## Doctoral Thesis

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#### Faculty / Organisational entity

Enhanced information processing of phobic natural images in participants with specific phobias
(2014)

From an evolutionary point of view, it can be assumed that visual processing and rapid detection of potentially dangerous stimuli in the environment (e.g., perilous animals) is highly adaptive for all humans. In the present dissertation, I address three research questions; (1) Is information processing of threatening stimuli enhanced in individuals with specific phobias? (2) Are there any differences between the different types of phobia (e.g., spider phobia vs. snake phobia)? (3) Is the frequently reported attentional bias of individuals with specific phobias - which may contribute to an enhancement in information processing – also detectable in a prior entry paradigm? In Experiments 1 to 3 of the present thesis non-anxious control, spider-fearful, snake-fearful, and blood-injection-injury-fearful participants took part in the study. We applied in each experiment a response priming paradigm which has a strong theoretical (cf. rapid-chase theory; Schmidt, Niehaus, & Nagel, 2006; Schmidt, Haberkamp, Veltkamp et al., 2011) as well as empirical background (cf. Schmidt, 2002). We show that information processing in fearful individuals is indeed enhanced for phobic images (i.e., spiders for spider-fearful participants; injuries for blood-injury-injection(BII)-fearful individuals). However, we found marked differences between the different types of phobia. In Experiment 1 and 2 (Chapter 2 and 3), spiders had a strong and specific influence in the group of spider-fearful individuals: Phobic primes entailed the largest priming effects, and phobic targets accelerated responses, both effects indicating speeded response activation by phobic images. In snake-fearful participants (Experiment 1, Chapter 2), this processing enhancement for phobic material was less pronounced and extended to both snake and spider images. In Experiment 3 (Chapter 4), we demonstrated that early information processing for pictures of small injuries is also enhanced in BII-fearful participants, even though BII fear is unique in that BII-fearful individuals show opposite physiological reactions when confronted with the phobic stimulus compared to individuals with animal phobias. These results show that already fast visuomotor responses are further enhanced in spider- and BII-fearful participants. Results give evidence that responses are based on the first feedforward sweep of neuronal activation proceeding through the visuomotor system. I propose that the additional enhancement in spider- and BII-fearful individuals depend on a specific hardwired binding of elementary features belonging to the phobic object in fearful individuals (i.e., effortless recognition of the respective phobic object via hardwired neuronal conjunctions). I suggest that these hardwired conjunctions developed due to long-term perceptual learning processes. We also investigate the frequently reported attentional bias of phobic individuals and showed that this bias is detectable in temporal order judgments using a prior entry paradigm. I assume that perceptual learning processes might also strengthen the attentional bias, for example, by providing a more salient bottom-up signal that draws attention involuntarily. In sum, I conclude that (1) early information processing of threatening stimuli is indeed enhanced in individuals with specific phobias but that (2) differences between divers types of phobia exist (i.e., spider- and BII-fearful participants show enhanced information of the respective phobic object; though, snake-fearful participants show no specific information processing enhancement of snakes); (3) the frequently reported attentional bias of spider-fearful individuals is also detectable in a prior entry paradigm.

Safety analysis is of ultimate importance for operating Nuclear Power Plants (NPP). The overall
modeling and simulation of physical and chemical processes occuring in the course of an accident
is an interdisciplinary problem and has origins in fluid dynamics, numerical analysis, reactor tech-
nology and computer programming. The aim of the study is therefore to create the foundations
of a multi-dimensional non-isothermal fluid model for a NPP containment and software tool based
on it. The numerical simulations allow to analyze and predict the behavior of NPP systems under
different working and accident conditions, and to develop proper action plans for minimizing the
risks of accidents, and/or minimizing the consequences of possible accidents. A very large number
of scenarios have to be simulated, and at the same time acceptable accuracy for the critical param-
eters, such as radioactive pollution, temperature, etc., have to be achieved. The existing software
tools are either too slow, or not accurate enough. This thesis deals with developing customized al-
gorithm and software tools for simulation of isothermal and non-isothermal flows in a containment
pool of NPP. Requirements to such a software are formulated, and proper algorithms are presented.
The goal of the work is to achieve a balance between accuracy and speed of calculation, and to
develop customized algorithm for this special case. Different discretization and solution approaches
are studied and those which correspond best to the formulated goal are selected, adjusted, and when
possible, analysed. Fast directional splitting algorithm for Navier-Stokes equations in complicated
geometries, in presence of solid and porous obstales, is in the core of the algorithm. Developing
suitable pre-processor and customized domain decomposition algorithms are essential part of the
overall algorithm amd software. Results from numerical simulations in test geometries and in real
geometries are presented and discussed.

Embedded systems, ranging from very simple systems up to complex controllers, may
nowadays have quite challenging real-time requirements. Many embedded systems are reactive
systems that have to respond to environmental events and have to guarantee certain real-time
constrain. Their execution is usually divided into reaction steps, where in each step, the
system reads inputs from the environment and reacts to these by computing corresponding
outputs.
The synchronous Model of Computation (MoC) has proven to be well-suited for the
development of reactive real-time embedded systems whose paradigm directly reflects the
reactive nature of the systems it describes. Another advantage is the availability of formal
verification by model checking as a result of the deterministic execution based on a formal
semantics. Nevertheless, the increasing complexity of embedded systems requires to compensate
the natural disadvantages of model checking that suffers from the well-known state-space
explosion problem. It is therefore natural to try to integrate other verification methods with
the already established techniques. Hence, improvements to encounter these problems are
required, e.g., appropriate decomposition techniques, which encounter the disadvantages
of the model checking approach naturally. But defining decomposition techniques for synchronous
language is a difficult task, as a result of the inherent parallelism emerging from
the synchronous broadcast communication.
Inspired by the progress in the field of desynchronization of synchronous systems by
representing them in other MoCs, this work will investigate the possibility of adapting and use
methods and tools designed for other MoC for the verification of systems represented in the
synchronous MoC. Therefore, this work introduces the interactive verification of synchronous
systems based on the basic foundation of formal verification for sequential programs – the
Hoare calculus. Due to the different models of computation several problems have to be
solved. In particular due to the large amount of concurrency, several parts of the program
are active at the same point of time. In contrast to sequential programs, a decomposition
in the Hoare-logic style that is in some sense a symbolic execution from one control flow
location to another one requires the consideration of several flows here. Therefore, different
approaches for the interactive verification of synchronous systems are presented.
Additionally, the representation of synchronous systems by other MoCs and the influence
of the representation on the verification task by differently embedding synchronous system
in a single verification tool are elaborated.
The feasibility is shown by integration of the presented approach with the established
model checking methods by implementing the AIFProver on top of the Averest system.

Pedestrian Flow Models
(2014)

There have been many crowd disasters because of poor planning of the events. Pedestrian models are useful in analysing the behavior of pedestrians in advance to the events so that no pedestrians will be harmed during the event. This thesis deals with pedestrian flow models on microscopic, hydrodynamic and scalar scales. By following the Hughes' approach, who describes the crowd as a thinking fluid, we use the solution of the Eikonal equation to compute the optimal path for pedestrians. We start with the microscopic model for pedestrian flow and then derive the hydrodynamic and scalar models from it. We use particle methods to solve the governing equations. Moreover, we have coupled a mesh free particle method to the fixed grid for solving the Eikonal equation. We consider an example with a large number of pedestrians to investigate our models for different settings of obstacles and for different parameters. We also consider the pedestrian flow in a straight corridor and through T-junction and compare our numerical results with the experiments. A part of this work is devoted for finding a mesh free method to solve the Eikonal equation. Most of the available methods to solve the Eikonal equation are restricted to either cartesian grid or triangulated grid. In this context, we propose a mesh free method to solve the Eikonal equation, which can be applicable to any arbitrary grid and useful for the complex geometries.

When stimulus and response overlap in a choice-reaction task, enhanced performance can be observed. This effect, the so-called Stimulus-Response Compatibility (SRC) has been shown to appear for a variety of different stimulus features such as numerical or physical size, luminance, or pitch height. While many of these SRC effects have been investigated in an isolated manner, only fewer studies focus on possible interferences when more than one stimulus dimension is varied. The present thesis investigated how the SRC effect of pitch heights, the so-called SPARC effect (Spatial Pitch Associations of Response Codes), is influenced by additionally varied stimulus information. In Study 1, the pitch heights of presented tones were varied along with timbre categories under two different task and pitch range conditions and with two different response alignments. Similarly, in Study 2, pitch heights as well as numerical values were varied within sung numbers under two different task conditions. The results showed simultaneous SRC effects appearing independently of each other in both studies: In Study 1, an expected SRC effect of pitch heights with horizontal responses (i.e., a horizontal SPARC effect) was observed. More interestingly, an additional and unexpected SRC effect of timbre with response sides presented itself independently of this SPARC effect. Similar results were obtained in Study 2: Here, an SRC effect for pitch heights (SPARC) and an SRC effect for numbers (i.e., SNARC or Spatial Numerical Associations of Response Codes, respectively) were observed and again the effects did not interfere with each other. Thus, results indicate that SPARC with horizontal responses does not interfere with SRC effects of other, simultaneously varied stimulus dimensions. These findings are discussed within the principle of polarity correspondence and the dimensional overlap model as theoretical accounts for SRC effects. In sum, it appears that the different types of information according to varied stimulus dimensions enter the decision stage of stimulus processing from separate channels.

A positive affection of human health by nutrition is of high interest, especially for bioactive compounds which are consumed daily in high amounts. This is the case for chlorogenic acids (CGA) ingested by coffee. This molecule class is associated with several possible beneficial health effects observed in vitro that strongly depend on their bioavailability. So far factors influencing bioavailability of CGA such as dose, molecule structure and site of absorption haven´t been investigated sufficiently.
Therefore we performed an in vivo dose-response study with ileostomists, who consumed three different nutritional doses of CGA ingested as instant coffee (4,525 (HIGH); 2,219 (MEDIUM); 1,053 (LOW) μmol CGA). CGA concentrations were determined in ileal fluid, urine and plasma. Furthermore, we conducted an ex vivo study with pig jejunal mucosa using the Ussing chamber model to confirm the in vivo observations. Individual transfer rates of CGA from coffee were investigated, namely: caffeoylquinic acid (CQA), feruloylquinic acid (FQA), caffeic acid (CA), dicaffeoylquinic acid (diCQA) and QA at physiological concentrations (0.2–3.5 mM). Samples were analyzed by HPLC-DAD, -ESI-MS and -ESI-MS/MS.
About ⅔ of the ingested CGA by coffee consumption were available in the colon dose independent. Nevertheless, the results showed that the consumption of higher CGA doses leads to a faster ileal excretion. This corresponds to a plasma AUC0-8h for CGA and metabolites of 4,412 ± 751 nM*h0-8-1 (HIGH), 2,394 ± 637 nM*h0-8-1 (MEDIUM) and 1,782 ± 731 nM*h0-8-1 (LOW) respectively, and a renal excretion of 8.0 ± 4.9% (HIGH), 12.1 ± 6.7% (MEDIUM) and 14.6 ± 6.8% (LOW). Moreover interindividual differences in gastrointestinal transit times were related to differences in total CGA absorption. Thus the variety of patient´s physiology is a decisive bioavailability factor for CGA uptake. This is corroborated ex vivo by a direct proportional relationship of incubation time with absorbed CGA amount.
The consumption of high CGA doses influences the metabolism pattern as an increasing glucuronidation was observed with consumption of increasing CGA doses. However, the different CGA doses have only minor effects on the overall bioavailability which was confirmed ex vivo by a non-saturable passive diffusion of 5-CQA. Furthermore, we identified in the Ussing chamber an active efflux secretion for 5-CQA that decreases its bioavailability and the physicochemical properties of the CGA subgroups as an important bioavailability factor. Transferred amount in increasing order: diCQA, trace amounts; CQA ≈ 1%; CA ≈ 1.5%; FQA ≈ 2%; and QA ≈ 4%.
Altogether, the consumption of increasing CGA doses by coffee had a minor effect on oral bioavailability in ileostomists, such as a slightly increased glucuronidation. Thus, the consumption of high amounts of CGA from coffee in the daily diet is not limiting the CGA concentrations at the site of possible health effects in the human body. However, according to the patient´s physiology the interindividual gastrointestinal transit time which is possibly influenced by dose is influencing CGA bioavailability. Moreover, ex vivo CGA absorption is governed by diffusion as an absorption mechanism corroborating an unsaturable uptake in vivo and by the individual physicochemical properties of CGA.

Researchers and analysts in modern industrial and academic environments are faced with a daunting amount of multivariate data. While there has been significant development in the areas of data mining and knowledge
discovery, there is still the need for improved visualizations and generic solutions. The state-of-the-art in visual analytics and exploratory data visualization is to incorporate more profound analysis methods while focusing on improving interactive abilities, in order to support data analysts in gaining new insights through visual exploration and hypothesis building.
In the research field of exploratory data visualization, this thesis contributes new approaches in dimension reduction that tackle a number of shortcomings in state-of-the-art methods, such as interpretability and ambiguity. By combining methods from several disciplines, we describe how ambiguity can be countered effectively by visualizing coordinate values within a lower-dimensional embedding, thereby focusing on the display of the structural composition of high-dimensional data and on an intuitive depiction of inherent global relationships. We also describe how properties and alignment of high-dimensional manifolds can be analyzed in different levels of detail by means of a self-embedding hierarchy of local projections, each using full degree of freedom, while keeping the global context.
To the application field of air quality research, the thesis provides novel means for the research of aerosol source contributions. Triggered by this particularly challenging application problem, we instigate a new research direction in the area of visual analytics by describing a methodology to model-based visual analysis that (i) allows the scientist to be “in the loop” of computations and (ii) enables him to verify and control the analysis process, in order to steer computations towards physical meaning. Careful reflection of our work in this application has led us to derive key design choices that underlie and transcend beyond application-specific solutions. As a result, we describe a general design methodology to computing parameters of a pre-defined analytical model that map to multivariate data. Core applications areas that can benefit from our approach are within engineering disciplines, such as civil, chemical, electrical, and mechanical engineering, as well as in geology, physics, and biology.

Three dimensional (3d) point data is used in industry for measurement and reverse engineering. Precise point data is usually acquired with triangulating laser scanners or high precision structured light scanners. Lower precision point data is acquired by real-time structured light devices or by stereo matching with multiple cameras. The basic principle of all these methods is the so-called triangulation of 3d coordinates from two dimensional (2d) camera images.
This dissertation contributes a method for multi-camera stereo matching that uses a system of four synchronized cameras. A GPU based stereo matching method is presented to achieve a high quality reconstruction at interactive frame rates. Good depth resolution is achieved by allowing large disparities between the images. A multi level approach on the GPU allows a fast processing of these large disparities. In reverse engineering, hand-held laser scanners are used for the scanning of complex shaped objects. The operator of the scanner can scan complex regions slower, multiple times, or from multiple angles to achieve a higher point density. Traditionally, computer aided design (CAD) geometry is reconstructed in a separate step after the scanning. Errors or missing parts in the scan prevent a successful reconstruction. The contribution of this dissertation is an on-line algorithm that allows the reconstruction during the scanning of an object. Scanned points are added to the reconstruction and improve it on-line. The operator can detect the areas in the scan where the reconstruction needs additional data.
First, the point data is thinned out using an octree based data structure. Local normals and principal curvatures are estimated for the reduced set of points. These local geometric values are used for segmentation using a region growing approach. Implicit quadrics are fitted to these segments. The canonical form of the quadrics provides the parameters of basic geometric primitives.
An improved approach uses so called accumulated means of local geometric properties to perform segmentation and primitive reconstruction in a single step. Local geometric values can be added and removed on-line to these means to get a stable estimate over a complete segment. By estimating the shape of the segment it is decided which local areas are added to a segment. An accumulated score estimates the probability for a segment to belong to a certain type of geometric primitive. A boundary around the segment is reconstructed using a growing algorithm that ensures that the boundary is closed and avoids self intersections.

This thesis is devoted to the computational aspects of intersection theory and enumerative geometry. The first results are a Sage package Schubert3 and a Singular library schubert.lib which both provide the key functionality necessary for computations in intersection theory and enumerative geometry. In particular, we describe an alternative method for computations in Schubert calculus via equivariant intersection theory. More concretely, we propose an explicit formula for computing the degree of Fano schemes of linear subspaces on hypersurfaces. As a special case, we also obtain an explicit formula for computing the number of linear subspaces on a general hypersurface when this number is finite. This leads to a much better performance than classical Schubert calculus.
Another result of this thesis is related to the computation of Gromov-Witten invariants. The most powerful method for computing Gromov-Witten invariants is the localization of moduli spaces of stable maps. This method was introduced by Kontsevich in 1995. It allows us to compute Gromov-Witten invariants via Bott's formula. As an insightful application, we computed the numbers of rational curves on general complete intersection Calabi-Yau threefolds in projective spaces up to degree six. The results are all in agreement with predictions made from mirror symmetry.

According to the domain specific models of speech perception, speech is supposed to be processed distinctively compared to non-speech. This assumption is supported by many studies dealing with the processing of speech and non-speech stimuli. However, the complexity of both stimulus classes is not matched in most studies, which might be a confounding factor, according to the cue specific models of speech perception. One solution is spectrally rotated speech, which has already been used in a range of fMRI and PET studies. In order to be able to investigate the role of stimulus complexity, vowels, spectrally rotated vowels and a second non-speech condition with two bands of sinusoidal waves, representing the first two formants of the vowels, were used in the present thesis. A detailed description of the creation and the properties of the whole stimulus set are given in Chapter 2 (Experiment 1) of this work. These stimuli were used to investigate the auditory processing of speech and non-speech sounds in a group of dyslexic adults and age matched controls (Experiment 2). The results support the assumption of a general auditory deficit in dyslexia. In order to compare the sensory processing of speech and non-speech in healthy adults on the electrophysiological level, stimuli were also presented within a multifeature oddball paradigm (Experiment 3). Vowels evoked a larger mismatch negativity (MMN) compared to both non-speech stimulus types. The MMN evoked by tones and spectrally rotated tones were compared in Experiment 4, to investigate the role of harmony. No difference in the area of MMN was found, indicating that the results found in Experiment 3 were not moderated by the harmonic structure of the vowels. All results are discussed in the context of the domain and cue specific models of speech perception.