• Attentional bias towards threatening and neutral facial expressions in high trait anxious children.

      Kelly, Lauren; Maratos, Frances A.; Lipka, Sigrid; Croker, Steve; University of Derby (2016-07-03)
      Research suggests anxious children display increased attentional biases for threat-related stimuli. However, findings based upon spatial domain research are equivocal. Moreover, few studies allow for the independent analysis of trials containing neutral (i.e., potentially ambiguous) faces. Here, we report two temporal attentional blink experiments with high trait anxious (HTA) and low trait anxious (LTA) children. In an emotive experiment, we manipulated the valence of the second target (T2: threatening/positive/neutral). Results revealed that HTA, relative to LTA, children demonstrated better performance on neutral trials. Additionally, HTA children demonstrated a threat-superiority effect whereas LTA children demonstrated an emotion-superiority effect. In a non-emotive control, no differences between HTA and LTA children were observed. Results suggest trait anxiety is associated with an attentional bias for threat in children. Additionally, the neutral face finding suggests HTA children bias attention towards ambiguity. These findings could have important implications for current anxiety disorder research and treatments.
    • Complex interventions - Exploring the application of behaviour change theory to doctoral supervisor training.

      Lipka, Sigrid; University of Derby (2018-02-22)
      Rationale: The student-supervisor relationship is an important factor impacting on doctoral student satisfaction and successful completion rates (e.g., Hodsdon & Buckley 2011; Kulej & Park 2008). Good supervision affects the student experience, student wellbeing and happiness (e.g., Cowling, 2017). Given the complex nature of effective supervision and the many specific behaviours it consists of (e.g., Debowski, 2016; Hyatt, 2017; Lee, 2008; Peelo, 2011), a key question is whether desired supervisory behaviours can be created by staff development trainings. Aims: The Com-B model (e.g., Michie et al. 2011) was used as a framework with the aim to i) define capabilities, opportunities and motivations that underpin supervisor behaviours towards their doctoral students, ii) design a research supervisor training programme and iii) develop criteria for measuring and evaluating the effectiveness of such trainings. Methodology: The Com-B framework has been tested over a period of seven years by applying it to the development, implementation and evaluation of a supervisor development training at a UK university. The training, delivered by a team of experienced researchers and supervisors, is aimed at academics new to the role of doctoral supervisor. It was designed to build new supervisors’ practical skills, knowledge of regulatory requirements and critical awareness of pedagogical literature required to engage in effective supervisory behaviour. The training consists of three, three-hour long sessions spread over three months. Questionnaires were handed out to 87 new supervisors from a range of subject areas and types of doctoral degree at the end of their training programme. 61 staff (70%) returned completed questionnaires. The questionnaire consisted of open-ended questions about participants’ motivations to do the training, confidence in newly learned skills and knowledge, most useful aspects of the training received and areas for further training. Analysis: Responses were analysed thematically and frequencies of common types of responses were compared. Results: The great majority of supervisors reported an increase in their knowledge, capabilities and confidence as a result of the training, whilst a minority expressed a desire for more exposure to actual supervisory practice as part of the training. Many candidates mentioned exchange and discussion with colleagues from different subject areas as useful and motivational. Only very few specific suggestions for what else to include in the training were made, asking for more opportunities aimed at bridging a perceived knowledge-practice gap. Conclusions: The findings suggest that the behaviour change framework provides a promising strategy for creating, implementing and evaluating doctoral supervisor trainings. Desired supervisory behaviours can be created by improving staff capabilities (their knowledge, skills) and confidence through training, in line with previous research (e.g., Kiley, 2011; McCulloch & Loeser, 2016; Peelo, 2011). Future interventions need to include further activities to bridge the practice-knowledge gap experienced by new supervisors, and extend discussion with a fuller range of stakeholders. Future research should establish the long-term effects of supervisory training on supervisory behaviours and investigate how opportunities provided by institutional and wider contexts affect supervisor behaviour and the health and wellbeing of doctoral students throughout their doctoral journey.
    • Development programmes for new doctoral supervisors – do they work?

      Lipka, Sigrid; University of Derby (2017-10-12)
      The increasing need to deliver research development programmes is widely agreed upon. This talk will focus on training and support for inexperienced doctoral supervisors. What does it take to be a good doctoral supervisor? How can we train new supervisors? How do we know that supervisor development trainings have worked? Given the complex nature not only of doctoral supervision itself (e.g., Debowski, 2016; Hyatt, 2017; Lee, 2008; Peelo, 2011) but also of supervisor development trainings, this talk proposes a simple framework to tackle these questions. This framework is based on behaviour change literature (e.g., Michie et al. 2011) and it will be used i) to define the capabilities, opportunities and motivations that underpin supervisors’ actions, ii) to design supervisory trainings and iii) to develop criteria for measuring and evaluating the impact and effectiveness of supervisory trainings. This framework has been tested over a period of seven years by applying it to the development, implementation and evaluation of a supervisor development training at a UK university. Initial evidence showed that a great majority of supervisors reported an increase in their capabilities and confidence as a result of the training, whilst a minority expressed a desire for more exposure to actual supervisory practice as part of the training. These findings suggest that the behaviour change framework is a promising strategy for creating, implementing and evaluating supervisor development trainings. Effective trainings will enable supervisors to develop a flexible skill set as part of their repertoire in an ever changing university landscape.
    • The effect of cognitive load on faking interrogative suggestibility on the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale

      Drake, Kim E.; Lipka, Sigrid; Smith, Charlotte; Egan, Vincent (2013-06-21)
      In the light of recent studies into the impact of cognitive load on detecting deception, the impact of cognitive load on faking on the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale (GSS) was investigated. Eighty undergraduate students participated in the study, and were randomly assigned to one of four conditions resulting from a combination of the factors: instruction type (genuine or instructed faking, see Hansen, Smeets, & Jelicic, 2009) and concurrent task (yes or no). Findings show that instructed fakers, not performing a concurrent task, score significantly higher on yield 1 in comparison to genuine interviewees. This is in line with previous studies into faking on the GSS. However, instructed fakers, performing a concurrent task, achieved significantly lower yield 1 scores than instructed fakers not performing a concurrent task. Genuine (non fakers) showed a different response to increased cognitive load during the dual-task paradigm. This study suggests that increasing cognitive load may potentially indicate (and preclude) faking attempts on the yield dimension of the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale.
    • The effects of anxiety on temporal attention for emotive and neutral faces in children

      Kelly, Lauren; Maratos, Frances A.; Lipka, Sigrid; University of Derby (Stress and Anxiety Research Society (STAR), 2014-07)
      OBJECTIVES: Cognitive theories suggest that the aetiology and maintenance of anxiety are associated with biases of attention for threatening information. However, findings relating to studies in child populations are inconsistent and the majority of such research has focused on spatial attentional biases. Consequently, the aim here was to investigate the effects of anxiety on temporal biases of attention for emotive stimuli in children. METHODS: A total of 53 children, aged eight to eleven, were preselected for levels of trait anxiety to participate in an attentional blink task. On each trial, two target stimuli (i.e., a neutral face and either a happy or angry face) appeared in a stream of consecutively presented distracters (i.e., scrambled face stimuli). Participants were required to report which face(s) they had seen. RESULTS: A mixed analysis of variance revealed a significant interaction between anxiety and trial type, such that high trait anxiety was associated with facilitated engagement towards angry, compared with happy and neutral, faces. In addition, high trait, relative to low trait, anxious participants displayed facilitated engagement towards neutral faces. CONCLUSIONS: Findings offer support for cognitive theories, which purport that attentional bias for threat is an innate phenomenon and moderated according to anxiety level. The neutral face finding may further suggest that maladaptive assumptions/beliefs, particularly concerning ambiguous situations, play a role in the aetiology and/or maintenance of anxiety disorders. This research offers important clinical implications in relation to attention retraining that has been used to successfully attenuate such biases in anxious adults.
    • Effects of time pressure and maths anxiety on solving mental arithmetic problems

      Lipka, Sigrid; Clarke, Lauren; University of Derby (British Psychological Society, 2014-09-03)
      Time pressure and anxiety are thought to affect working memory (e.g., Hill & Wigfield, 1984; Eysenck et al., 2007). Previously, mental arithmetic tasks have been utilised as a measure of working memory (Matthews & Campbell, 2010). Due to the rise in interest in maths anxiety, the aim of the current study was to investigate the impact of time pressure on working memory performance in a maths anxious sample. The Mathematics Anxiety Scale (MAS-UK; Hunt, Clark-Carter & Sheffield, 2011) was utilised to categorise 40 individuals into high or low maths anxious groups. Participants later completed a mental arithmetic task under two different time pressure conditions. Results showed that there was no overall effect of maths anxiety on performance in the mental arithmetic task. However, performance was worse under high as compared to low time pressure. This effect was more pronounced for high-anxious than low-anxious individuals. Possible mechanisms underlying this effect are considered in terms of the Attentional Control Theory (ACT; Eysenck et al, 2007) and it is concluded that task-irrelevant thoughts resulting from time pressure are most likely to impair the processing efficiency and performance effectiveness of highly maths anxious individuals.
    • Facial expressions depicting compassionate and critical emotions: the development and validation of a new emotional face stimulus set

      McEwan, Kirsten; Gilbert, Paul; Dandeneau, Stephane; Lipka, Sigrid; Maratos, Frances A.; Paterson, Kevin B.; Baldwin, Mark; University of Derby (2014-02-19)
      Attachment with altruistic others requires the ability to appropriately process affiliative and kind facial cues. Yet there is no stimulus set available to investigate such processes. Here, we developed a stimulus set depicting compassionate and critical facial expressions, and validated its effectiveness using well-established visual-probe methodology. In Study 1, 62 participants rated photographs of actors displaying compassionate/kind and critical faces on strength of emotion type. This produced a new stimulus set based on N = 31 actors, whose facial expressions were reliably distinguished as compassionate, critical and neutral. In Study 2, 70 participants completed a visual-probe task measuring attentional orientation to critical and compassionate/kind faces. This revealed that participants lower in self-criticism demonstrated enhanced attention to compassionate/kind faces whereas those higher in self-criticism showed no bias. To sum, the new stimulus set produced interpretable findings using visual-probe methodology and is the first to include higher order, complex positive affect displays.
    • Impact of chronic somatoform and osteoarthritis pain on conscious and preconscious cognitive processing

      Dohrenbusch, Ralf; Buchanan, Heather; Lipka, Sigrid; Ott, Ralf (2013-06-21)
      The study investigates the impact of chronic pain (CP) on conscious and preconscious cognitive processes and on guessing behavior, and examines the mediating effect of a depressive state. Twenty-eight patients with CP due to hip osteoarthritis, 32 patients with a somatoform disorder including pain symptoms, and 31 participants who did not have CP were examined within the framework of a modified Process-Dissociation-Procedure. Neutral, health threatening and general threatening stimuli were presented acoustically in a lexical decision task. Parameters of conscious processing, preconscious processing, and of chance were estimated by a multinomial modelling procedure. CP-patients with osteoarthritis showed the lowest level of conscious processing and the highest level of guessing behavior. Patients with somatoform pain tended to react preconsciously to health threatening stimuli but overall showed a profile similar to that of controls who did not have CP. The impact of the threatening quality of stimuli on different levels of cognitive processing was weak. Depression did not mediate between the experience of pain and estimates of conscious and preconscious processing. Perspective: The impact of CP on preconscious and conscious cognitive processing depends on types and causes of pain. The experience of CP caused by inflammation or physical damage tends to reduce the probability of conscious processing and to provoke memory biases. CP in the context of a somatoform disorder seems to have less impact on cognitive functions.
    • Implicit alcohol-aggression scripts and alcohol-related aggression on a laboratory task in 11- to 14-year-old adolescents

      Brown, Stephen L.; Lipka, Sigrid; Coyne, Sarah M.; Qualter, Pamela; Barlow, Alexandra; Taylor, Paul (2013-06-21)
      Social scripts are commonly shared representations of behavior in social contexts, which are seen to be partly transmitted through social and cultural media. Research suggests that people hold scripts associated with alcohol-related aggression, but, unlike general aggression scripts, there is little evidence of social transmission. To demonstrate social transmission of alcohol-related aggression scripts, learning mechanisms based on personal experience should be minimized. We used a lexical decision task to examine implicit links between alcohol and aggression in alcohol-naïve adolescents who have limited personal or vicarious experience of alcohol-related aggression. One hundred and four 11–14 year old adolescents made lexical decisions on aggressive or nonaggressive words preceded by 40-ms alcohol or nonalcohol word primes. Repeated measures analyses of group data showed that alcohol word primes did not lead to faster responses to aggressive words than to nonaggressive words, nor were responses to aggressive words faster when they were preceded by alcohol word primes than by nonalcohol word primes. However, at an individual level, faster recognition times to the alcohol prime/aggression target word combination predicted aggression on a competitive laboratory task in 14 year olds only. This occurred only when the competitive aggression task was preceded by a visual presentation of alcoholic, but not nonalcoholic beverage, images. We concluded that alcohol-related aggression scripts are not strongly developed in this age group, but individual differences in script strength are linked to alcohol-related laboratory aggression. Aggr. Behav. 37:430–439, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
    • Neural networks engaged in short-term memory rehearsal are disrupted by irrelevant speech in human subjects

      Kopp, Franziska; Schröger, Erich; Lipka, Sigrid (2004)
      Rehearsal mechanisms in human short-term memory are increasingly understood in the light of both behavioural and neuroanatomical findings. However, little is known about the cooperation of participating brain structures and how such cooperations are affected when memory performance is disrupted. In this paper we use EEG coherence as a measure of synchronization to investigate rehearsal processes and their disruption by irrelevant speech in a delayed serial recall paradigm. Fronto-central and fronto-parietal theta (4–7.5 Hz), beta (13–20 Hz), and gamma (35–47 Hz) synchronizations are shown to be involved in our short-term memory task. Moreover, the impairment in serial recall due to irrelevant speech was preceded by a reduction of gamma band coherence. Results suggest that the irrelevant speech effect has its neural basis in the disruption of left-lateralized fronto-central networks. This stresses the importance of gamma band activity for short-term memory operations.
    • Reading sentences with a late closure ambiguity: does semantic information help?

      Lipka, Sigrid; University of Derby (2002)
      Stowe (1989) reported that semantic information eliminates garden paths in sentences with the direct-object vs. subject ambiguity, such as Even before the police stopped the driver was very frightened. Three experiments are presented which addressed some methodological problems in Stowe's study. Experiment 1, using a word-by-word, self-paced reading task with grammaticality judgements, manipulated animacy of the first subject noun while controlling for the plausibility of the transitive action. The results suggest that initial sentence analysis is not guided by animacy. Experiment 2 and 3, using the self-paced task with grammaticality judgements and eye-tracking, varied the plausibility of the direct-object nouns to test revision effects. Plausibility was found to facilitate revision without fully eliminating garden paths, in line with various revision models. The findings support the view of a sentence processing system relying heavily on syntactic information, with semantic information playing a weaker role both in initial analysis and during revision, thus supporting serial, syntax-first models and ranked-parallel models relying on structural criteria.
    • Synchronized brain activity during rehearsal and short-term memory disruption by irrelevant speech is affected by recall mode

      Kopp, Franziska; Schröger, Erich; Lipka, Sigrid (2013-06-21)
      EEG coherence as a measure of synchronization of brain activity was used to investigate effects of irrelevant speech. In a delayed serial recall paradigm 21 healthy participants retained verbal items over a 10-s delay with and without interfering irrelevant speech. Recall after the delay was varied in two modes (spoken vs. written). Behavioral data showed the classic irrelevant speech effect and a superiority of written over spoken recall mode. Coherence, however, was more sensitive to processing characteristics and showed interactions between the irrelevant speech effect and recall mode during the rehearsal delay in theta (4–7.5 Hz), alpha (8–12 Hz), beta (13–20 Hz), and gamma (35–47 Hz) frequency bands. For gamma, a rehearsal-related decrease of the duration of high coherence due to presentation of irrelevant speech was found in a left-lateralized fronto-central and centro-temporal network only in spoken but not in written recall. In theta, coherence at predominantly fronto-parietal electrode combinations was indicative for memory demands and varied with individual working memory capacity assessed by digit span. Alpha coherence revealed similar results and patterns as theta coherence. In beta, a left-hemispheric network showed longer high synchronizations due to irrelevant speech only in written recall mode. EEG results suggest that mode of recall is critical for processing already during the retention period of a delayed serial recall task. Moreover, the finding that different networks are engaged with different recall modes shows that the disrupting effect of irrelevant speech is not a unitary mechanism.
    • Three insights gained – Delivering doctoral supervision training

      Lipka, Sigrid; University of Derby (2017-02-15)
      The student-supervisor relationship is one of the most important factors impacting on doctoral student satisfaction and successful completion rates (see e.g., Hodsdon & Buckley 2011; Kulej & Park 2008). Given the complex nature of this relationship and the range of functions it serves, key questions are whether and how doctoral supervisors can be taught to build successful supervisory relationships. This talk focusses on a research supervision training programme for new doctoral supervisors that has been designed by myself and colleagues. It is delivered in three, 3-hour long sessions spread over three months. The training covers key challenges of the supervisory relationship, i.e., identifying a good research applicant, research ethics, managing supervisory relationships, progress monitoring and effective feedback, preparing for the thesis write up/viva and student career management. The training aims to build i) practical skills required to deal with these challenges and ii) knowledge and critical evaluation of local and national regulations and requirements as well as pedagogical literature relating to these challenges. Three insights gained from running the training over a period of more than five years will be discussed. It is concluded that delivering doctoral supervision training does work, in line with e.g., McCulloch & Loeser (2016). It is recommended that employers facilitate ongoing supervisory training and opportunities for reflecting on supervisory practice. It is suggested that further research is needed on two fronts: i) to define the behaviours and knowledge that a doctoral supervisor needs in order to build a trusting supervisory relationship and ii) to establish valid methods for evaluating the changes that supervisory trainings create.