Vasiliki Georgoulas, MA is a Research Psychologist in Engineering Psychology Program, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at the United States Military Academy.
Prior to West Point, Vasiliki worked in different sectors of the criminal justice system; she worked with the New Jersey State Police’s Crime Scene Investigations Unit and the New Jersey Violent Crime Apprehension Program as a Crime Analyst. Her research focused on violent crime case analysis, and her research aided in determining whether unrelated crimes had potential linkage while supporting the efforts of law enforcement to investigate, track, and prosecute serial offenders through analyzing information related to New Jersey’s solved and unsolved crime. Her research topics included homicide, sexual homicide, and criminal psychopathology. She played an integral role in research studying empirical analysis of violent criminal behavior. Additionally, her research focused on the issue of classification of homicide based on the actions the offenders engaged in at the crime scenes, the characteristics of the victims, and the characteristics of offenders.
Vasiliki was awarded a research fellowship position at the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit were she solely worked on a government funded project that focused on an extensive analysis of sexual homicidal offenders’ paraphilia and paraphilia-related disorder. Vasiliki collected, analyzed, and reported on data which were taken from closed, fully adjudicated state and local cases that were contributed from law enforcement agencies from around the country. Her data was then used as investigative implications to assist law enforcement in the search for sexual homicidal offenders.
Vasiliki has also worked in numerous correctional facilities within the New Jersey Department of Corrections, New York Department of Corrections, and New York Central New York Psychiatric Office of Mental Health, both in conducting research as well as working as a mental health professional. Her research focused broadly on establishing empirical evidence for use in sex offender policy and sexual violence prevention. She has also worked in various studies granted by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to examine sex offender treatment, civil commitment, and risk for recidivism in New Jersey.
Throughout her time working as a mental health professional, Vasiliki has gained expertise in the assessment and treatment of persistent mental illness; she has worked as a drug and alcohol counselor, clinical intake counselor, sexual offender treatment counselor, and gang prevention and treatment counselor.
While at Bard College, Vasiliki worked in three different research laboratories, spanning her interests from abnormal psychology to neuropsychology to social psychology. Vasiliki received a B.A. in Psychology from Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY (2008) and a M. A. in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, NY (2010).
Georgoulas, V., Ness, J., Greengard, P., Wickiser, J., & Rinkle, C. (In Progress). Army Depression: Correlating P11 Levels, Self-Reported Depression Levels, and Luminance Data. US Department of Defense.
Ness, J., Georgoulas, V., Dodge, R., & Pulido, A. (In Progress). Cognitive Fingerprinting. US Department of Defense. Georgoulas, V. (In Progress). The Sexual Desire to Kill: An Extensive Analysis of Sexual Homicidal Offender’s PA and PRD through an Examination of their Crime Scenes.
Rainey, A.M., Lawson, V.E., Kassin, S., Budah, M. & Georgoulas, V. (In Progress). Contested Confessions: A Discourse Analysis of Judicial Decision Making in American Appellate Court Cases. Georgoulas, V. (2008). From Video-Game Violence to Real-Life Violence: Does Exposure to Violent Video Games Desensitize People to Violence? Bard College Senior Projects.
Determining the Strength of the Relationship between Changes in Circulating p11 levels and Seasonal Changes in Self-Reported Mood
(Co-PIs with Dr. Paul Greengard, COL James Ness, and Dr. John Wickiser)
Depression presents as negative affect and diminished drive and depending on severity is correlated with a number of negative outcomes ranging from indiscipline to suicide. Rates of depression in the military have increased from 2007 to 2010 across all services (Greenberg, Tesfazion & Robinson, 2012). The most at risk age group is the 20 to 24 year old group (DoD Center for Deployment Psychology), which corresponds to the age group at the U.S. Military Academy.
Due to the rising trend in depression and the resulting significant threat to readiness, morale, health and welfare, the military is seeking to mitigate these negative outcomes through improved screening and diagnosis of depression (Greenberg, Tesfazion & Robinson, 2012). The purpose of this study is to contribute to the screening and diagnosis effort.
In July 2012, the U.S. Military Academy, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership sponsored a DoD workshop on sustaining the cognitive performance of the war fighter. During the workshop, Dr. Paul Greengard, Nobel Laureate neuroscientist at Rockefeller University, reported on his laboratory’s findings of a blood plasma marker of depression, called p11. An outcome of the meeting was the establishment of an interdisciplinary team of USMA Faculty partnered with Dr. Greengard’s laboratory to study the relationship between levels of the protein marker p11 and self-reported mood. The purpose of this study is to elucidate the sensitivity and specificity of p11 concentration as a marker for seasonal depression.
The current study is the first study evaluating the relationship between p11 concentrations in the blood and self-reported changes in mood in a population of 18 to 22 year olds.
Explicit Feedback within Game-Based Training: Examining the Influence of Source of Modality Effects on Interaction
(Dr. Keith Brawner, Dr. Robert Sottilare, Mr. Benjamin Goldberg, Dr. Heather Holden, Dr. Anne Sinatra, Dr. Ryan Baker, Dr. Bradford Mott, Mr. Jonathan Rowe, and Ms. Jeanine DeFalco)
The question this work aims to address is how to best integrate explicit feedback within game-based training events, and to determine how information delivered by embodied pedagogical agents (EPAs; aka non-player characters or NPCs) in serious game environments (i.e., how the content is delivered) affects a user’s performance and motivation/ intention for future usage? Specifically, this research seeks to identify if embedding pedagogical agents for delivering feedback directly in a game-based environment improves training outcomes, reduces cognitive load required for interpreting information, and maintains a user’s sense of presence in the virtual environment. With Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) offering independent communication interfaces for delivering feedback during game-based training, this work aims to determine if the time, money, and effort to integrate EPAs in the game-world has a distinct benefit over more simplistic avenues of relaying information to the user. The associated study will produce a trade-off analysis comparing benefits and weaknesses associated with feedback source modalities during game-based training, and will assist training developers in determining the optimal approach for integrating ITS functions in their products.
This work investigated the effect variations in the source of real-time feedback within a scenario-based training event has on subsequent task performance; the effect the source of feedback has on post-training learning outcomes; and whether variations in feedback source produces reliable differences in trainee self-reported measures of cognitive load and presence. The study will go deeper by exploring the impact of delivering feedback through NPCs defined as embodied pedagogical agents (EPAs), and to assess the effect varying agent delivery modalities have on trainee performance and game acceptance. Specifically, this research will examine whether there is a significant benefit to embedding EPAs as virtual humans directly into the task environment versus an EPA interacting with the user from an interface external to the game world. It is expected that feedback delivered by embedded EPAs will produce a higher sense of trainee presence and lower extraneous cognitive load when interpreting feedback, resulting in larger learning gains and greater motivation to interact with game-based training systems. The goal is to identify heuristics associated with how to deliver feedback in a game-based trainer, and how attributes of a character delivering feedback can be modified to compensate for an individual’s strengths/weaknesses in a given domain.
In order to facilitate our understanding of the effect of the EPAs in this software, we will engage in quantitative field observations (QFOs), which will monitor trainee affect during their software use. These observations will allow us to directly study trainee affect and its effect on learning objectives. They will also be used to develop detectors, which, when embedded in the software are capable of recognizing trainee affect so that real time adjustments can be made to optimize learning objectives.
A Microsoft Kinect Sensor will be used as part of this experiment. It collects raw image data and facial depth maps, which will be done during the course of the experiment. This data will be used in order to analyze facial expressions, facial muscle movements, and body positioning during training interaction. Models of this data will be constructed in order to validate affective model constructing techniques and to validate facial image processing algorithms. The result of this collection is intended to be a model of affect which is generalizable to other participants (without explicitly recording faces or building models). Other research has shown that affect has value in selection of appropriate instructional strategies (e.g. tutoring someone differently because they are bored), and models of affect are needed for this type of interaction. To date, transferable affective models have never been constructed.
Identifying Pupil Dilation in Eye-Tracking Performance Under Deceptive Peer Interactions
(PI- Vasiliki Georgoulas)
Studies that have measured eye movement in deceptive individuals report positive yet equivocal results as to whether eye movement measures deception. Results linking eye tracking to deception have shown positive correlations with pupillary responses. These studies suggest that involuntary and unconscious ocular responses might be used to infer deceptive behavior. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of ocular behavior in the detection of deception in peer interaction. The current study will be the first study evaluating the relationship between peer interaction and deception through the use of eye tracking. While previous studies measured the relationship between deception and eye tracking, the association of peer interaction has yet to be studied.
This studyaims to investigate the effect of eye movement behavior in the detection of deception in peer interaction. The current study will be the first study evaluating the relationship between peer interaction and deception through the use of eye tracking. While previous studies measured the relationship deception and eye tracking, the association of peer interaction has yet to be studied.
DARPA Authentication Program: Cognitive Fingerprinting
(Co-PIs with COL James Ness, COL Ron Dodge, and Ms. Alysse Pulido)
The program implicates the development and implementation of stimuli and an experimental process to collect neuro-cognitive baseline patterns based on neuro-psycho-physiological metric translation. These patterns will be the baselines for the DARPA Authentication Program. The current standard method for validating a user’s identity for authentication on an information system requires humans to do something that is inherently unnatural: create, remember, and manage long, complex passwords. Moreover, as long as the session remains active, typical systems incorporate no mechanisms to verify that the user originally authenticated is the user still in control of the keyboard. Thus unauthorized individuals may improperly obtain extended access to information system resources if a password is compromised or if a user does not exercise adequate vigilance after initially authenticating at the console.
The Active Authentication program seeks to address this problem by developing novel ways of validating the identity of the person at the console that focus on the unique aspects of the individual through the use of software based biometrics. Biometrics are defined as the characteristics used to uniquely recognize humans based on one or more intrinsic physical or behavioral traits. This program focuses on the behavioral traits that can be observed through how we interact with the world. Just as when you touch something your finger you leave behind a fingerprint, when you interact with technology you do so in a pattern based on how your mind processes information, leaving behind a “cognitive fingerprint.”
Pilot Study of the Effects of Yogic Practice on Cadet Stress Levels
(Co-PIs with Ms. Kristine Ringler)
This study aims to better understand the impact of alternative stress reduction methods on first year USMA cadets. Through the use of yoga and meditative practices, this study will measure the results of intervention through Electroencephalography (EEG), Galvanic Skin Responses (GSR), and heart rate. The proposed study will try to explain the effects of yoga and meditative practices within stress levels in cadet participants. This study is based on the principle that yoga and meditative practices reduces allostatic load in stress response systems and restore optimal homeostasis. It is hypothesized that participants who partake in yoga and meditative practices have: (1) decreased heart rate variable (HRV), (2) decreased Galvanic skin responses (GSR), (3) increased Alpha activity waves, (4) decreased Beta activity waves, and (5) decreased scores in the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS).