Posts tagged with "The Telegraph UK"

‘Malevolent’ traits may be key to athletic success, study finds

June 10, 2024

With the Olympic Games due to start next month, the world’s attention will once again turn to the physical performance of elite athletes—but some of the personality traits that could be key for success may not be what you expect. New research suggests that being self-centered, ruthless, and manipulative may help elite athletes achieve glory, reports The Telegraph.

In other words, characteristics that might be considered malevolent in social settings could be important in performance sport. However, these attributes are not all good, and could be having a negative impact on relationships with coaches.

Athlete and coach relationships could also suffer when coaches have these traits, sports scientists at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) have found.

Joseph Stanford, a researcher at NTU’s School of Science and Technology and the lead author, said: “Specific characteristics considered malevolent in social settings are highly relevant in performance sport.”

He added: “High-performance environments can often attract people who feel superior, are ruthless in the pursuit of winning. and have a heightened belief they can influence others for their own success.

“It is important to have a positive coach-athlete relationship in order to achieve success. To win, athletes and coaches must perform together under high pressure, often in demanding and stressful situations. “Our findings suggest we need to consider how personalities are likely to interact together in the sporting arena.

“Additional support for coaches would also allow them to understand how to create effective high-performance relationships.”

Researchers investigated the personalities and relationship quality of more than 300 elite athletes—swimmers, triathletes and cyclists—and their coaches using a series of established measures.

They looked specifically at a group of personalities known as the Dark Triad, which consists of narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism (strategic exploitation and deceit).

And although these traits are perceived negatively in the general population, they may offer advantages within high-performance settings such as elite sport. But, until now, it has not been known how these traits might have an impact on the important relationship between athletes and coaches.

Dr Laura Healy of NTU, the senior author of the study, said: “Our research shows why some coaches and athletes may struggle to work together: Their unique personality traits make it hard to build a positive coach-athlete relationship.

Healy adds, “Helping coaches and athletes to understand who their partner is and how to work with them could lead to better-quality coach-athlete relationships within elite sport contexts, ultimately benefiting performance and sporting experience.”

The study, which was published in the journal, Personality and Individual Differences, found that the more self-centered a coach is—or the higher this or her level of narcissism—the less responsive that coach was to an athlete’s needs. At the same time, a coach and athlete would feel less trusting of one another if they were similarly self-centered.

Coaches liked athletes less, were less committed to them and less willing to do their best for them when they reported high levels of ruthlessness—or psychopathy—the researchers found.

Athletes with high levels of ruthlessness, meanwhile, felt less at ease when working with their coach and respected them less.

And when coaches reported a higher ability to manipulate—or greater levels of Machiavellianism—they were less complimentary towards their athletes/.

What’s more, according to the findings, athletes high in this trait became more uncommitted, distant, and unco-operative.

Research contact: @Telegraph

Now, imaginary friends are going extinct, too

September 4, 2019

The latest entry on the endangered species list may not be missed by many adults, but children worldwide would be sad to see it vanish: It’s the imaginary friend—a human, animal, or fantasy creature that, traditionally, has been created by about 37%of youngsters at about the age of seven, according to University of Oregon researchers.

Perhaps the most famous invisible friend ever was Harvey, a six-foot rabbit that appeared in the 1950s film of the same name—and was seen only by a middle-aged man named Elwood P. Dowd, played by the actor James Stewart.

However, most adults either don’t have ethereal friends—or don’t admit to them. And today, it turns out that many children are too practical and levelheaded to play with illusory sidekicks.

At least, that’s according to a recent survey conducted by daynurseries.co.uk. According to a report by the UK newspaper The Telegraph, out of 1,000 nursery workers surveyed, 72% percent said that fewer children have invisible friends than they did five years ago

And fully 66% think they know they reason why: They place the blame on the growing prevalence of screens like iPads and cell phones, which kids can now turn to whenever they don’t know what to do with themselves.

“I think that children are not allowed to be ‘bored’ anymore,” David Wright, the owner of Paint Pots Nursery in England, told the Daily Mail, another British daily newspaper that covered the story.“When children have free time to themselves, they find something creative to do with their mind, such as forming an imaginary friend.”

But the crisis might not be as bad as it sounds. “One or two children in our nursery do have imaginary friends but they mainly come out at home, when children are alone,” Wright told the Daily Mail.

Research contact: @daynurseriesuk

Face value: Denmark bans burqas

June 1, 2018

On May 31, Denmark banned the burqa—joining Belgium, France, and the Netherlands in outlawing the head-to-toe veil worn in parts of the Muslim world. Turkey also bars burqas and niqabs, at least in some places. The perceived problem with the veil is that it hides a woman’s identity and poses a security threat.

The legislature, called the People’s Assembly or Folketing, passed the so-called “burqa ban” in a 75-30 vote, according to The Guardian. The government said it is not aimed at any specific religion and does not ban headscarves, turbans or the traditional Jewish skull cap.

Few Muslim women in Denmark wear full-face veils, based on a report by The Telegraph UK.  Indeed, in Europe, only a tiny fraction of Muslims choose to wear it—an estimated 30 women in Belgium, 400 in France, and 200 in the Netherlands; while it is mandated in many Middle Eastern nations, including Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, and Pakistan.

Denmark’s Justic Minister, Søren Pape Poulsen, said police officers would be able to use their own discretion when they see people violating the law, which comes effective on August 1.

Those deemed to be in violation would be subject to a fine of about $10. Repeat offenders could be fined up to $95 or jailed for up to six months.

In addition, The Telegraph reported, the new law would allow people to cover their face when there is a “recognizable purpose” such as cold weather.

Following news of the vote, Amnesty International’s Europe Director Gauri van Gulik issued the following statement: “All women should be free to dress as they please and to wear clothing that expresses their identity or beliefs. This ban will have a particularly negative impact on Muslim women who choose to wear the niqab or burqa.  Whilst some specific restrictions on the wearing of full-face veils for the purposes of public safety may be legitimate, this blanket ban is neither necessary nor proportionate and violates the rights to freedom of expression and religion.

She added, “If the intention of this law was to protect women’s rights it fails abjectly. Instead, the law criminalizes women for their choice of clothing and in so doing flies in the face of those freedoms Denmark purports to uphold.”

Research contact: @h_alexander

16% of Britons have eaten the same lunch for two years

April 23, 2018

If we are what we eat, as many people believe, then 16% of Britons are consistent and dependable—and maybe just a little bit “hammy,” or theatrical, based on findings of a recent poll conducted by New Covent Garden Soup.

In fact, in a poll of 2,000 British adults, one in six respondents admitted that they had eaten the same lunch every day for at least two years—attributing their constancy to a lack of inspiration and the need to save money.

The humble ham sandwich tops the list of most common repeat lunches, the pollsters found, followed by cheese and chicken sandwiches, baguettes, and salad. Egg sandwiches, pasta and baked potatoes also count among their lunchtime staples, The Telegraph reports.

What’s more, 58% of respondents said they had eaten identical meals for as long as they can remember.

One respondent revealed he had eaten a ham sandwich and a piece of fruit every day since he started work 20 years ago.

It is, perhaps, not surprising then that the survey also found 81% of people were bored by their lunch choices.

Dr. Becky Spelman, a food psychologist and director of a private clinic on Harley Street, said people who picked the same thing each day were at risk of not getting a wide enough array of nutrients.

“Most of us wouldn’t want to always go on holidays to the same place, so why keep eating the same meal, day after day?” she said.

Research contact: @NewCoventGarden