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    ABSTRACT: Controversy persists in England, Wales and Northern Ireland concerning methods of controlling the transmission of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) between badgers and cattle. The National Trust, a major land-owning heritage organisation, in 2011, began a programme of vaccinating badgers against bTB on its Killerton Estate in Devon. Most of the estate is farmed by 18 tenant farmers, who thus have a strong interest in the Trust's approach, particularly as all have felt the effects of the disease. This article reports on a study of the attitudes to vaccination of badgers and to the alternative of a culling programme, using face-to-face interviews with 14 of the tenants. The results indicated first that the views of the respondents were more nuanced than the contemporary public debate about badger control would suggest. Secondly, the attitude of the interviewees to vaccination of badgers against bTB was generally one of resigned acceptance. Thirdly, most respondents would prefer a combination of an effective vaccination programme with an effective culling programme, the latter reducing population of density sufficiently (and preferably targeting the badgers most likely to be diseased) for vaccination to have a reasonable chance of success. While based on a small sample, these results will contribute to the vigorous debate concerning contrasting policy approaches to bTB control in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2013
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    ABSTRACT: Liberals and conservatives exhibit different cognitive styles and converging lines of evidence suggest that biology influences differences in their political attitudes and beliefs. In particular, a recent study of young adults suggests that liberals and conservatives have significantly different brain structure, with liberals showing increased gray matter volume in the anterior cingulate cortex, and conservatives showing increased gray matter volume in the in the amygdala. Here, we explore differences in brain function in liberals and conservatives by matching publicly-available voter records to 82 subjects who performed a risk-taking task during functional imaging. Although the risk-taking behavior of Democrats (liberals) and Republicans (conservatives) did not differ, their brain activity did. Democrats showed significantly greater activity in the left insula, while Republicans showed significantly greater activity in the right amygdala. In fact, a two parameter model of partisanship based on amygdala and insula activations yields a better fitting model of partisanship than a well-established model based on parental socialization of party identification long thought to be one of the core findings of political science. These results suggest that liberals and conservatives engage different cognitive processes when they think about risk, and they support recent evidence that conservatives show greater sensitivity to threatening stimuli.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Priming is often mentioned in studies of media effects in Britain, yet empirical tests of its extent and nature are lacking; most evidence of priming effects is from the United States. Moreover, research on British elections concludes that the media have little impact on the public’s perceptions of issues, including in the 2005 election. In this paper we argue that priming by the British media has been misconceived and thus not studied adequately. We demonstrate that the issue of the war in Iraq was primed by media coverage in 2005, both as a consequence of the volume of coverage of the issue and its tone. The influence of Iraq was not just long-term, via its impact on confidence in the Labour government or Tony Blair’s reputation, but was also affected by media coverage during the campaign. We also demonstrate that the media’s coverage of Iraq in 2005 influenced voters’ evaluations of Blair by polarizing consumers of the same news. Finally, we find slightly more of an impact of the tone of coverage of Iraq in 2005 but it is moderated by the editorial stance of the newspaper—the editorial stance of British newspapers still seems to matter, suggesting that the dealignment of the British press has not eliminated the influence of reading a newspaper that endorses a party, no matter how qualified that endorsement may be.Highlights► We examine media priming in Britain. ► We show that the issue of the war in Iraq was primed by media coverage in 2005. ► Priming was from the volume of coverage and its tone. ► Media coverage polarized consumers of the same news. ► The impact of coverage was moderated by the editorial stance of the newspaper.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2011 · Electoral Studies
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