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  • Teaching the Teachers: Reflections from two Graduate Teaching Assistants

    Grimaldi, A.; Selvaraj, M. Sudhir (2022-06)
    This paper offers a critical reflection on the experience of two former Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) - the authors - who were tasked with creating a digital learning program during the first UK national lockdown in 2020. The program drew from an emerging body of literature that seeks to employ Freirian pedagogies in the digital classroom and was designed to equip both new and established members of faculty with the skills needed for online teaching. While taking on this challenge, however, the experienced GTAs found that their pedagogical instincts and practices were challenged by their positionalities as young Early Career Researchers (ECRs) from underrepresented groups in British Academia. The aim of this paper is thus to scrutinise the potential for online learning to democratise and shift perceived hierarchies within academia, not only for students, but for ECRs navigating the structures of university teaching in the current employment climate.
  • A ‘New Gambia’? Managing political crisis and change in an African small state

    Harris, David; Jaw, S.M. (2024)
    The Gambia has experienced three significant political crises in its history: the attempted coup of 1981, the successful coup of 1994, and the latest events in 2016-17 when President Yahya Jammeh, having exercised semi-authoritarian power since 1994, was defeated at the ballot box but refused to step down until he was finally forced to do so. Using academic, media, social media and interview material, this article examines all three processes and their aftermaths, in particular the latter, through the lens of ‘small state’ politics. The article demonstrates that the small size of the population, elite, and landmass indeed matters in driving Gambian political processes. In 2023, several post-2017 processes, including constitutional change, transitional justice and elections, are playing out within the confines of the small state. This article then assesses to what extent a ‘New Gambia’, to use current President Adama Barrow’s phrase, has emerged.
  • The United Nations register of conventional arms: A mixed second year

    Chalmers, Malcolm G.; Greene, Owen J. (Unidier, 2019)
  • Effects of age on behavioural and eye gaze on Theory of Mind using Movie for Social Cognition

    Yong, Min Hooi; Waqas, Muhammad; Ruffman, T. (2024)
    Evidence has shown that older adults have lower accuracy in Theory-of-Mind (ToM) tasks compared to young adults, but we are still unclear whether the difficulty in decoding mental states in older adults stems from not looking at the critical areas, and more so from the ageing Asian population. Most ToM studies use static images or short vignettes to measure ToM but these stimuli are dissimilar to everyday social interactions. We investigated this question using a dynamic task that measured both accuracy and error types, and examined the links between accuracy and error types to eye gaze fixation at critical areas (e.g. eyes, mouth, body). A total of 82 participants (38 older, 44 young adults) completed the Movie for the Assessment of Social Cognition task on the eye tracker. Results showed that older adults had a lower overall accuracy with more errors in the ipo-ToM (under-mentalising) and no-ToM (lack of mentalisation) conditions compared to young adults. We analysed the eye gaze data using principal components analysis and found that increasing age and looking less at the face were related to lower MASC accuracy in our participants. Our findings suggest that ageing deficits in ToM are linked to a visual attention deficit specific to the perception of socially relevant nonverbal cues.
  • An exploratory study on virtual reality and in-person effects on loneliness

    Hussain, A.; Lee, S.J.; Theunissen, D.; Yong, Min Hooi (2023-11)
    Most studies investigated the effectiveness of virtual reality (VR) for healthcare and educational purposes, but little is known on the effectiveness of VR in social interaction. Our aim was to examine whether VR would be similar to in-person interaction in reducing loneliness. A total of 73 participants participated in this study. They were randomly assigned to in-person or VR condition and interacted for 15 minutes about a tourist landmark. Participants completed a set of questions that measured belonging – acceptance and exclusion, positive and negative affect, wellbeing, trust, and mood before and after the interaction. Results showed that in both conditions, loneliness was significantly lower, with higher wellbeing, higher positive and lower negative affect, feeling happier and had more fun post task. Trust was higher in the VR condition post task but not for in-person. Our regression analyses showed that having higher wellbeing was a significant predictor in reducing loneliness for in-person condition and that being older and higher belonging – acceptance were significant predictors on feeling lonelier for the VR condition. In sum, our results demonstrated some success in reducing loneliness in VR but may not be sufficient to develop lasting friendship.
  • Hindu nationalist statecraft, dog-whistle legislation, and the vigilante state in contemporary India

    Nielsen, K.B.; Selvaraj, M. Sudhir; Nilsen, A.G. (2023)
    The ideology and politics of Hindu nationalism has always been predicated on an antagonistic discursive construction of ‘dangerous others,’ notably Muslims but also Christians. This construct has served to define India as first and foremost a Hindu nation, thereby de facto relegating religious minorities to the status of not properly belonging to the nation. However, under the leadership of the current Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Hindu nationalism has acquired an unprecedented political force. A key consequence of this has been that the discursive construction of dangerous others is now increasingly being written into law, through a process of Hindu nationalist statecraft. The result is, we argue, not just a de facto but increasingly also a de jure marginalization and stigmatization of religious minorities. We substantiate this argument by analysing the intent and effect of recent pieces of legislation in two Indian states regulating, among other things, religious conversions, inter-faith relationships, and population growth. Conceiving of such laws as dog-whistle legislation, we argue that they are, in fact, geared towards the legal consolidation of India as a Hindu state. We also analyse the intimate entanglement between these laws and the collective violence of vigilante groups against those minorities that Hindu nationalists frame as dangerous, anti-national others.
  • Applying the Non-adoption, Abandonment, Scale-up, Spread and Sustainability (NASSS) Framework to evaluate automated evidence synthesis in health behaviour change

    Branney, Peter; Marques, M.; Norris, E. (Sage, 2024)
    Automated tools to speed up the process of evidence synthesis are increasingly apparent within health behaviour research, however, frameworks to evaluate the development and implementation of such tools are not routinely used. This commentary explores the potential of the Non-adoption, Abandonment, Scale-up, Spread and Sustainability framework (NASSS; Greenhalgh et al., 2017) for supporting automated evidence synthesis in health behaviour change by applying it to the ongoing Human Behaviour-Change Project, which aims to revolutionise evidence synthesis within behaviour change intervention research. To increase the relevance of NASSS for health behaviour change, we recommend i) terminology changes (‘condition’ to ‘behaviour’ and ‘patient’ to ‘end user’) and ii) a that it is used prospectively so that complexities can be addressed iteratively. We draw three conclusions about i) the need to specify the organisations that will use the technology, ii) identifying what to do if interdependencies fail and iii) even though we have focused on automated evidence synthesis, NASSS would arguably be beneficial for technology developments in health behaviour change more generally, particularly for invention development (e.g. for a behaviour change app).
  • Developing a simple risk metric for the effect of sport-related concussion and physical pain on mental health

    Walker, Daniel; Qureshi, A.W.; Marchant, D.; Balani, A.B. (2023-10-13)
    Risk factors associated with depression in athletes include biological sex, physical pain, and history of sport-related concussion (SRC). Due to the well-documented benefits of sport and physical activity on mental health, athletes and non-athletes were recruited to assess any differences. Beyond this, athletes were also grouped by sport-type (contact/non-contact sports) due to the increased prevalence of pain and SRC in contact sports. To our knowledge, there has been no research on how these factors influence the likelihood of depression. In the current study, 144 participants completed a short survey on the above factors and the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale. Sixty-two of these reported a history of concussion. Logistic regression revealed all the above predictors to be significantly associated with the depression scale. Individuals that had previously sustained SRC, were experiencing greater physical pain and females were more likely to display poor mental health. However, we provide further evidence for the benefits of engaging in sport and physical activity as those that took part in sport were less likely to report depression. Therefore, this study provides a simple risk metric whereby sportspeople can make a better informed choice of their sporting participation, making their own cost/reward judgement.
  • Effects of perceived social isolation, fear of social isolation and gratitude during COVID-19 pandemic on anxiety in Malaysia

    Tan, C.Y.; Ng, J.Y.; Lin, M.H.; Yong, Min Hooi (2023)
    Many governments including Malaysia imposed movement restrictions as public health measure to minimize COVID-19 (coronavirus) risks. Due to prolonged isolation, poorer physical and mental health is expected in the general population. Our aims were to examine (1) the mediating role of perceived social isolation (SI) and fear of social isolation (FSI) on the relationship between gratitude and anxiety, and (2) to explore the moderating role of age, education and socioeconomic status (SES) on the mediation model. A total of 427 participants currently living in Malaysia (Mage = 37.90, SD = 16.51, 313 females) completed a survey on isolation, gratitude and anxiety during a period of national lockdown. Results showed that that those with higher gratitude reported having less SI and FSI and less anxiety (Model 1). In Model 2 with age as moderator, young adults (YA) and middle-aged adults (MA) who had higher gratitude experienced lower SI and in turn had lowered anxiety, but such mediating role of SI was not observed among older adults (OA). As for FSI, MA who had higher gratitude had lower FSI and also lower anxiety but this relationship was not observed in YA or OA. We also examined the role of education and SES as moderators in the parallel mediation analysis. Results showed that the indirect association of gratitude with anxiety via FI and FSI was moderated by both education and SES. Specifically, among those with low education levels (regardless of SES), those with higher gratitude had lower SI and FSI which in turn reduced anxiety. This relationship is similar for those with medium level of education and from low and middle level of SES as well. Our findings highlight the importance of having some coping mechanism e.g., gratitude and social connection during the pandemic to have higher wellbeing and quality of life, especially for MA sample and people from low education and SES background.
  • Leadership for Levelling Up: Addressing social and economic policy issues?

    Liddle, J.; Shutt, J.; Addidle, Gareth (Special Edition of Local Economy, 2022)
  • Reframing ‘Place Leadership’: An analysis of Leadership in responding to the wicked issue of county lines and criminality within a context of post pandemic public health policing

    Liddle, J.; Addidle, Gareth (Edward Elgar, 2022-06-22)
    The chapter explores a practical approach to place leadership within what is increasingly acknowledged as a wicked problem. County lines and drug trafficking take place within complicated landscapes as multi-agency leaders, including police leaders, develop innovative solutions based on dialogue and relational approaches to this crucial wicked issue. Recent evidence on the scale of vulnerable individuals and groups inhabiting so called ‘left behind’ places provides testament to this 21st Century social policy problem (Addidle and Liddle, 2020). The many competing and contradictory conceptualisations of the phenomena of vulnerability leave place leaders with dilemmas on how to prioritise, operationalise and respond to such placed-based problems (Addidle and Liddle, 2020). Extant literature on place leadership remains largely at the economic level of analysis and based on growth models, but public leadership literature is more extensive and recent work has added to our understanding of the social contexts of place leadership within the public realm. Our key aim in this chapter is to add theoretical, empirical and policy insights to existing understandings, with a specific focus on crime and county lines.
  • Chatbot in smartphone self-paced learning: A study on technology acceptance among older adults in Malaysia

    Yong, Min Hooi; Lim, Z.S.; Lee, Y. (2023-09)
    Older adults use their smartphones to learn new material but few studies examined their learning with the presence of a chatbot in a smartphone. We developed a three-week self-paced learning module on three topics (chatbot, QR scanner, Google Drive) using their smartphone. Our aims were to examine participants’ self-paced learning accuracy while exploring older adults acceptance of the chatbot. Twelve participants participated in this study (Mage: 64.75 years) for three weeks at their homes individually. Results showed that they had low accuracy for the chatbot but higher accuracy for the other two. Qualitative analyses indicated that participants disliked the chatbot and that good clarity in our instructional videos and slides may have contributed to the low acceptance for the chatbot. Our findings indicated that self-paced learning is feasible with slides and videos only, and to create more chatbot-related assessments to increase chatbot usage.
  • Curbing Bribe-Giving in Malaysia: The Role of Attitudes and Parents

    Mengzhen, L.; Yongchy, S.; Wan Munira, W.J.; Khir, A.M.; Hamsan, H.H.; Yong, Min Hooi; Wu, S.L.; Ooi, P.B.; Ong, D.L.T.; Ong, C.S. (2022-01)
    One of the main challenges developing nations face is curbing bribery. While there are many efforts to curb bribery, most focused at macro level, such as law, while little has been examined at the micro level, e.g., individual behavior and intention. Those who did investigate at the micro level tend to focus on the recipients rather than the ones giving the bribe. We explored eight factors that influence Malaysian young adults’ bribe giving intention based on the Reasoned Action Approach (RAA). A total of 345 respondents (M age = 20.68, SD = 2.01, 189 are females) completed questionnaires about all RAA variables. Partial Least Squares Structural Equation Modelling (PLS-SEM) was carried out using smartPLS3.0 to analyze the result. The result revealed that out of the eight variables, four variables—Instrumental attitudes, Experiential Attitudes, Parents’ descriptive norms and Capacity—explain 74% of the variance in bribe giving intention. An important take-away is that young adult’s perception of whether their parents gave or did not give bribes in a given situation is important in influencing their bribe giving intention. Bribe giving prevention messages must be targeted explicitly toward parents, where they play a crucial role in curbing this dishonesty.
  • Mobile Money, Child Labour and School Enrolment

    Ajefu, Joseph B.; Massacky, F. (2023)
    This paper analyses the impact of household adoption of mobile money services on child labour and schooling in Tanzania. The paper uses data drawn from the Tanzania National Panel Surveys (TNPS), for the survey periods as follows: 2008/09, 2010/11, 2012/13, and 2014/15. The TNPS are national representative surveys conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics of Tanzania in collaboration with the World Bank Living Standards Measurement Study-Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LMSA-ISA). The surveys collect detailed information on individual, household, and community-level characteristics. The panel nature of the TNPS allows for the same households to be interviewed over time. The study uses a difference-in-differences approach, and instrumental variables strategy to investigate the nexus between mobile money adoption and child labour and school enrolment in Tanzania. The findings of this study reveal a positive and significant effect of mobile money adoption on school enrolment, but a negative effect on children’s labour market activities. Moreover, the study identifies heterogenous impacts across child’s gender and age; and remittances receipt and education expenditure are the potential pathways through which mobile money adoption affects child labour and school enrolment. Overall, the results suggest that policies that enhance financial inclusion such as the introduction of mobile money can be effective in improving child’s school enrolment and a decline in the incidence of child labour.
  • The future of chemical weapons: advances in the development of anti-plant agents

    Whitby, Simon M. (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2018)
    Set in the context of efforts to utilise chemicals as weapons of war, that have their origins in collaborative efforts between the UK and the US during World War I, this chapter examines the origins, the evolution, and the hostile misuse of chemical anti-crop agents and defoliants. Out of efforts between the two countries that endured throughout World War II, military interest in chemical anti-crop agents and defoliants emerged in-part as a consequence of a close association between civilian chemistry and military chemistry. It is shown by way of insights provided from official sources from the United Kingdom (UK) National Archive that UK use of such agents in Malaya resulted in the emergence of new techniques concerning the large-scale use of chemical anti-plant agents, as well as methods for their widespread dissemination. It is argued here that the above can be seen as a prelude to subsequent use in Vietnam, the latter having implications of relevance to human health and for the environment. It is shown that the role of science policy experts in bringing influence to bear on policy-makers during the latter part of the Vietnam War was significant in bringing about change in policy and an end to use in Vietnam. Also of significance is the issue of chemical weapons in the context of efforts to codify the norm of non-use under the Geneva Protocol, under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), and under a range of related prohibition regimes. This chapter considers the implications of the scientific and technological developments in phytobiology of relevance, in particular, to auxins (work on endogenous growth regulators—auxins—would lead to the discovery of “the first systemic or hormone herbicides”). The findings are drawn together in a concluding section at the end of this chapter.
  • After COVID-19: time to agree a biosecurity code of conduct under the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention

    Whitby, Simon M.; Tang, C.; Shang, L.; Dando, Malcolm R. (Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, 2020-06)
    The devastating COVID-19 disease outbreak of 2020 is likely to cause a profound rethink of how national and international communities deal with such outbreaks whether they are caused naturally, accidentally or deliberately. This paper suggests that now is the time to build on two decades of work within the BTWC and for States Parties to agree on a Biosecurity Code of Conduct under the Convention as proposed by China. Over the past two decades, as part of their attempts to strengthen the BTWC and thereby to help prevent the development of biological and toxin weapons, States Parties have given considerable attention to the potential utility of Codes of Conduct for life and associated scientists. This paper reviews these debates about this novel dual-use ethical challenge within the Convention and concludes that a Code of Conduct should be agreed at the 2021 Review Conference, but that radical reorientation of the mandatory education of such scientists will also be needed to make the agreed code effective.
  • Strengthening biological security after COVID-19: Using cartoons for engaging life science stakeholders with the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC)

    Novossiolova, T.; Whitby, Simon M.; Dando, Malcolm R.; Shang, L. (2022-06)
    The devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have acutely shown the need for maintaining robust international and national systems for biological security and ensuring that life sciences are used only for peaceful purposes. Life science stakeholders can play an important role in safeguarding scientific and technological advances in biology and related fields against accidental or deliberate misuse, not least because they are on the frontlines of driving innovation. In this paper, we argue that enhancing awareness and understanding of the risk of deliberate disease is essential for effective biological security. We first discuss the issue of ‘dual use’ in science and technology as it relates to disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Second, we review how scientist engagement with dual-use risks has been addressed in the context of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC). Third, we report on the development of an innovative awareness-raising tool, a cartoon series, that can be used for engaging life science stakeholders with BTWC issues. Finally, we outline a set of practical considerations for promoting sustainable life science engagement with the BTWC.
  • Meeting the challenges of chemical and biological weapons: strengthening the chemical and biological disarmament and non-proliferation regimes

    Edwards, B.; Novossiolova, T.; Crowley, Michael J.A.; Whitby, Simon M.; Dando, Malcolm R.; Shang, L. (2022-04)
    In this report, we identify some of the key technical and political challenges currently facing the broader Chemical and Biological Weapon (CBW) regime- with a particular emphasis on major forthcoming diplomatic meetings. Most significantly the Ninth Review Conference of the Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention (1972) (BTWC) which will take place in 2022 and preparations for the Fifth Review Conference of the Chemical Weapons Convention (1993) (CWC), expected in 2023. This report is an output of an ongoing project, designed to stimulate thinking and discussion about these issues, within relevant stakeholder communities. The report provides an introduction to this issue area for the general reader before surveying key issues and developing a series of practical policy suggestions for further consideration.
  • Strengthening the biological and toxin weapons convention after COVID-19

    Shang, L.; Whitby, Simon M.; Dando, Malcolm R. (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2021-08)
    The COVID-19 virus pandemic has again demonstrated the devastating impact that a microbial pathogen can have on our health, society and economic systems. It necessitates a fundamental rethink of how the security of our societies can be better sustained. This rethinking will require many aspects of our security systems to be re-examined, but we concentrate here on the consequences of the rapid advances being made in the life and associated sciences. In this chapter, we will describe and analyse one of the most likely means by which the BTWC could be strengthened at the 9th Review Conference, namely: agreement of an International Aspirational Code of Conduct supported by mandatory biological security education for life and associated scientists. We conclude that a vigorous effort by civil society will be needed to assist the achievement of an agreement on this issue at the 9th Review Conference.
  • “The importance of collaboration between the project team, end-users, and stakeholders in managing complex decisions and risks in project environments”

    Rye, Sara; Danquah, J. (Association for Project Management, 2023-07)
    The importance of a collaborative approach between the project team, end-users, and stakeholders in managing complex decisions and risks in project environments has long been emphasized. The Porter model emphasizes the need to focus on client needs and competitive advantage. However, a lack of resources and capability development may hinder the project team's ability to provide appropriate services. Supervisors, team members, and end-users can play a supportive role in easing complexity in risk management and decision-making. It is important to understand standards as performance measures for decision-making and the need for detailed knowledge of the project brief. The value of group decision support systems and low-intensity involvements in decision-making would give rise to involving end-users in critical decision-making, the importance of focusing on organizational culture and strategic planning, and the need for a change of mindset to align individual perceptions with the norm. It is also important to gather and analyze information before making a decision. While some project teams see end-users as a threat to their judgment, the research emphasizes the duty to respond to end-users' needs and highlights the value they add to risk assessment.

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