Käyttäytymistieteellinen tiedekunta

 

Recent Submissions

  • Nevanen, Saila (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    This research focuses on one arts education project which was carried out in Helsinki in early childhood education centres and schools. This study is an evaluation research which concentrates on art education s connections to learning, wellbeing and communality; it views kindergarten and school as arts learning environments and at arts education as a multiprofessional col-laboration between teachers and artists. The arts education project, which was started in Helsinki in 2000, was offered to children who were under school age (3 6 years old) and at ele-mentary school age (7 9 years old). The data consists of interviews of the teachers, artists and principals of the kindergartens (N=23), the narratives of the closing report (N=9) and the follow-up materials of the project. The method of the research was multidimensional evaluation. The research includes five independent articles and a summary that con-nects the entirety of the research. Each theme is included in one independ-ent article, each of which was published in international peer-reviewed journals. Article I analyses the multiprofessional collaboration between teachers and artists. Article II focuses on the possibilities of arts education in developing learning abilities. Article III explores kindergarten and school as learning environments of arts education. Article IV highlights the evalua-tion of the arts education project through a multidimensional evaluation method. The last article, number V, analyses the long-term impacts of the arts education project in kindergartens and schools. The results show that well-executed, long-lasting arts education projects may support and promote children s wellbeing and their learning abilities. It was easy to motivate and direct the children in activities that connected target-oriented work with natural play. Arts education can also be used to strengthen the unity of the community between early childhood education centres, schools and neighbourhoods. The multiprofessional collaboration between the teachers and artists con-nected their skills and professional abilities, but successful cooperation also required the ability to handle additional interests and tensions. The long-term impact evaluation showed that five out of ten participating kindergartens still continue the developmental work started in the project. The project work was also seen as an excellent way to continue or update training.
  • Eränpalo, Tommi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    Abstract This dissertation deals with young people s civic skills and how these competences can be developed particularly in civics education at school by means of gamification. The dissertation consists of four sub-studies written in article form as well as a summary. The articles examine young people s civic behaviour from the perspective of conceptions of democracy, civic competence and civic identity. The current generation of youth and young adults seems to be shunning the traditional structures of civic participation and political decision making. Young people are re-evaluating their own roles in civic discussion and are often choosing methods that are outside the official channels. To further develop civic activism, this state of affairs should be changed, since our future decision makers will ultimately emerge from this group of people. The role of the school is seen as essential in scientific debate on the subject. The dissertation commences with the question of how deceptive the suggestion is that young people are passive, and how civic education didactics need new ways to recognise students involvement in civic matters. This query is addressed by means of finding new methods for civics education, using, for example, gamification and dialogue education. The intention of the dissertation is to answer the following questions: a) What aspects of young people s civic skills can be detected in the deliberation resulting from game playing? b) How should civics education at school be developed to strengthen young people s inclusion in civic affairs? The Grounded theory method is applied in the study. Each dissertation article introduces a new perspective on the research phenomenon, and the analysis of the research material proceeds in stages revealing new information on young people s civic competence. The theoretical conclusions of the study are presented in the summary. The first article focuses on the public image of young people s civic competence, which has been marked by pessimism in the early 21st century. This negative image has been publicly debated in conjunction with international surveys indicating young people s passive behaviour in civic orientation (CIVED 1999 and ICCS 2009). The article looks for a new perspective by ques-tioning the pessimistic interpretations of these surveys. It also presents new research evidence of a more active youth culture. The second and third articles venture deeper into the world of young people s civic competence. The image of young people being passive is often maintained by the conventional discussion culture in schools, one that avoids open ideological and political debate and does not particularly encourage deliberation on civic matters. The articles raise issues concerning the atmosphere in the classroom as well as the role of the student in education and society as a whole. It also presents the Act now! game, developed by the author and the author s students. The game aims to provide a framework for dealing with civic issues by means of deliberation. The fourth article introduces the concept of dialogue in education, and a comparative Scandinavian example of it. The Act now! game was played in Finland, Sweden and Norway. The article focuses on dialogue education as part of young people s civics education, and examines the features that emerge from analysing civic identity among Scandinavian youth. The summary presents the results in a way that is typical to the Grounded theory method. It then provides a summarizing analysis of them. The results justify claiming that teaching methods involving deliberation in civic education stimulate and strengthen young people s participatory civic orientation as well as their civic competence. The summary also speculates on the possibilities of increasing young people s motivation to participate in civic issues. The competences that arise from young people s deliberation indicate how the young are capable of responding to civic responsibility. The results also high-light the democratic-political need to create a forum in which young people may engage in civic deliberation. The ongoing curricular reform in Finnish primary and secondary schools will emphasise student involvement as well as creating a new and more active role for students. Accordingly, the results of this study can be implemented in civics teaching. They also suggest that deliberation instruments such as the Act Now! game could be used as a solution to didactic needs on a wider scale. A game-like method offers an example of dialogical teaching that enables a path to deliberation. Keywords: Civic competence, deliberation, gamification, inclusion
  • Pyyry, Noora (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    In this thesis, the key themes of 1) knowing and 2) participation are examined in relation to creative and meaningful practical engagement with one s everyday surroundings, i.e. dwelling with the world. These themes are explored both within the research process and in the context of young people s, and particularly teenage girls hanging out. This research is inspired by the Situationist practice of dérive, and draws from participatory research tradition, posthuman feminist thinking and non-representational theorization. Dwelling with is approached with an acknowledgement of the capacity of the material world to produce effects in human bodies: things and spaces thus take part in the seemingly trivial, but often highly affectual everyday encounters that make dwelling with possible. Ergo, also data is approached in a new way. The power of words and other representations is not ignored, but they are taken as doings : they are performative. Representations are thus not evidence of a separate reality that lies behind them. In the thesis, attention is placed on the creative potential of experimentation. Fieldwork for this thesis happened in three phases. The first phase in 2011 was a pilot study conducted in Helsinki in connection to a 9th grade geography course (participants were 15 to 16 years). The second phase took place in San Francisco in 2012 and was conducted via school, but separately from schoolwork. The participants in this study we 7th graders (12 to 13 years). The third phase in 2013 took place in Helsinki, again as part of a 9th grade geography course (participants were 15 to 16 years). First, the thesis explores how participatory methods can be used to support young people s role as co-researchers, foster their engagement in the research process and carve space for alternative knowledges. Together with the playful topic of hanging out, these methods can cultivate a relaxed atmosphere in the research situations. This is especially important when working in the school context. The methods also help balance power relations and address topics that could otherwise be left unnoticed. Second, the thesis shows how photography can be used as a method for multisensory thinking with the world. This creative method is connected to movement in photo-walks. This practice is argued to foster young people s engagement with their everyday surroundings, and the research process, by linking action and understanding. This engagement opens up possibilities for spatial-embodied reflection. Later, the photographs serve as fieldnotes that take part in the thinking process and inspire action in the form of reflection in photo-talks. In this thesis, photographs are not considered as data of what was there , rather they are understood to have productive power in the research process. Third, the thesis introduces the concept of hanging out -knowing. This knowing becomes possible through dwelling with: it takes place in everyday encounters. Hanging out -knowing is non-instrumental multisensory reflection about one s place in the world. Because hanging out is playful and wonderfully purposeless, space is cleared for the inspiring experience of enchantment. In these moments of being moved by something, new reflection can emerge. The moment of enchantment is always accidental, but it can be cultivated by artistic methods, such as photo-walking. Finally, the thesis argues that by hanging out at a shopping mall teenage girls participate in the world. Because hanging out lacks rigid plans, moments of enchantment become possible. This openness towards the world fosters dwelling with one s surroundings, in this case the shopping mall. By hanging out, girls disturb the rhythm of consumption. Improvisation with things and spaces produces a micro-atmosphere of play that interferes with the atmosphere of consumption at the mall. Through participation by being and by actively marking and claiming spaces as theirs, girls create momentary hangout homes for themselves. Hanging out produces alternative modes of engagement with the city. Creative experimentation cultivates lively and mixed-use public spaces, and adds to making urban life vibrant and thought-provoking.
  • Litmanen, Topi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    This dissertation explores how higher education students experience their studies. Experiences were studied at three interconnected levels: cognitive, motivational and emotional; they were defined respectively as the student s perceptions of the learning environment, study-related personal goals and emotional experiences in the learning situation. The general research questions were: 1) What are the components of successful and unsuccessful engagement with the learning environment? 2) How do students experience different kinds of learning environments, and what kinds of roles do experiences and emotions have in the learning process? 3) To what extent are experiences of the learning environment related to the features of the faculty and student qualities? Four empirical studies were conducted to address these questions. Studies I, II and IV were quantitative and applied self-report questionnaires, and Study I also had a follow-up setting. Study III was also a follow-up study, in which experience sampling conducted with mobile phones was accompanied with qualitative interview data. Study I explored what kinds of study-related goals students have at the beginning of their studies and how they relate to their study progress. The participants (N=133) were theology students, who at the beginning of their studies were asked to complete a questionnaire about their personal goals. Study success was followed for the first three years of their studies. The results showed that students whose study-related goals were important and stressful, and who reported progress in achieving them, advanced more rapidly in their studies. Study II focused on how students experiences of their learning environment are related to their well-being and academic self-concept. The participants were 610 medical students. Structural equation modelling was used to investigate the relationships between the variables under study. Experiences about the learning environment were related to how interested the students were in their studies or how exhausted they had become as a result of them. In turn, interest and exhaustion were related to higher levels of academic self-concept. A cross-sectional design was used to compare experiences between different medical schools. Novice PBL (Problem Based Learning) students experienced higher levels of exhaustion, no differences were found in the later phases of studies. Thus, the PBL environment appeared challenging, but only during the first years of study. Study III followed the experiences of nine student teachers for two 14-day follow-ups. The first follow-up consisted mostly of lectures and ordinary small-group work. The second period ran parallel to the completion of an intensive inquiry-based project that was the focus of the present study. A multivariate analysis of variance revealed that studying during the inquiry-based period produced stronger experiences of being challenged as well as more negative emotional experiences than the teacher-centred period. However, the interview data indicated that the participants enjoyed the inquiry-based period. In Study IV, the objective was to study the relations between approaches to learning and both the disciplines of the students and their perceptions of the learning environment. Altogether 2,509 students from different fields participated in the study. The results indicated that both approaches to learning and the discipline have an effect on students experiences of the learning environment. The dissertation showed that combining different cognitive, motivational and emotional perspectives and using a variety of methodologies helps to build a more comprehensive picture of how higher education students experience their studies. The most important findings of this thesis were: 1) Successful engagement with the learning environment is not merely about seeing the studies as important, being satisfied with the faculty or career choice, or seeing oneself as capable of achieving the tasks. Stress, worry about competence and to some extent exhaustion are important components of engagement in studies. 2) Negative affects, experiences of high levels of challenge and exhaustion may be essential parts of the process of gradually learning to take responsibility for both individual and collaborative learning processes. 3) Students experiences of their learning environment are not related to a single feature or set of features, but are connected to both their approaches to learning and the characteristics of the learning environment, such as the pedagogy used.
  • Lindgren, Maija (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    Psychosis is usually preceded by a prodromal period. This phase is characterized by psychotic-like symptoms, attenuated positive symptoms not severe enough to reach a psychotic level. For example, a person may hear voices that are not real. The objective of this study was to investigate whether it is possible and useful to screen for psychosis risk in an unselected clinical adolescent population seeking help for psychiatric symptoms. By finding which symptoms predict transition to a severe psychiatric illness, these risk symptoms can be identified early, enabling effective intervention. This study collected data on adolescent psychiatric patients aged 15 18 years in Helsinki during the years of 2003 2004 and 2007 2008. The participants were screened using the Prodromal Questionnaire (PQ) for prepsychotic symptoms, completed by 731 adolescents. The Structured Interview for Prodromal Syndromes (SIPS) was administered to 174 adolescents to ascertain their psychosis risk status, and broad cognitive testing was done. The participants were followed via patient files and the national hospital discharge register for 3 9 years. A third of the adolescents were identified as psychosis risk patients, but psychosis incidence during follow-up was low, and psychosis risk was not specifically predictive of psychosis. Hospital admissions for psychotic disorder were predicted by the depersonalization symptom intensity of the questionnaire and the positive symptom intensity of the interview. In addition, psychosis risk status predicted psychiatric hospitalizations overall during the following years. Visuospatial performance was poorer among the adolescents with a psychosis risk compared to other patients. Particularly poorer verbal performance was associated with stronger negative symptoms among adolescent patients, regardless of the psychosis risk status. Psychosis risk was associated with suicidal ideation among the adolescent psychiatric patients, but did not predict an increased risk of severe, hospital-treated self-harm during follow-up. The best predictor of intentional self-harm was emotional inexpressivity. Psychotic-like symptoms are common in general adolescent psychiatric services, but the development of psychosis is rare, and predicting psychosis with psychotic-like symptoms is not possible in the clinical environment. However, identifying and treating psychotic-like symptoms is important, as not only are they often distracting experiences in themselves, they can also be associated with cognitive deficits and suicidality, predict hospitalizations, and thus indicate a more serious disorder.
  • Dhir, Amandeep (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    The purpose of this dissertation is to increase understanding of the nature of Internet Addiction (IA) among adolescents (aged 12 to 18 years), focusing on what IA is and how it is measured. Particular emphasis is given to the measurement of IA, and different variables are considered in order to deepen understanding of its various aspects. Accordingly, five studies have been conducted. Study I examines various Internet uses and gratifications (U&G) among adolescent Internet users by developing a valid and reliable 27-item Internet gratification scale (N = 1,914); Study II investigates the role of adolescents’ demographic, technology accessibility, unwillingness to communicate attributes, and sought Internet U&Gs in predicting their tendency to experience IA (N = 1,914); Study III examines the effect of adolescent Internet users’ background characteristics (e.g., demographics, technology accessibility, unwillingness to communicate attributes) on predicting different Internet U&Gs and heavy Internet use among adolescents (N = 1,914); Study IV investigates the psychometric properties of the Compulsive Internet Use Scale (CIUS), and the relationship between the CIUS and adolescent Internet users’ background characteristics (e.g., demographics, ICT accessibility and Problematic ICT use) (N = 2,369); and Study V focuses on the development and validation of WhatsApp (WA) addiction scales for adolescents (N = 405). Cross-sectional research and psychometric theory based analysis reveal the following findings. First, a valid and reliable Internet U&G instrument (27- item) addresses six dimensions of Internet U&G, namely information seeking, exposure, connecting, coordination, social influence, and entertainment (Study I). Second, the following are risk factors for adolescent IA: being male, lower academic performance, high daily time spent on Internet use, strict Internet parenting at home, higher approach avoidance and reward seeking, looking for more connecting, coordination and social influence seeking, and pursuing lower information seeking and exposure gratifications (Study II). Third, older females, adolescents with higher academic performance, higher reward seeking and lower daily Internet use content gratifications such as information seeking & exposure; male, adolescents seeking higher approach avoidance and reward seeking tend to seek higher social gratifications such as connecting & coordination; and higher approach avoidance and reward seeking tendencies predicted process gratifications such as social influence & entertainment (Study III). Fourth, the CIUS possesses good psychometric properties with fairly high reliability, homogeneity and validity. Male, older adolescents, those with lower academic performance, lower life satisfaction, active Internet use (including daily Internet use, excessive Internet use and overall Internet activity) and problematic Internet use significantly predicted compulsive Internet use among adolescents. The study confirmed the findings of Study II (Study IV). Fifth, three original IA scales were adjusted to access WhatsApp (WA) addiction among adolescents. The data showed that they were valid and reliable self-reporting instruments. In addition, a shorter version of each of the three adapted instruments and a 16-item unified scale were also developed and validated. All five studies (Studies I, II, III, IV, V) examined various perspectives on the conceptualization of IA with a strong focus on the measurement and development of valid and reliable instruments to measure IA To conclude, the results indicate that not all adolescents equally experience IA; rather, some are more vulnerable than others. The studies have clarified situations, attributes or behaviors that lead to IA among adolescents. Moreover, new Internet U&Gs have been identified to help to conceptualize IA. In addition, the developed and validated instruments (27-item Internet U&G, 14-item CIUS, 14-item WA addiction test, 8-item and 10-item compulsive WA use) will serve as handy tools for teachers, educational psychologists, and counsellors. By utilizing these instruments, one can easily screen compulsive Internet users from a normal population and provide vulnerable students with timely help and support. The present study confirms the findings of earlier IA literature available in the context of Internet users from a wider age group, and different cultural and demographic settings. The current studies are important, especially because the target user group is adolescent Internet users (aged 12 to 18 years) who have been overlooked in IA and Internet U&G literature. These findings also emphasize the importance of recognizing IA as a problem among adolescents, which many adolescents unknowingly are or become vulnerable to be in daily life settings. The findings are valuable in terms of education and research.
  • Laakasuo, Michael (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    In our previous studies it has been found that a phenomenon labeled tilting is a form of moral anger. When players are in tilt they make a series of bad decisions, chase their losses and express anger by cursing their opponents. In the context of tilting, the players also report episodes of memory loss. Additionally, we also developed a scale that measures the level of a player's poker experience, and we found evidence to suggest that poker experience is associated with mature self-reflection skills. We also found that the likelihood of a poker player making the correct decision in poker decision making tasks increased as a function of self-reflection and poker experience. In Study 1 I found evidence supporting the hypothesis that the regulation of emotions is an important part of the skill set of poker players. Specifically, if poker players have read a story about betrayal where they are asked to take the position of the victim before they make their decisions in poker decision making tasks, they make mathematically worse decisions than those participants who have only read a control story. The effect was moderated by the presence of a pair of moving eyes placed on the screen, which were used as proxy for the social environment. The results support the hypothesis that tilting is related to moral anger, or at least some form of anger that seems consistent with the events taking place in the social context. In Study 2, I assessed the associations between the HEXACO personality inventory -revised and poker experience. I obtained evidence supporting the notion that emotional stability is positively associated with accumulated poker experience. In Study 3 I showed that poker experience does not seem to be correlated with emotional intelligence, selfishness, self-control problems, social alienation or lowered levels of life satisfaction. I also note that these measures correlate with instruments measuring problem gambling. However, I observed either no correlations, or correlations hinting towards health benefits, between these instruments and poker experience. I concluded that problem gambling instruments need further development Taken together our results indicate that there are numerous benefits in approaching the field of gambling studies from a non-clinical angle.
  • Kalu, Emmanuel Okwara (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    More than half of those newly infected with HIV/AIDS are between the ages of 15 and 24 (UNICEF, UNAIDS and WHO 2002). The disease s challenge is not limited to students already diagnosed with the disease, but also to students in limbo (students who do not know their status), because about 50% of those living with HIV do not know their status (UNAIDS 2012). However, voluntary HIV screening is unpopular, probably due to fear and gross misconceptions. Based on the presumption that besides its health and educational impacts, the disease also influences the productivity and future goals of students, this study investigated and compared the conceptions of HIV-positive university students in Finland and Nigeria in search of not only the negative, but also the positive meanings of living with the disease, with the aim of bettering HIV/AIDS understandings. The study is primarily approached through phenomenography. Seven individuals participated in the study (three Finns and four Nigerians) through in-depth and e-mail interviews. The outcomes are described and compared under 7 main categories, 26 sub-categories and 300 themes based on the similarities and qualitative differences in the participants conceptions. To further illustrate the outcomes, Concept Maps were used at the end of each main category to separately show the Finnish and Nigerian participants responses within each category. In addition, tables of comparison were used in Appendixes one to seven to compare the Finnish and Nigerian participants conceptions thematically and also in relation to the results of earlier studies. Subsequently, propositions in text format were used in Appendix eight to present the concept map outcomes in a different light. The findings reveal that although the negative effects are much more noticeable, the positive impacts are increasing. They add to refuting what we already know about living with the disease, especially in the 1980s and 1990s. In view of the many benefits of living with HIV, as illuminated by this study, the current situation is unlike the past, as today living with HIV does more good than harm especially in terms of motivating positive and healthful living. The comparison of the two groups reveals no wide gap between the Finnish and Nigerian participants conceptions; nevertheless, while the Finnish participants are slightly better informed about HIV/AIDS, their Nigerian counterparts are more open and positive about their conditions. Due to the nature of its findings, the implications of this study are many; the most outstanding of which is that it may positively and healthfully transform readers. By bringing into the spotlight the unpopular positive sides of living with HIV (not AIDS), PLWHA could further be strengthened to cope with the disease, and the fears of students in limbo due to misconceptions could be reduced, which may motivate them to voluntarily participate in HIV screening. Furthermore, the study may contribute to enabling HIV/AIDS organisations to better tailor their services towards meeting the needs of their subjects. School authorities could equally be motivated to make school environments more HIV/AIDS friendly. The Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and similar ministries in other countries may also find in these outcomes reasons to push for changes in HIV/AIDS policies. Keywords: HIV/AIDS, PLWHA, students, education, health, healthful living
  • Aarnio, Matti (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    Today's medical education faces the challenge of developing students competencies to resolve ever more complex problems in collaboration with other professionals. Problem-based learning (PBL) has proven useful for developing many of the competencies needed in modern healthcare. In PBL students collaboratively construct knowledge to explain and solve problems related to real-life situations. In such knowledge construction, dealing with conflicting ideas and knowledge has the potential to enhance student learning while also developing teamwork and critical thinking, skills that are central to multi-professional healthcare teams. The studies that make up the present doctoral thesis explored how students deal with conflicts on knowledge and how they are facilitated to handle such conflicts in PBL tutorial discussions. In addition, the thesis focuses on how to help students learn teamwork skills and critical thinking. Study I examined how to teach teamwork skills to first-year medical students and how to motivate them to learn these skills. The teamwork skills focused on verbal communication in PBL tutorial sessions and in healthcare teams. Feedback on the teamwork skills module from three consecutive classes of first-year students was analysed. Students motivation to learn teamwork skills increased significantly when the introduction to the topic was improved by more clearly pointing out the clinical relevance of such skills. Study II focused on how conflicts on knowledge were dealt with in PBL tutorial group discussions. Four video-recorded tutorial sessions including 33 first-year medical and dental students were analysed. Conflicts on knowledge were found to be relatively rare and generally fairly brief. This was due to a lack of collaborative and thorough argumentation, as well as a lack of questions that would elicit elaboration on the issues. Study III examined tutor facilitation during tutorial discussions, and particularly how the facilitation helped students to collaboratively resolve conflicts on knowledge. The study focused on the tutors in the same video-recorded tutorial sessions as in Study II. The tutors typically intervened by confirming what the students had said or by giving explanations, but they rarely asked questions that would stimulate elaboration on knowledge. During conflicts on knowledge the tutors gave more explanations, but did little to encourage the students to elaborate on conflicting ideas. Study IV focused on medical students conceptions of critical thinking in preclinical PBL. The aim was to find out how the students defined critical thinking, how they perceived it in preclinical PBL and what they expected it to be in clinical practice. The students typically understood critical thinking as judging the reliability of sources of information. Few students understood critical thinking to mean reflecting on their own thinking or viewing things from different perspectives. Students conceptions of critical thinking may have prevented them from seeing the connection between critical thinking in preclinical PBL and critical thinking in clinical practice. The present thesis sheds light on the processes of collaborative knowledge construction related to dealing with conflicting knowledge and ideas in PBL tutorial discussions. The results confirmed prior research findings, which have shown that students rarely deal with conflicting ideas and knowledge, and they point to the central role of the tutor in facilitating students to address these matters in tutorial discussions. The findings also revealed that engaging in deep inquiry during conflicts on knowledge was challenging for both students and tutors. The results further underlined the importance of clearly pointing out to students how they will benefit from the skills learned in preclinical PBL, such as teamwork and critical thinking, in their future professions. Based on these findings, new ideas for improving learning from conflicting ideas in small-group discussions are introduced. Future studies are encouraged to continue exploring the many exciting avenues opened by the present doctoral thesis.
  • Neittaanmäki-Perttu, Noora (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    ABSTRACT Background and purpose: As the skin cancer burden continues to increase, there is an urgent need for novel methods for the early detection of skin cancers, and for new cost-effective treatments. The hyperspectral imaging system (HIS) is a novel technique which offers the dual advantages of allowing the imaging of large skin areas rapidly and non-invasively. Daylight photodynamic therapy (DL-PDT), with the advantages of excellent tolerability and convenience, is an attaractive therapy for actinic keratoses (AK) and field cancerization.This thesis aimed to enable early and effective treatment of common premalignancies of photo-damaged skin.The first purpose of this thesis was to evaluate the feasibility of HIS in the detection of field cancerized skin and in the detection of ill-defined borders of lentigo maligna (LM) and lentigo maligna melanoma (LMM). In addition, this thesis aimed to further develop the treatment of field cancerized skin with photodynamic therapy using a novel photosensitizer in combination with daylight (DL-PDT), and to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of DL-PDT. Methods: This thesis included four non-sponsored prospective clinical studies. The novel prototype HIS, used in studies I-II, was developed for the study at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. The technique enabled in vivo imaging of the skin prior to surgical procedures and produced abundance maps of the affected skin areas. The results were verified by histopathology. Study III was randomized double-blinded intra-individual split-face trial comparing novel photosensitizer formulation, 5-aminolaevulinate nanoemulsion (BF-200 ALA) with methyl-5-aminolaevulinate (MAL) in DL-PDT of AKs. In addition to blinded clinical and histological treatment efficacy, tolerability of the treatment was assessed. Study IV evaluated the cost-effectiveness of MAL-DL-PDT compared to conventional MAL-LED-PDT. Results: In studies I-II HIS showed its feasibility in both the detection of subclinical borders of ill-defined lentigo malignas (LM) and lentigo maligna melanomas (LMM), and in the detection of early subclinical actinic keratoses (AK). In study I HIS accurately detected 20 of 23 (87%) of the LM/LMM borders as confirmed by histology. HIS was useful i.e. detected the lesion borders more accurately than a clinician using Wood s light in 11 of 23 (47.8%) cases. Six re-excisions could have been avoided with HIS. In 3/23 cases (13%) HIS was not in concordance with the histopathology, which in two cases HIS showed lesion extension which was not verified histologically (wrong positive) and in one case HIS missed the subclinical extension (wrong negative). In study II with 12 patients and 52 clinical AKs, HIS accurately detected all the clinical lesions in addition to numerous areas of subclinical damage. HIS findings matched the histopathological findings in all 33 biopsied areas (AK, n=28, photo-damaged skin, n=5), revealing 16 subclinical lesions of which 10 were not detected by fluorescence diagnosis. In study III (13 patients, 177 lesions) in a per patient (half-face) analysis BF-200 ALA cleared thin AKs more effectively than did MAL (p=0.027). In per lesion analysis the complete clearance rates were 84.5% for BF-200 ALA, and 74.2% for MAL (p=ns). The area response rates, including also the new appeared lesions (i.e.preventive effect), were 79.8% for BF-200 ALA and 65.6% for MAL, p=0.044. Histologically, DL-PDT effectively cleared all the signs of dysplasia in 61.5% lesions treated with BF-200 ALA and in 38.5% with MAL (p=ns). The mean decrease in p53 expression was 54.4% with BF-200 ALA, 34 % with MAL (p=ns). DL-treatment was nearly painless with both photosensitizers. BF-200 ALA and MAL DL-treatments were similarly tolerated as regards to adverse reactions. In study IV 70 patients (210 target lesions) randomized to receive DL-PDT or LED-PDT with MAL, at six months the patient complete response rates were 15 of 35 (42.9%) and 24 of 35 (68.6%), (p=0.030) and lesion clearance rates were 72.4% and 89.2%, respectively (p=0.0025). DL-PDT required significantly less time at the clinic (p less than 0.0001) and could be used with lower total costs ( 132) compared to conventional LED-PDT ( 170), p=0.022. However, in terms of cost-effectiveness MAL-DL-PDT was found to give less value for money compared to MAL-LED-PDT. The incrementl cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) showed the monetary gain of 147 per unit of effectiveness lost. Thus, the use of DL-PDT instead of LED-PDT would decrease the healing probability but only low incremental cost savings would be achieved. The costs per complete responder were 308 for MAL DL-PDT and 248 for MAL LED-PDT, p= 0.004. Conclusions: The more accurate pre-surgical assessment of the subclinical borders of LM and LMM with HIS could lead to fewer re-excixions, which furthermore could reduce the burden to both patients and clinics. In addition, the early non-invasive detection of skin field cancerization could enhance the treatment process by revealing the as yet subclinical areas in need of treatment, and could possibly aid the monitoring of treatment efficacy. Even though HIS was found to be useful in these two indications, more studies are warranted to qualify the optimal mathematical algorithms for diagnostic use.The use of novel a photosensitizer formulation, BF-200 ALA, in DL-PDT could lead in lower costs and increase the efficacy. Interestingly, the efficacy of DL-PDT with BF-200 ALA was approaching the efficacy achieved with conventional LED-PDT. As field cancerized skin should be treated as a chronic disease requiring repeated treatments, DL-PDT offers a painless and convenient option for this purpose. However, DL-PDT with MAL provided less value for money compared to conventional MAL-PDT. The cost-effectiveness of BF-200 ALA in DL-PDT for AKs needs further studies.
  • Chua, Joey (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    This qualitative study examined the culture-specific forms of dance talent development. Due to the scant and uneven literature in the field of dance talent development, this study firstly aimed at exploring the various theories and research methodologies underpinning current dance talent development literature. The other aims were to better understand how various catalysts and processes enhanced dancers development at different stages and helped guide students in actualizing their potential. Hence, mapping the Finnish and Singaporean dancers and dance students talent trajectories later became the focus of this study. This dissertation consists of three sections or (dance) Acts , which are based on three sole-authored publications. Act I introduces the compilation and synthesis of empirically based articles published between 2000 2012 that dealt with the critical issues of developing dance talents across the lifespan of children, adolescents, and adults. Data from 37 accepted studies were abstracted into evidence tables relating to: (a) abilities and traits, (b) creativity, (c) motivation, and (d) social support. Findings and recommendations about future research were useful in clarifying the ontological, epis- temological, and methodological lenses adopted in subsequent studies in this dissertation. In particular, definition of dance talents should be addressed using talent development theories, and more retrospective research about successful dancers and more prospective longitudinal research about talented students should be conducted. Act II presents, via retrospective interviews, the key factors that impacted the talent development of the award-winning Singaporean (n = 4) and Finnish (n = 4) ballet and contemporary dancers. Integral to all the eight dancers success were a high level of abilities, developed psychosocial skills, supportive and knowledgeable people, optimal learning opportunities, and chance. Four dancers stories titled Nonconformist, Exemplary Dancer, Go-Getter, and Trailblazer revolving around the themes and developmental stages illustrate the markedly different pathways for achiev- ing success. The talent-development mega-model framed the discussions in Acts I and II. The perspectives of students (n = 4), parents (n = 2), teachers (n = 6), and a sibling were analyzed in Act III in order to clarify how well significant individuals have supported the exceptionally talented dance students across the different stages of their talent development. The four exceptionally talented students were enrolled in their national dance institutions the Finnish National Opera Ballet School and the Singapore Dance Theatre. Common themes that emerged from this prospective, two-year study were being there, sharing, and knowing that illustrated the types of support instrumental, emotional, and informational from families, peers, and teachers that contributed to the students development. A result of this dissertation is the creation of a conceptual framework of dance talent develop- ment that can be useful for future research. The framework describes abilities, motivational beliefs, supportive and knowledgeable people, learning opportunities, and social skills that are crucial for dance talent development across four stages budding, blossoming, maturing, and seasoned.  The author has already utilized this framework in a longitudinal study involving male dance students. While this model emphasizes talent development in dance, it is hoped that this model is applicable in other domains.
  • Repo, Laura (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    Bullying and its prevention in early childhood education The purpose of this research was to study the phenomenon of bullying in the preschool environment in order to expand understanding of the phenomenon and to be able to conduct effective anti-bullying practices. Thus, the aims of this research were to study the prevalence and forms of bullying and to find what kind of organizational and pedagogical practices used in preschools were related to bullying behavior and the prevention of bullying. The study also interprets qualitative research data, disclosing what meanings children give to the bullying phenomenon. Two kinds of data were collected for the study: a qualitative data from interviews of children, preschool teachers and practical nurses and parents (N = 114) and data from a survey of early education professionals (N = 771). The results of this study indicate that systematic bullying does occur in preschool groups. The interviews showed that young children were able to describe the phenomenon, and its content varied only slightly from adults speech on the topic. Results showed that 12.6% of preschool children were involved in bullying in one way or another. The most common form of bullying was exclusion from peer relationships. The findings also showed that bullying is a group phenomenon already in preschool groups. However, children with special educational needs were significantly more often involved in bullying situations than children without special educational needs. Thus, the bullying prevention programs developed in early childhood educational environments should be applied both with individual children and at child group level. A common way to intervene in bullying situations was excluding the child from the group. However, in those groups that exclusion was used as an intervention to bullying, respondents reported that they were unable to stop bullying behavior. In addition, in those groups where different pedagogical solutions were tested and evaluated often, less bullying occurred than in those groups that did not test and evaluate their practices. As a conclusion to this study, in order to prevent bullying in preschool environments, even more attention should be paid to strengthen the child group cohesion and to the pedagogical solutions when encountering misbehaving children. A child has a right to an appropriate education where he/she can learn alternative and socially acceptable ways to behave in relations with others. Key words: bullying, early childhood education, peer victimization, special educational needs, bullying prevention, discipline, bystander
  • Meretniemi, Maija (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    This dissertation uses the approach of history of ideas and consepts to examine how the concepts of a good home and spiritual motherhood were seen by kindergarten teachers. These concepts were the guiding principles of Finnish kindergartens from approximately 1890 to 1950. The key research problem explored in the dissertation is the tension between the private and the public in the intellectual foundations of kindergarten activities, in the objectives of these activities and in the self-understanding of kindergarten teachers. The dissertation poses the following questions: How was the concept of spiritual motherhood, as emphasised in the kindergarten ideology, manifested in the professional dialogue of kindergarten teachers? What meanings were ascribed to it and what tensions were involved in its interpretations? What kinds of physical environments and everyday practices did kindergarten teachers create in kindergartens based on the concept of a good home? What arguments did kindergarten teachers use when responding to proposals and calls to expand the kindergarten day care to a full-time day care? The research material includes the diaries and letters of the major actors involved in the early stages of kindergarten education, archival resources related to the education, and biographical and interview material from providers of kindergarten education. The key figures in the study are Hanna Rothman and Elisabeth Alander, both pioneers of kindergarten education, and Elsa Borenius, who developed kindergarten work. Through these individuals, this dissertation analyses the reception aforementioned concepts as well as their processing and application in the education and work of kindergarten teachers. Introduced by Friedrich Fröbel and Henriette Schrader-Breymann, the concepts of a good home and spiritual motherhood were adopted in Finnish kindergarten work largely in their original form. The concepts were shaped by the religious convictions of Hanna Rothman and Elisabeth Alander: spiritual motherhood was close to religious motherhood, and kindergarten work in its early stages was viewed as Christian social missionary work in a pedagogical framework. As a spiritual mother, the female kindergarten educator had to place herself in the service of love for the benefit of those close to her. This expectation created tensions in education and easily resulted in teachers becoming exhausted in their work. The principle of spiritual motherhood guided the professional image of kindergarten teachers for several decades and linked the kindergarten closely with the private, rather than the public, sphere. Maternal qualities were considered professional requirements which weakened the connection between kindergarten teaching and the worlds of school and academia. Initially, kindergarten teaching was an ambivalent profession lying between motherhood and teaching. It was a caring occupation characterised by a strict ethical code and unselfishness. The Christian values of the kindergarten came under scrutiny as the work began to develop into a public social service. The ideal of a good home informed the planning of kindergarten facilities as home-like environments based on the teachers own bourgeois homes. Kindergarten teachers themselves designed the kindergarten facilities and furniture. The kitchen was considered particularly important. The sense of community and social growth were promoted through both pedagogy of work and common activities in the kindergarten. The ideal of the home, emphasis on the link between mother and child, and part-time day care in the kindergarten constituted a practice that was difficult to break when calls for the expansion of full-time day care began to come from various directions of society in the 1940s and 1950s. Kindergarten teachers opposed full-time day care by appealing to children s own good and and the principle of home as the primary environment for child rearing before school age. The teachers felt that part-time day care could satisfy the need for early childhood education. To resolve the issue of full-time day care, the kindergarten teachers suggested as early as the late 1940s that mothers work part-time or receive a maternity salary . From 1918 onwards, separate groups were established in kindergartens for school children in full-time day care, but these groups did not develop as anticipated. The ideological tradition of the pioneers of kindergarten education emphasised religion, spiritual motherhood and Fröbel s pedagogy. The rules of the Ebeneser Foundation, which provided training in the field, were tied to Christian values. This tradition conduced to the uniformity of kindergarten teacher education, but also separated it from other teacher education and may have hampered its academic development. The `shine of spiritual motherhood´wore off when the realities of the profession set in. Changes in social policy began to affect day care arrangements only after the end of my research period. The ideal of the home remained unchanged, although what originally began as private kindergarten work gradually developed into a publicly funded and managed activity. Keywords: History of the kindergarten, a good home, spiritual motherhood, pedagogy of work, part-time day care, full-time day care, day care for schoolchildren
  • Hyytinen, Heidi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    The central purpose of this doctoral thesis has been to deepen our understanding of the nature of critical thinking by combining theoretical, empirical and methodological perspectives. The concept of critical thinking has a central role both in research on the philosophy of education and in empirical research on learning and teaching in higher education. Although it is true that the philosophical and empirical analyses of critical thinking and knowledge differ fundamentally, the present thesis argues that there are shared concerns between these two scholarly traditions. The thesis consists of four studies, each of which approached this aim from different viewpoints. The methods involved both a philosophical approach and an empirical multi-method approach. The dialogue between the empirical and theoretical analyses offers new insights into conceptualising critical thinking and its prerequisites and extends our understanding of variations in critical thinking. Based on the theoretical findings of these studies, I argue that normative elements (how things ought to be) and descriptive elements (how things are) are fundamentally intertwined in the research on critical thinking. Therefore, educational research on critical thinking requires both philosophical and empirical approaches and also dialogue between these two approaches. The theoretical part of the doctoral thesis further demonstrates how philosophical research can contribute to the normative elements of the prevailing empirically-based theorisation of critical thinking, particularly by revealing some conceptual inconsistencies within this framework. The research further introduces the notion of fallibilism (human knowledge is uncertain) as a way out. Epistemological fallibilism fits the presumption of critical thinking better than relativism from the theoretical and pedagogical points of view. The empirical results revealed variation in (a) students skills and dispositions to think critically, (b) students ability to adapt their thinking and performance flexibility, (c) the nature of knowledge students consider to be relevant, (d) the knowledge that students use in problem-solving situations, as well as (e) the way students process that knowledge. Based on these variations two profiles were identified: (1) superficial processing or (2) thorough processing. Superficial processing students reproduced information in the problem-solving situation. These students did not analyse, interpret, evaluate or synthesise knowledge, and their reasoning was very poor. They palmed off justification for knowing on authorities and testimonies. In contrast to previous research, the results show that these students did not share the belief that knowledge is absolutely certain or unquestionable. Nor did these students share the view that beliefs accurately represent or correspond to reality. These students emphasised the uncertain nature of knowledge. The thorough processing students, by contrast, evaluated the quality of the information and considered its premises, as well as the implications of different conclusions. They weighed different options, analysed connections between claims, connected related ideas and gave mainly well-reasoned explanations and convincing arguments. The findings also show that the thorough processing students believed knowledge to be tentative and fallible. However, these students did not argue that all knowledge is constructed by human beings nor did they believe that all interpretations, theories and beliefs are equally right. They thus avoided slipping into relativism. The results revealed that both deeply superficial and thorough processing thinking entails problems if it is connected to an inability to adjust thinking or actions to the demands of the task. This thesis also identified several methodological challenges in assessing critical thinking. The results show that different performance-based critical thinking tests could give completely opposite pictures of a student s abilities. The results further indicated that the group-level analyses could overrun the rich variations in test performance that occurred among individual students. Additionally, the thesis reminds us that the theoretical framework has a great influence on how data are analysed and interpreted. Finally, the thesis argues that one assessment or analysis method is not enough to evaluate the complex cognitive processes of critical thinking. Instead of a sole focus on empirical or theoretical elements, more communication between the theoretical, empirical and methodological perspectives is required to deepen the understanding of critical thinking among students of higher education. Keywords: critical thinking, performance assessment, epistemology, fallibilism, relativism
  • Saad, Elyana (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    The relationship between mental representations based on external visual percepts (i.e., information held in short-term memory or via mental imagery) and the encoding of visual input remains unsettled. What stimulates this debate is the share of overlapping neural resources between visual short-term memory (VSTM), mental imagery and visual perception in the realm of the early visual cortex (EVC). This overlap raises a number of questions: how do the internal memory and imagery representations affect the perception of incoming visual information? What happens to imagery and VSTM abilities when cognitive resources need to be shared with the encoding of visual input? In short: how do visual memory/imagery and visual perception interact? This work addressed these questions by the use of behavioral paradigms coupled with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in situations where the encoding of the visual percept (measured via the tilt after effect (TAE) magnitude) happens either simultaneously or subsequently to holding information in VSTM/imagery. Therefore, when VSTM and the encoding of external input occurred concurrently, VSTM maintenance was found to inhibit visual encoding, reflected as a reduction of the TAE. Using TMS, it was shown that this inhibition takes place at the level of EVC. This reduction was found when the VSTM content matched the visual input, and when they were incongruent. However, when the encoding of external input occurred after VSTM maintenance phase had ended, VSTM maintenance was found to facilitate the former when the VSTM content matched the visual input. The subjective strength and the contrast of VSTM and mental imagery content (as reported by participants) affect visual detection of a briefly presented masked target. The reported visual contrast was positively associated with reporting target presence for both VSTM and mental imagery, in other words, inducing a more liberal bias. However, a differential effect was found for the subjective strength of the representations. Whereas the subjective VSTM strength was positively associated with the visual detection of the target, the opposite effect was observed for imagery. Finally, TMS applied at the EVC revealed a partial dissociation in the neural basis of VSTM and mental imagery by inducing delayed responses for the former selectively. Thus, while VSTM and mental imagery share neural resources, their neural mechanisms are partly dissociable at the level of early visual cortex.