School of Kinesiology alumna, French, selected as LSU Outstanding Honors College Thesis for 2013 - 2014


Allyson French, a graduate of the School of Kinesiology December 2013 class, was selected as one of the LSU Outstanding Honors College Thesis for 2013-2014, for her thesis titled “Gravitational Pull Does Not Explain Undershooting Target Locations in Complete Darkness.”

According to French, she choose Kinesiology at LSU because she wanted to be a physical therapist and LSU provides the best resources.

“There are many opportunities to practice in the field with internships and an undergraduate cadaver dissection class. The kinesiology department also provided a variety of classes to examine human movement from a neurological level to a muscular level and how everything interacts with each other,” said French. “The cadaver lab allows students to take what was learned in anatomy and be able to feel, pull, and touch the human body. It was such an incredible experience.”

French’s thesis tested the theory that previous research states people tend to undershoot target location in complete darkness due to gravitational pull by having participants use straight arm pointing to targets in complete darkness in two body orientations: standing and inverted. French inverted participants by flipping them upside down on a turn table.

“To make sure these differences in pointing accuracy were not attributed to differences in muscles activation when raising and lowering the arm”, said French, “we had the participants start in two starting arm positions: arm up by the ear and down by the hip.”

According to French, participants typically undershot target locations (in all starting positions) thereby not making gravity the affector, but rather a possible motor program that protects the body from ‘moving too much’ without visual cues, explaining why people move less in complete darkness.

“Kinesiology has a very well-rounded program that not only prepares you anatomically to be a doctor,” said French, “but you also take classes that examine human motivation, human psychology, and how that applies to motivation and critiquing patients.”

The Honors College Outstanding Thesis Award is an annual award recognizing thesis documents of superior quality, announced during the Honors College Graduation Ceremony. Theses are nominated by thesis defense committees.

About SOK

The LSU School of Kinesiology advances the understanding of physical activity, sport, and health to optimize the quality of life for diverse populations through excellence in teaching, learning, discovery, and engagement.

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About CHSE

The College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE) is a nationally accredited division of Louisiana State University. Formed in 2012, CHSE brings together programs and capitalizes on individual strengths to create a dynamic new college that addresses the socially significant issues we face as a state and nation. The College is comprised of the School of Education, the School of Leadership and Human Resource Development, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Library and Information Science, the School of Social Work, and the University Laboratory School. These combined schools offer 8 undergraduate degree programs and 18 graduate programs, enrolling more than 1,900 undergraduate and 977 graduate students. The College is committed to achieving the highest standards in teaching, research, and service and is continually working to improve its programs.

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