• Negative cognition, affect, metacognition and dimensions of paranoia in people at ultra-high risk of psychosis: A multi-level modelling analysis

      Morrison, Anthony P.; Shryane, Nick; Fowler, David; Birchwood, Max; Gumley, Andrew I.; Taylor, Hannah E.; French, Paul; Stewart, Suzanne L. K.; Jones, Peter B.; Lewis, Shôn W.; et al. (Cambridge University Press, 2015-04-08)
      Background: Paranoia is one of the commonest symptoms of psychosis but has rarely been studied in a population at risk of developing psychosis. Based on existing theoretical models, including the proposed distinction between ‘poor me’ and ‘bad me’ paranoia, we test specific predictions about associations between negative cognition, metacognitive beliefs and negative emotions and paranoid ideation and the belief that persecution is deserved (deservedness). Methods: We used data from 117 participants from the EDIE-2 trial of cognitive behaviour therapy for people at high risk of developing psychosis, comparing them with samples of psychiatric inpatients and healthy students from a previous study. Multi-level modelling was utilised to examine predictors of both paranoia and deservedness, with post-hoc planned comparisons conducted to test whether person-level predictor variables were associated differentially with paranoia or with deservedness. Results: Our sample of ARMS participants was not as paranoid, but reported higher levels of “bad-me” deservedness, compared to psychiatric inpatients. We found several predictors of paranoia and deservedness. Negative beliefs about self were related to deservedness but not paranoia, whereas negative beliefs about others were positively related to paranoia but negatively with deservedness. Both depression and negative metacognitive beliefs about paranoid thinking were specifically related to paranoia but not deservedness. Conclusions: This study provides evidence for the role of negative cognition, metacognition and negative affect in the development of paranoid beliefs, which has implications for psychological interventions and our understanding of psychosis.
    • Neural Correlates of Theory of Mind Are Preserved in Young Women with Anorexia Nervosa

      Leslie, Monica; Halls, Daniel; Leppanen, Jenni; Sedgewick, Felicity; Smith, Katherine; Hayward, Hannah; Lang, Katie; Fonville, Leon; Simic, Mima; Mandy, William; et al.
      People with anorexia nervosa (AN) commonly exhibit social difficulties, which may be related to problems with understanding the perspectives of others, commonly known as Theory of Mind (ToM) processing. However, there is a dearth of literature investigating the neural basis of these differences in ToM and at what age they emerge. This study aimed to test for differences in the neural correlates of ToM processes in young women with AN, and young women weight-restored from AN, as compared to healthy control participants (HC). Based on previous findings in AN, we hypothesised that young women with current or prior AN, as compared to HCs, would exhibit a reduced neural response in the medial prefrontal cortex, the inferior frontal gyrus, and the temporo-parietal junction whilst completing a ToM task. We recruited 73 young women with AN, 45 weight-restored young women, and 70 young women without a history of AN to take part in the current study. Whilst undergoing a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan, participants completed the Frith-Happé task, which is a commonly-used measure of ToM with demonstrated reliability and validity in adult populations. In this task, participants viewed the movements of triangles, which depicted either action movements, simple interactions, or complex social interactions. Viewing trials with more complex social interactions in the Frith-Happé task was associated with increased brain activation in regions including the right temporo-parietal junction, the bilateral medial prefrontal cortex, the cerebellum, and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. There were no group differences in neural activation in response to the ToM contrast. Overall, these results suggest that the neural basis of spontaneous mentalising is preserved in most young women with AN.
    • Neuroticism and extraversion mediate the relationship between having a sibling with developmental disabilities and anxiety and depression symptoms

      Murray, Lindsay; O'Neill, Linda P.; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2018-09-17)
      Background Children growing up with a sibling with disabilities report higher levels of depression and anxiety symptoms as adults. Here, we examined whether personality characteristics also play a part in mediating this relationship. Method We tested for differences in personality traits between 132 individuals who have a sibling with developmental disabilities and 132 closely matched comparisons. Results Differences in Big Five factors of personality were demonstrated across the disability groups and between the disability groups and the comparisons, especially in Extraversion, Neuroticism and Openness. Individuals growing up alongside a sibling with developmental disabilities have a higher tendency to experience anxiety and depression symptoms, and this research is the first demonstration that personality traits mediate this relationship. Specifically, Neuroticism is a strong mediator of anxiety while both Neuroticism and Extraversion contribute mediating effects toward the development of depression. Limitations Our study made use of self-report methodology which, although having recognized limitations, is more reliable than parental reports. Given the cross-sectional nature of our design, we were not able to examine pre-existing developmental factors that may have influenced the participant’s propensity to particular personality traits and affective disorders. However, we obtained a large sample and closely matched participants to examine differences between those with a sibling with disabilities and those without. Conclusions As such, differences in personality traits have important implications for the understanding and treatment of siblings presenting with anxiety and depression symptoms. We recommend that intervention should target those high in Neuroticism among individuals who have a sibling with disabilities, and that more social support is put in place for siblings to mitigate their tendency towards introversion and buffer them against psychological maladjustment.
    • New paradigms for BRCA1/BRCA2 testing in women with ovarian cancer: results of the Genetic Testing in Epithelial Ovarian Cancer (GTEOC) study

      Plaskocinska, Inga; Shipman, Hannah; Drummond, James; Thompson, Edward; Buchanan, Vanessa; Newcombe, Barbara; Hodgkin, Charlotte; Barter, Elisa; Ridley, Paul; Ng, Rita; et al. (2016-05-12)
      Background: Over recent years genetic testing for germline mutations in BRCA1/BRCA2 has become more readily available because of technological advances and reducing costs. The Genetic Testing in Epithelial Ovarian Cancer (GTEOC) Study explored the feasibility and acceptability of offering genetic testing to all women recently diagnosed with epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). Methods: From 1st July 2013 to 30th June 2015 women newly diagnosed with EOC were recruited through six sites in East Anglia, UK. Eligibility was irrespective of patient age and family history of cancer. The psychosocial arm of the study utilised self-report, psychometrically validated questionnaires (Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale, DASS-21; Impact of Event Scale, IES) and cost analysis was performed. Results: 232 women were recruited and 18 mutations were detected (12 in BRCA1, 6 in BRCA2) giving a mutation yield of 8% which increases to 12% in unselected women <70 years (17/146) and 1% in unselected women >70 years (1/86). IES and DASS-21 scores in response to genetic testing were significantly lower than equivalent scores in response to cancer diagnosis (p<.001). Correlation tests indicated that whilst older age is a protective factor against any traumatic impacts of genetic testing, no significant correlation exists between age and distress outcomes. Conclusion: The mutation yield in unselected women diagnosed with EOC from a heterogeneous population with no founder mutations was 8% in all ages and 12% in women under 70. Unselected genetic testing in women with EOC was acceptable to patients and is potentially less resource-intensive than current standard practice.
    • No evidence against Sketch Reinstatement of Context, Verbal Labels or the use of Registered Intermediaries for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Response to Henry et al. (2017)

      Dando, Coral J.; Ormerod, Thomas C.; Cooper, Penny; Marchant, Ruth; Mattison, Michelle L. A.; Milne, Rebecca; Bull, Ray; University of Westminster; University of Sussex; City, University of London; Triangle Services; University of Chester; University of Portsmouth; University of Derby (Springer Verlag, 2018-02-13)
      Recently, Henry et al. (2017) found no evidence for the use of Verbal labels, Sketch Reinstatement of Context and Registered Intermediaries by forensic practitioners when interviewing children with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. We consider their claims, noting the limited ecological validity of the experimental paradigm, the impacts of repeated interviewing where retrieval support is not provided at first retrieval, question the interviewer/intermediary training and their population relevant experience, and comment on the suppression of population variances. We submit that rejecting these techniques on the basis of this study is completely unwarranted and potentially damaging, particularly if used in legal proceedings to undermine the value of testimony from children with ASD, who continually struggle to gain access to justice.
    • Nothing by mere authority: Evidence that in an experimental analogue of the Milgram paradigm participants are motivated not by orders but by appeals to science

      Haslam, S. Alexander; Reicher, Stephen D.; Birney, Megan E.; University of Queensland; University of St. Andrews; University of Exeter (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014-09-04)
      Milgram’s classic research in which people follow experimental instructions to continue administering shocks to another person is widely understood to demonstrate people’s natural inclination to obey the orders of those in authority. However, analysis of participants’ responses to prods that Milgram’s Experimenter employed to encourage them to continue indicates that the one that most resembled an order was the least successful. The present study examines the impact of prods more closely by manipulating them between-participants within an analogue paradigm in which participants are instructed to use negative adjectives to describe increasingly pleasant groups. Across all conditions, continuation and completion were positively predicted by the extent to which prods appealed to scientific goals but negatively predicted by the degree to which a prod constituted an order. These results provide no support for the traditional conformity account of Milgram’s findings, but are consistent with an engaged followership model which argues that participants’ willingness to continue with an objectionable task is predicated upon active identification with the scientific project and those leading it.
    • A Novel Approach for Autism Spectrum Condition patients with Eating Disorders: Analysis of Treatment Cost-savings

      Tchanturia, Kate; Dandil, Yasemin; Li, Zhuo; Smith, Katherine; Leslie, Monica; Byford, Sarah; King's College London; South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust; Illia University (Wiley, 2020-07-10)
      Objective: In the current economic context, it is critical to ensure that eating disorder (ED) treatments are both effective and cost-effective. We describe the impact of a novel clinical pathway developed to better meet the needs of autistic patients with EDs on the length and cost of hospital admissions. Method: The pathway was based on the Institute for Healthcare’s Model of Improvement methodology, using an iterative Plan, Do, Study, Act format to introduce change and to co-produce the work with people with lived experience and with healthcare professionals. We explored the change in length and cost of admissions before and after the pathway was introduced. Results: Preliminary results suggest that the treatment innovations associated with this pathway have led to reduced lengths of admission for patients with the comorbidity, which were not seen for patients without the comorbidity. Estimated cost-savings were approximately £22,837 per patient and approximately £275,000 per year for the service as a whole. Conclusion: Going forward, our aim is to continue to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of investment in the pathway to determine whether the pathway improves the quality of care for patients with a comorbid ED and autism and is good value for money.
    • One step forward and two steps back? The ‘20 Principles’ for questioning vulnerable witnesses and the lack of an evidence-based approach.

      Cooper, Penny; Dando, Coral J.; Ormerod, Thomas C.; Mattison, Michelle L. A.; Marchant, Ruth; Milne, Rebecca; Bull, Ray; Birkbeck University of London; University of Westminster; University of Sussex; University of Chester, Triangle, University of Portsmouth, University of Derby (SAGE Publications, 2018-08-19)
      It is a widely held belief that questioning vulnerable witnesses is a specialist skill. In England and Wales vulnerable witness advocacy training built around ‘20 Principles’ has been developed and is being delivered. The 20 Principles do not cite a tested theoretical framework(s) or empirical evidence in support. This paper considers whether the 20 Principles are underpinned by research evidence. It is submitted that advocacy training and the approach to questioning witnesses in the courtroom should take into account the already available research evidence. The authors make recommendations for revision of the training and for a wider review of the approach taken to the handling of witness evidence.
    • Online information and support needs of women with advanced breast cancer: A qualitative analysis

      Kemp, Emma; Koczwara, Bogda; Butow, Phyllis N.; Turner, Jane; Girgis, Afaf; Schofield, Penelope; Hulbert-Williams, Nicholas J.; Levesque, Janelle V.; Spence, Danielle; Vatandoust, Sina; et al. (Springer, 2018-04-24)
      Purpose: Women with advanced breast cancer (ABC) face significant adjustment challenges, yet few resources provide them with information and support, and attendance barriers can preclude access to face to face psychosocial support. This paper reports on two qualitative studies examining (i) whether information and support-seeking preferences of women with ABC could be addressed in an online intervention, and (ii) how an existing intervention for patients with early stage cancer could be adapted for women with ABC. Methods: Women with ABC participated in telephone interviews about their information and support- seeking preferences (N = 21) and evaluated an online intervention focused on early-stage cancer (N = 15). Interviews were transcribed and underwent thematic analysis using the framework method to identify salient themes. Results: Participants most commonly sought medical, lifestyle-related, and practical information/support; however, when presented with an online intervention, participants most commonly gave positive feedback on content on coping with emotional distress. Difficulty finding information and barriers to using common sources of information/support including health professionals, family and friends, and peers were reported; however, some women also reported not wanting information or support. All participants evaluating the existing intervention gave positive feedback on various components, with results suggesting an online intervention could be an effective means of providing information/support to women with ABC, given improved specificity/relevance to ABC and increased tailoring to individuals circumstances and preferences. Conclusions: Adaptation of an existing online intervention for early stage cancer appears a promising avenue to address the information and support needs of women with ABC.
    • Pain Processing in Psychiatric Conditions: A systematic review

      Vaughan, Sarah; Poole, Helen M.; Forshaw, Mark J.; McGlone, Francis; Failla, Michelle D.; Cascio, Carissa J.; Moore, David J.; University of Chester, Liverpool John Moores University, Vanderbilt University Medical Centre (American Psychological Society, 2019-04-29)
      Objective: Pain is a universal, multidimensional experience with sensory emotional, cognitive and social components, which is fundamental to our environmental learning when functioning typically. Understanding pain processing in psychiatric conditions could provide unique insight into the underlying pathophysiology or psychiatric disease, especially given the psychobiological overlap with pain processing pathways. Studying pain in psychiatric conditions is likely to provide important insights, yet, there is a limited understanding beyond the work outside depression and anxiety. This is a missed opportunity to describe psychiatric conditions in terms of neurobiological alterations. In order to examine the research into the pain experiences of these groups and the extent to which a-typicality is present, a systematic review was conducted. Methods: An electronic search strategy was developed and conducted in several databases. Results: The current systematic review included 46 studies covering five DSM-5 disorders: autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorder and eating disorders, confirming tentative evidence of altered pain and touch processing. Specifically, hyposensitivity is reported in schizophrenia, personality disorder and eating disorder, hypersensitivity in ADHD and mixed results for autism. Conclusions: Review of the research highlights a degree of methodological inconsistency in the utilisation of comprehensive protocols; the lack of which fails to allow us to understand whether a-typicality is systemic or modality-specific.
    • Paradoxical correlates of a facilitative parenting programme in prison—counter-productive intervention or first signs of responsible parenthood?

      Skar, Ane-Marthe Solheim; von Tetzchner, Stephen; Clucas, Claudine; Sherr, Lorraine; University of Oslo; University College London; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2014-04-07)
      Purpose. Parenting programmes are rarely part of prisoners’ rehabilitation, and evaluations of such programmes are lacking. Methods. The present mixed-methods study investigates the International Child Development Programme (ICDP) with 25 incarcerated fathers and a comparison group of 36 community fathers through questionnaires administered before and after parenting courses. Interviews with 20 incarcerated fathers were analysed using thematic analysis. Results. Before the course, the prison group self-reported better parenting skills and poorer psychosocial health than the comparison group. Both groups improved on parenting strategies. On several measures the comparison group improved, while the prison group revealed the same or lower scores. The incarcerated fathers described becoming more aware of their paternal role but also saw the course as emotionally challenging. Conclusions. Some of the self-reported scores of the prison participants related to parental skills and psychosocial health decreased from ‘before’ to ‘after’ ICDP sensitization, pointing to the possibility that the ICDP courses may have contributed to overcoming a ‘prisonization process’, where the prisoner identity overshadows the parental identity, by making them more aware of their parental responsibilities. Due to the emerging possibility of counter-productive influences, a randomized controlled study is needed in the future to ascertain the parenting and recidivism-related effects of this programme.
    • Participant Concerns for the Learner in a Virtual Reality Replication of the Milgram Obedience Study

      Gonzalez-Franco, Mar; Slater, Mel; Birney, Megan E.; Swapp, David; Haslam, S. Alexander; Reicher, Stephen D.; Microsoft Research; University College London; University of Barcelona; University of Chester at University Centre Shrewsbury; University of Queensland; University of St. Andrews (Public Library of Science, 2018-12-31)
      In Milgram’s seminal obedience studies, participants’ behaviour has traditionally been explained as a demonstration of people’s tendency to enter into an ‘agentic state’ when in the presence of an authority figure: they attend only to the demands of that authority and are insensitive to the plight of their victims. There have been many criticisms of this view, but most rely on either indirect or anecdotal evidence. In this study, participants (n = 40) are taken through a Virtual Reality simulation of the Milgram paradigm. Compared to control participants (n = 20) who are not taken through the simulation, those in the experimental conditions are found to attempt to help the Learner more by putting greater emphasis on the correct word over the incorrect words. We also manipulate the extent to which participants identify with the science of the study and show that high identifiers both give more help, are less stressed, and are more hesitant to press the shock button than low identifiers. We conclude that these findings constitute a refutation of the ‘agentic state’ approach to obedience. Instead, we discuss implications for the alternative approaches such as ‘engaged followership’ which suggests that obedience is a function of relative identification with the science and with the victim in the study. Finally, we discuss the value of Virtual Reality as a technique for investigating hard-to-study psychological phenomena.
    • Patient-reported depression measures in cancer: a meta-review

      Wakefield, Claire E.; Butow, Phyllis N.; Aaronson, Neil A.; Hack, Thomas F.; Hulbert-Williams, Nicholas J.; Jacobsen, Paul B.; University of Chester (Lancet, 2015-07)
      It is unclear which patient-reported depression measures perform best in oncology settings. We conducted a meta-review to integrate the findings of reviews of more than 50 depression measures used in oncology. We searched Medline, PsycINFO, EMBASE and grey literature from 1999-2014 to identify 19 reviews representing 372 primary studies. Eleven reviews were rated as being of high quality. The Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale (HADS) was most thoroughly evaluated, but was limited by cut-point variability. The HADS had moderate screening utility indices and was least recommended in advanced cancer/palliative care. The Beck Depression Inventory was more generalizable across cancer types/disease stages, with good indices for screening and case finding. The Centre of Epidemiology-Depression Scale was the best-weighted measure in terms of responsiveness. This meta-review provides a comprehensive overview of the strengths and limitations of available depression measures. It can inform the choice of the best measure for specific settings and purposes.
    • Patient-reported outcomes of sexual and gender minority cancer survivors in Australia

      Lisy, Karolina; Ward, Andrew; Schofield, Penelope; Hulbert-Williams, Nicholas J.; Bishop, Jim; Jefford, Michael; Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne; The Social Research Centre, Melbourne; Swinburne University, Melbourne; University of Chester, UK; Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Melbourne; University of Melbourne (Wiley, 2018-12-03)
      Five key points: This is the first population‐based survey of Australian cancer survivors to include lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex (LGBTI) identity. Few respondents (1.6%) identified as LGBTI, less than half the reported prevalence in Australia. LGBTI respondents were more likely to be younger, employed, and born in Australia. LGBTI people may experience more problems with anxiety/depression, body image and financial benefits, and greater needs for diet and lifestyle information. Commonly used patient‐reported outcome measures may not be sensitive to LGBTI issues; areas for future enquiry are proposed.
    • Perceived Barriers that Prevent High School Students Seeking Help from Teachers for Bullying and their Effects on Disclosure Intentions

      Boulton, Michael J.; Boulton, Louise; Down, James; Sanders, Jessica; Craddock, Helen; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2017-01-29)
      Many adolescents choose not to tell teachers when they have been bullied. Three studies with 12-16 year-old English adolescents addressed possible reasons. In study 1, students (N = 411, 208 females/203 males) identified reasons with no prompting. Three perceived negative outcomes were common; peers would disapprove, disclosers would feel weak/undermined, and disclosers desired autonomy. In study 2, students (N = 297, 153 females/134 males/10 unspecified) indicated how much they believed that the perceived negative outcomes would happen to them, and a substantial proportion did so. Perceived negative outcomes significantly predicted intentions to disclose being bullied. Study 3 (N = 231, 100 females/131 males) tested if the perceived negative outcomes would be strong enough to stop participants from telling a teacher even though the teacher would stop the bullying. This was the case for many of them. Participants did not report disliking peers who disclosed bullying. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
    • Perceived Parenting Styles Fail to Mediate Between Anxiety and Attachment Styles in Adult Siblings of Individuals with Developmental Disabilities

      O’Neill, Linda P.; Murray, Lindsay; University of Chester (Springer, 2016-07-14)
      Adult siblings of individuals with developmental disabilities often experience higher levels of anxiety than individuals in the general population. The present study tested whether perceived parenting could mediate the relationship between attachment styles and anxiety in the sibling group compared to a control group. Little association was found between perceived parenting and attachment styles or anxiety for the siblings but there were robust and expected findings for the control. Adult attachment-related-anxiety was a significant unique predictor of anxiety in the sibling group but there was no mediational role for perceived parenting. Conversely, the majority of parenting styles significantly mediated the relationship between attachment and anxiety in the control. Implications for the atypical findings in the sibling group are discussed.
    • Perceived stress and professional quality of life in nursing staff: how important is psychological flexibility?

      Kent, William; Hochard, Kevin D.; Hulbert-Williams, Nicholas J.; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2019-08-14)
      Objectives: Nurses are at high risk of chronic stress. Tailored, evidence-based stress-management interventions may minimise absenteeism and staff turnover, whilst at the same time promoting good quality patient care. Current literature for nurse-focused stress-management interventions is varied in quality, with little focus on data-driven intervention development. This study explores how process measures related to Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) are associated with perceived stress and professional quality of life in nurses, in order to guide intervention development. Design: A cross-sectional, online psychometric survey was implemented using LimeSurvey software. Methods: One-hundred and forty-two nurses were recruited from various specialties across four English National Health Service (NHS) Trusts. Questionnaires assessed demographic and work-related sample characteristics, ACT processes (mindfulness, acceptance, cognitive defusion, self-as-context, values and committed action), and four work-related wellbeing outcomes (perceived stress, burnout, compassion fatigue and compassion satisfaction). Correlation and regression models were used to analyse data. Results: All six ACT processes negatively correlated with perceived stress, burnout and compassion fatigue, and positively correlated with compassion satisfaction (all p<.05). In regression models, these same processes explained significant variance for all outcomes (R2 range=.36-.61), above and beyond that explained by socio-demographic and work-related factors. Acceptance (β range: -.25 to -.55), mindfulness (β range: -.25 to -.39), and values-based processes (β range: -.21 to -.36) were frequent independent contributors to work-related wellbeing. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that the ACT framework provides a promising platform from which to develop nurse-focused stress-management interventions. Interventions focusing on acceptance, mindfulness, and values-linked processes may be most effective.
    • Perceived Stress, Thinking Style and Paranormal Belief

      Lasikiewicz, Nicola; University of Chester (2016-03)
      Paranormal beliefs often become stronger in times of stress. Such beliefs have also been found to vary in accordance with thinking style, whereby stronger beliefs are often observed in experiential thinkers. Little research, however, has explored the interaction between perceived stress and thinking style. 82 males and females aged 18 to 62 years (mean = 29.96 ± 12.53 years) completed measures of perceived stress, thinking style (rational and experiential) and paranormal belief. The results revealed stronger beliefs in experiential thinkers, compared with those with a rational thinking style. Perceived stress alone, was not a prominent predictor of belief but the combination of stress and thinking style, specifically high perceived stress with a rational thinking style, significantly predicted greater global paranormal belief, belief in superstition, traditional religious belief, and belief in psi. High perceived stress appeared to facilitate belief in rational thinkers as conversely, belief was lowest in rational thinkers under conditions of low-perceived stress. These findings suggest that stress may lower the propensity for rational thinking and consequently, encourage belief in scientifically unsubstantiated phenomena. This interaction may have implications for coping during stressful situations.
    • Persistence in gestural communication predicts sociality in wild chimpanzees.

      Roberts, Anna I.; Roberts, Sam G. B. (2018-10-19)
      A key challenge for primates is coordinating behaviour with conspecifics in large, complex social groups. Gestures play a key role in this process and chimpanzees show considerable flexibility communicating through single gestures, sequences of gestures interspersed with periods of response waiting (persistence), and rapid sequences where gestures are made in quick succession, too rapid for the response waiting to have occurred. The previous studies examined behavioural reactions to single gestures and sequences, but whether this complexity is associated with more complex sociality at the level of the dyad partner and the group as a whole is not well understood. We used social network analysis to examine how the production of single gestures and sequences of gestures was related to the duration of time spent in proximity and individual differences in proximity in wild East African chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii). Pairs of chimpanzees that spent a longer duration of time in proximity had higher rates of persistence sequences, but not a higher rate of single gestures or rapid sequences. The duration of time spent in proximity was also related to the rate of responding to gestures, and response to gesture by activity change. These results suggest that communicative persistence and the type of response to gestures may play an important role in regulating social interactions in primate societies.
    • Persistence of social signatures in human communication

      Saramäki, Jari; Leicht, Elizabeth A.; Lopez, Eduardo; Roberts, Sam G. B.; Reed-Tsochas, Felix; Dunbar, Robin I. M.; Aalto University School of Science; University of Oxford; University of Chester (2014-01-06)
      The social network maintained by a focal individual, or ego, is intrinsically dynamic and typically exhibits some turnover in membership over time as personal circumstances change. However, the consequences of such changes on the distribution of an ego’s network ties are not well understood. Here we use a unique 18-mo dataset that combines mobile phone calls and survey data to track changes in the ego networks and communication patterns of students making the transition from school to university or work. Our analysis reveals that individuals display a distinctive and robust social signature, captured by how interactions are distributed across different alters. Notably, for a given ego, these social signatures tend to persist over time, despite considerable turnover in the identity of alters in the ego network. Thus, as new network members are added, some old network members either are replaced or receive fewer calls, preserving the overall distribution of calls across network members. This is likely to reflect the consequences of finite resources such as the time available for communication, the cognitive and emotional effort required to sustain close relationships, and the ability to make emotional investments.