Wesson, Caroline J. (University of Wolverhampton, 2005-11)
This thesis reports a series of nine inter-linked experiments examining the influence of different levels of verbal confidence on choice and interpersonal perceptions. Chapter 1 identifies the levels of confidence associated with some everyday expressions of confidence, expressions that are used as ‘confidence cues’ in subsequent experimental chapters. Chapter 2 examines the influence of confidence cues with different types of task, and Chapter 3 relates these influences to individual differences. Chapter 4 considers our perceptions of speakers who express different levels of confidence, then Chapters 5 and 6 examine whether these perceptions, and the subsequent use of their information, change when performance feedback is made available. Chapter 7 examines whether our own confidence level affects the extent to which a speaker’s confidence influences us then Chapter 8 determines if a speaker’s confidence exerts a positive or negative influence, while Chapter 9 investigates how the influence of confidence is influenced by the timing of the advice. The results indicate that confidence is an effective form of influence, providing evidence that a confidence heuristic is used, whereby a speaker’s confidence is taken as a cue to their accuracy, knowledge, and competency. The extent to which the confidence heuristic is used when making choices strongly depends on one’s own level of confidence, whether this was due to the type of task being tackled, the difficulty of the task, or the timing of the advice, with people relying more on the confidence heuristic as their own confidence decreased, although there were some individual differences mediating the extent of this. Increasing levels of speaker confidence lead to speakers being perceived more positively in terms of competency, but too much confidence was found to be detrimental in terms of how much a speaker was liked. Issues raised by this thesis, and directions for further research are considered in the Discussion.
Harrington, Val (University of Wolverhampton, 2011-02)
Some seven percent of children in the general population are affected by Specific Language Impairment and/or Pragmatic Language Impairment with numerous cases undiagnosed. It is known that difficulty in communication affects psychosocial functioning and is likely to be a source of mental distress but the data on people’s access to and benefit from psychological intervention are limited. There is also limited understanding of psychologists’ capacity to meet these clients’ needs although their problems continue into adulthood. This research questions the population of counselling and clinical psychologists about their knowledge and experience of these disorders using an electronic questionnaire. Qualitative methods were then adopted with three participants with SLI/PLI and four psychologist practitioners familiar with such clients; this involved semi-structured interviews analysed using IPA and TA respectively. The purpose was to interpret and develop the clients' lived experiences into themes which were then used to look for possible connecting themes in the psychologists’ transcripts. This process was termed "interconnection" and was intended to reveal the coincidence and convergence of the two sides of the client/psychologist dyad. Results showed that whereas findings demonstrated the young men possessed a spectrum of coping and defence strategies as constituent parts of resilience, including self-esteem, self-identity and self-efficacy, the psychologists did not see the client as a congruent whole, addressing either their impairment or their mental health problem. Client resiliencies were not used in therapy and psychosocial difficulties were not recognised as a focus of distress although they did endeavour to modify their therapeutic approaches. Finally, consideration is given to whether the research aim is met, the implications for counselling psychology and possible future research. It is proposed that this methodology of interconnection has the potential to provide a novel approach to inform any future research and service development for this and other client groups in the way it takes patients/clients into account and connects them with professional working.
Carrington, Karen (University of Wolverhampton, 2007)
This thesis comprises three main sections: a literature review, research report, and a critical appraisal of the research process. The literature reviewed is the existing research relating to trust as a construct. An attempt is made to clarify the conceptual confusion that exists in the area, by suggesting a comprehensive definition of what is meant by the term trust for the purposes of both the current study and future research. The importance of trust in relation to mental health and therapeutic relationships is discussed. Current measures of the construct are critically examined, and the ‘scientist’ versus ‘humanist’ divide is explored. It is concluded that a new multidimensional trust measure is required to further research efforts in the area. The aim of the research project was to develop a trust measure to form a part of a larger endeavour to operationalise the concept of mental health via key set of basic human emotions and responses. The research reported in Section 2 consists of a Pilot Test, Main Study, and follow up validation study of a new multidimensional measure of trust. Three bases of trust were hypothesised and tested. These were: self trust, interpersonal trust, and environmental trust (that is, trust in wider social, cultural, or political context). A new measure was constructed and validity tested using an inductive approach, and the relationship between trust and trait anxiety was also examined. The results supported the hypothesis that trust is a multidimensional construct, and demonstrated a strong relationship between trust and trait anxiety. It is hoped that this work will rekindle research interest in this important area. The final section is the researcher’s critical appraisal of the research process based on her personal research diary. It is a reflective piece that examines the impact of the research on the researcher (and vice versa) and the critical events in the research process.
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