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Students present research at Posters in the Rotunda

UW-Stevens Point College of Professional Studies students joined more than 100 other students and faculty advisers at the Capitol Rotunda to share their undergraduate research with legislators, state leaders, UW alumni, and other supporters. Posters in the Rotunda is a wonderful opportunity to learn about the exciting research going on throughout the state and to support some outstanding Wisconsin students and faculty members who contribute to the state’s strong economic future.

The CPS was well represented with three poster presentations, including research from athletic training, economics and interior architecture.

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“An Approach to Revitalize an Under-Used Shopping Mall”
Anthony Sarodh De Almeida & Erin J. Brown, Interior Architecture

Located in the downtown of Stevens Point, the CenterPoint MarketPlace is an under-utilized commercial space, with nearly 98% of its former businesses had been closed or had moved to other locations. The building, surrounded by a large parking lot, remains an empty space with no business attractions. The focus of this research study was to identify the design-related problems associated with the CenterPoint MarketPlace, with a goal to analyze the user-based evidence and develop design concepts that could help revive the mall and make it more active. The research and analysis was carried out in three phases. The first phase involved creating a Design Inventory, the problematic spatial features of the mall were identified and systematically documented. To better understand how other malls function successfully, another Design Inventory was completed in the Fox River Mall in Appleton. In the second phase, user preferences and the levels of use were analyzed in depth in both the CenterPoint MarketPlace and the Fox River Mall, using survey questionnaires and behavior mapping tools. Equipped with this data and creative skills, the team then created design concepts for the CenterPoint MarketPlace. The evidence-based approach to develop design concepts was very successful because it was informative and more user-centered than denser-centered. The data revealed that the overall character of a mall design is important and a welcoming image, spaciousness, way-finding, lighting, activity areas and seating are critical for a successful function of a shopping mall.

“Effects of Dehydration on Cognitive Function and Mood”
Gina Fisher, Shanna Karls, Dan Wierzba Kelly Zuleger, Athletic Training

Proper hydration is always emphasized for athletic performance. Athletes seldom think about the negative effects of dehydration on mental function. As athletic training students, we witness wrestlers in season who are obviously fatigued due to dehydration while cutting weight. The purpose of this study was to assess how dehydration affects cognitive function and mood and its possible implications on academic performance. Our study included a random selection of 10-15 wrestlers (Group 1) and 10-15 healthy male volunteer subjects (Group 2).  Both groups completed baseline measurements of their hydration status, and completed the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test, the Trail Making Test, and the Profile of Mood States (POMS) survey to assess their cognitive function and mood during normal routines. Group 1 repeated the testing at a selected time during the wrestling season without any manipulation of hydration status. Group 2 was asked to refrain from consuming liquids for a 12-hour period before being reassessed. The results of the study concluded the level of dehydration achieved in both groups (1.43% Group 1; 1.3% Group 2) was not significant enough to show statistically significant declines in cognition. However, there were statistically significant declines in mood with the POMS survey. There was a significant incline in self-reported anger/hostility, depression/dejection and fatigue/inertia and a significant decline in vigor/activity and friendliness from the baseline to dehydrated state. The conclusions from this study indicate that even a small change in dehydration can affect mood states.  However, unlike previous studies, a 1-2% dehydration level was not enough to create cognitive declines. Future recommendations for this research include increasing the sample size and reviewing the methodology to decrease possibilities in learning accommodations for the cognitive testing.


“The Laffer Curve and non-Price Rationing”
Devin Christensen, Economics

Resurging attention has been paid to Arther Laffer’s theoretical relationship between tax rates and government revenue since the 2003 Bush tax cuts resulted in increased government revenues during the beginning parts of the 2004, 2005, and 2006 fiscal years.  Whenever a decrease in a marginal tax rate is followed by an increase in tax revenue, politicians suggest we are “on the wrong side” of the Laffer curve, where tax revenues could be increased by lowering the tax rate further.  Obviously, however, short-run fluctuations in the business cycle could produce the level of variance in tax revenue ceteris paribus; there is no theoretical reason that tax increases in the 2003 fiscal cycle would not have led to comparable (or greater) increases in government revenue than tax cuts.  This is consistent with the Laffer curve, because, though by definition capable of identifying a tax rate which would yield the highest government revenues, is neither a predictive nor descriptive model.  In other words, the Laffer curve is used neither to predict the effect of a given change in the tax rate nor describe the current relationship between any given tax rate and the level of tax revenue.

In The Way the World Works, Jude Wanniski offers perhaps the most lucent description of the Laffer curve’s peak.  According to Laffer, the peak corresponds to the rate at which the public wants to be taxed.  During the mid-twentieth century, for example, the public accepted very high levels of marginal taxation without responding with a decrease in productive activity because national defense was a very popular and socially valuable government good.  Soon after World War II concluded, the decline in taxes corresponded to a decrease in the American public’s willingness to pay for government goods.  Government revenues, then, are maximized when the market for government goods is in equilibrium; if taxes are the price of government goods, this will occur when the marginal cost of providing government goods is equal to the marginal benefit to consumers.

Government goods are inferior goods (as incomes rise, people choose to consume goods from the private sector instead).  Strong anecdotal evidence supports this claim, but the nature of many government benefits makes them expressly inferior; beyond a given income level, Americans no longer qualify to receive many government services.  Furthermore, the quantity of government goods supplied is set by legislation, not market forces.  If wealthy Americans own a disproportionately large fraction of the political power in the United States, it might be the case that legislators supply a quantity of government goods where the marginal cost of the last good is equal to the marginal benefit to the wealthy.  As a result, so long as government goods are inferior, the market for government goods will face a persistent shortage, and tax revenues will remain below their potential maximum.  If this is true, recent observations that tax revenue increases follow from tax cuts must result from extraneous forces (like fluctuations in the business cycle) or, as some suggest, the possibility that Laffer curve has multiple peaks.

 

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