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Documenting scenes & events that did not exist: Rutherford’s photographic projects

Rutherford’s practice-based research explores the ability of photography to document scenes and events that did not exist ‘out there’ in the world – but were created by the act of photographing them.

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In my previous photographic projects (1982- to present), I have explored the various ways in which the medium can be invited to provide an ‘unanticipatable’ contribution to the resulting artwork. I have done this mostly through photography, but an earlier project (Word processing as an act of collaboration) explored the use of word processing software to generate texts.

My current photographic project explores the ability of the camera to document scenes and events that did not exist ‘out there’ in the world – but were created by the act of photographing them.  The works in this series are all ‘straight’ photographs.  While in some cases, I have adjusted the brightness and contrast of the original files, these images have not been otherwise manipulated or ‘Photoshopped’.  This project developed through three phases:

The first phase Submarines exploited the combination of two factors: i) the reflective-refractive properties of water and ii) the way in which the monocular view of the camera interprets and renders the effect of these reflective-refractive properties on the appearance of those who agreed to undergo the ordeal of posing for me. As a consequence of the constant motion of the water and the ‘delay’ in the release of the shutter of the digital camera, it was not possible to determine the composition of the frame or to anticipate or choose with intent the ‘moments’ recorded, these photographs were the result of an active (an act of) collaboration between photographer and the medium of photography.

In the second phase of the project Supermarines, I held a waterproof camera below the surface and pointed it upwards (diagonally) through the surface of the water towards figures whose heads and torsos were above the surface of the water.

In addition to the factors of the previous Submarines series (in which the camera position, the constant changes in the surface texture of the water and the delay in the release of the shutter made it impossible to determine the composition of the frame or choose with intent how the figures would be rendered or depicted), as a result of holding the camera underwater, I was unable even to predict with any certainty what elements might be in the frame when, following the delay, the shutter released.

In the most recent phase, Technical Images of Flux, my starting point was the observation by Flusser:

The world reflects the sun’s and other rays which are captured by means of optical, chemical and mechanical [digital] devices on sensitive surfaces and as a result produce technical images, i.e. they appear to be on the same level of reality as their significance. […] This apparently non-symbolic, objective character of technical images leads whoever looks at them to see them not as images but as windows. Wilém Flusser. Towards a Philosophy of Photography. (Flusser, 1983)

As argued in my article Is This Photograph Taken?, the assumptions which follow from the widely accepted conception of photographs as “windows” which provide an “accurate and objective record” (Genoni 2002: 137) and “a truthful account” (Fosdick and Fahmy, 2007: 1) of the world ‘out there’ hinder our ability to imagine the possibility of an active (or, an act of) collaboration between the medium and photographer.

In an effort to reduce further my conscious control over the final result, rather than photograph those people willing to pose for me, I began to point the camera (which was still underwater) in the general direction of people I passed in the water, as well as nearby buildings, clouds and other features.

In an effort to reduce further my conscious control over the final result, rather than photograph those people willing to pose for me, I began to point the camera (which was still underwater) in the general direction of people I passed in the water, as well as nearby buildings, clouds and other features.

 

For more information, please contact Rutherford (Programme Leader – MA Advertising, Faculty of Media and Communication).

Previous projects and articles can be found on Rutherford’s website: http://www.theshadowofthephotographer.co.uk/

Good luck today to our DEALTS 2 finalists for the 9th National Dementia Care Awards!

The Dementia Education And Learning Through Simulation 2 (DEALTS 2) programme has been shortlisted for the 9th National Dementia Care Awards 2018 in the Best Dementia Training Initiative category, which recognises the vital role of effective training in dementia care. Today is the judging day and the award will be made to an individual or organisation that can demonstrate the value of a training initiative which has been successfully implemented.

“I was over the moon when I found out DEALTS 2 had been shortlisted, it is a real honour to be a finalist in the 2018 competition,” says Dr Michelle Heward, 1/4 of the DEALTS 2 research team. “We had been nominated by a colleague from another university who completed an application.”

The DEALTS 2 programme is a national simulation-based dementia education programme for hospital staff with regular contact with people with dementia. The programme is an innovative, low cost, high impact training toolkit which aims to facilitate staff to consider experiences from the point of view of a person living with dementia, enabling staff to see beyond the diagnosis and see the person.

These resources can be adapted to be relevant in different settings and have been designed using low key simulation scenarios, which will allow staff to make positive changes to how they care and support people with dementia. The training also integrates theory into practice introducing the Humanising Values Framework (HVF) a philosophical lens developed at BU that identifies potentially humanising and dehumanising care and support. The HVF enables trainers to support staff morals as well as improve the care of people with dementia.

“The team has worked hard to deliver 13 train-the-trainer sessions nationally across England in 2017 with 196 trainers attending. The toolkit has been developed iteratively to encapsulate feedback from dementia specialists, trainers and informal carers,” says Dr Heward.

Click here to find out more about the DEALTS 2 programme, or get in touch with Dr Michelle Heward here. The DEALTS team includes Professor Jane Murphy, Dr Michele Board and Ashley Spriggs.

Congratulations to Dr Terri Cole for receiving this year’s BPS Textbook Award

Dr Terri Cole’s co-written book Forensic Psychology: Theory, Research, Policy and Practice (2015), with Jennifer Brown (London School of Economics) and Yvonne Shell, has won the British Psychological Society Book Award 2018 in the Textbook category. The Society’s Book Award recognises excellent published work in psychology and recipients will be presented with a commemorative certificate at the Society’s Annual Conference.

The book was nominated by her publishing company, SAGE: “It is such an honour and I’m absolutely over the moon to have even been nominated for the Awards”, says Dr Cole. “It is a subject all of us have spent our careers working in and we are all very passionate with a variety of experience.”

Image result for Forensic Psychology: Theory, Research, Policy and Practice by Brown, Shell and Cole (2015)

Forensic Psychology: Theory, Research, Policy and Practice (2015) is primarily targeted towards Masters students studying Forensic Psychology, as well as practitioners and those already qualified who need to keep up with the CPD (Continuing Professional Development). It is also a useful companion to professionals in allied criminal justice professions.

Students of Forensic Psychology need to learn how to combine practical skills such as report writing or assessments with a critical understanding of both theory and the wider political and policy landscape that surrounds the profession, and Dr Cole’s book will help them to understand how these crucial areas of the profession interact and how they can shape one another.

The text provides a detailed analysis of key concepts, debates and theories while weaving in insights and reflections from key professionals working in practice from all fields amidst the text, ensuring readers have the necessary knowledge and skills to pass assignments and get past the stage 2 supervised practice requirements en-route to becoming a qualified forensic psychologist.

“Rather than just summarising the theory, we have incorporated ours and others’ practical experiences and lessons learnt adding a human element and discussing wider points from the political framework in which our work is based, to the personal toll of working in such a domain,” says Dr Cole.

Sarb Bajwa, chief executive of the British Psychological Society, says: “I congratulate all the award winners whose varied expertise emphasise the depth and diversity of psychology. The fact that we were able to recognise three such distinguished and appealing books shows that psychology publishing is in good health. What shines through in each of these books is a relentless focus on good science and an insistence on following the evidence.”

For more information on this book, contact Dr Terri Cole here.

How culture influences children’s development

Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

By Dr Ching-Yu HuangBournemouth University.

From educational toys to governmental guidelines and detailed nursery progress reports, there are lots of resources available to help parents track and facilitate their children’s development. But while there are tricks we can use to teach children to talk, count, draw or respect others, a surprisingly big part of how they develop is determined by the culture they grow up in.

Child development is a dynamic, interactive process. Every child is unique in interacting with the world around them, and what they invoke and receive from others and the environment also shapes how they think and behave. Children growing up in different cultures receive specific inputs from their environment. For that reason, there’s a vast array of cultural differences in children’s beliefs and behaviour.

Language is one of the many ways through which culture affects development. We know from research on adultsthat languages forge how people think and reason. Moreover, the content and focus of what people talk about in their conversations also vary across cultures. As early as infancy, mothers from different cultures talk to their babies differently. German mothers tend to focus on their infants’ needs, wishes or them as a person. Mothers of the African tribal group Nso, on the other hand, focus more on social context. This can include the child’s interactions with other people and the rules surrounding it.

Masai children. Syndromeda/Shutterock

This early exposure affects the way children attend to themselves or to their relationship with others – forming their self image and identity. For example, in Western European and North American countries, children tend to describe themselves around their unique characteristics – such as “I am smart” or “I am good at drawing”. In Asian, African, Southern European and South American countries, however, children describe themselves more often around their relationship with others and social roles. Examples of this include “I am my parents’ child” or “I am a good student”.

Because children in different cultures differ in how they think about themselves and relate to others, they also memorise events differently. For example, when preschoolers were asked to describe a recent special personal experience, European-American children provided more detailed descriptions, recalled more specific events and stressed their preferences, feelings and opinions about it more than Chinese and Korean children. The Asian children instead focused more on the people they had met and how they related to themselves.

Cultural effects of parenting

Parents in different cultures also play an important role in moulding children’s behaviour and thinking patterns. Typically, parents are the ones who prepare the children to interact with wider society. Children’s interaction with their parents often acts as the archetype of how to behave around others – learning a variety of socio-cultural rules, expectations and taboos. For example, young children typically develop a conversational style resembling their parents’ – and that often depends on culture.

European-American children frequently provide long, elaborative, self-focused narratives emphasising personal preferences and autonomy. Their interaction style also tends to be reciprocal, taking turns in talking. In contrast, Korean and Chinese children’s accounts are usually brief, relation-oriented, and show a great concern with authority. They often take a more passive role in the conversations. The same cultural variations in interaction are also evident when children talk with an independent interviewer.

Children in the Western world question their parents’ authority more. Gargonia/Shutterstock

Cultural differences in interactions between adults and children also influence how a child behaves socially. For instance, in Chinese culture, where parents assume much responsibility and authority over children, parents interact with children in a more authoritative manner and demand obedience from their children. Children growing up in such environments are more likely to comply with their parents’ requests, even when they are reluctant to do so.

By contrast, Chinese immigrant children growing up in England behave more similarly to English children, who are less likely to follow parental demands if unwilling.

From class to court

As the world is getting increasingly globalised, knowledge regarding cultural differences in children’s thinking, memory and how they interact with adults has important practical implications in many areas where you have to understand a child’s psychology. For instance, teachers may need to assess children who come from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Knowing how children coming from a different culture think and talk differently can help the teacher better interview them as part of an oral academic test, for example.

Another important area is forensic investigations. Being aware that Chinese children tend to recall details regarding other people and be brief in their initial response to questions may enable the investigator to allow more time for narrative practice to prepare the child to answer open-ended questions and prompt them with follow up questions.

Also, knowing that Chinese children may be more sensitive and compliant to authority figures – and more obedient to a perpetrator within the family – an interviewer may need to spend more time in building rapport to help the child relax and reduce their perceived authority. They should also be prepared to be patient with reluctance in disclosing abuse within families.

While children are unique and develop at their own pace, the cultural influence on their development is clearly considerable. It may even affect how quickly children reach different developmental milestones, but research on this complicated subject is still inconclusive. Importantly, knowledge about cultural differences can also help us pin down what all children have in common: an insatiable curiosity about the world and a love for the people around them.


Dr Ching-Yu Huang, Lecturer in Psychology, Bournemouth University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Anthill Podcast 27: Confidence

Shutterstock

By Annabel Bligh, The Conversation; Gemma Ware, The Conversation, and Holly Squire, The Conversation.

Includes interview with BU’s Professor Keith Brown discussing confidence artists in financial scamming. [31:50 – 36:38]

This episode of The Anthill podcast digs into the concept of confidence. We start by finding out how scientists define confidence and how it works in the brain.

Producer Gemma Ware takes a confidence calibration test with the help of psychologist Eva Krockow at the University of Leicester, who also shares some of her research findings on whether expressing confidence about something is a good marker of being right about it. And neuroscientist Dan Bang from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, UCL, helps explain how a person’s brain computes their level of confidence about certain tasks – and why we need to be aware of the variety in people’s levels of confidence when making decisions as a group.

Then we take a look at how confidence can get us ahead in life – and in the workplace especially. Can you really fake it until you make it? Westminster University’s Chantal Gautier shares some of the findings from her book, The Psychology of Work, where she interviewed a number of industry leaders to discover what it is that makes organisations successful. Confidence is important. But that includes the confidence to admit your shortcomings and ask for help when you need it, she says.

With numerous studies suggesting that men show more confidence than women, we also examine the extent that this explains the gender pay gap. Are women just not leaning in enough?

Lean on in. Shutterstock

Recent research by Amanda Goodall at Cass Business School found that women are actually asking for pay rises at the same rate as men. They’re just not getting them. She helps us unpick the idea that you can fake it ‘til you make it and explains why leaders that are real experts in their field are better than those who aren’t.

Lastly, we turn to the dark side of confidence. The Conversation’s Holly Squire delves deep into the murky world of confidence tricksters, to find out what makes a con man (or woman) tick. Professional magician Gustav Kuhn at Goldsmiths University of London, details the deception involved in card trick scams. And Keith Brown from Bournemouth University explains the reality of financial scamming – and the terrible impact it can have on victims.


The Anthill theme music is by Alex Grey for Melody Loops. The song “I Have Confidence” is sung by Julie Andrews from the musical The Sound of Music by Rogers and Hammerstein. Music in the confidence definition segment is Into the Clouds by Nicolai Heidlas Music via YouTube.
Music in the confidence trickster segment is Curtains are Always Drawn by Kai Engel, and Land of Magic by Frank Dorittke from the Free Music Archive.

Click here to listen to more episodes of The Anthill, on themes including Twins, Intuition, and Pain. And browse other podcasts from The Conversation here.

Thank you to City, University of London’s Department of Journalism for letting us use their studios to record The Anthill.


Annabel Bligh, Business + Economy Editor, The Conversation; Gemma Ware, Society Editor, The Conversation, and Holly Squire, Commissioning Editor, The Conversation

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Photo of the Week: Understanding Digital Immersion within Streaming and E-Sports

Digital Tethering: Understanding Digital Immersion within Streaming and E-Sports

Our Photo of the Week series features photo entries from our annual Research Photography Competition taken by BU academics, students and professional staff, which gives a glimpse into some of the fantastic research undertaken across the BU community.

This week’s photo of the week is by Charlie Simmons, a final year undergraduate student on a BA (Hons) Business Studies with Marketing programme. This project was co-created with Dr Elvira Bolat, Senior Lecturer in Marketing in the Faculty of Management, and won a prize for the Centre for Excellence in Learning (CEL) co-creation awards. Charlie’s work is around digital tethering, particularly in understanding digital immersion.

Immersion is used outside of digital space as a term to measure the degree of involvement in a specific activity. Digital immersion is now a ubiquitous phenomenon that can be observed in all human activities starting with consumption of services and products as well as professional tasks. Overall academic literature, in particular business and management literature, lacks understanding of digital immersion, perhaps due to methodological challenges associated with researching this area. Using the context of e-sport, this research study revealed that in the context of digital connectivity immersion is not only a feeling but a state of mind; it causes behavioural changes in its e-sport players and keeps them habitually absorbed. At the heart of digital immersion are people, streamers (influencers) and community whom have the power to manipulate individuals’ behaviour.

At the heart of digital immersion is community; the more an individual is experiencing community and feels part of that community, the more likely they are to be immersed in the digital environment. Entertainment within content is also irrelevant to the digital immersion, which is contrary to existing research. Content allows users to escape from reality and forget about real world problems, and learning in combination with community factors found to have a strong and positive impact on digital immersion. Findings of this research have implications beyond its contextual focus, e-sports. Businesses can utilise learning, escape and community effects to improve online presence and stimulate much more meaningful engagement with a digital content.

For more information about this research, please contact Dr Elvira Bolat here.

Digital Me is an online collection of research publications/narratives within the domain of digital, written by BU academics and students. This research covers various disciplines, i.e. management and marketing, health and social science, computing and media, education and more; and spreads through various topics, i.e. digital consumption, digital business, education and digital and more. Find out more here.

How farms can help improve the lives of disadvantaged young people

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A visiting farmer tends the animals. Future Roots, Author provided

By Dr Sarah Hambidge (Post-Doctoral Researcher), Bournemouth University.

A couple of years ago, I met Adam (not his real name) at a farm in Dorset. Adam was 14 and had been excluded from mainstream education due to behavioural difficulties and a disruptive home life. He had consequently become involved in regular underage drinking and antisocial behaviour. Adam was being exploited and groomed as a drug runner for a London drug gang infiltrating rural areas. He told me that he had been given a knife by gang members and encouraged to use it to protect himself if necessary against rival gangs or local drug dealers.

The farm where I met him is not a normal farm, but a social one, where the therapeutic use of farming practices and animal assisted therapy is used to provide health, social and educational care services for disadvantaged young people that have become disengaged with mainstream education. Stories such as Adam’s are growing increasingly familiar to staff at the farm he attended, who see other vulnerable young people referred to their service.

Learning new skills. Sarah Hambidge

Many of the young people living in rural Britain who are being exploited by these gangs are, like Adam, those who are disengaged with mainstream education and are at risk of becoming, or currently are, NEET (not in education, employment or training). There are 808,000 young people (aged 16-24) in the UK who are NEET.

Being NEET has a long-term impact on a young person’s life, leaving them vulnerable to substance misuse, offending behaviour, physical and mental health problems, academic underachievement and reduced employment. These young people are subsequently regarded as a concern to the police, health, education and social care professionals.

Yet current interventions are failing to reduce the number of young people becoming NEET. These interventions typically focus on providing the young person with vocational education, despite the fact that the most common vocational qualifications in the UK have very little or no relevance to the labour market.

Interventions that offer a restorative approach, with therapeutic support and a focus on learning, however, are acknowledged to be more successful.

Farm animal therapy. Sarah Hambridge

A green future

Earlier this year, the government launched a 25-year environment plan. The plan acknowledged the importance of connecting children and young people to nature through learning, as well as the benefits of a physical, hands-on experience as a pathway to good health and well-being. The government has pledged £10m to support local strategies which use the natural environment and has further committed to a national expansion of social farming by 2022. This will treble the number of available places to 1.3m per year for children and adults in England.

On social farms, health, social or specialist educational care services for vulnerable people are delivered through structured programmes of farming-related activities. Social farming is established in numerous European countries. Norway currently operates 1,100 social farms, compared to 240 in the UK.

Taking a break on the farm. Sarah Hambidge

Young people participate in a variety of seasonal farming-related activities, including animal husbandry, crop and vegetable production and woodland management. Social farming has been found to have a positive impact on physical and mental health along with the opportunity to develop transferable skills, personal development, social inclusion and rehabilitation.

Social farming

When I met Adam, I was in the midst of a research project evaluating whether a year-long farming intervention can prevent disengaged young people from low-socioeconomic backgrounds becoming NEET. Participants typically attend a four-hour session once a week at the farm.

Future roots, the farm I researched, employs a mix of teachers, youth and social workers and therapists. It offers a different model of learning for those struggling in mainstream education. My research demonstrated that the use of the natural environment as a mechanism for change was effective in reducing the risk of becoming NEET.

The young people learn to care for a variety of animals. Sarah Hambidge

The young people I followed displayed a significant reduction in self-reported mental health risks and behavioural regulation difficulties; improved social relationships and coping; improved life and work skills; and re-engagement with learning. All of the young people were in employment or training six months after their time at the social farm finished.

Indeed, the social farm was the only place where Adam said he felt safe. He was able to develop a sense of belonging and trust which enabled him to talk about the difficulties he was experiencing in his life. Without the social farm intervention, staff said that Adam would likely have proceeded to harm himself or others. The farmer refers to the changes seen in the young people as a “chrysalis butterfly effect”: the positive transformation seen in these young people as they turn their lives around to look to the future are truly inspiring.


Dr Sarah Hambidge, Postdoctoral Researcher, Bournemouth University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Photo of the Week: Welcome to BU from China!

Welcome to BU from China! From the beginning to the end of your studies at BU, let’s focus on the middle bit and the all-important ‘sandwich placement’!

Our Photo of the Week series features photo entries from our annual Research Photography Competition taken by BU academics, students and professional staff, which gives a glimpse into some of the fantastic research undertaken across the BU community.

This week’s photo of the week is a selfie taken by Vianna Renaud (Placement Development Advisor and Postgraduate Researcher, Centre for Excellence in Media Practice) with our Chinese students from Beijing Normal University Zhuhai (BNUZ). BU works closely with BNUZ to give students on a number of undergraduate courses the opportunity to complete their studies with us. In an increasingly global business environment, having the opportunity to study in an international community of academics and students is invaluable in helping to develop global perspective and gain a better understanding of how business is conducted across borders and elsewhere in the world.

With the idea of attending Bournemouth University planted in the minds of Chinese students who have attended the Global Festival of Learning on their home campus, the dream becomes a reality when they find themselves in the UK a few months later. Along with having to adjust to the British higher education system, they must begin looking for a sandwich placement suitable for their academic course which can be a challenging time for them.

Vianna is currently trialling a pilot project where she regularly engages with our BNUZ students on a monthly basis and will research to what degree an impact has been made from this intervention, which will include having coaching conversations, using the GROW Model & informational handouts signposting BU services, as well as encouraging the students to engage in peer-to-peer learning in their preparation for placement year.

“By building upon the relationship BU currently has with BNUZ, combined with the feedback from these students, I am confident we can build our own innovative approach to best support those students that choose BU,” says Vianna.

For more information about this research, please contact Vianna Renaud here.

Remembering Srebrenica, more than 20 years on

EPA/Jasmin Brutus

By Dr Melanie Klinkner, Bournemouth University and Giulia Levi, Bournemouth University.

One of the darkest hours in recent human history, the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, has plenty of unpleasant parallels in today’s world, from Syria to Myanmar. 23 years after the massacre in and around the Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica, remembrance of what has been described as “scenes from hell, written on the darkest pages of human history” is as important as ever.

The events in and around Srebrenica between July 10-19 1995 are well known. In those few days, an estimated 8,000 Muslim Bosniaks were murdered by Bosnian Serb forces. Efforts to find, recover, identify and repatriate the victims’ remains are ongoing – and the task is a hugely complex one.

Every year at the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial Centre and Cemetery, more victims are laid to rest. This year, 35 people have been identified and will be buried. Of the 430 Srebrenica-related sites where human remains have been recovered, 94 are graves and 336 are surface sites with human remains scattered on the ground. Pathologists and anthropologists examined more than 17,000 sets of human remains related to Srebrenica, resulting in around 7,000 identifications, most of them via DNA. To gather enough DNA to make those identifications, more than 20,000 DNA samples had to be collected.

Slow justice

It was only in autumn 2017 that Ratko Mladić, a former general of the Bosnian Serb forces, was convicted of the crimes that took place in Srebrenica – genocide and persecution, extermination, murder, and the inhumane act of forcible transfer. Mladić is one of relatively few defendants to have appeared before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) charged with genocide.

This is because for a conviction on the grounds of genocide, the prosecution has to prove a catalogue of things. To be convicted of the crime of genocide, the accused must have deliberately intended “to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group as such”. Punishable under Article 4(3) of the ICTY Statute are also conspiracy to commit genocide, incitement to commit genocide, attempts to commit genocide and complicity in genocide. Two things have to be proven: the actus reus (the actual killings, serious bodily or mental harm and deliberate infliction of conditions designed to bring about the destruction of the group) and the mens rea (the specific intent to destroy the group).

Mladić’s 2017 conviction did not bring an end to all aspects of his case. In March 2018, both the defence and prosecution filed their notices of appeal. Though not in relation to Srebrenica, the prosecution submits that the trial chamber erred in two of its findings: first, that Bosnian Muslims in the areas of Foča, Kotor Varoš, Prijedor, Sanski Most and Vlasenica did not constitute a substantial part of the Bosnian Muslims of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and second, that Mladić (and others) did not intend to destroy those Bosnian Muslims. As a result, the proceedings are ongoing.

Bosnian Muslims carry coffins with remains of Srebrenica victims, 2017. EPA/Jasmin Brutus

During the 530 days of Mladić’s original trial, 377 witnesses appeared in court, some of them victims of war crimes. Victims often have many needs: to tell their stories, to contribute to public knowledge and accountability, to publicly denounce the wrongs that were committed against them and others, to bear witness on behalf of those who did not survive, and to receive reparations, public acknowledgement or apologies. They may wish to confront the accused, to find out the truth about what happened to their loved ones, to contribute to peace goals or to help prevent the perpetration of further abuse. Many risk their own personal safety to tell their stories, or those of victims who did not survive.

And yet, a recent report by international NGO Impunity Watch paints a bleak picture stating that “Western Balkan states have done very poorly when it comes to victim participation in [transitional justice] processes. Victims’ voices are marginalised and their rightful claims have been politicised by the different sides.”

Remembrance and responsibility

Impunity Watch describes a continuing “battleground of conflicting narratives, in which each side claims victimhood and blames the other for past abuses”. This does not bode well for the future.

The divisions in Bosnia are hard to ignore; Srebrenica’s Serb mayor, Mladen Grujičić, denies that the genocide occurred, as does Milorad Dodik the leader of Bosnia’s Serb-led entity Republika Srpska. Many Serbian nationalists regard Mladić as a war hero. To many people, his conviction would therefore be effectively meaningless.

And yet, plenty of civil society activities, interventions and educational programmes have been devised. In Bosnia, Youth United in Peace and Youth Initiative for Human Rights, to name but two, offer young people the chance to hear different perspectives about the past through workshops and visits to commemorative places of all sides. Such projects try to counter ethnic segregation to offer shared space for dialogue.

In a speech to the United Nations in 1958, Eleanor Roosevelt famously said:

Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighbourhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works.

Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.

All too often this is forgotten. But with stark societal divisions palpable in many parts of the world, we have to keep reminding ourselves that all others are above all else human beings. Only if we do that will the idea of human rights be meaningful.


Dr Melanie Klinkner, Principal Academic in International Law, Bournemouth University and Giulia Levi, PhD Candidate, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Bournemouth University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Photo of the Week: Protest Art for Social Change

Protest Art for Social Change

This week’s photo of the week was taken by Dr Anastasia Veneti and shows how protests and social movements can transform spaces into a form of art.  Our Photo of the Week series features photo entries from our annual Research Photography Competition taken by BU academics, students and professional staff, which gives a glimpse into some of the fantastic research undertaken across the BU community.

From the squares of Athens and Istanbul to the streets of New York and Cairo, social movements have been rising during the 21st century. Contrary to public perceptions of urban protest camps as arenas of violence and confrontation, this research at the 2014 Hong Kong Umbrella Movement indicated that protest camps can transform the city into an open space of massive arts participation. Thousands of protesters, citizens and tourists participated in collaborative arts projects that communicated universal values related to freedom, equality and democracy. The research team suggest that, in an increasingly turbulent world, peaceful and collective protest art has the capacity to empower, unify and motivate people.

Dr Anastasia Veneti is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing Communications at Bournemouth University. For more information about this research, please contact Anastasia here.

Researchers involved: Dr Georgios Patsiaouras (School of Business, University of Leicester), Dr Anastasia Veneti (Faculty of Media and Communication, Bournemouth University), Dr William Green (School of Business, University of Leicester).

The research project was recently published online at the prestigious journal, “Marketing Theory” in August 2017:

Patsiaouras, G., Veneti, A., and Green, W., (2017) Marketing, art and voices of dissent: promotional methods of protest art by the 2014 Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement. Marketing Theory. Online first: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1470593117724609

World Cup online betting is the highest it’s ever been

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The 2018 World Cup inspires new gamblers. Shutterstock

By Dr Raian Ali, Bournemouth University; Dr Emily Arden-Close, Bournemouth University; Dr John McAlaney, Bournemouth University, and Keith Phalp, Bournemouth University.

Sports betting is worth up to £625 billion per year, with 70% of that trade reckoned to come from football. During big sporting competitions, such as the World Cup, even more money is spent gambling than usual. Over the 2018 World Cup, bookmakers are estimated to make a profit of US$36.4 billion (£41.3 billion). And in the UK, the amount of money spent on gambling during the World Cup is expected to more than double from £1 billion in 2014 to £2.5 billion this year.

Sports gambling is being driven by the unlimited availability of online betting and the fact that no physical money is exchanged, making financial transactions seem less real. The vast amount of data that online gambling sites collect also enables them to personalise offers to individual gamblers. Instead, this data should be used to help people gamble responsibly by warning users in real-time that they are exhibiting problematic gambling behaviours.

For many people, gambling isn’t just a fun novelty every four years. About 430,000 citizens in the UK can be identified as problem gamblers. These individuals have lost hundreds of thousands of pounds online, which has impacted not only the gamblers but also their families.

High profile but infrequent betting events such as the Word Cup exacerbate the issues that problem gamblers face. Seeing others engage in betting, coupled with the advertisements from betting firms, leads problem gamblers to attempt to convince themselves that they do not have a problem. Environmental cues can also trigger the urge to gamble in those who have a gambling problem. So, the intensive advertising used by betting firms during the World Cup, along with media coverage of the World Cup in general, may further push problem gamblers towards making harmful decisions.

Watching your habit

Online gambling sites have an infinite memory for bets – when made, for how much, regarding what, and so on. This data is a rich source that websites use for tailoring offers and marketing material to fit a gambler’s potential interests. But this personalisation exploits cognitive biases in gamblers and encourages them to increase risk-taking and by extension, gambling.

There is only a fine line between the legitimate marketing and personalisation of content and offers on the one hand and exploitation and manipulation on the other. For example, the tracking of a gambler’s betting pattern means the gambler can be targeted with offers following heavy losses, encouraging them to chase losses even further.

But this same data could also be used to support reductions in problem gambling, either led by gamblers themselves or with the support of a counsellor or software. Such transparency could enhance the image of the gambling industry and make responsible gambling a shared responsibility between gamblers and bookmakers.

A chance for change

In our EROGamb project, funded by GambleAware and Bournemouth University, we advocate a policy change where gambling sites provide gambling behavioural data to gamblers and their surrogates in real-time.

This data would provide an unprecedented opportunity to tackle problem gambling. For example, the data could lead to the app informing gamblers that they are exhibiting problematic gambling patterns. The real-time collection of information such as “the gambler has reached the monthly spending limit” could trigger a message visualising their past betting behaviour and a reminder of a commitment already made.




Read more:
Fixed-odds betting terminal cap must be just the start of gambling regulation


In our studies, digital addicts, including online gambling addicts, have indicated that having access to such data would act as a wake-up call, raising awareness. Digital media users, in general, like to be in control of their usage through labels and awareness tools.

Similar facilities have started to exist in mainstream digital media. For example, on Google, it is now possible to download your data and on Facebook to download your profile data history of interaction, but not currently as real-time streaming of data as actions happen.

How to retrieve and use gambling-related data for being more in-control of gambling behaviour.
The EROGamb Project

Challenges

We understand the barriers to implementing this vision. Gambling operators may not have such data readily available and may even rely on third parties to offer certain games. Some also fear that gamblers might share the data with competitor gambling sites, giving away information about marketing practices. But the General Data Protection Regulation(GDPR) right to data portability holds that gamblers shall not be prevented from accessing and sharing their data.

Given the advantages, and also the increased demand for transparency, this would eventually become the recommended practice for demonstrating advanced corporate social responsibility and inspiring the trust of the public and clients in the gambling industry. We are preparing a charter for the gambling industry towards a commitment for that.

The rise of online gambling, combined with the record amount of money being spent on gambling at this year’s World Cup makes this the perfect time to discuss what we can do to prevent and combat gambling addiction. Simply by using data to help people be better aware of their gambling habits, rather than hooking them back into their next bet, gambling sites could make a massive difference.


More evidence-based articles related to the World Cup:

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Why this football tournament should be called the men’s World Cup

By Dr Jayne Caudwell, Bournemouth University

The globalisation of football means it can now be found in most parts of the world. It is celebrated as the national sport in many countries. But, we forget that “football” actually means “men’s football”. It’s the same with other popular sports – our habit is to refer to basketball and women’s basketball, cricket and women’s cricket, ice hockey and women’s ice hockey. This naming places men’s football as the dominant universal and natural norm, while women’s football becomes the “other” version.

If we want a level football playing field, then “football” should be redefined by changing our reference to tournaments, championships and leagues to “men’s football” if that is what is being played. It’s time we started referring to the men’s football World Cup, just as we refer to the women’s football World Cup.

Women and girls have long been treated as second-class citizens in the many worlds of football, including playing, officiating, governing and spectating. And indeed, in the build up to the 2018 men’s World Cup, there was much discussion about racism and homophobia – but practically none about football, gender, sexism and misogyny.

The histories of the development of football in most countries around the world show that women and girls have been denied access to pitches, equipment, coaches, training, stadiums and financial support. These material opportunities are important because they enable and validate participation – and full football citizenship.

Finland takes on Austria in a qualifier for the 2019 Women’s World Cup. EPA

Media sport pages cover men’s sport. During the football season, the coverage is dominated by stories of men’s football. Women footballers seem to not exist. The sport press obliterates them.

But women and girls are playing, officiating, spectating and commentating on the game in ever increasing numbers around the world. The England women’s team outperforms the men’s team on the European and world stage. They are currently ranked ten places higher, in second position. And yet, the gender pay gap in football is atrocious.

Ignoring sexism

While Russia, as host of the men’s football World Cup 2018, has been criticised for its poor record in dealing with homophobic and racist abuse, nothing has been said about gender-based abuse or discrimination.

Instead, ahead of the men’s World Cup, Russian MPs have been arguing over whether Russian women should or should not have sex with visiting (presumably male) football fans. The UK Foreign Office released advice on race and LGBT concerns, but there’s nothing on how sexist chanting can make men’s football a hostile environment for women. You only need to look at the sexism experienced by doctor Eva Carneiro and assistant referee Helen Byrne in the men’s premier league to see how this plays out.

What’s more, many of the concerns about homophobia and racism at the men’s World Cup stem from wider cultural issues in Russia. The same problems are evident with sexism and misogyny, yet they are curiously absent from the discussion when it comes to football. Cultural problems that affect men extend into the sporting arena, but not those that affect women.

In 2017, the Russian parliament passed legislation loosening laws on domestic violence. Russian women who support the #MeToo movement have come up against draconian assembly laws that say only one person is permitted to make a public protest.

There are no campaigns in international men’s football that aim to stop sexism, or call for anti-sexism and an end to gender-based violence.

Meanwhile, the women and girls who have fought hard to play football often encounter negative responses from the general public and from the media. Sport sociologists have found that sportswomen are trivialised, sexualised and experience symbolic annihilation – they simply don’t exist in images of the sport. A recent poster depicting Iranian fans is a prime example. Not a single female face features.

Women’s and girls’ sporting achievements are reduced as a result of ridicule. Their bodies are considered sexual objects rather than for playing sport. Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s comment that women should play in tighter shorts to attract more fans to the game is a classic example of this. More recently, feminist author Laura Bates challenged FIFA for describing player Alex Morgan as “easy on the eye and good looks to match” as well as the FA for tweeting about “lionesses go back to being mothers, partners and daughters” after playing in the women’s World Cup.

It’s easy to imagine that this men’s World Cup in Russia will continue to disregard gender, sexism and misogyny. And yet, sport, specifically football, has potential to incite change, and reform.

Renaming to men’s football is an easy and simple step in the direction towards equality. We may as well start with the men’s World Cup 2018.


Jayne Caudwell, Associate Professor Leisure Cultures, Bournemouth University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Photo of the Week: The TACIT Trial

The TACIT Trial: TAi ChI for people with demenTia

This week’s photo of the week is Dr Samuel Nyman‘s entry of a Tai Chi class in action. This weekly series features photo entries from our annual Research Photography Competition taken by BU academics, students and professional staff, which gives a glimpse into some of the fantastic research undertaken across the BU community.

The TACIT Trial is all about people. The study is undertaken by a team of researchers led by Dr Samuel Nyman at BU who are looking into the benefits of Tai Chi for people with dementia.  Qualified Tai Chi instructors, such as senior instructor Robert Joyce from Elemental Tai Chi (photographed), lead the classes.  The classes are attended by people with dementia and their informal carers.  The classes involve slow, gentle, fluid body movements and slow breathing that leave you feeling relaxed and yet you have exercised your core muscles.  In this randomised controlled trial, we are following up for six months people who have taken part in the classes and practiced at home and are comparing them to others who have not done Tai Chi.  This will provide initial evidence for the first time in the UK as to the benefits of Tai Chi for the health and well-being of people with dementia and their informal carers.  This photo is taken from a workshop for Solent NHS led the the chief investigator Dr Samuel Nyman and Robert Joyce.

You can find out more about the TACIT Trial here:

Webpage: www.bournemouth.ac.uk/tai-chi/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheTACITTrial/

Dr Samuel Nyman is a Principal Academic at Bournemouth University. For more information about this research, please contact Samuel here.

 

Victorian pleasure piers are unique to Britain, but they are under threat

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Edmond Holland/Shutterstock.com

 

By Dr Anya Chapman, Bournemouth University.

A stroll along a pier remains the most popular activity for visitors to the British seaside, with 70% of them enjoying a walk over the waves.

For many, the seaside pier is perhaps the most iconic symbol of the British seaside holiday and the epitome of excursions to the coast. Piers have always provided holidaymakers with entertainment, from the grand pavilions and theatres of the Victorian era, to the amusement arcades of the 1980s. For two centuries, piers have been the place to see and be seen at the seaside.

Victorian pleasure piers are unique to the UK, but they are under threat: in the early 20th century nearly 100 piers graced the UK coastline, but almost half of of these have now gone.

By their very nature, seaside piers are risky structures. When piers were constructed, British seaside resorts were at the height of their popularity. The Victorians wanted to demonstrate engineering prowess and their ability to master the force of the sea. Some lasted longer than others, with Aldeburgh pier in Suffolk lasting just less than a decade before it was swept away by a drifting vessel. At the other end of the spectrum is the Isle of Wight’s Ryde pier, which at over 200 years is the oldest pleasure pier in the UK.

Yet the longevity of such piers presents them with new risks: fire, maintenance issues, rising costs, and climate change. Piers face an uncertain future. The National Piers Society estimates that 20% of today’s piers are at risk of being lost.

Piers at risk

Over the last 40 years, many notable piers have succumbed to time and tide. Perhaps the most iconic of these losses is Brighton West Pier, which has suffered multiple storms and fires since closure in 1975, leaving an isolated skeleton as a haunting reminder. Now there is growing recognition that seaside piers are vital to coastal communities in terms of resort identity, heritage, employment, community pride, and tourism. In fact, the UK government now offers funding to enable the revival of piers and other seaside heritage.

Brighton West Pier. National Piers Society

Despite the sea change in the perceived importance of seaside piers, many remain derelict and in a state of decay. One such pier is Weston-Super-Mare’s Birnbeck Pier, on the west coast, which has been closed for over three decades. Birnbeck Pier is unusual in that it is the only pier which links to an island, but as time has passed, parts of the structure have crumbled into the sea. Despite the endeavours of the local community and groups such as The Birnbeck Regeneration Trust, the owner of the pier refuses to sell or regenerate the pier.

This is in stark contrast to nearby Clevedon Pier, which was deemed “the most beautiful pier in England” by the poet Sir John Betjeman. After partial collapse and subsequent closure of the pier in 1970 there were calls for its demolition. Clevedon Pier was saved and reopened in 1998, and is now the UK’s only Grade I listed seaside pier. Today it stands as a testament to The Clevedon Pier Heritage Trust who continue to develop the pier with a new visitor centre, wedding venue, and conferencing space. Recently, the pier gained a new group of fans as it featured as a backdrop to a One Direction music video.

Thriving piers

Despite their advancing years, since the turn of the 21st century many piers have found a new lease of life. The high-profile regeneration of Hastings Pier, led by a local community trust and backed by Heritage Lottery Funding, has spearheaded the revitalisation of many seaside piers (although the pier, controversially, was recently sold to a commercial investor). Nevertheless, a number of coastal communities have successfully regenerated their piers through the formation of pier trusts, including those at Swanage and Herne Bay. Other seaside towns are being even more ambitious and hoping to rebuild their piers or to build brand new piers.

Swanage Pier. National Piers Society

Local authorities within seaside resorts are also promoting their piers as flagship tourist attractions and investing in their refurbishment and new facilities. Southport Pier, which narrowly escaped demolition during the 1990s, is now at the heart of the resort’s development strategy and is currently undergoing a £2.9m refurbishment which includes the addition of new catering and retail facilities.

The piers that are thriving in the 21st century are those that provide a unique selling point. Bournemouth Pier now features the only pier-to-beach zip line, and its former theatre now houses adrenaline-packed activities such as climbing walls, an aerial assault course, and a vertical drop slide. In Folkestone, the Harbour Arm, which was redeveloped as a pleasure pier in 2016, provides a range of pop-up bars and restaurants and its very own champagne bar. Weston’s Grand Pier offers family fun with a modern twist and even boasts an indoor suspended go-kart track. Southwold Pier boasts a novelty automaton arcade.

Weston-Super Mare Grand Pier. National Piers Society

By staying tuned to modern desires as well as a sense of nostalgia, piers will continue to adapt to changing tastes and provide entertainment and pleasure for seaside visitors.

But perhaps the biggest threat they face today is climate change, and the attendant rising sea levels and increasingly frequent storm surges. Cromer, Saltburn, and Blackpool North Pier have all recently been significantly damaged by storms. The World Monuments Fund has recognised the threat of extreme weather events to seaside piers by adding Blackpool’s three piers to their 2018 Watch List. With seaside piers regaining their popularity, their next big challenge will literally be finding a way to weather the storm.


Anya Chapman, Senior Lecturer in Tourism Management, Bournemouth University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

The secret information hidden in your hair

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Shutterstock

 

By Dr Richard Paul, Bournemouth University.

Your hair can say a lot about you. It doesn’t just give people clues about your personality or your taste in music. It can also record evidence of how much you drink, whether you smoke or take drugs, and perhaps even how stressed you are. My colleagues and I research how hair can be used to provide more accurate testing for these attributes. And a recent court case shows how far the technology has come.

In 2008, a mother who had been struggling with alcohol abuse was asked by a UK court judging a child custody case to abstain from drinking for one year. To assess whether she managed to do this, scientists used a hair analysis that can detect long-term drug or alcohol abuse (or abstinence) over a period of many months, from just one test.

This case turned out to be a landmark moment for toxicological hair analysis. The labs analysing the mother’s hair suggested that she may have been drinking during the time she was supposed to be abstinent. The case ended up in the High Court, where the scientific principles underlying hair testing and, crucially, the way the results are reported were thoroughly debated. The judge was critical of the interpretation of the hair analysis data and disagreed with the scientists, ruling that there was no evidence to support drinking during the defined time-period.

Fast forward to 2017 and hair analysis featured in the High Court again. Yet this time the reliability of hair testing was confirmed. A lot changed in the intervening years between these cases. Technology advanced but, importantly, so did our understanding of what hair analysis data actually means.

The traditional samples for drug and alcohol testing are blood and urine. These provide evidence for cases where we require an indication of exposure to drugs and alcohol in a very recent time frame. These samples have what is referred to as a “window of detection”. This is a timeframe over which that sample can demonstrate exposure to drugs or alcohol. The window of detection for blood is often measured in hours, and urine can show evidence over a few days, possibly a few weeks.

By contrast, hair can show a retrospective history of your drug or alcohol consumption (or abstinence) over many months. This level of information makes hair testing invaluable in a wide variety of legal scenarios. If you need to screen potential employees for a safety-critical role, you can use a hair test to check they are not regular drug users. What if you’re concerned your drink was spiked at a party, but too much time has passed for any drug to still be found in your blood or urine? The drugs can remain trapped in your hair, which gives you a longer window of detection and allows scientists to find traces of the drug long after the actual crime event.

Ready for my close up. Shutterstock

My research group is investigating factors that affect the hair concentration of certain chemicals produced when the body ​processes alcohol (metabolites). This sort of work is important to give confidence to the results of hair testing when presented in court. We need the utmost confidence in the data, when a court judgment may have life-changing consequences.

We recently showed that hair sprays and waxes can greatly increase the level of alcohol metabolites found in hair, giving a false positive result in an alcohol test. In one of our experiments, a volunteer who was strictly teetotal tested negative for fatty acid ethyl esters (metabolites of alcohol) in head hair untreated with hair spray, but tested positive after application of hair spray. Not just a little positive either. The volunteer tested significantly over the threshold for chronic excessive alcohol consumption after using hair spray.

This may sound alarming for a test that is used in court, but now that scientists are aware of these limitations, procedures can be put in place to mitigate against them and guidance can be updated. Ethyl glucuronide (a different alcohol metabolite) is not affected by hair sprays and waxes and so is a better target to test when someone uses cosmetic products.

Other ways of testing

Hair is not the only alternative to blood and urine testing. I’m currently investigating whether fingernails might be a better sample to test in cases where we need to prove abstinence from alcohol. It has been shown that fingernails may incorporate significantly more ethyl glucuronide (an alcohol metabolite) than hair samples. This means fingernails may be more sensitive than hair and could be better at distinguishing low levels of drinking and complete abstinence.

Toxicological hair analysis is not about catching criminals. It’s not about penalty or punishment. It’s about helping people. Results from hair testing can help support people struggling with addiction. In the future I hope we will also be using hair analysis as a diagnostic tool in healthcare.

The research I’m conducting at the moment is evaluating the potential for hair to be used as a diagnostic marker of chronic stress. Stress can lead to very serious healthcare issues. We are examining the stress hormone cortisol to see if we can identify people at risk from future healthcare issues from the concentration of this hormone in hair.

If successful, this work will take hair analysis into a new realm. I’d like to see a future where hair testing is used for a national screening programme for older adults who are most at risk from chronic stress. This could allow scientists to target interventions to lower stress at people who need them the most, which could significantly improve the health and well-being of older people in particular.


Richard Paul, Principal Academic in Biological Chemistry, Bournemouth University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Digital addiction: how technology keeps us hooked

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There are a number of reasons why you can’t get away from your screen. shutterstock

By Dr Raian Ali, Bournemouth University; Dr Emily Arden-Close, Bournemouth University, and Dr John McAlaney, Bournemouth University

The World Health Organisation is to include “gaming disorder”, the inability to stop gaming, into the International Classification of Diseases. By doing so, the WHO is recognising the serious and growing problem of digital addiction. The problem has also been acknowledged by Google, which recently announced that it will begin focusing on “Digital Well-being”.

Although there is a growing recognition of the problem, users are still not aware of exactly how digital technology is designed to facilitate addiction. We’re part of a research team that focuses on digital addiction and here are some of the techniques and mechanisms that digital media use to keep you hooked.

Compulsive checking

Digital technologies, such as social networks, online shopping, and games, use a set of persuasive and motivational techniques to keep users returning. These include “scarcity” (a snap or status is only temporarily available, encouraging you to get online quickly); “social proof” (20,000 users retweeted an article so you should go online and read it); “personalisation” (your news feed is designed to filter and display news based on your interest); and “reciprocity” (invite more friends to get extra points, and once your friends are part of the network it becomes much more difficult for you or them to leave).

Some digital platforms use features normally associated with slot machines. Antoine Taveneaux/Wikimedia, CC BY

Technology is designed to utilise the basic human need to feel a sense of belonging and connection with others. So, a fear of missing out, commonly known as FoMO, is at the heart of many features of social media design.

Groups and forums in social media promote active participation. Notifications and “presence features” keep people notified of each others’ availability and activities in real-time so that some start to become compulsive checkers. This includes “two ticks” on instant messaging tools, such as Whatsapp. Users can see whether their message has been delivered and read. This creates pressure on each person to respond quickly to the other.

The concepts of reward and infotainment, material which is both entertaining and informative, are also crucial for “addictive” designs. In social networks, it is said that “no news is not good news”. So, their design strives always to provide content and prevent disappointment. The seconds of anticipation for the “pull to refresh” mechanism on smartphone apps, such as Twitter, is similar to pulling the lever of a slot machine and waiting for the win.

Most of the features mentioned above have roots in our non-tech world. Social networking sites have not created any new or fundamentally different styles of interaction between humans. Instead they have vastly amplified the speed and ease with which these interactions can occur, taking them to a higher speed, and scale.

Addiction and awareness

People using digital media do exhibit symptoms of behavioural addiction. These include salience, conflict, and mood modification when they check their online profiles regularly. Often people feel the need to engage with digital devices even if it is inappropriate or dangerous for them to do so. If disconnected or unable to interact as desired, they become preoccupied with missing opportunities to engage with their online social networks.

According to the UK’s communications regulator Ofcom, 15m UK internet users (around 34% of all internet users) have tried a “digital detox”. After being offline, 33% of participants reported feeling an increase in productivity, 27% felt a sense of liberation, and 25% enjoyed life more. But the report also highlighted that 16% of participants experienced the fear of missing out, 15% felt lost and 14% “cut-off”. These figures suggest that people want to spend less time online, but they may need help to do so.

Gaming disorder is to be recognised by the WHO.

At the moment, tools that enable people to be in control of their online experience, presence and online interaction remain very primitive. There seem to be unwritten expectations for users to adhere to social norms of cyberspace once they accept participation.

But unlike other mediums for addiction, such as alcohol, technology can play a role in making its usage more informed and conscious. It is possible to detect whether someone is using a phone or social network in an anxious, uncontrolled manner. Similar to online gambling, users should have available help if they wish. This could be a self-exclusion and lock-out scheme. Users can allow software to alert them when their usage pattern indicates risk.

The borderline between software which is legitimately immersive and software which can be seen as “exploitation-ware” remains an open question. Transparency of digital persuasion design and education about critical digital literacy could be potential solutions.


Raian Ali, Associate Professor in Computing and Informatics, Bournemouth University; Emily Arden-Close, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Bournemouth University, and John McAlaney, Principal Academic in Psychology, Bournemouth University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

BU Nutrition students help to transform hospital menus

BSc (Hons) Nutrition students at Bournemouth University have been working with staff at Poole’s Alderney Hospital to produce new menus for hospital patients and staff, which are tasty, nutritious and full of locally-sourced ingredients.

Thanks to the students, Alderney Hospital also expects to see a reduction in its food wastage figures which could lead to significant savings.

Click here to find out more about how the BU students carried out this transformation.

Mike Smith, Geograph.