• The face of early cognitive decline? Shape and asymmetry predict choice reaction time independent of age, diet or exercise

      Brown, William Michael; Usacka, Agnese; University of Bedfordshire (MDPI, 2019-10-29)
      Slower reaction time is a measure of cognitive decline and can occur as early as 24 years of age. We are interested if developmental stability predicts cognitive performance independent of age and lifestyle (e.g., diet and exercise). Developmental stability is the latent capacity to buffer ontogenetic stressors and is measured by low fluctuating asymmetry (FA). FA is random – with respect to largest side – departures from perfect morphological symmetry. Degree of asymmetry has been associated with physical fitness, morbidity and mortality in many species, including humans. We expected that low FA (independent of age, diet and exercise) will predict faster choice reaction time (i.e., correct keyboard responses to stimuli appearing in a random location on a computer monitor). Eighty-eight university students self-reported their fish product consumption, exercise, had their faces 3D scanned and cognitive performance measured. Unexpectedly, increased fish product consumption was associated with worsened choice reaction time. Facial asymmetry and multiple face shape variation parameters predicted slower choice reaction time independent of sex, age, diet or exercise. Future work should develop longitudinal interventions to minimize early cognitive decline among vulnerable people (e.g., those who have experienced ontogenetic stressors affecting optimal neurocognitive development). 
    • Film clips smoking behavior and nicotine craving: the interrelationship between stress, smoking cues and craving

      Kasdovasilis, P.; Alikari, V.; Zyga, S.; Guppy, Andrew; Theofilou, P.; University of Bedfordshire; University of Peloponnese; Ministry of Health, Athens (Hellenic Psychiatric Association, 2019-06-01)
      Αn abundance of research has demonstrated that substance addicted individuals, when they are exposed to a substance related stimulus, show a positive correlation between physiological measurements, such as an increase in heart rate and sweating, and behavioral reactions, that include craving and substance use or consumption. Films depicting smoking behavior are regarded as cues to induce smoking behavior. The current study aimed to investigate the effects of smoking behavior portrayed in movies on actual craving experienced by smokers who watch on screen actors consume tobacco products. In addition, the effects of receiving orally administered nicotine (chewing gum), a regular chewing gum or no additional intervention were examined. In particular, the study aimed to investigate how these factors impact nicotine craving as well as the heart rate and sweating. The majority of the participants were University of Bedfordshire students and staff. Thirty smokers (12 males and 18 females) having received a nicotine gum, a regular chewing gum or no gum, were exposed to a digital video clip showing actors smoking. The participants chose the type of chewing gum they wanted. Heart rate (HR) and galvanic skin response (GSR) were measured during the course of the experiment. Prior to and after watching the movie clip participants completed the Brief Questionnaire of Smoking Urges (QSU-Brief) and the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). According to the results, the craving was increased when compared to the baseline score (t=-3.76, p<0.001). Additionally, a correlation was found between the baseline level of craving and perceived stress before and after the movie (r=0.39). Nicotine chewing gum was found to have a significant impact on participants' heart rate (p<0.05) but not on GSR. A significant difference was found in participants in the normal chewing gum condition reporting higher levels of craving than the other two groups (p<0.05). Age was found to positively related to post-measures of nicotine craving which was found to be higher for young respondents (r=-0.47, p<0.01). The data further show that the depiction of smoking behavior in the media is likely to have a significant impact on smoking craving, smoking behavior and nicotine consumption. The current study confirms and replicates some of the previous findings within the field of smoking behavior and nicotine craving such as high susceptibility of younger adults to media influence.
    • Financial aversion and its link to attachment anxiety

      Sochos, Antigonos; Latchford, Eileen (Springer New York LLC, 2015-04-09)
      Recent research has identified a pattern of anxious and averse reactions towards the management of personal finances that particularly affects the young. A correlational study was conducted including 168 UK university students to investigate the nature of financial aversion within an attachment theory framework. It was hypothesised that, in addition to attachment style, financial aversion would be linked to financial stressors, dyslexia, and general anxiety. According to the findings, financial aversion was linked to probable dyslexia, symptoms of anxiety, attachment anxiety, and attachment dependency. Regression analysis identified attachment anxiety as the only independent predictor and suggested that it also moderated the effects of general anxiety on financial aversion. Findings may interest professionals counselling university students or other groups vulnerable to the experience of financial stress.
    • Food avoidance in children : the influence of maternal feeding practices and behaviours

      Powell, Faye; Farrow, Claire; Meyer, Caroline; Loughborough University (Elsevier, 2011-08-30)
      The aim of this study was to examine the contribution of a broad range of maternal feeding practices in predicting parental reports of food avoidance eating behaviours in young children, after controlling for child temperament, and maternal dietary restraint which have previously been associated with feeding problems. One hundred and four mothers of children aged between 3 and 6 years completed self report measures of their child's eating behaviour and temperament, maternal dietary restraint and child feeding practices. Maternal reports of food avoidance eating behaviours were associated with an emotional child temperament, high levels of maternal feeding control, using food for behaviour regulation and low encouragement of a balanced and varied food intake. Maternal feeding practices, predominantly pressure to eat, significantly predicted food avoidance eating behaviours after controlling for child emotionality and maternal dietary restraint. The significant contribution of maternal feeding practices, which are potentially modifiable behaviours, suggests that the feeding interactions of parents and their children should be targeted for intervention and the prevention of feeding difficulties during early childhood. Future research should continue to explore how a broader range of feeding practices, particular those that may be more adaptive, might influence child eating behaviour.
    • From cure to prevention

      Chater, Angel M. (2011-12-01)
      Ian Florance talks to Angel Chater about her love affair with health psychology
    • Gail Kinman 'People need a period of stability, otherwise they may actively resist beneficial change'

      Kinman, Gail (British Psychological Society, 2018-01-31)
      From compassion fatigue and burnout to resilience – Gail Kinman takes Lance Workman through her work as an occupational health psychologist.
    • Group attachment through art practice: a phenomenological analysis of being seen and showing

      Sagan, Olivia; Sochos, Antigonos; Bishop Grossteste University; University of Bedfordshire (Emerald, 2016-06-13)
      Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of a social art practice and group attachment in the life of a mental health service user with a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. Design/methodology/approach: Interpretative phenomenological analysis was used as a means by which to explore interview data and bring to bear theories of attachment and psychosocial theories of the creative process. Findings: The study found that the process of coming to be seen and showing, relating and narrating, was part of a process enabled by experiences of group attachment within specific groups. These groups appeared to share the core principles of a TC. The artist's improving reflective capacity and art practice informed and strengthened each other within a context of attachment, containment, communication, inclusion and agency (Haigh, 2013). Research limitations/implications: Whilst phenomenological work of this kind is small scale, the nature of the involvement with the participant facilitates a first person narrative which allows unique insight into human meaning making. Practical implications: The study offers pointers regarding the role of social art practice and emphasises the importance of developing attachments as part of mental well-being, as well as the potential role and challenge of this for individuals with severe relational problems. The study stresses the importance of groups that nurture particular experiences such as belongingness and sense of agency, and suggests why these experiences may be more effective for some individuals than one-to-one therapy. Social implications: The research adds to the debate regarding the benefits of engaging with the arts and the means by which the value of publicly funded community arts projects can be assessed. It also puts forward the case for TCs as potentially offering a substantial springboard not only to recovery but to higher creative functioning. Originality/value: The paper attempts to offer a deeper understanding of the combined and interlaced therapeutic power of creative endeavour; narrative identity; group attachment and the role of the fundamental principles of TCs.
    • Health psychology and the public health agenda

      Chater, Angel M.; McManus, Jim (British Psychological Society, 2016-01-01)
    • The hidden costs of working when sick

      Miraglia, Mariella; Kinman, Gail (British Psychological Society, 2017-08-31)
      Mariella Miraglia and Gail Kinman review the evidence on presenteeism.
    • High or low? Comparing high and low-variability phonetic training in adult and child second language learners

      Giannakopoulou, Anastasia; Brown, Helen; Clayards, Meghan; Wonnacott, Elizabeth; University of Bedfordshire; University of Warwick; McGill University; University College London (PeerJ, 2017-05-30)
      Background: High talker variability (i.e., multiple voices in the input) has been found effective in training nonnative phonetic contrasts in adults. A small number of studies suggest that children also benefit from high-variability phonetic training with some evidence that they show greater learning (more plasticity) than adults given matched input, although results are mixed. However, no study has directly compared the effectiveness of high versus low talker variability in children. Methods: Native Greek-speaking eight-year-olds (N = 52), and adults (N = 41) were exposed to the English /i/-/I/ contrast in 10 training sessions through a computerized word-learning game. Pre- and post-training tests examined discrimination of the contrast as well as lexical learning. Participants were randomly assigned to high (four talkers) or low (one talker) variability training conditions. Results: Both age groups improved during training, and both improved more while trained with a single talker. Results of a three-interval oddity discrimination test did not show the predicted benefit of high-variability training in either age group. Instead, children showed an effect in the reverse direction—i.e., reliably greater improvements in discrimination following single talker training, even for untrained generalization items, although the result is qualified by (accidental) differences between participant groups at pre-test. Adults showed a numeric advantage for high-variability but were inconsistent with respect to voice and word novelty. In addition, no effect of variability was found for lexical learning. There was no evidence of greater plasticity for phonetic learning in child learners. Discussion: This paper adds to the handful of studies demonstrating that, like adults, child learners can improve their discrimination of a phonetic contrast via computerized training. There was no evidence of a benefit of training with multiple talkers, either for discrimination or word learning. The results also do not support the findings of greater plasticity in child learners found in a previous paper (Giannakopoulou, Uther & Ylinen, 2013a). We discuss these results in terms of various differences between training and test tasks used in the current work compared with previous literature.
    • How are Iranian gay men coping with systematic suppression under Islamic law? a qualitative study

      Yadegarfard, Mohammadrasool; University of Bedfordshire (Springer, 2019-05-20)
      The existence of gay men is undeniable in Iran; however, Iran’s Islamic law considers same sex relationships a crime punishable by the death penalty. The aim of this study is to use a qualitative approach to gain a more in-depth understanding of the coping strategies adopted by gay men living in Iran under systematic suppression based on each individual’s subjective experiences, feelings, intention and beliefs. A semi-structured interview in Farsi (Persian) language was used to gather the qualitative data. Twenty-three men who identified themselves as gay and who currently live in Iran were interviewed for this study. Transcripts of the interviews were subjected to analysis using thematic analysis. The key themes that emerged as coping strategies were: risk taking; internalized oppression; travelling/leaving the country; social networks and family of choice; mental health and psychological therapy and medication; social class; and developing a new identity. The implications of these findings are discussed.
    • Identifying wellbeing challenges and solutions in the police service using the World Café method

      Clements, Andrew James; Sharples, Adrienne; Kinman, Gail; University of Bedfordshire (SAGE, 2020-01-10)
      Police work presents risks to mental and physical health for officers and civilian staff. We report a project that involved police employees in identifying wellbeing challenges and potential solutions. We facilitated ‘World Café’ events in which approximately 180 officers and civilian staff participated. Qualitative data were collected and thematically analysed drawing upon the Job Demands-Resources model. We identified themes relating to workload, management practices, occupational health processes, and continuing mental health stigma. Our analyses suggest an environment in which resources are insufficient to meet demands. The resulting pressures may contribute to management behaviours that can impair subordinate wellbeing.
    • The impact of gender on primary teachers' evaluations of children's difficulties in school

      Cline, Tony; Ertubey, Candan; University of Bedfordshire (BRITISH PSYCHOLOGICAL SOC, 1997-12-01)
      Background. More boys than girls receive provision to meet special educational needs. It has been suggested that teachers' evaluations of children's difficulties in school may be subject to gender bias. But the evidence is inconsistent, and the methodology of some work that reported bias has been criticised because the type of rating task that was used may have encouraged stereotypic thinking (Langfeldt, 1993).Aims. This study investigated whether gender of child would still have an influence on teacher's judgments ifa fuller context was provided for the stimulus and there was a more realistic rating task.Samples. The sample comprised 523 teachers in 79 primary schools in London, the home counties and the North-West of England.Methods, Participants completed questionnaires on what action might be required in their school for children with difficulties who were described in short vignettes. The children's gender was varied systematically. The construct of 'seriousness', which had generally been left vague in earlier research, was given a concrete definition.Results, It was found that, when the experimental task was contextualised in this way, the gender-of-child effect disappeared. Teacher characteristics such as gender did not influence the results.Conclusions, These findings should be treated with some caution as they relate to the small and restricted range of types of difficulty that were included in the study and to a sample of primary schools in one society. However, they give support to an emphasis on 'realism' in the method of investigation that is used for exploring teachers' judgments.
    • The impact of misleading information on the identifiability of feature-based facial composites

      Pitchford, Melanie; Green, Danielle; Frowd, Charlie D.; University of Bedfordshire; University of Winchester; University of Central Lancashire (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc., 2017-11-02)
      The misinformation effect demonstrates that when eyewitnesses are exposed to details of a crime that are incorrect, they are less accurate in their later recall of those details. Research has also shown that misinformation has a measurable effect on recall and construction of a target face using a mechanical but now-outdated feature-based composite system. In a laboratory-based psychology experiment, we demonstrate that misinformation has a detrimental effect on the construction of a facial composite produced by a modern, computerized feature-based system. Participants were shown a target face and constructed a composite of it the following day using PRO-fit software. Composites were less identifiable when, prior to face construction, participants were exposed to misinformation-in this case, by reading a description of an inaccurate identity: a face that was different to theirs (relative to participants who read a description of the same identity, or did not read a description at all). This is important for criminal justice systems and security services as facial composites constructed under such circumstances would appear to be less identifiable, thus limiting the effectiveness of this type of forensic evidence.
    • Implementation intention and planning interventions in health psychology: recommendations from the Synergy Expert Group for research and practice

      Hagger, Martin S.; Luszczynska, Aleksandra; de Wit, John; Benyamini, Yael; Burkert, Silke; Chamberland, Pier-Eric; Chater, Angel M.; Dombrowski, Stephan U.; van Dongen, Anne; French, David P.; et al. (Routledge, 2016-03-16)
      The current article details a position statement and recommendations for future research and practice on planning and implementation intentions in health contexts endorsed by the Synergy Expert Group. The group comprised world-leading researchers in health and social psychology and behavioural medicine who convened to discuss priority issues in planning interventions in health contexts and develop a set of recommendations for future research and practice. The expert group adopted a nominal groups approach and voting system to elicit and structure priority issues in planning interventions and implementation intentions research. Forty-two priority issues identified in initial discussions were further condensed to 18 key issues, including definitions of planning and implementation intentions and 17 priority research areas. Each issue was subjected to voting for consensus among group members and formed the basis of the position statement and recommendations. Specifically, the expert group endorsed statements and recommendations in the following areas: generic definition of planning and specific definition of implementation intentions, recommendations for better testing of mechanisms, guidance on testing the effects of moderators of planning interventions, recommendations on the social aspects of planning interventions, identification of the preconditions that moderate effectiveness of planning interventions and recommendations for research on how people use plans.
    • Incoherence in the Iraq War narrative and the concept of collective attachment

      Sochos, Antigonos (Association for Psychohistory, 2015-12-31)
      As a major function of ideological and institutional frameworks is to provide security to the social group, by constructing ideologies and socio-political institutions, social groups also construct their objects of collective attachment. When social debates are conducted openly and freely, they are informed by secure collective attachment representations leading to effective and group-protecting action. When they are conducted in the context of social domination they are informed by insecure collective attachment representations, leading to ineffective and group-compromising action. The decision to invade Iraq in 2003 seems to have been informed by insecure collective attachment representations defining an incoherent social narrative and an ineffective protective strategy.
    • Introduction: Special section on well-being in academic employees

      Kinman, Gail; Johnson, Sheena; University of Bedfordshire; University of Manchester (American Psychological Association, 2019-05-31)
    • Investigating effects of emoji on neutral narrative text: evidence from eye movements and perceived emotional valence

      Robus, Christopher M.; Hand, Christopher J.; Filik, Ruth; Pitchford, Melanie; University of Bedfordshire; Glasgow Caledonian University; University of Nottingham (Elsevier, 2020-04-03)
      Digital images of faces such as emoji in virtual communication have become increasingly popular, but current research findings are inconsistent regarding their emotional effects on perceptions of text. Similarly, emoji effects on reading behaviours are largely unknown and require further examination. The present study (N = 41) investigated how the position and emotional valence of emoji in neutral narrative sentences influenced eye movements during reading and perceptions of sentence valence. Participants read neutral narrative sentences containing smiling or frowning emoji in sentence-initial or sentence-final positions and rated the perceived emotional valence of the sentence. Results from linear mixed-effects models demonstrated significantly longer fixations on sentence-final emoji and longer sentence reading times when emoji were in sentence-final positions. These findings are comparable to sentence ‘wrap-up’ effects witnessed in the processing of lexical units during sentence reading, providing new evidence towards the way readers integrate emoji into contextual processing. However, no impact of emoji valence or position on first-pass target word processing or sentence-valence ratings were found. This would refute previous suggestions that digital faces influence text valence, raising questions about reader preference for emoji or sentence sentiment, the influence of sentence formatting, and delivery/display mechanism on these effects.
    • Investigating the depression-anxiety link in clients receiving Integrative Counselling

      Sochos, Antigonos; Kotonou, Marina; University of Bedfordshire (Wiley, 2017-01-30)
      Objective: The aim of this paper was to investigate how anxiety and depression impact upon each other over the course of a counselling intervention. Method: A single-group repeated measures quasi-experimental design was employed. Data were collected at four time points: at pre-therapy assessment and at first, third, and last sessions. The sample consisted of 562 predominantly white British clients receiving Integrative Counselling at North Kent Mind, UK. Two measures were used: the Generalised Anxiety Disorder Scale to measure anxiety and the Patient Health Questionnaire to measure depression. Results: Clients improved in both dimensions at every measurement point. Path analysis suggested that anxiety and depression remained interlinked throughout treatment but they presented different effect profiles. They both appeared to have a premature effect on the other, but they did so in different ways. Conclusions: The therapeutic relationship may be a crucial factor in understanding the  premature effect observed and future research should utilise direct measures of the relationship.