Having options alters the attractiveness of familiar versus novel faces: Sex differences and similarities

Although online dating allows us to access a wider pool of romantic partners, choice could induce an ‘assessment mindset’, orienting us toward ‘optimal’ or alternative partners and undermining our willingness to commit or remain committed to someone. Contextual changes in judgements of facial attractiveness can shed light on this issue. We directly test this proposal by activating a context where participants imagine choosing between items in picture slideshows (dates or equally attractive desserts), observing its effects on attraction to i) faces on second viewing and ii) novel versus familiar identities. Single women, relative to single men, were less attracted to the same face on second viewing (Experiments 2 and 4), with this sex difference only observed after imagining not ‘matching’ with any romantic dates in our slideshow (i.e., low choice, Experiment 4). No equivalent sex differences were observed in the absence of experimental choice slideshows (Experiment 3), and these effects (Experiment 2) were not moderated by slideshow content (romantic dates or desserts) or choice set size (five versus fifteen items). Following slideshows, novel faces were more attractive than familiar faces (Experiment 1), with this effect stronger in men than in women (Experiment 2), and stronger across both sexes after imagining ‘matching’ with desired romantic dates (i.e., high choice, Experiment 4). Our findings suggest that familiarity does not necessarily ‘breed liking’ when we have the autonomy to choose, revealing lower-order socio-cognitive mechanisms that could underpin online interactions, such as when browsing profiles and deciding how to allocate effort to different users.

University of Lincoln, College of Social Science Research

Jordan R Sculley, Abertay University, School of Applied Sciences

Kay Ritchie, University of Lincoln, School of Psychology


Polydrug use and drug market intersections within powerlifting cultures in remote South-West England

With the rising use of Image and Performance Enhancing Drugs (IPEDs), research has increasingly pointed to a need for in-depth understanding of users’ consumption behaviours, in order to form effective harm reduction policy. With polydrug use prevalent in IPED-using cultures, both among ‘hardcore’ and non-competitive trainers, it is clear there is a need to understand this use, and its socio-cultural contexts, as well as how drug access and supply occurs within these cultures.

This paper offers an exploration of the motivations and contexts of hardcore powerlifters’ polydrug use, as well as their experiences of IPED and other illicit drug market intersections, through findings drawn from 18 qualitative interviews with participants involved in these lifting cultures and gyms in South-West England, supported by ethnographic fieldwork conducted in nine gyms in the region over a four year period, including five ‘hardcore’ powerlifting and bodybuilding gyms, as well as four commercial gym establishments.

Results first demonstrate how cultural narratives around what is drug ‘use’ versus ‘abuse’ influenced powerlifters’ consumption and perceptions of polydrugs, with a number of illicit drugs and other medicines used by these sportsmen, despite cultural opposition to other drug consumption considered to be harmful, and associated by powerlifters with ‘gym rats’, or YOLO type trainers. This leads into exploration of where powerlifters’ polydrug consumption behaviours present the greatest risk, particularly in relation to the acceptance of benzodiazepine use as a form of ‘steroid accessory drug’ for long periods, as well as the common sharing and use of opioid painkillers to allow continued training through injury, and discussion of where harm reduction policy might therefore be most appropriately targeted for this population.

Findings then turn to an exploration of how polydrug supply occurs within powerlifting culture and gyms, and the intersections between IPED markets and other illicit drug markets perceived to exist in the region. This documents the prevalence of social supply norms of polydrugs following patterns observed for IPEDs in the existing literature, before discussing the extent to which individuals with links to criminal organisations may be ‘pushing out’ culturally-embedded IPED suppliers in the region, and the impacts this is having on risk for IPED buyers. This is followed by further discussion of relevance to policy, and avenues for future research into polydrug use and supply from a harm reduction perspective, as well as the limitations of this study as specific to a remote region of the UK.

University of Lincoln, College of Social Science Research

Luke Turnock, University of Lincoln, School of Social and Political Sciences

Substance misuse and community supervision: A systematic review of the literature

Dr Coral Sirdifield, University of Lincoln, College of Social Science Research, School of Health and Social Care

A narrative systematic review was undertaken of the literature concerning the health of people on probation or parole (community supervision). In this paper, we provide an up-to-date summary of what is known about substance misuse in this context. This includes estimates of the prevalence and complexity of substance misuse in those under community supervision, and studies of the effectiveness of approaches to treating substance misuse and engaging and retaining this population in treatment. A total of 5125 papers were identified in the initial electronic searches, and after careful double-blind review only 31 papers related to this topic met our criteria. In addition, a further 15 background papers were identified which are reported. We conclude that internationally there is a high prevalence and complexity of substance misuse amongst people under community supervision. Despite clear benefits to individuals and the wider society through improved health, and reduced re-offending; it is still difficult to identify the most effective ways of improving health outcomes for this group in relation to substance misuse from the research literature. Further research and investment is needed to support evidence-based commissioning by providing a detailed and up-to-date profile of needs and the most effective ways of addressing them, and sufficient funds to ensure that appropriate treatment is available and its impact can be continually measured. Without this, it will be impossible to truly establish effective referral and treatment pathways providing continuity of care for individuals as they progress through, and exit, the criminal justice pathway.

University of Lincoln, College of Social Science Research

Coral Sirdifield, University of Lincoln, School of Health and Social Care

Charlie Brooker, University of London, Centre for Sociology and Criminology

Rebecca Marples, University of Suffolk, School of Law and Social Sciences


Sam Andrews, University of Lincoln, College of Social Science, SChool of Social and Political Sciences

While international revolutionary groups have frequently attracted international support, the declaration of the caliphate by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in 2014 and the subsequent growth of foreign fighters leaving their home countries to fight in Syria created a significant concern for Western governments. The United Kingdom was a major source of this foreign fighter flow, becoming a significant concern in 2014 and by 2015 accounting for some 700-760 fighters with the majority affiliated to the Islamic State and with a growing amount of females joining the group. While Prevent, the preventative pillar of the United Kingdom’s counter-terrorism strategy, was in 2014 already well accustomed to intervening in cases of male radicalization, it was not well prepared to handle female radicalization. This article provides a case study of the UK police response to the above concerns. In 2014 the Metropolitan Police and Counter-Terrorism Policing HQ began work on the Prevent Tragedies campaign, a strategic communications campaign. The campaign sought to encourage women, primarily mothers, to talk with younger women and discourage them from travelling to Syria. It also sought to make these women aware of the government’s Prevent policy, and to encourage them to submit reports to Prevent should be they concerned about the radicalization of persons close to them. Using documents obtained by Freedom of Information requests, and material gathered from the Prevent Tragedies website, this article explores how the idea of the “mother” as a nurturing and caring subject was utilized to try and counter female radicalization. It analyses how stereotypical ideas about pacific femininity and female political naivety were utilized to further the narrative of “groomed” women who were unaware of the brutal nature of Islamic state, and therefore could not have ideologically supported the organization when they travelled to Syria. While this undermines ideological support for Islamic State, it simultaneously draws on – and exposes – a current in U.K. counter-terrorism that underplays female radicalism, hampering our full understanding of gendered radicalization.

University of Lincoln, College of Social Science Research

Sam Andrews, University of Lincoln, School of Social and Political Sciences

The Hong Kong Criminal Justice Series

Dr Andra Le Roux-Kemp, University of Lincoln, College of Social Science, Lincoln Law School

The Hong Kong Criminal Justice Series, authored by Dr. Andra le Roux-Kemp with publisher Wolters Kluwer (Hong Kong), consists of three volumes: Hong Kong Criminal Procedure (2019), Hong Kong Law of Evidence (2019), and Hong Kong Criminal Law (forthcoming 2021/22). The aim of this Criminal Justice Series is to provide a single, comprehensive source on the laws of Hong Kong, for as far as these relate to Criminal Procedure, the Law of Evidence, and Criminal Law. The first two volumes appeared in print in 2019, and are now recognised as an indispensable source for students, law practitioners, as well as legal scholars with an interest in Hong Kong Criminal Justice. Exemplary features of the series include the legal-historical and comparative analysis of the development of Hong Kong law vis-a-vis the laws of England and Wales and other Commonwealth jurisdictions, as well as the numerous cross-references across the three volumes which unswore the practical and theoretical interplay between the three subject areas.

Chapters Four and Five of the volume Hong Kong Criminal Procedure (2019) is particularly valuable for readers interested in learning more about police powers in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, while Chapters 11, 12 and 14 of the second volume in the series – Hong Kong Law of Evidence (December 2019) – provide a thorough-going analysis and discussion on, inter alia, electronic evidence, forensic evidence and the evaluation of evidence generally.


Ethical Policing in Lincolnshire

This presentation discusses the author’s work as an independent member of Lincolnshire Police’s Ethics Panel. Ethics Panels are a relatively new innovation initiated across a number of police services up and down the UK. Their specific terms of reference vary, but generally they share the a common purpose of providing a space for police to discuss and develop guidelines around issues for which there is traditionally no forum within policing – ideally with outside stakeholders giving a non-police view – with the intention of developing ethical approaches to such issues. In this presentation I will discuss my work sitting on Lincolnshire Police’s Ethics panel and in particular how my research concerning victimisation and the role of victims within the criminal justice process assisted the police through this forum to develop updated policies on issues such as: membership of police officers in the Masons and other ‘secret’ organisations, the policing of Roma and Traveller Populations and the response of the police to officer-to-officer disclosure of domestic abuse victimisation.

Prof Matthew Hall, Lincoln Law School


CSDP and the development of the ‘Global EU’: The progress of EU autonomy in the shadow of Brexit

Dr Scarlett McArdle, University of Lincoln, College of Social Science, Lincoln Law SchoolSecurity and Defence is a complex area within the EU. In spite of a long-standing history, its development and role within the EU has long remained distinct from other areas; the particular attachment of this area to state sovereignty has necessitated a cautious approach. This paper explores the recent developments in Security and Defence since the Brexit vote in 2016, arguing that, rather than the prospect of a UK withdrawal causing a weakening in the EU in this field, instead, it has seen a reinvigoration. It is argued that this is reflective of a broader development of the EU in terms of its autonomy as an external actor, which has shaped developments and continues to do so. While this is beneficial in some ways, the paper concludes by exploring some of the potential problems that may arise from the EU’s particular approach to autonomy as the Brexit process continues.

University of Lincoln, College of Social Science Research

Scarlett McArdle, University of Lincoln, Lincoln Law School


Eyewitness descriptions without memory: The (f)utility of describing faces

Dr Georgina Gous, University of Lincoln, College of Social Science, School of PsychologyDr Robin Kramer, University of Lincoln, College of Social Science, School of Psychology





Eyewitness descriptions provide critical information for the police and other agencies to use during investigations. While researchers have typically considered the impact of memory, little consideration has been given to the utility of facial descriptions themselves, without the additional memory demands. In Experiment 1, participants described face images to their partners, who were then required to select these faces from photographic lineups. Performance was error‐prone when the same image appeared in the lineup (73% correct), and decreased further when a different image of the same face was presented (22% correct). We found some evidence to suggest this was due, in part, to difficulties with recognizing that two different images depicted the same person. In Experiment 2, we demonstrated that descriptions of the same face given by different people showed only moderate agreement. Taken together, these results highlight the problematic nature of facial descriptions, even without memory, and their limited utility.

University of Lincoln, College of Social Science Research

Dr Georgina Gous, University of Lincoln, School of Psychology

Dr Robin Kramer, University of Lincoln, School of Psychology


Directive Leading Questions and Preparation Technique Effects on Witness Accuracy

Dr Georgina Gous, University of Lincoln, College of Social Science, School of Psychology

The use of leading questions during cross-examination can undermine the accuracy and completeness of evidence presented in court. Furthermore, increasing numbers of general witnesses are arriving in court unprepared for the experience. In this study, 60 mock witnesses from England and Wales were allocated to one of the three preparation conditions: (a) those who received no familiarization with the cross-examination process, (b) those who received a guidance booklet on cross-examination procedures, and (c) those who underwent an alternative rapport-building protocol. The participants observed a hit-and-run scenario video clip before being cross-examined with either (a) non-directive leading questions or (b) directive leading questions. The results showed that directive leading questioning styles were most detrimental to witness accuracy. Neither familiarization with the types of questions typically employed during cross-examination nor the rapport-building protocol were found to be effective as a preparation strategy to increase accurate responses compared against a control group. Consideration of the impact of directive leading question styles on all witnesses in court seems necessary.

University of Lincoln, College of Social Science Research

Georgina Gous, University of Lincoln, School of Psychology

Jacqueline Wheatcroft, University of Gloucestershire