• Attentional biases towards familiar and unfamiliar foods in children. The role of food neophobia

      Maratos, Frances A.; Staples, Paul; University of Derby (2015-04-08)
      Familiarity of food stimuli is one factor that has been proposed to explain food preferences and food neophobia in children, with some research suggesting that food neophobia (and familiarity) is at first a predominant of the visual domain. Considering visual attentional biases are a key factor implicated in a majority of fear-related phobias/anxieties, the purpose of this research was to investigate attentional biases to familiar and unfamiliar fruit and vegetables in 8 to 11 year old children with differing levels of food neophobia. To this end, 70 primary aged children completed a visual-probe task measuring attentional biases towards familiar and unfamiliar fruit/vegetables, as well as the food neophobia, general neophobia and willingness to try self-report measures. Results revealed that as an undifferentiated population all children appeared to demonstrate an attentional bias toward the unfamiliar fruit and vegetable stimuli. However, when considering food neophobia, this bias was significantly exaggerated for children self-reporting high food neophobia and negligible for children self-reporting low food neophobia. In addition, willingness to try the food stimuli was inversely correlated with attentional bias toward the unfamiliar fruits/vegetables. Our results demonstrate that visual aspects of food stimuli (e.g. familiarity) play an important role in childhood food neophobia. This study provides the first empirical test of recent theory/models of food neophobia (e.g. Brown & Harris, 2012). Findings are discussed in light of these models and related anxiety models, along with implications concerning the treatment of childhood food neophobia.
    • Exploring the relationship between gamma-band activity and maths anxiety

      Batashvili, Michael; Staples, Paul; Baker, Ian; Sheffield, David; University of Derby (Taylor and Francis, 2019-03-18)
      Previous research has outlined high anxiety in connection with gamma modulation, identifying that gamma-band activity (40–100 Hz) correlates with processing of threat perception, attention and anxiety. Maths anxiety research has also noted the involvement of these aspects, yet this has not been investigated from a neurophysiological standpoint. Electroencephalography (EEG) was used to research gamma-band activity in relation to maths anxiety over two studies. The first measured gamma differences during the processing of complex addition and multiplication stimuli. Results identified differences between high and low maths anxious individuals; significantly greater gamma power was observed in those with high maths anxiety than those with low maths anxiety. As a control condition was not used, the second study replicated the design, but also applied a non-numerical control condition amongst the other stimuli sets. This showed significantly greater gamma activity in high maths anxious individuals across numerical conditions, but not in the non-numerical condition. High maths anxious individuals likely show attentional bias and threat perception to numerical-based stimuli, as indexed by gamma power. This study provides the first evidence of greater gamma-band activity in high maths anxious individuals and serves as a foundation for the exploration of gamma activity in high maths anxious individuals.
    • Mental models or probabilistic reasoning or both: Reviewing the evidence for and implications of dual-strategy models of deductive reasoning

      Beeson, Natasha; Stupple, Edward J N; Schofield, Malcolm; Staples, Paul; University of Derby (University of Rijeka, 2019-04-30)
      The present paper presents an overview of contemporary reasoning research to examine the evidence for and implications of the Dual Strategy Model of Reasoning. The Dual Strategy Model of Reasoning proposes that there are two types of reasoning strategy applied in deductive reasoning – counterexample and statistical. The paper considers Mental Models Theory and The Probability Heuristics Model as candidate specifications for these respective strategies and hypotheses are proposed on this basis. The Dual Strategy Model is further considered in the context of Dual Process theory, the Dual Source Model and Meta-reasoning and implications of the synergy between these proposals are considered. We finally consider the Dual Strategy Model in the context of individual differences, and normative considerations before proposing novel hypotheses and further avenues of research which we argue require exploration in this context.
    • Mental representations of the supernatural: A cluster analysis of religiosity, spirituality and paranormal belief

      Schofield, Malcolm B.; Baker, Ian S.; Staples, Paul; Sheffield, David; University of Derby (2016-06-25)
      The aim of the study was to establish a new typology of belief in the supernatural; categorising people, based on their levels of religiosity, spirituality and paranormal belief. Examining how the various beliefs are defined was a further objective. The reasons for people having different levels of these beliefs were discussed, highlighting ‘Metaphysical Chauvinism’ as a possible explanation. Previous research that used variousmethods to measure religiosity, spirituality and paranormal belief were discussed. Participants (n = 307) completed an online survey consisting of the revised Religious Life Inventory (rRLI), the Intrinsic Spirituality Scale (ISS) and the revised Paranormal Belief Scale (rPBS). Two cluster analyses were performed: one on the three main scales and a secondary analysis on the ISS, the subscales of the rRLI and the rPBS. The results revealed a four cluster solution for each analysis. For the main analysis the clusters were ‘believers’, ‘paranormal believers’, ‘sceptics’ and ‘religious believers’. Metaphysical Chauvinism was supported; however, it was acknowledged that there still appears to be a lack of consensus when defining supernatural beliefs. It is proposed that the cluster analysis approach is more effective than a simple scale when trying establish how a person believes.
    • The neurophysiological relationship between number anxiety and the EEG gamma-band

      Batashvili, Michael; Staples, Paul; Baker, Ian; Sheffield, David; University of Derby (Taylor and Francis, 2020-06-11)
      The development of math anxiety is thought to originate at a young age, as a form of number anxiety, but has not been investigated extensively. Research has shown greater levels of EEG gamma-band activity are experienced during threat perception and attentional bias. This has been identified in high math anxious individuals when confronted with math-based tasks, but has not yet been explored for number anxiety specifically. Single-digit numbers and letters were presented to 15 high and 15 low math anxious participants, who were required to observe the stimuli. High math anxious participants displayed significantly greater levels of gamma activity during number observation compared to letter observation. Findings suggest high math anxious individuals may have a threat-related response to observation of simple numerical stimuli. Further behavioural investigations are needed, but high math anxious individuals may display avoidance towards number and math due to a threat response associated with increased gamma activity.