Browsing by Author "Legge, Eric"
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ItemComparative spatial memory and cue use: the contributions of Marcia L. Spetch to the study of small-scale spatial cognition(2019) Legge, EricDr. Marcia Spetch is a Canadian experimental psychologist who specializes in the study of comparative cognition. Her research over the past four decades has covered many diverse topics, but focused primarily on the comparative study of small-scale spatial cognition, navigation, decision making, and risky choice. Over the course of her career Dr. Spetch has had a profound influence on the study of these topics, and for her work she was named a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science in 2012, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2017. In this review, I provide a biographical sketch of Dr. Spetch’s academic career, and revisit her contributions to the study of small-scale spatial cognition in two broad areas: the use of environmental geometric cues, and how animals cope with cue conflict. The goal of this review is to highlight the contributions of Dr. Spetch, her students, and her collaborators to the field of comparative cognition and the study of small-scale spatial cognition. As such, this review stands to serve as a tribute and testament to Dr. Spetch’s scientific legacy. ItemEffectiveness of the method of loci is only minimally related to factors that should influence imagined navigation(2019) Caplan, Jeremy B.; Legge, Eric; Cheng, Bevin; Madan, Christopher R.The method of loci is arguably the most famous mnemonic strategy and is highly effective for memorizing lists of non-spatial information in order. As described and instructed, this strategy apparently relies on a spatial/navigational metaphor. The user imagines moving through an environment, placing (study) and reporting (recall) list items along the way. However, whether the method relies critically on this spatial/navigation metaphor is unknown. An alternative hypothesis is that the navigation component is superfluous to memory success, and the method of loci is better viewed as a special case of a larger class of imagery-based peg strategies. Training participants on three virtual environments varying in their characteristics (an apartment, an open field, and a radial-arm maze), we asked participants to use each trained environment as the basis of the method of loci to learn five 11-word lists. Performance varied significantly across environment. However, the effects were small in magnitude. Further tests suggested that navigation-relevant knowledge and ability were not major determinants of success in verbal memory, even for participants who were confirmed to have been compliant with the strategy. These findings echo neuroimaging findings that navigation-based cognition does occur during application of the method of loci, but imagined navigation is unlikely to be directly responsible for its effectiveness. Instead, the method of loci may be best viewed as a variant of peg methods. ItemThe effects of video game experience and time pressure on hiding and searching behaviour(2022) Meldrum, Levi; Legge, EricMany video games include the need to hide objects or a character to prevent being found by an enemy, and to search for objects or characters that have been hidden to receive rewards or advance in the game. As such, understanding how people hide and search for objects, and how environmental and situational conditions may impact such behaviour, is of broad interest and importance. Research suggests that experience with video games broadly affects how we navigate our surroundings. It is, therefore, reasonable to suspect that experience playing video games may affect people’s hiding and searching behaviour and strategy, although no studies have been conducted on this topic to date. Furthermore, research has consistently shown that people’s decision-making processes can be adversely affected by time pressure and the associated stress it creates. Time pressure is also a frequent characteristic of many video games, and some research suggests that video gamers are less impacted by overwhelming time pressure than non-gamers. Therefore, our study is the first to assess how video game experience and time pressure interact and impact hiding and searching behaviour in a spatial task. This research will be important for broadly understanding people’s hiding and searching behaviour, and may lead to improvements in hiding/searching training programs (e.g., police training programs for illicit substance search and seizure). ItemExploring narcissism and human- and animal-centered empathy in pet owners(2023) Giacomin, Miranda; Johnston, Emma E.; Legge, EricHaving empathy for others is typically generalized to having empathy for animals. However, empathy for humans and for animals are only weakly correlated. Thus, some individuals may have low human-centered empathy but have high animal-centered empathy. Here, we explore whether pet owners who are high in narcissism display empathy towards animals despite their low human-centered empathy. We assessed pet owners’ (N = 259) three components of trait narcissism (Agentic Extraversion, Antagonism, and Narcissistic Neuroticism), human- and animal-centered empathy, attitudes towards animals, and their pet attachment. We found that Agentic Extraversion was unrelated to both human- and animal-centered empathy. We also found that Antagonism was related to less empathy for both humans and animals, as well as more negative attitudes towards animals. Lastly, we found that Narcissistic Neuroticism was unrelated to human-centered empathy and positively related to animal-centered empathy and attitudes towards animals. This research furthers our understanding of the relation between empathy towards humans and animals and provides insight into whether animal-assisted approaches may be useful for empathy training in those with narcissistic characteristics. ItemUnknown cost: the psychological implications of animal rescue work(2020) Belland, Stephanie; Legge, EricTens of thousands of abandoned and orphaned animals are taken in by rescue organizations across Canada every year. These animals are then rehabilitated by caring individuals who often work as volunteers. While the plight of the animals and the financial toll associated with their rescue is made clear through aid requests by organizations, very little attention has been paid to the effect this work has on the humans involved (Englefield, Starling, & McGreevy, 2018). Research has revealed that animal health care professionals (AHCPs), such as veterinarians, experience higher-than-average levels of psychological distress due to the nature of their work (Nett et al., 2015; Polachek & Wallace, 2018). Animal rescue workers (ARWs) experience many of the same stressors as AHCPs, and what little research has examined ARWs suggests that the psychological consequences they face may be even more severe (Figley & Roop, 2006). Our study was designed to systematically examine the work-related stressors and associated mental health ramifications of animal rescue workers across Canada. As predicted, we found significant correlations between respondent scores on measures of depression, compassion fatigue (which includes secondary traumatic stress and burnout), and trauma. Furthermore, scores on some measures were correlated with the types of animals rescued, and the tasks that ARWs performed. Overall then, our research demonstrates that depending on the stressors that they are exposed to, individuals who work in animal rescue within Canada are at risk of experiencing detrimental psychological outcomes associated with their work.