Social and Behavioural
Explore Social and Behavioural
Dr Veronica Marconi | Exploring Views About Which Migrants Deserve Anti-Trafficking Assistance in Tuscany, Italy
Human trafficking is defined as the recruitment and coercion of individuals into labour or other activities that entail their exploitation. While victims of human trafficking can be led to engage in any type of labour or criminal activity, most anti-trafficking efforts primarily focus on people who are exploited in sex work. Dr Veronica Marconi of Oregon State University recently carried out a study aimed at better understanding how anti-trafficking organisations in the Italian region of Tuscany determine which migrants are deserving of their assistance.
Human rights defenders Leyla and Arif Yunus played a crucial role in Azerbaijan’s politics and modern history. After being sentenced to 8.5 years in jail by the Azerbaijani government and being released due to health issues, Leyla and Arif Yunus shared the suffering and torture they endured as regime opponents and political prisoners in a book entitled The Price of Freedom. Dr Audrey L. Altstadt, a Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, recently published a short article outlining the dynamics underlying the arrest of the two political activists and the struggle described in their book.
Professor Ariane Lambert-Mogiliansky | Quantum Persuasion: Can Targeted Distractions Change Our Viewpoints?
How our mind frames information, processes it and makes decisions is an active field of research in psychology, neurosciences and behavioural sciences. Recent research aims to quantify our cognitive processes by mapping them to mathematical theories. Professor Ariane Lambert-Mogiliansky’s work at the Paris School of Economics looks at how we can link cognitive processes, such as learning and decision-making, to the mathematics of quantum mechanics. She establishes and tests a quantum version of the persuasion problem, looking at how much one can alter a person’s cognitive state and orient their decisions through the smart use of questions and information. This research follows the steps of Niels Bohr, founding father of Quantum Mechanics, who wrote about essential similarities between Quantum Mechanics and the functioning of the mind.
Dr Kristiina A. Vogt | Dr Samantha De Abreu | Dr Maria Blancas – Indigenous Holistic Storytelling to Teach Environmental Science
Western approaches to environmental science typically focus on existing and future issues, such as climate change, and technological solutions to these issues. While these frameworks have their value, they often set aside holistic perspectives on land management, coexistence with nature, and ecosystem preservation. Dr Kristiina A. Vogt, Dr Samantha De Abreu and Dr Maria Blancas at the University of Washington are exploring the potential of holistic storytelling practices common among Indigenous communities to teach environmental science in more effective ways.
Professor Avril Horne – Dr Andrew John | Re-evaluating How We Assess and Manage Rivers in Response to Climate Change
Understanding and successfully managing river flows is vital for sustaining human communities, the river environment, and its ecosystems. However, the methods currently used to assess river flow needs are limited in the face of increasing pressures from an uncertain and changing climate. Academics at the University of Melbourne are rethinking the approach to these assessments. This includes work by Professor Avril Horne, Dr Andrew John and their collaborators to present a more integrated and holistic method, which provides much-needed room for learning over time, and to understand the vulnerability, robustness, and adaptability of river flow regimes.
Is more trust always better? It is widely known that trust and confidence are fundamental in high-risk industries, such as nuclear energy and radioactive waste management. While public trust is definitely essential for policymaking, the upsides of mistrust and distrust are often overlooked by practitioners and social science researchers. This was recently examined in a special issue of the Journal of Risk Research, where a series of articles highlighted the ways in which mistrust and distrust can play a constructive role in the nuclear sector.
Mining is a particularly hazardous industry, with miners often experiencing health problems, injuries and psychological issues. Dr David Gilkey, an Associate Professor of Safety, Health & Industrial Hygiene at Montana Technological University, has recently carried out a case study specifically investigating workplace safety climate in a metal mine in Montana. The study also assessed the effectiveness of a short training program to improve the metal mining company’s workplace safety leadership.
Professor Manoj Sharma | The Multi-theory Model (MTM) of Health Behavior Change: Understanding Meditation, or ‘Dhyana’
The multi-theory model – or ‘MTM’ – of health behavior change provides a theoretical framework for understanding and promoting health behaviors. Professor Manoj Sharma from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, has now applied this model to understand the factors that lead people to take up meditation – or ‘dhyana’ – and to maintain this health-related behavior over time. His findings confirm the utility of the MTM in informing behavior change interventions and open up important avenues for future research.
In a recent paper, Professor John P Miller discusses the importance of mutual accommodation and compassion in preserving democracies and ensuring we can tackle some of our biggest global problems. He highlights the way in which Canada has become a more tolerant, cooperative, inclusive society by emphasising the role of compromise and compassion. Using examples from education, he shows how we can nurture these qualities in children and young adults.
Professor Lynne McCormack | Nicole L. Bennett – Gender Minimisation and Gender-based Abuse Experienced by Military Women
While the psychological impact of warzone experiences on military personnel is well-documented, the unique gendered experiences of personnel are rarely discussed. Professor Lynne McCormack at the University of Newcastle, along with clinical psychologist Nicole L. Bennett, investigated the ‘lived’ experience of women in the military through a series of interviews with female veterans. Their findings shed light on profound and detrimental dehumanising behaviours directed at the women who participated in this study, which they describe as gender minimisation, a form of sexual abuse.
Dr Abera Habte et al. | Climate Change in Ethiopia: Exploring Farmers’ Attitudes and Adaptation Strategies
Around the world, climate change is impacting the availability of food and water, affecting people’s health and livelihoods. Unfortunately, these damaging effects are more pronounced in developing countries. In a recent study, Dr Abera Habte of Wolaita Sodo University and his collaborators investigated the impacts of climate change in Southwestern Ethiopia. His team incorporated the perceptions and knowledge of local farmers into their analysis, in order to develop more effective climate adaptation strategies.
So far, very few research studies have investigated the effects of criminal convictions on the families of defendants. Dr Hong Lu, a Professor of Criminal Justice at University of Nevada, along with her co-authors, Dr Yudu Li and Dr Bin Liang, carried out a study examining how the family of Nian Bin, the defendant in a high-profile capital case in China who received four death sentences, managed the physical, emotional, financial, and legal challenges they faced after their relative’s conviction.
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