Press coverage from other years
SIRC in the News
Press coverage from 2002
- New Statesman – 16.12.02
How to keep warm and look cool; It used to be the unwanted present from an elderly aunt. So how did the woolly hat become fashionable?…It's important to identify the exact genus of woolly hat that is currently at the pinnacle of fashion. It is nothing with a bobble, ear flaps, tassles or a brim; it's not like a beanie hat, which sits at the crown of the head, leaving the ears exposed. No. The woolly hat that is at the head of the fashion table is as worn by the musicians Badly Drawn Boy or Enrique Iglesias. For those catwalk groupies – and I know you're out there – it was as shown in the autumn/ winter 2002 collections of Jil Sander, Marc Jacobs and Emporio Armani. It is a hat worn completely and tightly to cover the hair and ears, sometimes pulled far down enough to cover even the eyebrows. And it must be in wool or a wool-look fibre. Not fleece or felt.
'They always look like their mothers have pulled their hats down,' observes Kate Fox, the social anthropologist and co-director of the Social Issues Research Centre. 'There's something very vulnerable and childlike about this trend.'
- Independent on Sunday – 08.12.2002
Italian footballers start with a stoppage in protest at violence. … although the English and Italian behaviour problems may seem similar from a distance, close-up the two phenomena look entirely different. Italian fans, for example, drink on the bus or train going to a game, but according to a study by Britain's Social Issues Research Centre, "the role of alcohol in football violence in [Italy] is thought to be completely insignificant." They drink, but drink is not the problem."
- Irish Medical News – 20.12.2002
Revised GP guide to the menopause is launched at major Galway meeting. According to Dr Mary Short, also a member of the editorial committee: "many women who present with climacteric symptoms are well-informed and are seeking a means of improving their quality of life" … She added: "probably one of the most interesting developments is the recently published Social Issues Research Centre (SIRC) Study which found that women consider that life gets better after the onset of menopause. This is the kind of positive information that doctors should disseminate to women who want to improve their quality of life during and after menopause."
- Youthwork Magazine – November 2002
Must see websites. One of the most dangerous things that some teenagers like to believe is that anorexia or bulimia are conditions they can control; it's OK to be 'ana' if you don't take it too far. And a new rash of irresponsible teen websites is fuelling this life-threatening myth. Read about it at the Social Issues Research Centre site, and check out the sites for yourself. But don't give the URLs to your teenagers. This they really don't need.
- BBC – 02.10.2002
Pint + football match may not = naughty. Once upon a time you didn't have to stay in the pub to watch the match with a pint. You were allowed to take booze with you into the ground. And under new government proposals, that could happen again – providing you're lucky enough to be lording it up in the corporate box … a survey of Police Commanders responsible for crowd control at English league games found that only 11% saw heavy drinking as the single most serious influence on football-related disorder. That's according to the influential Social Issues Research Centre, Oxford.
- Scotsman – 29.09.2002
The big thrill. A survey by the Social Issues Research Centre shows health scares and warnings can bring about the 'forbidden fruit effect', where people deliberately defy authoritarian health warnings and do the opposite. This response is particularly common among rebellious teenagers, and is probably why warnings about the dangers of tobacco, drugs and alcohol seem to have little effect on them. As Professor Zuckerman says, "My work has shown that people have a basic need for excitement – and, one way or another, they will fulfil it."
- Scotland on Sunday – 22.09.2002
All change. Far from being dreaded, most women questioned for a recent survey said that the menopause signalled an improvement in their lives. The Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford questioned women aged 50-64, and found that 65% said they were happier than before the menopause. Although 19% said their sex life was less satisfactory, 29% said it got better. A century ago, the average age of the menopause was 47, but the life expectancy of British women was only 49. Now women become menopausal at just over 50 and life expectancy is nearer 80.
- Sunday Times – 15.09.2002
Health: You need to sleep … less than you think. Judging from contemporary conversations, sleep is the new sex. You’re not getting enough of it, what there is isn’t very good, and everyone seems to be enjoying more of it than you are. But Kate Fox of the Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford believes that "sleep deprivation" is the new wheat allergy - a fashionable, glamorous, but largely illusory health complaint.
- New Zealand Herald – 10.08.2002
Where even good news turns bad. Arrghh. It's got so bad there are now health scares about the health scares. Something called the Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford has identified some worrying new syndromes. There's "warning-fatigue" by which people get desensitised and end up ignoring all warnings, even the useful ones. Then there's "riskfactorphobia". Sufferers become obsessed with purging all risks from lives until they have no lifestyle left to purge.
- Western Mail – 02.08.2002
Sights and sounds that remind us of summer. Dr Peter Marsh, author of the report, says the reason most remain positive about summer despite the reality is because we generally think back to childhood. "I think that is a big aspect. Everyone we spoke to has a specific memory of an occasion when they were a child. "Summer to them is often paddling feet in cold water, sunshine, the sea, and sand between toes."
- Daily Record – 03.07.2002
Fruit's just so cool. Simple cartoon videos have been proven to make most children eat vastly -increased amounts of healthy fruit and vegetables. The new Food Dudes are the modern day answer to Popeye the sailorman, whose love of spinach gave him heroic strength … The Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford described the Food Dudes as 'Orwellian' and doubted the project would have any lasting results. But Lowe, head of psychology at the University of Wales, has worked on the project for nine years and believes it can improve the health of the nation for years to come … Paul Sacher, a specialist dietician from London's Great Ormond Street Hospital … said some children try to become very independent from an early age and use food as a way to try and be in control. If that is the case, the Food Dudes may not be the best solution.
- The Australian – 15.06.2002
Singles are busy multiplying. Flirting is regarded as such a crucial activity it is the subject of academic research. The Social Issues Research Centre in Britain can confirm that the secret to successful flirting is a move called the eyebrow flash. Further, the best flirters are underachievers such as "incompetent tennis players, unfit swimmers [and] cack-handed potters".
- The Age – 11.06.2002
Study gives dirt on flirts. In a flirt's life, success is measured in seconds. Unfortunately, so is failure. It all comes down to eye contact or the even more fleeting "eyebrow flash". This is the word from the British authors of a survey on flirting. "Assuming your target finds you attractive, an eyebrow flash with appropriate follow-up could leapfrog you into instant intimacy," says Britain's Social Issues Research Centre. "Flirting may even be the foundation of civilisation as we know it," it says, reporting that evolutionary psychologists have argued that the ability to charm may be at the seat of all human achievement. But the report, What Social Science Can Tell You About Flirting and How To Do It, also makes earthier observations. For example, you will have more luck in a pub than a restaurant, and a person looking to flirt should avoid high-fliers and seek clubs full of sociable under-achievers.
- Sydney Morning Herald – 10.06.2002
Flirty or dirty? The difference can be in the blink of an eye. In a flirt's life, success is measured in seconds. Unfortunately, so is failure. It all comes down to eye contact or the even more fleeting "eyebrow flash". The authors of a dauntingly forensic survey of flirting describe eyebrow flash as an upward flex of the eyebrows that takes about a sixth of a second … "Assuming your target finds you attractive, an eyebrow-flash with appropriate follow-up could leapfrog you into instant intimacy," said the Social Issues Research Centre in Britain.
- Times – 14.05.2002
It's time to work with nice people. But Bottomley is honest enough to admit that while she is still full of energy – at 54 she is a perfect embodiment of the generation of youthful post-50-year-olds identified by the Social Issues Research Centre last week – she has lost her hunger for parliamentary politics. "I don't even like saying rotten things about Tony Blair," she admits. "That's why I've got to leave."
- Independent on Sunday – 12.05.2002
Grow old disgracefully. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that older people enjoy life at least as much as the young, as long as they remain in reasonable health; another study published last week, this time by the Social Issues Research Centre, challenged accepted wisdom by suggesting that post-menopausal women are happier, healthier and more confident than their younger counterparts. It also claimed that they are reaching their sexual peak, with almost 30 per cent saying their sex lives had improved after the age of 50. The figure rose to half among women who were taking HRT.
- Times – 08.05.2002
Jubilee girls find life begins after menopause. Women aged 50 and over are enjoying better health and reaching their sexual peak, according to research. The accepted wisdom that life is all downhill after the menopause is no longer true, a study from the Social Issues Research Centre shows. Today’s 50-year-old women, born in the year the Queen came to the throne and nicknamed "jubilee girls" by researchers, are happier, healthier and more confident than younger women.
- BBC – 08.05.2002
Women 'happier' after menopause. Women's lives change for the better once they are past the menopause, suggests a survey. The Jubilee Report, which examined the lifestyles of women over the age of 50, found 65% reporting that they were happier.
- Guardian – 08.05.2002
Post-menopause women 'happier'. Most women say their lives improve after the onset of the menopause, according to research published today…The survey, by the Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford, found that women over 50 thought life was better for them than it had been for women of their age in the 1950s. Kate Fox, the centre's co-director, said she had been "taken aback"; the results ran counter to her preconception that the menopause was "something to be dreaded – an unpleasant experience in itself, leading to the even greater unpleasantness of official old age".
- Independent – 08.05.2002
The menopause is a change for the better, say women. Benefits of HRT are extolled by a group of middle-aged females described as hormone-rich and happy. Women's lives improve after the onset of the menopause, with most fiftysomethings saying they feel happier and more fulfilled than before "the change", research claims today.
- Telegraph – 08.05.2002
Happier, healthier, sexier – and over 50. For women, life begins at 50, according to a study that has shown they are happier, healthier, more independent and have better sex lives in middle age … Kate Fox, co-director of the Social Issues Research Centre, Oxford, which conducted the survey, said: "The research surprisingly reveals that all aspects of women's lives – health, work, sex, career, relationships, travel, energy – improve after the onset of the menopause."
- Scotsman – 08.05.2002
Women find that life begins at 50. They are the generation who were raised with the romantic notion of virgin brides and to associate sex with marriage and babies. Now, most women in their 50s say their love lives have improved after the onset of the menopause. The Jubilee Report, a study into the attitudes and lifestyles of women born when the Queen came to power, shows that life begins at 50 for many British women.
- Evening Standard – 07.05.2002
HRT 'leads to better sex and a happy healthy life' Women are happier after the onset of the menopause, claims a surprising new report today. It says women are living longer, healthier and happier lives than any previous generation and that improvement is particularly marked in those using hormone replacement therapy. Social scientist Kate Fox, author of the Jubilee Women report and co-director of the Social Issues Research Centre, said: "The research surprisingly reveals that all aspects of women's lives – health, work, sex, career, relationship, travel, energy, happiness – improve after the onset of the menopause. I was really taken aback with the findings.
- The Observer – 05.05.2002
Racing tribe comes out to play On her first visit to a racecourse, Kate Fox was introduced to an elderly member of the Jockey Club as their anthropologist. The elderly member shook her hand, beamed at her, and said: 'Anthropologist. Splendid. Jolly good. Carry on.' Carry on she did, and after three years studying 'the Racing Tribe' in their natural environment she published her findings and wrote a book – which has been re-released – about her time among the Warriors (jockeys), Shamans (trainers) and Sin-eaters (bookmakers). It is entertaining, illuminating and charming.
- Science Presse – 17.04.2002
Évolution, aliénation et bavardage. Une nouvelle étude menée par le Social Issues Research Centre démontre d'une part, que le bavardage est essentiel au bien-être social, psychologique et physique de l'humain et d'autre part, que le cellulaire permet le genre de bavardage qu'on retrouvait dans les petites communautés d'une époque passée.
- Birmingham Post – 13.04.2002
Home Is Where A Briton's Heart Is. Dr Peter Marsh, director of the Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford, explains our preoccupation with home ownership. He says: 'It's psychological meanings include feelings of safety, status and love. Home is not just a product, but also a process – an interest and a pleasure.' Dr Marsh has divided the reasons why people DIY into six categories, necessity, territorial marking, self-expression, leisure activity, perfection-seeking and therapy.
- Scotsman – 12.04.2002
Analyse this. Dr Peter Marsh, a social psychologist and co-director of the independent Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford, adds: "I think you can say the Hamiltons's behaviour quite literally deviates from the social norms of behaviour which most of us would find acceptable for ourselves. "For the audience there is an element of the freak show. But when you have been accused of the things the Hamiltons have, you just inure yourself to other people's thoughts to survive."
- Observer – 07.04.2002
Hoof dreams. In her excellent book The Racing Tribe anthropologist Kate Fox describes trainers as being akin to shamans. 'The similarities are really quite obvious,' Fox writes. 'Even if you only watch racing on television, you will soon become aware of the tribe's belief in the magical powers of trainers. The skills jockeys employ to get horses to win races are largely visible and obvious – despite many attempts at mystification by a racing culture addicted to magic and superstition. The role of the trainer in achieving this goal is, by contrast, genuinely obscure and mysterious. Trainers, like tribal shamans, witch doctors and rain-makers, are regularly credited with performing miracles when they are successful, but very rarely blamed when they are unsuccessful… This is exactly the sort of dubious logic that allows witch doctors and rain chiefs to maintain their high status in tribal societies.'
- Nature – 04.04.2002
Communication should not be left to scientists. The time has come for the professionalization of science communicators. Not only are the number of degree programmes in science communication growing, but rudiments of a professional code of conduct have now been published. Although there is nothing new about the advice given in Guidelines on Science and Health Communication, issued in November 2001 by the Social Issues Research Centre in partnership with the Royal Society and the Royal Institution (see here), what is striking is that it is directed at science communicators by people who are not themselves full-time science
- Chicago Tribune – 01.04.2002
So who are you anyway? The UK's Social Issues Research Center, at www.sirc.org, says it was founded "to conduct research on social and lifestyle issues, monitor and assess global sociocultural trends and provide new insights on human behaviour and social relations." Their publications page links to numerous fascinating articles, such as the "Guide to Flirting," "The Human Nature of Violence" and "The Smell Report," which focuses upon the psychology and anthropology of scent, for example. The tone is academic but the topics so engaging that I'd encourage you to investigate if you're interested in what makes the naked ape tick.
- Belfast News Letter – 18.03.2002
A Must For Wannabe Racegoers. With the Grand National upon us next month, racegoers may find themselves somewhere in this quirky insight into all types who go to the races. Social anthropologist Kate Fox, a director of the Social Issues Research Centre, was commissioned by the British Horseracing Board to conduct research on racegoers. Here she describes the various tribes and customs of all the horse-racing participants, from the crowds to the jockeys, owners and trainers. She looks at people who are categorised into Enthusiasts (fans, horseys, addicts, anoraks) and Socials (including pair-bonders, day-outers, suits and be -seens). Horseys, for instance, are only interested in the animals themselves, drawn to the races because of their passion for horses, and many are uninterested in the betting or the politics.
Meanwhile, more than one-third of regular racegoers are Socials – racegoers with little interest in horse-racing, who attend meetings for purely social reasons. But the social attractions of racing are such that many of these racegoers are in fact among the sport's most regular and loyal supporters. The author also explores the language and the etiquette of the races – a must for anyone wanting to make a mark for themselves in this unique world.
- Observer – 10.03.2002
It's dress-down every day in Britain. Aside from history, we can also blame the posh folk. 'In most societies, the standards of dress tended to be set by the higher echelons,' explains Kate Fox, a social anthropologist and co-director of the Social Issues Research Centre, 'and in our culture the standard has been set by the upper classes, who tended to dress down. Shabbiness, and a certain lack of concern about fashion, is considered appropriate; it's only the "vulgar nouveau riche", on the whole, who dolled themselves up.' And since most of what's left of our 'upper classes' dress appallingly – in fashions that are 20 years out of date and look like they've been fitted by postal correspondence – what hope did we have?
- BBC – Oxford – 04.03.2002
Impact of alcohol on crime is hidden – says report. The true impact of alcohol on crime and violence is being hidden, according to research carried out by an Oxford-based group. The report, published today by the alcohol industry body Portman Group, says the data is concealed because the authorities do not keep accurate records. All existing procedures, in our view, have such serious conceptual and methodological weaknesses that they are unable to provide any truly objective and reliable data. The report was conducted by the Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford. It claims the police themselves describe the computer systems they use to track alcohol-related violence as unsatisfactory.
- Glasgow Herald – 04.03.2002
Role of alcohol in crime is 'being hidden'. The true impact of alcohol on crime and violence is being hidden because authorities do not keep accurate records, according to a new study … The study, conducted by the Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford, also found that a quarter of police forces keep no record of alcohol-related crime. Only one in ten forces keep data which are capable of being compared directly with others, it was claimed.
- BBC – 04.03.2002
Drink crime data 'meaningless'. Data for alcohol-related violence and crime in the UK is unreliable because authorities fail to keep accurate enough records, according to new research. Claims that between 70% and 80% of late-night violence in town centres is alcohol-related are also "meaningless", according to the research. Dr Peter Marsh, who led the research, said: "All existing procedures have such serious conceptual and methodological weaknesses that they are unable to provide any truly objective and reliable data."
- Observer – 03.03.2002
Off the rails. 'I never get it right.' 'It's a uniform,' says Nick, who also never gets it right by insisting on wearing jeans and a sweater, even to Glorious Goodwood. 'It's tribal.' He's very proud of this theory. Recently he's been reading a book called The Racing Tribe by Kate Fox, a social anthropologist. He tells me Fox identifies certain types of race goers; suits, pair-bonders, family day-outers, lads and girls day-outers and be-seens, who 'wear revealing garments and skimpy tops'.
- Vogue Magazine – March 2002
Modern health Myths. Superstition and sloppy science are leaving us increasingly confused and panic-stricken, unable to separate fact from fiction … Food myths are fuelled by all sorts of vested interests. While we are quick to identify commercial ones, single-issue pressure groups may have ideologies every bit as entrenched and be every bit as fixated on the commercial bottom line. "Many people have been cynically led to believe that organic food is better for you and the environment," says Peter Marsh of the Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford, but the research simply doesn't stack up."
- The Mirror – 18.02.2002
Judas: Shame 1370's Style. Experts have branded recent violent outbreaks at football matches "a return to the '70s". Fair enough, so long as it was the 1370s they are talking about. A new study by Social Issues Research Centre dates the first hooliganism to 1349, when football was "banned from the city of London due to complaints from merchants."
- Sunday Times – 17.02.2002
The Easy Route. Training for a marathon doesn't mean having to slog your guts out. Sam murphy discovers less can be more. About 40,000 people are out pounding the parks and pavements of Britain in the build-up to this year's Flora London Marathon. But is sweating profusely, mile after mile, day after day, the only way to the finish line? Many experts insist that training smarter, not harder, is the key to a good race … an early night before the race needn't mean an hour's extra sleep. Scientists from the Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford have shown that sex the night before a race can enhance your running performance.
- Scotsman – 04.02.2001
Analyse this: Hugh Grant. This week Hugh Grant jetted off on holiday with ex-girlfriend Liz Hurley, her best friend, Patsy Kensit, Liz’s sister Kate and two other female friends … We asked psychologists what, apart from the obvious, would make a man seek out the company of a group of women. Dr Peter Marsh, the co-director of the Social Issues Research Centre at Oxford, commented: "Many men would agree to roll over and be effeminate if it allowed them to go on holiday with a group of beautiful women." But as for holidaying with an ex-girlfriend, Marsh says: "It could be a case of clinging to a relationship long after it is over, in a quite sweet, nostalgic way." Another motive could be that Grant may be "very comfortable with the break-up and is happy to use the association to meet other women". Marsh says many men prefer the company of women, with whom they can discuss intimate emotions.
- Radio Free Europe – 21.01.2002
The West Looks For Explanations Of Home-Grown Taliban Sympathizers. Pollard says thrill-seeking could also go some way toward explaining the behavior of these young men. The trouble is, says U.K.-based psychologist Peter Marsh, there's a bit of that in all of us. Marsh is director of the Social Issues Research Center, which focuses on lifestyles and social behavior. "You can certainly see some of these trends, behaviors, as being reflective of sensation-seeking, thrill-seeking and in some cases, identity-seeking -- wanting to be part of this strongly unified group," Marsh says. "But the problem there is that most of us have those kinds of needs from time to time, to have a sense of belonging, to have a bit of excitement in our lives. Why in some cases it starts to manifest itself in far more extreme ways than in other people -- that is always very difficult to determine." …
Marsh says he doesn't agree with the idea that a lack of values leads to extreme behavior. Just look at the Taliban, he says. No one can accuse Afghanistan's former ruling militia of lacking values.
- Scotsman – 14.01.2002
Analyse This: Peter Mandelson. Peter Mandelson writes a column in February's GQ on the euro. But, as two psychologists tell The Scotsman, it's really about him. Oxford's Dr Peter Marsh says: "Clearly psychotherapy isn't working for Mandelson at the moment. This isn't about the euro at all; it's about Peter Mandelson's paranoia, for which he might at some stage want to seek a bit of counselling. He's used the occasion to get rid of some bile." Of Mandelson's language, Marsh adds: "It's almost self-aggrandising: 'It's not that I lack the courage of my convictions' – he's saying he's a brave person.
- St Petersburg Times – 06.01.2002
Gather 'Round the Water Cooler. Scientists say gossiping makes us happier, more confident and more productive at work. The Social Issues Research Centre at Oxford says it's the human equivalent of social grooming among chimps. Both stimulate production of endorphins, which relieve stress and boost the immune system, as well as help develop friendships, refine social skills and resolve conflicts.