- 11. Collins, S. and Treloar, A. (2013).
“The role of banter/craic in facilitating international technology-mediated communication”, Banteractions (formerly Transactions of the
of Banter Studies), V25 N4, pp. 11-16.
- Keywords: Computer-Mediated Communication, International Collaboration, Applied Banter.
It is widely recognised that the channel provided by all forms of
computer-mediated communication is impoverished relative to face
to face communication, which provides content, tone of voice and body
language. Email/text messaging only conveys content (although the use
of emoticons and more recently emoji is an attempt to compensate for
this). Audio-conferencing adds tone of voice to content, and
video-conferencing layers on some body-language cues (although
the restricted video bandwidth for most commercially available
solutions, coupled with comms lag militates against this being as
effective as it could be). Accordingly, the CMC literature is (or
should be) replete with case-studies where communication is
sub-optimal. As a result, most knowledge workers who engage in
international collaborations work by the heuristic that in order to
work effectively together it is necessary to first bond F2F, preferably
in an informal setting such as a bar, coupled with
ethanol-inducedreduction of inhibition mechanisms and concomitant
social approval for otherwise inappropriate levels of personal-sharing.
It is because of this wide-spread perception that it is important to
report on counter-examples. The case-study detailed in this article
involved a group that came together to organise an international
conference. The group had not worked together previously as a unit,
although some of them had some interaction/collaboration history. The
characteristics of the group would normally lead to an expectation of
significant challenges in remote collaboration: the communications
channel was audio (using Skype, which introduces intermittent
degradation of quality due to jitter, packet loss, compression, etc);
the group was multi-cultural (Australian, Irish, German, Greek); the
timezones for participants were up to 11 hours apart (providing an
alertness mismatch). The group ended up meeting remotely for a total of
26 times. The first 8 times were prior to a majority of the group
meeting F2F for the kind of bonding sessions outlined above. Despite
this, the group clicked (see Treloar, A. (2014) "Perceptions of
phalangeal percussion - measuring clickedness", in press) on the first
audio meeting and immediately began to work effectively together. The
result of the collaboration was a highly-successful international event that attracted over 500 participants. An
analysis of the reason for this result, which runs against the
consensus in the research literature, points to the pivotal role of banter/ craic
in reducing barriers and facilitating effective communication. There
is, of course, debate within the banter research community about whether banter in
fact equals craic. It seems most likely that these two seminal concepts
should be modelled as overlapping circles (a classic Venn
diagram): there is banter that could not be characterised as craic, and the concept of craic
is found to be relatively ill-defined and may in fact include all of
Irish social interaction. Nonetheless, in this case the intersection
between banter and craic was, with these test subjects, found to be a
framework which provided a suitable environment and stimulus for a
successful international collaborative platform. Clearly the next step
will be further collaboration with at least some of the same subjects
to see if this experience was an outlier.
- 10. Treloar, A. (2012).
“International Meetings and the Asymmetry of Perceived Travel Pain”, J. Aust.
Discrimination Studies, V7, N10, pp. 1234-1244.
- Keywords: Cultural
Studies, International Collaboration, Perception Studies.
of the self-image of Australia has, at least since its
settlement/invasion by the British, been a profound sense of
distance.Indeed, Geoffrey Blainey coined the phrase "the tyranny of
distance" to describe its influence on the
national psyche. In the modern age, this
tyranny is manifesting itself in a new sphere, that of international
meetings. Planning of a number of different events involving
international and local (Australian) participants has revealed to the
author that distance is perceived in very different terms depending on
the frame of reference. There is a wealth of evidence that a flight of
24 hours by a European (used in this article to mean someone from
Western Europe, including the UK) to Australia is perceived by the
traveller as significantly further (and thus more arduous) than the
reverse flight by an Australian. Further work is required to determine
the exact multiplier (which may itself vary by location or culture),
but two sets of data points are illustrative. In one instance, travel
by an Australian attendee from the East coast of Australia (c. 15
hours) to a meeting on the West coast of the United States was
self-reported to be roughly equivalent in Perceived Travel Pain (PTP)
to a flight by an American attendee from the East cost (c. 6 hours),
yielding a PTP multiplier of 2.5. In another instance, travel by a
group of Australian attendees to a
meeting held in Prato in Italy (c. 24 hours) was self-reported to be
roughly equivalent in PTP to travel by a mixed group of European
attendees where the furthest distance travelled was c. 5 hours) for a
PTP multiplier of 5. Note that in neither case was the PTP multiplier
remotely close to 1. Additional research is needed to investigate
the multiplier simply increases as a function of the longest travel
time involved, or whether other cultural factors play a role. One
possible approach would involve a series of international events along
a line between the UK and Australia, gradually shifting the events
Eastward until an PTP equivalence point is reached. A more
sophisticated design would involve finding a similar balance point
between five nodes: East Coast of the US, West Coast of the US, UK,
Central Europe and Australia. Part of the challenge for the next phase
of this research is determining the lowest cost experimental design
needed to establish a sufficiently general PTP formula for an arbitrary
set of participants. It is, of course, possible that this may be not be
computable within a finite time.
- 9. Treloar, A. (2011).
“Confusion, Collision, Culture and Convergence: an analysis of the
negotiation of passing behaviour in London”, J. Pedestrian Studies (not to be
confused with the Pedestrian Journal
of Studies), V1, N1
(Inaugural Invitational Issue), pp. 10-19.
- Keywords: Cultural
Studies, Traffic Management, Urban Design, NeuroLinguistics
is widely recognised, the world is divided into countries where
vehicular traffic passes on the left-hand side of the road and those
where it passes on the right-hand side (as a parenthetical note, the
way that the word "right" is used here for what is self-evidently the
wrong side of the road is a semantic reversal of the same form but
opposite polarity as the meanings assigned to the word "sinister" - See
(2011), "Lefthandedness and Systematic Oppression", in press). Many
taken the legalised passing preference and adopted it via community
consensus in other motion contexts such as
walking, escalators. Let us introduce some formal notation and refer to
this as Passing Preference Partiality (or
P3). Passing on the left is denoted as P3L,
and passing on the right as P3R. In any given country, let
us denote the default as P3, and the alternative as P3'. P3 can change
depending on the settings, where the most significant are road (R),
footpath (F) and other modalities such as escalator or travelator (O).
Using this notation, in the US and Europe P3=P3R(R,
F, O), but in Australia, P3=P3L(R,
F, O). Given that
in the UK P3=P3L(R),
one would also expect P3=P3L(F, O).
However research in a number of cities has indicated that this is not
the case. In London, the percentage of P3' (F, O) appears around
50% for all pairwise encounters. In Birmingham and Manchester this
drops to 35%, and in Edinburgh even lower to 25%. In other words, the
pattern in the (F, O) settings moves back towards the (R) setting as
one moves further away from London. The current working hypothesis is
that visitors to the UK in general and London in particular from P3L
countries are reverting to their default patterns of behaviour in
settings where P3 is not constrained by legislation (such as F and O).
As a result, there is an increase of poorly negotiated pairwise
encounters, and what has been described in the literature as the Dance
of Indecision (DoI). Instances have been observed of up to six repeats
of unconsciously synchronised moves of both participants to left then
right as they approach, with a resulting eventual collision.
final resolution of the underlying mechanism behind this behaviour will
need to wait on the development of mobile Functional Magnetic Resonance
Imaging (FMRI) devices, thus
allowing real-time monitoring of brain activation in different passing
settings. Further research is also needed into the relative influence
of the factors that contribute to the higher incidences of P3'(F, O) in
the UK. These factors might include proportion of the population with
P3', distance of the city from Europe,
availability of subliminal influences such as foreign-language
programming, influence of jetlag in impairing cognitive processes in
new arrivals).The London Olympics in 2012, combining changes in
transportation arrangements for locals and an influx of visitors from
non-P3 L countries, presents fertile ground for further
- 8. Groenewegen, D., and
Treloar, A. (2010).
“Adaptive Meeting Protocols and the Neglected Issue of Banter”, Banteractions (formerly Transactions of the
of Banter Studies), V22 N4 (Bumper Holiday Banter Issue), pp.
- Keywords: Rapport, CSCW,
Abstract: It has been long
recognised that the
creation and maintenance of rapport is essential to the successful
conduct of meetings.
the meetings are being held in a computer-mediated environment, such as
multi-party videoconferencing, this rapport is even more critical. What
been sufficiently considered in the literature to date is the crucial
banter, and the effects on banter of the interactions between meeting
preferences and the bandwidth of the communications channel being used.
on extensive analysis of a series of meetings held both face to face,
video-conferencing, we have derived a formula that enables us to
“banterwidth (b)” of a meeting as the amount of banter that can (or
mediated over a given channel. Put more formally:
= duration, w = bandwidth of the
communications channel at any given
time t, if
is the number of meeting attendees who are interaction-focussed and tf is the number of meeting attendees
who are task-focussed (all of these parameters need to measured at time
t as the number of the attendees and the
channel used may change over the course of the meeting). One way of
banterwidth principle is for meeting attendees to identify and adopt
banter behaviours in different settings (see table below).
Further research is needed with a wider
range of channels and participants to see if this formula generalises.
authors are fortunate to have a workplace environment , if not
necessarily willing experimental subjects, which acts as an
testbed for this further research.
|| Moderate BanterWidth:
Banterers awareness of visual and auditory cues will
need to be enhanced
||High BanterWidth: Banter
can almost proceed as for a face to face meeting
Banter tolerance reduced to nearzero
|Moderate BanterWidth: Banter acceptable but will need to be carefully
|Low Bandwidth Meeting
||High Bandwidth Meeting
- 7. Treloar, A. (2009), "The paradox of size:
observations on alpha
male information technology preferences", Special "Boys Toys" Joint
Issue of J. Gender Studies/J. Technology Adoption,
- Keywords: Psychology, Technology Adoption,
Abstract: One of the male psychosexual
but no less true for that, is that larger is better. This is observable
across such diverse domains as bodybuilding, 4WD/SUV acquisition, and
home cinema installations. Recent research, building on the existing
work correlating testosterone levels with stockmarket performance, has
demonstrated that this preference for size is also positively
correlated both with hormone levels and the status of the individual
within his own social groupings (of course, these latter two factors
may themselves be positively correlated). This paper reports research
showing that the domain of personal technology (and particularly
information technology) is an exception to this general rule. In
particular, when it comes to things like mobile phones and laptop
computers, smaller is generally perceived to be better. Further work is
needed to elicit why this should be the case, and also to clarify the
underlying mechanism behind the interesting 'boundary technology' of
digital cameras where at the same
time smaller is better (for small point and shoot) and bigger is better
(for large SLVs, and particularly zoom lenses). It is possible that a
Freudian analysis couched in terms of 'hiding and concealment' as
opposed to 'demonstration and display' may be productive here. It is
also the case that significant research funding will be required to
purchase the entire matrix of small to large technology options across
these different domains.
- 6. Treloar, A., and Treloar, D. (2008), "An
analysis of the relationship between actual age and perceived walking
speed", First Festschrift for Eadweard
Muybridge, Vol. 2, Supplement C, Annex IV, pp. 1035-1044.
- Keywords: Movement studies, Psychology,
Abstract: This invited paper for the first time
an integrative approach to the widely recognised problem of mismatches
in perceptions of walking speeds by The Other. In contrast to previous
work, this analysis does not simply dismiss the issue as purely
perceptual but draws on a rich dataset resulting from nearly a
centuries combined observational feedwork. In addition to the walking
settings from existing research (the street, shops), one of us (Dr A.
Treloar) was able to draw on fieldwork in a university setting, as well
as significant overseas and airport data. The other of us (Revd D.
Treloar) was able to draw on her extensive experience of walking
behaviour across the entire school age range. As is well known,
mismatches in walking speeds are particularly vexatious in educational
settings. The conclusion from this research is the novel insight that
walking speeds display a left-skewed bell curve relationship with age.
That is, they are slow early in life (probably affected by age-related
locomotion constraints), rise gradually to a peak around 40 years of
age, and then decline thereafter (again, affected by age-related
locomotion constraints, but of a different kind). This new theory might
be mis-perceived as a variant of Dr A. Elk's
hypothesis relating to brontosaurus morphology,
but is in fact our theory which is ours. As the cause of frustration
with walking speed mismatches has been shown to be based on actual slow
speeds rather than perceived slow speeds, the only effective
interventions would appear to be (i) cognitive behavioural therapy for
the sufferers, (ii) a process of age-targeted removal of the cause, or
(iii) intensive training in dodging, obstacle prediction and collision
avoidance. The next phase of this research will undertake a series of
double-blind trials (potentially dangerous in the case of approaches
(iii), and possibly (ii) depending on the targeting mechanism) to
determine the most effective approach.
- 5. Hood, R., Tell, W. and Treloar, A. (2007),
"The Name's the
Thing: some considerations when selecting a field of human endeavour as
a consistent theme for acronyms of technical projects", J. Appl.
Toxophilism, April 1 special issue.
- Keywords: Archery, symbolism, applied
Abstract: As is widely recognised, the most
decision to be made at the start of a technology project is not the
choice of technology, but the choice of the project acronym. Many
novice e-research technologists rush this crucial step, with
potentially long-term negative consequences for branding, credibility
and the "giggle" factor. The decision on acronym is particularly
important if one anticipates a series of related projects. This article
describes some desiderata for deciding on how to consistently theme
project acronyms. One must select an area that has significant
specialist vocabulary (to provide lots of choice), a preponderance of
short terms (few project acronyms can convincingly be longer than about
5±2 characters), and a reasonable mix between vowels and consonants. As
a particular case study, the article analyses a related set of
e-Research projects undertaken in Australia during the first decade of
this century: Australian Research Repositories Online to the World (ARROW), Dataset Acquisition,
Accessibility and Annotation eResearch Technologies (DART), Australian eResearCH Enabling
enviRonment (ARCHER), and Building
Rules for Access Control to Electronic Resources (BRACER).
- 4. Treloar, A. (2006), "Suitcase size
selection as a correlate with gender dimorphism", Trans. Appl.
Studies, Special Luggage Issue, Vol 203, Spring.
- Keywords: Gender Studies, Design
- Abstract: An observational
research study identified opposite-gendered pairs of subjects together
with their luggage in an international travel setting. In all of the
cases observed, the size of the suitcases was different. In most of the
cases (3 out of 4, significant at p < 0.001) the male member of
the pair was associated with the larger suitcase and the female member
of the pair with the smaller suitcase. This is despite anecdotal
evidence from the domestic clothes storage sector that a
greater amount of space is typically required for storage of female
clothes (based on number of items rather than volume of each item).
Because of the small sample size, and the observational nature of the
data collection, further research is needed in a variety of settings.
Dimensions that might be significant include setting (national
versus international), mode (air, train, boat), class
(economy, premium economy, business, first). This suggests a 24 cell
matrix that needs to be incorporated into the phase two research design.
- 3. Treloar, A. (2005), "Solar-Silico-Saline
Therapy: Fad or
Fantasy?", Int. J. Wellness, Vol 100, No 2.
- Keywords: Commerce, Management,
Tourism and Services/Tourism/Tourism Behaviour
- Abstract: This paper describes a
single-subject experiment involving a 180-degree work-life balance
repolarisation, coupled with a zero-tolerance approach to the use of
any form of information technology. The research project builds on
earlier research reported in Treloar (2003). The subject initially
experienced feelings of loss of purpose, coupled with an ongoing desire
to see if any new emails had arrived in the last minute, and what the
posting was about. After repeated courses of integrated
solar-silico-saline therapy these symptoms diminished markedly. A
side-effect, the desirability of which should perhaps be viewed as
highly context and task-specific, was a reduced sense of the passage of
time, or even of the importance of such passage. On return to work, it
is believed that the subject will experience greater motivation,
increased clarity of thought, and a better perspective on how to
proactively manage an increasingly complex task portfolio. In addition,
it is hoped that the subject will be more fun to work with. Due to the
limited sample size, and the restricted experiment duration, more
research will be required as a matter of urgency to validate these
- 2. Treloar, D. (2004). "Technology tough love
- how I got my husband to go computer cold turkey", J. App.
Spousal Mgt, Vol 32, Spring.
- Keywords: Recaltricance, Self-Justification,
Abstract: [yet to be supplied by author]
- 1. Treloar, A. (2003), "Sun, sand and surf -
an innovative new treatment regime delivers real relaxed results", Int. J. Wellness, Vol 99, No 1.
- Keywords: Commerce, Management,
Tourism and Services/Tourism/Tourism Behaviour
- Abstract: [not completed due to
fieldwork-induced damage (sand/salt water rendering laptop inoperable)]
©Andrew Treloar, 2010. W: http://andrew.treloar.net/ E: email@example.com