University roles and responsibilities
- Director of Modular Master's Programme
- MSc Exams Officer
I am interested in understanding how people think, such as how people reason and make decisions, and in using this knowledge to improve their thinking. Currently I am investigating the cognitive mechanisms underpinning dual process theories of cognition. I uncover these mechanisms using behavioural and electrophysiological methods and explore them further with computational models. For example, some recent findings have shown these cognitive mechanisms operate in parallel based on a process in which the most relevant, rather than the most logical, conclusions are more likely to be retained during reasoning.
This research has practical importance, as understanding thinking suggests methods to improve it. Some recent projects include: work to improve military decision making under stress through eliciting expert fast and frugal heuristics and training novices to apply them. Within the CLYMBOL project we investigated how consumers' reasoning about health claims is determined by their network of causal beliefs about food and health. Within the PD_manager project we are investigating how decisions are made in the management in Parkinson's disease.
Courses I teach on
The purpose of these studies was to investigate the role of distributed cognition in defusing the impact of evaluative pressure caused by performance-approach goals on mental arithmetic performance. Performance-approach goals can generate worrying thoughts that can deplete working memory resources. However, some of these working memory limitations can be compensated by off-loading the internal cognitive process to the external environment. We tested this prediction in two experiments. Participants carried out modular arithmetic tasks in a performance-approach goal or mastery-approach goal condition crossed with interactivity or no interactivity. Performance-approach goal manipulation hampered cognitive performance (accuracies), (Experiment 1). However, these negative effects were defused with the help of interactivity (Experiment 2). Interestingly, the mastery-focused individuals had a performance drop in the interactive condition (Experiment 1 and Experiment 2). Finally, experiment 2 reported higher maths anxiety levels for the performance-focused individuals. Reasons for the findings and future implications will be discussed.
Despite the established evidence and theoretical advances explaining human judgments under uncertainty, developments of mobile health (mHealth) Clinical Decision Support Systems (CDSS) have not explicitly applied the psychology of decision making to the study of user needs. We report on a user needs approach to develop a prototype of a mHealth CDSS for Parkinson's disease (PD), which is theoretically grounded in the psychological literature about expert decision making and judgement under uncertainty. A suite of user needs studies was conducted in 4 European countries (Greece, Italy, Slovenia, the UK) prior to the development of PD_Manager, a mHealth-based CDSS designed for Parkinson's disease, using wireless technology. Study 1 undertook Hierarchical Task Analysis (HTA) including elicitation of user needs, cognitive demands and perceived risks/benefits (ethical considerations) associated with the proposed CDSS, through structured interviews of prescribing clinicians (N = 47). Study 2 carried out computational modelling of prescribing clinicians' (N = 12) decision strategies based on social judgment theory. Study 3 was a vignette study of prescribing clinicians' (N = 18) willingness to change treatment based on either self-reported symptoms data, devices-generated symptoms data or combinations of both. Study 1 indicated that system development should move away from the traditional silos of 'motor' and 'non-motor' symptom evaluations and suggest that presenting data on symptoms according to goal-based domains would be the most beneficial approach, the most important being patients' overall Quality of Life (QoL). The computational modelling in Study 2 extrapolated different factor combinations when making judgements about different questions. Study 3 indicated that the clinicians were equally likely to change the care plan based on information about the change in the patient's condition from the patient's self-report and the wearable devices. Based on our approach, we could formulate the following principles of mHealth design: 1) enabling shared decision making between the clinician, patient and the carer; 2) flexibility that accounts for diagnostic and treatment variation among clinicians; 3) monitoring of information integration from multiple sources. Our approach highlighted the central importance of the patient-clinician relationship in clinical decision making and the relevance of theoretical as opposed to algorithm (technology)-based modelling of human judgment.
Office-based work today involves dealing with email, despite being denigrated and lauded in almost equal measures. Using the Conservation of Resources theory we examine whether Extraversion (expressed through two facets) acts as a resource to explain the differential impact that work-email has on people's energy resources (relating to fatigue and boredom). An experience-sampling study was undertaken, whereby 54 knowledge-workers completed records of their response (n = 589) to new work-email over the course of a typical working day. Results were analysed using hierarchical linear modelling (HLM). Participants who felt tired prior to dealing with email, reported that they felt more energized afterwards (but only if they were higher on Agentic extraversion). Work-email did not re-energize extraverts when they had been bored beforehand. By examining changes in energy resources, and by measuring different facets of Extraversion, we offer theoretical and methodological contributions to advancing understanding about the role of resources in dealing with work-email. Specifically, our results suggest that Extraversion may not constitutionally be a key resource within COR, because its value and contribution to resource building is contingent on context. Implications for practitioners concerned with how best to manage digital communications at work, are discussed.
Interruptions research is heavily reliant on a paradigm involving 'enforced interruption'. Email use however constitutes a special form of 'controlled interruption'. As there is no precedent available in the existing literature to describe what strategies people use to deal with 'controlled interruption', an exploratory first study was undertaken using an open-ended interview design. Twenty-eight email users working within UK organisations were asked about how they dealt with email interruptions, when faced with different situational or task parameters. Qualitative content analysis of interview transcripts revealed a wide range of strategies used for dealing with email in general, and for specific situations in particular, with idiosyncratic differences in application. These findings are consistent with the predictions of Action Regulation Theory [Hacker, W. (1985). Activity: A fruitful concept in industrial psychology. In M. Frese, J. Sabini (Eds.), Goal directed behaviour: The concept of action in psycholoy. London, Lawrence Erlbaunt Associates (Chapter 18); The German Journal of Psychology 18(2) (1994) 91-120] - that people select strategies (action programs) for achieving a task according to the specific parameters of the task or goal. However, the findings go further in highlighting the salience of individual differences in underwriting one's choice of strategy (or action program). Further research is required to understand which strategies are linked to effective performance, and how individual differences influence strategic decision making in multi-goal work environments. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Fast and frugal heuristics have been used to model decision making in applied domains very effectively, suggesting that they could be used to improve applied decision making. We developed a fast and frugal heuristic for infantry decisions using experts from the British Army. This was able to predict around 80% of their decisions using three cues. Next, we examined the benefits of learning to use the fast and frugal heuristic by training junior officers in the British Army to apply the heuristic and assessing their accuracy and mental workload when making decisions. Their performance was compared to a control condition of junior officers who applied standard military decision methods. Participants using the fast and frugal heuristic made decisions as accurately as participants in the control condition, but with reduced mental demand. This demonstrates that fast and frugal heuristics can be learnt, and are as effective as analytic decision methods.
Objective: Increased levels of dietary restraint are associated with deficits on many cognitive tasks. Less is known about how individual differences in restraint influences complex cognition such as reasoning which is the focus of this research. Design: Two experimental studies are reported. In study 1, participants (n = 158) completed a causal conditional reasoning task with statements about weight-related and general causal relationships. Study 2 replicated and extended study 1. Participants (n = 108) completed a causal conditional reasoning task focusing on behavioural causes of weight change or general statements. Main outcome measure: Causal conditional reasoning task performance. Results: In study 1, levels of dietary restraint were negatively associated with reasoning abilities for weight-related statements only. Study 2 replicated the negative association between dietary restraint and reasoning finding the effect in both weight-related, and general, causal judgements. Conclusion: The novel findings show that individual differences in dietary restraint have a wider relationship with cognition than previously demonstrated. Results tentatively support theoretical explanations of a reduction in cognitive capacity, rather than differences in belief, explaining reasoning deficits. These findings open an interesting avenue for research and might have implications for effective decision making about personal health behaviours, such as food choice.
The study aimed to investigate what type of decision styles are exhibited by employees who experience burnout. Using a Work Risk Inventory (WRI), developed for this study, which included generic workplace scenarios, it was also explored whether employees experiencing burnout take more risky decisions. Risk was conceptualised as the adoption of threatening decisions towards one’s reputation at work, job performance and job security. The mediating effect of the likelihood and seriousness of the consequences of the worst-case scenario occurring (i.e. what could be the worst that could happen in each given scenario), on the relationship between dimensions of burnout and risk was also tested. A total of 262 employees completed an online survey, including measures on burnout, decision making styles and the WRI. As predicted, dimensions of burnout: Exhaustion; Cynicism and Professional Inefficacy, correlated significantly with avoidant decision making and negatively with rational decision making. Seriousness of the consequences of the worst-case scenario occurring mediated the relationship between professional inefficacy and risk taking. In the context of identifying mechanisms by which burnout leads to risky decision making, findings suggest that employees’ sense of professional inefficacy determines employees’ risky decision making. The contribution to theory and implications for practice are discussed.
Emotional intelligence is an important and popular concept within coaching. This randomised controlled trial investigated the short-term impact of coaching using emotional intelligence on three factors related to performance in athletes: anxiety, self-efficacy and team identification. Twenty high-performance netball players were divided into coaching and control groups. The coaching group completed the Bar-On EQ-i to produce emotional intelligence profiles that formed the basis of the solution-focused coaching session. Coaching improved self-efficacy and anxiety but not team identification. There was no change in the control group. Self-efficacy and anxiety are directly linked to scales on the EQ-i whereas team identification is not directly linked. The findings indicate that solution-focused coaching using emotional intelligence is effective, but only when a direct link is identified between a particular component of emotional intelligence and a particular outcome.
Within the context of the conservation of resources (COR) model, when a resource is deployed, it is depleted – albeit temporarily. However, when a ‘key’, stable resource, such as Conscientiousness, is activated (e.g. by using a self-control strategy, such as resisting an email interruption), we predicted that (1) another, more volatile resource (affective well-being) would be impacted, and that (2) this strategy would be deployed as a trade-off, allowing one to satisfy task goals, at the expense of well-being goals. We conducted an experience-sampling field study with 52 email-users dealing with their normal email as it interrupted them over the course of a half-day period. This amounted to a total of 376 email reported across the sample. Results were analysed using random coefficient hierarchical linear modelling (HLM), and included cross-level interactions for Conscientiousness with strategy and well-being. Our first prediction was supported – deploying the stable, key resource of Conscientiousness depletes the volatile, fluctuating resource of affective well-being. However, our second prediction was not fully realized. Although resisting or avoiding an email interruption was perceived to hinder well-being goal achievement by Conscientious people, it had neither a positive nor negative impact on task goal achievement. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.
This study sought to investigate the effect that contextual cues (in particular, device type and content type) have on the perception of sound quality. A sample of 49 participants were tested on different mobile devices sizes (small – iPhone, medium – iPad Mini, and large – iPad) which had identical sound output characteristics within in different usage contexts (generic content vs. musical training app contexts). Results showed that the users’ perception of generic sound types was affected by device type, with iPhones appearing to have better sound quality compared to larger devices. On the other hand, within application contexts, the application type seemed to affect user perceptions more, with the rhythm training application rating poorer on sound quality, picture quality, and likelihood of future use as compared to the pitch training application (although this may be due to the perceived increased difficulty). Together, these findings demonstrate the influence of device and content cues (when actual physical qualities are controlled) on user sound perception. Interestingly, differences in perceived sound quality was not accompanied by an overriding preference for that device as compared to other devices. Instead, considerations such as ease of use seemed to drive considerations for uptake of applications.
Accelerating the cognitive expertise of professionals is a critical challenge for many organizations. This paper reports a collaborative, longitudinal, academic practitioner project which aimed to elicit, document and accelerate the cognitive expertise of engineering professionals working with the manufacture and management of petroleum additives. 25 engineering experts were trained by three academic psychologists to use applied cognitive task analysis (ACTA) interview techniques in order to document the cognition of their expert peers. Results had high face validity for practitioners who elicited hot/sensory based cognition, a number of perceptual skills and mental models, highlighting undocumented context specific expertise. We conclude from a peer review of findings, combined with experienced CTA analysts that ACTA techniques can be advanced in context by the explicit recognition and development of socio-cognitive competence /insight.
Research on the electrophysiology of reasoning is comparatively rare, but it has the potential to offer considerable insights into the time course of cognitive processes and contribute to a wide range of theoretical questions such as the role of dual processes in reasoning. Although a behavioural response to a reasoning problem can indicate a single time point at which a complex series of cognitive events ends, event-related potentials (ERPs) can be used to examine the timing of different events as they unfold during the reasoning process. That is, it is possible to measure cognitive events in the window between presentation of the problem and the behavioural response. Theories differ crucially about what occurs in this window, and ERPs offer the potential to observe this activity. A small number of studies have been conducted with the aim of identifying the electrophysiological correlates of reasoning on tasks that have been used more widely to examine dual process theory. In this chapter I will review the ERP research that has aimed to test dual process theories of reasoning, discuss the findings, and explore both the potential and the limitations of this technique. Finally, I will discuss how the theoretical implications of these findings support the idea that Type 1 processes are fast and automatic, occur in parallel, and when acquired over time, can reproduce any thinking process that can be automated, including both normatively correct logical responses and belief-based responses within a belief bias task.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe and defend a generative model for understanding effective self-regulating teams from a distinctively psychological perspective that has implications for both research and practice. Design/methodology/approach – The paper complements Hackman's work on the critical conditions for effecting “self-regulated” teamwork with an understanding of team psychology, as the basis for evolving a propositional model of effective teamwork. Findings – Assuming various structural pre-requisites, it is proposed that effective teamwork is generated by a social self-identification process, upon which there are “emergent states” across affective (commitment, cohesion), motivational (drive to secure and maintain positive self-esteem), cognitive (shared cognition) and behavioural (intra-team and inter-team processes) dimensions. Research limitations/implications – Considerations for further testing, conceptual and methodological refinement, are highlighted. Practical implications – The model affords clear pragmatic implications for leveraging more effective teamwork in organizational contexts. Originality/value – The propositional model in the paper integrates and builds on previous thinking into a more generative understanding of effective team work (i.e. what makes teamwork possible and how can this be sustained) that takes into account the importance of context in accounting for team success.
Presenting information in a coherent fashion has been shown to increase processing fluency, which in turn influences affective responses. The pattern of responses have been explained by two apparently competing accounts: hedonic marking (response to fluency is positive) and fluency amplification (response to fluency can be positive or negative, depending on stimuli valence). This paper proposes that these accounts are not competing explanations, but separate mechanisms, serving different purposes. Therefore, their individual contributions to overall affective responses should be observable. In three experiments, participants were presented with businesses scenarios, with riskiness (valence) and coherence (fluency) manipulated, and affective responses recorded. Results suggested that increasing the fluency of stimuli increases positive affect. If the stimulus is negative, then increasing fluency simultaneously increases negative affect. These affective responses appeared to cancel each other out (Experiment 1) when measured using self-report bipolar scales. However, separate measurement of positive and negative affect, either using unipolar scales (Experiment 2) or using facial electromyography (Experiment 3), provided evidence for co-occurring positive and negative affective responses, and therefore the co-existence of hedonic marking and fluency amplification mechanisms.
Cognitive modeling is the effort to understand the mind by implementing theories of the mind in computer code, producing measures comparable to human behavior and mental activity. The community of cognitive modelers has traditionally met twice every 3 years at the International Conference on Cognitive Modeling (ICCM). In this special issue of topiCS, we present the best papers from the ICCM meeting. (The full proceedings are available on the ICCM website.) These best papers represent advances in the state of the art in cognitive modeling. Since ICCM was for the first time also held jointly with the Society for Mathematical Psychology, we use this preface to also reflect on the similarities and differences between mathematical psychology and cognitive modeling.
Objective: The goal conflict model of eating (Stroebe, Mensink, Aarts, Schut, & Kruglanski, ( 2008) proposes differences in eating behaviour result from peoples’ experience of holding conflicting goals of eating enjoyment and weight maintenance. However, little is understood about the relationship between eating behaviour and the cognitive processes involved in conflict. This study aims to investigate associations between eating behaviour traits and cognitive conflict processes, specifically the application of cognitive control when processing distracting food pictures. Method: A flanker task using food and non-food pictures was used to examine individual differences in conflict adaptation. Participants responded to target pictures whilst ignoring distracting flanking pictures. Individual differences in eating behaviour traits, attention towards target pictures, and ability to apply cognitive control through adaptation to conflicting picture trials were analysed. Results: Increased levels of external and emotional eating were related to slower responses to food pictures indicating food target avoidance. All participants showed greater distraction by food compared to non-food pictures. Of particular significance, increased levels of emotional eating were associated with greater conflict adaptation for conflicting food pictures only. Conclusion: Emotional eaters demonstrate greater application of cognitive control for conflicting food pictures as part of a food avoidance strategy. This could represent an attempt to inhibit their eating enjoyment goal in order for their weight maintenance goal to dominate.
The kind of work undertaken in many organisations has changed dramatically in recent decades. Economic and technological changes have meant that the number of employees engaged in knowledge-based work has grown, whereas physical work has become less common. As a result, the behaviour of people in organisations is increasingly being understood in terms of cognitive theories and, to a lesser extent, biological psychology theories. Cognitive theories address how people process information and the limitations on their information processing capacities. They offer explanations of performance and errors in knowledge-based tasks. This level of explanation is therefore ideal for tackling many of the issues that arise in the workplace. This chapter will expand on the cognitive and biological psychology theories which underpin the occupational psychology outlined in the individual and organisational chapters, in particular focusing on a selection of key domains within occupational psychology which have particularly been influenced by cognitive and biological psychology. These domains are training, decision making, human machine interaction, and team work and the review will illustrate how both the applied practice of occupational psychology can be enhanced through greater understanding of cognitive and biological psychology, and also how these basic areas of research have developed in part through application to work and organisational problems.
This paper describes a model of dynamic decision making in the Dynamic Stocks and Flows (DSF) task, developed using the ACT-R cognitive architecture. This task is a simple simulation of a water tank in which the water level must be kept constant whilst the inflow and outflow changes at varying rates. The basic functions of the model are based around three steps. Firstly, the model predicts the water level in the next cycle by adding the current water level to the predicted net inflow of water. Secondly, based on this projection, the net outflow of the water is adjusted to bring the water level back to the target. Thirdly, the predicted net inflow of water is adjusted to improve its accuracy in the future. If the prediction has overestimated net inflow then it is reduced, if it has underestimated net inflow it is increased. The model was entered into a model comparison competition—the Dynamic Stocks and Flows Challenge—to model human performance on four conditions of the DSF task and then subject the model to testing on five unseen transfer conditions. The model reproduced the main features of the development data reasonably well but did not reproduce human performance well under the transfer conditions. This suggests that the principles underlying human performance across the different conditions differ considerably despite their apparent similarity. Further lessons for the future development of our model and model comparison challenges are considered.
The function of groups as information processors is increasingly being recognised in a number of theories of group cognition. A theme of many of these is an emphasis on sharing cognition. This paper extends current conceptualisations of groups by critiquing the focus on shared cognition and emphasising the distribution of cognition in groups. In particular, it develops an account of the distribution of one cognitive construct, mental models. Mental models have been chosen as a focus because they are used in a number of theories of high level cognition from different areas of research such as cognitive science and human factors and so the implication of this development is wide reaching. This paper reviews the unconnected literatures on distributed cognition and mental models and integrates them in order to extend the theory of mental models to distributed cognitive systems such as groups. The distributed cognition literature is reviewed and the importance of considering the group as single cognitive system is adopted. A range of mental model theories are reviewed leading to the conclusion that they all have, in some form, the central feature of a mapping onto the cognitive system. Combining these two ideas, it is proposed that the model can be a mapping onto the whole group, if the information is distributed appropriately and the connections between parts of the model maintained through communication. This cognitive construct is referred to as a distributed mental model. Implications and applications of this theory are discussed and an example outlined of the use of the construct in team situation awareness.
This paper is positioned in response to a call for an exchange of dialogue between researchers in the fields of macrocognition and computational modeling. Our work encourages examination of the complementarities that exist between these fields proposing that some of the challenges associated with micromodeling perspectives may be addressed by drawing upon "midgranularity" cognitive architectures. The study documented here demonstrates the value of modeling macrocognitive phenomena using the midgranularity architecture Convince Me. Our results suggested a moderate degree of fit between fund managers' decision making and the theory of explanatory coherence. Insights into the macrocognitive processes of sense making, uncertainty management, and mental simulation are examined. We anticipate that this will demonstrate the utility of computational modeling for revealing the shortcomings of macrocognitive models and that this will not only motivate increased theoretical specification but will also assist in the legitimization of cognitive modeling methods within macrocognitive inquiry.
Whilst ‘work’ is commonly understood as an activity to generate income (Oxford Dictionary, 2009), all of us work in some way or another, whether this is paid or unpaid, inside the home or outside the home. There is also no doubt that being in work is good for us. A now classic study by Marie Jahoda and colleagues (reference to add) showed the effects of unemployment on a small community, the findings leading her to conclude that work is central to our identity sense of worth and thus vital in modern day industrial societies. Jahoda went on to develop the deprivation theory of unemployment (1981) identifying five different categories important for well being, such as structure, time and social contact. She argued that the unemployed are deprived of these, which she claimed accounts for reported impaired physical and mental health in unemployed people. There is no doubt that work is central to our lives, as one of the first question that we are typically asked when meeting new people is ‘so what do you do?’ Individuals and organisations are now part of a world of work where the only constant is change and this chapter will outline on a practical level how we can understand the world of work from the individual’s perspective.
According to Parmentier and Jones (2000), serial recall of locations which are specified by a sequence of sounds is prone to temporal error and is unaffected by motor suppression during retention. Studies are reported here which show that with increased spatial uncertainty at recall (Study1) and presentation (Study 2), spatial rather than temporal errors predominate. This is also the case when serial recall of sound specified locations is subject to interference from a motor suppression task (Study 3). Contrary to Parmentier and Jones‟s (2000) original report, these results suggest that the memory representation for location is not necessarily amodal but is influenced by the task. This is consistent with recent findings which provide evidence for a distinct spatial working memory.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify how psychological contract perceptions are used as a lens through which employees make sense of their workplace emotions. Applying Rousseau’s (1995, 2011) conceptualisation of psychological contracts it examines how the emotions linked to both promise perceptions (broken/exceeded) and regulation are made sense of in relation to perceptions of contract type. Design/methodology/approach – This paper takes a unique perspective into the role perceptions of psychological contract type play in the process of emotional sensemaking using qualitative thematic analysis of 30 in-depth interviews. A range of occupations are represented and all participants worked in a full-time capacity. Findings – The paper identifies how the predominant relationship frame (transactional/relational) is used by employees when making sense of the emotions recalled during specific psychological contract events, as well as the emotions they feel are necessary to regulate while at work. Research limitations/implications – The mean age of the study sample was 26 years, comparatively young in terms of the span of the employment age bracket. Taking a lifespan approach would potentially broaden the understanding of how employees use their predominant relationship frame in the process of emotional sensemaking at different stages of their life and careers. Originality/value – This paper identifies an important work-related cue used in the active regulation of specific emotions whilst at work, contributing to both the psychological contract and emotion literature.
This study investigates the influence of sensory and cognitive affordances on the user experience of mobile devices for multimedia language learning applications. A primarily audio-based language learning application – ‘Vowel Trainer’, was chosen against a comparison, text and picture-based language learning application – ‘Learn English for Taxi Drivers’. Impressions of the two applications were assessed on two different devices that have virtually the same interface and identical sound output (when headphones are used), but differ in physical size: the iPhone and the iPad. A mixed design was chosen, with native language as a group factor and device type (iPad vs. iPhone) and language application type (audio vs. video) as within groups factors. Assessments of sensory and cognitive affordances were made, along with measurement of learner preferences of each application. Data from 41 participants (21 native English speakers, 20 non-native English speakers) were analysed, revealing device differences in both audio and visual subjective quality ratings, despite only visual quality being affected by the device's physical limitations. We suggest that sensory affordances (indexed by subjective quality) are not simply a function of physical limitations, but are heavily influenced by context. The implications for developing design guidelines for language learning and other multimedia applications are discussed.
This study investigated the complex decisions made by engineers when conducting contaminated-land risk assessments. Experienced assessors studied summaries of site reports, which were composed of different combinations of relevant cues, and decided on the risk level of each site. Models from three theories of decision making were compared. Applying judgment analysis to develop a lens model provided the best account of the data, lending support to social judgment theory. A model based on a fast-and-frugal heuristic, the matching heuristic, did not fit the data as well; nor did a coherence model based on the theory of explanatory coherence. Comparison with decisions generated with the use of industry guidance showed only a moderate fit, suggesting that the standard procedure does not accurately represent how highly proficient domain practitioners make assessments in this context. Qualitative analyses of comments made by participants suggested that they used a combined approach that applied key cues as predicted by social judgment theory, integrated into a meaningful, coherent account, as predicted by the theory of explanatory coherence. Overall, these findings suggest a novel process in which a range of information is combined to form a coherent explanation of the data but in which key cues are more influential than others.
Objective: Health claims on food packaging are regulated to inform and protect consumers, however many consumers do not accurately interpret the meaning of the claims. Whilst research has shown different types of misinterpretation, it is not clear how those interpretations are formed. The aim of this study is to elicit the causal beliefs and causal models about food and health held by consumers, i.e. their understanding of the causal relationships between nutrients, health outcomes and the causal pathways connecting them, and investigate how well this knowledge explains the variation in inferences they draw about health benefits from health claims. Method: 400 participants from Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Slovenia, and the UK were presented with 7 authorised health claims and drew inferences about the health benefits of consuming nutrients specified in the claim. Then their personal causal models of health were elicited along with their belief in the truth and familiarity with the claims. Results: The strength of inferences about health benefits that participants drew from the claims were predicted independently by the strength of the relevant causal pathways within the causal model, and belief in the truth of the claim, but not familiarity with the claim. Participants drew inferences about overall health benefits of the nutrients by extrapolating from their causal models of health. Conclusion: Consumers’ interpretation of claims is associated with their belief in the claim and their causal models of health. This prior knowledge is used to interpret the claim and draw inferences about overall health benefits that go beyond the information in the claim. Therefore efforts to improve consumers’ understanding and interpretation of health claims must address both their wider causal models of health and their knowledge of specific claims.
Whilst ‘work’ is commonly understood as an activity to generate income (Oxford Dictionary, 2009), all of us work in some way or another, whether this is paid or unpaid, inside the home or outside the home. There is also no doubt that being in work is good for us. A now classic study by Marie Jahoda and colleagues (reference to add) showed the effects of unemployment on a small community, the findings leading her to conclude that work is central to our identity sense of worth and thus vital in modern day industrial societies. Jahoda went on to develop the deprivation theory of unemployment (1981) identifying five different categories important for well being, such as structure, time and social contact. She argued that the unemployed are deprived of these, which she claimed accounts for reported impaired physical and mental health in unemployed people. There is no doubt that work is central to our lives, as one of the first question that we are typically asked when meeting new people is ‘so what do you do?’ Individuals and organisations are now part of a world of work where the only constant is change and this chapter will outline on a practical level how we can understand the world of work from the organization's perspective.
We apply social psychology to our understanding of organizational life, by looking in particular at the relationship between the individual and the organization. From a social psychological perspective, an organization is conceptualised as a collection of roles (some of which may be organised into local teams or workgroups) that are all interconnected in the pursuit of some common goal, attached to which are particular behavioural norms and values (Katz & Kahn, 1964). Organizations impact on individuals through processes of social influence which bind them in some psychological way to organizational interests and pursuits. This binding can be conceptualised as a psychological relationship between individual and organization that can be tenuous or strong depending on the extent to which an individual is a fully integrated organizational member. A tenuous relationship may imply that the individual’s interests outweigh those of the organization, and if these are not being fulfilled by an organization he or she will leave. This type of relationship has been conceptualised as instrumental or transactional (Rousseau, 1995; Chapter 22) in which there is a quid-pro-quo type of reciprocation in which an individual supplies specific services (usually highly circumscribed around time spent in relation to a particular work schedule) in return for extrinsic reward (pay, benefits) and little else. A fully integrated relationship on the other hand presupposes that an individual has internalised the norms and values of the organization as their own to the extent that their interests are mutually bound and synonymous. This type of relationship has been conceptualised as relational as it values the relationship per se: here there is an exchange of services based on intrinsic need fulfilment (Rousseau, 1995). A transactional relationship is built on a largely economic interpretation of the employment contract, whilst core to a relational relationship is a more complex psycho-social interpretation of the employment contract. Both are forms of what Rousseau (1995) calls the ‘psychological contract’ (Chapter 22) and both are dependent on how an individual makes sense of themselves in an organizational context through their perceptions and interpretations. Understanding the mechanisms via which self becomes psychologically (whether transactional or relational) connected to organizational life is pivotal to understanding ‘organizational behaviour’.
In this chapter, we will address how people train and develop to become occupational psychologists, by describing the route of the UK Chartership process. Next, we move onto ethical principles in practice by comparing the codes of ethics for different national professional associations. Then, we consider the concepts of culture, diversity and inclusion, as well as discrimination before moving onto the science practitioner debate.
Human reasoning involves both heuristic and analytic processes. This study of belief bias in relational reasoning investigated whether the two processes occur serially or in parallel. Participants evaluated the validity of problems in which the conclusions were either logically valid or invalid and either believable or unbelievable. Problems in which the conclusions presented a conflict between the logically valid response and the believable response elicited a more positive P3 than problems in which there was no conflict. This shows that P3 is influenced by the interaction of belief and logic rather than either of these factors on its own. These findings indicate that belief and logic influence reasoning at the same time, supporting models in which belief-based and logical evaluations occur in parallel but not theories in which belief-based heuristic evaluations precede logical analysis. © 2013 Society for Psychophysiological Research.