New UVM study adds key piece to autism puzzle

first_imgby Jon Reidel (link sends e-mail)Where do your eyes focus during a conversation? An innovative study by University of Vermont researchers reveals that for children with autism spectrum disorder, the answer depends on how emotional the conversation is. The study, published in Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders(link is external), shows that children with the developmental disability fixate longer on a speaker’s mouth rather than the eyes when the conversation turns emotional. It’s the first study of its kind to use eye tracker technology to monitor eye movement during an interactive conversation, and the results could affect the way speech therapists treat the estimated 1 in 68 children who struggle with the social, communication and behavioral challenges caused by autism spectrum disorder (ASD).See how Professor Tiffany Hutchins used the eye-tracking technology during conversations with typically developing children and children with autism spectrum disorder.Using the Mirametrix S2 Eye Tracker system and Skype, the researchers compared the visual attention of typically developing children and children with ASD during a conversation about mundane topics, like what people do when they get up in the morning. Then, the conversation turned to emotions, like what makes the child sad or scared.“What you talk about really matters for children with ASD,” says lead author Tiffany Hutchins, assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders. “You just change a few words by talking about what people do versus how they feel and you can have a profound impact on where eyes go for information.”Hutchins’ study also shows that a shift away from the eyes towards the mouth by children with ASD was associated with higher autism severity, more limited executive function, and poorer verbal and intellectual ability.Like driving in a snowstormAlthough it is unclear why children with ASD look at mouths more frequently during emotional conversations, Hutchins theorizes that talking about emotions strains executive function. Emotionally charged topics “likely place high demand on working memory, which, when a threshold is surpassed, makes rendering information from the eye region particularly difficult,” she says.Consequently, the child with ASD may start searching elsewhere for more accessible information.Talking about emotions is really hard and very draining for children with ASD,” says Hutchins. “It’s like driving in a snowstorm. Normally, when you drive around in good weather on a familiar route, you go on automatic pilot and sometimes don’t even remember how you got somewhere. But for a child with ASD, having a conversation, especially one about emotions, is more like driving in a snowstorm. In that situation, you are totally focused, every move is tense and effortful, and your executive function drains away. In fact, we found that decreased working memory correlated with decreased eye fixations, so as working memory decreases, then we see fewer fixations on the eyes.”Hutchins’ findings are also significant because eye information may be more relevant in conversations about emotions. As a result, children with ASD miss the chance to understand the relationship between facial expressions and underlying thoughts because they neglect the abundance of social meaning given in the eyes, she says.“It’s probably a situation where the poor are getting poorer,” Hutchins says. “If I’m asking you to talk about emotions, and that makes you even less likely to look in my eyes when you really need to go there because I’m more likely to be showing other evidence of an emotion like anger with my eyebrows, you are missing even more. It’s not that there’s no emotional information in the mouth, but during dynamic conversational exchanges they are missing a number of cues that a typically developing child would not.”Study could spur new research methods, treatmentsParticipants in the study included 19 typically developing children and 18 children diagnosed with ASD between the ages of six and 12 years of age. During conversations recorded via Skype, the tracking system, using infrared light bounching off the retinas, recorded X and Y coordinates of eye positions.We were amazed that no one had done this yet,” Hutchins says. “We found only two other studies that used eye tracking to look at social attention during actual conversations with other people, but none with autism. Combining Skype with basic eye-tracking technology feels like low-hanging fruit, and it circumvents a lot of the traditional challenges that we’ve had in the field so when that catches on, I think the implications are that you can do a lot with this technology. I think being first is one of our major contributions.”Hutchins says past studies have relied on social observation in videos or static pictures of people’s faces with different emotions, which didn’t require children with ASD to engage with someone in an interactive conversation. “When a child with ASD engages with me, they don’t just watch me passively, they have to monitor my engagement, think about what I’m doing, my tone, and my affect to get my full meaning, and that’s really different than passively observing something,” she says.Hutchins’ co-author, Ashley Brien, a UVM graduate student at the time of the study, is now a speech pathologist at a school district in northern Vermont. The pair are now considering how the study affects the way speech pathologists work with students with ASD. For example, they say therapists should think about the consequences of telling a child with autism to look intently into the their eyes.“Some social skills programs and many treatment goals for children with autism involve trying to get them to initiate and sustain eye-contact during interaction” says Hutchins. Brien adds that the consequences of these practices, like increased anxiety, could be counterproductive. As Brien says, “some of the interventions that are used are not time tested or evidence based, but we’re hoping to change that.”last_img read more

Red Fox Wireless signs SMACK! Media for PR initiatives

first_imgRed Fox Wireless, an emerging company in the sports and outdoor market specializing in Bluetooth wireless sports headphones and accessories, has partnered with SMACK! Media to plan and execute its public relations campaign and initiatives towards helping active consumers live life (wire) free.The impetus for Red Fox Wireless came in the autumn/fall of 2010 while CEO & Co-Founder Josh Cates was mountain biking in Red Rocks Canyon and his tangled earphone got caught in his tyre and caused a crash.Realizing the need for a high quality wire free audio technology alternative, Red Fox was born and launched in 2013. In less than one year, Red Fox has become a premiere brand of Bluetooth solutions and accessories for an active lifestyle, and is used by Olympians such as Hunter Kemper and Andy Potts.“We’re all about promoting a healthy lifestyle and making it easier for people to get outside with their music, audio books or podcasts,” said Red Fox CEO and Co-Founder Josh Cates. “We create high quality products with real-world function in mind that allow users to focus on their lifestyle, not their wires.”Red Fox’s flagship product, the EDGE Bluetooth Headphones, were featured in the June edition of Runner’s World as Best Cordless Headphones as well as the November issue of Running Insight’s feature entitled, Wearable Tech Takes Off.The product design is positioned as being comfortable and lightweight, and stays secure during impact activities such as running. Built-in controls allow the user to wirelessly change song tracks, control volume, make and take phone calls, and activate Siri or Google Voice, making the product easy to use.“We chose to partner with a leader in the sports and active lifestyle market who understands our core message. We have no doubt that working with SMACK! Media will be key for connecting with our customers and growing the Red Fox brand,” said Cates.From active recreation and sports to multitasking with chores and projects, Red Fox aims to empower consumers to re-imagine their ordinary activities and allow everyone to ‘Live Life (wire) Free.’ Relatedlast_img read more

Ibsenhuset in Norway Takes PROLIGHTS

first_imgIbsenhuset, a culture venue in Skien, Norway, has taken delivery of over one hundred fixtures from PROLIGHTS. The venue houses facilities for concerts, theatre performances, opera, exhibits, conferences and other events.The Italian-designed fixtures were used in the foyer, Peer Gynt hall and stage areas. A total of 136 fixtures were supplied, including Pixie WashXB, EclProfile FC, EclFresnel JrTW, Pixie Wash, Jet Spot2, Jet Spot4Z, SunBlast 3000FC, Sunrise2L and LumiPar 12UQPro fixtures.“Price and quality were a deciding factor,” said Carl August Tidemann, Sales Manager at Prostage, Prolights’ distributor in Norway. Carl added: “Our customers are very tech-savvy, and Prolights offers the right products for venues, as a one-stop solution company”.prolights.itlast_img

Are selfie pictures related to personality characteristics?

first_imgEmail Share Can you predict a person’s personality just by analyzing one of their selfies?In a new study published in Frontiers in Psychology, researchers examined Slovenians students selfie photos and found some differences between male and female selfies. Men were more likely to be centered in their selfies, while women tended to be more expressive in their selfies. Women were also more likely to tilt their heads and smile than men.But the researchers found no evidence that the characteristics of a selfie photo could be used to predict personality traits like narcissism, extraversion, openness, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Share on Facebook Share on Twittercenter_img PsyPost interviewed the study’s corresponding author, Bojan Musil of University of Maribor. Read his responses below:PsyPost: Why were you interested in this topic?Musil: Obviously, in just short time selfies became popular (, dangerous (, quite bizarre (, and fostered legal debates with our animal relatives (, seriously, our interest in selfies was some sort of side effect and at the same time a next step from our previous research on the impact of videos or photos, depicted with webcams, on self-reflection. Since those results indicated a trend that webcam self-portrait photos had some (limited) effect on decrease in public states of self-consciousness, we thought about different a format of pictures, self-portrait photos, in different social situations and their relations to some psychological variables.Selfies were quite an obvious logical choice – as in all forms of self-portraits, the main actor in the picture is at the same time the creator of the picture, but with the embedment of IT appliances and applications in our everyday lives (or better mutual immersion of humans and technology) the production of selfies became enormously widespread and convenient. Additionally, selfies are often shared on social networks, which could be of great interest especially from the dynamics of potential self-presentation strategies. What should the average person take away from your study?First of all, some elements or cues of selfie pictures can be quite reliably categorized or classified, while for some other elements it is better to use additional tools for analyzing pictures. For example, eye contact, context and social distance of the actor in the selfie are quite intuitive elements of selfies; but to determine the exact head position on the picture, potential tilt of the body or tilt of the head of the actor of the selfie it is advisable to use dome image processing software. And, to determine the exact position of the camera of the author of the selfie is almost mission impossible. Second, there are some distinct gender-based characteristics – female selfies are generally more expressive comparatively to male selfies. Women more consistently express positive mood, are more prone to tilt their heads and show dominantly left or right side of the face.Lastly, from the elements of the selfie pictures it is hard to determine any relations with personality characteristics of selfie authors. To say, ok, according to this element of the picture we can surely predict that the author of the selfie is high on extraversion, different dimensions oh narcissism or femininity. Selfies are probably just ordinary artifacts of contemporary societies, where technology plays essential role in everyday lives and in that sense our research contributes to more objective debate on this particular phenomenon and shatter the widespread, everyday, intuitive idea of ascribed pathological nature of selfies.Are there any major caveats? What questions still need to be addressed?We analyzed only one selfie photo per participant, and our sample was specific with its relatively small number of participants and very narrow age range (students). Consequently, conclusions and generalizations are limited in scope. On the other hand, participants in our research were informed about the selfie concept and had the chance to freely choose their selfie for the analysis. In this regard, they were more active in the research design – they had the opportunity to reflect on and select an image that they consider a prototype of the concept of the selfie. Our research is thus distinct from studies which harvest images from the web, where researchers usually rely on the hash tags #selfie, #me or similar.Another limitation of our research involves the analysis of effects in selfies that could potentially influence some aspects of coding (for example categories of background, frame of the picture or mood), but this could be of particular importance especially for the context of selfie analysis as impression formation, which was outside of the scope of this particular research. We also didn’t analyze some very subjective cues of the selfie photos, such as the attraction of the person on the selfie.Probably from the cues of only one selfie photo it is hard to determine distinct personality characteristics, so more elaborate analysis with more pictures is needed and inclusion of the whole context in the background (discourse) – such as selfie creation and its placement in particular social networks or other mediated modes of social relations. So, more complex (qualitative in the nature) investigation is needed. In that sense, our investigation was closer to the controlled (laboratory) setting, where we excluded the story behind specific selfie in the context of social media or other social relations.Is there anything else you would like to add?If you take care of yourself and others while taking the selfie, beware of the sharks ( study, “What Is Seen Is Who You Are: Are Cues in Selfie Pictures Related to Personality Characteristics?“, was also co-authored by Andrej Preglej, Tadevž Ropert, Lucia Klasinc and Nenad Čuš Babič. Pinterest LinkedInlast_img read more

Class 8 Parts Expands Executive Management Team

first_imgJohn Lowry, president of Class 8 Parts, commented, “We’ve been in business 15 years and we need to have a solid go-forward plan to maintain a profitable, long-term business. Making these additions to our executive management team creates a strong succession plan for the future. Tara and Finn are aggressive and focused. We are fortunate to have their talent and energy leading our business. At Class 8 Parts, we’re committed to quality sales and service – that’s our motto and this team will build upon that for many years to come.” NEW HOLLAND, Pa. – Class 8 Parts has announced the addition of two key personnel to its Executive Management Team. Jonathan “Finn” Lowry has been named vice president of sales and marketing. Lowry has been with Class 8 Parts for five years. Prior to Class 8 Parts, he spent seven years with Penske Corp., in various sales, management and customer service positions. His experience at Penske and Class 8 Parts provides him with the knowledge and proficiency necessary for this key role in the company. Finn is responsible for the management and strategic direction of all external and internal sales, customer service and marketing aspects of the business, including profitable growth and customer diversification. AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisement James “Fats” Kraybill, owner, now takes on the role of full-time salesman. Kraybill has been with Class 8 Parts for 15 years in a multitude of positions and will now be focused on his passion – sales. He will be servicing key customers that he has developed long-term relationships with, as well as developing growth opportunities with new customers and new markets. Tara Zimmerman has been named vice president of operations. Zimmerman has been with Class 8 Parts for nine years in a variety of positions, including inventory management, vendor program management, pricing and purchasing. Zimmerman is now responsible for the management and strategic direction of all operational aspects of the business, as well as improvements to the operational efficiency of Class 8 Parts and the implementation of Six Sigma processes. The company started in 1998 with five employees and 6,000 square feet of warehouse. Today, Class 8 Parts has 30 employees and 21,000 square feet of warehouse space – with most of the space merchandised for customers to view everything available, from seats and mattresses to brakes and wipers. Class 8 Parts is a member of HDA Truck Pride.last_img read more

APPEA supports Queensland’s gas industry action plan

first_imgQueensland stands to benefit from the development of a gas action plan that encourages new exploration and development for the domestic and export markets.State Development and Natural Resources and Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said that a new Queensland Gas Supply and Demand Action Plan would be released early next year.Commenting on the action plan, APPEA Chief Operating Officer, Eastern Australia Paul Fennelly said it would be a winner for Queensland if it encouraged the ongoing growth of an industry that was already delivering major benefits for the State.“With commitment and determination we can achieve the right policy settings to ensure the natural gas industry continues to power the Queensland economy for decades to come,” Fennelly said.He added that it is essential that the plan focus on policies that will substantially enhance the industry’s global competitiveness and encourage investment in new exploration and production. That means continuing to reject unworkable intervention policies, such as domestic gas reservation, that will deter investment and create adverse economic outcomes in the longer term.Fennelly said the investment of more than $70 billion worth of new gas infrastructure in Queensland since 2010 would help Australia become the world’s leading liquefied natural gas exporter in the next few years.He expects Queensland to further grow the industry and attract investment due to forecasts of growing global gas demand but notes that the policy settings need to be right.[mappress mapid=”17546″]last_img read more

Aima Moses tours Canada and expands fan base

first_img Share Sharing is caring! EntertainmentLocalNews Aima Moses tours Canada and expands fan base by: – August 2, 2012 34 Views 3 comments Sharecenter_img Share Tweet Aima Moses during a performance in CanadaDominican reggae artiste Aima Moses has been pulling out all the stops to get his music to a wider fan base. And his fan base is rapidly expanding.Since the release of his mixtape Donsome Records Presents: Aima Moses Jah We Need You, the artiste has seen his stocks continue to rise.He is presently on a promotional tour of Canada where he gained new fans for his music.In a release to the media, Aima said the promotional tour has been going pretty good so far and it has been opening up many doors for him career wise.“The tour has been going good and the people have been very receptive of the shows, and reggae music on a whole. I am happy for that”, said Aima.The promotional jaunt has so far made stops in Duncan BC, Vancouver and Salt Spring Island. Accompanying him on a few of the gigs are deejay Hawkeye and singer Brahyan Art. “I am not only promoting Aima Moses the artiste but we are also promoting reggae music”, Aima pointed out.The artiste who recently signed with Donsome Records revealed that his recently released mix tape has been doing well.He presently has three songs that are enjoying rotation in Canada. They include Lady You, I Smoke and Get Up.His next single will be Love Choice which is featured on the Mi Amore rhythm project from Donsome Records.Aima Moses will wrap up his Canadian tour at Vancouver Roots Reggae Festival on 8/ 4 /12, and then he will be heading to Trinidad and next to Dominica.Press releaselast_img read more

LSU wins thriller on Delahoussaye kick

first_imgGAINESVILLE, Fla. – There was no ranking and no national television, but LSU beat Florida again in “immensely classic” fashion, 30-27, on a career-high, 50-yard field by Colby Delahoussaye with three seconds to play in a wild one at Florida Field Saturday night that saw three lead changes, including two in the fourth quarter.“Coach asked me how I felt about the distance,” said Delahoussaye, whose previous long was from 49 yards. “And I said, ‘Coach, let’s go for it.’”The Gators (3-2, 2-2 Southeastern Conference) tied the game 27-27 with 1:48 to play on an 18-yard field goal by Frankie Velez after tight end Tevin Westbrook dropped a pass right in his hands in the end zone on third-and-goal from the 1-yard line. LSU’s much-criticized middle defense stopped two inside runs before that.After LSU failed to move, Florida drove to the LSU 45-yard line in the final minute and was trying to get into field goal range for the game winner. But on first down, quarterback Jeff Driskel’s pass over the middle to wide receiver Latroy Pittman bounced off of him and into the arms of LSU cornerback Rickey Jefferson after Pittman and Jefferson collided. Jefferson returned it 23 yards to the Florida 36-yard line with 24 seconds to play.Pittman was shaken up on the collision, and play was stopped for several minutes. After a 3-yard gain by tailback Terrence Magee and an incomplete pass from quarterback Anthony Jennings, on came Delahoussaye, a sophomore from New Iberia who gave the Tigers their first SEC win of the season and averted their first 0-3 start in the league since 1999.“If ratings weren’t boosted in the fourth, something’s wrong,” LSU coach Les Miles said. “It was an immensely classic battle in The Swamp.”The game was reminiscent of LSU’s 28-24 victory over No. 9 Florida in 2007, but the Tigers were No. 1 ranked in that game and went on to win the national championship. In 2010, LSU edged the Gators 33-29 when quarterback Jarrett Lee hit Terrence Toliver for a 3-yard touchdown with six seconds to play.“Wow, we felt like we got them, and then they made another play, and then we felt like we had to make another play,” Miles said.The Tigers trailed 17-7 in the second quarter, but fought back to take a 20-17 lead in the third quarter – their first lead in an SEC game this season. Two more lead changes would transpire – 24-20 Florida and 27-24 LSU before a 27-27 tie and the final score.“The emotions were going up and down,” said Florida returner Andre Debose, whose 62-yard punt return gave Florida a 7-0 lead in the first quarter and whose 53-yard punt return at the six-minute mark of the fourth quarter led to the Gators taking the 24-20 lead with 6:10 remaining.“The score kept going back and forth,” Debose said. “It was definitely an emotional wreck, but this is what you come to Florida for – to play these kinds of games. We didn’t get the win, and that’s definitely an empty feeling.”LSU (5-2, 1-2 SEC) took the 27-24 lead with 3:30 to play in the game on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Jennings to wide receiver Travin Dural shortly after Jennings had converted a third-and-25 with a 41-yard completion to Dural to the Gators’ 13-yard line.But just as the Tigers were feeling good about themselves, Driskel connected with wide receiver DeMarcus Robinson down the Florida sideline to the 2-yard line. Robinson got behind LSU cornerback Rashard Robinson and caught the ball at about the LSU 35 before faking Robinson out and running by him to the 2 before safety Ronald Martin knocked him out of bounds with 2:01 to play. LSU’s defense stiffened, though, and the Gators settled for the field goal and 27-27 tie.“You know a team that is resilient like that has a chance to win some games and be pretty special this season,” Miles said.LSU outrushed Florida 195 yards to 123 and garnered 21 first downs to 13, but it gave up the two long punt returns to Debose to keep the Gators in the game.Debose fielded Jamie Keehn’s 51-yard punt at his 47-yard line and cut it up the Florida sideline before being stopped at the 9-yard line. Driskel then threw a perfect pass to wide receiver Demarcus Robinson, who was well covered by cornerback Jalen Collins, but Robinson made the catch for the 24-20 lead with 6:10 to play.LSU tailback Leonard Fournette dominated Florida’s vaunted defense, gaining a career high 140 yards on 27 carries and finished with 225 all-purpose yards. He gave the Tigers their first lead in an SEC game this season on a 2-yard leap into the end zone for a 20-17 advantage with 3:42 to play in the third quarter. The touchdown climaxed a dominating, ball-controlling, 65-yard drive in 13 plays. Fournette carried six times on the drive for 31 yards, including a 20-yard gash on the first play of the possession.“It felt great to get this victory with my team,” Fournette said. “But I was kind of nervous about how close the game was.”Florida, which led 17-14 at halftime despite getting outrushed by 127 yards to 105, had the ball for just five plays in the third quarter as it punted after three plays on its opening drive of the second half.“Turnovers killed us,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said. “They did a good job running the football. They made the plays when the needed to.”Miles may long remember his 100th win of his LSU coaching career.“I’ve been fortunate to be here a number of times, and this was just like many,” he said.The Tigers host Kentucky (5-1, 3-1 SEC) Saturday.“We’ve lost to two pretty good teams (Auburn and Mississippi State, which is expected to be No. 1 Sunday), but our team’s coming,” Miles said. “And we’ll play better next week, and we’ll play better the week after that. And there might be something pretty special coming this season for these LSU Tigers.”-end-last_img read more

Defending champ scores at Salina

first_imgBy Larry Lowrey Jr. SALINA, Kan. (June 6) – Joe Cleveland has always been a strong force in the Belleville Motor Sports IMCA Modified division at Salina Speedway. Cleveland is the reigning champ in the class and Friday night he showed just why. Out of the gate it was Jesse Richter with the early lead from the pole position. At the midpoint of the feature things started to heat up as new leader Corey Burch took over the top spot and was looking to secure his first win. Someone forgot to relay the message to Cleveland, however.Cleveland caught up to Burch and worked to get around the leader. It was a good battle for the top position. The two attacked and countered lap after lap. On lap 18 it was Cleveland’s time to move into the lead and he hung on for his second win of the season.Burch finished in the runner-up spot, third went to Mike Petersilie, another former champ, Corey Lagroon, finished fourth and the early leader Richter, finished in the fifth position.It was another competitive race in the Budweiser IMCA Hobby Stock division. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t just competitive it was down right entertaining.The top five cars in the feature passed an average of seven cars to get to their finishing positions. All the drivers in the top five started third row or further back in the main event. Tommy Fose happened to be the man of the hour in that race. Once at the front of the field, Fose was gone. At one point a yellow came out on the track and it would bunch the field up one more time, but it didn’t matter to Fose. He jetted back out into the lead and sprinted away with the win. The win was Fose’s first of 2014.Aaron McBride, Mike Traskowsky, G.W. Fuller and hard charger Kelly Pihl completed the top five.last_img read more

Real Madrid star Sergio Ramos: I like managers that have balls

first_img The Real Madrid centre-back was deployed in midfield against Atletico and played well as his side progressed to the Champions League semi-finals. Upd. at 19:58 Sport EN Sergio Ramos hailed Carlo Ancelotti and said he likes managers who have balls. Ramos also said he thought Arda Turan’s controversial red card was fair, saying “the ref got it right” and also added: “I think Real Madrid deserved to go through, we did a good job, put in a lot of effort. We will try and defend the Champions League title.” “I like coaches who are decent people, but above all, those that have character and have balls. I’m delighted he trusted me.” 23/04/2015 CEST Ramos said: “We’d thought about it before, but the credit is all Ancelotti’s.last_img read more