“Turn that frown upside-down!”

Research undertaken in the Department of Psychology at Edge Hill University, in collaboration with colleagues at Australian Catholic University has revealed new insight into the psychology of online emoticon usage, The research by Dr Helen Wall and Dr Linda Kaye explored why we use emoticons but more importantly, how this varies across different virtual environments. Their findings revealed a number of important themes surrounding emoticon usage, in respect of serving a function both for the sender and receiver of text-based messages on platforms such as Facebook, SMS messages and email. However, they also identified that other contextual factors played a role in determining whether or not we use emoticons, suggesting that emoticon usage, as a form of emotional expression may operate differently from traditional face-to-face emotional communication. Their findings have just been published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior and can be found here.

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Unconscious prejudice; Live on Therapycable Live

Professor Geoff Beattie recently did an interview with Dr Carlos Vazquez, the host of the new U.S. based daily 2 hour news talk show- Therapycable Live! which explores the many facets of human behavior such as “the mind of an athlete”, “what is consciousness ?”, “Psychology of a dictator”, “The mind of a terrorist”, and many more. Previous guests have included a number of key political and professional figures. For example, linguist, political activist and Professor at MIT Noam Chomsky; Michael Dukakis, former governor of Massachusetts and former Democratic Presidential Candidate; Walter E. Williams, Professor of Economics at George Mason University; Robert Trivers, Evolutionary Biologist at Rutgers University; Sir Lawrence Freedman, Professor of War Studies at King’s College London; Linda J. Bilmes, Professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and former assistant secretary and chief financial officer of the U.S. Department of Commerce and John Casey, Former White House NASA policy advisor. Professor Beattie was interviewed on the subject of unconscious prejudice.

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“Girls can’t play”: How stereotypes impact on females’ digital gaming performance

Recent research in the Department of Psychology has found that when presented with a stereotype about gender and gaming, female players perform worse on a gaming task than those who are not given this information. These were the findings of Dr Linda Kaye and Charlotte Pennington, in their experiments to test these effects. Most noteworthy, when female players were given additional information which distracted from their threatened gender identity, they appeared to be protected against this performance detriment. The findings suggest that gender stereotypes are indeed harmful in digital gaming contexts, but that psychology can hold the key on strategies on how to alleviate these effects. The research has just been published in Computers in Human Behavior and can be found here.

What do Kanye West’s tweets reveal about his inner thoughts?

Kanye West is seldom out of the spotlight. This week saw the launch of The Life of Pablo at Madison Square Garden, with a combined fashion show of his Yeezy Season 3 collection and album playback, which delighted some and puzzled others. Dressing the Kardashian–Jenners in outfits co-designed by Olivier Rousteing (and not even part […]

Is it worth a quick look to spot cancer? Not necessarily!

Research undertaken in the Department of Psychology has explored the question about whether viewing a visual preview of a scene can aid subsequent eye movement performance and how our experience shapes where we look. Dr Damien Litchfield and colleagues undertook a series of experiments in which they showed flash-previews of visual stimuli (medical images or everyday real-world scenes) lasting just a quarter of a second and then asked observers to undertake visual search tasks to find particular targets whilst their eye movements were recorded. In one experiment, they recruited both expert radiologists and novice observers (psychology students) to see whether these initial glimpses of the scene could help guide the observers search behaviour. The research team found that initial scene previews of more generic everyday scenes was useful in guiding subsequent visual search for both expert and novices. However, when searching for lung nodules (cancer) from medical images, experts were better than novices overall, but experts were not that much better at finding targets if given a preview beforehand. More controversially, the researchers found new evidence to suggest that when trying to identify clinical abnormalities from medical images, viewing a brief preview of the image before searching could actually impair diagnostic decision-making. This research has recently been published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance and can be found here

Don’t judge a (Face)book by its cover!

Research from the Department of Psychology has recently explored how we form impressions of others online, and how accurate these are. The research conducted by Dr Helen Wall, Dr Linda Kaye and former undergraduate students Demi Darbyshire and Charlotte Kirk has revealed new insights into how we make personality judgements based on online behaviours on Facebook. Through a series of studies, they revealed a number of behaviours are important to the judgements which are made, and that, through these, we are better at judging certain types of personality traits than others. The research has just been published in Computers in Human Behavior and can be found here