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‘Murder map’ reveals medieval London’s meanest streets

Cambridge University NewsFeed - Wed, 11/28/2018 - 00:06

Shot with an arrow during a student street brawl. Beaten to death for littering with eel skins. Stabbed by a lover with a fish-gutting knife. Shanked by a sore loser after late-night backgammon. 

These were just some of the ways to die violently in the city of London during the 14th century, as catalogued in the ‘Coroners’ Rolls’: the records of the medieval official tasked with documenting sudden and unnatural death – whether accident, suicide or homicide. 

Now, University of Cambridge criminologist Professor Manuel Eisner has plotted all cases of murder from the surviving rolls – covering the years 1300 to 1340 – onto a digital map of the old city to show for the first time the ‘hot spots’ of lethal violence in medieval London.

Building on work conducted by the historian Barbara Hannawalt over forty years ago, Eisner has also produced an analysis of the 142 homicides committed within the city’s boundaries to reveal not just locations but the days, times and favoured methods.

The “murder map” of medieval London will be made publicly available on Wednesday on the website of the Violence Research Centre, which will also host a launch event at 5pm today at the Institute of Criminology.

“Following notification of a violent death, the Coroner and Sheriffs would summon a jury from the local area to investigate, then record all the findings,” said Eisner.

“The events described in the Coroners’ Rolls show weapons were never far away, male honour had to be protected, and conflicts easily got out of hand. They give us a detailed picture of how homicide was embedded in the rhythms of urban medieval life.”

“By digitally mapping these murder cases, we hope to create an accessible resource for the public to explore these remarkable records,” he said.

Eisner’s map allows people to filter the murders by year, weapon and crime scene, and has updated the language of each case description for modern audiences.      

While the map shows murders occurred across the city, two main homicide ‘hot spots’ emerge, both commercial centres of the time. One was the stretch of Cheapside from St Mary-le-Bow church – the ‘bow bells’ of cockney legend – leading up to St Paul’s Cathedral.

The other was further east: the triangle of Gracechurch, Lombard (then ‘Langbourn’) and Cornhill streets that radiate out from Leadenhall market, the history of which can be traced back to the 14th century.

The majority of murders, some 68%, took place in London’s busy streets and markets, with 21% occurring in private residences. Religious buildings (six murders) may have been more dangerous than brothels (two murders).

As today, medieval homicide was a weekend activity, with almost a third (31%) of murders taking place on a Sunday. “Sunday was the day when people had time to engage in social activities, such as drinking and gaming, which would often trigger frictions that led to assault,” said Eisner.

Around 77% of murders were committed between early evenings, “around the hour of vespers”, and the first hours after curfew. Daggers and swords dominate the list of murder weapons, used in 68% of all cases. Thick ‘quarter staff’ poles designed for close combat were used in 19% of cases.

Almost all (92%) perpetrators were men. In just four cases a woman was the only suspect. About a third of the cases had more than one suspect, with a number of murders involving brothers or servants helping masters.

Estimates for London populations in the 14th century range from 40,000 to 100,000. Assuming a city of 80,000, Eisner suggests that medieval London murder rates were about 15-20 times higher than we would expect to see in a contemporary UK town of equivalent size.

However, he argues that comparisons with modern society are problematic. “We have firearms, but we also have emergency services. It’s easier to kill but easier to save lives.”

In fact, death by murder could be a slow process in the 14th century. “Over 18% of victims survived at least a week after the initial trauma, probably dying eventually from infections or blood loss,” said Eisner.

One saddle-maker who had his fingers cut off by a rival died of his wounds – and consequently became a murder victim – a full three weeks later.

While his work takes in everything from bullying prevention to youth crime, violence reduction across the centuries is a major research strand for Prof Eisner. He has studied long-term historical trends in homicide from 1000AD onwards.    

“London in the decades before the Black Death had more homicides relative to the population than London in the 18th or 19th century,” added Eisner.

“The trend in London is in line with the long-term decline of homicide found across cities in Western Europe, a decline that led to the pacified spaces that were essential for the rise of urban life and civility in Europe.”

First digital map of the murders recorded by the city's Coroner in early 1300s shows Cheapside and Cornhill were homicide ‘hot spots’, and Sundays held the highest risk of violent death for medieval Londoners.

The events described in the Coroners’ Rolls show weapons were never far away, male honour had to be protected, and conflicts easily got out of handManuel EisnerViolence Research CentreA screenshot of the 'murder map'


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MATCH REPORT | CREWE 2 CAMBRIDGE UNITED 0

Cambridge United News Feed - Tue, 11/27/2018 - 21:45

Match Reports

A late goal in each half saw Crewe Alexandra defeat Cambridge United 2-0 in Sky Bet League Two.

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BETTER CONSISTENCY KEY TO UNITED “GETTING INTO THE GROOVE” SAYS IBEHRE

Cambridge United News Feed - Tue, 11/27/2018 - 13:54

Club News

Jabo Ibehre says the U’s must consistently display the levels of spirit and fight from Saturday’s encounter with Bury, if they are to take advantage of the ability within the first team group.

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AI system may accelerate search for cancer discoveries

Cambridge University NewsFeed - Tue, 11/27/2018 - 12:09

The system, called LION LBD and developed by computer scientists and cancer researchers at the University of Cambridge, has been designed to assist scientists in the search for cancer-related discoveries. It is the first literature-based discovery system aimed at supporting cancer research. The results are reported in the journal Bioinformatics.                            

Global cancer research attracts massive amounts of funding worldwide, and the scientific literature is now so huge that researchers are struggling to keep up with it: critical hypothesis-generating evidence is now often discovered long after it was published.

Cancer is a complex class of diseases that are not completely understood and are the second-leading cause of death worldwide. Cancer development involves changes in numerous chemical and biochemical molecules, reactions and pathways, and cancer research is being conducted across a wide variety of scientific fields, which have variability in the way that they describe similar concepts.

“As a cancer researcher, even if you knew what you were looking for, there are literally thousands of papers appearing every day,” said Professor Anna Korhonen, Co-Director of Cambridge’s Language Technology Lab who led the development of LION LBD in collaboration with Dr Masashi Narita at Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute and Professor Ulla Stenius at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. “LION LBD uses AI to help scientists keep up-to-date with published discoveries in their field, but could also help them make new discoveries by combining what is already known in the literature by making connections between sources that may appear to be unrelated.”

The ‘LBD’ in LION LBD stands for Literature-Based Discovery, a concept developed in the 1980s which seeks to make new discoveries by combing pieces of information from disconnected sources. The key idea behind the original version of LBD is that concepts that are never explicitly linked in the literature may be indirectly linked through intermediate concepts.

The design of the LION LBD system allows real-time search to discover indirect associations between entities in a database of tens of millions of publications while preserving the ability of users to explore each mention in its original context.

“For example, you may know that a cancer drug affects the behaviour of a certain pathway, but with LION LBD, you may find that a drug developed for a totally different disease affects the same pathway,” said Korhonen.

LION LBD is the first system developed specifically for the needs of cancer research. It has a particular focus on the molecular biology of cancer and uses state-of-the-art machine learning and natural language processing techniques, in order to detect references to the hallmarks of cancer in the text. Evaluations of the system have demonstrated its ability to identify undiscovered links and to rank relevant concepts highly among potential connections.

The system is built using open data, open source and open standards, and is available as an interactive web-based interface or a programmable API.

The researchers are currently working on extending the scope of LION-LBD to include further concepts and relations. They are also working closely with cancer researchers to help and improve the technology for end users.

The system was developed in collaboration with University of Cambridge Language Technology Lab, Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, and Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, and was funded by the Medical Research Council.

Reference:
Sampo Pyysalo et al. ‘LION LBD: a Literature-Based Discovery System for Cancer Biology.’ Bioinformatics (2018). DOI: 10.1093/bioinformatics/bty845

Searching through the mountains of published cancer research could be made easier for scientists, thanks to a new AI system. 

As a cancer researcher, even if you knew what you were looking for, there are literally thousands of papers appearing every dayAnna KorhonenNIH Image GallerySkin cancer cells from a mouse show how cells attach at contact points


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HOME TICKETS | NORTHAMPTON TOWN – CHECKATRADE TROPHY

Cambridge United News Feed - Tue, 11/27/2018 - 11:27

Ticket News

Cambridge United’s Checkatrade Trophy Second Round fixture with Northampton Town at the Abbey Stadium is now one week away, on Tuesday 4th December kicking off at 7:45pm.

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YABA ASKS...JAKE CARROLL

Cambridge United News Feed - Mon, 11/26/2018 - 18:00

Club News

Enjoy the first episode of the new YABA ASKS... feature from fan page YABA | CUFC.

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TAYLOR ON “UNBELIEVABLE FEELING” AFTER THUNDERBOLT EQUALISER

Cambridge United News Feed - Mon, 11/26/2018 - 15:11

Club News

Greg Taylor reflects with great glee on his fine equalising goal against Bury at the Abbey on Saturday, to mark his 200th league appearance in a U’s shirt in quite some fashion.

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Study in mice suggests drug to turn fat ‘brown’ could help fight obesity

Cambridge University NewsFeed - Mon, 11/26/2018 - 13:51

While their study was carried out in mice, they hope that this finding will translate into humans and provide a potential new drug to help fight obesity.

Obesity is a condition in which individuals accumulate more and more fat until their fat stops functioning. This can lead to diseases such as diabetes. However, not all fat tissue is bad: the fat that accumulates in obesity is known as ‘white fat’, but a second form of fat known as ‘brown fat’ could be used to treat obesity.

Both brown and white fat are made up of fat cells known as adipocytes, but in brown fat, these cells are rich in mitochondria – the ‘batteries’ that power our bodies – which give the tissue its brown colour. Brown fat also contains more blood vessels to allow the body to provide it with oxygen and nutrients.

While white fat stories energy, brown fat burns it in a process known as ‘thermogenesis’. When fully activated, just 100g of brown fat can burn 3,400 calories a day – significantly higher than most people’s daily food intake and more than enough to fight obesity.

We all have some brown fat – or brown adipose tissue, as it is also known – in our bodies, but it is found most abundantly in newborns and in hibernating animals (where the heat produced by brown fat enables them to survive even in freezing temperatures). As we age, the amount of brown fat in our bodies decreases.

Just having more brown fat alone is not enough - the tissue also needs to be activated. Currently, the only ways to activate brown fat are to put people in the cold to mimic hibernation, which is both impractical and unpleasant, or to treat them with drugs known as adrenergic agonists, but these can cause heart attacks. It is also necessary to increase the number of blood vessels in the tissue to carry nutrients to the fat cells and the number of nerve cells to allow the brain to ‘switch on’ the tissue.

In 2012, a team led by Professor Toni Vidal-Puig from the Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge, identified a molecule known as BMP8b that regulates the activation of brown fat in both the brain and the body’s tissues. They showed that deleting the gene in mice that produces this protein stopped brown fat from functioning.

Now, in a study published today in the journal Nature Communications, Professor Vidal-Puig has led an international team of researchers which has shown that increasing how much BMP8b mice can produce increases the function of their brown fat. This implies that BMP8b, which is found in the blood, could potentially be used as a drug to increase the amount of brown fat amount in humans as well as making it more active. Further research will be necessary to demonstrate if this is the case.

To carry out their research, the team used mice that had been bred to produce higher levels of the protein in adipose tissue. As anticipated, they found that increasing BMP8b levels changed some of the white fat into brown fat, a process known as beiging and thus increased the amount of energy burnt by the tissue.

They showed that higher levels of BMP8b make the tissue more sensitive to adrenergic signals from nerves – the same pathway target by adrenergic agonist drugs. This may allow lower doses of these drugs to be used to activate brown fat in people, hence reducing their risk of heart attack.

Unexpectedly, but importantly, the team also found that the molecule increased the amount of blood vessels and nerves in brown fat.

“There have been a lot of studies that have found molecules that promote brown fat development, but simply increasing the amount of brown fat will not work to treat disease – it has to be able to get enough nutrients and be turned on,” says Professor Vidal-Puig, lead author of the study.

Co-author Dr Sam Virtue, also from the Institute of Metabolic Science, adds: “It’s like taking a one litre engine out of a car and sticking in a two litre engine in its place. In theory the car can go quicker, but if you only have a tiny fuel pipe to the engine and don’t connect the accelerator pedal it won’t do much good. BMP8b increases the engine size, and fits a new fuel line and connects up the accelerator!”

The research was funded by the British Heart Foundation, Medical Research Council, European Research Council, WHRI-Academy and Wellcome.

Reference
Pellegrinelli, V et al. Adipocyte-1 secreted BMP8b mediates adrenergic-induced remodeling of the neurovascular network in adipose tissue. Nature Communications; 26 Nov 2018; DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-07453-x

Our bodies contain two types of fat: white fat and brown fat. While white fat stores calories, brown fat burns energy and could help us lose weight. Now, scientists at the University of Cambridge have found a way of making the white fat ‘browner’ and increasing the efficiency of brown fat.

There have been a lot of studies that have found molecules that promote brown fat development, but simply increasing the amount of brown fat will not work to treat disease Toni Vidal-PuigTeroVesalainenWeight loss nutrition


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AWAY TICKETS | CREWE ALEXANDRA

Cambridge United News Feed - Mon, 11/26/2018 - 12:55

Ticket News

27/11/18 – K.O. 7:45PM

Cambridge United are back on the road on Tuesday as they make the trip to Crewe Alexandra in Sky Bet League Two.

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MATCH GALLERY | BURY F.C. (H)

Cambridge United News Feed - Mon, 11/26/2018 - 12:30

Club News

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MATCH REPORT | CAMBRIDGE UNITED 2 BURY F.C. 2

Cambridge United News Feed - Sat, 11/24/2018 - 17:50

Match Reports

Ten man United displayed huge heart to fight back from two goals down and secure a dramatic 2-2 draw with Bury F.C. at the Abbey Stadium.

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PLAYER PREVIEW | “GREAT GROUP BELIEF” KEEPS THE U’S FOCUSSED SAYS TAYLOR

Cambridge United News Feed - Fri, 11/23/2018 - 15:55

Club News

A strong mindset and close camaraderie within the U’s first team group is what Greg Taylor pinpoints as a pivotal attribute as United look to improve on recent downfalls.

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ETHOS COMMUNITY HERO OF THE DAY | ELLIOT 'ELMO' MICHELSON

Cambridge United News Feed - Fri, 11/23/2018 - 13:41

Club News

The Ethos Community Hero of the day for the U’s Sky Bet League Two match against Bury F.C is three year old Elmo Michelson.

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EFL CLUBS UNITE FOR RAINBOW LACES TO SUPPORT LGBT EQUALITY

Cambridge United News Feed - Fri, 11/23/2018 - 11:58

Community

Rainbow substitution boards and corner flags to be used at EFL Clubs

EFL Clubs across the country including Cambridge United will unite in their support of LGBT inclusivity by turning their substitution boards and corner flags rainbow coloured to raise awareness of Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign.

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We are all 'others': teaching children to celebrate differences

Cambridge University NewsFeed - Fri, 11/23/2018 - 11:00

At times of dramatic change and conflict, words can become weapons. Europe is transforming: migration, economic crises and Brexit are shaking the continent’s sense of identity, and debate has turned quickly to division and misunderstanding, to angry Twitter exchanges and pumped-up political stand-offs.

Now, a new Europe-wide project led by Cambridge’s Faculty of Education and closely linked to the University of Cambridge Primary School (UCPS) is encouraging better dialogue – by initially removing language altogether.

The three-year DIALLS project (Dialogue and Argumentation for Cultural Literacy Learning in Schools) will use wordless picturebooks and short films as a stimulus for discussion by children in primary and secondary schools. Exploring their individual and collective responses to the texts within school – and with peers in partner countries from Portugal and Cyprus to Israel and Lithuania – will, researchers believe, help children understand their own cultural identities, while also recognising and respecting those of others in a fast-changing and diverse Europe.

“Our approach is to use the skills of dialogue to promote understanding,” says Dr Fiona Maine, a visual literacy specialist and principal investigator for the €4.4 million project, funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 programme and involving nine universities. “To have an effective dialogue, you need to understand other people’s perspectives and where they are coming from, and perhaps critique your own views.”

Texts without words, needing no translation across borders, are an ideal stimulant for cross-cultural debate, Maine says. “These texts are ambiguous, and so give rich opportunities for discussion.”

A preliminary collection of dozens of materials gathered from across Europe since the project’s launch in May 2018 reflects the fact that many picturebooks have resonance for readers of all ages.The Mediterranean, by the Swiss illustrator Armin Greder, is for older readers and tackles themes of displacement and violence, its beautiful charcoal images confronting the tragic reality of refugees lost at sea. Baboon on the Moon, directed by Christopher Duriez, is a quirky animated film in which a baboon is taken from the jungle to top up the moon’s light each day. At first glance, it’s more playful, yet it addresses similarly powerful notions of home and belonging that could be discussed by all ages.

The next task is to whittle the initial selection down to a core set of 45 texts, likely to include some 30 books, with films and potentially artworks making up the total. It is here that children will themselves get involved in the research, with pupils at UCPS – the UK hub for the project – reviewing and choosing alongside their teachers.

“Student voice is important in the selection,” says Maine. “We’ll ask children which they like, but also which they feel give them real opportunities for discussion.”

The chosen texts, divided for different age groups where appropriate, will then be used by partner schools in each of the nine participant countries to stimulate discussion over 15 lesson sequences. The aim is twofold: children in 300 classes across Europe will explore their responses to the ideas prompted by the books and films, but in doing so will also develop their skills in dialogue and argumentation (the structuring of discussion by hearing and building on others’ points of view). These, in turn, underpin the fundamental goal of the project: to develop children’s “cultural literacy” – not in the sense of knowledge of a defined European culture of art and literature, but in an openness to engage with many different interpretations of it.

“For effective dialogue, in essence, you have to be tolerant, empathetic and inclusive of other positions,” says Maine. “Cultural literacy is not about accessing culture, but about a disposition to engage. Through understanding your own heritage, cultural identity and values and how they are positioned, you are better able to see that actually everybody has a slightly different experience. So it is not about saying ‘us and others’: we are all ‘others’.”

Children’s exploration of this ‘otherness’ will begin in the classroom as they discuss texts with fellow pupils, moving on as the project develops to discussions with children elsewhere in their own country (in England, 30 schools will be involved at first, with more in the third year once resources on using the texts are online).

Children across Europe will be able to share their ideas using a specially created digital platform. One landmark will be a semi-virtual conference in May 2020 bringing together school students to share ideas on the themes explored in the wordless texts, leading to the creation of a “manifesto for cultural literacy for young people in Europe” to sit alongside a set of freely available resources for teachers.

Along the way, children will also develop their own ‘cultural artefacts’ – artwork, stories or short films to be made publicly available in a virtual gallery. In the UK, participating teachers will have access to the Faculty of Education for professional development.

For UCPS, with its close ties to the Faculty and strong research mission, the DIALLS project sits perfectly with its own curriculum priorities. “The real key perhaps to the project is to connect teachers and academics and children, and doing that through different texts,” says UCPS Headteacher Dr James Biddulph. “It fits in with our school’s focus on developing compassionate citizens who are actively involved in their world.”

But with its pan-European scope and ambition to promote understanding, is there a risk the DIALLS initiative could seem unduly idealistic in an era of transition, enormous complexity and debates that can seem so intractable that many in the adult world are tempted to turn away and tune out? How can we expect children to make sense of Europe and its different – and changing – cultures, when even we adults frequently seem unable to do so?

For Maine, the goal is not to find cosy solutions to the world’s problems, but to give children more tools to manage difference positively. “This isn’t about finding answers – we aren’t trying to get people to agree, nor even to seek to agree. This is about listening and understanding. It’s about a way of being.”

Read more about our research on the topic of children in the University's research magazine; download a pdf; view on Issuu.

As the world around us increasingly divides into ‘us and others’, the University of Cambridge Primary School is taking part in a new research project to help children discover for themselves that far more unites us than divides us.

This isn’t about finding answers – we aren’t trying to get people to agree, nor even to seek to agree. This is about listening and understanding. It’s about a way of beingFiona MaineLinda Culverwell (ARTBASH)Details from artwork commissioned by the University of Cambridge Primary School featuring paintings by the pupils


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Brexit and Trump voters more likely to believe in conspiracy theories, survey study shows

Cambridge University NewsFeed - Fri, 11/23/2018 - 07:51

The largest cross-national study ever conducted on conspiracy theories suggests that around a third of people in countries such as the UK and France think their governments are “hiding the truth” about immigration, and that voting for Brexit and Trump is associated with a wide range of conspiratorial beliefs – from science denial to takeover plots by Muslim migrants.

The research, conducted as part of the University of Cambridge’s Conspiracy & Democracy project, and based on survey work from the YouGov-Cambridge centre, covers nine countries – US, Britain*, Poland, Italy, France, Germany, Portugal, Sweden, Hungary – and will be presented at a public launch in Cambridge on Friday 23 November.

According to project researcher Dr Hugo Leal, anti-immigration conspiracy theories have been “gaining ground” since the refugee crisis first came to prominence in 2015. “The conspiratorial perception that governments are deliberately hiding the truth about levels of migration appears to be backed by a considerable portion of the population across much of Europe and the United States,” he said.

In Hungary, where controversial Prime Minister Viktor Orban is regularly accused of stoking anti-migrant sentiment, almost half (48%) believe their government is hiding the truth about immigration. Germany was the next highest (35%), with France (32%), Britain (30%) and Sweden (29%) also showing high percentages of this conspiracy among the populace, as well as a fifth (21%) of those in the United States.

Close to half those who voted for Brexit (47%) and Trump (44%) believe their government is hiding the truth about immigration, compared with just 14% of Remain voters and 12% of Clinton voters.  

The researchers also set out to measure the extent of belief in a conspiracy theory known as ‘the great replacement’: the idea that Muslim immigration is part of a bigger plan to make Muslims the majority of a country’s population.

“Originally formulated in French far-right circles, the widespread belief in a supposedly outlandish nativist conspiracy theory known as the ‘great replacement’ is an important marker and predictor of the Trump and Brexit votes,” said Leal. Some 41% of Trump voters and 31% of Brexit voters subscribed to this theory, compared with 3% of Clinton voters and 6% of Remain voters.

Researchers also looked at a number of other popular conspiracy theories. Both Trump and Brexit voters were more likely to believe that climate change is a hoax, vaccines are harmful, and that a group of people “secretly control events and rule the world together”. “We found the existence of a conspiratorial worldview linking both electorates,” said Leal.

He describes the levels of science denial as an “alarming global trend”. In general, researchers found the idea that climate change is a hoax to be far more captivating for right-wing respondents, while scepticism about vaccines was less determined by “ideological affiliation”.

The view that “the truth about the harmful effects of vaccines is being deliberately hidden from the public” ranged from lows of 10% in Britain to a startling quarter of the population – some 26% – in France.      

The conspiracy belief that a secret cabal “control events and rule the world together” varies significantly between European countries such as Portugal (42%) and Sweden (12%). Dr Hugo Drochon, also a researcher on the Leverhulme Trust-funded Conspiracy & Democracy project, suggests this may have “consequences for public policy”.

“We tend to think of conspiracy theorists as isolated individuals who will become convinced you must be ‘part of the plot’ if you try and dissuade them of their beliefs, but there are structural issues at play here too,” said Drogon.

“We found countries that are more unequal and have lower quality of democratic life tend to display higher levels of conspiracy belief, which suggests that conspiracy belief can also be addressed at a more ‘macro’ societal level as well.”

The research team assessed the levels of “conspiracy scepticism” by looking at those who refuted every conspiratorial view in the study. Sweden had the healthiest levels of overall conspiracy scepticism, with 48% rejecting every conspiracy put to them. The UK also had a relatively strong 40% rejection of all conspiracies. Hungary had the lowest, with just 15% of people not taken in by any conspiracy theories.    

Half of both Remain and Clinton voters were conspiracy sceptics, while 29% of Brexit voters and just 16% of Trump voters rejected all conspiracy theories.  

The question of trust, and which professions the public see as trustworthy, was also investigated by researchers. Government and big business came out worst across all countries included in the study. Roughly three-quarters of respondents in Italy, Portugal, Poland, Hungary and Britain say they distrusted government ministers and company CEOs. Distrust of journalists, trade unionists, senior officials of the EU, and religious leaders are also high in all surveyed countries.

Trust in academics, however, was still relatively high, standing at 57% in the US and 64% in Britain. “We hope these findings can provide incentive for academics to reclaim a more active role in the public sphere, particularly when it comes to illuminating the differences between verifiable truths and demonstrable falsehoods,” said Hugo Leal.

Apart from academics, only family and friends escape the general climate of distrust, with trust reaching levels between 80% and 90% in all countries. Leal argues that this might help explain the credibility assigned to “friend mediated” online social networks.

In all surveyed countries apart from Germany, about half the respondents got their news from social media, with Facebook the preferred platform followed by YouTube. Getting news from social media was less likely to be associated with complete scepticism of conspiracy theories – much less likely in countries such as the US and Italy.

Researchers found that consuming news from YouTube in particular was associated with the adoption of particular conspiratorial views, such as anti-vaccine beliefs in the US and climate change denial in Britain.

“A telling takeaway of the study is that conspiracy theories are, nowadays, mainstream rather than marginal beliefs,” said Leal. “These findings provide important clues to understanding the popularity of populist and nationalist parties contesting elections across much of the western world”, he concluded.

The survey was conducted by YouGov during 13-23 August 2018, with a total sample size of 11,523 adults and results then weighted to be “representative of each market”.  

* Northern Ireland was not included in the survey.

Latest research reveals the extent to which conspiracy theories have become “mainstream rather than marginal beliefs” across much of Europe and the US.

These findings provide important clues to understanding the popularity of populist and nationalist partiesHugo LealGage SkidmoreDonald Trump speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference. Some 44% of Trump voters were found to believe their government is hiding the truth about immigration, according to researchers.


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BLACK FRIDAY! SAVE UP TO 50%

Cambridge United News Feed - Thu, 11/22/2018 - 18:00

Club News

Categories: Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

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