Improving eyewitness testimony

by Laura Mickes and Travis Seale-Carlisle

Crime rates across the UK are on the rise with knife and acid attacks featured prominently and regularly in the news. Eyewitnesses can provide valuable evidence, but the way that evidence is collected and used needs much improvement. Psychology has had a lot to say about memory in general and the pitfalls of memory as an accurate recording of past experiences. Fortunately, the solutions are simple and inexpensive.

Eyewitnesses to crimes are often asked to try to identify the perpetrator out of an identity parade. They do not have to pick anyone, but if they did, the person is either a stooge (known innocents) or the suspect. If the suspect is picked, then that provides evidence against that person.

It’s good news if that person is guilty. But it’s bad news if that person is innocent. Continue reading

Reflections on 2018

by Jennifer Rubin

As we come to the end of a busy year in the research landscape, it’s been an exciting and challenging time to take up the role of Executive Chair of the ESRC. The year has brought organisational changes, numerous societal challenges with which social science can help, and the advent of large new funds in UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to support research across disciplines and sectors to facilitate this. Continue reading

The technology revolution

by Scott Corfe

The First Industrial Revolution saw water and steam used to power and mechanise production. The Second used electric power to create mass production. The Third used electronics and information technology to automate production.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is building on the Third, the digital revolution that has been occurring since the middle of the last century. It is characterised by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres. These technologies include artificial intelligence, big data, machine learning and “the internet of things” which is seeing an increasing proportion of household and business appliances connected to the internet. Continue reading

Helping parents and children to get ready for school

by Helen Victoria Smith

Making sure children have the right opportunities for learning and development in their earliest years so they can be ‘school-ready’ has been a key part of successive UK governments’ approaches to raising educational achievement and promoting economic progress. But concerns around large numbers of children arriving at school without the skills they need to succeed have been steadily growing.

Based on a study in a small town in the East Midlands, my research revealed how mothers of children under five and early years’ professionals understood the concept of ‘school readiness’ and how this shaped what they did. Continue reading