My Little Pony and penalty shoot-outs may not be the first subjects which come to mind when you think of university academia topics.

But they are some of the topics University of Brighton researchers have been devoting their time to.

It is easy, of course, to sneer about any subject outside of the traditional humanities and sciences and dismiss them as ‘soft’.

Part of the reason new institutions such as the University of Brighton were formed was as an alternative to the stiff and traditional educational establishments which were rooted to their centuries of heritage.

But there is also a line to be drawn.

Taxpayers can rightly ask whether it is value for money for universities, which receive millions from the Government, to indulge in ‘soft’ subjects too much.

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