Now showing items 21-40 of 1129

    • How Easy is it to Read the Minds of People with Autism Spectrum Disorder?

      Sheppard, E.; Pillai, D.; Wong, G.T-L.; Ropar, D.; Mitchell, Peter (2016-04)
      How well can neurotypical adults’ interpret mental states in people with ASD? ‘Targets’ (ASD and neurotypical) reactions to four events were video-recorded then shown to neurotypical participants whose task was to identify which event the target had experienced. In study 1 participants were more successful for neurotypical than ASD targets. In study 2, participants rated ASD targets equally expressive as neurotypical targets for three of the events, while in study 3 participants gave different verbal descriptions of the reactions of ASD and neurotypical targets. It thus seems people with ASD react differently but not less expressively to events. Because neurotypicals are ineffective in interpreting the behaviour of those with ASD, this could contribute to the social difficulties in ASD.
    • Seven- to 11-Year-Olds' Developing Ability to Recognize Natural Facial Expressions of Basic Emotions

      Kang, K.; Anthoney, L.; Mitchell, Peter (2017-09)
      Being able to recognize facial expressions of basic emotions is of great importance to social development. However, we still know surprisingly little about children’s developing ability to interpret emotions that are expressed dynamically, naturally, and subtly, despite real-life expressions having such appearance in the vast majority of cases. The current research employs a new technique of capturing dynamic, subtly expressed natural emotional displays (happy, sad, angry, shocked, and disgusted). Children aged 7, 9, and 11 years (and adults) were systematically able to discriminate each emotional display from alternatives in a five-way choice. Children were most accurate in identifying the expression of happiness and were also relatively accurate in identifying the expression of sadness; they were far less accurate than adults in identifying shocked and disgusted. Children who performed well academically also tended to be the most accurate in recognizing expressions, and this relationship maintained independently of chronological age. Generally, the findings testify to a well-developed ability to recognize very subtle naturally occurring expressions of emotions.
    • How accurately can other people infer your thoughts - And does culture matter?

      Valanides, C.; Sheppard, E.; Mitchell, Peter (2017-11)
      This research investigated how accurately people infer what others are thinking after observing a brief sample of their behaviour and whether culture/similarity is a relevant factor. Target participants (14 British and 14 Mediterraneans) were cued to think about either positive or negative events they had experienced. Subsequently, perceiver participants (16 British and 16 Mediterraneans) watched videos of the targets thinking about these things. Perceivers (both groups) were significantly accurate in judging when targets had been cued to think of something positive versus something negative, indicating notable inferential ability. Additionally, Mediterranean perceivers were better than British perceivers in making such inferences, irrespective of nationality of the targets, something that was statistically accounted for by corresponding group differences in levels of independently measured collectivism. The results point to the need for further research to investigate the possibility that being reared in a collectivist culture fosters ability in interpreting others’ behaviour.
    • Judging personality from a brief sample of behaviour: detecting where others stand on trait continua

      Wu, W.; Sheppard, E.; Mitchell, Peter (2017-11)
      Trait inferences occur routinely and rapidly during social interaction, sometimes based on scant or fleeting information. In this research, participants (perceivers) made inferences of targets' big‐five traits after briefly watching or listening to an unfamiliar target (a third party) performing various mundane activities (telling a scripted joke or answering questions about him/herself or reading aloud a paragraph of promotional material). Across three studies, when perceivers judged targets to be either low or high in one or more dimensions of the big‐five traits, they tended to be correct, but they did not tend to be correct when they judged targets as average. Such inferences seemed to vary in effectiveness across different trait dimensions and depending on whether the target's behaviour was presented either in a video with audio, a silent video, or just in an audio track—perceivers generally were less often correct when they judged targets as average in each of the big‐five traits across various information channels (videos with audio, silent videos, and audios). Study 3 replicated these findings in a different culture. We conclude with discussion of the scope and the adaptive value of this trait inferential ability.
    • Seeing the world through others minds Inferring social context from behaviour

      Teoh, Y.; Wallis, E.; Stephen, I.D.; Mitchell, Peter (2017-02)
      Past research tells us that individuals can infer information about a target’s emotional state and intentions from their facial expressions (Frith & Frith, 2012), a process known as mentalising. This extends to inferring the events that caused the facial reaction (e.g. Pillai, Sheppard, & Mitchell, 2012; Pillai et al., 2014), an ability known as retrodictive mindreading. Here, we enter new territory by investigating whether or not people (perceivers) can guess a target’s social context by observing their response to stimuli. In Experiment 1, perceivers viewed targets’ responses and were able to determine whether these targets were alone or observed by another person. In Experiment 2, another group of perceivers, without any knowledge of the social context or what the targets were watching, judged whether targets were hiding or exaggerating their facial expressions; and their judgments discriminated between conditions in which targets were observed and alone. Experiment 3 established that another group of perceivers’ judgments of social context were associated with estimations of target expressivity to some degree. In Experiments 1 and 2, the eye movements of perceivers also varied between conditions in which targets were observed and alone. Perceivers were thus able to infer a target’s social context from their visible response. The results demonstrate an ability to use other minds as a window onto a social context that could not be seen directly.
    • Dissociating neural signatures of mental state retrodiction and classification based on facial expressions

      Kang, K.; Schneider, D.; Schweinberger, S.R.; Mitchell, Peter (2018-08-22)
      Posed facial expressions of actors have often been used as stimuli to induce mental state inferences, in order to investigate 'Theory of Mind' processes. However, such stimuli make it difficult to determine whether perceivers are using a basic or more elaborated mentalizing strategy. The current study used as stimuli covert recordings of target individuals who viewed various emotional expressions, which caused them to spontaneously mimic these expressions. Perceivers subsequently judged these subtle emotional expressions of the targets: in one condition ('classification') participants were instructed to classify the target's expression (i.e. match it to a sample) and in another condition ('retrodicting') participants were instructed to retrodict (i.e. infer which emotional expression the target was viewing). When instructed to classify, participants showed more prevalent activations in event-related brain potentials (ERPs) at earlier and mid-latency ERP components N170, P200 and P300-600. By contrast, when instructed to retrodict participants showed enhanced late frontal and fronto-temporal ERPs (N800-1000), with more sustained activity over the right than the left hemisphere. These findings reveal different cortical processes involved when retrodicting about a facial expression compared to merely classifying it, despite comparable performance on the behavioral task.
    • Modelling the executive components involved in processing false belief and mechanical/intentional sequences

      Tsuji, H.; Mitchell, Peter (2019-06)
      To understand the executive demands of the false-belief (FB) task relative to an alternative theory-of-mind (or mechanical causality) task, picture sequencing, the present study used path analyses. One hundred and sixty-six children between 3 and 6 years old completed the FB and picture-sequencing tasks, three executive function tasks (updating, inhibition, and shifting), and the receptive language test. The model with the best fit indicated that FB performance had a direct contribution from shifting of attention and inhibitory control, which was independent of the significant contribution made by picture sequencing. This model indicates that FB inference requires more executive processing than picture sequencing, which is used as an alternative task to measure theory of mind. Statement of contribution What is already known on this subject? The majority of researchers use the false-belief task to assess mentalizing ability in young children. Sources of information used in various different mentalizing tasks require different levels of cognitive demand. Many executive functions (EFs) are involved in children's judgements of false belief. What does this study add? A statistical model was created to compare processing requirements of false-belief and picture-sequencing tasks. The model supported the claim that the false-belief task involves considerably more than just mentalizing. Shifting the focus of attention was an EF that was found to be a key component of performance in the false-belief task.
    • Accurate inferences of others thoughts depend on where they stand on the empathic trait continuum

      Wu, W.; Mitchell, Peter (2019-10)
      This research explores the possibility that a person's (perceiver's) prospects of making a correct inference of another person's (target's) inner states depends on the personal characteristics of the target, potentially relating to how readable they are. Twenty-seven targets completed the Empathy Quotient (EQ) and were classified as having low, average or high EQ. They were unobtrusively videoed while thinking of an event of happiness, gratitude, anger and sadness. After observing targets thinking of such a past event, fifty-two perceivers (participants) in Study 1 were asked to infer what the target was thinking, and fifty perceivers in Study 2 were asked to rate the target's expression – positive or negative. Results suggested that (1) perceivers' accuracy in detecting targets' thoughts depended on which EQ group the target belonged to, and (2) target readability is not a proxy measure for level of target expressiveness. In other words, something about EQ status renders targets more or less easy to read in a way that is not simply explained by expressive people being more readable. We conclude with discussion of the importance of the target's trait as well as situation they experience in determining how accurately a perceiver might infer their inner states.
    • Is there a link between autistic people being perceived unfavorably and having a mind that is difficult to read?

      Alkhaldi, R.S.; Sheppard, E.; Mitchell, Peter (2019-10)
      The link between autistic people having a mind that is difficult to read (by neurotypical participants) and being perceived unfavorably was investigated. Videoed Autistic and neurotypical targets from Sheppard et al. (PLOS ONE 7(11):e49859, 2016) were scored for how readable they were when reacting to a distinctive greeting from the experimenter. These videos were presented to new groups of perceivers (neurotypical adults) who rated neurotypical targets more socially favorably than autistic targets irrespective of whether details of the experimenter’s greeting were concealed (Study 1) or disclosed (Study 2). Target readability correlated with ratings of target favorability (r = .58 and r = .63), independent of target diagnosis. Perceivers might rate targets unfavorably because they experience difficulty reading them, though other interpretations of the correlation are also possible.
    • The moral foreign language effect is stable across presentation modalities

      Muda, R.; Pienkosz, D.; Francis, Kathryn B.; Bialek, M. (Sage, 2020)
      Peoples’ judgments and decisions often change when made in their foreign language. Existing research testing this foreign language effect has predominantly used text-based stimuli with little research focusing on the impact of listening to audio stimuli on the effect. The only existing study on this topic found shifts in people’s moral decisions only in the audio modality. Firstly, by reanalyzing the data from this previous study and by collecting data in an additional experiment, we found no consistent effects of using foreign language on moral judgments. Secondly, in both datasets we found no significant language by modality interaction. Overall, our results highlight the need for more robust testing of the foreign language effect, and its boundary conditions. However, modality of presentation does not appear to be a candidate for explaining its variability. Data and materials for this experiment are available at
    • Interpreting signals in other peoples behavior to sense things about them and to infer things about their world

      Wu, W.; Sheppard, E.; Mitchell, Peter (2019-12)
      In this article, we propose a new framework for investigating how accurately and by what process people read others' minds—a process that requires perceivers to make a retrodictive inference. In this context, we discuss the value of a novel methodological approach that complements the conceptual framework. This framework is formulated on the basis of a series of empirical articles emerging over the past few years in which the ideas appear in nascent form. Retrodiction is the process in which, on observing a person's behavior (often but not exclusively a facial expression), people are equipped not only to sense the underlying inner state but also to infer the event that caused that inner state. Indeed, the goal of mindreading need not always be to identify an inner state explicitly but to infer the event that caused the inner state. Doing so is adaptive in that it permits access to a more expansive view of the world through the lens of another mind. This view of mindreading naturally leads to a reconsideration of methods that are fit for purpose and leads to testable hypotheses.
    • “We don’t know who be who”: post-party politics, forum shopping and Liberia’s 2017 elections

      Harris, David; Pailey, R.N. (2020)
      Liberia’s 2017 elections represented a watershed moment in the country’s political history. In addition to completing the first democratic transfer of power from one president to another since 1944, it resulted in wide representation across many different parties and independents as well as high levels of legislative turn-overs. Additionally, these polls brought forward unprecedented numbers of party reconfigurations, increased levels of defections, and politicians/parties losing abysmally in presumed ethno-regional bases. In this article, we argue that Liberia currently exists in a post-war arena of “post-party” politics where a profound disregard for parties is the norm, and in which the electorate and politicians alike forum shop for candidates and/or political configurations they presume will deliver the best results at national, sub-national and local levels. Although literature exploring electoral trends in Africa tends to over-emphasize ethno-regionalism as a driver and constraint in the choices of voters and politicians, we demonstrate instead that Liberians make relatively informed, strategic decisions about political alliances and ballot casting thereby subverting allegiances to ethnicity and region. By further eschewing party loyalties, Liberians have gradually become astute forum shoppers in a political marketplace that makes running for office and voting complex undertakings.
    • Iran's 2019-2020 demonstrations: the changing dynamics of political protests in Iran

      Shahi, Afshin; Abdoh-Tabrizi, E. (2020)
      The widespread protests of November 2019 may be marked as the bloodiest recent chapter of the Islamic Republic of Iran's history in terms of popular dissent. The two major protests in December 2017 and November 2019, followed by the public reaction to the shooting down of the Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752 by the IRGC over Tehran after the US killing of General Soleimani, suggest that the prevailing dynamics of political protest in Iran are changing. There is an increasing sense of radicalisation among protesters, while the state is prepared to resort to extreme violence to maintain control. The geography of political protest has changed. The declining economic situation has had a profound impact on the more vulnerable segments of the society who are now increasingly playing a more proactive role in challenging the state. The methods of protest have been evolving over the last four decades, especially in the cultural arena. Last but not least, the willingness of the protesters both to endure and inflict violence is precipitously transforming state-society relations beyond recognition. This article begins by providing a brief overview of protest in the history of the Islamic Republic, up to the public reaction to the 2020 downing of the Ukrainian airline over Tehran. This provides a historical context to assess the ways in which both the political climate and protests have changed over the last four decades. A section identifying and analysing the factors which have created the current political cul-de-sac then follows. The changing dynamics of the protests are the result of the existing political gridlock and the economic crisis, and it is thus important to evaluate the prevailing conditions which have paved the way for the radicalisation of political climate in Iran. The final section examines the changing dynamics of political protest.
    • Peace, War and Gender in the Modern Era

      Pankhurst, Donna T. (2019-03-19)
      The practices and conceptions of peace and war have been highly gendered throughout world history. Indeed, the defining of genders has often itself been rooted in ideas and experiences of war and violence, with men as warriors, and women as the embodiment of peace. It is certainly the case that throughout human history the majority of war combatants have been men. By contrast many women have used their gendered identities, as mothers and guardians of life, in their activism in global peace movements, and in peacemaking at very local levels all over the globe. These gendered experiences of women and men have resonance everywhere in the world, but are also stereotypes. As well as being warriors and the bearers of violence, men have also resisted dominant social pressures to fight, and been active in movements to build peace. Women have also cajoled men, and socialised boys, to fight, and shamed those who did not. Thus, whereas a focus on the stereotypes suggests that the differences between women and men are due to their violent or peaceful natures, paying attention to the full range of behaviour of women and men makes it self-evident that these differences cannot be explained by biological differences alone, because they are so varied. Nonetheless, the roles played by women and men that go beyond the simple stereotypes are persistently regarded as transgressive or insignificant in many cultures, making it difficult to keep the broader picture in mind. That is not to say that gender differences are not significant however; gender remains one of the most important lenses through which to understand war and peace.
    • Ghana’s child panels: effective child protection and juvenile justice system or superfluous creation?

      Adu-Gyamfi, Jones (2019-12)
      In accordance with the United Nations’ requirements for dealing with juvenile offenders, Ghana’s Children Act 1998 mandated local authorities to establish child panels to mediate minor offences committed by children. However, to date there has not been any research that has examined the functioning and effectiveness of the child panels. This research examined the operationalisation and effectiveness of child panels in Ghana. The study involved the use of semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions with panel members of four local authorities. Findings showed that the child panels are not functioning effectively in Ghana. The relevance of the child panels has been questioned since it was found to be duplicating the roles of some other child welfare agencies. This article discusses the challenges impeding the effectiveness of the child panels and outlines recommendations to improve their effectiveness.
    • Financial development, economic growth and human capital accumulation: what is the link?

      Das, K.; Harper, J.; Arora, Rashmi (2014-07)
      A number of studies have explored the factors influencing financial development. Among them are national legal origin, settler mortality hypothesis, institutional factors, political factors, macroeconomic policies including capital account openness, social capital and also cultural factors. The relationship between financial development, human capital and economic growth, although acknowledged in the theoretical literature remains less explored at the empirical level. In this study we examine interaction between financial development, human capital and economic growth. The study aims to understand and examine how financial development is related to human capital accumulation and economic growth in a unified framework. In a cross-country panel data context using rigourous econometric techniques we examine these questions.
    • The Politics of Accountability in South East Asia: The Dominance of Moral Ideologies

      Rodan, G.; Hughes, Caroline (Oxford University Press, 2014-02)
      Calls by political leaders, social activists, and international policy and aid actors for accountability reforms to improve governance have never been more widespread. For some analysts, the unprecedented scale of these pressures reflects the functional imperatives and power of liberal and democratic institutions accompanying greater global economic integration. This book offers a different perspective, investigating the crucial role of contrasting ideologies informing accountability movements and mediating reform directions in Southeast Asia. It argues that the most influential ideologies are not those promoting the political authority of democratic sovereign people or of liberalism's freely contracting individuals. Instead, in both post-authoritarian and authoritarian regimes, it is ideologies advancing the political authority of moral guardians interpreting or ordaining correct modes of behaviour for public officials. Elites exploit such ideologies to deflect and contain pressures for democratic and liberal reforms to governance institutions. The book's case studies include human rights, political decentralization, anticorruption, and social accountability reform movements in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. These studies highlight how effective propagation of moral ideologies is boosted by the presence of powerful organizations, notably religious bodies, political parties, and broadcast media. Meanwhile, civil society organizations of comparable clout advancing liberalism or democracy are lacking. The theoretical framework of the book has wide applicability. In other regions, with contrasting histories and political economies, the nature and extent of organizations and social actors shaping accountability politics will differ, but the importance of these factors to which ideologies prevail to shape reform directions will not.
    • International Intervention and Local Politics

      Hameiri, S.; Hughes, Caroline; Scarpello, F. (Cambridge University Press, 2017-08-24)
      International peace- and state-building interventions have become ubiquitous in international politics since the 1990s, aiming to tackle the security problems stemming from the instability afflicting many developing states. Their frequent failures have prompted a shift towards analysing how the interaction between interveners and recipients shapes outcomes. This book critically assesses the rapidly growing literature in international relations and development studies on international intervention and local politics. It advances an innovative approach, placing the politics of scale at the core of the conflicts and compromises shaping the outcomes of international intervention. Different scales - local, national, international - privilege different interests, unevenly allocating power, resources and political opportunity structures. Interveners and recipients thus pursue scalar strategies and socio-political alliances that reinforce their power and marginalise rivals. This approach is harnessed towards examining three prominent case studies of international intervention - Aceh, Cambodia and Solomon Islands - with a focus on public administration reform.
    • Intellectual Resistance: Paul Schiemanns Rejection of "the New Nationalist Wave"

      Housden, Martyn (Groniek, 2020)
      Paul Schiemann’s name is well-known only in relatively small academic circles, for example among historians interested in Latvia, the Baltic states and German national minorities. He had formidable intellectual strength, clear moral vision and substantial personal courage, all of which enabled him to resist the rise of Nazism among German national minorities. This paper explains Schiemann’s world view, together with his attempts to promote values of tolerance and justice in the face of destructive nationalism.
    • Should universities actively help build peace? Reflections from 'Programme for a Peaceful City'

      Cumming, Lisa F.; Chesters, Graeme S.; Khatun, A. (Routledge, 2017)
      This chapter draws on the experience of Programme for a Peaceful City (PPC) at the University of Bradford. The PPC has created spaces to exchange ideas about peace thinking and practice for over ten years, in response to some of the worst rioting the UK mainland has ever seen and heated domestic debates about cohesion and multiculturalism. Its work continues to be rooted in a constantly shifting local context and this chapter describes the spaces created for academics, practitioners and activists to exchange knowledge and ideas about conflict, participatory peacebuilding, good relationships and social change.