• Link between mindfulness and personality-related factors including empathy, theory of mind, openness, pro-social behaviour and suggestibility

      Kaviani, Hossein; Hatami, Neda; University of Bedfordshire; Tehran University of Medical Sciences (OMICS International, 2016-11-02)
      This research investigated a potential linkage between mindfulness and personality characteristics such as openness to experience, empathy (empathic concern and theory of mind), prosocial behavior and suggestibility. A sample of 275 volunteers was recruited. A series of the research questionnaires and scales was employed to measure mindfulness, empathic concern, theory of mind (or perspective taking), prosocial behavior (or altruism) and suggestibility. Based on the quartile scores, participants were divided into two low (first quartile) and high (forth quartile) on mindfulness. Using a two-way MANOVA, the results showed that participants high on mindfulness exhibited increased theory of mind, prosocial behaviour and openness, in addition to decreased suggestibility. Neither main nor interaction effects were found for gender factor. Theoretical models in the field of social cognition will be discussed to explain how enhancement in cognitive functions due to mindfulness practice might alter personality characteristics and, in turn, influence socio-political behaviour.
    • Masculinity, injury and death – implications for anti-knife-carrying messages

      Palasinski, Marek; Brown, William Michael; Shortland, Neil; Riggs, Damian W.; Chen, Minsi; Bowman-Grieve, Lorraine (SAGE, 2019-01-18)
      Although knives are the most common homicide instrument in Britain, factors that influence knife-carrying tolerance (i.e., the extent to which it is seen as acceptable and justified) and perceptions of anti-knife messages (i.e., slogans and posters aimed at reducing knife crime) have not been examined, which the current paper will cover by featuring progressively related studies.  In Study 1, 227 men took part in a study on factors associated with knife-carrying.  In Study 2, 200 participants took part in an experimental study on anti-knife slogans.  In Study 3, 169 men took part in a study on existing anti-knife injury posters.  In Study 4, 151 men took part in a study on anti-knife CGI posters.  Study 1 proposes a structural equation model that shows the inter-correlations between physical defence ability, limited trust in authority, limited control over one’s status and the need for respect, and how they predict aggressive masculinity (i.e. macho culture), which, in turn, predicts knife-carrying tolerance.  The model also reveals two significant latent factors: saving face inter-male competition (i.e., honor) and perceived social ecological constraints (i.e., socio-economic limitations).  Study 2 shows that the injury slogan was rated as most persuasive.  Study 3 shows that the fresh injury poster was rated as most persuasive, emotional and believable.  Study 4 shows that it was the eye injury that was rated as most persuasive, emotional and believable. The paper supports protection motivation theory and offers practical insights into tackling knife crime.
    • Mate value and self-esteem: evidence from eight cultural groups

      Goodwin, Robin; Marshall, Tara; Fülöp, Marta; Adonu, Joseph; Spiewak, Slawomir; Neto, Felix; Hernandez Plaza, Sonia; Brunel University; Hungarian Academy of Sciences; University of Bedfordshire; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2012-12-31)
      This paper explores self-perceived mate value (SPMV), and its association with self-esteem, in eight cultures. 1066 participants, from 8 cultural groups in 7 countries, rated themselves on 24 SPMVs and completed a measure of self-esteem. Consistent with evolutionary theory, women were more likely to emphasise their caring and passionate romantic nature. In line with previous cross-cultural research, characteristics indicating passion and romance and social attractiveness were stressed more by respondents from individualistic cultures, and those higher on self-expression (rather than survival) values; characteristics indicative of maturity and confidence were more likely to be mentioned by those from Traditional, rather than Secular, cultures. Contrary to gender role theory, societal equality had only limited interactions with sex and SPMV, with honesty of greater significance for male self-esteem in societies with unequal gender roles. These results point to the importance of cultural and environmental factors in influencing self-perceived mate qualities, and are discussed in relation to broader debates about the impact of gender role equality on sex differences in personality and mating strategies.
    • Measuring health and broader well-being benefits in the context of opiate dependence: the psychometric performance of the ICECAP-A and the EQ-5D-5L

      Frew, Emma; Goranitis, Ilias; Coast, Joanna; Day, Ed; Copello, Alex; Freemantle, Nick; Seddon, Jennifer L.; Bennett, Carmel; University of Birmingham; University of Bristol; et al. (Elsevier Ltd, 2019-03-26)
      Background Measuring outcomes in economic evaluations of social care interventions is challenging because both health and well-being benefits are evident. The ICEpop CAPability instrument for adults (ICECAP-A) and the five-level EuroQol five-dimensional questionnaire (EQ-5D-5L) are measures potentially suitable for the economic evaluation of treatments for substance use disorders. Evidence for their validity in this context is, however, lacking. Objectives To assess the construct validity of the ICECAP-A and the EQ-5D-5L in terms of convergent and discriminative validity and sensitivity to change on the basis of standard clinical measures (Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation-Outcome Measure, Treatment Outcomes Profile, Interpersonal Support Evaluation List, Leeds Dependence Questionnaire, and Social Satisfaction Questionnaire). Methods A secondary analysis of pilot trial data for heroin users in opiate substitution treatment was conducted. Baseline convergence with clinical measures was assessed using the Pearson correlation coefficient. Discriminative validity was assessed using one-way analysis of variance and stepwise regressions. Sensitivity to changes in clinical indicators was assessed at 3 and 12 months using the standardized response mean statistic and parametric and nonparametric testing. Results Both measures had the same level of construct validity, except for clinical indicators of well-being, for which the ICECAP-A performed better. The ICECAP-A was sensitive to changes in both health and well-being indicators. The EQ-5D-5L had lower levels of sensitivity to change, and a ceiling effect (27%), particularly evident in the dimensions of self-care (89%), mobility (75%), and usual activities (72%). Conclusions The findings support the construct validity of both measures, but the ICECAP-A gives more attention to broader impacts and is more sensitive to change. The ICECAP-A shows promise in evaluating treatments for substance use disorders for which recovery is the desired outcome.
    • Mindfulness: cognitive and emotional change

      Kaviani, Hossein; University of Bedfordshire (OMICS International, 2016-12-28)
    • Neuropsychological approaches to understanding visual hallucinations

      Barnes, Jim (Wiley Blackwell, 2014-12-12)
      Hallucinations are a subjective experience with phenomenologically distinct characteristics, which are most likely to be a result of distinct neuronal origins. The mechanisms of the experience are investigated using a range of cognitive tests designed to examine characteristics such as memory, visual ability and executive function, which have generally been designed for general cognition evaluations rather than to specifically investigate hallucinations. Hallucination research from the perspective of cognitive neuropsychology focuses on the mechanisms integral to both hallucinations and veridical perception, in an attempt to identify the specific cognitive mechanisms which underlie hallucinations as well as their associated neural basis. For instance, although hallucinations are one of the main symptoms of schizophrenia, they are not experienced by all people with schizophrenia. In theory, the internal generation of images, along with compensatory visual processing, could be caused by relatively impaired visual processing in patients with PD who are experiencing visual hallucination (VHs).
    • The new Nowhere Land? : a research and practice agenda for the “Always on Culture"

      McDowall, Almuth; Kinman, Gail (Emerald, 2017-06-27)
      Purpose: Rapid developments in the field of information communication technology (ICT) mean that e-working has become increasingly common and prolonged – the “always-onculture” potential to enhance work-life balance via increased flexibility in terms of time and location, as well as posing the risk of being ‘always on’ has been identified with potentially serious implications for the health and performance of employees. We identify a research agenda and review current organizational practice. Approach: We discuss current technological developments as well as prevalent research frameworks and terminology in the domain of work-life balance and beyond to evaluate their fitness for purpose. We also report findings from a survey of 374 employees working within UK businesses about current organisational practice. Findings: Over half of the organisations sampled do not have clear guidance regarding worklife balance and supporting employees with regards to ICT enabled working. Key challenges are the sheer volume of email traffic, lack of training and infrastructure and an absence of appropriate support. Practical implications: Organisations need to develop clear policies regarding the psychosocial aspects of technology use and provide evidence-based guidance to managers and employees. Social implications: Managers and individuals require support to engage with technology in a healthy and sustainable way.
    • Notes on creative practice research in the age of neoliberal hopelessness, University of Bedfordshire, UK, 10-12 May 2018

      Brown, William Michael (Nova Institute of Philosophy, 2018-12-31)
      Conference report
    • Novel epigenetic, quantitative and qualitative insights on the socialness of autism [commentary]

      Brown, William Michael; Foxley-Webb, Ewan; University of Bedfordshire (Cambridge University Press, 2019-07-23)
      Three complementary points to Jaswal & Akhtar are raised: (1) As a person with autism, I desire sociality despite vulnerability to others’ antisocial behaviour; (2) Asperger’s conflation of autism with psychopathy (Czech 2018) likely caused clinicians to disregard social motivation among those with autism; and (3) adverse experiences cause social-engagement diversity to develop in all people, not just those on the spectrum.
    • An oral history of health psychology in the UK

      Quinn, Francis; Chater, Angel M.; Morrison, Val (Wiley, 2020-04-20)
      Abstract Purpose An oral history of the development of health psychology in the United Kingdom. Methods Standard oral history methods produced interviews with 53 UK health psychologists, averaging 92 min in length. All interviewees entered the field from the 1970s to the 2000s, representing all four countries in the United Kingdom. A reconstructive mode of analysis, along with the few existing sources, was used to create a narrative of the history of health psychology in the United Kingdom. Audio recordings and transcripts will be archived for use by future researchers. Findings In the 1970s, medical schools in London recruited psychologists to teach, while also conducting pragmatic research on issues in healthcare. At the same time, some clinical psychologists began to work with physical health conditions in general hospitals. Partly influenced by developments in the United States and Europe, an identity of ‘health psychology’ developed and spread to researchers and practitioners doing work in psychology and health. In the 1980s, the field continued to attract researchers, including social psychologists working with health behaviours and outcomes, and clinical psychologists working in health care settings. During this time, it became formalized as a scientific field with the creation of the BPS Health Psychology Section, courses, and journals. In the 1990s, the field moved towards professional practice, which was controversial with other BPS divisions. However, it continued to grow and develop through the 2000s and 2010s. Conclusion Reflections on the development of UK health psychology represent the first historical narrative produced from oral testimony of those who were present at the time.
    • Parental attachment style and young persons’ adjustment to bereavement

      Sochos, Antigonos; Aleem, Sadia; University of Bedfordshire (Springer, 2021-05-26)
      Background: Previous clinical and theoretical work supports the idea that parental attachment style and complicated grief affect young persons’ mental health, but empirical research investigating their impact on young person’s adjustment to bereavement is lacking. Objective: This study investigated the impact of parental attachment style and complicated grief on young person’s adjustment to bereavement. It was hypothesised that a) parental attachment anxiety, avoidance, and complicated grief would moderate the link between bereavement experience and psychological distress in young persons and b) parental attachment style would moderate the link between parental complicated grief and psychological distress experienced by bereaved young persons. Method: This was a questionnaire-based case control study, involving two participant groups: 133 parents of young persons who had experienced the loss of the loved one and 101 parents of young persons with no bereavement experience. Results: Bereaved young persons experienced greater externalising and internalising problems than the non-bereaved only when they were raised by an anxiously attached parent, but when parental attachment anxiety was low, bereaved children had fewer problems than the non-bereaved. When parental attachment avoidance was low, bereaved children also had fewer externalising problems than the non-bereaved. Among the bereaved, high levels of parental attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance amplified the link between parental complicated grief and child post-traumatic stress, while in the presence of low parental anxiety, complicated grief was negatively associated with an immediate distressing response and numbing-dissociative symptomatology. Conclusions: Psychological vulnerability in bereaved young persons was associated with an insecure parental attachment style.
    • The peculiar experience of being a complete novice : a reflection on supervising systemic practitioner researchers on a doctoral programme

      Gaitan, Alfredo; University of Bedfordshire (Everything is Connected Press, 2017-10-22)
      The experience of being a novice sailor has put me in a peculiar, but privileged position to gain a deeper understanding of the experience of an adult learner who is also a competent professional. I initially used first-person writing in order to express and explore my experience of a week of sailing in the Norfolk Broads. I tried to capture, among many things, my fear of falling in the water, of failing and of embarrassment. I described how I overcame my fear as I enjoyed small success at simple tasks. I then reflected on what I could learn about these experiences in nine themes, drawing on ideas by Maslow (1968/1972) on growth and safety, but also by Rogers (1951) on significant learning, and the all-important role of support and skilful guidance, with doctoral students and supervisors in mind. I drew on Shotter’s (1993, 2013) notions of ‘joint action’ and ‘third agency’ in order to explore the student-supervisor relationship and the construction of knowledge that takes place during a doctorate. This author’s ideas seemed particularly well-suited to the description of learning and supervising, as involving a way of being in which we are mostly responding to the requirements of concrete circumstances in a fluid process. I tried to infer what the appropriate skills and pedagogical strategies needed on the part of the supervisor may be. However, it is possible that the readers discover more possibilities hidden in the metaphor of learning to sail as they apply it to their own experience of learning in the doctoral programme.  
    • People are unable to recognize or report on their own eye movements

      Clarke, Alasdair D.F.; Mahon, Aoife; Irvine, Alex; Hunt, Amelia R.; University of Aberdeen; University of Cambridge (SAGE, 2017-11-01)
      Eye movements bring new information into our visual system. The selection of each fixation is the result of a complex interplay of image features, task goals, and biases in motor control and perception. To what extent are we aware of the selection of saccades and their consequences? Here we use a converging methods approach to answer this question in three diverse experiments. In Experiment 1, participants were directed to find a target in a scene by a verbal description of it. We then presented the path the eyes took together with those of another participant. Participants could only identify their own path when the comparison scanpath was searching for a different target. In Experiment 2, participants viewed a scene for three seconds and then named objects from the scene. When asked whether they had looked directly at a given object, participants' responses were primarily determined by whether or not the object had been named, and not by whether it had been fixated. In Experiment 3, participants executed saccades towards single targets and then viewed a replay of either the eye movement they had just executed or that of someone else. Participants were at chance to identify their own saccade, even when it contained under- and overshoot corrections. The consistent inability to report on one's own eye movements across experiments suggests that awareness of eye movements is extremely impoverished or altogether absent. This is surprising given that information about prior eye movements is clearly used during visual search, motor error correction, and learning.
    • Perceptions of professional drug treatment staff in England about client barriers to Narcotics Anonymous attendance

      Day, Ed; Wall, Rosemary; Chohan, Gagandeep; Seddon, Jennifer L.; King's College London; University of Birmingham (Taylor & Francis, 2015-11-04)
      A growing body of research evidence shows that Twelve Step Group (TSG) attendance confers a consistent moderate beneficial effect on substance use. Clinicians potentially represent a major referral pathway to TSG. This qualitative study aimed to explore staff perceptions of the barriers to Narcotics Anonymous (NA) group attendance in a population receiving drug treatment, and potential strategies to increase attendance. A cross-sectional survey of substance misuse treatment professionals was conducted between January and April 2012 in Birmingham, England. Fifty-eight members of staff working within statutory community drug treatment teams were interviewed using qualitative research methods. The overarching themes within the staff accounts are described and the importance of these themes explored. Perceived objections to core elements of the 12 step programme (religious nature of the programme, powerlessness, surrender, desire to stop using drugs) were major obstacles to recommending NA attendance. However, a perception that the client would object to any form of group process, and concerns about risk both to the client and the TSG members were also important. Increased education about TSG practices and procedures was a commonly cited strategy for increasing levels of TSG referral, and in particular ensuring that clinicians attend open meetings themselves. An increased understanding and familiarity with the process and principles of TSGs may be necessary to increase promotion of TSG within drug treatment services in line with recent national policy promoting recovery from drug use.
    • Phenomenology of visual hallucinations and their relationship to cognitive profile in Parkinson’s Disease patients: preliminary observations

      Boubert, Laura; Barnes, Jim (SAGE Publications Inc., 2015-04-01)
      Although the phenomenology of visual hallucinations (VHs) has been investigated, no study to date has related cognitive performance to the content of hallucinations, specifically whether participants who have familiar internally driven hallucinations differ in the executive function from patients with externally driven hallucinations. Here, we examine the relationship between executive function and the content of VHs in Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients. We evaluated three groups: 17 PD patients with internally driven memory-based VHs, 18 PD patients with externally driven non-memory-based VHs, and 20 PD patients without hallucinations on a series of tests previously reported to evaluate executive functions, specifically tests of inhibitory ability, short-term memory, and working memory. Differences were found on test of inhibitory ability with PD patients experiencing externally driven VHs having substantially greater impairment than patients with internally driven VHs. These findings indicate that the cognitive profile of patients may influence the content of the hallucinatory experience and could consequently have implications for treatment of the phenomenon.
    • Phonetic and orthographic cues are weighted in speech sound perception by second language speakers: evidence from Greek speakers of English.

      Giannakopoulou, Anastasia; Uther, Maria; Ylinen, Sari; University of Bedfordshire; Winchester University; University of Helsinki (Acoustical Society of America, 2016-05-01)
      Second language (L2) learning can involve processing of speech-sound contrasts that have multiple phonetic cues (e.g. Iverson et al., 2003). This can be particularly difficult for foreign-language learners especially if the cues are weighted differently in the foreign and native languages (e.g., Giannakopoulou et al., 2011, 2013). The orthographic representation of words is suggested to also interfere with speech sound perception in way of presenting additional cues for the second language learner. Greek child and adult speakers of English were studied to determine on what basis they are making perceptual identification between English vowels with the use of pictures as visual stimuli. Performance was impaired for Greek speakers across all tasks but worst for Greek speakers for the picture stimuli task. Findings suggest a 'link' between orthography and perceptual identification serving as an additional cue for L2 speakers.
    • A pilot feasibility randomised controlled trial of an adjunct brief social network intervention in opiate substitution treatment services

      Day, Ed; Copello, Alex; Seddon, Jennifer L.; Christie, Marilyn; Bamber, Deborah; Powell, Charlotte; Bennett C.; Akhtar, Shabana; George, Sanju; Ball, Andrew; et al. (BioMed Central Ltd., 2018-01-15)
      Background: Approximately 3% of people receiving opioid substitution therapy (OST) in the UK manage to achieve abstinence from prescribed and illicit drugs within three years of commencing treatment. Involvement of families and wider social networks in supporting psychological treatment may be an effective strategy in facilitating recovery, and this pilot study aimed to evaluate the impact of a social network-focused intervention for patients receiving OST. Methods: A two-site, open feasibility trial randomised patients receiving OST for at least 12 months but still reporting illicit opiate use in the past 28 days to one of three treatments: 1) treatment as usual (TAU), 2) Brief Social Behaviour and Network Therapy (B-SBNT)+TAU, or 3) Personal Goal Setting (PGS)+TAU. The two active interventions consisted of 4 sessions. There were 3 aims: 1) test the feasibility of recruiting OST patients to a trial of B-SBNT, and following them up over 12 months; 2) test the feasibility of training clinicians to deliver B-SBNT; 3) test whether B-SBNT reduces heroin use 3 and 12 months after treatment, and to explore potential mediating factors. The primary outcome for aim 3 was number of days of heroin use in the past month, and a range of secondary outcome measures were specified in advance (level of drug dependence, mental health, social satisfaction, therapist rapport, treatment satisfaction, social network size and support). Results: A total of 83 participants were randomised, and 70 (84%) were followed-up at 12 months. Fidelity analysis of showed that B-SBNT sessions were clearly distinguishable from PGS and TAU sessions, suggesting it was possible to train clinical staff to an adequate level of competence. No significant differences were found between the 3 intervention arms in the primary or secondary outcome measures. Attendance at psychosocial treatment intervention sessions was low across all three arms (44% overall). Conclusions: Patients receiving OST can be recruited into a trial of a social network-based intervention, but poor attendance at treatment sessions makes it uncertain whether an adequate dose of treatment was delivered. In order to achieve the benefits of psychosocial interventions, further work is needed to overcome poor engagement. Trial registration: ISRCTN Trial Registration Number: ISRCTN22608399. Date of registration: 27/04/2012. Date of first randomisation: 14/08/2012.
    • Pilot study of a social network intervention for heroin users in opiate substitution treatment: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

      Ball, Andrew; Frew, Emma; Freemantle, Nick; Day, Ed; Copello, Alex; Seddon, Jennifer L.; Christie, Marilyn; Bamber, Deborah; Powell, Charlotte; George, Sanju (BioMed Central, 2013-08-19)
      Background: Research indicates that 3% of people receiving opiate substitution treatment (OST) in the UK manage to achieve abstinence from all prescribed and illicit drugs within 3 years of commencing treatment, and there is concern that treatment services have become skilled at engaging people but not at helping them to enter a stage of recovery and drug abstinence. The National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse recommends the involvement of families and wider social networks in supporting drug users' psychological treatment, and this pilot randomized controlled trial aims to evaluate the impact of a social network-focused intervention for patients receiving OST.Methods and design: In this two-site, early phase, randomized controlled trial, a total of 120 patients receiving OST will be recruited and randomized to receive one of three treatments: 1) Brief Social Behavior and Network Therapy (B-SBNT), 2) Personal Goal Setting (PGS) or 3) treatment as usual. Randomization will take place following baseline assessment. Participants allocated to receive B-SBNT or PGS will continue to receive the same treatment that is routinely provided by drug treatment services, plus four additional sessions of either intervention. Outcomes will be assessed at baseline, 3 and 12 months. The primary outcome will be assessment of illicit heroin use, measured by both urinary analysis and self-report. Secondary outcomes involve assessment of dependence, psychological symptoms, social satisfaction, motivation to change, quality of life and therapeutic engagement. Family members (n = 120) of patients involved in the trial will also be assessed to measure the level of symptoms, coping and the impact of the addiction problem on the family member at baseline, 3 and 12 months.Discussion: This study will provide experimental data regarding the feasibility and efficacy of implementing a social network intervention within routine drug treatment services in the UK National Health Service. The study will explore the impact of the intervention on both patients receiving drug treatment and their family members.Trial registration: Trial Registration Number: ISRCTN22608399. ISRCTN22608399 registration: 27/04/2012. Date of first randomisation: 14/08/2012. © 2013 Day et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.