Steinhardt Recipients University Research Challenge Fund Recipients 2015

Rodney Benson

Department: Media, Culture, and Communication

Title: How Media Ownership Matters: A Case Study of Public, Non-Profit, and Commercial News Media in Sweden, France, and the United States

Abstract: How do modes of ownership power vary across types of news media organizations? Previous research has tended to reduce the complex question of ownership to personality profiles of moguls (Tunstall and Palmer 1991) or macro-analyses of industry concentration (Bagdkian 2004; Noam 2009). Based on a qualitative and quantitative case study of public, non-profit, and commercial news media in Sweden, France, and the United States, this project develops and illustrates a typology of four broad modes of ownership power: business instrumentalism, political instrumentalism, public service commitment, and audience adjustment. The study challenges reductionist accounts of media ownership power, arguing instead that the exercise of such power varies by type of organization (linked to institutional field), mediated by national context and social location of audience.

The URCF grant will be used to support a final stage of research (quantitative organizational and content analysis to supplement previously conducted qualitative research) and to permit completion of a monograph under contract with Oxford University Press. I am principal investigator and lead author of the book; my co-authors are Julie Sedel and Mattias Hesserus. Sedel is a lecturer and researcher in Sociology and Political Science at the University of Strasbourg in France; she is the author of Les Médias et la Banlieue (Paris/Lormont, INA/Le Bord de l’Eau, 2009 [2013 for the expanded edition]), winner of the 2009 Conferences of Journalism Research Award. Sedel is conducting research on French media, writing first drafts of the book related to French media, and cooperating on final editing of the book. Hessérus is a Doctoral Student at the Department of History at Uppsala University in Sweden (PhD to be awarded March 2015). He is conducting research on Swedish media, writing first drafts of the book related to Swedish media, and also cooperating on final editing of the book.

Tsu-Hsin Howe & Roger Luke Dubois

Department: Occupational Therapy & Technology, Culture and Society (Polytechnic School of Engineering)

Title: Developing a pressure sensitive mat as an outcome measure to study postural control in infants

Abstract: The primary goal of this project is to study the development of infants’ postural control in prone over a period of five months through the use of sensing technology. Greater understanding of how infants develop their postural control is critical to assisting clinicians in early identification of those at greater risk for developmental delay, as well as providing insight into when and how therapeutic interventions need to be introduced and if they are effective. The preponderance of research on infant postural development is qualitative in nature; while providing extensive, detailed descriptions of behavior, these studies are limited in their ability to objectively assess motor development. Currently, studies that use quantitative methods, such as measuring the trajectory of the Center of Pressure (COP) during different activities to assess an infant’s postural control, have been limited to a single static position, a specific age range, or a special population (Dusing, S., Mercer, Yu, Reilly, & Thorpe, 2005; Dusing, S. C., Kyvelidou, Mercer, & Stergiou, 2009; Dusing, S. C., Thacker, Stergiou, & Galloway, 2012; Mizrahi et al., 1998). Additional quantitative research is crucial in advancing the field of infant motor development research.

In our proposed study, a high resolution, pressure-sensitive mat will be used to measure the weight shifting and weight-bearing patterns of 3 to 8 month-old, typically developing infants in prone while they are performing developmental tasks. The information gathered in this project will not only assist in developing new parameters for assessing typical development, but will serve as a springboard for numerous future projects and external grant submissions. Using the information generated in this project, we will be able to identify factors that influence the rate of development (COP control and variability, time spent in prone, connections to the support surface, etc.) and link those to successful or delayed development. This normative, objective data can then be used to determine the extent of motor delays and deviations in atypical populations such as torticollis, Erb’s palsy, cerebral palsy and other developmentally delayed populations. Not only will these findings have implications in the diagnosis of motor delays, but they can also be utilized to develop and evaluate innovative therapeutic interventions and assess their effectiveness.

 Camillia Matuk

Co-­Investigators:Oliver Vikbladh, André Fenton, Ken Perlin, Jan Plass

Department: Administration, Leadership & Technology and Computer Science (Courant Institute of Mathematical Science)

Title: Navigating the Cognitive Map: Advancing neuroscience, education, and outreach using real-­time visualizations and neuroimaging within a mobile location-­based learning experience

Abstract: Largely indebted to John O’Keefe’s 2014 Nobel prize winning discovery of place cells in the hippocampus (O'Keefe & Nadel, 1971), neuroscience has come far in elucidating the neural underpinnings of spatial cognition and its relevance to understanding memory, learning, and disease. Still, fundamental questions remain, both of the basic science and of how these ideas can be effectively communicated to the public. Promoting neuroscience literacy is particularly important because it encourages critical thinking about contemporary problems faced by humanity (Wiertelak & Ramirez, 2008). Digital interactive media are promising, but under-­used for communicating complex neuroscience, and not enough is known about how they impact understanding (Illes et al., 2009).

We propose to design and investigate an innovative digitally augmented learning environment to serve agendas in both science education and neuroscience research. In the environment, participants will hold tablets as they explore a physical space. Using motion capture technology from the Games for Learning Institute, and computational models from the Center for Neural Science, visualizations will display on participants’ tablet screens that simulate the place fields of their hippocampal cells. The experience will help participants appreciate how their brains are thought to represent space during navigation. Taking advantage of recent technological advances in electroencephalography (EEG) technology, we will also develop new methods for investigating neural mechanisms of spatial navigation.

Our cross-­school collaboration will design, develop, and pilot this novel technology to: (1) enhance the understanding of neuroscience among UG students and the general public;; (2) explore the design affordances of digitally augmented physical spaces and mobile technologies for science learning, thus addressing NYU ULT’s challenge to innovate in technology-­enhanced education;; (3) create a novel method for investigating human spatial navigation;; (4) conduct preliminary neuroscience research into real-­world spatial navigation. The project leverages the multi-­disciplinary expertise of its team, and will be generative of further research in each of their areas.

 Marilyn Moffat & Anat Lubetzky-Vilnai

Department: Physical Therapy

Title: Clinical, Morphological and Functional Success Predictors Following Lumbar Spinal Surgery in Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain and Degenerative Disorders Phase 1: a Pilot Study

Abstract: The first long term goal of this project is to derive, validate and test the impact of a clinical prediction rule (CPR) to determine which patients with degenerative changes of the lumbar spine and chronic low back pain (CLBP) are likely to have successful long term outcomes post-surgery. A secondary goal is to establish robust methodology and statistical guidelines for the creation of clinical prediction rules in physical therapy (PT) research. To accomplish these goals we established an interdisciplinary team including researchers from the Physical Therapy Department (Dr. Lubetzky and Dr. Moffat), the NYU Langone Medical Center

(LNMC) Division of Spine Surgery (Dr. Errico), the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences (Dr. Harel) and Tel Aviv University Department of Physical Therapy (Dr. Masharawi).

In this first step project we aim to test our recruiting and testing procedure; to describe the relationship between lumbar morphology and functional measures pre and post-surgery; to explore short term outcomes for patients following lumbar surgery and to generate pilot data for future grant applications. Following the completion of this pilot study, we will finalize the protocol to be submitted for external funding. We plan to apply to the following agencies: the North American Spine Society, the European Spine Society, and the United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation. As statistical and methodological guidelines are solidified, we will consider applying for an NIH R01 funded through the Biostatistical Methods and Research Design Study Section. The URCF will enable us to predict a realistic recruitment and data collection timeline for a large-scale study. We will also use these pilot data to begin describing the relationship between morphology and function (e.g. do MRI findings correlate with functional performance test or pain pre and post-surgery) and estimate an adequate sample size.

Christine Reuterskiold & Iris Fishman

Department: Communicative Sciences and Disorders

Title:  Word Learning and Statistical Properties of Language in Autism

Abstract: Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) demonstrate impairments in social interaction and show difficulties with word learning using social cues (Akechi et al., 2011; Parish-Morris et al., 2007; Fazier Norbury, Griffiths & Nation, 2010). According to a recent study by Lucas & Frazier Norbury (2014) word learning in children with ASD is facilitated by the presence of orthographic forms (written words) to a higher degree than in children with typical development (TD). The effect of statistical properties of spoken and written words on word learning has not been previously explored in autism and such knowledge would significantly contribute to intervention planning for this population. The goal of the current study is to explore whether statistical properties of words have an effect on word learning in children with Autism Spectrum DisordersASD compared with children with Typical DevelopmentTD. We will measure accuracy in word learning during three post-tests following an exposure/learning phase. We will also utilize eye-tracking to monitor online comprehension and processing patterns during learning. The proposed study will establish a new area of research/publication for the PI Reuterskiöld while building on already existing expertise in language processing in children and incorporating a new methodology. The Co-PI Fishman, has previous training and experience from the use of eye tracking in the study of language processing in severely impaired children with Rett’s syndrome (an ASD condition) (Fishman, Djukic & Schwartz, 2014; Rose, Djukic, Jankowski, Feldman, Fishman & Valicenti-McDermott, 2012; both funded by the International Rett Syndrome Foundation).  URCFf support would lead to a new productive research team being formed in the NYU Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders.