schools, these new recruits hope that their jobs will give them ample opportunity to put their intellectual gifts to work. But they are in for an unpleasant surprise.

Smart young things joining the workforce soon discover that, although they have been selected for their intelligence, they are not expected to use it. They will be assigned routine tasks that they will consider stupid. If they happen to make the mistake of actually using their intelligence, they will be met with pained groans from colleagues and polite warnings from their bosses. After a few years of experience, they will find that the people who get ahead are the stellar practitioners of corporate mindlessness.


March 27

Guinote, A. (2007). Power affects basic cognition: Increased attentional inhibition and flexibility. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 43(5), 685–697.

 The present article examines effects of power on basic cognition. It proposes that power bolsters the ability to attend to information selectively; enhancing the processing of information that is related to accessible constructs in detriment of peripheral, less accessible information. In contrast, powerlessness increases attunement to peripheral information, inducing greater distractibility and less attentional flexibility. Experiment 1 focuses on attention to an object and its context. Experiment 2 examines attentional focus and readiness to act. Experiment 3 examines attention to global vs. local aspects of a focal target. Powerful individuals, relative to powerless individuals, showed greater ability to inhibit peripheral information, and greater ability to focus attention in line with the demands of the task. Furthermore, inhibiting peripheral information facilitated action. The consequences of these findings for different domains are discussed.


April 3

Klucharev, V., Smidts, A., & Fernández, G. (2008). Brain mechanisms of persuasion: How ‘expert power’ modulates memory and attitudes. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 3(4), 353–366.

Human behaviour is affected by various forms of persuasion. The general persuasive effect of high expertise of the communicator, often referred to as 'expert power', is well documented. We found that a single exposure to a combination of an expert and an object leads to a long-lasting positive effect on memory for and attitude towards the object. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we probed the neural processes predicting these behavioural effects. Expert context was associated with distributed left-lateralized brain activity in prefrontal and temporal cortices related to active semantic elaboration. Furthermore, experts enhanced subsequent memory effects in the medial temporal lobe (i.e. in hippocampus and parahippocampal gyrus) involved in memory formation. Experts also affected subsequent attitude effects in the caudate nucleus involved in trustful behaviour, reward processing and learning. These results may suggest that the persuasive effect of experts is mediated by modulation of caudate activity resulting in a re-evaluation of the object in terms of its perceived value. Results extend our view of the functional role of the dorsal striatum in social interaction and enable us to make the first steps toward a neuroscientific model of persuasion. 



April 17

Carli, L. L. (1999). "Gender, Interpersonal Power, and Social Influence." Journal of Social Issues, 55(1), 81–99.

This article reviews research on gender differences in power and their effect on social influence. Evidence indicates that men generally possess higher levels of expert and legitimate power than women do and that women possess higher levels of referent power than men do. These differences are reflected, to some extent, in the influence strategies used by men and women and, more clearly, in gender differences in social influence. Women generally have greater difficulty exerting influence than men do, particularly when they use influence that conveys competence and authority. These findings indicate that gender differences in influence are mediated by gender differences in power.



April 24

Hunte, KH & Devine K (2016) "Doctoral students' emotional exhaustion and intentions to leave academia." Intl. J Doctoral Studies, 11 35-61


The primary aim of this study was to better understand the antecedents of doctoral students’ emotional well-being, and their plans to leave academia. Based on past research, antecedents included departmental support, the quality of the supervisory relationship, and characteristics of the supervisory relationship. We used a mixed-methods study, and surveyed 186 doctoral students from nine countries. We found that supportive relationships, at the departmental and advisor level, reduced emotional exhaustion and intentions to leave academia, and that emotional exhaustion was positively related to doctoral students’ intentions to leave academia. Findings also indicated that advisor experience and frequency of meetings reduced students’ emotional exhaustion but did not affect their intentions to leave academia. Recommendations to reduce emotional exhaustion and to temper doctoral student attrition before and after degree completion are offered.


Updated April 26, 2017