EXPRESS: Data driven group comparisons of eye fixations to dynamic stimuli

Recent advances in software and hardware have allowed eye tracking to move away from static images to more ecologically relevant video streams. The analysis of eye tracking data for such dynamic stimuli, however, is not without challenges. The frame by frame coding of regions of interest (ROIs) is labour intensive, and computer vision techniques to automatically code such ROIs are not yet mainstream, restricting the use of such stimuli. Combined with the more general problem of defining relevant ROIs for video frames, methods are needed that facilitate data analysis. Here we present a first evaluation of an easy-to-implement data-driven method with the potential to address these issues. To test the new method, we examined the differences in eye movements of self-reported politically left- or right-wing leaning participants to video clips of left- and right-wing politicians. The results show that our method can accurately predict group membership on the basis of eye movement patterns, isolate video clips which best distinguish people on the political left-right spectrum and reveal the section of each video clip with the largest group differences. Our methodology thereby aids the understanding of group differences in gaze behaviour, and the identification of critical stimuli for follow-up studies or for use in saccade diagnosis.

University of Lincoln, College of Social Science Research
Tochukwu Onwuegbusi, University of Lincoln, School of Psychology
Frouke Hermens, University of Lincoln, School of Psychology
Todd Hogue, University of Lincoln, School of Psychology

Integrating models of self-regulation and optimal experiences: A qualitative study into flow and clutch states in recreational distance running

In this study, we aimed to understand the self-regulatory processes facilitating optimal experiences in running by integrating models of self-regulation with flow and clutch states.

Using an event-focused approach, we interviewed 16 runners less than one day on average after recreational running activities (M = 22.17 hours later, range = 3–46) they described as positive, rewarding experiences. Our analysis drew on principles for thematic and connecting analyses.

We structured our analysis of the self-regulatory processes facilitating flow and clutch states into three overarching themes: forethought; monitoring; and control. Flow was facilitated by intrinsic experiential motives and non-specific goals, whereas clutch states involved an intrinsic motive to accomplish specific goals. The perceived ease and pleasure during flow motivated runners to continue this experience, which appeared to be aided by active and involuntary distraction. Conversely, clutch states were described as more effortful and less pleasant during the run, with active self-regulation strategies used to exert control over cognition and manage feelings of difficulty. Attending to specific outward or internal sensory stimuli appeared to initiate changes that contributed to the disruption of flow, although many runners described transitioning into a clutch state after flow disruption. No runner reported transitioning from a clutch state into flow.

Our study offers novel insights into optimal experiences in running by integrating models of self-regulation with flow and clutch states. We discuss how these insights can inform research and applied practice seeking to develop interventions for promoting optimal experiences during running.

University of Lincoln, College of Social Science Research

Trish Jackman, University of Lincoln, School of Sport and Exercise Sciences

Rebecca Hawkins, University of Lincoln, School of Sport and Exercise Sciences

Amy E. Whitehead, Liverpool John Moores University, School of Sport and Exercise Sciences

Noel E. Brick, Ulster University, Department of Psychology


New Guidance to Support Doctoral Researchers

In line with calls in the higher education sector for the development of prevention strategies to promote mental health and wellbeing in doctoral researchers, researchers at the University of Lincoln have recently shared findings from research that explored how to best support doctoral researchers in the transition to doctoral study.

The project team, led by Dr Trish Jackman in collaboration with colleagues Lisa Jacobs and Rebecca Sanderson, worked with doctoral researchers and higher education stakeholders to co-design principles to inform the design of doctoral researcher induction programmes. The findings were recently shared via a webinar run by the project funder, the Student Mental Health Research Network (SMaRteN), and a summary of the good practice principles can be accessed via the LILI Impact blog:

Fathering and Poverty: A new publication by Dr Anna Tarrant

Dr Anna Tarrant from the School of Social and Political Science released a book in August 2021 titled ‘Fathering and Poverty: Uncovering men’s family participation in low-income contexts’ (Policy Press), which is available in hardback, paperback and e-format:

The book draws on pioneering multigenerational research with men in low-income families to engage critically with dominant policy narratives that construct them as largely absent, irresponsible and uncaring. In their own words, men who are young fathers, single primary caregivers and kinship carers, discuss their family lives in-depth and describe their diverse pathways into caregiving and ‘doing kinship’ across the lifecourse. Developing the concept of family participation, the book also interrogates how men’s family involvement is affected by the resources available and the constraints upon them, considering intersections of gender, generation and work, as well as the impact of austerity and welfare support.

Illuminating aspects of care within economic hardship that often go unseen, Fathering and Poverty deepens our understanding of masculinities and family life and the policies and practices that support or undermine men’s participation.

Watch this space for further information about an online book launch.

Improving Energy Efficiency: The Significance of Normativity

The failure of the global community to effectively address many large-scale environmental challenges calls into question the existing regulatory approaches. A large number of these challenges are diffuse issues which have, over the years been targeted by significant and sizable regulatory frameworks and yet the challenges persist—energy efficiency is one such issue and is the focus of this article. Increasing monitoring or enforcement to achieve improvements in regulatory compliance is too expensive in the context of diffuse problems due to the scale and costs such activities would entail. We suggest a focus on the fit between regulatory frameworks and norm creation may identify more fruitful routes to regulatory reform. Drawing on the ‘interactional account of law’ as a framework, this research uses new empirical data from a survey and a set of interviews to investigate the failure of energy efficiency regulatory frameworks at achieving energy efficient norms of behaviour in industry. We look at Canada and the UK as our case studies and our emphasis is on industry actors as they represent a significant and yet understudied area of society. We find that though existing regulatory structures seem adequate to generate general shared understandings around obligations to engage in energy efficiency actions, more specific shared practice around actually engaging in these actions remains elusive, resulting in a failure to engender norms of behaviour. These failures, we suggest, link directly to an inadequate fit between the regulatory tools and Fuller’s criteria for the internal morality of law.

Elizabeth Kirk, University of Lincoln, Lincoln Law School
Laurel Besco, University of Toronto Mississauga, Department of Geography, Geomatics and Environement and Institute for Management and Innovation