Theses and Dissertations

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    Sustainable Deaths: Investigating Young Adults' Intentions to Communicate and Document Their Green Funeral Plans
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2024) Franco, Courtny Lynn; Britt, Rebecca K
    The severe lack of end-of-life (EOL) planning in the United States (US) deserves scholarly attention. This dissertation investigated communication, psychosocial, and environmental factors that predict young adults’ intentions to communicate and document their green funeral service plans. The study adapted the converged theory of planned behavior (TPB) and value-belief-norm (VBN) theoretical framework to offer a comprehensive model for understanding EOL planning processes. A sample of US adults (N = 444) completed an online self-report survey about their attitudes toward two green funeral service planning behaviors. Structural equation modeling results found that communication apprehension, neutral attitudes toward death, attitudes, perceived behavioral control, environmental values, connectedness to nature, awareness of ecological consequences of traditional funeral services, moral feelings of responsibility to choose a green funeral service, and personal normative beliefs toward green funerals were significantly related to young adult’s communication and documentation planning intentions. The model significantly predicted 56% of the variance in communication and 50% of the variance in documentation planning intentions. Together, these findings address theoretical and conceptual gaps in understanding EOL planning. The adapted converged TPB-VBN model is an efficient framework for investigating green funeral planning intentions and can guide future research. The results can help scholars who aim to better understand the phenomena around green funeral planning and health communication and policymakers who hope to ride the wave of environmentally friendly sustainable funerary practices to improve public health outcomes.
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    Clicking, Scrolling, Or Switching: Unveiling the Predictors of Media Multitasking in the United States and Saudi Arabia
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2024) Alshamrani, Talal Saeed; Panek, Elliot T
    Media multitasking is the simultaneous use of two media devices or applications. Given the global rise of media multitasking and its potential implications for media users, understanding the factors that drive this behavior across cultures is crucial. This study explores different factors that may predict media multitasking behaviors among users in the United States of America (USA) and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), using the Uses and Gratifications Theory (U&G) as a theoretical framework. Specifically, the study examined three key factors that may influence this behavior including, demographic, motivational, and cultural factors. The study utilized an online survey to gather data from two samples of media users in both countries (N = 587). The study revealed that while both the USA and KSA participants frequently multitask with long video-based content and social networking, KSA users exhibit higher levels of media multitasking frequency. Among the demographic factors, age negatively predicts media multitasking, while unemployment status is linked to increased multitasking activities in both countries. Motivational factors played a different role, with social motivations positively predicting multitasking in the USA, while connection and enjoyment motivations served as positive predictors in the KSA. In addition, time orientation (polychronic vs. monochronic) partially explains the variation in media multitasking frequency between the countries, highlighting the role of cultural factors. This study contributes to the understanding of cross-cultural differences in media multitasking, highlighting the complex interplay of demographic, motivational, and cultural factors.
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    Touch Required: Exploring Spa Employees' Experiences During the COVID-19 Pandemic
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2024) Walker, Emily S.; Kim, Haemi
    The aim of this study was to learn how the Covid-19 crisis affected the work attitudes of hands-on spa employees on a micro level. Semi-structured interviews of twenty-five spa employees, including twenty-one hands-on spa employees and four spa supervisors, were conducted to better understand their experiences working through the pandemic. The subjects were asked questions to uncover demands that emerged during the crisis, the resources they valued, and whether perceived supervisor support (PSS) influenced their organizational commitment (OC). Fear of exposure to Covid-19 at work, job uncertainty, and role conflict were some of the demands that emerged. Underpinned by the synthesized frameworks of Conservation of Resources theory, Job Demands-Resources theory, and Social Exchange theory, the study found that during the crisis these employees valued frequent high-quality communication with their supervisors and an increased focus on safety climate. PSS during the crisis was found to positively affect spa employees’ OC, although differences in its impact were noted based on type of spa and tenure of employee. They placed a high value on work relationships with coworkers and customers, which had a positive effect on their organizational commitment.
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    Predicting and Equipping Private Well Owners at Risk of Microbial Contamination After Flooding Events in the Alabama Black Belt
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2024) Kiaupa, Jourdan Renee; Terry, Leigh
    Private well owners in Alabama, totaling approximately eight-hundred thousand individuals, bear the sole responsibility for ensuring the quality of their water supply. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not have regulations in place for private wells. While state government programs provide guidance on well treatment and testing, the obligation lies on well-owners to monitor and maintain the health of their private systems. Although groundwater is generally low in contaminants, septic system failures due to soil conditions combined with flooding from frequent storms have created a groundwater quality epidemic in the Black Belt region of Alabama.Floodwater can infiltrate wells for extended periods, potentially exposing households to Escherichia coli (E. coli) and fecal coliforms. Here, the impact of flooding on well water users across the Black Belt was quantified. A case-study approach was employed to identify microbial contamination in shallow groundwater wells and geospatial modeling was used to characterize flooding risk across the Black Belt. The compilation of available and reliable resources into a single-point source will aid in educating and equipping well owners to reduce their exposure to microbial contaminants. By developing a comprehensive flood-induced contamination risk assessment model and providing accessible water quality testing resources, this research supports the protection of private wells and the well-being of communities in the Black Belt region of Alabama.
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    The Amplified Voice of Athletes: Measuring the Influence and Efficacy of Sports-Based Activism
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2024) Dirks, Emily; Billings, Andrew C
    This research offers an in-depth exploration of athlete activism, through the lens of social identity theory and social cognitive theory as well as advancing practical implications, and avenues for future research. Examining factors such as the type of activism, race of athletes, political affiliation, and fan identity, the research uncovers variables influencing online and offline engagement. While offline activism is significantly impacted by the type of activism and race of athletes, online behavioral intent remains largely unaffected. Political affiliation emerges as a key factor of activism across both online and offline spaces, stressing the importance of ideology on social issue engagement. Additionally, fan behavior plays a significant role in predicting online activism, emphasizing the role of sports fandom in shaping activism tendencies. The study also highlights the importance of motivation in driving behavioral engagement, while self-efficacy shows limited impact. Overall, this research contributes valuable insights into athlete activism, social identity theory and social cognitive theory.
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    Methodological Literacies: Graduate Students Navigating Qualitative Methodology's Multiplicity
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2024) Coogler, Carlson; Guyotte, Kelly W
    In this inquiry, I conceptualize, explore, and demonstrate, what I call (qualitative) methodological literacies—the practices and products of methodological meaning-making with/in and about the research process. The manuscript addresses the question, “What is your methodology?” by quickly unfolding to the more foundational one: “What is methodology?”’ Working with definitions from across the field of qualitative inquiry, I demonstrate that this question—of methodology’s definition, or its ontology—is far from settled. Methodology is not just numerous (e.g., in iterations) but also multiplicitous, and this multiplicity has consequences for how we teach, learn, discuss, design, and evaluate methodology. However, by drawing from multiliteracies, metaphor, paradox and parallax, I argue that while methodology’s multiplicity can cause problems, it is not itself a problem. Accordingly, I seek not to resolve methodological difference but to make sense of how we can (better) navigate it on purpose.
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    Special Educator Perspectives: Support and Barriers in the Postsecondary Transition Planning Process for Students with High-Incidence Disabilities
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2024) Parish, Benjamin Tyler; Hardy, David
    This qualitative study explored the processes utilized by secondary special education teachers as they plan and execute transition planning and/or goal setting for college-bound students with high incidence disabilities (HID), including autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and specific learning disability (SLD). As these students transition from secondary to postsecondary education realms, supportive factors, accommodations, and available services vary, and transition programming inadequately spans this gap. This inadequacy of transition planning places students with HID at a disadvantage to their typical peers. The goal of the study was to identify gaps in transition planning for students with HID, specifically between current transition practices and their (1) alignment to research-based predictors for postsecondary education success and (2) perceived influence on student barriers to success in higher education. Themes emerged from the data, highlighting the supportive factors of commonly used and valued predictors of postsecondary education success and participants’ knowledge of these indicators, as well as specific barriers that influence the successful postsecondary transition for students with HID.
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    "Is This Her in Her Natural Habitat?": Spatial Portraits of Faculty Leading Short-Term Study Abroad Programs
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2024) Guy, Kelsey H; Shelton, Stephanie Anne
    This study, through a spatial lens and a portraiture + case study structure, examines the experiences and teacher identities of faculty who lead short-term study abroad programs. While much of the existing literature examines the study abroad experiences of students or the efficacy of short-term programs, fewer focus on the faculty who design, plan, and lead those programs. I use a novel methodology by combining a theory-driven approach of portraiture and a structure of case study, specifically a comparative case study. This combination allows for in-depth examination without sacrificing context, thereby creating possibilities for research that seeks to examine cases in a detailed, yet holistic way. Using multiple data sources, I create “portraits” of each participant, portraits that present the participants in a thorough, contextual manner without describing any physical characteristics; those portraits are then compared to one another to explore any similarities and/or differences in experiences and teacher identities.The theoretical framework of this study understands space as dynamic and interactive as opposed to static and passive, so the faculty experiences and teacher identities are explored in relation to space: how they interact with space and how space interacts with them to produce unique co-constructions that are constantly becoming. This inquiry offers a novel portraiture + case study approach that contributes to qualitative research methodology, but it also generates ideas for a reimagination of space in International Education contexts, and how that reimagination can serve to better support and prepare faculty leading short-term study abroad programs.
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    Academic Resources and Precalculus Students: Knowledge and Use of Tutoring Services, Skill Sessions, and Academic Coaching
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2024) McKeown, Katie Lynn; Makowski, Martha
    Learning centers offer academic resources to postsecondary students to aid in their success. Despite deep work examining the efficiency of these learning centers, the field still does not know enough about students’ experiences with these learning centers’ resources. By understanding the mechanisms and experiences of students as they learn about, decide to use, experience the use of, and continue using learning center resources, existing learning centers can pivot to become more inclusive and accessible to all students. I address these unknowns focusing on students’ use of four learning center resources across two learning centers. Using a convergent parallel mixed methods design, I analyzed data from Precalculus students (n = 465), instructors, and learning center staff at a single large, public university over two semesters. Student data included surveys, interviews, and learning center resource usage data. Course data included course artifacts and instructor interviews. Learning center data included artifacts, observations, and center leader interviews. Results suggest that multiple opportunities exist for students to learn about academic resources, especially mathematics tutoring, and students were generally aware of the resources. However, differences existed in how instructors and center leaders anticipated that students learned about resources from what interviewed students identified as their main source of information. Students most frequently mentioned people (e.g., instructor or peers) and emails as their information source, while the stakeholders most often mentioned course and center materials. Despite demonstrated awareness of the resources, center usage data suggest that most students did not use any academic resources. Tutoring was the most frequently used. No statistically significant differences in resource use existed for sex, GPA, or class year. Data from all sources suggest a relationship between students’ decision to use academic resources and students’ perceived need for the resource, class events (e.g., exams), students’ mathematical confidence, and students’ self and social stigmas. Once students use a resource, their experiences at the resource impact whether they continue to return. Learning centers can make changes that ensure students know about, recognize their need to use, and have positive experiences using their offered resources.
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    Investigating the Effect of Transcutaneous Electrical Stimulation on Enhancing Balance Control During Balance-Demanding Tasks
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2024) Bassiri, Zahra; Vikas, Vishesh; Martelli, Dario
    Falls represent a significant threat to the well-being of older adults and individuals with neuromuscular deficits, necessitating effective strategies for fall prevention. This dissertation aims to investigate the potential of subsensory electrical stimulation in enhancing reactive balance control following perturbations, contributing to the development of more effective fall prevention strategies. Through a comprehensive review of the literature, the study highlights the critical role of somatosensory function in postural control. It emphasizes the potential of subsensory electrical stimulation to improve balance through stochastic resonance, which enhances the detection and transmission of weak signals in specific nonlinear systems. Additionally, the study critiques current assessment methods for their limitations in accurately evaluating reactive balance control, advocating for more precise measures such as the Stepping Threshold Test. Moreover, it explores challenges associated with existing methodologies for measuring and proposes an adaptive approach using the 4, 2, 1 Stepping Algorithm. Furthermore, the study delves into short-term adaptations in tissue impedance resulting from subsensory electrical stimulation, aiming to provide insights into its transformative potential on human performance and well-being. The primary objectives of the study include evaluating the efficacy of SES in improving reactive balance control and comparing the effects of trunk versus lower leg stimulation. By addressing these objectives, the study seeks to advance our understanding of SES as a viable intervention for fall prevention. The findings promise to inform the development of more accurate assessment methods for reactive balance control in clinical settings, thereby contributing to improved strategies for mitigating the risk of falls among older adults and individuals with neuromuscular deficits. Through its interdisciplinary approach and comprehensive investigation, this study aims to make significant contributions to the field of fall prevention and rehabilitation.
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    Hard Times and Hard Work: Capturing the Experiences of Collegiate Case Managers and Counselors in Organizations in Crisis During the COVID-19 Pandemic
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2024) Parish, Paige; Hardy, David
    The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus—COVID-19—a worldwide pandemic in March 2020 (Baker, 2022). Situated at a unique crossroads in that they are both social service healthcare providers and student support personnel, collegiate case managers and counselors faced the same abysmal odds as healthcare providers: an exacerbated mass exodus from necessary and needed human services (Galvin, 2021; Popowitz, 2022). The purpose of this study was to capture the experiences of these case managers and counselors as they provided services to the most acute-need and high-risk student populations during the onset and duration of the COVID-19 Pandemic in organizations in crisis in order to (1) describe their experiences from an organization perspective; and (2) identify organizational and individual factors that contributed to promotive or risk factors of burnout and/or resiliency. Through 16 lengthy semi-structured interviews, conversations regarding the organization pre- and post-pandemic, communication, burnout and resiliency were had. The questions regarding organizations were largely structured on the foundation of Chebbi and Pundrich’s (2015) characteristics of a learning crisis unit (LCU). Questions regarding burnout and resiliency were created using Maslach’s Burnout Inventory; MBI-HSS (Maslach et al., 1997) and the Connor-Davidson Resiliency Scale 10 (Campbell-Sills & Stein, 2007). A thematic analysis was conducted on the transcripts, and the results were sorted according to three major themes with zero to three sub-themes within each. The emerging themes included: (1) Experiences with Leadership (a. Support and Trust; b. Encouragement and Incentives); (2) Experiences with the Characteristics of an Organization (a. Mission; b. Organizational Resiliency); (3) Stress (a. Increased Stress; b. Decreased Stress); (4) Enrichment; and (5) Intrinsic Factors (a. Strengths and Resiliency; b. Purpose and Meaning). Participants who reported on-going and clear communication with leadership that included feedback, appropriate incentives, and support to carry out student services were more likely to stay in their positions after the university’s return to typical services following the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Considerations and implications for future research, policy, and practice are included.
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    In-Depth Study of Different Magnetorheological Fluid Properties Under Different Operating Parameters, and in Presence of Organic Additives
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2024) Thiagarajan, Sandhiya; Koh, Amanda S
    The fast and reversible structural reorganization of magnetic particles in a non-magnetic carrier liquid on the application of a magnetic field makes magnetorheological fluids (MRFs) a valuable material for various damping systems. As MRFs form chains, MRFs transit from a liquid state to a solid-like state exhibiting an increase in viscosity. Since MRF discovery, commercialization, and enhancement of MRF performance in earthquake dampers, is the focus of interest to protect 10k lives lost annually due to earthquakes. As earthquake dampers, MRFs in a damper will convert mechanical vibration energy to heat energy while forming MRF chain structures controlled by a magnetic field thereby reducing the impact of earthquake vibrations/shock and limiting the movement of a building. Using MRFs has the advantages of low energy consumption, fast response, adjustable damping force, and broad temperature range. MRF damper performance is a strong function of MRF fluid performance itself, pushing the need to understand MRF properties. Additionally, the use of MRFs in earthquake dampers will involve the storage of MRFs for a long time without performance degradation, ensuring MRF colloidal stability and reusability. The work presented here will focus on developing an in-depth understanding of MRF rheology as a function of varying MRF formulation, and various operating parameters simultaneously. The results demonstrated a strong influence of magnetic particle concentration and operating temperature on MRF rheology. The obtained results are used in developing n-alkanethiol surface coating and elastic SEBS bead additives to enhance MRF colloidal stability (measured using an in-built setup) and alter viscoelastic properties. respectively. Finally, MRF chain characteristics (the strength, speed, and structure of MRF chains) were also studied as a function of both MRF rheology and compared at a microscopic level. Understanding the MRF properties and chain formation will ease the control of MRFs in real-time applications and the designing of MRF damping systems. Additionally, developed coatings and additives will enhance MRF colloidal stability and reusability respectively that can aid in commercialization of MRFs in earthquake damping systems.
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    Crisis Leadership on College Campuses: a Study of How Women Who Serve on Presidential Cabinets Navigate Leadership During Times of Crisis
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2024) Imbody, Erika; Holley, Karri A; Breaux, Arleen
    Over half of college campuses in the United States can expect their president to step down in the next five years (American Council on Education, 2023). The new leaders who assume these vacant roles will be expected to lead institutions through difficult and unexpected crisis situations. Campus crises can arise from political or financial pressures, enrollment trends, or local and global emergencies; crises rarely have a template for leaders to follow and often ask a leader to use multi-frame thinking in their response. The impending leadership turnover combined with the inevitable crises facing college campuses will require the next generation of leaders to be particularly well prepared to lead during times of crisis. Additionally, at least some evidence that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic suggests women might be particularly well-suited to lead through crisis situations (McKayle, 2021; Soares & Sidun, 2021). For these reasons, it is critical for researchers to learn more about the crisis leadership experiences of women in senior-level leadership roles. This study asked the question: How do women in higher education administration describe their experiences of leading during times of crisis? The study examines the leadership experiences of these women through Bolman and Deal’s (2021) four-frame model. Interviews were conducted with 11 women who work at large, public universities and who currently serve on the president’s executive leadership team. Data show participants identify developing strong interpersonal relationships in advance of crisis, learning how to outwardly demonstrate confidence, and developing a deep sense of self-awareness as critical pieces of crisis leadership. Additionally, participants described using all four of Bolman and Deal’s frames in their crisis leadership, with a particularly strong focus on the political frame. The dissertation concludes with a discussion of implications for practice and recommendations for future research.
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    When the Turk Turns: the Turk As a Mediator of Racial Difference in Othello and the Courageous Turk
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2024) Carkaci, Senan Ege; Smith, Cassander L
    A stage direction in Thomas Goffe’s The Courageous Turk reads “arise four Fiends, framed like Turkish Kings, but black.” With the conjunction “but,” this stage direction suggests that Turk is not Black without saying that the Turk is White. The implied attitude here is that of an imagined Black/White spectrum, the Turk falls in-between where he is neither fully one nor the other. Coupling this play with Othello highlights the significance of this observation. The latter play portrays a constant construction and deconstruction of race with questions like “are we turned Turks” or ambivalent significations of the phrase “the Moor” who is ultimately equated with a “turbaned Turk.” Looking at Othello from the frame The Courageous Turk sets up, one observes that in Othello the Turk functions as a transforming agent that can both bridge and alienate Blackness and Whiteness.
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    Putting Together the Puzzle: an Analysis of the Hieroglyphic Stairway at El Resbalón
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2024) Alexander, Clara; Tokovinine, Alexandre
    The prehispánic site of El Resbalón, located in southern Quintana Roo, is home to the second largest hieroglyphic stairway in the Maya region. Drawing from a corpus of 3D scansof each block, this project uses morphometric and stylistic analyses to investigate changes in craft production and labor organization in the context of an expaning hegemonic state. The dataset from El Resbalón is a unique case because it includes both epigraphic and archaeological data. The combination of metric and epigraphic analysis allows for a more holistic understanding of hegemonic states in the New World and establishes a novel research method that can berelevant to subsequent archaeological endeavors.
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    Inoculation Against the Pandemic of Misinformation in American Politics
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2024) Bonner, Zachary Robert; Smith, Joseph
    The primary aim of this dissertation is to investigate the role misinformation plays in our current political environment, who is most susceptible to its effects, and evaluate the effectiveness of misinformation inoculation on individual attitudes and beliefs. It utilizes a multifaceted approach, including an experimental survey and a quantitative analysis of misinformation beliefs. These studies include highly salient political issues in the United States today, such as COVID-19 treatments, vaccines/vaccination hesitancy, and electoral interference. This will ensure that most, if not all participants in the study have previous knowledge/beliefs pertaining to each issue. The first study analyzes which groups are most susceptible to misinformation and what role political sophistication plays in reducing susceptibility. These findings and results help guide the experimental survey and analysis in the ensuing study. The second study experimentally investigates whether inoculation of misinformation is more effective at altering beliefs as compared to only issuing a post-hoc refutation of the misinformation. These findings suggest that inoculation theory plays a significant role in mitigating the impact of political misinformation on public perception and policymaking related to these critical issues. The results show promise for creating resistance to other topics in the American political sphere as well.
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    Design of an Incremental Nonlinear Dynamic Inversion Based Control Law for a Quad-Plane UAV
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2024) Bhandari, Aabhash; Larson, Jordan D
    Incremental Nonlinear Dynamic Inversion (INDI) is an extension to the Nonlinear Dynamic Inversion (NDI), with increased robustness to model parametric uncertainties while still maintaining high performance characteristics. This thesis presents the INDI based cascaded control laws designed separately for vertical and forward flight regimes of a Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) quad-plane. A simple strategy of blending the vertical and forward control inputs using sigmoidal control weight allocation is proposed to achieve transition between the flight stages. The derivation of the control input terms for each INDI based control loop is presented. The control laws are implemented on a simulation model of a canard-wing quad-plane Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). A low-fidelity aerodynamic and propulsive model for the vehicle is built using OpenVSP and available motor/propeller performance data. The simple nominal model is used for robust control law design and simulations. Simulation results indicate good tracking of the reference trajectory commands during all stages of flight including transition. The designed control system's performance is assessed for different simulated scenarios including presence of model parametric uncertainties, wind turbulence, measurement noise, actuator faults and loss-of-control effectiveness during all stages of flight.
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    Sad Songs: Volume I
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2024) Smith, Jeremy Taff; Zaheri, Amir
    Sad Songs: Volume I is a multi-movement musical composition for mezzo-soprano, flute, clarinet, and cello. Exploring the intersection of poetry and music, each movement draws inspiration from and is structured around specific poetic recitations. The three movements of Sad Songs: Volume I set poetry from Aurora Bodenhamer’s collection of the same name. Despite their outwardly lighthearted nature, these poems explore significant challenges faced by the millennial generation. The initial movement addresses the theme of addiction, while the second and third movements delve into issues related to societal disillusionment. All three movements are enveloped in a nuanced yet profound nostalgia. The composition engages with these themes by creating a complimentary musical landscape for the poems to exist within. The rhythmic qualities inherent in each selection’s poetic meter guide the initial compositional decisions. The adapted rhythmic framework, tailored to each poem’s distinctive structure and narrative requirements, leads to distinct rhythmic patterns that are then developed throughout each movement. These rhythmic elements undergo further refinement through the allocation of pitches, aligning with the poem’s mood and governing the melodic and harmonic aspects of the composition. The mezzo-soprano assumes a dual role as a narrator articulating the poetry and an integral musical entity. The mezzo-voice is frequently paired with other instruments in the ensemble, aiming to either blend with or enhance the natural timbre of that instrument. By incorporating non-linguistic elements such as hums and other phonates, the vocalist enhances the expressive depth of the composition. In a performance setting, amplification is employed to ensure clarity and audibility, allowing the vocalist to augment and adapt the sonic palette of the instrumental trio. The composition reflects my evolving musical style, incorporating extended harmonies, asymmetrical phrases, and minimalist techniques like repeated fragments, rhythmic displacement, and slow musical development. These elements collectively work to create a soundscape meant to engage intellect and stir emotions. A sparse motivic inventory is employed within each movement. This blend of depth with a minimalist’s appreciation for restraint and repetition allows listeners to slowly unravel and emotionally navigate both the music and the text.
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    An Experimental Framework for Eliciting Higher-Order Risk Attitudes
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2024) Maurer, Jack; Jindapon, Paan
    Studies of risk attitudes have traditionally focused on second-order risk, i.e., mean-preserving spreads. A smaller but quickly expanding body of research has recently emerged around risk attitudes of higher orders, including prudence and temperance. This thesis introduces a novel framework, based on Holt and Laury’s (2002) multiple-price-list task and Eeckhoudt and Schlesinger’s (2006) concept of risk apportionment, for eliciting risk attitudes of arbitrary orders. A laboratory experiment using this method to elicit second-, third-, and fourth-order risk attitudes yields evidence of a gender difference in third-order risk attitudes and of initial-wealth effects consistent with decreasing absolute risk aversion and decreasing absolute prudence. Comparisons of participants’ consistency with expected-utility theory across orders of the task produce insights on the limitations of a deterministic expected-utility model for characterizing observed behavior under uncertainty.
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    Conspiracy Theories, Psychopathy, and Spreading Disinformation
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2024) Stewart, Haylie Jayde; Cox, Jennifer M.
    Belief in conspiracy theories is on the rise in the United States. Belief in conspiracy theories can negatively affect health and pro-social behaviors and can increase the acceptance of violent behavior. Therefore, identifying individual differences related to belief in conspiracy theories is a worthwhile pursuit. Previous research has identified positive relationships between belief in conspiracy theories and narcissism, self-esteem, attitudes towards authority, social dominance orientation, political skepticism, and political extremism. More recently, researchers have investigated the relationship between belief in conspiracy theories and dark triad traits. However, there is a dearth of literature exploring psychopathy and its association with belief in conspiracy theories. This study explored the association between psychopathy, as measured by the Triarchic Psychopathy Measure (Tri-PM), and conspiracy theory beliefs, as measured by the Conspiracy Mentality Questionnaire scale (CMQ), the Generic Conspiracy Beliefs scale (GCBS), and endorsement of specific conspiracy beliefs. The study also investigated the effect of high psychopathy scores on sharing disinformation related to specific conspiracy theory memes. Results indicate a positive association between Tri-PM total scores and CMQ scores, but no significant association with individual factors and CMQ scores. Additionally, results show no association between Tri-PM total and GCBS scores but shows a negative association between Tri-PM meanness and GCBS scores and a positive association between Tri-PM disinhibition and GCBS scores. Results also indicate higher levels of psychopathic traits are mixed in their relationship to belief in, and sharing of, specific conspiracy beliefs.