Faculty of Social Sciences and Technology Management

Among recently published research results are:

Van der Meer, A; Svantesson, M.; Van der Weel, R. Longitudinal study of looming in infants with high-density EEG. Developmental Neuroscience 2012;34(6):488-501

Developmental Neuroscience

A rapidly approaching object provides information about the object's approach and how imminent a collision is. Prospective control when responding to a looming virtual object approaching on a direct collision course was studied longitudinally in 10 infants aged 5/6 and 12/13 months. Different characteristics of the looming-related visual evoked potential (VEP) responses from infants' brain electrical recordings (EEG) were explored and compared between the infants at these different ages. The aim of this study was to find evidence for infant brain electrical responses coherent with a looming stimulus approaching the infant under three different accelerations. It was also investigated whether the use of different timing strategies to estimate the loom's time-to-collision would produce differences in the EEG recordings. The results showed that the timing and the duration of the VEP responses differed with age. At the age of 5/6 months, infants showed VEP peaks earlier in the looming sequence and VEP responses with longer duration than when they were 12/13 months old. Results from the timing-strategy analysis showed that with age, 4 infants shifted from a less efficient timing strategy involving the loom's velocity to the more efficient strategy involving the loom's time-to-collision. Further, it was found that peak VEP activation in the investigated areas propagated across the cortex, showing the highest observed activation in the occipital area at the age of 5/6 months, whereas the parietal area showed the highest activation when the infants were 12/13 months. The decrease in processing time together with a peak VEP response closer to the loom's time-to-collision indicate a developmental trend in infants' prediction of an object's time-to-collision. This developmental trend is further substantiated by the shift from a less efficient to a more efficient timing strategy and by evidence of propagated peak VEP activation towards higher information processing areas in the visual pathway with age. As infants grow older and become more mobile, one of the underlying causes of the developmental trend found in our study could be due to an increase in locomotor experience. More follow-up research is needed to investigate the relation between behavioural development and changes in brain activity associated with infants' perception of looming motion.

Falch, Torberg. Teacher Mobility Responses to Wage Changes: Evidence from a Quasi-natural Experiment. American Economic Review 2011;101(3):460-465

The American Economic Review

This paper utilizes a Norwegian experiment with exogenous wage changes to study teachers' turnover decisions. Within a completely centralized wage setting system, teachers in schools with a high degree of teacher vacancies in the past got a wage premium of about 10 percent during the period 1993-94 to 2002-03. The empirical strategy exploits that several schools switched status during the empirical period. In a fixed effects framework, I find that the wage premium reduces the probability of voluntary quits by six percentage points, which implies a short run labor supply elasticity of about 1 1/4 .

Tjora, Aksel. Invisible Whispers: Accounts of SMS Communication in Shared Physical Space. Convergence. The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies 2011;17(2):193-211

Convergence. The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies

The use of short message services (SMS) on mobile phones has gained huge popularity in most western and many developing countries — so much so that it has become established as the preferred medium for mobile communication especially among young people. This article explores SMS as used for discreet communication between people in the same physical space (‘shared physical space SMS' — or ‘SPS-SMS'). Drawing from semi-structured interviews with young people in Norway, 10 different scenarios of SPS-SMS use are explored and analysed within an interactionist framework. These sites of SPS-SMS are presented here as ‘communicative affordances'. It is concluded that the mobile phone, by the application of SPS-SMS, affords communicative layers of transparency, by which various SMS users maintain semi-synchronous communication, both for care and coordination. Although a qualitative study of this nature does not lend itself to generalizations about SPS-SMS communication, it does demonstrate how detailed studies of extraordinary uses of mediated communication may be used to widen analyses of social interaction.

Santora, Lidia; Skolbekken, John-Arne. From brittle bones to standard deviations: The historical development of osteoporosis in the late twentieth century. Science, Technology and Human Values 2011;36(4):497-521

Science, Technology and Human Values

At the dawn of the twenty-first century, osteoporosis is described as a major public health problem of pandemic proportions, affecting millions of people, and women in particular, around the globe. This situation is frequently described as a result of an aging population, but it is also a consequence of a substantial transformation of the medical understanding and definition of osteoporosis in the latter half of the twentieth century. In this article, the authors trace the transformation of a biologically based understanding of the condition involving a few patients, to the current statistically based definition of osteoporosis from which only a few remain untouched. At the center of this development is the measurement of bone mineral density through densitometrics, combining the use of imaging techniques and statistical epidemiology.

Bjerke, Håvard. Children as 'differently equal' responsible beings: Norwegian children's views of responsibility. Childhood 2011;18(1):67-80


This article examines children's (8–9 years) and young people's (14–15 years) views about their own participation in decision-making processes with adults, within the context of home and school in Norway. A difference-centred theoretical perspective is used to identify children's participation as expressions of agency embedded in intricate child–adult relations, in which children and adults are positioned differently. It is argued that children not necessarily ask for increased independence from adults, but rather to be recognised as ‘differently equal' partners in shared decision-making processes, where children are being treated with dignity and respect as valuable persons.

Klempe, Sven Hroar. The role of tone sensation and musical stimuli in early experimental psychology. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 2011;47(2):187-199

Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences

In this article, the role of music in early experimental psychology is examined. Initially, the research of Wilhelm Wundt is considered, as tone sensation and musical elements appear as dominant factors in much of his work. It is hypothesized that this approach was motivated by an understanding of psychology that dates back to Christian Wolff's focus on sensation in his empirical psychology of 1732. Wolff, however, had built his systematization of psychology on Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, who combined perception with mathematics, and referred to music as the area in which sensation is united with numerical exactitude. Immanuel Kant refused to accept empirical psychology as a science, whereas Johann Friedrich Herbart reintroduced the scientific basis of empirical psychology by, among other things, referring to music.

See more publications: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
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