• Exposure to criminal environment and criminal social identity in a sample of adult prisoners: The moderating role of psychopathic traits

      Sherretts, Nicole; Boduszek, Daniel; Debowska, Agata; University of Huddersfield ; SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities ; University of Chester (American Psychological Association, 2016-02-31)
      The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of period of incarceration, criminal friend index (a retrospective measure intended to quantify criminal associations before first incarceration), and four psychopathy factors (interpersonal manipulation, callous affect, erratic lifestyle, and antisocial behavior) in criminal social identity (CSI) while controlling for age and gender. Participants were a sample of 501 incarcerated offenders (males n = 293; females n = 208) from three prisons located in Pennsylvania Sate. Moderated regression analyses indicated no significant direct association between period of incarceration and CSI or between criminal friend index and CSI. However, a significant moderating effect of interpersonal manipulation on the relationship between period of incarceration and CSI was observed. Period of incarceration was significantly positively correlated with CSI (particularly with in-group ties subscale) only for those offenders who scored high (1 SD above the mean) on interpersonal manipulation and significantly negatively correlated for those who scored low (1 SD below the mean) on interpersonal manipulation. Also, criminal friend index was positively significantly associated with in-group ties for high levels (1 SD above the mean) of callous affect. The main findings provide evidence for the claim that prisoners are likely to simulate changes in identity through the formation of bonds with other offenders and that this can be achieved using interpersonal manipulation skills.
    • Investigating the celebrity effect: the influence of well-liked celebrities on adults' implicit and explicit responses to brands

      Rowley, Martin; Gilman, Hayley; Sherman, Susan Mary; Keele University (American Psychological Association, 2018-08-20)
      Celebrities are used within advertisements in an attempt to impact positively on consumers’ attitudes toward brands, purchase intentions, and ad believability. However, the findings from previous research on the effects of celebrity liking on brand evaluations have been mixed. In the study presented here, explicit and implicit responses to brands were more positive after pairing with well-liked celebrities (p < .01) and more positive than for brands paired with noncelebrities (p < .001). Participants also demonstrated a preference for celebrity-paired brands in their brand choices (p < .001). Participants’ general accuracy-based advertising skepticism was negatively correlated with explicit celebrity brand preferences (p < .05), whereas affect-based skepticism was negatively correlated with implicit (p < .05) preferences. These results are discussed in relation to the contextual and attitudinal factors that might trigger resistance to the effects of celebrity endorsement as well as the underlying psychological processes involved in responding to ads.
    • Shared meaning in children’s evaluations of art: A computational analysis

      Schepman, Astrid; Rodway, Paul; Kirkham, Julie A.; Lambert, Jordana; Locke, Anastasia; University of Chester (American Psychological Association, 2018-11-31)
      Art appreciation is often considered highly individual, but research has shown that there is also a shared element, which may be due to shared meanings and associations triggered by artworks. In the current analysis, we examined semantically based justifications given to aesthetic evaluations of abstract and representational artworks provided by 80 primary schoolchildren, aged 4, 5, 8, and 10 years. Using a computational semantic similarity analysis technique (UMBC Ebiquity), the authors found that children showed evidence for shared meaning in response to representational but not abstract art. The effect was present from age 4 through to age 10. In addition, it was found that the presence of semantic elements in the justifications boosted aesthetic appreciation, especially of abstract artworks. This suggests that individually constructed meaning is key to aesthetic appreciation and is, to an extent, independent from the meaning that might be assumed to be inherent in artworks, particularly if it is representational. The authors evaluate their findings in relation to aesthetic and developmental theories and make suggestions for future research. They argue that the current data, alongside calibrating analyses that apply their randomization and semantic analysis protocol to children’s picture naming responses, further demonstrate the robustness of the computational semantic similarity analysis method, with great potential for further studies in semantic interpretation of art or other types of stimuli.
    • Shared meaning in representational and abstract visual art: an empirical study

      Schepman, Astrid; Rodway, Paul; University of Chester (American Psychological Association, 2019-09-12)
      A longstanding and important question is how meaning is generated by visual art. One view is that abstract art uses a universal language whereas representational art is tied to specific knowledge. This view predicts that meaning for abstract is shared across viewers to a greater extent than for representational art. This contrasts with a view of greater shared meaning for representational than abstract art, because of shared associations for the entities depicted in representational art, as supported by recent empirical findings. This study examined the contrasting predictions derived from these two views. 49 nonexpert adult participants wrote brief descriptions of meanings that they attributed to 20 abstract and 20 representational artworks, generating a corpus of 1918 texts. Computational analyses (semantic textual similarity, latent semantic analysis) and linguistic analysis (type-token ratio) provided triangulated quantitative data. Frequentist and Bayesian statistical analyses showed that meanings were shared to a somewhat greater extent for representational art, but that meanings for abstract artworks were also shared above baseline. Triangulated human and machine analyses of the texts showed core shared meanings for both art types, derived from literal and metaphoric interpretations of visual elements. The findings support the view that representational art elicits higher levels of shared meaning than abstract art. The empirical findings can be used to enhance theoretical and computational models of aesthetic evaluation, and the rigorous new methodologies developed can be deployed in many other contexts.
    • There is no Other Monkey in the Mirror for Spider Monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi)

      Murray, Lindsay; Schaffner, Colleen; Aureli, Filippo; Amici, Federica; University of Chester, Adams State University, Universidad Veracruzana, Liverpool John Moores University, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (American Psychological Association, 2020-06-18)
      Mirror self-recognition (MSR), usually considered a marker of self-awareness, occurs in several species and may reflect a capacity that has evolved in small incremental steps. In line with research on human development and building on previous research adopting a gradualist framework, we categorized the initial mirror responses of naïve spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) according to four levels. We compared social, exploratory, contingent and self-exploratory responses to a mirror and faux mirror during three short trials. If spider monkeys respond as most monkey species, we predicted they would perform at level 0, mainly showing social behavior toward their mirror-image. However, because spider monkeys show enhancement of certain cognitive skills comparable to those of great ape species, we predicted that they would perform at level 1a (showing exploratory behavior) or 1b (showing contingent behavior). GLMMs revealed that monkeys looked behind and visually inspected the mirror significantly more in the mirror than the faux mirror condition. Although the monkeys engaged in contingent body movements at the mirror, this trend was not significant. Strikingly, they showed no social behaviors toward their mirror-image. We also measured self-scratching as an indicator of anxiety and found no differences in frequencies of self-scratching between conditions. Therefore, in contrast to most findings on other species, spider monkeys did not treat their image as another monkey during their initial exposure to the mirror. In fact, they reached at least level 1a within minutes of mirror exposure. These responses recommend spider monkeys as good candidates for further explorations into monkey self-recognition.
    • Undermining position effects in choices from arrays, with implications for police lineups

      Palmer, Matthew; Sauer, James; Holt, Glenys; University of Tasmania; University of Chester (American Psychological Association, 2017-03)
      Choices from arrays are often characterized by position effects, such as edge-aversion. We investigated position effects when participants attempted to pick a suspect from an array similar to a police photo lineup. A reanalysis of data from 2 large-scale field studies showed that choices made under realistic conditions—closely matching eyewitness identification decisions in police investigations—displayed edge-aversion and bias to choose from the top row (Study 1). In a series of experiments (Studies 2a–2c and 3), participants guessing the location of a suspect exhibited edge-aversion regardless of whether the lineup was constructed to maximize the chances of the suspect being picked, to ensure the suspect did not stand out, or randomly. Participants favored top locations only when the lineup was constructed to maximize the chances of the suspect being picked. In Studies 4 and 5, position effects disappeared when (a) response options were presented in an array with no obvious center, edges, or corners, and (b) instructions stated that the suspect was placed randomly. These findings show that position effects are influenced by a combination of task instructions and array shape. Randomizing the location of the suspect and modifying the shape of the lineup array may reduce misidentification.
    • The unidirectional relationship of nightmares on self-harmful thoughts and behaviors

      Hochard, Kevin D.; Heym, Nadja; Townsend, Ellen; University of Chester ; Nottingham Trent University ; University of Nottingham (American Psychological Association, 2015-03-01)
      Understanding the direction of the predictive relationship between nightmares and suicidal behaviors is important to model its underlying mechanisms. We examine the direction of this relationship and the mediating role of negative affect. A fixed interval diary study obtained pre-sleep and post-sleep measures of affect, nightmares, and self-harmful thoughts and behaviors (SHTBs) from 72 university students (88.9% female). The results show predictive utility of nightmares on SHTBs - indicating a four-fold increased risk of SHTBs. Additionally, results support the suggestion of a unidirectional predictive influence (of nightmares on likelihood of SHTBs but not vice versa). Moreover, post-sleep negative affect partially mediated the relationship between nightmares and post-sleep SHTBs. This empirically validates assumptions of directionality for future models.
    • Video-mediated behavior in gorillas (G. g. gorilla): A stage in the development of self-recognition in a juvenile male?

      Murray, Lindsay; University of Chester (American Psychological Association, 2020-03-12)
      The anomalous position of gorillas (G. g. gorilla) in the capacity for self-recognition remains puzzling. The standard measure of self-recognition is Gallup’s (1970) mark test that assesses an individual’s ability to recognize its altered image in a mirror following the application of paint marks to visually inaccessible areas. Here, the results of a small-scale pilot study are presented, utilizing video playback through a television monitor, to examine behavioural differences indicative of developing self-recognition. The behaviors of four Western lowland gorillas at Bristol Zoo, UK were observed while watching a TV screen during five conditions: blank screen, white noise interference, footage of unfamiliar gorillas, self previously recorded, and self-live. Differences were predicted in the frequency of the gorillas’ observed behaviors when viewing each of the conditions: specifically, that there would be more visual inspection, contingent body and facial movements, and self-exploration in the self-recorded and self-live conditions compared to the other conditions. These predictions were partially supported. No agonistic or fear responses were observed and self-exploration was only seen in the self-live condition. During live playback, contingency-checking movements and self-exploration of the mouth were observed, particularly in the youngest gorilla, providing important video evidence of a close parallel to the mouth exploratory behavior witnessed in self-recognizing chimpanzees. On the basis of these preliminary findings of differentiated spontaneous behaviors, a tentative framework is proposed for categorizing gorillas according to levels of developing self-recognition along a continuum.