4,482 results for 2017

  • Reservoir computing approaches to EEG-based detection of microsleeps.

    Ayyagari, Sudhanshu (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Long-haul truck drivers, train drivers, and commercial airline pilots routinely experience monotonous and extended driving periods in a sedentary position, which has been associated with drowsiness, microsleeps, and serious accidents. Consequently, the detection and preferably prediction of the microsleeps in subjects working in these high-risk occupations is very important to workplace safety. Therefore, the aim of this project was EEG-based characterization and early detection of microsleeps during a sustained attention task. The overall approach was to identify reliable physiological cues of lapses of sustained attention and microsleeps, to develop a microsleep system which could be used to detect, or better yet, predict the onset of microsleeps in real time and trigger an alert to rouse the user from an impending microsleep. The main motivation of this project was to develop a state-of-the-art lapse detection system by employing novel classifier schemes based on reservoir computing (RC), specifically echo state networks (ESNs) with cascaded-leaky-integrator-neurons and liquid state machines (LSM) to increase current benchmark performances on microsleep detection. This is the first project and study to have implemented and evaluated EEG-based microsleep detection using RC models for the characterization and detection of microsleeps from the underlying EEG. Moreover, the novelty of the ESN-based cascaded-leaky-integrator neuron approach is in its simplicity (as networks with only 8 or less neurons could achieve optimal performance) and its superior microsleep detection performance. In this research, previously collected behavioral EEG data from fifteen healthy male, non-sleep-deprived volunteers performing a 1D-visuomotor tracking task for 1 hour, was used to form classifier models capable of detecting microsleeps with second-scale resolution. The performance of the microsleep detector was measured both in terms of its ability to detect the lapses-of-responsiveness states and microsleep states (in 1-s epochs). The previous lapse detection benchmark performance on this data, used a simple linear discriminant analysis (LDA)-based classifier, fitted with a meta-learner model. This LDA-based system reported the best performance in terms of its mean phi correlation (φ) = 0.39± 0.06, receiver operator characteristics. An epoch length of 2 s and an overlap window of 1 s (50%) between successive epochs were used in the analysis (AUC-ROC) = 0.86 ± 0.03, and precision recall (AUC-PR) = 0.43± 0.09. Models based on EEG power spectra, and power in the traditional bands, were used to detect the changes in the EEG during microsleeps. Normalized EEG epochs with z-scores > 30 were excluded from analysis, resulting in rejection of 8.3% of the epochs. This process was referred to as data pruning. Reduced features from 6 independent feature reduction schemes including, principal components analysis (PCA), kernel PCA (KPCA), probabilistic PCA (PPCA), symmetric neighbourhood embedding (SNE), Nearest neighbour embedding (NNE), and stochastic proximity embedding (SPE) were passed as an input to the classifier models. Classifier models evaluated included the RC-based models including the ESNs with sigmoidal neurons, cascaded ESNs with leaky-integrator neurons and LSMs. The RC-based models were compared to other standard classifier models, such as, support vector machines with polynomial kernel (SVMP), LDA, spiky neural networks (SNN), and k-nearest neighbour (KNN) classifiers. Best microsleep detection was achieved using cascaded ESNs with cascaded-leaky-integrator neurons and 50-60 PCs from PCA of the overall 544 power spectral features. This configuration resulted in φ = 0.51 ± 0.07 (mean ± SE), AUC-ROC = 0.88 ± 0.03, and AUC-PR = 0.44 ± 0.09. LSM-based detectors had a lower performance of φ = 0.42 ± 0.06, AUC-ROC = 0.83 ± 0.03, and AUC-PR = 0.43±0.06, compared to the cascaded-leaky-ESN approach. The PCA-based feature reduction modules showed the highest overall performances of the 6 feature-reduction schemes evaluated. This high performance of PCA-modules was found on all classifier schemes. PPCA-based methods followed the PCA schemes in terms of the best microsleep detection performances. Analysis also showed that creating multiple microsleep detection models (ensemble learning) and combining them to form an overall detector resulted in an improvement in performance over a single classifier model. Microsleep detection was also found to have higher accuracy than the other metrics of flatspots, video microsleeps and definite microsleeps. To study the effect of pruning the data, performances were determined for the classifiers when presented with unpruned data in its entirety for training. Performance was compared with a previous study which used a long short-term memory (LSTM) recurrent neural network (RNN) for which φ = 0.38 ± 0.07, AUC-ROC = 0.84 ± 0.02, and AUC-PR = 0.41 ± 0.08). Similar to the pruned datasets, ESNs with cascaded-leaky-integrator neuron models outperformed all the other classifier schemes and set a new benchmark for EEG-based microsleep detection of φ = 0.44 ± 0.06, AUC-ROC = 0.88 ± 0.04, and AUC-PR = 0.45 ± 0.09. This performance, albeit lower than for the pruned datasets, is deemed the best overall performance for microsleep detection as it was for the full behavioural dataset. In summary, the cascaded-leaky-integrator-ESN approach has provided a new benchmark performance for microsleep detection, which is significantly higher (p = 0.012) than by all previous approaches. Notwithstanding, the performance of these EEG‐based microsleep detection systems is still considered to be modest. Further research is needed to identify additional cues in the EEG leading to devices capable of more accurate detection and prediction of microsleeps.

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  • Influence of inferential skills on the reading comprehension ability of adult Thai (L1) and English (L2) students.

    Srisang, Pawadee (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    The ability to make inferences from linguistic information (spoken and written discourse) is regarded as a significant factor in successful reading success. Although, this relationship has been researched with English first language/monolingual cohorts (see Cain, Oakhill, Barnes, & Bryant, 2001; Oakhill & Cain, 2012; Silva & Cain, 2015), there is a paucity of research on inferential skills in other languages as well as in bilinguals or second language learning contexts. Therefore, the present study focused on investigating inferential skills and reading comprehension in two different languages (Thai and English) within the same group of adult students at a college in Thailand. The primary objectives of this study, as reported in this thesis, were to examine the reciprocal relationships of inferential skills within Thai and English, and to investigate whether inferential skills can predict reading comprehension both within each language and across languages (Thai-L1 and English-L2). The study involved measures of inferential skills, reading comprehension, vocabulary and listening comprehension in Thai and English, following appropriate adaptation, piloting and revision. Raven’s Advanced Progressive Matrices test (short form) was also used to explore non verbal reasoning, and a questionnaire was used to provide background details about the participants and their views on reading comprehension strategies. Data collection was conducted at one campus of a university in Thailand. All ten measures were administered to a group of 220 Thai undergraduate students. The results demonstrated a significant inter-relationship between inferential skills in Thai (L1) and English (L2). Scores on the inferential tasks were also related to reading comprehension within the same language. Furthermore, the findings from hierarchical regression analyses indicated that the addition of inferential skill scores significantly increased the predictability of reading comprehension in the same language, after controlling for within-language vocabulary levels (and listening comprehension in the case of Thai) and non-verbal reasoning. Analyses across languages showed positive correlations between Thai inferential skills and English reading comprehension, and between English inferential skills and Thai reading comprehension. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that the addition of English inferential skills scores predicted extra variability in Thai reading comprehension, after controlling for English and Thai language related skills and non-verbal reasoning measures, but the addition of Thai inferential skills scores did not influence the level of prediction of English reading comprehension after controlling for the same variables. The reading strategies questionnaire did not reveal a significant relationship with either the Thai or the English reading comprehension scores. However, relationships between self-reported reading comprehension strategies and inferential skills scores were found, though the correlations were relatively small. Overall, the findings are consistent with the ability to make inferences being an important component of successful text comprehension–although there is little evidence of awareness influencing performance among the current participants. The influence of inference making does not seem to be explained by more general language skills (such as vocabulary and listening comprehension), nor by more general (non-verbal) reasoning skills, and it has the potential to occur across languages (from English to Thai in the present study), although within language influences may be larger than between languages. These findings have both theoretical and practical implications, which are discussed in this thesis.

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  • Late Quaternary vegetation and climate history reconstructed from palynology of marine cores off southwestern New Zealand

    Ryan, Matthew Thomas (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Little is known about how mid-latitude Southern Hemisphere terrestrial vegetation responded during glacial terminations and the warmer phases of the Late Quaternary, especially beyond the last glacial cycle where records are commonly fragmentary and poorly-dated. The timing, magnitude and sequence of environmental changes are investigated here for terminations (T) I, II and V and their subsequent warm interglacials of MIS 1, 5e and 11 by direct correlation of terrestrial palynomorphs (pollen and spores) and marine climate indicators in marine piston cores MD06-2990/2991 recovered from the East Tasman Sea, west of South Island, New Zealand. The climate there is strongly influenced by the prevailing mid-latitude westerly wind belt that generates significant amounts of orographic rainfall and the proximity of the ocean which moderates temperature variability. Chronological constraint for the cores is provided by δ¹⁸O stratigraphy, radiocarbon chronology and the identification of two widespread silicic tephra horizons (25.6 ka Kawakawa/Oruanui Tephra (KOT); ~345 ka Rangitawa Tephra (RtT)) sourced from the central North Island. Similar vegetation changes over the last two glacial cycles at MD06-2991 and in the adjacent nearby on land record of vegetation-climate change from Okarito Bog permit transfer of the well resolved Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) chronology to Okarito for the pre radiocarbon dated interval (~139-28 ka). Placing both sequences on a common age scale nonetheless assumes there is minimal lag between pollen production and final deposition on the seafloor. However, the timing of Late Pleistocene palynomorph events and KOT between independently dated marine and terrestrial sedimentary sequences are found in this study to be indistinguishable, which supports the direct transfer of terrestrially derived ages to the marine realm and vice versa. Vegetation change in southwestern New Zealand is of similar structure during T-I and T-II, despite different amplitudes of forcing (i.e., insolation rise, CO₂ concentrations). In a climate amelioration scenario, shrubland-grassland gave rise to dominantly podocarp-broadleaf forest taxa, with accompanying rises in mean annual air temperature (MAAT) estimated from Okarito pollen typically synchronous with nearby ocean temperatures. The T-II amelioration commenced after ~139 ka in response to increasing boreal summer insolation intensity, with prominent ocean-atmosphere warming over the period from ~133-130 ka. In contrast, northern mid-high latitude paleoclimate records display cooling over Heinrich Stadial 11 (~135-130 ka), and are prominently warm from ~130-128 ka, while southwestern New Zealand and the adjacent ocean displays cooling. Such millennial-scale climate asynchrony between the hemispheres is most likely a result of a systematic, but non-linear re-organisation of the ocean-atmosphere circulation system in response to orbital forcing. The subsequent MIS 5e climatic optimum in Westland was between ~128-123 ka, with maximum temperatures reconstructed in the ocean and atmosphere of 2.5°C and 1.5°C higher than present. Similarities revealed between land and sea pollen records in southwestern New Zealand over the last ~160 ka offer confidence for assessing vegetation and climate for older intervals, including T-V/MIS 11, for which no adjacent terrestrial equivalents currently exist. Vegetation change over T-V is similar to T-II and T-I, with southern warming antiphased with northern mid-high latitude cooling. Tall trees and the thermophilous shrub Ascarina lucida define interglacial conditions in the study region between ~428-396 ka. East Tasman Sea surface temperatures rose in two phases; 435-426 ka (MIS 12a-MIS 11e) and 417-407 ka (MIS 11c climatic optimum), reaching at least ~1.5-2°C warmer than present over the latter. Similarly, Ascarina lucida dominance over MIS 11c is akin to that displayed during the early Holocene climatic optimum (11.5-9 ka) in west-central North Island, where MAAT average ~3°C higher today. This contrasts markedly with the dominance of the tall tree conifer Dacrydium cupressinum for the Holocene (MIS 1) and last interglacial (MIS 5e) in southwestern New Zealand. Biogeographic barriers are proposed to have inhibited the migration of species from more northerly latitudes better adapted to warmer climatic conditions over MIS 5e and MIS 11.

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  • How can the Oculus Rift enrich the interactive storytelling experience?

    Ali, Mohsin (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    The technology of today, such as the Oculus Rift, can provide immersion in ways that were unachievable in the past. The Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset that allows the user to see the three-dimensional world without the use of a traditional monitor. Unlike television, computer and mobile screens, a virtual reality headset digitally transports the user into the environment. Functionality such as depth tracking and rotational head tracking provides immersion unlike anything experienced to date. My interest is to investigate interactive storytelling in combination with the Oculus Rift, to determine if virtual reality headsets can enrich storytelling experiences. This will be achieved by developing an application where interactive storytelling is compatible with the Oculus Rift, and testing that application with participants. Finally, a conclusion will be drawn from the data collected by participants. Alongside the written thesis, a digital application will be produced in Unreal Engine 4 (Video game engine). The application will be an Oculus Rift driven experience, meaning that users can only experience it through an Oculus Rift. The application will have an interactive plot, which allows the user to influence the storyline. The design will be iterative and will be refined after each user testing session. The application hopes to strengthen the theories and concepts found in the written section of the thesis.

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  • Butoh: Granting Art Status to an Indefinable Form

    Caldwell, Shane (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Butoh is a kind of art, but exactly what kind of art is not so easy to see. While traditionally considered a type of dance, there are a number of butoh works that are not readily identifiable as dance works, if in fact they count as dance at all. Through the use of Noël Carroll’s narrative theory of art, I will show how butoh comes to be thought of as art even if it fails to match up exactly with any one pre-existing art form. I will show how the context in which butoh came into being is sufficient for granting butoh art status due to its relation to existing art forms. I compare butoh to its two most similar analogues, dance and performance art, and examine how it resembles and differs from each of them. I also show how the reason categorising butoh as only one kind of art form is problematic due to its being part of a non- Western aesthetic tradition that does not break the world up into such easily separable pieces.

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  • Orisa-Shakespeare: A study of Shakespeare Adaptations Inspired by the Yoruba Tradition

    Balogun, Olalekan Is’haq (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This thesis combines creative practice with critical analysis to intervene in the field of post-colonial Shakespeare where, for over a generation, the process of adaptation has been presented as one of the main strategies by which Shakespeare’s ambiguous legacy in successor cultures can be both confronted and manipulated. Scholars often use the term “writing back” to designate a set of adaptations which challenge the cultural capital that Shakespeare privileges. By linking Yoruba spirituality in its political and cultural terms to the wider field of the relation between Africa, African writers and theatre makers and Shakespeare, the thesis proposes a new sub-field or genre of adaptations, “Orisa-Shakespeare,” rooted in Yoruba traditions. The thesis argues that, written in Nigeria and the Yoruba global diaspora, this set of adaptations are not necessarily challenging the Shakespeare canon but addressing their own societies, thus “writing forward.” The thesis examines the cultural and political significance of this bourgeoning body of adaptations of Shakespeare through the lens of Yoruba epistemology and its aesthetic principles. The thesis is broadly divided into two parts: an exegesis of selected adaptations of Shakespeare as case studies of post-colonial works that reflect and integrate Yoruba creative and performative idioms and translate them into dramaturgy; and an original play, Emi Caesar! in which core elements of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar are transplanted into the complex, violent world of Yoruba politics of the mid-19th century, as a parable for contemporary Nigeria politics where factionalism (specifically tribal/ethnic bigotry) works against the integrity and security of the society. In the context that the thesis proposes, the present has constant recourse to the past, especially the ancestors, and engages in rituals which create ongoing, living links between human beings and the realm of the Yoruba Gods (Orisa).The outcomes are the documentation of a uniquely Yoruba theory of literary creativity, a new play based on Julius Caesar, and an original contribution to the broad field of postcolonial (Shakespeare) adaptations scholarship.

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  • Early to middle Eocene calcareous nannofossils of the SW Pacific: Paleobiogeography and paleoclimate

    Shepherd, Claire Louise (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Earth’s climate underwent a long-term warming trend from the late Paleocene to early Eocene (~58–51 Ma), with global temperature reaching a sustained maximum during the Early Eocene Climatic Optimum (EECO; 53–50 Ma). Geochemical proxies indicate tropical or warm subtropical sea-surface temperature (SST) conditions in middle and high latitudes in the early Eocene, implying a very low latitudinal temperature gradient. This study investigates whether calcareous nannofossil assemblages in the southwest (SW) Pacific provide evidence of these conditions at middle latitudes in the early to middle Eocene, particularly during the EECO. Specifically, this study documents the biogeographic changes of warm- and cold-water nannofossil species along a paleolatitudinal transect through the EECO to track changes in water masses/ocean circulation at that time. Early to middle Eocene calcareous nannofossil assemblages were examined from four sites along a latitudinal transect in the SW Pacific, extending from Lord Howe Rise in the north to Campbell Plateau in the south and spanning a paleolatitude of ~46–54°S. All of the sections studied in this project span nannofossil zones NP10–16 (Martini, 1971). The data indicate up to three regional unconformities through the sections: at mid-Waipara, Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) Site 207 and 277, part or all of Zone NP10 (lower Waipawan) is missing; at Sites 207 and 277 a possible hiatus occurs within NP12 (upper Waipawan–lower Mangaorapan); and at all sites part or all of Zone NP15 (lower Bortonian) is missing. Results of this study indicate that nannofossil assemblages in the SW Pacific are more similar to floras at temperate to polar sites rather than those at tropical/subtropical sites. However, variations in the relative abundance of key species in the SW Pacific are broadly consistent with the trends seen in the geochemical proxy records: an increase in warm-water taxa coincided with the EECO, corroborating geochemical evidence for a temperature maximum in the SW Pacific during this interval. The increase in the abundance and diversity of warm-water taxa and decrease in the abundance of cool-water taxa through the EECO supports previous suggestions that a warm-water mass (northward of the proto-Tasman Front) extended to ~55°S paleolatitude during this interval in response to enhanced poleward heat transport and intensification of the proto-East Australian Current. At the southernmost site, DSDP Site 277, a relatively short-lived influx of warm-water taxa at ~51 Ma suggests that warm waters expanded south at this time. However, greater diversity and abundance of warm-water taxa throughout the EECO at DSDP Site 207, suggests that the proto-East Australian Current exerted greater influence at this latitude for a longer duration than at Site 277. An increase in the abundance of cool-water taxa and decrease in diversity and abundance of warm-water taxa at all sites is recorded following the termination of the EECO. This corresponds with the contraction of the proto-Tasman Front due to weakened proto-East Australian Current flow and associated amplification of the proto-Ross Gyre. Previous estimates of SSTs from geochemical proxies in the SW Pacific during the EECO indicate that there was virtually no latitudinal temperature gradient and temperatures were tropical to subtropical (>20°C). However, nannofossil data from this study indicate warm temperate conditions (~15–20°C) during the EECO, suggesting that a reduced latitudinal gradient was maintained through this interval, which is in agreement with climate models.

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  • A Great Wall? Migration, Political Socialisation and Political Participation among Chinese in New Zealand

    Clayton, Ameera (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Chinese political participation is low by comparison with other migrant and ethnic groups despite high socioeconomic status. This suggests that other barriers to participation are present among this group. This study examines how pre- and post-migration political socialisation affect the electoral participation of Chinese in New Zealand. Fifteen one-on-one, in-depth interviews allowed me to consider the relationship between both length of residence and socialisation in a democratic versus non-democratic regime and electoral participation among this sample. In this case, analysis of each participant’s migration and political participation experiences revealed no correlation between either length of residence and socialisation in a democratic versus non-democratic regime and electoral participation, although it highlighted the significance of demographic factors such as age and life-cycle, and social capital and political interest for electoral participation. Few studies have focused on Chinese migrant political participation specifically in New Zealand and even fewer on the subject of Chinese electoral participation. However, understanding what drives and inhibits electoral participation among this group is both important for the development of New Zealand’s Asia-Pacific identity and ultimately as an indicator of the health of democracy in New Zealand.

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  • Women Album Makers from the Canterbury Region of New Zealand, 1890-1910, and Their Photographic Practices

    Hearnshaw, Victoria Annabel (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This thesis examines the photograph albums created by fifteen women born during the reign of Queen Victoria living in the Canterbury region of New Zealand between the years 1890-1910. It will investigate how it was that these women, often working in close association with other members of their family, became involved in photography as an amateur recreational pastime. It will pursue this investigation within the conceptual and structural framework in which these women’s photographs were produced, collected or processed, and organized into albums, arguing that the making of such albums was as much a cultural and social practice as a representational one. Photograph albums are often considered to be generic objects. However this study will treat albums as distinctive and unique documents, comparable to other more-widely consulted primary sources such as letters and diaries. In particular, it will explore the capacity of the album to be a pictorial artefact that provides its own conditions for viewing images over time and space and contribute to a growing body of literature that insists that the photograph album is an important object of study within social history, and indeed within the history of photography in general. In drawing attention to the album making as a gendered pastime I am acknowledging the significance of this activity for women from within the upper and middle classes as a significant aspect of feminine cultural production at this period in our colonial history. As cameras became easier to operate towards the end of the nineteenth century these improvements saw women begin to take their own photographs, and also to print and distribute them within their extended families and beyond. This reflects the extent to which the practices of photography and album-making had become integrated practices by this date. Thus, the role of the album compiler working in the domestic sphere was effectively transformed from a passive consumer (collecting photographs) into an active producer of photographs. However, the extent to which the practice of photography was undertaken by women within colonial New Zealand is only now beginning to be realized. To date, the published evidence for this has been slight. This thesis endeavours to shed light on the contribution of these women working within the domestic sphere, but also those of their number who subsequently ventured to use this knowledge outside this limited sphere, and on their visual legacy at this formative period in New Zealand’s history.

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  • Why you should use high frequency data to test the impact of exchange rate on trade

    Shaar, Karam; Khaled, Mohammed (2017)

    Scholarly text
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This study suggests that testing the impact of exchange rate on trade should be done using high frequency data. Using different data frequencies for identical periods and specifications between the US and Canada, we show that low frequency data might suppress and distort the evidence of the impact of exchange rate on trade in the short-run and the long-run.

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  • International trade data quality index

    Shaar, Karam (2017)

    Scholarly text
    Victoria University of Wellington

    When two countries report different values about trading with each other, the globally endemic phenomenon of trade data discrepancy arises. Substantial discrepancy in claims raises serious concerns about the quality of international trade data, which has profound implications on policymakers and researchers alike. In this paper, we construct an index which measures the level of consistency between each country’s reports on bilateral trade data and the corresponding data reported by the rest of the world. The index takes into account the relative significance of each trade partner and the level of data availability. The paper investigates 1,517,085 bilateral trade flows from 1962 to 2013 and concludes that: (a) malpractice is the main reason why some countries have lower data quality than others, (b) for most countries, trade data quality is in fact improving over time, (c) countries are generally more aware of the origin of their imports than they are aware of the destination of their exports. Our original findings have impacts on any study which utilizes trade data.

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  • Thresholds, Text Coverage, Vocabulary Size, and Reading Comprehension in Applied Linguistics

    Larson, Myq (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    The inextricable link between vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension is incontrovertible. However, questions remain regarding the nature of the interaction. One question which remains unresolved is whether there is an optimum text coverage, or ratio of known to unknown words in a text, such that any deleterious effects of the unknown words on reading comprehension are minimised. A related question is what vocabulary size would a reader need to have in order to achieve the optimum text coverage for a given text or class of texts. This thesis addresses these questions in three ways. First, a replication and expansion of a key study (Hu & Nation, 2000)1 was performed. In that study, 98% text coverage was found to be optimal for adequate reading comprehension of short fiction texts when reading for pleasure. To replicate that study, equivalent measures of reading comprehension were collected from a more homogeneous group of participants at a university in northern Thailand (n = 138), under stricter conditions and random assignment to one of three text coverage conditions, to verify the generalisability of the results. The original study was also expanded by measuring reader characteristics thought to contribute to reading comprehension, such as vocabulary size, l1 and l2 literacy, and reading attitudes, in an effort to improve the explainable reading comprehension variance. In order to more accurately calculate the text coverage a reader experiences for a particular text, both the vocabulary profile of the text and the vocabulary size of the reader must be known as precisely as possible. Therefore, to contribute to the question of vocabulary size, changes such as measuring item completion time and varying the order of item presentation were made to the VST (P. Nation & Beglar, 2007) to improve its sensitivity and accuracy. This may ultimately lead to increased precision when using text coverage to predict reading comprehension. Finally, l2 English vocabulary size norms were established to supplement the diagnostic usefulness of the VST. Data were collected through an online version of the VST created for this thesis from primarily self-selected participants (n 1:31 105) located in countries (n 100) around the world representing several l1 and age groups. Analysis of the data collected for this thesis suggest that text coverage explains much less reading comprehension variance than previously reported while vocabulary size may be a more powerful predictor. An internal replication of Hu and Nation (2000) found errors in the calculation of optimum text coverage and in the reported size of the effect on reading comprehension. A critical review of the theoretical foundations of the text coverage model of reading comprehension found serious flaws in construct operationalisation and research design. Due to these flaws, most research which has purported to measure the effect of text coverage on reading comprehension actually measured the effect of an intervening variable: readers’ vocabulary size. Vocabulary size norms derived from data collected through an online version of the VST appear to be reliable and representative. Varying item presentation order appears to increase test sensitivity. Despite a moderate effect for l1 English users, item completion time does not seem to account for any variance in vocabulary size scores for l2 English learners. Based on the finding that vocabulary size may explain both reading comprehension and text coverage, the putative power of text coverage to predict reading comprehension is challenged. However, an alternative measure which may offer greater power to predict reading comprehension, the VST, has been modified and made available online. This version of the VST may provide greater sensitivity and ease of use than the offline, paper-based version.

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  • Effects of herbicides on both adaptive and acquired antibiotic resistance

    Hill, Amy M. (2017)

    Masters thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Antibiotic resistance is an increasingly serious global health issue that will not be solved without serious and considered intervention. In order to effectively combat increasingly resistant bacteria, a better understanding of the factors influencing the development of antibiotic resistance is necessary. Previous work from this lab has shown that commercial herbicide formulations can induce adaptive antibiotic resistance in Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (Kurenbach et al., 2015). To investigate the breadth of this response, Staphylococcus aureus was exposed to the same set of commercial herbicide formulations and antibiotics and three additional antibiotics commonly used to treat S. aureus infections. The pattern of herbicide-induced changes in antibiotic tolerance was similar but not identical to those observed for E. coli and S. enterica. The magnitude of changes in minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) was often smaller for antibiotics that were used in both sets of experiments, while the largest changes were observed for the new antibiotics. These effects were observed at herbicide concentrations below application rates and, in some cases, at concentrations within the maximum residue limits (MRLs) allowable in animal feed and human food as defined by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex Alimentarius Commision, 2016). Whether the adaptive responses to the herbicides can lead to shifts in the population frequency of acquired antibiotic resistance was also tested. Specific combinations of herbicide and antibiotic that caused either increases or decreases in antibiotic tolerance were investigated in more detail. In two combinations of herbicide and antibiotic, ciprofloxacin + Kamba and ciprofloxacin + Roundup, that caused adaptive resistance to the antibiotic an increased frequency of acquired resistance was observed in S. enterica. When two strains of E. coli with differing antibiotic resistance were exposed to a combination of herbicide and antibiotic, tetracycline + Roundup or streptomycin + Kamba, that caused a decrease in antibiotic tolerance, increased selection in favour of the resistant bacteria was observed.

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  • A Quarter Acre Pavlova Paradise Lost? The Role of Preferences and Planning in Achieving Urban Sustainability in Wellington, New Zealand

    Dodge, Nadine (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This thesis investigates the scope for compact development to accommodate population growth in Wellington, New Zealand. The topic is particularly significant for New Zealand as the great majority of the population lives in urban areas, historical development has been dominated by low density urban form, and transport and urban form are two of the main domains in which the country can reduce its carbon emissions. The influence of urban planning and residents’ preferences on achieving sustainable outcomes is investigated. Historical and current planning rules and transport policies in the City are analysed to determine their influence on the provision of compact development. Wellington’s transport policy shows a pattern of path dependency: historical decisions to favour car oriented investment have driven subsequent transport investments and influenced the ease of using different transport modes. Planning policies show a similar pattern of path dependency: planning rules enacted in the 1960s endure in present planning despite being packaged with different justifications and regulatory regime. Current planning rules severely restrict infill development in most existing neighbourhoods, which reduces the availability of housing in accessible medium density neighbourhoods and likely increases the cost of this type of housing. A stated choice survey was conducted of 454 residents of Wellington City to investigate the extent to which there is an unmet demand for compact development and alternatives to car travel. The survey held presentation mode constant across two completion modes (internet and door to door with tablet completion), allowing the impacts of recruitment and completion mode to be examined. Survey recruitment mode appeared to influence both response rates and the representativeness of the survey, while completion mode appeared to have little or no impact on survey responses. Using the stated choice survey results, a latent class model was developed to examine the preferences of residents and the trade-offs they are willing to make when choosing where to live. This type of model allows for the identification of preference groups as a means of understanding the diversity of preferences across the population. The study found that there is an unmet demand for medium density, accessible housing, but that affordability is a barrier for households to choose this type of housing. There was also an unmet demand for walking and cycling, with more residents currently driving than would prefer to use this mode, and more residents preferring to walk and cycle to work than currently use these modes. The ability to use a desired travel mode appears to be related to the neighbourhood in which a person lives, with residents of medium and high density neighbourhoods being more likely to use their preferred travel mode. This study also modelled future development trajectories for Wellington based on demand for housing, neighbourhood and transport attributes. This preference based growth model was contrasted with the City’s plan for development over the next 30 years. Comparing the two scenarios, the planning based trajectory performed better than the demand based scenario in terms of both carbon emissions and achieving compact development.

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  • The Environmental Regulation of Marine Carbon Capture and Storage in New Zealand: Principles, Barriers and Gaps

    Severinsen, Gregory (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This thesis concerns the regulation of a technology called carbon capture and storage (CCS). The technology is one way to mitigate anthropogenic climate change, by capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at point sources (such as power or industrial plants) and injecting them into deep underground geological formations. Specifically, the thesis looks at the framework of public environmental law that is needed for CCS in New Zealand where injection occurs offshore in its coastal marine area and exclusive economic zone. The thesis concludes that, when tested against existing principles in New Zealand's environmental law and the requirements of international law, current provisions in domestic law contain both significant barriers and gaps. These barriers must be removed and gaps must be filled. The thesis identifies three broad features of New Zealand's law that give rise to a range of barriers and that need to be addressed. First, there is substantial uncertainty as to how existing provisions would apply to CCS. Greater certainty is needed. Secondly, the classification of CCS as a form of marine dumping presents a significant barrier. The technology needs to be classified differently, and more positively. Thirdly, the law contains a general prohibition on considering the effects of activities on climate change. This may prevent CCS being deployed in practice, and needs to be reconsidered. New Zealand's existing law also contains three potential gaps, which must be filled. First, there is a dearth of CCS-specific regulatory and policy provisions within existing regimes such as the Resource Management Act 1991. This means operators and regulators would be operating in a regulatory and policy vacuum. Decisions may be inconsistent, fail to impose appropriate environmental standards, or fail to give appropriate weight to relevant considerations. Secondly, there are limitations in the ability of existing regimes to regulate the positive effects of activities – such as climate change mitigation - to ensure that they are actually achieved. Thirdly, existing law does not facilitate the kind of targeted and comparative decision-making process needed for CCS. This means that it does not provide an effective process for resolving tensions between competing resource interests in the sub-seabed.

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  • Negotiating multiple identities in educational contexts: Stories of Tamil Heritage Language Users as Multilingual Malaysians

    Sithraputhran, Thilegawathy (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Malaysia is a multilingual and multicultural society comprising of ethnic Malays (dominant group) followed by ethnic Chinese, Indians and other indigenous groups. The national language is Malay and English is the second language. Heritage languages such as Mandarin and Tamil are used as the language of instruction in some primary schools. This study explores how a group of Tamil Heritage Language Users from Tamil primary schools (THLU-Ts) at a private university recounted maneuvering through their multilingual world during their early lives at Tamil primary school, at state secondary school (Malay) and then at a private university (English). Nine first year undergraduate participants were selected from a private university in Malaysia where English is the medium of instruction. They were selected as THLU-Ts based on two criteria. Firstly, they were ethnic Tamils and secondly, they had completed six years of primary education at Tamil primary school. I used photovoice interviews to construct their narratives. The participants, prompted by photographs they brought as artefacts, described their language experiences in a multilingual setting. The participants’ voices were storied into narratives based on three narrative inquiry strategies of broadening, burrowing and restorying. Two in-depth interviews were conducted over a six month period and these were video-taped and transcribed. The interview transcript from each first interview contributed to a narrative summary or story. This was a general description of the participant and events (broadening stage). The second interview was held towards the end of the semester. During the second interview, participants were asked to reflect on their narrative summaries (which had been distributed earlier) and comment on them. I sought data to reexamine the existing data (burrowing stage) before rewriting a complete and coherent story (restorying) for each participant. This story was also individually reviewed by each participant. Data analysis was an iterative process that included storying and coding. I identified three broad themes and then examined them in the light of relevant literature. This analysis allowed me to understand how the THLU-Ts shaped their identities during social interactions with different linguistic communities in Malaysia, including THLU-Ms (ethnic Tamils from national primary schools) and non-Tamils (Malays and Chinese). Initially, THLU-Ts faced challenges as they transitioned to secondary school coming from a Tamil- medium primary school. At secondary school, they had to adjust to a Malay linguistic environment for the first time. As their proficiency in Malay grew, they felt they were accepted as authentic members of the academic community. When they entered the English-medium university, there was pressure to develop proficiency in English. They repositioned themselves once again and made deliberate language choices during social interaction with other linguistic communities. When the findings were viewed through Blommaert’s sociolinguistic scales, it was apparent that participants scaled languages depending on the value assigned to each one (Malay, English and Tamil). This reflected the way language was used in society. As powerful multilinguals who invested in a multilingual repertoire, participants displayed linguistic accommodation. These findings suggest a need for educators and policy makers to reassess the role and importance of HL education. Currently, the Malaysian education policy is silent on its commitment to HL education in Malaysia. Yet, this research supports the One Malaysia concept which stresses unity in diversity and encourages educational policies to take a pro-multilingual stance.

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  • You are not worth the risk: The ethics of statistical discrimination in organisational selection of applicants

    Scholes, Vanessa (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Your job application is rejected unseen because you ticked a box admitting you smoke. The employer screened out applicants who ticked the 'smoker' box, because she had read empirical studies that suggest smokers, as a group, are a higher productivity risk than non-smokers. What distinctive ethical concerns inhere in the organisational practice of discriminating against applicants on the basis of group risk statistics? I argue that risk-focussed statistical discrimination is morally undesirable due to the lack of respect for applicants as unique autonomous agents. However, I argue further that the decision-making context affects the morality of this discrimination. Other things being equal, the morality of statistical discrimination varies depending on the purpose of the organisation, the level of detail in the discrimination, and whether the discrimination is transparent to applicants and includes some benefit for applicants. Because organisations may have good reason to use risk-focussed statistical discrimination when assessing applicants, I present some recommendations for decision-makers to mitigate the lack of respect for applicants as individual agents. Organisational decision-makers can focus on the extent to which the statistical data they use comprise i) factors that feature efforts and achievements of the applicant; ii) dynamic rather than static factors; and iii) data drawn from the applicant’s own history and actions over time.

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  • Can a gut helminth parasite influence Th2 inflammatory responses in the skin?

    Meijlink, Kimberley Jayne (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Helminth parasites are one of the most common infectious agents of humans and cause significant health and economic burdens in the countries they are endemic in, making elimination an important goal. However, epidemiological studies have suggested an inverse correlation between the incidences of infections by helminth parasites in humans and autoimmune and allergic disease prevalence worldwide; it is thought the eradication of parasites in more affluent countries through improved hygiene is an important factor for the increasing incidence of autoimmune and allergic diseases encountered in the Western world. A Th2 immune response is central in providing immunity against helminth parasites, while suppressing T helper (Th) 1/Th17-mediated inflammation and inducing wound repair mechanisms. Helminths have developed strategies to directly regulate the immune response against them to ensure their own survival. Experimental evidence has demonstrated helminths are also able to dampen inflammatory bystander immune responses in their host, via induction of regulatory mechanisms such as regulatory T cells. These studies have focused primarily on the suppression of food and airway allergies in mouse models and there is limited data on the effect of helminth parasites on skin allergy e.g. atopic dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic/chronically relapsing Th2 inflammatory skin condition, characterized by skin lesions, dry itchy skin and impaired skin barrier function. This is believed to allow the entrance of other allergens into the body more easily, leading to sensitization and initiation of other allergies later in life, a process termed the ‘Allergic March’. With the increased incidence of allergy in the Western world, it is desirable to find new therapies to suppress AD and the onset of the allergic march. During my Masters, I have investigated whether the gut-dwelling mouse parasite Heligmosomoides polygyrus was able to suppress Th2 responses induced in skin tissue using two different allergy models: 1) intradermal injection (ID) of whole mashed-up house dust mite (HDM), which induces Th2 inflammatory responses, and 2) topical application of the chemical hapten dibutyl phthalate-fluorescein isothiocyanate (DBP-FITC), mimicking allergic responses seen in AD. The results show that H. polygyrus induces interleukin (IL)-4 production in tissues distal to the gut, including the ear skin tissue, mainly from cluster of differentiation (CD) 4⁺ T cells. Furthermore, helminth infection was able to suppress Th2-mediated inflammation in the skin in both house dust mite and DBP-FITC models, coinciding with an increase in the proportions of regulatory T cells (Tregs) in skin-associated lymph nodes (LNs). This research further demonstrates the potential use of helminth parasites, or their products, as a therapy for allergic diseases, including those of the skin.

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  • Comparing syntactic persistence in written and spoken monologue

    Middendorf, Jennifer (2017)

    Masters thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Syntactic persistence, the tendency for speakers to repeat recently-used syntactic structures, has been well demonstrated in dialogue and in single-sentence monologue primed by reading aloud pre-prepared material. Models advanced to explain syntactic persistence assume that priming will also occur in extended monologue, but there is no clear evidence that this is so. This thesis examines within-speaker syntactic persistence of the genitive alternation in spoken and written monologue from the QuakeBox corpus and the Press database, two New Zealand corpora selected for their close match of time period, geographic location, and topic. Two research questions are considered: is priming present in extended monologue, and does priming differ between speech and writing? In order to address these questions, I use binomial mixed-effect models to find the relative contribution of factors predicted to affect genitive choice and priming, and compare the relative impact of these factors, and the overall effect of priming, on the two corpora. The findings of my research indicate that syntactic priming is present in extended monologue, and that this priming occurs more frequently in speech than in writing. My results also support observations in the existing literature that genitive choice is affected by animacy, the presence of a sibilant sound, and the semantic relationship between possessor and possessum. While this study was not able to offer conclusive insights into the differences between α- and β-priming, and the issue of priming in nested structures, my findings indicate that these would be promising areas for further research.

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  • Applied practice : theoretical and pedagogical foundations

    Hays, Jay; Helmling, Lisa (2017-04-04)

    Unclassified
    Unitec

    Applied Practice is an overarching term embracing a wide range of pedagogies that employ one or more forms of work experience for learning, including cooperative education (or co-op), professional practice, internships and apprenticeships, service learning, and many versions of Work-Integrated Learning (WIL). As used here, Applied Practice encompasses the theories, principles, approaches and programs that govern and inform the development of professional practices and practitioners across disciplines, and, in so doing, build individual, organisational, and community capacity to sustainably transform. As this monograph reveals, Applied Practice is a defensible means for building capabilities and dispositions demanded by the complex, global world of the twenty-first century. It achieves this by narrowing the theory–practice divide for which higher education has long been criticised. Narrowing of this gap is made possible by more fully integrating theory and practice, attained through pedagogies that mutually exploit the learning and experiences in academic study and practical work experience. Applied Practice and the various affiliated work experience for learning and Work-Integrated Learning programs are under-theorised and remain under-researched. Herein, the authors draw on a wide range of studies and scholarly literature, and attempt to bring together what can be ascertained with respect to applicable theory and pedagogy. The result of this synthesis is a four-pillar model, each of the four pillars representing a substantial theory stream and important foundation of Applied Practice: Adult Learning Theory (ALT), Experiential Learning Theory (ELT), Transformational Learning Theory (TLT), and Workplace Learning Theory (WLT).

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