Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 17

Social Interaction Related Abstracts

17 The Influence of Social Interaction of Flat Occupants to Infrastucture Management of Kutobedah Flat in Malang City

Authors: Nony Rahadiva

Abstract:

The development of housing in urban areas can not be separated from the high rate of population growth from both natural population growth and population growth due to migration. The development is bounded by urban land area so that construction of flats become a development priority. Quality of residential flats are influenced by the patterns of behavior of its inhabitants. The frequency of contact between the occupants become one of the effects of good social relations, but harmful activity can degrade the environment, especially in flats. One of the social relationships that can be seen on the flats development is the residents in Kutobedah flat built in Malang city. Problems that occur in that place is unfavorable flat management due to social activities such as daily activities and also the neighboring activities of apartment dwellers who tend not to pay attention to the environment. Based on these problems we can do a study on social interaction in Kutobedah flat and its influence on the management of flat facilities and infrastructures. This research was carried out by submitting a questionnaire to the residents of the apartment based social activities , operations and maintenance of the flats. By using a weighted analysis, we can find that social interaction tenants is high, but the level of infrastructure and facilities management of the tenants is low so it is needed to counsel the residents how to use and maintain the infrastructure properly.

Keywords: Infrastructure Management, activities, Social Interaction, flat

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16 The Role of ICTS in Improving the Quality of Public Spaces in Large Cities of the Third World

Authors: Ayat Ayman Abdelaziz Ibrahim Amayem, Hassan Abdel-Salam, Zeyad El-Sayad

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Nowadays, ICTs have spread extensively in everyday life in an unprecedented way. A great attention is paid to the ICTs while ignoring the social aspect. With the immersive invasion of internet as well as smart phones’ applications and digital social networking, people become more socially connected through virtual spaces instead of meeting in physical public spaces. Thus, this paper aims to find the ways of implementing ICTs in public spaces to regain their status as attractive places for people, incite meetings in real life and create sustainable lively city centers. One selected example of urban space in the city center of Alexandria is selected for the study. Alexandria represents a large metropolitan city subjected to rapid transformation. Improving the quality of its public spaces will have great effects on the whole well-being of the city. The major roles that ICTs can play in the public space are: culture and art, education, planning and design, games and entertainment, and information and communication. Based on this classification various examples and proposals of ICTs interventions in public spaces are presented and analyzed to encourage good old fashioned social interaction by creating the New Social Public Place of this Digital Era. The paper will adopt methods such as questionnaire for evaluating the people’s willingness to accept the idea of using ICTs in public spaces, their needs and their proposals for an attractive place; the technique of observation to understand the people behavior and their movement through the space and finally will present an experimental design proposal for the selected urban space. Accordingly, this study will help to find design principles that can be adopted in the design of future public spaces to meet the needs of the digital era’s users with the new concepts of social life respecting the rules of place-making.

Keywords: Social Networking, ICTs, Social Interaction, Alexandria sustainable city center, digital place-making, urban places

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15 Dimensions of Public Spaces in Indian Market Places Feelings through Human Senses

Authors: Piyush Hajela

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Public spaces in Indian market places are vibrant, colorful and carry latent dimensions that make them attractive and popular gathering spaces. These markets satisfy the household needs of the people and also their social, cultural and traditional aspirations. Going to a market place for shopping in India is a great source of entertainment for the people. They would love to spend as much time as possible and stay for longer durations than otherwise required. It is this desire of the people that generates public spaces. Much of these public spaces emerge as squares, plazas, corners of varied shapes and sizes at different locations, and yet provide a conducive environment. Such public spaces grow organically and are discovered by the people themselves. Indian markets serve people of different culture, religion, caste, age, gender which keeps them alive all the year round. Indian is a diverse country and this diversity is reflected clearly in the market places. They hold the people together and promote harmony across cultures. Free access to these market places makes them magnets for social interaction. Public spaces are spread across a city and more or less have established their existence and prominence in a social set up. While few of them are created, others are discovered by the people themselves in their constant search for desirable interactive public spaces. These are the most sought after gathering spaces that have the quality of promoting social interaction, providing free accessibility, provide desirable scale etc. The paper aims at identifying these freely accessible public spaces and the dimensions within it that make these public spaces hold the people for significant duration of time. The dimensions present shall be judged through collective response of human senses in form of safety, comfort and so on through the expressions of the participants. The aim therefore would be to trace the freely accessible public spaces emerged in Indian markets and evaluate them for human response and behavior. The hierarchy of market places in the city of Bhopal is well established as, city center level, sub city-center level, community level, local and convenient level market places. While many city-centers are still referred to as the old or traditional or the core area of the city, the others are part of the planned city. These different levels of market places are studied for emerged public spaces. These emerged public spaces are then documented in detail for unveiling the dimensions they offer through, photographs, visual observations, questionnaires and response of the participants of these public spaces.

Keywords: Safety, Social Interaction, enclosure, human comfort

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14 Public Squares and Their Potential for Social Interactions: A Case Study of Historical Public Squares in Tehran

Authors: Asma Mehan

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Under the thrust of technological changes, population growth and vehicular traffic, Iranian historical squares have lost their significance and they are no longer the main social nodes of the society. This research focuses on how historical public squares can inspire designers to enhance social interactions among citizens in Iranian urban context. Moreover, the recent master plan of Tehran demonstrates the lack of public spaces designed for the purpose of people’s social gatherings. For filling this gap, first the current situation of 7 selected primary historical public squares in Tehran including Sabze Meydan, Arg, Topkhaneh, Baherstan, Mokhber-al-dole, Rah Ahan and Hassan Abad have been compared. Later, the influencing elements on social interactions of the public squares such as subjective factors (human relationships and memories) and objective factors (natural and built environment) have been investigated. As a conclusion, some strategies are proposed for improving social interactions in historical public squares like; holding cultural, national, athletic and religious events, defining different and new functions in public squares’ surrounding, increasing pedestrian routs, reviving the collective memory, demonstrating the historical importance of square, eliminating visual obstacles across the square, organization the natural elements of the square, appropriate pavement for social activities. Finally, it is argued that the combination of all influencing factors which are: human interactions, natural elements and built environment criteria will lead to enhance the historical public squares’ potential for social interaction.

Keywords: Social Interaction, Tehran, historical square, Iranian public square

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13 Stimulating the Social Interaction Development of Children through Computer Play Activities: The Role of Teachers

Authors: Mahani Razali, Abd Halim Masnan, Nordin Mamat, Seah Siok Peh

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This research is based on three main objectives which are to identify children`s social interaction behaviour during computer play activities, teacher’s role and to explore teacher’s beliefs, views and knowledge about computers use in four Malaysian pre-schools.This qualitative study was carried out among 25 pre-school children and three teachers as the research sample. The data collection procedures involved structured observation which was to identify social interaction behavior among pre-school children through computer play activities; as for semi-structured interviews, it was done to study the perception of the teachers on the acquired of social interaction behavior development among the children. A variety of patterns can be seen within the peer interactions indicating that children exhibit a vast range of social interactions at the computer, and they varied each day. The findings of this study guide us to certain conclusions, which have implications in understanding the phenomena of how computers were used and how its relationship to the children’s social interactions emerge in the four Malaysian preschools. This study provides evidence that the children’s social interactions with peers and adults were mediated by the engagement of the children in the computer environments.

Keywords: Computer, Social Interaction, play, preschool

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12 The Role of Emotional Intelligence in the Manager's Psychophysiological Activity during a Performance-Review Discussion

Authors: Mikko Salminen, Niklas Ravaja

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Emotional intelligence (EI) consists of skills for monitoring own emotions and emotions of others, skills for discriminating different emotions, and skills for using this information in thinking and actions. EI enhances, for example, work outcomes and organizational climate. We suggest that the role and manifestations of EI should also be studied in real leadership situations, especially during the emotional, social interaction. Leadership is essentially a process to influence others for reaching a certain goal. This influencing happens by managerial processes and computer-mediated communication (e.g. e-mail) but also by face-to-face, where facial expressions have a significant role in conveying emotional information. Persons with high EI are typically perceived more positively, and they have better social skills. We hypothesize, that during social interaction high EI enhances the ability to detect other’s emotional state and controlling own emotional expressions. We suggest, that emotionally intelligent leader’s experience less stress during social leadership situations, since they have better skills in dealing with the related emotional work. Thus the high-EI leaders would be more able to enjoy these situations, but also be more efficient in choosing appropriate expressions for building constructive dialogue. We suggest, that emotionally intelligent leaders show more positive emotional expressions than low-EI leaders. To study these hypotheses we observed performance review discussions of 40 leaders (24 female) with 78 (45 female) of their followers. Each leader held a discussion with two followers. Psychophysiological methods were chosen because they provide objective and continuous data from the whole duration of the discussions. We recorded sweating of the hands (electrodermal activation) by electrodes placed to the fingers of the non-dominant hand to assess the stress-related physiological arousal of the leaders. In addition, facial electromyography was recorded from cheek (zygomaticus major, activated during e.g. smiling) and periocular (orbicularis oculi, activated during smiling) muscles using electrode pairs placed on the left side of the face. Leader’s trait EI was measured with a 360 questionnaire, filled by each leader’s followers, peers, managers and by themselves. High-EI leaders had less sweating of the hands (p = .007) than the low-EI leaders. It is thus suggested that the high-EI leaders experienced less physiological stress during the discussions. Also, high scores in the factor “Using of emotions” were related to more facial muscle activation indicating positive emotional expressions (cheek muscle: p = .048; periocular muscle: p = .076, almost statistically significant). The results imply that emotionally intelligent managers are positively relaxed during s social leadership situations such as a performance review discussion. The current study also highlights the importance of EI in face-to-face social interaction, given the central role facial expressions have in interaction situations. The study also offers new insight to the biological basis of trait EI. It is suggested that the identification, forming, and intelligently using of facial expressions are skills that could be trained during leadership development courses.

Keywords: Leadership, Psychophysiology, Social Interaction, Emotional Intelligence, performance review discussion

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11 Effects of Social Stories toward Social Interaction of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Authors: Sawitree Wongkittirungrueang

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The objectives of this research were: 1) to study the effect of social stories on social interaction of students with autism. The sample was Pratomsuksa level 5 student with autism, Khon Kaen University Demonstration School, who was diagnosed by the Physician as High Functioning Autism since he was able to read, write, calculate and was studying in inclusive classroom. However, he still had disability in social interaction to participate in social activity group and communication. He could not learn how to develop friendship or create relationship. He had inappropriate behavior in social context. He did not understand complex social situations. In addition, he did seemed not know time and place. He was not able to understand feeling of oneself as well as the others. Consequently, he could not express his emotion appropriately. He did not understand or express his non-verbal language for communicating with friends. He lacked of common interest or emotion with nearby persons. He greeted inappropriately or was not interested in greeting. In addition, he did not have eye contact. He used inadequate language etc. He was elected by Purposive Sampling. His parents were willing to allow them to participate in this study. The research instruments were the lesson plan of social stories, and the picture book of social stories. The instruments used for data collection, were the social interaction evaluation of autistic students. This research was Quasi Experimental Research as One Group Pre-test, Post-test Design. For the Pre-test, the experiment was conducted by social stories. Then, the Post-test was implemented. The statistic used for data analysis, included the Mean, and Standard Deviation. The research findings were shown by Graph. The findings revealed hat the autistic students taught by social stories indicated better social interaction after being taught by social stories.

Keywords: autism, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Social Interaction, social story

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10 Exploring the Neural Correlates of Different Interaction Types: A Hyperscanning Investigation Using the Pattern Game

Authors: Beata Spilakova, Daniel J. Shaw, Radek Marecek, Milan Brazdil

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Hyperscanning affords a unique insight into the brain dynamics underlying human interaction by simultaneously scanning two or more individuals’ brain responses while they engage in dyadic exchange. This provides an opportunity to observe dynamic brain activations in all individuals participating in interaction, and possible interbrain effects among them. The present research aims to provide an experimental paradigm for hyperscanning research capable of delineating among different forms of interaction. Specifically, the goal was to distinguish between two dimensions: (1) interaction structure (concurrent vs. turn-based) and (2) goal structure (competition vs cooperation). Dual-fMRI was used to scan 22 pairs of participants - each pair matched on gender, age, education and handedness - as they played the Pattern Game. In this simple interactive task, one player attempts to recreate a pattern of tokens while the second player must either help (cooperation) or prevent the first achieving the pattern (competition). Each pair played the game iteratively, alternating their roles every round. The game was played in two consecutive sessions: first the players took sequential turns (turn-based), but in the second session they placed their tokens concurrently (concurrent). Conventional general linear model (GLM) analyses revealed activations throughout a diffuse collection of brain regions: The cooperative condition engaged medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and posterior cingulate cortex (PCC); in the competitive condition, significant activations were observed in frontal and prefrontal areas, insula cortices and the thalamus. Comparisons between the turn-based and concurrent conditions revealed greater precuneus engagement in the former. Interestingly, mPFC, PCC and insulae are linked repeatedly to social cognitive processes. Similarly, the thalamus is often associated with a cognitive empathy, thus its activation may reflect the need to predict the opponent’s upcoming moves. Frontal and prefrontal activation most likely represent the higher attentional and executive demands of the concurrent condition, whereby subjects must simultaneously observe their co-player and place his own tokens accordingly. The activation of precuneus in the turn-based condition may be linked to self-other distinction processes. Finally, by performing intra-pair correlations of brain responses we demonstrate condition-specific patterns of brain-to-brain coupling in mPFC and PCC. Moreover, the degree of synchronicity in these neural signals related to performance on the game. The present results, then, show that different types of interaction recruit different brain systems implicated in social cognition, and the degree of inter-player synchrony within these brain systems is related to nature of the social interaction.

Keywords: Social Interaction, brain-to-brain coupling, hyperscanning, pattern game

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9 Designing for Experience-Based Tourism: A Virtual Tour in Tehran

Authors: Maryam Khalili, Fateme Ghanei

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As one of the most significant phenomena of industrialized societies, tourism plays a key role in encouraging regional developments and enhancing higher standards of living for local communities in particular. Traveling is a formative experience endowed with lessons on various aspects of life. It allows us learning how to enhance the social position as well as the social relationships. However, people forget the need to travel and gain first-hand experiences as they have to cope with the ever-increasing rate of stress created by the disorders and routines of the urban dwelling style. In this paper, various spaces of such experiences were explored through a virtual tour with two underlying aims: 1) encouraging, informing, and educating the community in terms of tourism development, and 2) introducing a temporary release from the routines. This study enjoyed a practical-qualitative research methodology, and the required data were collected through observation and using a multiple-response questionnaire. The participants (19-48 years old) included 41 citizens of both genders (63.4% male and 36.6% female) from two regions in Tehran, selected by cluster-probability sampling. The results led to development of a spatial design for a virtual tour experience in Tehran where different areas are explored to both raise people’s awareness and educate them on their cultural heritage.

Keywords: Education, urban Design, Ecotourism, Gamification, Virtual Tour, Social Interaction

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8 Psychophysiological Synchronization between the Manager and the Subordinate during a Performance Review Discussion

Authors: Mikko Salminen, Niklas Ravaja

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Previous studies have shown that emotional intelligence (EI) has an important role in leadership and social interaction. On the other hand, physiological synchronization between two interacting participants has been related to, for example, intensity of the interaction, and interestingly also to empathy. It is suggested that the amount of covariation in physiological signals between the two interacting persons would also be related to how the discussion is perceived subjectively. To study the interrelations between physiological synchronization, emotional intelligence, and subjective perception of the interaction, performance review discussions between real manager – subordinate dyads were studied using psychophysiological measurements and self-reports. The participants consisted of 40 managers, of which 24 were female, and 78 of their subordinates, of which 45 were female. The participants worked in various fields, for example banking, education, and engineering. The managers had a normal performance review discussion with two subordinates, except two managers who, due to scheduling issues, had discussion with only one subordinate. The managers were on average 44.5 years old, and the subordinates on average 45.5 years old. Written consent, in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki, was obtained from all the participants. After the discussion, the participants filled a questionnaire assessing their emotions during the discussion. This included a self-assessment manikin (SAM) scale for the emotional valence during the discussion, with a 9-point graphical scale representing a manikin whose facial expressions ranged from smiling and happy to frowning and unhappy. In addition, the managers filled EI360, a 37-item self-report trait emotional intelligence questionnaire. The psychophysiological activity of the participants was recorded using two Varioport-B portable recording devices. Cardiac activity (ECG, electrocardiogram) was measured with two electrodes placed on the torso. Inter-beat interval (IBI, time between two successive heart beats) was calculated from the ECG signals. The facial muscle activation (EMG, electromyography) was recorded on three sites of the left side of the face: zygomaticus major (cheek muscle), orbicularis oculi (periocular muscle), and corrugator supercilii (frowning muscle). The facial-EMG signals were rectified and smoothed, and cross-coherences were calculated between members of each dyad, for all the three EMG signals, for the baseline and discussion periods. The values were natural-log transformed to normalize the distributions. Higher cross-coherence during the discussion between the manager’s and the subordinate’s zygomatic muscles was related to more positive valence self-reported emotions, F(1; 66,137) = 7,051; p=0,01. Thus, synchronized cheek muscle activation, either due to synchronous smiling or talking, was related to more positive perception of the discussion. In addition, higher IBI synchronization between the manager and the subordinate during the discussion was related to the manager’s higher self-reported emotional intelligence, F(1; 27,981)=4,58; p=0,041. That is, the EI was related to synchronous cardiac activity and possibly to similar physiological arousal levels. The results imply that the psychophysiological synchronization could be a potentially useful index in the study of social interaction and a valuable tool in the coaching of leadership skills in organizational contexts.

Keywords: Leadership, Psychophysiology, Social Interaction, Synchronization, Emotional Intelligence

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7 Improving the Social Interactions of Students with Conduct Disorder in Dil Betigil Primary School

Authors: Dawit Thomas Lambamo

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Conduct disorder has become a major health and social problem; it is the most common psychiatric problem diagnosed among students which affect the academic and social interaction of students. This intervention was conducted in Dil Betigil primary school. After identifying six students with conduct disorder in Dil Betigil primary school, the intervention was conducted using a true experimental research design specifically pretest and posttest control group design. Data from teachers and parents of the students with conduct disorder were collected using adapted conduct disorder scale and semi-structured interview. The independent sample t-test of Pretest results of both experimental and control group indicated that there is no statistically significant difference between experimental and control groups. Intervention is carried out to enhance their social interaction and to decrees aggressive, a serious violation of rules and theft behavior of students in collaboration with teachers and parents. After six intervention weeks the post-test result showed that there was statistically significant difference in aggression and serious violation between the experimental and control groups, but there was no statistically significant mean difference regarding deceitful or theft between the experimental and control group.

Keywords: Interaction, Social Interaction, conduct, disorder

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6 Examining Patterns in Ethnoracial Diversity in Los Angeles County Neighborhoods, 2016, Using Geographic Information System Analysis and Entropy Measure of Diversity

Authors: Joseph F. Cabrera, Rachael Dela Cruz

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This study specifically examines patterns that define ethnoracially diverse neighborhoods. Ethnoracial diversity is important as it facilitates cross-racial interactions within neighborhoods which have been theorized to be associated with such outcomes as intergroup harmony, the reduction of racial and ethnic prejudice and discrimination, and increases in racial tolerance. Los Angeles (LA) is an ideal location to study ethnoracial spatial patterns as it is one of the most ethnoracially diverse cities in the world. A large influx of Latinos, as well as Asians, have contributed to LA’s urban landscape becoming increasingly diverse over several decades. Our dataset contains all census tracts in Los Angeles County in 2016 and incorporates Census and ACS demographic and spatial data. We quantify ethnoracial diversity using a derivative of Simpson’s Diversity Index and utilize this measure to test previous literature that suggests Latinos are one of the key drivers of changing ethnoracial spatial patterns in Los Angeles. Preliminary results suggest that there has been an overall increase in ethnoracial diversity in Los Angeles neighborhoods over the past sixteen years. Patterns associated with this trend include decreases in predominantly white and black neighborhoods, increases in predominantly Latino and Asian neighborhoods, and a general decrease in the white populations of the most diverse neighborhoods. A similar pattern is seen in neighborhoods with large Latino increases- a decrease in white population, but with an increase in Asian and black populations. We also found support for previous research that suggests increases in Latino and Asian populations act as a buffer, allowing for black population increases without a sizeable decrease in the white population. Future research is needed to understand the underlying causes involved in many of the patterns and trends highlighted in this study.

Keywords: Race, Social Interaction, race and interaction, racial harmony

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5 Gender Difference in Social Interaction Skills of Autism Using Token Economy and Video Modelling Strategies

Authors: Olusola Akintunde Adediran

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This study examined differential effect of Gender difference in social interaction skill of pupils with autism using token economy and video modeling as intervention strategies. A pretest, posttest, control group, quasi-experimental research design was adopted in the study. 17 participants (11 males and 6 females) were selected purposively from 5 centres in Ibadan and randomized into three groups (token economy, video modeling and control groups). Two instruments were used in the study; Autism Spectrum Rating Scale (ASRS) for 299.00 Autistic Disorder (r = 0.82) and Children’s Self-report Social Skill Scale (CS4) (r= 0.93). A descriptive statistics was used to analyse the participants social interaction data based on intervention and gender, while inferential statistics of analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) and scheffe post-hoc measure was used to anlayse three null hypotheses tested at 0.05 level of significance. The results obtained indicated that there was a significant main effect of treatment on social interaction of participants, but there was no significant of main effect of gender on the social interaction of participants, hence, (F(2,14) = .741; p > .05, eta = .050). Lastly, there was no significant interaction effect of treatment and gender of the participants, hence (F(2,10) = 2.177; p > .05, eta 2 = 202). The study has contributed to the frontiers of knowledge by establishing that social interaction of autism is attainable when token economy and video modelling are used as treatment intervention, hence, they should be adopted by the teachers, curriculum planners and other stakeholders.

Keywords: Gender, autism, Social Interaction, token economy, video modelling

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4 Exploring Psychosocial Factors That Enable Teachers to Cope with Workplace Adversity at a Rural District School Setting

Authors: K. R. Mukuna

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Teachers are faced many challenges in the South African rural schools such as stress, depression, lack of resources, poor working relationships, inflexible curriculum etc. These could affect their wellbeing and effectiveness at the workplace. As a result, the study had a significance in the teacher’s lives, and community due teachers worked under conditions that are unfavourable to perform their jobs effectively. Despite these conditions, they still managed to do their jobs and the community is uplifted. However, this study aimed to explore factors that enable teachers to cope with workplace adversities at a rural school district in the Free State Province. It adopted a qualitative case study as a research design. Semi-structured interviews and colleges had employed as tools to collect data. Ten participants (n=10; 5 males and 5 females) were selected through purposive and convenience sampling. All participants selected from a South African rural school. Sesotho culture was their home language, and most of them had 5 years of teaching experiences. The thematic findings revealed that they developed abilities to cope with and adjust to the social and cultural environment. These included self-efficacy, developing problem-solving skills, awareness of strengths and asserts, self-managing of emotions, and self-confidence. This study concluded that these psychosocial factors contributed to coping with teacher’s diversities, and effectively stabilized their wellbeing in the schools.

Keywords: Social Interaction, Psychosocial Factors, teacher stress, teachers counselling, workplace adversity, rural school, teachers’ wellbeing, teachers’ resilience, teachers’ self-efficacy

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3 Social Interaction Dynamics Exploration: The Case Study of El Sherouk City

Authors: Nardine El Bardisy, Wolf Reuter, Ayat Ismail

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In Egypt, there is continuous housing demand as a result of rapid population growth. In 1979, this forced the government to establish new urban communities in order to decrease stress around delta. New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) was formulated to take the responsibly of this new policy. These communities suffer from social life deficiency due to their typology, which is separated island with barriers. New urban communities’ typology results from the influence of neoliberalism movement and modern city planning forms. The lack of social interaction in these communities at present should be enhanced in the future. On a global perspective, sustainable development calls for creating more sustainable communities which include social, economic and environmental aspects. From 1960, planners were highly focusing on the promotion of the social dimension in urban development plans. The research hypothesis states: “It is possible to promote social interaction in new urban communities through a set of socio-spatial recommended strategies that are tailored for Greater Cairo Region context”. In order to test this hypothesis, the case of El-Sherouk city is selected, which represents the typical NUCA development plans. Social interaction indicators were derived from literature and used to explore different social dynamics in the selected case. The tools used for exploring case study are online questionnaires, face to face questionnaires, interviews, and observations. These investigations were analyzed, conclusions and recommendations were set to improve social interaction.

Keywords: Social Life, Social Interaction, new urban communities, modern planning

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2 The Interactive Wearable Toy "+Me", for the Therapy of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Preliminary Results

Authors: Beste Ozcan, Valerio Sperati, Laura Romano, Tania Moretta, Simone Scaffaro, Noemi Faedda, Federica Giovannone, Carla Sogos, Vincenzo Guidetti, Gianluca Baldassarre

Abstract:

+me is an experimental interactive toy with the appearance of a soft, pillow-like, panda. Shape and consistency are designed to arise emotional attachment in young children: a child can wear it around his/her neck and treat it as a companion (i.e. a transitional object). When caressed on paws or head, the panda emits appealing, interesting outputs like colored lights or amusing sounds, thanks to embedded electronics. Such sensory patterns can be modified through a wirelessly connected tablet: by this, an adult caregiver can adapt +me responses to a child's reactions or requests, for example, changing the light hue or the type of sound. The toy control is therefore shared, as it depends on both the child (who handles the panda) and the adult (who manages the tablet and mediates the sensory input-output contingencies). These features make +me a potential tool for therapy with children with Neurodevelopmental Disorders (ND), characterized by impairments in the social area, like Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Language Disorders (LD): as a proposal, the toy could be used together with a therapist, in rehabilitative play activities aimed at encouraging simple social interactions and reinforcing basic relational and communication skills. +me was tested in two pilot experiments, the first one involving 15 Typically Developed (TD) children aged in 8-34 months, the second one involving 7 children with ASD, and 7 with LD, aged in 30-48 months. In both studies a researcher/caregiver, during a one-to-one, ten-minute activity plays with the panda and encourages the child to do the same. The purpose of both studies was to ascertain the general acceptability of the device as an interesting toy that is an object able to capture the child's attention and to maintain a high motivation to interact with it and with the adult. Behavioral indexes for estimating the interplay between the child, +me and caregiver were rated from the video recording of the experimental sessions. Preliminary results show how -on average- participants from 3 groups exhibit a good engagement: they touch, caress, explore the panda and show enjoyment when they manage to trigger luminous and sound responses. During the experiments, children tend to imitate the caregiver's actions on +me, often looking (and smiling) at him/her. Interesting behavioral differences between TD, ASD, and LD groups are scored: for example, ASD participants produce a fewer number of smiles both to panda and to a caregiver with respect to TD group, while LD scores stand between ASD and TD subjects. These preliminary observations suggest that the interactive toy +me is able to raise and maintain the interest of toddlers and therefore it can be reasonably used as a supporting tool during therapy, to stimulate pivotal social skills as imitation, turn-taking, eye contact, and social smiles. Interestingly, the young age of participants, along with the behavioral differences between groups, seem to suggest a further potential use of the device: a tool for early differential diagnosis (the average age of a child

Keywords: Therapy, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Social Interaction, interactive toy, transitional wearable companion

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1 Urban Furniture in a New Setting of Public Spaces within the Kurdistan Region: Educational Targets and Course Design Process

Authors: Sinisa Prvanov

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This research is an attempt to analyze the existing urban form of outdoor public space of Duhok city and to give proposals for their improvements in terms of urban seating. The aim of this research is to identify the main urban furniture elements and behaviour of users of three central parks of Duhok city, recognizing their functionality and the most common errors. Citizens needs, directly related to the physical characteristics of the environment, are categorized in terms of contact with nature. Parks as significant urban environments express their aesthetic preferences, as well as the need for recreation and play. Citizens around the world desire to contact with nature and places where they can socialize, play and practice different activities, but also participate in building their community and feeling the identity of their cities. The aim of this research is also to reintegrate these spaces in the wider urban context of the city of Duhok, to develop new functions by designing new seating patterns, more improved urban furniture, and necessary supporting facilities and equipment. Urban furniture is a product that uses an enormous number of people in public space. It has a high level of wear and damage due to intense use, exposure to sunlight and weather conditions. Iraq has a hot and dry climate characterized by long, warm, dry summers and short, cold winters. The climate is determined by the Iraq location at the crossroads of Arab desert areas and the subtropical humid climate of the Persian Gulf. The second part of this analysis will describe the possibilities of traditional and contemporary materials as well as their advantages in urban furniture production, providing users protection from extreme local climate conditions, but also taking into account solidities and unwelcome consequences, such as vandalism. In addition, this research represents a preliminary stage in the development of IND307 furniture design course for needs of the Department of Interior design, at the American University in Duhok. Based on results obtained in this research, the course would present a symbiosis between people and technology, promotion of new street furniture design that perceives pedestrian activities in an urban setting, and practical use of anthropometric measurements as a tool for technical innovations.

Keywords: Furniture Design, Social Interaction, Public space, Street Furniture

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