Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 1364
Factors associated with formal volunteering among retirees
The present study developed and tested a comprehensive multivariate model designed to assess the relative importance of various factors found or proposed in previous research to be associated with engagement in volunteering among 799 fully retired Australian older adults (62% female; mean age = 71.92 years (SD = 6.69)). Engagement in volunteering in the 12 months preceding the study and a range of sociodemographic, psychological, physical, social, and attitudinal variables were measured. Respondents' perceived personal responsibility to volunteer was found to be especially important in the tested model. This variable was directly associated with engagement in volunteering and acted as an important mediator between the following variables and volunteering engagement: personal growth, social connectedness, religious attendance, self-rated health, and depression. Efforts to increase volunteering engagement among older adults may therefore need to target perceptions of their responsibility to volunteer. Especially important focus areas for future strategies may include increasing social connectedness, facilitating personal growth, and improving self-rated health.
Improving Attitudes to Volunteering Among Older Adults: A Randomized Trial Approach
(SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC, 2019-10-09)
Promoting engagement in formal volunteering represents a potential means of facilitating healthy aging. Given reluctance to participate in volunteering has been partially attributed to negative perceptions of various aspects of this activity, this study assessed whether trialing volunteering can improve perceptions among older people. Using a parallel-group design, Australians aged 60+ years (n = 445) were randomly assigned to one of two conditions, one in which they were encouraged to trial volunteering and one in which they were asked to continue their usual activities. Perceptions and attitudes among those in the volunteering condition became significantly more favorable over 6 months relative to those in the control condition, with this change predicted by several aspects of the volunteering experience (e.g., acquisition of skills, increased social connectedness). Providing access to roles that cater to the learning and social needs of older adults appears to be important for improving attitudes toward engaging in volunteer work.
Aspects of formal volunteering that contribute to favourable psychological outcomes in older adults
Although there is a large body of evidence documenting the benefits of engagement in formal volunteering among older people, research assessing the specific aspects of the volunteering experience that are associated with these benefits is limited. Accordingly, the objective of this study was to (i) examine the aspects of volunteering that predict improvements or declines in older people’s psychological outcomes over time and (ii) assess the extent to which demographic characteristics and time spent engaging in informal volunteering moderate the relationship between aspects of volunteering and potential outcomes. At Time 1, non-volunteering Australian older adults completed measures assessing their subjective well-being, eudemonic well-being, and psychological resources and were asked to commence volunteering. At Time 2 (six months later), participants completed the same measures and reported on their volunteering experiences. Among the 108 older adults who provided usable data at both time points (average age = 69.86 years, 64% women), the degree to which participants felt overwhelmed by their volunteer work significantly predicted declines in subjective well-being and psychological resources. The perceived importance of the cause for which participants reported volunteering and the perceived meaningfulness of the specific activities undertaken predicted improvements in these outcomes. Volunteering roles for older adults that (i) are not considered overwhelming, (ii) fulfil their desire to volunteer for a cause about which they are genuinely concerned, and (iii) involve activities perceived to be meaningful are likely to produce the favourable psychological outcomes.
Recalling Experiences: Looking at Momentary, Retrospective and Global Assessments of Relationship Satisfaction
(University of California Press, 2020-01-01)
<jats:p>Relationship satisfaction can be assessed in retrospection, as a global evaluation, or as a momentary state. In two experience sampling studies (N = 130, N = 510) the specificities of these assessment modalities are examined. We show that 1) compared to other summary statistics like the median, the mean of relationship satisfaction states describes retrospective and global evaluations best (but the difference to some other summary statistics was negligible); 2) retrospection introduces an overestimation of the average annoyance in the relationship reported on a momentary basis, which results in an overall negative mean-level bias for retrospective relationship satisfaction; 3) this bias is most strongly moderated by global relationship satisfaction at the time of retrospection; 4) snapshots of momentary relationship satisfaction get representative of global evaluations after approximately two weeks of sampling. The findings extend the recall bias reported in the literature for retrospection of negative affect to the domain of relationship evaluations and assist researchers in designing efficient experience sampling studies.</jats:p>
Under What Conditions Does Prosocial Spending Promote Happiness?
(University of California Press, 2020-01-01)
<jats:p>Under what conditions does prosocial spending promote happiness? In a series of appropriately powered and pre-registered experiments, the present research revisited the role of impact, social connection, and perceived choice in maximizing the emotional benefits of spending money on others. In two exploratory studies, we found that happy (vs. less happy) prosocial spending experiences were marked by higher levels of impact, social connection and perceived choice (Study 1a and 1b). Consistent with these initial findings, three pre-registered studies confirmed that spending money on others was particularly rewarding when people were able to see the difference their generosity made (Study 2); when they felt a sense of social connection to the person or cause they were helping (Study 3); and when they felt that the decision to help was freely chosen (Study 4). Together, our findings corroborate previous research on impact, social connection and perceived choice, and highlight the importance of considering these key variables when evaluating old and new evidence on the emotional benefits of prosocial spending. In addition, our findings suggest that charitable organizations and policymakers should review their current solicitation strategies and pay more attention to people’s sense of impact, connection and choice when seeking charitable donations.</jats:p>
Learning Habits: Does Overtraining Lead to Resistance to New Learning?
(University of California Press, 2020-01-01)
<jats:p>We explore the development of habitual responding within the colour-word contingency learning paradigm, in which participants respond to the colour of neutral words. Each word is most often presented in one colour. Learning is indicated by faster responses to the colour when the word is presented in the expected rather than in the unexpected colour. In Experiment 1, participants took part in two sessions, separated by one day. Critically, one set of words was trained across both days, and other new sets of words were introduced at various time points. Overall performance was faster on trials with overtrained words. Additionally, contingency effects were larger for overtrained words than for words introduced on Day 2. Removing the contingency had a similar impact on the learning effect for overtrained and new words. However, during a counterconditioning phase, where the words were made predictive of new colours, the previous contingency continued to influence performance for overtrained words but not for more recently introduced words. Relatedly, the new contingency was not acquired for the overtrained words. The reverse pattern was observed for recently-introduced words, with the newly-introduced contingency rapidly acquired and the influence of the old contingency quickly extinguished. In Experiments 2 and 3, however, both new and old learning effects were observed for both overtrained and recently-acquired contingencies. The net results suggest that while contingency learning effects are highly pliable during initial and subsequent learning, early-acquired contingency knowledge is maintained after removal of the contingency. Implications for models of learning are discussed.</jats:p>
What Drives Our Emotions When We Watch Sporting Events? An ESM Study on the Affective Experience of German Spectators During the 2018 FIFA World Cup
(University of California Press, 2020-01-01)
<jats:p>There is ample evidence that watching sports induces strong emotions that translate into manifold consequential behaviours. However, it is rather ill-understood how exactly spectators’ emotions unfold during soccer matches and what determines their intensity. To address these questions, we used the 2018 FIFA World Cup as a natural quasi-experiment to conduct a pre-registered study on spectators’ emotional experiences. Employing an app-based experience-sampling design, we tracked 251 German spectators during the tournament and assessed high-resolution changes in core affect (valence, activation) throughout soccer matches. Across the three German matches, multi-level models revealed that all spectators exhibited strong changes on both affective dimensions in response to Germany’s performance. Although fans experienced slightly more intense affect than non-fans, particularly during losses, this moderating effect was very small in comparison to the magnitude of the affective fluctuations that occurred independent of fan identity. Taken together, the findings suggest group emotions (collectively felt emotion irrespective of individual affiliation) rather than group-affiliation based emotions (individually felt emotion because of an affiliated group), as the dominant process underlying spectator affect during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.</jats:p>
A Physical Activity and Diet Program Delivered by Artificially Intelligent Virtual Health Coach: Proof-of-Concept Study
(JMIR PUBLICATIONS, INC, 2020-07-10)
BACKGROUND: Poor diet and physical inactivity are leading modifiable causes of death and disease. Advances in artificial intelligence technology present tantalizing opportunities for creating virtual health coaches capable of providing personalized support at scale. OBJECTIVE: This proof of concept study aimed to test the feasibility (recruitment and retention) and preliminary efficacy of physical activity and Mediterranean-style dietary intervention (MedLiPal) delivered via artificially intelligent virtual health coach. METHODS: This 12-week single-arm pre-post study took place in Adelaide, Australia, from March to August 2019. Participants were inactive community-dwelling adults aged 45 to 75 years, recruited through news stories, social media posts, and flyers. The program included access to an artificially intelligent chatbot, Paola, who guided participants through a computer-based individualized introductory session, weekly check-ins, and goal setting, and was available 24/7 to answer questions. Participants used a Garmin Vivofit4 tracker to monitor daily steps, a website with educational materials and recipes, and a printed diet and activity log sheet. Primary outcomes included feasibility (based on recruitment and retention) and preliminary efficacy for changing physical activity and diet. Secondary outcomes were body composition (based on height, weight, and waist circumference) and blood pressure. RESULTS: Over 4 weeks, 99 potential participants registered expressions of interest, with 81 of those screened meeting eligibility criteria. Participants completed a mean of 109.8 (95% CI 1.9-217.7) more minutes of physical activity at week 12 compared with baseline. Mediterranean diet scores increased from a mean of 3.8 out of 14 at baseline, to 9.6 at 12 weeks (mean improvement 5.7 points, 95% CI 4.2-7.3). After 12 weeks, participants lost an average 1.3 kg (95% CI -0.1 to -2.5 kg) and 2.1 cm from their waist circumference (95% CI -3.5 to -0.7 cm). There were no significant changes in blood pressure. Feasibility was excellent in terms of recruitment, retention (90% at 12 weeks), and safety (no adverse events). CONCLUSIONS: An artificially intelligent virtual assistant-led lifestyle-modification intervention was feasible and achieved measurable improvements in physical activity, diet, and body composition at 12 weeks. Future research examining artificially intelligent interventions at scale, and for other health purposes, is warranted.
Why Moral Advocacy Leads to Polarization and Proselytization: The Role of Self-Persuasion
<p xmlns="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/JATS1">This research is the first to examine the effects of moral versus practical pro-attitudinal advocacy in the context of self-persuasion. We validate a novel advocacy paradigm aimed at uncovering why moral advocacy leads to polarization and proselytization. We investigate four distinct possibilities: (1) expression of moral foundational values (harm, fairness, loyalty, authority, purity), (2) reliance on moral systems (deontology and consequentialism), (3) expression of moral outrage, (4) increased confidence in one’s advocacy attempt. In Study 1 (N = 255) we find differences between moral and practical advocacy on the five moral foundations, deontology, and moral outrage. In Study 2 (N = 218) we replicate these differences, but find that only the expression of moral foundations is consequential in predicting attitude polarization. In Study 3 (N = 115) we replicate the effect of moral foundations on proselytization. Our findings suggest that practical compared to moral advocacy may attenuate polarization and proselytization. This carries implications for how advocacy can be re-framed in ways which minimize social conflict.</p>
Child concussion recognition and recovery: a community delivered, evidenced-based solution
(AME PUBL CO, 2020-05-01)
Pediatric concussion is a growing health concern. Concussion is generally poorly understood within the community. Many parents are unaware of the signs and varying symptoms of concussion. Despite the existence of concussion management and return to play guidelines, few parents are aware of how to manage their child's recovery and return to activities. Digital health technology can improve the way this information is communicated to the community. A multidisciplinary team of pediatric concussion researchers and clinicians translated evidence-based, gold-standard guidelines and tools into a smartphone application with recognition and recovery components. HeadCheck is a community facing digital health application developed in Australia (not associated with HeadCheck Health) for management of concussion in children aged 5-18 years. The application consists of (I) a sideline concussion check and (II) symptom monitoring and symptom-targeted psychoeducation to assist the parent manage their child's safe return to school, exercise and sport. The application was tested with target end users as part of the development process. HeadCheck provides an accessible platform for disseminating best practice evidence. It provides feedback to help recognize a concussion and symptoms of more serious injuries and assists parents guide their child's recovery.
Putting the Self in Self-Correction: Findings From the Loss-of-Confidence Project
(SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD, 2021-03-01)
Science is often perceived to be a self-correcting enterprise. In principle, the assessment of scientific claims is supposed to proceed in a cumulative fashion, with the reigning theories of the day progressively approximating truth more accurately over time. In practice, however, cumulative self-correction tends to proceed less efficiently than one might naively suppose. Far from evaluating new evidence dispassionately and infallibly, individual scientists often cling stubbornly to prior findings. Here we explore the dynamics of scientific self-correction at an individual rather than collective level. In 13 written statements, researchers from diverse branches of psychology share why and how they have lost confidence in one of their own published findings. We qualitatively characterize these disclosures and explore their implications. A cross-disciplinary survey suggests that such loss-of-confidence sentiments are surprisingly common among members of the broader scientific population yet rarely become part of the public record. We argue that removing barriers to self-correction at the individual level is imperative if the scientific community as a whole is to achieve the ideal of efficient self-correction.
Trends in Social Norms Towards Smoking Between 2002 and 2015 Among Daily Smokers: Findings From the International Tobacco Control Four Country Survey (ITC 4C)
(OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2021-01-01)
OBJECTIVE: To assess trends in daily smokers' social norms and opinions of smoking between 2002 and 2015 in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. METHOD: Data were from wave 1 (2002) to wave 9 (2013-2015) of the longitudinal International Tobacco Control Four Country Survey (Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia), involving 23 831 adult daily smokers. Generalized estimating equation logistic regression models, adjusted for demographics and survey design effects, assessed associations of wave and country with outcomes: (A) over half of five closest friends smoke, (B) agreeing that people important to you believe you should not smoke, (C) agreeing that society disapproves of smoking, and (D) negative opinion of smoking. RESULTS: Between 2002 and 2015, adjusting for covariates, (A) over half of five closest friends smoke did not change (56% vs. 55%; adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.95 [95% Confidence Interval = 0.85-1.07]), (B) agreeing that people important to you believe you should not smoke generally decreased (89% vs. 82%; AOR = 0.54 [0.46-0.64]) despite an increase around 2006-2007, (C) agreeing that society disapproves of smoking increased between 2002 and 2006-2007 (83% vs. 87%; AOR = 1.38 [1.24-1.54]) then decreased until 2013-2015 (78%; AOR = 0.74 [0.63-0.88]), and (D) negative opinion of smoking decreased between 2002 and 2010-2011 (54% vs. 49%; AOR = 0.83 [0.75-0.91]) despite an increase around 2005-2006 and at the final wave (2013-2015). Except friend smoking, Canada had the greatest, and the United Kingdom the lowest, antismoking social norms and opinions. CONCLUSIONS: Except friend smoking and opinion of smoking, daily smokers' social norms became less antismoking between 2002 and 2015 despite increases around 2006-2007. Several potential explanations are discussed yet remain undetermined. IMPLICATIONS: Increasingly comprehensive tobacco control policies alongside decreasing smoking prevalence in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia have led to the assumption that smoking has become denormalized in these countries. Absent from the literature is any formal assessment of social norms towards smoking over time. Contrary to our hypotheses, this study found that the injunctive social norms of daily smokers became less antismoking between 2002 and 2015, despite increases around 2006-2007. There was no change over time in the proportion of daily smokers who report that over half of their five closest friends smoke.