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Overview

 

The Centre for Applied Behavioural & Social Sciences (CABSS) undertakes applied research and translational projects, and offers consultancy services and training programmes in the domain of behavioural and social sciences. CABSS is formed (with effect 1 Jan 2020) as a result of the merger between the Centre for Applied Psychology and the Centre for Applied Gerontology, and serves as a platform in which lecturers and students from the School of Humanities & Social Sciences (HSS) can work closely with industry partners through close collaboration in applied research or translational projects.

 

CABSS aims to bridge the gap between theoretical research and field practice by providing evidence-based solutions to real-world problems. The centre adopts an interdisciplinary approach by providing expertise in the domain of behavioural and social sciences through collaboration with industry and community partners across different sectors, and with other centres and schools within Temasek Polytechnic.

 

Vision

To be a centre recognised for its interdisciplinary applied research and translational projects in the domain of behavioural and social sciences.

 

Focus Areas

CABSS focuses on the following areas in its applications to real-world problems:

 

  • Ageing Research
  • Behavioural Insights
  • Health & Wellness
  • Social Service & Community Development
  • Special Needs

Partnerships

The Centre for Applied Behavioural & Social Sciences (CABSS) has been actively engaged in numerous applied research and translational projects with a large number of industry partners over the years. Our partners include social service organisations, special needs organizations, agencies from public service, private organisations, and research centres from other institutions. 

 

Our partnerships focus on the applications of research in the behavioural and social sciences across different domains and sectors.

CABSS partnered NTUC Industrial Relations Department Re-Employment Group (NTUC IRD [REG]) to study the implications and issues pertaining to the employment of mature workers and an ageing workforce. The partnership was formalised in an MOU of collaboration in July 2013 with Senior Minister of State and Deputy Secretary-General of NTUC, Mr Heng Chee How, in attendance.

 

There are two parts to the quantitative research study, which involved the participation of both staff and students from various diplomas in Temasek Polytechnic. “Senior Workers’ Perception on Retirement & Working after Retirement” is led by Diploma in Psychology Studies, while the study on “Employer’s Perception on Hiring Senior Workers” is helmed by Diploma in Social Sciences in Gerontology. These projects ran from March 2013 to March 2014, and involved HSS students on internships at NTUC and their final year projects, in which they conducted focus groups interviews and large scale surveys.

 

The findings of the projects were presented to Mr Heng Chee How (Deputy Secretary-General, NTUC) on 24 March 2014. An executive summary was also produced to help organisations and government bodies to refine and reformulate their human resource policies.

Toolkit on the Employability of Older PMEs The Programme and Partnership Development department from Tripartite Alliance for Fair & Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) collaborated with CABSS to develop an online survey to measure and establish employers’ perceptions, mindsets and stereotypes that influence the hiring decisions of older Professionals, Managers & Executives (PMEs). 

 

Age-Inclusive Norms CABSS engaged in a project with the Programme and Partnership Development department in TAFEP to analyse existing interview transcripts from earlier research project on age-inclusive norms. Methodologically rigorous qualitative analysis of these transcripts were conducted to identify key themes of age-inclusive norms, which was then used to validate against the framework that TAFEP had initially proposed. Based on the validation exercise, the age-inclusive norms framework was revised and published as an infographic supporting the TAFEP-Straits Times Roundtable Discussion feature on 28 Oct 2016.

 

Fair@Work Study Through an initial link-up via Temasek Polytechnic’s Career & Education Services Centre (CESC), students from the Diploma in Psychology Studies worked on a research project with the Communications and Events Management department in TAFEP. This project comes under the Fair@Work Promise campaign by TAFEP to promote fair and inclusive attitudes in the workplace. In this study, responses were obtained from TP in their final year of studies to understand the level of knowledge school leavers had with regards to fair employment practices, the expectations of school leavers on their first job, and whether the amount of diversity exposure influenced school leavers’ attitudes towards diversity in the workplace. The findings from this study was presented at the Conference for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices 2018, where Mrs Josephine Teo (Minister, Prime Minister Office, Second Minister for  Manpower and Home Affairs) was the guest of honour.

Our Tampines Hub, managed by People’s Association is Singapore’s first integrated hub for public services and community programs and facilities. To obtain a sense of Tampines resident’s experience with the hub and gather feedback on the services provided by the hub, CABSS was engaged by People’s Association to develop a survey. Students from the Diploma in Psychology Studies interviewed various stakeholders from Our Tampines Hub on the services provided and information they would like to gather from Tampines residents. Volunteers of the hub were also interviewed to provide feedback on the survey. This project culminated to an online survey that attempts to capture Tampines Residents’ experience at Our Tampines Hub.

CABSS conducted numerous applied research studies in collaboration with Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS). Some notable studies included an experimental study that explored the effects of font size and character spacing on the reading performance of individuals with dyslexia, an exploratory study on the teaching practice of reading comprehension skills for individuals with dyslexia in 2016, and a longitudinal study between 2015 to 2018 that aimed to evaluate the MOE-Aided DAS Literacy Programme (MAP). The findings from the above studies were presented in both local and international conferences, and informed DAS about their practices.

CABSS, working with lecturers and students from the Diploma in Psychology Studies, have collaborated with St Andrew’s Autism Centre, Day Activity Centre (SAA-DAC) on numerous projects since 2015. One project involved the development of a Daily Living Skills training handbook for the coaches and staff at the DAC to help in teaching these skills to their adult clients. Another project required students from the Diploma in Psychology Studies to examine organizational processes regarding clients’ transition from school to the DAC, and propose changes to these processes to improve on current transition practices. More recently, CABSS were involved in a community survey of business owners in Singapore, examining the attitudes towards hiring of adults with Autism in their various businesses and industries. The findings from these projects were shared with the management and staff of SAAC-DAC.

CABSS worked on several projects with Alzheimer’s Disease Association (ADA). One of these projects included helping ADA review best practices to recommend a comprehensive plan for improving the Dementia hotline in Singapore, while another project involved helping ADA develop a set of training materials for domestic helpers in the area of dementia care for the elderly. One particularly memorable project was the piloting of the Dementia Café, where it eventually became a full-fledged program, and ultimately benefited the grandmother of a student who was involved in the initial piloting of the project (see photos below).

Over the years, CABSS collaborated with the Institute for Infocomm Research on numerous projects. These interdisciplinary projects included investigating the social dynamics of inter-generation game play, and usability issues of employing augmented reality and artificial intelligence for remote training purposes, where knowledge in the behavioural and social sciences domain were applied to domain areas such as engineering and computer science. The findings from these studies were presented in both local and international conferences.

CABSS collaborated with the Response Early Intervention and Assessment in Community Mental Health (REACH) on several projects since 2016, such as the development of a workshop aimed at providing behavioural interventions for young children at-risk for ADHD, the development of psycho-educational materials for caregivers of youths with mental health issues, and the development of a localized mindfulness training programme for children. These developed materials were employed in REACH’s operations.

CABSS works actively with the Behavioural Insights Collaboratory within Temasek Polytechnic to conduct behavioural insights (BI) projects, in which behavioural science theories are applied to nudge behaviours on campus. The projects range from increasing students’ response rates on surveys, to getting students to exhibit pro-social behaviours in public spaces, to nudging students towards a healthier lifestyle. The findings from these BI projects not only leads to increase work productivity and the quality of service delivery, but also makes the campus a better place to work and study.

 

Other than conducting internal BI projects with the Behavioural Insights Collaboratory, CABSS also actively works with other external organizations on BI projects. Some of these projects involved nudging safer pedestrian behaviours, encouraging tray return behaviours, and even educating individuals from low-income families to recognize common sales tactics that leads to impulse purchases.

In collaboration with the Architecture Department of the Land Transport Authority (LTA), CABSS conducted a user research study aimed to identify user information requirements for wayfinding, with the purpose of uncovering user perceptions and issues for future improvements to MRT station usability and design for older adult commuters. Extensive literature review, expert review, interviews and journey shadowing sessions were carried out with both international and local wayfinding planners, as well as users of the public transport system to investigate how inclusive design principles can be applied to improve wayfinding and information accessibility for users of different abilities level. The project led to the development of a systematic Inclusive Wayfinding Assessment Tool (IWA) which helps to facilitate and raise awareness for inclusive wayfinding in the context of Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system.

CABSS, in collaboration with Professor Kawashima of Tohoku University Japan and TP’s School of IIT, developed an evidence-based brain training game named Mindworks. Given that the foreseeable increase of older adults in Singapore in the coming decades, developing an effective brain training programme for seniors to partake would benefit the aged population to cope with age-related cognitive decline. Mindworks was adopted within the Intergenerational program by the Council for Third Age in Singapore (C3A), and other service care providers such as St Luke’s Eldercare. The application was released on Google Play store in January 2017 and has been downloaded by over 1000+ users.

CABSS collaborated with Changi General Hospital (CGH) to examine falls prevention in hospital wards. By studying the learning needs of older patients, the project sought to bridge the communication gap between nursing staff and patient/caregiver, so as to promote understanding of fall precautions to minimise falls. This collaboration led to the development of a Patient Family Education tool to provide a common reference for nursing staff and patients/caregivers, and Behavioural Insights (BI) strategies were incorporated within this tool to nudge staff and patients/caregivers’ behaviours. Findings from the collaboration were also used by CGH to implement a series of Fall Safety Initiatives in 2014 to facilitate discussions between nursing staff and patient/caregiver.

In collaboration with AWWA Senior Activity Centre, CABSS developed a localised self-training mindfulness programme for seniors. It contains guided mindfulness practices adapted to suit the needs of the Singaporean seniors available in bilingual versions.

CABSS collaborated with St Luke’s ElderCare (SLEC) on a large scale cognitive intervention programme involving 12 SLEC centres. This project aimed to evaluate the efficacy of the Active Brain Learning (ABLE) programme, which aims to improve the cognition and mental well-being of clients with mild to moderate dementia.

 

For this collaboration, CABSS also embarked on a qualitative project with SLEC to explore and understand ground issues when conducting the Active Brain Learning (ABLE) programme with staff members at SLEC. The findings provided useful insights to both St Luke’s management team to understand the potential ground issues, as well as any other organisation planning to include ABLE as part of their centre’s programme in future.

Corporate Training

 

At the Centre for Applied Behavioural & Social Sciences (CABSS), we believe in the importance of equipping individuals with relevant skills and knowledge in the domain of behavioural and social sciences, so that they can apply them to improve both their professional and personal lives.

 

CABSS offers customised short courses and workshops in the areas of behavioural insights, user research, program evaluation, and applied quantitative and qualitative research skills in the behavioural and social sciences domain. We provide training and workshops to social service organizations, public service agencies, private organisations, and also to the general public.

 

Some customized courses that CABSS offers:

 

  • Introduction to Behavioural Insights
  • Introduction to Behavioural Insights – Chinese
  • Improving Managerial Judgment and Decision Making
  • Introduction to Applied User Research
  • Introduction to Survey Design and Development
  • Introduction to Conducting Exploratory Field Research
  • Statistical Analysis: A Hands-on Approach
  • Applied Research Methodology in the Behavioural Sciences

Contact Details

If you are interested in project collaboration, consultation or training in the behavioural and social sciences domain, please feel free to contact us.

  • 8.30 am to 6.00 pm (Mon to Fri). Closed on Sat, Sun & Public Holidays
  • Centre under School of Humanities & Social Sciences Contact

    Temasek Polytechnic
    East Wing Block 1A,
    21 Tampines Ave 1
    Singapore 529757

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