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  • Paavola, Heini Maaria (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    This study reports on the realisation of multicultural education in a multicultural pre-school group of one kindergarten. The research questions were: 1) what multicultural goals and contents did the kindergarten´s own pre-school curriculum contain? and 2) how did the pre-school educators´ views on multicultural education appear in their actions in a multicultural pre-school group? The research was conducted by analysing the curricula, interviewing the educators, and observing of the preschool groups. Pre-school education is seen as part of institutionalised education which is defined through culture. Education is considered from the point of view of critical multicultural education, paying special attention to the role of society in the definition of education. The research is a case study, and it concentrates on the interpretation of the working philosophy of one preschool group with respect to its implementation. The target group consisted of 20 6-year-old pre-school pupils in a kindergarten and their four pre-school educators. The research results showed that the kindergarten´s own pre-school curriculum (1997) was in structure and form consistent with the structure and form of the National Core Curriculum for Pre-School Education from 1996. The only difference was in the classification of the various subject fields and objectives. The contents of the two curricula showed hardly any variation, and both of them contained only few goals and contents for multicultural education. According to the interviews, the educational views and learning philosophy of the pre-school educators represented a child-centred point of view that takes into consideration the individual pupil´s needs and skills. This is also one of the basic principles of multicultural education. The principle was not, however, realised in the directed activities of the pre-school group. The heterogeneity of the pre-school group was dealt with by dividing the children into smaller groups, but the contents of the tuition were not differentiated. All children were provided with the same goals and contents. Multicultural education was seen as remote and separate from the overall educational philosophy. The contents of multicultural education were interpreted by the educators as teaching Finnish as a second language and teaching the children their own mother tongue and religion. After the evaluation of the state of the kindergarten´s multicultural education using four different models, I determined that the kindergarten emerged as a representative of the model where multicultural education is seen as something meant for immigrants only. The aim of the model is a rapid integration of the immigrant children with the majority population. Keywords: education, pre-school education, multicultural education, critical multicultural education, language, culture
  • Hakala, Liisa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    From monologues to dialogue. A discussion about changing the fragmented character of the debate concerning schools to one of negotiation, in the spirit of social constructionism. The starting point for the study is the assumption that the interested parties concerning schools such as teachers, students, public servants within school administration or politics construct the idea of the school in disparate ways. It looks as if the representatives of the various interested parties perceive the school in distinctive ways or with particular emphases. Additionally, there are not many discussion forums where these different interested parties have an equal right to speak and be heard. It seems that the lack of dialogue characterizes the debate about school. At the centre of the study are negotiations concerning schools, and the conditions that promote changing the fragmented character of this school debate in a more promising and collectively responsible process of negotiation. The aims of the study are to find both an empirical and theoretical basis for more equal ways to negotiate about school, and to increase cultural self reflection. Social constructionism plays a key role in aspiring to meet these research aims. The research questions are (1) How do the informants of the study construct the idea of school in their texts, and (2) What kind of prospects does social constructionism bring to the negotiations about school. The research informants construct the idea of school in their texts in several ways. To sum up: school is constructed as a place for learning, a place for building the future, a place where ethical education is lived out, a place for social education and Bildung, and a place where the students well-being is ensured. The previously presented assumption that the interested parties of a school construct the idea of a school in disparate ways or with various emphases seems to have support in the informants texts. Based on that, a condition can be put forward: different perspectives should have an equal opportunity to be heard in negotiations about school. It would also be helpful if there was a chance for different perspectives to be documented and/or in some way, visualized. This ensures that different constructions of school are within reach of all the participants. Additionally, while making the process of negotiation transparent, this documentation becomes an important medium for self reflection. On one hand it visualizes the complexity of the school. On the other hand it protects the school and education from serving as the spokesman of any single truth that is presented as objective or universal. Social constructionism seems to offer a stable theoretical basis for changing the fragmented character of the school debate in one of negotiation. More equal and collectively responsible school negotiation presumes that certain aspects or conditions drawn from postmodernism and social constructionism have been studied. In the study, six conditions are presented that can be seen as mediums for changing the fragmented character of the school debate into one of more equal negotiation. Keywords: social constructionism, Kenneth J. Gergen, school negotiation, education policy, dialogue.
  • Poukka, Päivi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    This study examines values education in Japanese schools at the beginning of the millennium. The topic was approached by asking the following three questions concerning the curricular background, the morality conveyed through textbooks and the characterization of moral education from a comparative viewpoint: 1) What role did moral education play in the curriculum revision which was initiated in 1998 and implemented in 2002? 2) What kinds of moral responsibilities and moral autonomy do the moral texts develop? 3) What does Japanese moral education look like in terms of the comparative framework? The research was based on curriculum research. Its primary empirical data consisted of the national curriculum guidelines for primary school, which were taken into use in 2002, and moral texts, Kokoro no nôto, published by the Ministry of Education in the same context. Since moral education was approached in the education reform context, the secondary research material involved some key documents of the revision process from the mid-1990s to 2003. The research material was collected during three fieldwork periods in Japan (in 2002, 2003 and 2005). The text-analysis was conducted as a theory-dependent qualitative content analysis. Japanese moral education was analyzed as a product of its own cultural tradition and societal answer to the current educational challenges. In order to understand better its character, secular moral education was reflected upon from a comparative viewpoint. The theory chosen for the comparative framework, the value realistic theory of education, represented the European rational education tradition as well as the Christian tradition of values education. Moral education, which was the most important school subject at the beginning of modern school, was eliminated from the curriculum for political reasons in a school reform after the Second World War, but has gradually regained a stronger position since then. It was reinforced particularly at the turn of millennium, when a curriculum revision attempted to respond to educational and learning problems by emphasizing qualitative and value aspects. Although the number of moral lessons and their status as a non-official-subject remained unchanged, the Ministry of Education made efforts to improve moral education by new curricular emphases, new teaching material and additional in-service training possibilities for teachers. The content of the moral texts was summarized in terms of moral responsibility in four moral areas (intrapersonal, interpersonal, natural-supranatural and societal) as follows: 1) continuous self-development, 2) caring for others, 3) awe of life and forces beyond human power, and 4) societal contribution. There was a social-societal and emotional emphasis in what was taught. Moral autonomy, which was studied from the perspectives of rational, affective and individuality development, stressed independence in action through self-discipline and responsibility more than rational self-direction. Japanese moral education can be characterized as the education of kokoro (heart) and the development of character, which arises from virtue ethics. It aims to overcome egoistic individualism by reciprocal and interdependent moral responsibility based on responsible interconnectedness.
  • Tapola, Anna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    The purpose of this thesis was to increase understanding about the dynamics of student motivation, focusing on the relations between individual characteristics, the learning context and motivational states. Particular emphasis was placed on the role of students individual motivational tendencies (i.e., achievement goal orientations) in interpreting and approaching learning situations and tasks. The evolving nature of motivational states was also acknowledged. Accordingly, Study I examined how sixth-grade students (N = 208) with different achievement goal orientation profiles differed in their perceptions of and preferences for the classroom environment. In Study II, the focus was on the changes in and interaction between ninth-grade students (N = 100) situational interest and self-efficacy during a problem-solving task. An experimental design was used in Studies III and IV to examine the changes in situational interest among fourth to sixth grade students as a function of student and task characteristics. Study III tested the predictive relationships between achievement goal orientations, individual interest, prior knowledge, the task condition and situational interest (N = 57), whereas Study IV focused on the interaction effect of the students goal orientation group and the task characteristics (N = 140). Studies II, III and IV also examined the predictors of task-related learning outcomes. Variable- and person-centred methodological approaches resulted in the following findings. First, students with different motivational profiles varied in their perceptions of and preferences for certain features of their classroom environment (Study I). Second, the students goal orientations and individual interest influenced the arousal of and changes in situational interest during a learning task (Studies III & IV). Third, the evolvement of situational interest and self-efficacy turned out to be interrelated (Study II), and the changes in these constructs during the task to be dependent on both the students individual characteristics and the task features (Studies II, III & IV). Fourth, students with different motivational profiles investigated in Study IV showed different patterns of change in their situational interest depending on the task condition. In terms of learning outcomes, in addition to prior knowledge or competence, motivational factors also had independent effects on performance. For example, self-efficacy predicted learning outcomes (Study II), and there were indications that an increase in situational interest had a beneficial effect on learning (Studies II & III). ------ To conclude, the results indicated that characteristic motivational tendencies influence the way students perceive and interpret environmental cues and approach learning tasks. The evolvement of their motivational states turned out to be dependent on different types of student and task characteristics, and their interaction. Consequently, it is argued that both individual and situational factors, and their possible interactions, should be taken into account when examining students motivational states and task engagement. The findings also emphasize the importance of recognizing individual differences in students motivational resources, or lack of them, in everyday learning situations.
  • Paane-Tiainen, Tuulia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    Will the wall break down. The Doctor Network as an aim changes regional co-operation in the Kymenlaakso Hospital District The Kymenlaakso Hospital District saw the development of an information technology Project know called Lääkäriverkko (the Doctor Network), which included a Konsu-databased programme to achieve higher qual-ity patient treatment (consultation). The goal of the project was to find a territorial solution, or improvement, for problems with of the Health care system (staggered health care, gradation). The referral practice and its development was the functional activity instrument in the Lääkäriverkko. The territorial co-operation network was the social context for this reforming activity. This study began as a survey study, but continued as an ethnographic study after completion of the original Lääkäriverkko project and the Konsu programme (1998-2003). After the project ended little by little I took a fresh look at the why Lääkäriverkko misfired. In this scientific study I have strived examined to determine the meaning of different important behavioural factors which affect to human activity. The goal is to change organisational and operational structures as well as socio-behavioural patterns, and to introduce a new holis-tic way of thinking or computer-technological application software which will affect the activity of people and social processes as a whole. As a subject/topic, such this kind of a situation is still current in many changing processes of the health care system. My research approach is an ethnographic and activity-analytic case study, which I have enriched with many-sided and diverse, clarifying research materials and triangular diagrams. The aim has also been to create new information, perspectives and factors in the behaviour of those participants involved in removing this activity process and project. As a researcher, I am a professional verifier and have observed a natural, chronological changing process: the planning of the Lääkäriverkko and Konsu programme to its historical end. The empiri-cal part is proceeding narratively within the formulation and clarification of five hypotheses which tell, ex-plain and reveal the hindrances and possibilities of co-operation and human-computer interaction (HCI). The guiding line in the analysis is activity theory, but although I have also used various theorists who have stud-ied social changes and processes in information technology and business life. The activity system is a pri-mary research focus and analysis unit, but otherwise I do not follow orthodoxically the traditions of evolving labour research. In the Lääkäriverkko, the main intention was to introduce and stabilise a new activity form/co-operation and e-referral-system, and simultaneously to put the Konsu programme to real use in the social context. The Konsu programme, with its preventing and advancing factors, was also considered a stimulus of new thinking and a reformative instrument for doctor´s co-operation and usage of the new tech-nological application. Focusing on preventing and advancing factors in human-computer interaction (HCI) and consultation, the main problems were in strong levels of the health care system - especially the distinction between primary and secondary health care, medical specialisation, the division of labour - and activity-chain interruptions and cuts, both of which turned out to be profound and institutionalised in the slow-down of the changing organ-isational process. The main dilemma in human-computer interaction (HCI) and in social interaction (net-work) seemed not only to be related to (negative) attitudes and forms of co-operation in general, but the de-gree of commitment to and acceptance of new ways of thinking were also problematic issues and turning points in the survey. The level of co-operation - against all expectations did not develop from co-ordination to co-operation, although there were some implications of such a process in behaviour of the some Konsu us-ers. In conclusion, it turned out that in using and introducing new ideas and technologies (in this case, electronic referral-practice and consultation) and participating in (social) changing processes, it is important to support the learning and many-sided reflection of the process, in addition to taking into consideration the collective sense of human activity in it is entirety. People have different needs and motives, and in the development of co-operation among primary health care and specialised medical care actors and doctors, they must to realise and admit to mutual dependency. Moreover, a new pragmatic script for referral-consultation and co-operation is needed. Keywords: activity theory, referral-consultation activity, information technology, need, division of labour and territorial co-operation
  • Putkinen, Vesa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    Musical experience may have the potential to influence functional brain development. The present thesis investigated how the maturation of neural auditory discrimination in childhood varies according to the amount of informal musical activities (e.g., singing and musical play) and formal musical training. Neural auditory discrimination was examined by recording auditory event-related potentials (ERP) to different types of sound changes with electroencephalography (EEG) in children of various ages. The relation of these responses to the amount of informal musical activities was examined in 2 3-year-old children. Furthermore, the development of the responses from early school-age until preadolescence was compared between children receiving formal musical training and musically nontrained children. With regard to typical maturation, the results suggest that neural auditory discrimination is still immature at the age of 2 3 years and continues to develop at least until pre-adolescence. Both informal musical experience and formal musical training were found to modulate various stages of neural auditory discrimination. Specifically, in the 2 3-year-old children, a high amount of informal musical activities was associated with response profiles consistent with enhanced processing of auditory changes and lowered distractibility. Furthermore, during school-age, musically trained children showed more rapid development of neural auditory discrimination than nontrained children especially for music-like sounds. Importantly, no differences were seen between the musically trained and nontrained children at the early stages of the training. Therefore, the group differences that emerged at later ages were most likely due to training and did not reflect pre-existing functional differences between the groups. Thus, the results (i) highlight the usefulness of change-related auditory ERPs as biomarkers for the maturation of auditory processing, (ii) provide novel evidence for the role of informal musical activities in shaping auditory skills in early childhood, and (iii) demonstrate that formal musical training shapes the development of neural auditory discrimination.
  • Särkämö, Teppo (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    Listening to music involves a widely distributed bilateral network of brain regions that controls many auditory perceptual, cognitive, emotional, and motor functions. Exposure to music can also temporarily improve mood, reduce stress, and enhance cognitive performance as well as promote neural plasticity. However, very little is currently known about the relationship between music perception and auditory and cognitive processes or about the potential therapeutic effects of listening to music after neural damage. This thesis explores the interplay of auditory, cognitive, and emotional factors related to music processing after a middle cerebral artery (MCA) stroke. In the acute recovery phase, 60 MCA stroke patients were randomly assigned to a music listening group, an audio book listening group, or a control group. All patients underwent neuropsychological assessments, magnetoencephalography (MEG) measurements, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans repeatedly during a six-month post-stroke period. The results revealed that amusia, a deficit of music perception, is a common and persistent deficit after a stroke, especially if the stroke affects the frontal and temporal brain areas in the right hemisphere. Amusia is clearly associated with deficits in both auditory encoding, as indicated by the magnetic mismatch negativity (MMNm) response, and domain-general cognitive processes, such as attention, working memory, and executive functions. Furthermore, both music and audio book listening increased the MMNm, whereas only music listening improved the recovery of verbal memory and focused attention as well as prevented a depressed and confused mood during the first post-stroke months. These findings indicate a close link between musical, auditory, and cognitive processes in the brain. Importantly, they also encourage the use of listening to music as a rehabilitative leisure activity after a stroke and suggest that the auditory environment can induce long-term plastic changes in the recovering brain.
  • Harjanne, Pirjo (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    Communicative oral practice in Swedish through collaborative schema-based and elaboration tasks The general aim of this study was to learn how to better understand foreign language communicative oral practice and to develop it as part of communicative language teaching. The language-specific aim was to study how Swedish was being practised communicatively and orally in a classroom context as part of the didactic teaching-studying-learning process, and how the students' communicative oral practice in Swedish was carried out through collaborative schema-based and elaboration tasks. The scientific problem of this study focused on the essence of foreign language communicative oral proficiency. The research questions were concerned with 1) the students' involvement in carrying out the given oral tasks; 2) the features of communication and interaction strategies; 3) thematic vocabulary, and 4) the students' experiences and conceptions of the communicative oral tasks used. The study consisted of two groups of students from a Helsinki-area school (a group of upper secondary school students, Swedish Level A, Courses 2 and 3, n=9; and a group of basic education students, Swedish Level B, Course 2, n=13). The study was carried out as a pedagogically oriented case study which included certain features of ethnographic research and where the students' teacher acted as a researcher of her own work. The communicative oral practice contained five different tasks. The research data were gathered through systematic observation, audio recordings and by a questionnaire. The data were analysed through ethnographic content analysis methods. The main research finding was that a good deal of social interaction, collaboration and communication took place between the students when involved in communicative oral practice in Swedish. The students took almost optimal advantage of the allocated training time. They mostly used Swedish when participating in interactional communication. Finnish was mostly used by the students when they were deciding how to carry out a given task, aiming at intersubjectivity or negotiating meaning. The students were relaxed when practising Swedish. They also asked for and gave linguistic help in the spirit of collaborative learning principles. This resulted in interaction between students that highlighted certain features of negotiation of meaning, scaffolding and collaborative dialogue. Asking for and giving help in language issues concentrated mainly on vocabulary, and only in a few cases on grammar or pronunciation. The students also needed the teacher as a mentor. As well, the students had an enjoyable time when practising, which was most often related to carrying out the oral tasks. The thematic vocabulary used by the students corresponded well to the thematic lexis that served as a basis for the practice. At its most efficient, this lexis was most evident when the basic education students were carrying out schema-based tasks. The students' questionnaire answers agreed with the research findings gained through systematic observation and the analysis of audio recordings. The communicative tasks planned by the teacher and implemented by the students were very much in line. The language-didactic theory as presented in this study and the research findings can be widely utilised in pre-service and in-service teacher education, as well as, more generally, when developing communicative language teaching. Key words: communicative oral practice; the Swedish language; foreign language; didactic teaching-studying-learning process; communicative language teaching; collaborative task; schema-based task; elaboration task.
  • Immonen, Outi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    This research explores the foci, methods and processes of mental training by pianists who are active as performers and teachers. The research is based on the concept of mental training as a solely mental mode of practising. Musician s mental training takes place without an instrument or the physical act of playing. The research seeks answers to questions: 1) What are the foci of a pianist s mental training? 2) How does a pianist carry out the mental training? 3) What does mental training in music entail as a process? The research approach is qualitative, and the materials were gathered from thematic interviews. The aim of practising is always an improved result both in the act of playing and the performance. Mental training by a pianist is collaboration between technical, auditory, visual, kinaesthetic and affective factors. Also interpretation, memory and overcoming stage fright are needed. Technical, cognitive and performance skills are involved. According to the results of this research, mental training is a goal-oriented activity which can have an impact on all of these factors. Without a musical inner ear and its functionality, true musicianship cannot exist. One particular result of this research is the conceptualisation of opening up the inner ear. Auditory exercises and internally playing mental images are essential elements of the mental practice of a musician. Visual images, such as a picture of music notation or a performance event, are the point of focus for musicians who find visual images to be the easiest to realise. When developing technical skills by using mental training, it is important to focus on the technically most difficult sections. It is also necessary to focus on the holistic experiencing of the performance situation. By building on positive energies and strengths, the so-called psyching up may be the most important element in mental training. Based on the results of this research, a synthesis is outlined of the music event as an activity process, built on representations and schemes. Mental training aims at the most ideal possible act of playing and the creation of a musical event; these are achieved by focussing on various mental images produced by the different senses, together with concrete practising. Mental training in sports and in music share common factors. Both modes of practising, mental as well as physical, involve three important elements: planning, realisation and evaluation of the practice. In music, however, the goal is an artistic end result which does not often apply to an athletic event. Keywords: Mental training in music, auditory imagining, visualisation, kinaesthetic-mental experience, mastery of the psyche
  • Lang, Tarja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    Kansansivistystä legitimoiva ja ylläpitävä ajattelu oli kertomusta myyttisistä sankarirehtoreista, jota voisi kutsua myös suomalaisen kansansivistyksen suureksi kertomukseksi. Tutkimusongelmana oli, kuinka kansansivistyksen suuri kertomus rakentui sukupuolen näkökulmasta kansan, sivistyksen ja vapauden käsitteiden tulkinnoissa. Tavoitteena oli jäljittää kansansivistyksen kadonneita naisia. Aineisto koostui eri kirjoittajien 1800-luvun lopulla ja 1900-luvulla laatimista kulttuurihistoriallisista teksteistä, joita metodologisesti tulkittiin sukupuolisensitiivisesti tiheällä otteella. Kansalais- ja työväenopiston rehtorin työ vuonna 2005 muodostui osaksi kansansivistyksen suurta kertomusta. Empiirinen aineisto koostui valtakunnallisesta, sähköisesti toteutetusta rehtorikyselystä (N=79), jota analysoitiin diskursiivisella lähestymistavalla sukupuolisensitiivisesti. Tutkimusongelmat olivat: Miksi kansalais- ja työväenopiston rehtoriksi hakeudutaan? Kuinka sukupuoli tulee esiin rehtorin työssä? Millaista on rehtorin työn arki? Suomalainen kansansivistystraditio kategorisoi naisen yksityiseen ja miehen julkiseen. Kansalais- ja työväenopistoista muotoiltiin sukupuolittuneita kansansivistysinstituutioita, joiden maskuliinisen johtajuuden ympärille rakentui sankarirehtorimyytti. Naisten tulo opistojen johtajattariksi liittyi osaksi naisten yleistä ammatillista kehitystä. Sivistettävälle naiselle rakentui paikka 1900-luvun vaihteesta äitikansalaisten yleissivistettävänä kollektiivina, myöhemmin työläisnaisten kollektiivina ja 1960-luvulta lähtien ammatillisena työvoimaresurssina. 2000-luvulla kansan käsite korvautui vapailla yksilökansalaisilla ja sivistysideologinen vapaus kääntyi uusliberalismin yksilön vapaaksi mahdollisuudeksi kehittää itseään vapaa-ajalla. Sivistys käsitteenä loittoni ja sen korvasivat oppiminen ja viihtyminen. Rehtoriksi hakeutumisen taustalla vaikuttivat edelleen kansansivistysideologiset arvot, jotka naiselle merkitsivät yhteiskunnallisen äitiyden velvoitetta hoitaa reproduktiivista tehtäväänsä ahkerana ja uutterana opistoäitinä. Uusliberalistiset arvot muuttivat naisen rehtorina kansallista ja taloudellista arvoa tuottavaksi palkkatyöäidiksi ja manageriksi. Sekä naiseen että mieheen rehtorina liitettiin stereotyyppisiä sukupuolirooleihin sidottuja ominaisuuksia. Naisen ja miehen paikat työyhteisössä määrittyivät modernin yhteiskuntasopimuksen seksuaalisen sopimuksen mukaisesti. Rehtorit työskentelivät moniosaavina jokapaikanhöylinä keskellä valtakunnallista opistoreformia. Rehtorin ammatillinen kuva jäsentyi monimuotoisesti reformistiksi, konformistiksi ja konservatiiviksi. Asiasanat: vapaa sivistystyö, kansansivistys, rehtorit, sukupuolentutkimus, kansalaisopistot, työväenopistot, diskurssianalyysi
  • Koro-Ljungberg, Mirka (Helsingin yliopisto, 2001)
  • Korostenskaja, Milena (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    Cognitive impairments of attention, memory and executive functions are a fundamental feature of the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. The neurophysiological and neurochemical changes in the auditory cortex are shown to underlie cognitive impairmentsin schizophrenia patients. Functional state of the neural substrate of auditory information processing could be objectively and non-invasively probed with auditory event-related potentials (ERPs) and event- related fields (ERFs). In the current work, we explored the neurochemical effect on the neural origins of auditory information processing in relation to schizophrenia. By means of ERPs/ERFs we aimed to determine how neural substrates of auditory information processing are modulated by antipsychotic medication in schizophrenia spectrum patients (Studies I, II) and by neuropharmacological challenges in healthy human subjects (Studies III, IV). First, with auditory ERPs we investigated the effects of olanzapine (Study I) and risperidone (Study II) in a group of patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders. After 2 and 4 weeks of treatment, olanzapine has no significant effects on mismatch negativity(MMN) and P300, which, as it has been suggested, respectively reflect preattentive and attention-dependent information processing. After 2 weeks of treatment, risperidone has no significant effect on P300, however risperidone reduces P200 amplitude. This latter effect of risperidone on neural resources responsible for P200 generation could be partly explained through the action of dopamine. Subsequently, we used simultaneous EEG/MEG to investigate the effects of memantine (Study III) and methylphenidate (Study IV) in healthy subjects. We found that memantine modulates MMN response without changing other ERP components. This could be interpreted as being due to the possible influence of memantine through the NMDA receptors on auditory change- detection mechanism, with processing of auditory stimuli remaining otherwise unchanged. Further, we found that methylphenidate does not modulate the MMN response. This finding could indicate no association between catecholaminergic activities and electrophysiological measures of preattentive auditory discrimination processes reflected in the MMN. However, methylphenidate decreases the P200 amplitudes. This could be interpreted as a modulation of auditory information processing reflected in P200 by dopaminergic and noradrenergic systems. Taken together, our set of studies indicates a complex pattern of neurochemical influences produced by the antipsychotic drugs in the neural substrate of auditory information processing in patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders and by the pharmacological challenges in healthy subjects studied with ERPs and ERFs.
  • Leminen, Alina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    The representation of morphologically complex words in the mental lexicon and their neurocognitive processing has been a vigorously debated topic in psycholinguistics and the cognitive neuroscience of language. This thesis investigates the effect of stimulus modality on morphological processing, the spatiotemporal dynamics of the neural processing of inflected (e.g., work+ed ) and derived (e.g., work+er ) words and their interaction, using the Finnish language. Overall, the results suggest that the constituent morphemes of isolated written and spoken inflected words are accessed separately, whereas spoken derived words activate both their full form and the constituent morphemes. The processing of both spoken and written inflected words elicited larger N400 responses than monomorphemic words (Study I), whereas the responses to spoken derived words did not differ from those to monomorphemic words (Study IV). Spoken inflected words elicited a larger left-lateralized negativity and greater source strengths in the left temporal cortices than derived words (Study IV). Thus, the results suggest different cortical processing for derived and inflected words. Moreover, the neural mechanisms underlying inflection and derivation seem to be not only different, but also independent as indexed by the linear summation of the responses to derived and inflected stimuli in a combined (derivation+inflection) condition (Study III). Furthermore, the processing of meaningless, spoken derived pseudowords was more difficult than for existing derived words, indexed by a larger N400-type effect for the pseudowords. However, no differences were observed between meaningful derived pseudowords and existing derived words (Study II). The results of Study II suggest that semantic compatibility between morphemes seems to have a crucial role in a successful morphological analysis. As a methodological note, time-locking the auditory event-related potentials/fields (ERP/ERF) to the suffix onset revealed the processes related to morphological analysis more precisely (Studies II and IV), which also enables comparison of the neural processes in different modalities (Study I).
  • Palva, Satu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    The synchronization of neuronal activity, especially in the beta- (14-30 Hz) /gamma- (30 80 Hz) frequency bands, is thought to provide a means for the integration of anatomically distributed processing and for the formation of transient neuronal assemblies. Thus non-stimulus locked (i.e. induced) gamma-band oscillations are believed to underlie feature binding and the formation of neuronal object representations. On the other hand, the functional roles of neuronal oscillations in slower theta- (4 8 Hz) and alpha- (8 14 Hz) frequency bands remain controversial. In addition, early stimulus-locked activity has been largely ignored, as it is believed to reflect merely the physical properties of sensory stimuli. With human neuromagnetic recordings, both the functional roles of gamma- and alpha-band oscillations and the significance of early stimulus-locked activity in neuronal processing were examined in this thesis. Study I of this thesis shows that even the stimulus-locked (evoked) gamma oscillations were sensitive to high-level stimulus features for speech and non-speech sounds, suggesting that they may underlie the formation of early neuronal object representations for stimuli with a behavioural relevance. Study II shows that neuronal processing for consciously perceived and unperceived stimuli differed as early as 30 ms after stimulus onset. This study also showed that the alpha band oscillations selectively correlated with conscious perception. Study III, in turn, shows that prestimulus alpha-band oscillations influence the subsequent detection and processing of sensory stimuli. Further, in Study IV, we asked whether phase synchronization between distinct frequency bands is present in cortical circuits. This study revealed prominent task-sensitive phase synchrony between alpha and beta/gamma oscillations. Finally, the implications of Studies II, III, and IV to the broader scientific context are analysed in the last study of this thesis (V). I suggest, in this thesis that neuronal processing may be extremely fast and that the evoked response is important for cognitive processes. I also propose that alpha oscillations define the global neuronal workspace of perception, action, and consciousness and, further, that cross-frequency synchronization is required for the integration of neuronal object representations into global neuronal workspace.
  • Palomäki, Jussi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    Poker, especially on-line poker, is a game of skill and chance that requires constant and rapid decision making under varying levels of risk and uncertainty. Poker playing skill encompasses both technical and emotional elements. In poker, it is possible to acquire enough experience and skill to win money in the long run. Yet every poker player, regardless of his/her skill, occasionally loses. Poor, out-of-control poker decision making due to negative emotions typically elicited by monetary losses is commonly known as tilting and often results in superfluous losses. The aim of this thesis was to evaluate psychological and physiological emotional processes associated with poker decision making. Studies I III were based on Internet-questionnaire data. Study I (N=60) was qualitative, and Studies II (N=354) and III (N=417) were correlative. The emphasis here was on exploring the underpinnings of the tilting phenomenon and the differences in emotion regulation abilities between experienced and inexperienced poker players. In Study IV (N=29), psychophysiological reactivity (electrodermal activity; EDA) was measured in a laboratory setting while participants played the No Limit Texas Hold'em (NLHE) poker variant on a computer. Overall, the results suggest that tilting behavior is instigated by loss-induced feelings of injustice/unfairness (moral indignation). These feelings are also associated with chasing behavior, where players attempt irrationally to regain the money that they feel is rightfully theirs. The aftermath of tilting was characterized by reports of sleeping problems and rumination over lost resources (Study I). A higher tendency to experience loss-induced negative feelings was associated with a higher reported severity of tilting (Study III). Experienced players, when compared with inexperienced ones, exhibited a more mature/impassive disposition towards losing and tilting (Studies I III), engaged in less self-rumination and more self-reflection, and made normatively better poker decisions (Study II). However, surprisingly, experienced players also reported more severe tilting (Study III). The EDA elicited while participants played poker on a computer was associated with various poker decisions (actions): Pre-decision EDA levels increased in the order of folding, calling and betting/raising. Furthermore, actions taken with strong and weak poker hands elicited higher EDA compared with actions taken with poker hands of medium/uncertain strength (Study IV). The results from Studies I III shed light on the associations between poker experience, emotion regulation abilities ( mental skills ) and tilting behavior. The results from Study IV allow for situating the game of poker within the theoretical framework of economic and neuroscientific theories of emotions and decision making by demonstrating that the EDA associated with NLHE decision making conceivably indexes the anticipated utility of the decisions.
  • Blomberg, Seija (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    As a Novice Teacher at Comprehensive School: The authentic experiences of the beginning teachers during their first year of teaching The aim of this study is to explicate the novice year of teaching in the light of teachers´ authentic experiences. The subject of this investigation is the teachers´ subjective world of experience during their first academic year of teaching and the sharing of these experiences in collaborative consulting meetings. The themes discussed in the meetings were introduced into the collaborative group by the novice teachers themselves, and the progress of discussion was con-trolled by them. The research data was gathered in a consultative working group where the way a novice teacher starts to interpret, analyze and identify his/her own complex and dynamic teaching situations was observed. The research data gathered in this way illuminates novice teachers´ world of experience and mental picture as well as the unconscious sides of school life. In a theoretical frame of reference, the work of a teacher is identified, according to systemic scientific thought, as a dynamic triangle in which the basic elements are the personality of the teacher, the role of the teacher and the school as an organization. These basic elements form a whole within which the teacher works. The dynamics of this triangle in a teacher’s work are brought to light through the study of the phenomena of groups and group dynamics since a teacher works either as a member of a group (working community), as a leader of a group (teaching situations) or in a network (parent – teacher cooperation). Therefore, tension and force are always present in teaching work. The main research problem was to explain how a novice teacher experiences his/her first working year as a teacher. The participants (n=5) were teaching at five different comprehensive schools in the city of Helsinki. This was their first long-term post as a teacher. The research data consists of seven collaborative consulting meetings, as well as recordings and transcripts of the meetings. A classificatory framework was developed for data analysis which enabled a sys-tematic qualitative content analysis based on theory and material. In addition to the consulting meetings, the teachers were interviewed at the beginning and at the end of the process of collecting the research material. The interviews were used to interpret the meanings of the content analysis based on raw data. The findings show that there is a gap between teacher education and the reality of school life, which causes difficulties for a novice teacher during his/her first teaching year. The gap is rather a global educational problem than a national one, and therefore it is independent of cultural factors. Novice teachers desire a well-structured theory of teacher education and a clear programme where the themes and content delve deeper and deeper into the subject matter during the study years. According to the novice teachers, teacher education frequently consists of sporadic and unconnected study and class situations. An individual content weakness of teacher education is the lack of insufficient initiation into evaluation processes. The novice teachers suggest that a student must be provided good-quality and competent guidance during the study years and during his or her induction. There should be a well-organized, structured and systematic induction program for novice teachers. The induction program should be overseen by an organization so that the requirements of a qualified induction can be met. The findings show that the novice teachers find the first year of teaching at comprehensive school emotionally loaded. The teachers experienced teaching as difficult work and found the workload heavy. Nevertheless, they enjoyed their job because, as they said, there were more pleasant than unpleasant things in their school day. Their main feeling at school was the joy of success in teaching. The novice teachers felt satisfaction with their pupils. The teachers experienced the more serious feelings of anger and disgust when serious violence took place. The most difficult situations arose from teaching pupils who had mental health problems. The toughest thing in the teacher´s work was teaching groups that are too heterogeneous. The most awkward problems in group dynamics happened when new immigrants, who spoke only their own languages, were integrated into the groups in the middle of the school year. Teachers wanted to help children who needed special help with learning but restated at the same time that the groups being taught shouldn’t be too heterogeneous. The teachers wished for help from school assistants so that they could personally concentrate more on teaching. Not all the parents took care of their children according to the comprehensive school law. The teachers found it hard to build a confidential relationship between home and school. In this study, novice teachers found it hard to join the teaching staff at school. Some of the teachers on staff were very strong and impulsive, reacting loudly and emotionally. These teachers provoked disagreement, conflicts, power struggles and competition among the other teachers. Although the novice teachers of the study were all qualified teachers, three of them were not interested in a permanent teaching job. For these teachers teaching at a primary school was just a project, a short period in their working life. They will remain in the teaching profession as long as they are learning new things and enjoying their teaching job. This study is an independent part of the research project on Interplay – Connecting Academic Teacher Education and Work, undertaken by the Department of Applied Sciences of Education at the University of Helsinki. Key words: novice teacher, emotions, groups and group dynamics, authority, co-operation between home and school, teacher community, leadership at school, induction, consulting