Exploring debt with Aperture
Prof Aidan Feeney and Nicole Andelic (PhD Student) have been collaborating with Aperture IVA (formerly Grant Thornton IVA) on a number of projects since 2013. One such research project explored debt advice and was co-funded by Aperture IVA (specialists in personal debt resolution) and the Business Alliance Office at Queen’s. In this project, Aidan and Nicole were interested in how advisors manage the challenge of giving effective advice to people experiencing extreme financial difficulties and whether advice given face to face is more impactful than advice given over the phone.
Aidan said, “We use a variety of methods including close analysis of what is said during conversations, and computer analysis of how the conversation sounds. Our research will inform practice at Aperture IVA and is disseminated to relevant people working in the area of debt advice via annual CPD events organised by Aperture IVA”.
Nicole worked onsite with Aperture and said: “Our collaboration with Aperture has given me a range of opportunities which would otherwise be inaccessible to me as an academic researcher. I have had the advantage of spending some time at the company, which has given me a valuable insight to the debt industry and understanding of debt repayment mechanisms. Our project with Aperture also allowed me to speak to individuals in substantial debt, who would otherwise be hard to reach. As this research has been presented at annual seminars for money advisors I also had the chance to see how our research is received by the general public, as well as making industry contacts.”
To learn more about this project, please contact Prof Aidan Feeney.
Exploring emotion further
Dr Gary McKeown will be collaborating with Sensum as part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership which is jointly funded by the ESRC and Invest NI.
Sensum have developed a combined software and hardware platform to assess feelings and emotions using multiple biometric sensors and information sources. They use these systems to assist the understanding of engagement and attention in a range of market places, from advertising, to film making and creative storytelling.
When assessing feelings and emotions, information is best captured through use of continuous representations rather than using categories. We can talk in terms of being angry, happy or sad but we tend to be more or less angry, happy or sad–it is not an all or nothing phenomena. Importantly "more or less" feelings vary over time and often the changes are the most interesting and valuable aspect. Telling when important moments have occurred in this kind of data can be challenging and the KTP seeks to embed knowledge and techniques that have been developed in the School of Psychology at QUB into Sensum’s platform in ways that will enhance their ability to provide informative accounts of how people engage with the various types of content they address.
According to Gary McKeown, “this provides a great opportunity to take our years of research experience and the techniques we have developed in working with the continuous representation of emotion in spontaneous and natural environments and embed them within Sensum’s systems to enhance both their work and to feedback into our research. It is an exciting opportunity for academic-commercial collaboration and great to see knowledge generated through our research becoming usefully integrated into exisiting systems that benefit both the company and the university."
To learn more about this KTP, please contact Dr Gary McKeown.