PsychEng Seminar by Students: 1) Gamified Tip-of-the-Tongue Assessment in Aging; 2) Regulatory focus and reducing waste outflow to motivate water conservation

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Gamified Tip-of-the-Tongue Assessment in Aging
Tiana Wei, Psychology PhD Student

Tip-of-the-Tongue (TOT) phenomenon describes the difficulty of recalling a word while having a strong sense of knowing the word. TOT occurs to people of all ages, with an increasing frequency when we get older. Naming difficulty is one of the most common symptoms of neurodegenerative pathologies such as Alzheimer’s Disease. Hence, standardized neuropsychological assessments for mild cognitive impairment and dementia usually include a sub-test for naming ability. However, the naming tests included in pen and paper standardized clinical assessments are mostly single-word confrontational naming tests that merely record naming accuracy, which is not sensitive enough to reveal age-related word-finding difficulties experienced by healthy older adults during aging. To enable a more sensitive assessment of age-related TOT, the on-going project investigates two main hypotheses behind age-related TOT using a word-picture interference paradigm as both an experimental and a game design. Young and older adults’ performance on the paradigm will be examined to reveal potential evidence for the two hypotheses –Transmission Deficit Hypothesis and Inhibition Deficit Hypothesis. The study aims at a two-fold contribution of improving the understanding of age-related TOT and enabling a more sensitive, convenient, and engaging TOT assessment tool that is much needed by the aging population today.

Biography: Tiana Wei obtained her Bachelor’s degree in English department at National Taiwan Normal University in 2018. After coming to Canada, she graduated from her Master’s degree in Psychology at University of Toronto in 2019. Currently, she is a 2nd year PhD student in Dr. Jed Meltzer’s lab under Rotman Research Institution at Baycrest Hospital. Her research interests range from the neurobiology of language and brain lateralization investigated with electroencephalography and magnetoencephalography to the psycholinguistic factors behind aging and tools for cognitive assessment.

Regulatory focus and reducing waste outflow to motivate water conservation

Sarah Halabieh, MIE MASc Student

While most conservation strategies focus on limiting resource intake, the current work studies whether limiting resource outflow can also reduce consumption. An online pilot study explored the effects of outflow rates on water usage during a hand-washing simulation, and found that some participants significantly reduced intake-water pressure at lower outflow rates. Factors that increase the intervention’s effectiveness are discussed, including participants’ regulatory focus orientation. While the current prevention-based intervention was more effective on individuals with stronger prevention focus, ideas for possible promotion-based interventions that are physically based and practically realizable are sought.

Biography: Sarah Halabieh received her BASc in Mechanical Engineering in 2020 from the University of Toronto. During her undergraduate studies, she worked at a composite aerospace company, automating manufacturing processes. Currently, her master’s research is focused on pro-environmental behaviour, specifically, reducing water consumption, in Dr. Li Shu’s laboratory in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.

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