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Fourth Annual Spring Conference 2015: PhD Posters Exhibition

May 22, 2015

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6 May 2015
Ron Cooke Hub, University of York

Posters Abstracts

1. Sinan Akyuz
Town and Regional Planning, University of Sheffield
Redevelopment squatter settlements neighbourhoods in Turkey
Squatter settlements neighbourhoods and their inhabitants have long been a focus of Turkish academic research. More recently, however, research has shifted to focus more on the transformation/redevelopment of these neighbourhoods.

While research on urban transformation projects in Ankara have tended to focus on gentrification of the gecekondu areas, there is a need for a more comprehensive understanding of the ongoing process in Ankara and in Turkey, generally. Because the scope of the projects are massive and redevelopment projects have been implemented at nationwide.

The aim and the possible contribution of the my research to knowledge will be to understand the massive process of building and rebuilding with strong state enrolment taking the present time and its impact squatter settlements neighbourhoods.

2. Zakiya Al-Afifi
Environment, University of York
How valuable are mangroves in Oman? A comparison of three contrasting ecosystems (PDF, 1.03MB)
Mangroves are the only salt-tolerant trees inhabiting the intertidal zones of tropical and subtropical latitudes on Earth. These unique ecosystems contribute valuably to the welfare of humans through their ecological, economic and cultural values. This research aims to explore the role of mangrove ecosystems in Qurum, Sawadi and Mahout for human welfare in Oman. Each mangrove ecosystem in this study is characterised distinctively from the others. Qurum is a natural reserve since 1975, while Sawadi has been under restoration and afforestation since 2003. The Mahout ecosystem is one of the naturally existing forests in Oman and experiences interactions with local people and the ecosystem itself. The key objectives of the research are to: 1) Identify and highlight the contribution of the study areas to community wellbeing based on the 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment framework for ecosystem services. 2) Valuate the services offered by these ecosystems using different techniques applicable for each location, for instance the Total Economic Value Approach. 3) Identify the drivers for environmental change for these mangrove ecosystems. 4) Recommend for sustainable management of mangroves forests at the national level in Oman. The research uses mainly secondary data as well as primary data from interviews, questionnaires and possibly economic valuation techniques.

3. Moustafa Amrate
Education, University of York
The role of environment, task and modes of interaction in developing EFL learners’ oral fluency: A comparative study between the online and the traditional speaking class
The continuous development in the world of information and communication technologies (ICT) revolutionized the educational process. This research work aims to investigate the impact of environment, task and modes of interaction on EFL learners’ oral performance through an experimental study that will manipulate all the necessary variables in order to compare between the online and the traditional class of speaking. Participants in this study are going to be intermediate level EFL learners sharing the same educational background. The needed data are going to be collected through the implementation of three main different tasks within various modes of interaction to investigate their influence on learners’ oral output. This study will offer us a new perspective about the nature of the speaking class in both, the online and the traditional class of speaking. Furthermore, the findings of this research will lead us to understand why EFL learners perform differently in different environments.

4. Haffiezhah Azlan
Psychology, University of Sheffield
Examining the implications of three distinct disgust orientations in cancer
As an emotion that evolved to protect against disease, disgust is a critical affect in health contexts. Anecdotal and qualitative evidence suggest it may play a particularly important role in patients’ psychological responding to cancer. The objective of this study was to quantitatively examine the role of disgust in cancer experiences, exploring the implications of three related, yet distinct, disgust constructs: “disgust propensity”, “disgust sensitivity”, and “self-disgust”. One hundred cancer patients were enrolled onto a case-control study, along with 100 healthy control subjects, matched by age and gender. Results showed that sensitivity to disgust and disgust towards physical and behavioural aspects of the self was higher in the cancer sample than in the general healthy sample. Elucidating the role of disgust in patients’ responses to cancer has important implications for understanding the emotional processes that affect their well-being and how these may be approached clinically.

5. Carla Chivers
Psychology, University of Sheffield
Death in the courtroom: mortality saliency and legal decision making
A robust finding in Terror Management Theory research is that reminders of death evoke favourable responses towards those who validate ones worldviews and unfavourable towards those who violate worldviews. In the courtroom the suspected illegal behaviour of defendants represents a potential violation of one of most fundamental value systems in society, the law. Over a series of studies we demonstrate how reminders to mortality, both of our own and that of others, can lead mock jurors to unduly judge suspected legal transgressors unfavourably. The implications of these findings for the premise of an impartial jury are discussed.

6. Raudah Danila
Information Studies, University of Sheffield
Electronic filing information system: the case of Malaysian tax intermediaries
The study intent to look into the E-Filing impact within the Malaysia E-Government initiatives. Since its introduction in 2006 by Malaysian IRB, E-Filing aims to facilitate tax compliance and to provide taxpayers service through the use of internet technologies and the World Wide Web. The researcher is interested in the usage of E-Filing among the tax intermediary which providing services to the SMEs companies. The objectives are three folds;

  1. To identify the challenges faced by the SMEs in using the E-Filing.
  2. To understand the roles of the tax intermediary in overcoming the challenges.
  3. To find out whether there are challenges not resolved by the tax intermediary that may require improvement in the E-Filing system.

7. Daniel Denis
Psychology, University of Sheffield
A twin and molecular genetics study of sleep paralysis (PDF, 423KB)
Sleep paralysis is a poorly understood condition where one awakes from REM stage sleep and experiences a period of inability to perform voluntary movements, and is often accompanied by a wide range of terrifying hallucinations.

Here we present data from the first study of sleep paralysis using a twin sample to ascertain the relative contribution of genetic and environment influences that can account for variability in the experience of sleep paralysis.

Sleep paralysis was independently related to self-report anxiety symptoms, subjective sleep quality, and exposure to threatening life events. Behavioural genetic analyses showed there to be an important genetic component to sleep paralysis (53%). We also show preliminary evidence that polymorphisms in the PER2 gene are associated with sleep paralysis, though significance wasn’t reached once Bonferroni corrections were applied.
We suggest that further investigation into the role of circadian expressed genes to be an exciting avenue for future research.

8. Arwa Gandeel
Education, University of Leeds
Do their beliefs matter? A study of teachers’ beliefs and the teaching of speaking (PDF, 2.33MB)
It is now widely accepted that to understand what teachers do in the classroom we need to gain insight into the beliefs that shape their work. In this poster I report the general findings of my qualitative research study on Saudi teachers’ beliefs and practices regarding the teaching of speaking. The study included five case studies. The participants were five female Saudi untrained English language teachers who are teaching English to the preparatory year students in a Saudi University. The data was collected through semi-structured interviews and classroom observations. This poster focuses on teachers’ beliefs and their teaching practices and the relationship between these beliefs and practices.

9. Sarah Knight
Environment, University of York
The impact of natural capital on subjective well-being (PDF, 4.4MB)
The World Health Organisation defines health as a “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease”. The impact of social and economic capital on human health and well-being is relatively well understood, for example unemployment and inflation rates are directly related to levels of low human well-being. The contribution of natural capital is still poorly explored. This project will examine the relative contribution of the physical environment on self-reported life satisfaction. Using the British Household Panel Survey and a selection of environmental datasets, the research questions this project seeks to address include: a) to what extent are the espoused relationships between the physical environment and well-being causally linked? b) How does the effect of natural capital on well-being compare with the impact of economic and social capital? c) Are there demographics or geographies that are particularly disadvantaged when it comes to environmental endowments?

10. Maria-Margarita Makri
Linguistics, University of York
Linguistic variation in comparisons
This paper focuses on the cross-linguistic variation of comparisons (1), which are a universal of human cognition. (1) George is taller than Mary. In light of compositional semantics, where the meaning of the sentence is derived only from the meaning of its words and their grammatical relations, this research tests two competing hypotheses regarding the meaning of comparisons. The first one assumes that (1) assigns George and Mary different positions on a scale of height while according to the second hypothesis, (1) means that “George is tall to an extent that Mary is not.”. Evidence for the latter is drawn from Romance languages (French, Italian, Catalan) that have an overt negation («not») in the than-clause. By comparing data from French, Italian, Catalan, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese I argue for the former hypothesis and propose that the negation in the French, Italian and Catalan comparatives is a marker of emphasis (focus).

11. Aini Azeqa Ma’rof
Psychology, University of Sheffield
Intergroup anxiety and prosocial behaviour tendencies: maximizing the impact of imagined contact in promoting helping behavior
Research in imagined contact has demonstrated a unique, positive impact on a range of outcomes associated with more positive intergroup relations. In two studies, we explored in which conditions that imagined contact would give greater impact in reducing intergroup anxiety and promoting intergroup helping behaviour. Participants who had imagined a positive contact and helping behaviour towards Arab Muslims (Study 1) and Malaysian Chinese (Study 2) from a third-person perspective reported greater altruistic behaviour, lowered egoistic prosocial behaviour and increased willingness in monetary donations. This relationship also mediated by intergroup anxiety. These findings supported studies that imagining contact from a third person perspective heightens the impact on intergroup attitudes and intergroup behaviour. These results have further significant implications for implementation in educational settings and considerations in social policy-making.

12. Eric Marr
Environment, University of York
Food production or environmental conservation: competition for land in the United Kingdom and Canada (PDF, 2.1MB)
By 2050 the world’s population is projected to surpass 9 billion people which will require global food production to increase by as much as 100 per cent. At the same time, farmers are increasingly expected to provide more than an adequate supply of food but also ensure a range of other ecosystem services, such as environmental conservation. How can both of these objectives be achieved on a finite land base? This study will explore this issue within two regions, Canada and the UK, first by conducting a comparative analysis of land use policies, supplemented by in-depth interviews with policymakers/stakeholders, and secondly by conducting in-depth interviews with farmers to better understand the motivations behind decisions to produce food and/or set-aside land for environmental purposes. Overall, the aim of this research is to support the creation of land use policies that better achieve both food production and environmental conservation objectives.

13. Monica Ortiz
Geography, University of Sheffield
Assessing the impacts of climate change on wheat production in Europe (PDF, 1.79MB)
Climate change is expected to have adverse impacts on the physical, social, economic, health and political systems of our global society and the environment. It is clear that climate change is no longer solely an environmental problem but a serious issue of development. Food security is a central issue in development, and achieving food security is part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Thus, there is a need to understand the impacts of climate change on agriculture in order to make strategic actions toward adaptation. Because wheat is one of the most important crops for the world and for Europe, the impacts of climate change on wheat production need to be understood. My project will couple climate modelling and crop modelling to provide estimates of crop yields in Europe to the end of this century in an attempt to investigate the impacts of changes on wheat.

14. Giulia Poerio
Psychology, University of Sheffield
Social daydreams: frequency, phenomenology and perceived functions
A remarkable feature of the human mind is its ability to escape the constraints of the external environment to mentally simulate past, and possible future, realities. Such mental activity often occurs as daydreaming where mental content is independent of the thinker’s external environment and current task. Daydreaming occupies a central position in mental life consuming up to 50% of waking thought. Although daydreaming research has burgeoned in recent years, little is known about its social nature. 101 participants took part in a two-day experience-sampling study to provide new empirical data on the frequency, content, phenomenology, and perceived functions of social daydreams. Results indicated that social daydreams were: more common than non-social daydreams, tended to involve real-life significant others, and served various interpersonal functions (e.g. problem solving and decision-making). Findings suggest that daydreaming is a pervasive form of social cognition that may help us to successfully navigate our social worlds.

15. Yuri van Hoef
Politics and International Studies, University of Leeds
Why Friendship in Politics matters
Friendship between American and European heads of state and government has played an important role in postwar world politics. While friendship between states as a research theme has recently been embraced by political scientists, scholars have steered clear of the implications of such a close personal bond on individual political actors. This PhD-project aims to address that oversight by operationalizing the concept of friendship for use in the humanities and social sciences, and to explain to what extent friendly relationships between European and American heads of government have influenced world politics in modern history.

16. Lorraine Warrington
Psychosocial Oncology, University of Leeds
Developing a system for cancer patients to report symptoms and side-effects of treatment online (eRAPID): Patient experiences from a usability study (PDF, 2.8MB)
Background: eRAPID is an online system for patients to report symptoms during and after cancer treatment. Patients receive self-management advice for mild symptoms and are advised to contact the hospital for more serious symptoms. Responses are documented in individual electronic records.

Aim: To assess patient experience of eRAPID in a usability study to streamline future implementation in an RCT.

Method: Women receiving chemotherapy for early breast cancer had access to eRAPID for 4 cycles of chemotherapy. Patients completed interviews at the end of the study which were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed thematically using NVivo 10 software.

Results: 11 patients were interviewed. Experiences of using eRAPID were very positive. The main themes which emerged were increasing knowledge and confidence, supporting decision making and using the system as a coping strategy.

Conclusion: eRAPID has the potential to improve patient’s self-efficacy, knowledge and confidence with managing symptoms during treatment. We will explore this further during a large-scale RCT.