Recent Submissions

  • Epistemology, theory and Jung: Towards an analytical sport psychology

    Sheffield, David; Cowen, Andrew; University of Derby (University of Derby, 2019-07-22)
    Sport psychology has historically adopted a positivist and post-positivist conceptualization of science at the expense of systematic engagement with epistemology itself (Whaley & Krane, 2011). In this thesis it will be argued that positivist orthodoxy does not hold a monopoly over the idea of science, and that future theoretical developments within sport psychology will require more systematic engagement with epistemology. In order to explore this proposition, the thesis examines the epistemology developed in C. G. Jung’s analytical psychology, an approach which has been generally overlooked within the sport psychology literature. In addition, more recent epistemological developments within psychology are considered with respect to current and future theorising within sport psychology. The thesis is a “desktop study” comprising of 8 chapters. The introduction (chapter 1) outlines how the current crisis within psychological science is epistemological, not methodological, in nature. Chapter 2 identifies key foundational challenges to sport psychology based on positivism; and introduces C. G. Jung’s analytical psychology which developed out of the rejection of a positivist conceptualization of science. Chapter 3 introduces aspects of a new epistemological framework (i.e., unconsciousness~consciousness; the psyche as a process) based on the work of Jung and identifies points of convergence between these contributions and more recent theorising. Chapter 4 considers the implications of analytical psychology with respect to momentum in sports. An original theoretical account of psychological momentum is outlined, based on libido theory (Jung, 1960), and the implications are considered with respect to current literature within sport psychology. Chapter 5 considers more recent developments in psychology (i.e., cybernetic systems paradigm, idiographic science) which have important parallels with analytical psychology, and which have important implications for the future of sport psychology as a science. Chapter 6 outlines an original theoretical perspective with respect to our understanding of performance variation in sport (Cowen, Nesti, & Cheetham, 2014), based on epistemological and theoretical developments outlined in the preceding chapters. Chapter 7 considers the implications of the epistemology outlined in the thesis with respect to current and future theorising in sport psychology. The central theme of this chapter is temporality, which, it is argued is necessarily an axiomatic component of future theoretical work, in order to overcome the foundational problems associated with a positivist conceptualisation of science. In the final concluding chapter (Chapter 8) it is proposed that the provisional epistemological criteria outlined in the thesis (i.e., subject~object, conceptual integration, being~becoming, teleology, temporality) offers a basis on which an analytical sport psychology could be developed. With respect to sport psychology, these criteria suggest that future developments should focus more on understanding performance variation itself rather than prioritising the study of psychological constructs, or objectivist representations, associated with performance. It is concluded that the “personal equation” – the creativity, judgement, intuition and/or insight of the researcher - represents an important component of the process of knowledge construction; which in turn necessitates collaboration as a necessary counterpoint to individual subjectivity. Taken together, this thesis suggests that analytical psychology, despite historically sitting outside of psychological science, can make an important contribution to the future of sport psychology as a scientific discipline.
  • The effects of weaponry and mating experience on the level and outcome of agonistic interactions in male field crickets, gryllus bimaculatus (orthoptera: gryllidae)

    Gee, David; University of Derby (2019-02-15)
    Abstract A wide variety of factors are predicted to influence the intensity and outcome of agonistic interactions in animals, including the resource holding potential of the opponents and the nature and value of the resource over which the individuals are competing. Field crickets (Orthoptera: Gryllidae) have been used extensively as model organisms with which to study animal contests, but relatively few studies have examined the effect of mandible size or structure, or the level of contact with females on the intensity and outcome of agonistic interactions. To do so was the aim of the present thesis, using Gryllus bimaculatus as the study species. The first finding of this study was that there is a significant degree of sexual dimorphism for anterior components of the anatomy in G. bimaculatus. The mandibles, head and pronotum of male crickets were all relatively larger than those of females. This indicates that these traits may be acted upon by intrasexual selection. In many animal species that show sexual dimorphism, a trade-off in development sees enhanced weapon growth at the expense of testes size, but no such relationship was seen in this species. A comparison of the mandible structure of males that either won or lost at flaring and or wrestling showed that a relatively wider mandible span was a significant predictor of success during mandible displays. It was also found that specific components of tooth structure, namely the length of the incisor and length to distal tip, were significantly associated with victory at the jaw flaring stage. This is the first time that mandible shape has been shown to affect fight outcome in the Gryllidae, and also the first confirmed identification of a visual cue component of fighting behaviour. Despite the effectiveness of their weapons in fighting, body mass is a primary predictor of victory in combat between G. bimaculatus males, with the greater the degree of asymmetry in weight the more likely the heavier fighter will win. However, a study of fighting behaviour between asymmetrically matched opponents found that even males who were out-weighed by 40% were still likely to escalate the fight to grappling. Furthermore, males who were able to fend off their larger opponent in their first clash were significantly more likely to win their overall encounter. This hyper-aggressive response may therefore represent an adaptive mechanism to extreme odds and is worthy of further study. Female contact is known to be a significant promoter of male aggression and fighting enthusiasm, and mate guarding aggression is well documented in G. bimaculatus. A recreation of two contradictory studies, including one which concluded that mating makes males lose fights, highlighted that female contact after spermatophore transfer can overcome the loser effect and cause a male to re-engage with a previously dominant opponent. Fighting behaviour in this species is therefore highly flexible and factors affecting the outcome of contests are complex. There is much scope for further studies on this topic.
  • The effect of cognitive and emotion-based processes on the Iowa Gambling Task

    Simonovic, Boban; University of Derby (2018)
    Real life decision-making depends on a complex interplay between cognitive and emotion-based processes. Damasio (1994) developed the Somatic Marker Hypothesis (SMH) arguing that emotion-based processes guide decision-making by directing individuals towards alternatives that have been previously ‘marked’ as positive or guide them away from the negative options. The primarily used test-bed of the emotion-based learning is Iowa Gambling Task (IGT, Bechara, Damasio, Damasio, & Anderson, 1994). The SMH makes three assumptions about the IGT behaviour: (a) somatic markers have a negative connotation and bias decision-making covertly in the absence of explicit knowledge, (b) there is a limited role for cognitive procesesing during IGT performance, especially during the initial stages of the task, and (c) anticipatory somatic markers guide decision-choices away from the bad options as participants are able to anticipate the good and the bad options. This thesis tested the SMH using a combination of psychophysiological methods (Eye-tracking, Pupillometry, Heart Rate and Blood Pressure measurements), behavioural measurements and psychometric measures of individual differences in combination with the IGT. The systematic review, meta-analyses and the experiments described in this Thesis explored the validity of these assumptions and found that they are not accurately manifested in behaviour during IGT performance. A novel methodology not previously employed was used to capture somatic markers through pupillary responses. Explicit learning was also assessed by the eye-tracking methodology in testing IGT performance in normal conditions and under stress. The results from the first two experiments indicated that explicit processing and knowledge about the task are more critical factors during the early stages of the game than previously suggested. Although there were some indicators of the existence of somatic markers, it was found that cognitive reflection, conscious awareness and increased cognitive processing occurred early in the game and guided behaviour on IGT. The results from the final experiment revealed that IGT performance in healthy individuals is not always optimal; stress levels impaired performance whereby a lack of, or insufficient cognitive processing early in the game may create a somatic signal that interferes with IGT performance. Furthermore, attentional processing, cognitive reflection and conscious awareness can be disrupted by stress resulting in non-optimal decision-making strategies that consequently interfere with performance on the IGT. Taken together, these results challenge the basic premises of the SMH and could be best explained within the dual-process framework (e.g., Brevers, Bechara, Cleeremans, & Noel, 2013). If somatic markers do not play a significant role in learning IGT than the task needs to be re-evaluated and caution is warranted when the IGT is used as a diagnostic tool to measure decision-making deficits in clinical populations.
  • Problematic painkiller use in the general population: a multi-national comparison exploring the role of accessibility of painkillers and psychological factors

    Said, Omimah; University of Derby (2018)
    Problematic painkiller use is a large and increasing problem worldwide, leading to serious physical, psychological and social consequences. Existing research indicates that accessibility of painkillers and psychological factors could have a role in problematic painkiller use. To clarify, accessibility refers to ease of obtaining painkillers, whilst psychological factors refer to individual-level processes and meanings that influence mental states (Upton, 2013). However, there have been few studies conducted, and these studies have focused mainly on either clinical samples or women with childbirth pain. Hence, the role among the general population is less clear. The aim of the present thesis was therefore to focus on the role of accessibility and psychological factors in problematic painkiller use among the general population. Three studies were conducted: one study compared the general population of the UK (N = 295) and Egypt (N = 420) regarding the role of accessibility of painkillers and psychological factors, including attitudes and beliefs towards pain, painkillers, self-medication and alternative methods of pain relief; another study was a multi-national comparison of these variables among the general population of more countries including Germany (N = 217), USA (N = 146), Australia (N = 93) and China (N = 76); another study focused on the role of psychological factors over time among the UK general population (N = 529), specifically attitudes and beliefs towards painkillers, as well as pain catastrophising, pain acceptance, pain self-efficacy and alexithymia. In these studies, the role of accessibility and psychological factors was investigated using online surveys, with participants aged 18 years or over, who experienced pain in the last month, used over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription painkillers in the last month, and were residents of the countries concerned. An additional study was conducted to develop 14-item versions of the Survey of Pain Attitudes-Brief (SOPA-B-14) and the Pain Medication Attitudes Questionnaire (PMAQ-14), which also tested the validity of these scales. Results Accessibility of painkillers and psychological factors predicted problematic painkiller use. However, there were several differences between the countries regarding the particular role of these factors. In the longitudinal study of the UK general population, changes in psychological factors were found over time, but attitudes and beliefs about withdrawal from painkillers was the only psychological factor that predicted problematic painkiller use over time. In addition, testing the validity of the SOPA-B-14 and PMAQ-14 showed that these scales were valid. The present research provided understanding regarding the role of accessibility and psychological factors in problematic painkiller use among the general population, and the role of psychological factors over time. Based on this understanding, interventions focusing on accessibility and psychological factors should be developed to reduce problematic painkiller use, but tailored to the particular factors that were predictors for each country. The present research also developed a valid SOPA-B-14 and PMAQ-14, therefore these scales can be used rather than the full versions to make assessment easier.
  • A comparison of methods of quantifying and assessing the behaviour and welfare of Bornean Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus):

    Bentley, Ruth H; University of Derby (2018)
    The maintenance of both the psychological and physiological health of captive animals is a key priority of modern zoos. Recognising that characteristics of the captive environment have the potential to decrease animal welfare, methods for quantifying and assessing welfare have been developed as part of the process for improving animal welfare. Traditionally, observations of animal behaviour and quantifying time budgets in relation to those of the animals’ wild counterparts have been utilised to assess animal welfare. Hormonal assays have also been implemented to quantify the physiological stress response of animals in captivity and identify the extent of stress being experienced. Each of these methods focuses on a different indicator of animal welfare, is quantified in different ways and provides a different perspective on the welfare of the animals. Given the limited time and financial budgets available to zoos and animal carers, identifying the most appropriate method of welfare assessment would be advantageous in helping to secure the best possible health of captive animals and to maximise their value in captivity. This thesis implemented both behavioural observations and hormonal assays to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each methodology, and make recommendations for future research. The study involved a group of four Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) housed at Twycross Zoo. Behavioural observations involved continuous group sampling and the development of an ethogram to record a comprehensive account of orangutan activity over the course of a 12 week enrichment programme. Simultaneous to these observations, faecal samples were collected from each orangutan and processed via Enzyme Immunoassay (EIA) to quantify levels of faecal glucocorticoid metabolites (fGCM) in each sample. While recognising the recent developments in ecological analytical methods, the capacity for extending network analysis beyond the application to social networks, and its use as a welfare assessment tool were explored. Behavioural and space-use networks were developed using data from a second study of the orangutans housed at Twycross Zoo. The flexibility of network analysis in visually representing different data types allowed for the intuitive representation of complex behavioural data. Further research investigated the use of network metrics in providing deeper insights into animal behaviour and space use patterns. In addition, bipartite networks were assessed for their potential to detect and show patterns in the relationships between two sets of behavioural data. Each of the methods used had a number of strengths and weaknesses, but importantly each contributed a different perspective in the assessment of behaviour patterns and welfare, suggesting that an integrated approach to behaviour studies utilising several methods would be ideal. Cost and logistic constraints make this unlikely in most cases. However, the thesis ends with a look to the future and the recognition that the current rapid development of technology for use in animal behaviour studies, coupled with equally rapid development of analytical techniques, may help to dramatically increase the amount of information gained from the average animal behaviour study in the future. Such improvements have never been more urgent, with the requirement for understanding animal behaviour in light of current extinction rates within the context of habitat destruction and climate change. It is hoped that this thesis will make a contribution to improving future animal behaviour and welfare studies by providing an assessment of both traditional methods of study as well as demonstrating the use and potential of new ways of applying network analysis within such studies.
  • Pain responses in athletes:

    Thornton, Claire; University of Derby (2018-09-04)
  • Risk-taking and expenditure in digital roulette: Examining the impact of tailored dynamic information and warnings on gambling attitudes and behaviours.

    McGivern, Paul R.; University of Derby (2018-07-20)
    Digital gambling is the fastest growing form of gambling in the world (Reilly & Smith, 2013a). Technological advancements continually increase access to gambling, which has led to increased social acceptance and uptake (Dragicevic & Tsogas, 2014) with Roulette being among the most popular games played both online and on Electronic Gaming Machines. In response, gambling stakeholders have drawn on the structural characteristics of gambling platforms to develop and improve Responsible Gambling (RG) devices for casual gamblers. Many RG data-tracking systems employ intuitive ‘traffic-light’ metaphors that enable gamblers to monitor their gambling (e.g. Wood & Griffiths, 2008), though uptake of voluntary RG devices is low (Schellinck & Schrans, 2011), leading to calls for mandatory RG systems. Another area that has received considerable RG research focus involves the use of pop-up messages (Auer & Griffiths, 2014). Studies have examined various message content, such as correcting erroneous beliefs, encouraging self-appraisal, gambling cessation, and the provision of personalised feedback. To date, findings have been inconsistent but promising. A shift towards the use of personalised information has become the preferred RG strategy, though message content and timing/frequency requires improvement (Griffiths, 2014). Moreover, warning messages are unable to provide continuous feedback to gamblers. In response to this, and calls for a ‘risk meter’ to improve monitoring of gambling behaviours (Wiebe & Philander, 2013), this thesis tested the impact of a risk meter alongside improved pop-up warning messages as RG devices for within-session roulette gambling. The thesis aimed to establish the optimal application of these devices for facilitating safer gambling behaviours. In support of the aims of RG research to evaluate the impact of devices on gambling attitudes and behaviours, the Elaboration Likelihood Model was identified as a suitable framework to test the proposed RG devices (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986). Both the interactive risk meter and pop-up messages were developed based on existing methods and recommendations in the RG literature, and examined via a series of laboratory-based roulette simulation experiments. Overall, results found the risk meter to be most effective when used as an interactive probability meter. Self-appraisal/Informative pop-up warnings were examined alongside expenditure-specific and hyrbid warnings. Findings showed that hybrid messages containing both types of information to be most effective, with optimal display points at 75%, 50%, 25% and 10% of remaining gambling credit. The final study tested both optimised devices (probability meter and hybrid messages). Results showed that using both RG devices in combination was most effective in facilitating reduced gambling risk and early within-session gambling cessation. Findings support the use of personalised, interactive RG devices using accurate context-specific information for the facilitation of safer gambling. The ELM was shown to be an effective model for testing RG devices, though findings suggested only temporary shifts in attitude change and a lack of impact on future gambling intentions. Overall, support for the implementation of RG devices that facilitate positive, temporary behaviour change that do not negatively impact on broader gambling attitudes or gambling enjoyment. Implications for theory, implementation, and RG frameworks are discussed, alongside recommendations for future research.
  • How men experience, understand, and describe masculinity: A phenomenological psychological analysis and photovoice exploration.

    Earnshaw, Deborah; University of Derby (University of Derby, 2018-04)
    This thesis is an examination of how men describe and experience masculinity. Psychological and sociological research has suggested that masculinity is malleable (Smiler, 2006), there are different versions or pluralities of masculinity (Connell 1995) and can be context-dependent (Gilbert & Gilbert, 2017). Often however hegemonic masculinity is considered the only type of masculinity, and is not flexible, especially when discussed on a social level (Cuthbert, 2015). Based on the researcher’s cultural, social and historical knowledge and understanding, masculinity is very different for people and so is understood, demonstrated and experienced in various ways. This research employed an unstructured interview design, incorporating photovoice, with five participants overall where each participant, except one, was interviewed twice. The first interview was researcher-led, with images provided by the researcher to be the focus for the participant. The second interview was participant-led, with the images provided by the participant to represent what they considered to be masculine or represented masculinity in their everyday life. The data collected was analysed using a combination of phenomenological methods; Descriptive Phenomenological Psychology (Giorgi, 2009) and Hermeneutic Phenomenology (van Manen, 2016). The thesis is presented in two halves. The first is researcher-led and draws on hermeneutic psychology and presents three themes were found from the first interviews: Hegemonic Masculinity with Traditional Masculinity, Characteristics and Non-Conformity; Societal Influence with Culture, Image and Media; and Feminism and Women. The second part of the thesis is participant-led, and draws out the descriptive phenomenological aspects by presenting each individual’s interaction with their chosen images and their ensuing descriptions of masculinity illustrated by them. Themes in this context are individually related rather than demonstrated through a cross-case analysis. Findings demonstrated masculinity as an individual identity, with a social expectation of how men should behave and portray themselves. The way it is perceived, understood, experienced and described is different for each person, as was demonstrated here with the participants’ second interviews. Future research should consider expanding research to include more on everyday factors, such as the use and influence of social media, the projection of masculinity throughout a man’s life, and how men and women both aid in the creation and maintenance of masculinity.
  • Late quaternary fluvial system response to climatic change over the past 200ka on Mallorca, Illes Balears.

    Thompson, Warren; University of Derby (University of Derby, 2017-11-02)
    Outcrops of late Quaternary deposits along the north–east coast of Mallorca were examined, and a high resolution chronological framework established using optically stimulated luminescence of quartz and feldspar grains. Coastal sections at Es Barrancar and Cala Mata record a complex succession of alluvial fan deposition with a minor aeolian component, mainly deposited during the last two glacial cycles. For the last ~200ka different orbital configurations appear to have produced a series of subtly different climatic scenarios that resulted in great variations in the regional availability of moisture. In turn, each of these climatic scenarios set in motion a distinct set of sedimentary processes, which imprinted themselves upon the character of fluvial system response recorded in the alluvial archives on Mallorca. Within the resulting complex of sediments were units of fluvially reworked aeolianite which, although truncated in places, were traceable laterally along wide sections of the sea front outcrops of both fan systems. These archives yielded 47 new OSL and pIRIR290 ages which suggest a number of previously unrecognised periods of enhanced fluvial activity. Luminescence ages identify significant ephemeral fluvial activity taking place during MIS 6, MIS 5 sub-stages d/c, b/a, and across the MIS 5/4 boundary. Another major phase of reworking corresponds with the middle part of MIS 3, and continued sporadically into the Last Glacial Maximum. These fluvial reworking events have been interpreted as having taken place during cold arid climatic intervals, when vegetation was at a minimum, precipitation was low and displayed a much higher degree of seasonality, enhancing the effects of runoff.
  • The cognitive and personality differences of supernatural belief.

    Schofield, Malcolm B.; University of Derby (2017-12-20)
    This thesis set out to meet the following aim and objectives: Aim: Examine cognition and personality of people who hold different types of supernatural belief. Objective 1: Create and validate a new scale to measure supernatural belief. Objective 2: Create and test a new model of supernatural belief based on cognition and personality. This would potentially test two hypotheses: the Cognitive Deficits Hypothesis and the Psychodynamics Functions Hypothesis. This was accomplished by conducting four studies. Studies one and two created and validated the new Belief in the Supernatural Scale (BitSS), a 44 item scale with the following five factors: ‘mental and psychic phenomena’, ‘religious belief’, ‘psychokinesis’, ‘supernatural entities’, and ‘common paranormal perceptions’. Cognition and personality would be looked at within the context of four different types of believer: ‘believers’, ‘paranormal believers’, ‘sceptics’ and ‘religious believers’. Study three revealed two profiles relating to cognition: ‘reflective thinkers’ and ‘intuitive believers’. The reflective profile was more likely to contain ‘sceptics’ and ‘believers’, and least likely to contain ‘paranormal believers’. The intuitive group was more likely to contain ‘religious believers’ and ‘believers’. The final study looked at personality alongside cognition and revealed ‘sensitive and abstract thinkers’ and ‘reflective metacognitive dogmatists’ profiles. The ‘sensitive and abstract thinkers’ were least likely to contain ‘sceptics’ and ‘religious believers’ and most likely to contain ‘believers’ and ‘paranormal believers’. The ‘reflective metacognitive dogmatists’ were most likely to contain ‘religious believers’ and ‘believers’ and least likely to contain ‘paranormal believers’. Following this analysis, Structural Equation Modelling was used to test seven different models of personality, cognition and belief. Studies one and two indicated a clear separation of religious and paranormal belief within the new scale, and that spiritual belief overlaps between the two. The scale developed was reliable and valid, and accurately reflected the concept of supernatural belief and enabled the measurement of religious and paranormal belief, where the overlaps were acknowledged whilst still being separate beliefs. Studies three and four found the ‘sceptics’ and ‘religious believers’ have remarkably similar profiles, indicating that the religious beliefs themselves may have been cognitively ring-fenced off in some way. The ‘paranormal believers’ however were not reflective thinkers and were not metacognitively active, indicating that they were not aware that they were not thinking critically or analytically. The Structural Equation Model showed that schizotypy was the main predictor of belief. The relationship between belief and cognition was more complex; it was dependent on what type of belief was active. Paranormal belief required a more intuitive thinking style to be present, whereas religious belief could withstand a reflective mind set. This thesis develops a new scale that measures supernatural belief provides a unique contribution to knowledge by establishing a model of cognition, personality and belief.
  • Psychophysiological and emotional antecedents of climbing performance

    Giles, David; University of Derby (University of Derby, 2017-09-12)
    Recreational sport climbing is characterised by self-selected route choices, which place participants under both physiological and psychological stress. This thesis is comprised of four studies, each conducted with experienced climbers, exploring subjective psychological, objective psychophysiological and behavioural responses to anxiety-inducing stressors. Studies One and Two explored the means of protecting a climber in the event of a fall and the relative difficulty of a route. Significant and meaningful differences in self-reported anxiety and climbing performance were found in both studies. However, notably, psychophysiological measures of anticipatory heart rate and cortisol did not result in meaningful differences. Results suggested that situations, atypical of participants’ normal recreation sessions, with an increased likelihood of a climber falling or being unable to complete the route, were likely to be evaluated as threatening, elicit a negative emotional response and disrupt performance. However, the quantitative methods employed in Studies One and Two did not provide an explanation of the processes underlying participant’s anxious response and disrupted performance. Consequently, Study Three qualitatively explored individual experiences of climbers, with a focus on psychological factors that influence performance. The defining characteristics of lead climbing were discussed, as were the potential for taking falls, and/or the anticipation of falling. Further, interviewees described the choices they make, in order to increase or decrease the physical, psychological and technical challenges present. Critically, the choices made by a climber appear to potentiate or limit opportunities to perform optimally. Climber’s decisions were mediated by a number of antecedents, including a climber’s background in the sport, climbing partners and training status. Data suggests that while decisions made by the climbers allow them to engage with the sport on their own terms and exert a level of control over the challenges of their climbing sessions, it is often at the expense of performance. Interestingly, while interviewees were aware of techniques to reduce anxiety and improve performance, few regularly used these in training. Study Four examined the effectiveness of clip drops and repeat practice to reduce anxiety. Results indicated that neither technique resulted in reduced anxiety or improved performance when compared to the control group. While there were small differences in the success rate of participants in the intervention groups, they were less anxious and interpreted their level of self-confidence as more positive, compared to control, it was not possible to differentiate between the two interventions. However, when the combined means were considered there were significant and meaningful differences observed in the post-intervention red-point ascent compared to the initial on-sight. This thesis highlights the difficulty that arises in attempting to quantitatively examine anxiety. While there might not be (a) anxiety in climbers or (b) quantifiable differences between climbers of different abilities, it may be that what is possibly ‘noise’ in data arises due to weaknesses in the markers themselves. The findings of Study Three provide evidence of the true nature of anxiety for climbers, which was not evident from the quantitative markers; as well as the lengths climbers will go to, to avoid anxiety. Climbers’ responses to anxiety were individualised, consequently, generalised interventions may have a limited effect on reducing anxiety to a level which supports performance improvements. It may be that an individualised approach to anxiety reduction and avoidance behaviours has a more significant impact on performance improvement than any of the latest training programmes, equipment or nutritional strategies.
  • Automaticity and the development of categorisation in preschool children: Understanding the importance of play

    Owen, Kay; University of Derby (2017-05)
    Categorisation is the process by which items, behaviours and events are compartmentalised according to their defining attributes or properties. This may be based on simple perceptual similarities or on more complex conceptual webs. Whatever their selection criteria, categories expedite inferential capabilities, facilitating behavioural predictions and subsequently enabling response. Categorisation waives conscious effort whilst preserving that which is salient and as such, provides a highly efficient means of delineating and organising information within semantic memory. An ability to categorise is therefore fundamental to an individual’s capacity to understand the world and a necessary precursor to academic achievement. This thesis comprises a series of studies that were devised in order to investigate categorisational development in children. Study 1 involved the development of a theoretically and practically valid testing mechanism. A sample of 159 children, aged 30-50 months, participated in a series of investigations aimed at establishing the impact of test format and presentation dimensionality on categorisation performance. As a result of this, a new test battery was devised which enabled more fine grain differentiation than had been possible with the tests used by previous researchers. The battery measured four different aspects of preschool children’s categorisational abilities -categorising according to shape; according to colour; when presented with drawings of items, and when presented with the same items in the form of toys. Results found that children’s ability to categorise differed significantly according to their sex, socio-economic background and the dimensionality of the item. Study 2 utilised the same battery with 190 participants from demographically diverse cohorts. Significant differences were found between high and low socio-economic groups and between boys and girls. A Mixed- Factorial ANOVA, with a post-hoc Bonferroni demonstrated a main effect of sex; a main effect of cohort and an interaction between sex and cohort. A Kruskal-Wallis Test also showed age to be significant, confirming the findings of previous researchers concerning a developmental trajectory. However, it also found that relatively sophisticated conceptual webs emerge earlier than had previously been thought. Whilst the results from Study 2 had demonstrated relative homogeneity amongst socio-economic groups, it was noted that participants from the most disadvantaged neighbourhood performed better than those from the other low socio-economic cohort. As the two Nurseries employed different approaches, with one offering a formal curriculum and the other emphasising child-led play, it was decided that the final study would focus on categorical development in these two cohorts. The final study therefore investigated conceptual development during 96 participants’ first twelve weeks of nursery education. Forty-eight participants were drawn from a Community Nursery with a strong emphasis on child-led play and 48 were drawn from a Nursery attached to a Primary School, where the emphasis was on more formalised learning. Children’s categorisational abilities were measured during their first week in Nursery using the test battery devised for Study 1. They were then re-tested using a matched battery twelve weeks later. Change scores were calculated and analysed using a series of one-way ANOVAs. As anticipated, all participants made gains but the children who had participated in play made significantly greater gains in three out of the four measures. It is thus asserted that play is a key conducer in cognitive development and a causal executant in establishing rudimentary automaticity and, as such, should be the polestar of preschool education. This is particularly important for boys from low socio-economic backgrounds who face contiguous disadvantage. Therefore, this research demonstrates that memory-based research with young children should be conducted with toys and objects, rather than images, and that the link between social and educational stratification has its roots in early childhood and is best addressed through the provision of high-quality play opportunities.
  • Stability of protein-based drugs: Herceptin a case study

    Shropshire, Ian Michael; University of Derby (2016)
    There is a lack of stability data for in-use parenteral drugs. Manufacturers state a shelf-life of 24 hours for infusions based on microbiological contamination. The lack of data is of particular significance with protein-based drugs where action is determined by their complex structure. A range of techniques are required to assess stability, including biological assessment to support other data. There has been an increase in published data but often the few studies that address in-use stability are incomplete as they do not employ biological assessment to assess potency. Trastuzumab is an antibody-based drug used to treat cancers where the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER2) is over expressed or over abundant on the cell surface. Trastuzumab infusions have been assigned by the manufacturer to be stable for 24 hours at temperatures not exceeding 30 oC. If stability is shown beyond this point it would enable extended storage and administration. To this end, methods were selected and developed with biological assessment central to the approach to assess clinically relevant infusion concentrations (0.5 mg/mL and 6.0 mg/mL) and a sub-clinical infusion concentration (0.1 mg/mL). This may enhance instability and provide opportunity to study degradation. A Cell Counting Kit CCK8 (Sigma Aldrich) was ultimately adopted as a basis for a colorimetric assay to assess cell viability. Attenuated Total Reflectance Infra-Red Spectroscopy and Size Exclusion Chromatography methods were developed to evaluate secondary structure and aggregation respectively. These methods were applied to a shelf-life study (43 days) as a collaboration with Quality Control North West (NHS) and Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology NHS Foundation Trust, Clatterbridge Hospital. There was no evidence of degradation and no loss efficacy for clinically relevant infusions (0.5 mg/mL and 6.0 mg/mL) over 43 days, whilst the sub-clinical infusions (0.1 mg/mL) developed particles after 7 days of storage between 2 oC and 8 oC. Furthermore, evidence of stability at day 119 gave increased confidence for the data from earlier time points. This work assisted in the shelf-life being recommended to be extended to 28 days for Trastuzumab stored in polyolefin IV bags at concentrations between 0.5 mg/mL and 6.0 mg/mL with 0.9% saline between 2 oC and 8 oC. However, infusions with concentrations below 0.5 mg/mL were not recommended for storage.
  • The impact of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) on quality of life: exploration, measurement and intervention.

    Williams, Sophie; University of Derby (2016)
    Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common endocrine disorders amongst women, estimated to affect one out of 10 women. Symptoms include infertility, obesity, alopecia, acne, hirsutism and menstrual irregularities. Women with the syndrome are also more likely to experience co-morbid physical and psychological conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, endometrial cancer and also depression and anxiety. PCOS has also been found to have a negative impact on quality of life. This thesis aimed to further understanding, and improve quality of life of women with PCOS in the UK. To achieve this, the thesis aimed to investigate and identify how women with PCOS in the UK perceive and define their quality of life and to further understanding of the day-to-day experience of living with PCOS. Moreover, in order to measure quality of life, it aimed to develop and validate a UK disease-specific quality of life measure for women with PCOS. It also aimed to identify, develop and test a pilot intervention to increase quality of life in women with PCOS. To achieve these aims a mixed-methods approach was taken employing a variety of data generation and collection methods including: photovoice, online Skype™ interviews; LimeSurvey and Qualtrics. The findings of this thesis emphasise that PCOS has a negative impact on quality of life; encompassing psychological, social, environmental, and physical domains of quality of life. Women with PCOS who experienced the symptoms of infertility, hirsutism, weight, alopecia, skin discolouration, skin tags and mood swings had significantly lower scores of overall quality of life than those women who did not experience the symptoms. In addition, those women with PCOS who had a diagnosis of anxiety and/or depression had reduced quality of life. The dissemination of these findings will enable health care professionals to better understand the experience of living with PCOS and its impact on quality of life. Moreover, this thesis identifies many areas for future research which will enable a better understanding of the impact of PCOS on quality of life. Finally, this thesis makes recommendations for clinical practice which include improvement of support from health care professionals for women with PCOS in order to help them better manage their symptoms, and therefore improve their overall quality of life.
  • The Development of the Numeracy Apprehension Scale for Children Aged 4-7 Years: Qualitative Exploration of Associated Factors and Quantitative Testing

    Petronzi, Dominic; Staples, Paul; Sheffield, David; Hunt, Thomas E.; Fitton-Wilde, Sandra; University of Derby (2018-02-02)
    Previous psychological literature has shown mathematics anxiety in older populations to have an association with many factors, including an adverse effect on task performance. However, the origins of mathematics anxiety have, until recently, received limited attention. It is now accepted that this anxiety is rooted within the early educational years, but research has not explored the associated factors in the first formal years of schooling. Based on previous focus groups with children aged 4-7 years, ‘numeracy apprehension’ is suggested in this body of work, as the foundation phase of negative emotions and experiences, in which mathematics anxiety can develop. Building on this research, the first piece of research utilized 2 interviews and 5 focus groups to obtain insight from parents (n=7), teachers (n=9) and mathematics experts (n=2), to explore how children experience numeracy and their observations of children’s attitudes and responses. Thematic and content analysis uncovered a range of factors that characterised children’s numeracy experiences. These included: stigma and peer comparisons; the difficulty of numeracy and persistent failure; a low sense of ability; feelings of inadequacy; peer evaluation; transference of teacher anxieties; the right or wrong nature of numeracy; parental influences; dependence on peers; avoidance and children being aware of a hierarchy based on numeracy performance. Key themes reflected the focus group findings of children aged 4-7 years. This contributed to an item pool for study 2, to produce a first iteration of the Numeracy Apprehension Scale (NAS) that described day-to-day numeracy lesson situations. This 44-item measure was implemented with 307 children aged 4-7 years, across 4 schools in the U.K. Exploratory factor analysis led to a 26-item iteration of the NAS, with a 2-factor structure of Prospective Numeracy Task Apprehension and On-line Number Apprehension, which related to, for example, observation and evaluation anxiety, worry and teacher anxiety. The results suggested that mathematics anxiety may stem from the initial development of numeracy apprehension and is based on consistent negative experiences throughout an educational career. The 26-item iteration of the NAS was further validated in study 3 with 163 children aged 4-7 years, across 2 schools in the U.K. The construct validity of the scale was tested by comparing scale scores against numeracy performance on a numeracy task to determine whether a relationship between scale and numeracy task scores was evident. Exploratory factor analysis was again conducted and resulted in the current 19-item iteration of the NAS that related to a single factor of On-line Number Apprehension. This related to the experience of an entire numeracy lesson, from first walking in to completing a task and was associated with, for example, explaining an answer to the teacher, making mistakes and getting work wrong. A significant negative correlation was observed between the NAS and numeracy performance scores, suggesting that apprehensive children demonstrate a performance deficit early in education and that the NAS has the potential to be a reliable assessment of children’s numeracy apprehension. This empirical reinforces that the early years of education are the origins of mathematics anxiety, in the form of numeracy apprehension.
  • The electrophysiological correlates of maths anxety: Exploring the role of gamma activity

    Batashvili, Michael; University of Derby (2016-03)
    This thesis set out to investigate the electrophysiological correlates of maths anxiety (MA). Research has shown that those with high MA (HMA) tend to have poorer accuracy and increased reaction time on maths based tasks and that high maths anxious individuals avoid situations where they might have to use maths. This can impact on their future by restricting their degree or job prospects. Previous research has identified the behavioural cognitive and psychological effects of MA and recently studies have begun to examine the associated underlying mechanisms in the brain. Chapter one outlines the background MA behavioural and measurement research before evaluating the neurophysiological methods used in cognitive neuroscience and the use of electroencephalography (EEG) in chapter two. Chapter three continues by outlining previous research concerning the neurophysiological processing of maths and number before evaluating relevant neurophysiological research concerning MA. Four experimental studies are conducted, exploring the neurophysiological underpinnings of MA research using EEG. Each of these recruits 30 participants and measures of electro-cortical (Event Related Potentials (ERPs), Global Field Power, Frequency etc.) and questionnaire measures are implemented. The first study aimed to identify whether the behavioural effects of MA (poorer accuracy and increased reaction time) are consistent with ERP differences (component amplitude and latency differences) in the brain and to understand why these effects are experienced. This revealed no significant comparisons between ERP components and behavioural responses involving low and high maths anxious individuals, but this may have been due to the lack of an anxious response by using a verification task, rather than requiring calculation. Study two introduces the measurement of gamma activity as a neurophysiological measure of anxiety and threat processing and brings three core areas of anxiety research together: Previous studies outline high anxiety in connection with gamma modulation, also showing gamma band activity is associated with the amygdala and finally, that the amygdala is responsible for the processing of threat perception and anxiety. This research has not been brought together when studying MA. Results produced similar ERP findings to the previous study but the introduction of gamma activity into the research provided the first differences between high and low MA (LMA) groups, showing significantly greater gamma activity levels in HMA individuals. However, this study only used numerically-based tasks, thus the third study implemented a non-numerical condition to act as a control. Study three replicates the findings showing a reduced level of gamma activity in high MA individuals for the non-numerical based task, however, this was also reduced for the simple maths task. It was theorised that it is more likely to be the initial threat perception that represents the anxious response and gamma activity increases. To test this and remove any working memory demands, the fourth study implements the presentation of single digit observation (using single digit numbers and letters). Even though there was no demand on working memory, high maths anxious participants displayed similar levels of gamma activity as low maths anxious individuals during letter observation. However, they had significantly greater levels during the observation of number. Findings suggest that HMA individuals may not only struggle with the processing of maths stimuli, but may have a threat-related response to the simple observation of numerical stimuli. This implies that HMA individuals consistently apply an avoidance technique due to a threat response associated with increased levels of gamma activity. The findings of the each study are finally discussed in terms of their contribution to the neurophysiological underpinnings of MA, the first exploration of this using gamma activity, future research and the extent that number anxiety may act as a precursor or sine qua non to MA.
  • Limitations and trainability of the respiratory system during exercise with thoracic loads

    Faghy, Mark; University of Derby (2016-02-01)
    Thoracic loads (i.e., a heavy backpack) commonly used in occupational and recreational settings significantly challenge human physiological systems and increase the work of breathing, which may promote respiratory muscle fatigue and negatively impacts whole body performance during physical tasks. Accordingly this thesis: (Chapter number: II) designed a laboratory based protocol that closely reflects occupational demands and (III) assessed the effect that load carriage (LC) has upon physiological and respiratory muscle function. Consequently the thesis addressed (IV) acute, (V) chronic and (VI) functional inspiratory muscle loading strategies to assess the limitations and trainability of the respiratory muscles to load carriage performance. The novel laboratory protocol, performed wearing a 25 kg backpack load, combined submaximal load carriage (LC; 60 min treadmill march at 6.5 km·h-1) and self-paced time trial exercise (LCTT; 2.4 km) to better reflect the physiological demands of occupational performance (between trials mean difference -0.34 ± 0.89 min, coefficient of variation 10.5%). Following LC, maximal inspiratory muscle pressure (PImax) and maximal expiratory muscle pressure (P¬Emax) were reduced by 11% and 13% respectively (P<0.05), and further by 5% and 6%, respectively (P< 0.05), after LCTT. Acute inspiratory loading (2 × 30 forced inspiratory efforts 40% PImax) following an active warm-up (10 min lactate turnpoint) failed to improve LCTT despite a transient increase in PImax of ~7% (P<0.05). Chronic inspiratory loading (6 wk, 50% PImax, 30 breaths twice daily) increased PImax (31%, p<0.05) reduced HR and perceptual responses post-LC, and improved LCTT (8%, P< 0.05) with no change in a placebo control. Combining IMT with functional core muscle exercises improved PImax and LCTT by 7% and 4% respectively (P< 0.05), which was greater than traditional IMT alone. Acute, chronic and functional inspiratory muscle loading strategies did not protect against respiratory muscle or locomotor muscle fatigue during LC and LCTT.

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