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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A fair shot

Gender Performance in the NCAA Rifle Championships: Where is the Gap?

Nadav Goldschmied & Jason Kowalczyk
Sex Roles, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current study aimed to compare shooting performance between male and female athletes during the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Rifle Championship from the 2007 to 2013 seasons. This sport is distinct from most competitive sports as it requires little physical exertion, so physiological/ biomechanical differences between the genders that generally bring about superior performance by males relative to females may have only minimal effect on shooting performance. NCAA competitions, unlike Olympic shooting events today, allow male and female shooters to compete against each other. Using archival data covering a period of 7 years from both the team and individual tournaments, 555 scores of the best 149 shooters among mostly U.S. collegiate athletes (the best of whom went on to compete in the Olympics) were analyzed using a generalized estimating equation (GEE) model. We found no differences in performance between the genders both during team and individual competitions. The results suggest that Olympic shooting is exercising a “separate and (un)equal” policy which should be reconsidered.

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Expectations of brilliance underlie gender distributions across academic disciplines

Sarah-Jane Leslie et al.
Science, 16 January 2015, 262-265

Abstract:
The gender imbalance in STEM subjects dominates current debates about women’s underrepresentation in academia. However, women are well represented at the Ph.D. level in some sciences and poorly represented in some humanities (e.g., in 2011, 54% of U.S. Ph.D.’s in molecular biology were women versus only 31% in philosophy). We hypothesize that, across the academic spectrum, women are underrepresented in fields whose practitioners believe that raw, innate talent is the main requirement for success, because women are stereotyped as not possessing such talent. This hypothesis extends to African Americans’ underrepresentation as well, as this group is subject to similar stereotypes. Results from a nationwide survey of academics support our hypothesis (termed the field-specific ability beliefs hypothesis) over three competing hypotheses.

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Incentives to Identify: Racial Identity in the Age of Affirmative Action

Francisca Antman & Brian Duncan
University of Colorado Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
It is almost universally assumed that race is an exogenously given trait that is not subject to change. But as race is most often self-reported by individuals who must weigh the costs and benefits of associating with minority groups, we ask whether racial self-identification responds to economic incentives. To address this question, we link racial self-identification with changes in state-level affirmative action policies in higher education, contracting, and employment. Consistent with supporting evidence showing that individuals from underrepresented minority groups face an incentive to identify under affirmative action, we find that once affirmative action is outlawed, they are less likely to identify with their minority group. In contrast, we find that individuals from overrepresented minority groups, who face a disincentive to identify under affirmative action, are more likely to identify with their minority group once affirmative action is banned. To our knowledge, this is the first study to document a causal relationship between racial self-identification and economic incentives in the United States. As such, it has broad implications for understanding the impact of affirmative action policies, estimating broader trends in racial disparities, and the emerging literature on the construction of race and individual identity.

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State liberalism, female supervisors, and the gender wage gap

David Maume & Leah Ruppanner
Social Science Research, March 2015, Pages 126–138

Abstract:
Whereas some are concerned that the gender revolution has stalled, others note the rapid increase in women’s representation in the ranks of management, and the reduction of wage inequality in larger and more active welfare states. Although these latter trends portend an attenuation of gender inequality, their effects on the gender pay gap in the U.S. are understudied due to data limitations, or to the assumption that in the U.S. pay is determined by market forces. In this study we extend research on the determinants of the gender wage gap by examining sex-of-supervisor effects on subordinates’ pay, and to what degree the state’s commitment to equality conditions this relationship. We pooled the 1997 and 2002 National Study of the Changing Workforce surveys to estimate hierarchical models of reporting to a female supervisor and wages, with theoretically important predictors at the individual level, and at the state of residence (an index composed of women’s share of legislators, a measure of the liberal leanings of the state, and the size of the public sector relative to the labor force). We found that state effects on pay were mixed, with pay generally rising with state liberalism on the one hand. On the other hand, working for a female boss significantly reduced wages. We discussed the theoretical implications of our results, as well as the need for further study of the career effects on subordinates as women increasingly enter the ranks of management.

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“You Were the Best Qualified”: Business Beyond the Backlash Against Affirmative Action

Benton Williams
Journal of Policy History, Winter 2015, Pages 61-92

"In this article, I will juxtapose these two simultaneous and seemingly contradictory developments of the 1980s: on one hand, the successful ideological campaign against affirmative action waged by Ronald Reagan and his political appointees and supporters, and on the other, the entrenchment of affirmative practices in the private sector. The seeming contradiction is partially attributable to the federal government’s weakness in affecting private-sector affirmative action — with limited power either to enforce or to dismantle private employers’ hiring practices — and partially attributable to developments within the private sector, especially corporate recognition of the need for 'diverse' workforces and specific human resource management strategies that became prominent in the 1980s."

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Growing the Roots of STEM Majors: Female Math and Science High School Faculty and the Participation of Students in STEM

Martha Cecilia Bottia et al.
Economics of Education Review, April 2015, Pages 14–27

Abstract:
The underrepresentation of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields is problematic given the economic and social inequities it fosters and the rising global importance of STEM occupations. This paper examines the role of the demographic composition of high school faculty — specifically the proportion of female high school math and science teachers — on college students’ decisions to declare and/or major in STEM fields. We analyze longitudinal data from students who spent their academic careers in North Carolina public secondary schools and attended North Carolina public universities. Our results suggest that although the proportion of female math and science teachers at a school has no impact on male students, it has a powerful effect on female students’ likelihood of declaring and graduating with a STEM degree, and effects are largest for female students with the highest math skills. The estimates are robust to the inclusion of controls for students’ initial ability.

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Representation in the classroom: The effect of own-race/ethnicity teacher assignment on student achievement

Anna Egalite, Brian Kisida & Marcus Winters
Economics of Education Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research suggests that there are academic benefits when students and teachers share the same race/ethnicity because such teachers can serve as role models, mentors, advocates, or cultural translators. In this paper, we obtain estimates of achievement changes as students are assigned to teachers of different races/ethnicities from grades 3 through 10 utilizing a large administrative dataset provided by the Florida Department of Education that follows the universe of test-taking students in Florida public schools from 2001-02 through 2008-09. We find small but significant positive effects when black and white students are assigned to race-congruent teachers in reading (.004 to .005 standard deviations) and for black, white and Asian/Pacific Island students in math (.007 to .041 standard deviations). We also examine the effects of race matching by students' prior performance level, finding that lower-performing black and white students appear to particularly benefit from being assigned to a race-congruent teacher.

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Science and Engineering Majors in the Federal Service: Lessons for Eliminating Sexual and Racial Inequality

Seong Soo Oh & Jungbu Kim
Review of Public Personnel Administration, March 2015, Pages 24-46

Abstract:
This study explores how the gender and racial composition of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) portion of the federal workforce has changed, and how female and minority employees with STEM degrees compare with White majorities and those with degrees in non-STEM fields. Using a series of ordinary least square analyses of a 1% random sample of federal employees for 1983, 1996, and 2009, this study finds that gender and racial pay disparities have decreased over the study period, and that the extant gender pay gap can be explained largely by educational attainment, work experience, and particularly by the changing composition in STEM majors. Despite the decrease in pay disparity, a racial pay gap still remains even after controlling for education level, federal experience, and other major factors.

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The Snowballing Penalty Effect: Multiple Disadvantage and Pay

Carol Woodhams, Ben Lupton & Marc Cowling
British Journal of Management, January 2015, Pages 63–77

Abstract:
This paper makes the case that the current single-axis approach to the diagnosis and remedy of pay discrimination is inadequate in the case of multiple disadvantage. While a good deal is known about pay gaps, particularly those affecting women, less is known about those affecting people in other disadvantaged groups and those in more than one such group. This analysis of multiple years of pay data, n = 513,000, from a large UK-based company shows that people with more than one disadvantaged identity suffer a significantly greater pay penalty than those with a single disadvantage. The data also suggest that penalties associated with multiple disadvantage exponentially increase. In other words, disadvantages seem to interact to the detriment of people at ‘intersections’. The paper considers the implications for policies aimed at reducing pay inequalities. These currently take a single-axis approach and may be misdirected.

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Employment Discrimination Lawsuits and Corporate Stock Prices

Elizabeth Hirsh & Youngjoo Cha
Social Currents, March 2015, Pages 40-57

Abstract:
In this study, we examine the financial impact of employment discrimination lawsuit verdicts and settlements on publicly traded firms subject to lawsuits between 1997 and 2008. Using data on 174 sex and race discrimination lawsuits involving 107 publicly traded companies, we assess the effect of lawsuit verdicts and settlements on changes in defendants’ daily stock returns. Findings indicate that verdicts and settlements have an immediate negative impact on defendants’ stock prices. In addition, the negative effect is more pronounced among cases that involve monetary payouts, cases in which the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is a plaintiff and cases that involve sex as opposed to race or national origin discrimination. These results demonstrate the extent to which legal rulings introduce a market penalty for employers and have implications for the study of law, organizations, and market responses to discriminatory behavior.

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Agents of Change or Cogs in the Machine? Re-examining the Influence of Female Managers on the Gender Wage Gap

Sameer Srivastava & Eliot Sherman
University of California Working Paper, August 2014

Abstract:
Do female managers ameliorate or instead perpetuate the gender wage gap? Although conceptual arguments exist on both sides of this debate, the preponderance of the empirical evidence has favored the view that female managers are agents of change who act in ways that reduce the gender wage gap. Yet the evidence from which this sociological baseline has emerged comes primarily from cross-establishment surveys, which do not provide visibility into the choices of individual managers. Using longitudinal personnel records from a large information services firm in which managers had considerable discretion to influence employee salaries, we estimate multilevel models that indicate no support for the proposition that female managers act to reduce the gender wage gap among employees who report to them. Consistent with the theory of value threat, we instead find conditional support for the cogs-in-the-machine perspective: In the subsample of high performing supervisors and low performing employees, women who switched from a male to a female supervisor had a lower salary in the following year than men who made the same switch.

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New Color Lines: Racial/Ethnic Inequality in Earnings among College-Educated Men

ChangHwan Kim
Sociological Quarterly, Winter 2015, Pages 152–184

Abstract:
Using the 2003 National Survey of College Graduates, this study examined four perspectives on new color lines in America — white–nonwhite, black–nonblack, tri-racial, and blurred — among college-educated white, black, Hispanic, and Asian men. Findings show that the color lines have not been consistently drawn but vary by nativity and migration status. Among the native born, the color line for earnings cuts mainly across white and nonwhite when field of study and Carnegie classification are controlled for in addition to other covariates. On the other hand, among members of the 1.5 generation, who obtained both their high school and highest degrees in the United States, the lines are most salient between black and nonblack. Among first-generation immigrants, who completed all their education in a foreign country, and 1.25-generation immigrants, who obtained their high school diploma in a foreign country but earned their highest degree in the United States, there is a gradation of the color line with whites at the top and blacks at the bottom. Despite these mixed results, blacks fall consistently at the bottom of the racial hierarchy and whites at the top, regardless of nativity and migration status. Implications of the findings are discussed.

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Forecasting the experience of stereotype threat for others

Kathryn Boucher, Robert Rydell & Mary Murphy
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, May 2015, Pages 56–62

Abstract:
Women can underperform when they are concerned about confirming negative gender-based math stereotypes; however, little research has investigated whether female and male perceivers have insight into the experiences of stereotype-threatened women. Female and male participants were randomly assigned to take a math test under stereotype-threatening conditions (experiencers) or predict how a woman taking a math test would feel and perform in the same situation (forecasters). Although female and male forecasters expected female experiencers to have more negative emotional reactions than they actually did, forecasters believed that female experiencers would overcome these emotional reactions and perform at a high level — a much higher level than female experiencers actually performed. This discrepancy for performance expectations was driven by forecasters' beliefs that female experiencers could overcome threat. This research suggests that strengthening the perceived link between stereotype threat's impact on emotional experiences and performance outcomes could foster others' appreciation of its insidious influence.

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Examining Men’s Status Shield and Status Bonus: How Gender Frames the Emotional Labor and Job Satisfaction of Nurses

Marci Cottingham, Rebecca Erickson & James Diefendorff
Sex Roles, forthcoming

Abstract:
(Hochschild 1983) coined the term status shield to theorize men’s status-based protection from the emotional abuses of working in a service job and hence their diminished need to manage emotions as compared to women. Extending this concept, the current study examines how gender operates not merely to shield men from emotional labor on the job but to also shape the relationship between emotional labor and job satisfaction. Using survey data collected from 730 registered nurses (667 women and 63 men) at a large Midwestern hospital system in the U.S., we show that in addition to engaging in less emotional labor than women, men benefit from their emotion management in ways that women do not. Gender moderates the relationship between two dimensions of emotional labor (i.e., surface acting – covering emotion and deep acting) and two outcome measures (i.e., job satisfaction and turnover intention). Results support theoretical claims that men’s privileged status shields them from having to perform emotional labor as frequently as women. Further, when male nurses do perform higher levels of emotional labor, they are shielded from the negative effects of covering emotion and their deep acting correlates with higher job satisfaction — a status bonus — compared to that of their female colleagues. Implications for gender theory, emotional labor, and nursing policy and practice are discussed.

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Status Beliefs and the Spirit of Capitalism: Accounting for Gender Biases in Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Sarah Thébaud
University of California Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
In this article, I develop and empirically test the theoretical argument that widely shared cultural beliefs about men’s and women’s abilities in the area of entrepreneurship (i.e. “gender status beliefs”) systematically influence the social interactions during which an entrepreneur, particularly an innovative entrepreneur, seeks support from potential stakeholders for his or her new organization. To evaluate this argument, I conducted three experimental studies in the United Kingdom and the United States in which student participants were asked to evaluate the profiles of two entrepreneurs and to make investment decisions for each. The studies manipulated the gender of the entrepreneur and the innovativeness of the business plan. The main finding is consistent across studies: gender status beliefs disadvantage typical women entrepreneurs vis-à-vis their male counterparts, but innovation in a business model has a stronger and more positive impact on ratings of women’s entrepreneurial ability and overall support for their business ideas than it does for men’s. However, the strength of these patterns varies significantly depending on the societal and industry context of the new venture in question. Findings indicate that gender status beliefs can be understood as an important “demand-side” mechanism contributing to gender inequality in aggregate entrepreneurship rates and a micro-level factor affecting the likelihood that a new and novel organization will emerge and survive.

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On The Origins of Gender Human Capital Gaps: Short and Long Term Consequences of Teachers' Stereotypical Biases

Victor Lavy & Edith Sand
NBER Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
In this paper, we estimate the effect of primary school teachers’ gender biases on boys’ and girls’ academic achievements during middle and high school and on the choice of advanced level courses in math and sciences during high school. For identification, we rely on the random assignments of teachers and students to classes in primary schools. Our results suggest that teachers’ biases favoring boys have an asymmetric effect by gender — positive effect on boys’ achievements and negative effect on girls’. Such gender biases also impact students’ enrollment in advanced level math courses in high school — boys positively and girls negatively. These results suggest that teachers’ biased behavior at early stage of schooling have long run implications for occupational choices and earnings at adulthood, because enrollment in advanced courses in math and science in high school is a prerequisite for post-secondary schooling in engineering, computer science and so on. This impact is heterogeneous, being larger for children from families where the father is more educated than the mother and larger on girls from low socioeconomic background.

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Social Identity and Inequality: The Impact of China’s Hukou System

Farzana Afridi, Sherry Xin Li & Yufei Ren
Journal of Public Economics, March 2015, Pages 17–29

Abstract:
We conduct an experimental study to investigate the causal impact of social identity on individuals’ performance under incentives. We focus on China’s household registration (hukou) system, which favors urban residents and discriminates against rural residents in resource allocation. Our results show that making individuals’ hukou identity salient significantly reduces the performance of rural migrant students, relative to their local urban counterparts, on an incentivized cognitive task, and consequently significantly lowers their relative ranking in the earnings distribution under the piece rate regime. However, the impact of hukou identity salience is insignificant in the tournament regime, suggesting that its negative effect on migrant students’ performance may be mitigated when competition is introduced. The results demonstrate the impact of institutionally imposed social identity on individuals’ economic performance, and potentially on inequality.

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Mild test anxiety influences neurocognitive performance among African Americans and European Americans: Identifying interfering and facilitating sources

April Thames et al.
Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, January 2015, Pages 105-113

Abstract:
The current study examined ethnic/racial differences in test-related anxiety and its relationship to neurocognitive performance in a community sample of African American (n = 40) and European American (n = 36) adults. The authors hypothesized the following: (a) Test-anxiety related to negative performance evaluation would be associated with lower neurocognitive performance, whereas anxiety unrelated to negative evaluation would be associated with higher neurocognitive performance. (b) African American participants would report higher levels of anxiety about negative performance evaluation than European Americans. (c) European Americans would report higher levels of anxiety unrelated to negative performance evaluation. The first two hypotheses were supported: Ethnic/racial differences in test-taking anxiety emerged such that African Americans reported significantly higher levels of negative performance evaluation, which was associated with lower cognitive performance. The third hypothesis was not supported: African Americans and European Americans reported similar levels of test-anxiety unrelated to negative evaluation.

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Does Society Underestimate Women? Evidence from the Performance of Female Jockeys in Horse Racing

Alasdair Brown & Fuyu Yang
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, March 2015, Pages 106–118

Abstract:
Women are under-represented in many top jobs. We investigate whether biased beliefs about female ability - a form of ‘mistake-based discrimination’ - are partially responsible for this under-representation. We use more than 10 years of data on the performance of female jockeys in U.K. and Irish horse racing - a sport where, uniquely, men and women compete side-by-side - to evaluate the presence of such discrimination. The odds produced by the betting market provide a window onto society's beliefs about the abilities of women in a male-dominated occupation. We find that women are slightly underestimated, winning 0.3% more races than the market predicts. Female jockeys are underestimated to a greater extent in jump racing, where their participation is low. We discuss possible reasons for this association.

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Performance pay, competitiveness, and the gender wage gap: Evidence from the United States

Andrew McGee, Peter McGee & Jessica Pan
Economics Letters, March 2015, Pages 35–38

Abstract:
We show that women in the NLSY79 and NLSY97 are less likely than men to receive competitive compensation. The portion of the gender wage gap explained by compensation schemes is small in the NLSY79 but somewhat larger in the NLSY97.

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No Place Like Home? Familism and Latino/a-White Differences in College Pathways

Sarah Ovink & Demetra Kalogrides
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent research has argued that familism, defined as a cultural preference for privileging family goals over individual goals, may discourage some Latino/a youth from applying to and attending college, particularly if they must leave home (Desmond and López Turley, 2009). Using data from the Education Longitudinal Study, we find that Latino/a students and parents indeed have stronger preferences than white students and parents for living at home during college. For students, most differences in preferences for proximate colleges are explained by socioeconomic status, academic achievement and high school/regional differences. Moreover, controlling for socioeconomic background and prior achievement explains most racial/ethnic gaps in college application and attendance among high school graduates, suggesting that familism per se is not a significant deterrent to college enrollment above and beyond these more primary factors. However, results indicate generational differences; cultural factors may contribute to racial/ethnic gaps in parental preferences for children to remain at home.

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Hostile sexism (de)motivates women's social competition intentions: The contradictory role of emotions

Elena Lemonaki, Antony Manstead & Gregory Maio
British Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the present research, we examine the ways in which exposure to hostile sexism influences women's competitive collective action intentions. Prior to testing our main model, our first study experimentally induced high versus low levels of security-comfort with the aim of providing experimental evidence for the proposed causal link between these emotions and intentions to engage in social competition. Results showed that lower levels of security-comfort reduced women's readiness to compete socially with men. Experiment 2 investigated the effect of hostile sexism on women's emotional reactions and readiness to engage in social competition. Consistent with the proposed model, results showed that exposure to hostile beliefs about women (1) increased anger-frustration and (2) decreased security-comfort. More specifically, exposure to hostile sexism had a positive indirect effect on social competition intentions through anger-frustration, and a negative indirect effect through security-comfort.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, February 16, 2015

In the know

No Pass No Drive: Education and Allocation of Time

Rashmi Barua & Marian Vidal-Fernandez
Journal of Human Capital, Winter 2014, Pages 399-431

Abstract:
Around one-third of students in the United States, mostly boys and blacks, fail to graduate from high school each year. Since the late 1980s, several states have introduced minimum academic requirements for teenagers to obtain driver's licenses. Using data from the American Community Survey, we find that these so-called No Pass No Drive laws have a positive and significant effect on high school completion and educational attainment among males and blacks, but not among females. Data from Monitoring the Future suggest that students who remained in school increased time allocated to schoolwork at the expense of leisure and work hours.

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The Effects of School Spending on Educational and Economic Outcomes: Evidence from School Finance Reforms

Kirabo Jackson, Rucker Johnson & Claudia Persico
NBER Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
Since Coleman (1966), many have questioned whether school spending affects student outcomes. The school finance reforms that began in the early 1970s and accelerated in the 1980s caused some of the most dramatic changes in the structure of K-12 education spending in US history. To study the effect of these school-finance-reform-induced changes in school spending on long-run adult outcomes, we link school spending and school finance reform data to detailed, nationally-representative data on children born between 1955 and 1985 and followed through 2011. We use the timing of the passage of court-mandated reforms, and their associated type of funding formula change, as an exogenous shifter of school spending and we compare the adult outcomes of cohorts that were differentially exposed to school finance reforms, depending on place and year of birth. Event-study and instrumental variable models reveal that a 10 percent increase in per-pupil spending each year for all twelve years of public school leads to 0.27 more completed years of education, 7.25 percent higher wages, and a 3.67 percentage-point reduction in the annual incidence of adult poverty; effects are much more pronounced for children from low-income families. Exogenous spending increases were associated with sizable improvements in measured school quality, including reductions in student-to-teacher ratios, increases in teacher salaries, and longer school years.

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Accountability Pressure and Non-Achievement Student Behaviors

John Holbein & Helen Ladd
Duke University Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
In this paper we examine how failing to make adequate yearly progress under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), and the accountability pressure that ensues, affects various non-achievement student behaviors. Using administrative data from North Carolina and leveraging a discontinuity in the determination of school failure, we examine the causal impact of accountability pressure both on student behaviors that are incentivized by NCLB and on those that are not. We find evidence that, as NCLB intends, pressure encourages students to show up at school and to do so on time. Accountability pressure also has the unintended effect, however, of increasing the number of student misbehaviors such as suspensions, fights, and offenses reportable to law enforcement. Further, this negative response is most pronounced among minorities and low performing students, who are the most likely to be left behind.

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The Maine Question: How Is 4-Year College Enrollment Affected by Mandatory College Entrance Exams?

Michael Hurwitz et al.
Educational Evaluation And Policy Analysis, March 2015, Pages 138-159

Abstract:
We use a difference-in-differences analytic approach to estimate postsecondary consequences from Maine's mandate that all public school juniors take the SATR. We find that, overall, the policy increased 4-year college-going rates by 2- to 3-percentage points and that 4-year college-going rates among induced students increased by 10-percentage points.

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Why has for-profit colleges' share of higher education expanded so rapidly? Estimating the responsiveness to labor market changes

Gregory Gilpin, Joseph Saunders & Christiana Stoddard
Economics of Education Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Over the last two decades, for-profit colleges (FPCs) have substantially increased their share of the higher education market. One potential explanation is that FPC sector may be more responsive to labor market changes than public competitors. Using panel datasets of Associate's degree students, we examine the effects of changes in labor market conditions across various employment fields on enrollment and degree completion in related majors. The results indicate that enrollment and degree completion in the FPC sector is positively related to employment growth and wages in related occupations, while public institutions remain largely unresponsive. Heterogeneity analysis reveals that these relationships are similar across groups of students by gender and ethnicity. Furthermore, the results also indicate that students in public institutions are non-responsive to changes in labor markets associated with requiring an Associate's or Bachelor's degree.

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When Should Children Start School?

Dionissi Aliprantis
Journal of Human Capital, Winter 2014, Pages 481-536

Abstract:
This paper studies causal effects informative for deciding the age when children should start kindergarten. I present evidence from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (ECLS-K) that standard instrumental variable strategies do not identify effects of delaying kindergarten entry for any subpopulation of interest. I propose and implement a new strategy for identifying individual-level education production function parameters. Estimates indicate that there can be decreasing and even negative returns to relative age: For the oldest children in a cohort, educational achievement in third grade decreases as their age relative to that of their classmates increases.

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Cognitive Skills, Personality, and Economic Preferences in Collegiate Success

Stephen Burks et al.
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
We collected multiple measures from 100 students at a small public undergraduate liberal arts college in the Midwestern US and later assessed their academic success. The "proactive" (hard-working, persistent) aspect of the Big Five trait of Conscientiousness and not its "inhibitive" (organized, careful) aspect is a large positive predictor for two graduation outcomes and grade point average (GPA). The Big Five trait of Agreeableness ("pro-sociality") is a large and negative predictor for graduation outcomes. A non-standard cognitive skill measure (a backward-induction game) positively predicts graduation outcomes, in parallel with its success in predicting vocational student job success (Burks et al., 2009). Patient time preferences predict one graduation outcome and GPA.

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Heterogeneous trends in U.S. teacher quality 1980-2010

Jeremiah Richey
Education Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper documents changes in the entire ability distribution of individuals entering the teaching profession using the 1979 and 1997 cohorts of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and a constructed Armed Force Qualifying Test score that allows direct comparison of ability between cohorts. Such direct comparison between cohorts was previously not possible due to a lack of directly comparable measures of ability. I find there are minimal differences in the ability distribution between cohorts. However, this similarity masks vast differences within specific demographics. I then also decompose these changes into cohort-wide shifts and within-cohort shifts of teachers.

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The Impact of State Supreme Court Decisions on Public School Finance

Sarah Hill & Roderick Kiewiet
Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, March 2015, Pages 61-92

Abstract:
Beginning with Serrano v. Priest in 1971, equity-based decisions issued by state supreme courts led to a decrease in cross-district inequality in per pupil expenditures. In subsequent years, more state supreme courts overturned existing systems of public school finance for failing to provide adequate education to students living in poor school districts. Adequacy-based decisions have not produced measurable changes in cross-district inequality in expenditures, but have led to higher overall levels of funding for public education. The nationwide increase in per pupil expenditures over the past several decades is, however, largely the product of growth in personal incomes and a decline in the relative size of the cohort of school-age children, and not of court-ordered finance reforms. In California, after Serrano and the most far-reaching equalization reforms implemented anywhere in the country, the association between the wealth of a school district and educational quality remains strong and persistent. If one's concern is the quality of education that students receive and not the amount of money spent on them, the victories that reformers have won in the courts have been hollow victories.

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Demographic changes and education expenditures: A reinterpretation

Haydar Kurban, Ryan Gallagher & Joseph Persky
Economics of Education Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Several empirical studies have estimated a negative relationship between the share of an area's elderly population and per-pupil education spending. These findings have often been interpreted as evidence that an aging population has hindered the growth in per-pupil expenditures. We offer a reinterpretation of these oft-cited estimates and demonstrate that the population has aged in a way not reflected in these earlier studies' empirical designs. After fully accounting for actual U.S. population trends, we demonstrate that a rise in the elderly share of the population has resulted in a rise in per-pupil education spending, not a decline.

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Motivation and Incentives in Education: Evidence from a Summer Reading Experiment

Jonathan Guryan, James Kim & Kyung Park
NBER Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
For whom and under what conditions do incentives work in education? In the context of a summer reading program called Project READS, we test whether responsiveness to incentives is positively or negatively related to the student's baseline level of motivation to read. Elementary school students were mailed books weekly during the summer, mailed books and also offered an incentive to read, or assigned to a control group. We find that students who were more motivated to read at baseline were more responsive to incentives, suggesting that incentives may not effectively target the students whose behavior they are intended to change.

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Genetic differential susceptibility in literacy-delayed children: A randomized controlled trial on emergent literacy in kindergarten

Rachel Plak, Cornelia Kegel & Adriana Bus
Development and Psychopathology, February 2015, Pages 69-79

Abstract:
In this randomized controlled trial, 508 5-year-old kindergarten children participated, of whom 257 were delayed in literacy skills because they belonged to the lowest quartile of a national standard literacy test. We tested the hypothesis that some children are more susceptible to school-entry educational interventions than their peers due to their genetic makeup, and thus whether the dopamine receptor D4 gene moderated intervention effects. Children were randomly assigned to a control condition or one of two interventions involving computer programs tailored to the literacy needs of delayed pupils: Living Letters for alphabetic knowledge and Living Books for text comprehension. Effects of Living Books met the criteria of differential susceptibility. For carriers of the dopamine receptor D4 gene seven-repeat allele (about one-third of the delayed group), the Living Books program was an important addition to the common core curriculum in kindergarten (effect size d = 0.56), whereas the program did not affect the other children (d = -0.09). The same seven-repeat carriers benefited more from Living Letters than did the noncarriers, as reflected in effect sizes of 0.63 and 0.34, respectively, although such differences did not fulfill the statistical criteria for differential susceptibility. The implications of differential susceptibility for education and regarding the crucial question "what works for whom?" are discussed.

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For Better or Worse: Organizational turnaround in New York City schools

Nathan Favero & Amanda Rutherford
Public Management Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
The performance of public organizations has become a more salient issue as the popularity of accountability policies has grown. Though organizations are often defined as underperforming, little is known about the effectiveness of various strategies commonly recommended for agency turnaround. This study provides a large-N test of three common categories of turnaround mechanisms - retrenchment, repositioning, and reorganization - in nearly 300 failing New York City schools between 2008 and 2011. Models show that none of the three turnaround strategies appear to be significantly associated with improvements in core organizational performance from an administrative perspective, although repositioning appears to improve client satisfaction.

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Extracurricular associations and college enrollment

Benjamin Gibbs et al.
Social Science Research, March 2015, Pages 367-381

Abstract:
There is consistent evidence that student involvement in extracurricular activities (EAs) is associated with numerous academic benefits, yet understanding how peer associations within EAs might influence this link is not well understood. Using Add Health's comprehensive data on EA participation across 80 schools in the United States, we develop a novel measure of peer associations within EA activities. We find that EA participation with high achieving peers has a nontrivial link to college enrollment, even after considering individual, peer, and school-level factors. This suggests that school policies aimed at encouraging student exposure to high achieving peers in EAs could have an important impact on a student's later educational outcomes.

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What High-Achieving Low-Income Students Know About College

Caroline Hoxby & Sarah Turner
NBER Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
Previous work (Hoxby and Avery 2014) shows that low-income higher achievers tend not to apply to selective colleges despite being extremely likely to be admitted with financial aid so generous that they would pay less than they do to attend the non-selective schools they usually attend. The Expanding College Opportunities project is a randomized controlled trial that provides such students with individualized information about the college application process and colleges' net prices. In other work (Hoxby and Turner 2013), we show that the informational intervention substantially raises students' probability of applying to, being admitted at, enrolling at, and progressing at selective colleges. In this study, we show that the intervention actually changes students' informedness on key topics such as the cost of college, the availability of the curricula and peers they seek, and the different types of colleges available to them. We highlight topics on which the control students, who experienced no intervention, are seriously misinformed.

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Positioning Charter Schools in Los Angeles: Diversity of Form and Homogeneity of Effects

Douglas Lee Lauen, Bruce Fuller & Luke Dauter
American Journal of Education, February 2015, Pages 213-239

Abstract:
The debate over charter school effectiveness relies largely on neoclassical logic: individual parents or students express demand for a widening array of school types and then experience variable levels of organizational quality. We argue that market-like behavior is nested in segments of local organizational fields with different types of charter school operators seeking market niches to reduce resource uncertainties. We first describe the emergence of three legally defined charter types in the Los Angeles Unified School District between 2002 and 2008. We show how these charter segments became stratified, as gauged by demographic attributes and quite different baseline achievement levels. While this structuration could also plausibly condition uneven achievement effects, we find that, in this initial period of charter expansion, all three types failed to raise achievement, compared with the achievement growth trajectories displayed by peers attending regular public schools.

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A longitudinal analysis of the effects of open enrollment on equity and academic achievement: Evidence from Minneapolis, Minnesota

Saahoon Hong & Wonseok Choi
Children and Youth Services Review, February 2015, Pages 62-70

Abstract:
Open enrollment was expected to provide students in urban school settings with equal opportunity to access schools with abundant educational resources that led to improved student achievement. The One-way ANOVA and Linear Mixed Models used a propensity score matching method were administered to identify to what extent urban students utilized inter-district open enrollment in a Midwestern city and to compare their performances on standardized tests before and after the school transfer had occurred. The results indicated that open enrollment provided black students and students in the child welfare system with equal access to racially and socioeconomically integrated schools. However, these students' academic performance was not significantly enhanced by their open enrollment, except the 3rd grade student achievement in math. The results raised questions about the characteristics of open enrollment. Recommendations for future research are made; study limitations are addressed.

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Knowledge Assessment: Squeezing Information From Multiple-Choice Testing

Raymond Nickerson, Susan Butler & Michael Carlin
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, forthcoming

Abstract:
Knowledge assessment via testing can be viewed from two vantage points: that of the test administrator and that of the test taker. From the administrator's perspective, the objective is to discover what an individual knows about a domain of interest. From that of the test taker, the challenge is to reveal what one knows. In this article we describe a procedure for administering and scoring multiple-choice tests that satisfies both of these objectives and we present experimental data that demonstrate its effectiveness. The method allows test takers to provide specific information about their confidence that each alternative for an item is the correct answer and makes guessing not only unnecessary but detrimental. From this information the administrator can derive measures of both knowledge and confidence, which, we argue, provides better estimates than systems that do not allow measurement of partial knowledge. The use of such measures for purposes of evaluation both of individual test takers' knowledge of a subject of interest and of the effectiveness of instruction with respect to that subject is discussed.

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Can Online Learning Bend the Higher Education Cost Curve?

David Deming et al.
NBER Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
We examine whether online learning technologies have led to lower prices in higher education. Using data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, we show that online education is concentrated in large for-profit chains and less-selective public institutions. Colleges with a higher share of online students charge lower tuition prices. We present evidence that real and relative prices for full-time undergraduate online education declined from 2006 to 2013. Although the pattern of results suggests some hope that online technology can "bend the cost curve" in higher education, the impact of online learning on education quality remains uncertain.

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Expectations on Track? High School Tracking and Adolescent Educational Expectations

Kristian Bernt Karlson
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines the role of adaptation in expectation formation processes by analyzing how educational tracking in high schools affects adolescents' educational expectations. I argue that adolescents view track placement as a signal about their academic abilities and respond to it in terms of modifying their educational expectations. Applying a difference-in-differences approach to the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988, I find that being placed in an advanced or honors class in high school positively affects adolescents' expectations, particularly if placement is consistent across subjects and if placement contradicts tracking experiences in middle school. My findings support the hypothesis that adolescents adapt their educational expectations to ability signals sent by schools.

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For want of a nail: Why unnecessarily long tests may be impeding the progress of Western civilization

Howard Wainer & Richard Feinberg
Significance, February 2015, Pages 16-21

Abstract:
The longer the test, the more reliable it is - up to a point. Howard Wainer and Richard Feinberg expose the costs and hours lost in pursuit of marginal gains and worthless subscores.

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Subjective Performance Evaluation in the Public Sector: Evidence from School Inspections

Iftikhar Hussain
Journal of Human Resources, Winter 2015, Pages 189-221

Abstract:
This paper investigates the effects of being evaluated under a novel subjective assessment system where independent inspectors visit schools at short notice, disclose their findings, and sanction schools rated fail. I demonstrate that a fail inspection rating leads to test score gains for primary school students. I find no evidence to suggest that fail schools are able to inflate test score performance by gaming the system. Relative to purely test-based accountability systems, this finding is striking and suggests that oversight by evaluators who are charged with investigating what goes on inside the classroom may play an important role in mitigating such strategic behavior. There appear to be no effects on test scores following an inspection for schools rated highly by the inspectors. This suggests that any effects from the process of evaluation and feedback are negligible for nonfailing schools, at least in the short term.

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Impact of North Carolina's Early Childhood Initiatives on Special Education Placements in Third Grade

Clara Muschkin, Helen Ladd & Kenneth Dodge
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examines the community-wide effects of investments in two early childhood initiatives in North Carolina (Smart Start and More at Four) on the likelihood of a student being placed into special education. We take advantage of variation across North Carolina counties and years in the timing of the introduction and funding levels of the two programs to identify their effects on third-grade outcomes. We find that both programs significantly reduce the likelihood of special education placement in the third grade, resulting in considerable cost savings to the state. The effects of the two programs differ across categories of disability, but do not vary significantly across subgroups of children identified by race, ethnicity, and maternal education levels.

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Does it pay to attend a for-profit college? Vertical and horizontal stratification in higher education

Patrick Denice
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite the recent growth of for-profit colleges, scholars are only beginning to understand the labor market consequences of attending these institutions. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, I find that for-profit associate's degree holders encounter lower hourly earnings than associate's degree holders educated at public or private, nonprofit colleges, and earnings that are not significantly different than high school graduates. However, individuals who complete a bachelor's degree by attending college in either the for-profit or nonprofit sectors encounter positive returns. These findings, robust to model selection, suggest that the distinction between for-profit and nonprofit colleges constitutes an important axis in the horizontal dimension of education at the sub-baccalaureate level, and complicate notions of vertical stratification such that higher levels of educational attainment do not necessarily guarantee a wage premium.

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Using Student Test Scores to Measure Principal Performance

Jason Grissom, Demetra Kalogrides & Susanna Loeb
Educational Evaluation And Policy Analysis, March 2015, Pages 3-28

Abstract:
Expansion of the use of student test score data to measure teacher performance has fueled recent policy interest in using those data to measure the effects of school administrators as well. However, little research has considered the capacity of student performance data to uncover principal effects. Filling this gap, this article identifies multiple conceptual approaches for capturing the contributions of principals to student test score growth, develops empirical models to reflect these approaches, examines the properties of these models, and compares the results of the models empirically using data from a large urban school district. The article then assesses the degree to which the estimates from each model are consistent with measures of principal performance that come from sources other than student test scores, such as school district evaluations. The results show that choice of model is substantively important for assessment. While some models identify principal effects as large as 0.18 standard deviations in math and 0.12 in reading, others find effects as low as 0.0.05 (math) or 0.03 (reading) for the same principals. We also find that the most conceptually unappealing models, which over-attribute school effects to principals, align more closely with nontest measures than do approaches that more convincingly separate the effect of the principal from the effects of other school inputs.

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Borrowing Trouble? Student Loans, the Cost of Borrowing, and Implications for the Effectiveness of Need-Based Grant Aid

Benjamin Marx & Lesley Turner
NBER Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
We use regression discontinuity and regression kink designs to estimate the impact of need-based grant aid on the borrowing and educational attainment of students enrolled in a large public university system. Pell Grant aid substantially reduces borrowing: among students who would borrow in the absence of a Pell Grant, every dollar of Pell Grant aid crowds-out over $1.80 of loans. A simple model illustrates that our findings are consistent with students facing a fixed cost of incurring debt. The presence of such a fixed cost may lead to the unintended consequence of additional grant aid decreasing some students' attainment. Empirically, we rule out all but modest average impacts of Pell Grant aid on attainment, and we provide suggestive evidence of heterogeneous effects consistent with our fixed-borrowing-cost model. We estimate an augmented Tobit model with random censoring thresholds to allow for heterogeneous fixed borrowing costs, and find that eliminating the fixed cost would increase borrowing by over 250 percent.

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The Effects of Vouchers on School Results: Evidence from Chile's Targeted Voucher Program

Juan Correa, Francisco Parro & Loreto Reyes
Journal of Human Capital, Winter 2014, Pages 351-398

Abstract:
We use data from Chile's targeted voucher program to test the effects of vouchers on school results. Targeted vouchers have delivered extra resources to low-income, vulnerable students since 2008. Moreover, under this scheme, additional resources are contingent on the completion of specific education reforms. Using a difference-in-differences approach and a market-level empirical analysis, we find a positive and significant effect of vouchers on standardized test scores. Additionally, our results highlight the importance of conditioning the delivery of resources to some specific academic goals in markets with institutional characteristics that prevent public schools from behaving as profit-maximizing firms.

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Enhancing inferential abilities in adolescence: New hope for students in poverty

Jacquelyn Gamino et al.
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, December 2014

Abstract:
The ability to extrapolate essential gist through the analysis and synthesis of information, prediction of potential outcomes, abstraction of ideas, and integration of relationships with world knowledge is critical for higher-order learning. The present study investigated the efficacy of cognitive training to elicit improvements in gist reasoning and fact recall ability in 556 public middle school students (grades seven and eight), vs. a sample of 357 middle school students who served as a comparison group, to determine if changes in gist reasoning and fact recall were demonstrated without cognitive training. The results showed that, in general, cognitive training increased gist reasoning and fact recall abilities in students from families in poverty as well as students from families living above poverty. However, the magnitude of gains in gist reasoning varied as a function of gender and grade level. Our primary findings were that seventh and eighth grade girls and eighth grade boys showed significant increases in gist reasoning after training regardless of socioeconomic status (SES). There were no significant increases in gist reasoning or fact recall ability for the 357 middle school students who served as a comparison group. We postulate that cognitive training in middle school is efficacious for improving gist reasoning ability and fact recall in students from all socioeconomic levels.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, February 15, 2015

We can work this out

Does a competent leader make a good friend? Conflict, ideology and the psychologies of friendship and followership

Lasse Laustsen & Michael Bang Petersen
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research demonstrates that the physical traits of leaders and political candidates influence election outcomes and that subjects favor functionally different physical traits in leaders when their social groups face problems related to war and peace, respectively. Previous research has interpreted these effects as evidence of a problem-sensitive and distinct psychology of followership. In two studies, we extend this research by demonstrating that preferences for physical traits in leaders’ faces arise from an integration of both contextual and individual differences related to perceptions of social conflict and that these effects relate only to leader choices. Theoretically, we argue that increased preferences for facial dominance in leaders reflect increased needs for enforced coordinated action when one’s group is seen to face threats from other coordinated groups rather than from random natural events. Empirically, we show that preferences for dominant-looking leaders are a function of (1) contextual primes of group-based threats rather than nature-based threats and (2) political ideology (a core measure of perceptions of group-based conflict) such that, across contexts, conservatives prefer dominant-looking leaders more than liberals. For the first time, we demonstrate that the effects of these contextual and individual differences are non-existent when subjects are asked to choose a friend instead of a leader: irrespective of ideology and context, people strongly prefer non-dominant friends. This finding adds significantly to the results of past research and provides evidence of the existence of a distinct psychology of followership that produces leader preferences that are independent of preferences for other social partners.

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Coming Back to Edmonton: Competing with Former Employers and Colleagues

Thorsten Grohsjean, Pascal Kober & Leon Zucchini
Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Drawing on human and social capital theory, research on employee mobility has discussed the benefits and drawbacks of hiring employees from rival firms. To explain the performance implications of employee mobility, the literature has focused on what moving individuals can do, but has ignored what they are willing to do. However, to fully understand what individuals will actually do at the new firm, we need to understand both. We argue that what individuals are willing to do depends on their collective and relational identity. When competing against a former employer, individuals experience a conflict in their collective identity as they identify with both organizations but can only increase the welfare of one. To reduce the conflict, individuals strengthen their identification with the new organization and de-identify with the former by competing harder against the former organization. At the relational level, individuals can still identify with their ex-colleagues without harming the welfare of the new organization by competing harder with non-former colleagues but behaving less competitively towards former colleagues. We analyze data from the National Hockey League and find strong support for our hypotheses.

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Perceiving Others’ Feelings: The Importance of Personality and Social Structure

Gary Sherman et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent research has explored the relationship between social hierarchy and empathic accuracy — the ability to accurately infer other people’s mental states. In the current research, we tested the hypothesis that, regardless of one’s personal level of status and power, simply believing that social inequality is natural and morally acceptable (e.g., endorsing social dominance orientation, or SDO) would be negatively associated with empathic accuracy. In a sample of managers, a group for whom empathic accuracy is a valuable skill, empathic accuracy was lower for managers who possessed structural power and also for managers who endorsed social dominance, regardless of their structural power. Moreover, men were less empathically accurate than women, a relationship that may be explained by men’s higher SDO and greater structural power. These findings suggest that for empathic abilities, it matters just as much what you think about social hierarchies as it does where you stand within them.

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Adolescents gradually improve at detecting trustworthiness from the facial features of unknown adults

Wim De Neys, Astrid Hopfensitz & Jean-François Bonnefon
Journal of Economic Psychology, April 2015, Pages 17–22

Abstract:
People can (to some extent) detect trustworthiness from the facial features of social partners, and populations which underperform at this task are at a greater risk of abuse. Here we focus on situations in which adolescents make a decision whether to trust an unknown adult. Adolescents aged 13-18 (N = 540) played a trust game, in which they made decisions whether to trust unknown adults based on their picture. We show that trusting decisions become increasingly accurate with age, from a small effect size at age 13 to an effect size 2.5 times larger at age 18. We consider the implications of this result for the development of prosociality and the possible mechanisms underlying the development of trustworthiness detection from faces.

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Cooperate without looking: Why we care what people think and not just what they do

Moshe Hoffman, Erez Yoeli & Martin Nowak
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 10 February 2015, Pages 1727–1732

Abstract:
Evolutionary game theory typically focuses on actions but ignores motives. Here, we introduce a model that takes into account the motive behind the action. A crucial question is why do we trust people more who cooperate without calculating the costs? We propose a game theory model to explain this phenomenon. One player has the option to “look” at the costs of cooperation, and the other player chooses whether to continue the interaction. If it is occasionally very costly for player 1 to cooperate, but defection is harmful for player 2, then cooperation without looking is a subgame perfect equilibrium. This behavior also emerges in population-based processes of learning or evolution. Our theory illuminates a number of key phenomena of human interactions: authentic altruism, why people cooperate intuitively, one-shot cooperation, why friends do not keep track of favors, why we admire principled people, Kant’s second formulation of the Categorical Imperative, taboos, and love.

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Tandem anchoring: Informational and politeness effects of range offers in social exchange

Daniel Ames & Malia Mason
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, February 2015, Pages 254-274

Abstract:
We examined whether and why range offers (e.g., “I want $7,200 to $7,600 for my car”) matter in negotiations. A selective-attention account predicts that motivated and skeptical offer-recipients focus overwhelmingly on the attractive endpoint (i.e., a buyer would hear, in effect, “I want $7,200”). In contrast, we propose a tandem anchoring account, arguing that offer-recipients are often influenced by both endpoints as they judge the offer-maker’s reservation price (i.e., bottom line) as well as how polite they believe an extreme (nonaccommodating) counteroffer would be. In 5 studies, featuring scripted negotiation scenarios and live dyadic negotiations, we find that certain range offers yield improved settlement terms for offer-makers without relational costs, whereas others may yield relationship benefits without deal costs. We clarify the types of range offers that evoke these benefits and identify boundaries to their impact, including range width and extremity. In addition, our studies reveal evidence consistent with 2 proposed mechanisms, one involving an informational effect (both endpoints of range offers can be taken as signals of an offer-maker’s reservation price) and another involving a politeness effect (range offers can make extreme counteroffers seem less polite). Our results have implications for models of negotiation behavior and outcomes and, more broadly, for the nature of social exchange.

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The Power to Oblige: Power, Gender, Negotiation Behaviors, and Their Consequences

Noa Nelson et al.
Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, February 2015, Pages 1–24

Abstract:
This study experimentally examined how power and gender affect negotiation behaviors and how those behaviors affect negotiated outcomes. One hundred and forty-six dyads, in four combinations of power and gender, negotiated compensation agreements. In line with gender stereotypes, male negotiators were more dominating and females more obliging and somewhat more compromising. However, partially challenging the common association of power and masculinity, high-power negotiators were less dominating and more collaborating, obliging and avoiding than their low-power opponents. Generally, feminine and high-power behaviors induced agreement while masculine and low-power behaviors enhanced distributive personal gain. The study also assessed patterns of behavioral reciprocity and used sophisticated analytic tools to control for dyadic interdependence. Therefore it helps to elucidate the negotiation process and the role that power and its interplay with gender play in it.

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A structured population model suggests that long life and post-reproductive lifespan promote the evolution of cooperation

Caitlin Ross, Jan Rychtář & Olav Rueppell
Journal of Theoretical Biology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Social organization correlates with longevity across animal taxa. This correlation has been explained by selection for longevity by social evolution. The reverse causality is also conceivable but has not been sufficiently considered. We constructed a simple, spatially structured population model of asexually reproducing individuals to study the effect of temporal life history structuring on the evolution of cooperation. Individuals employed fixed strategies of cooperation or defection towards all neighbours in a basic Prisoner׳s Dilemma paradigm. Individuals aged and transitioned through different life history stages asynchronously without migration. An individual׳s death triggered a reproductive event by one immediate neighbour. The specific neighbour was chosen probabilistically according to the cumulative payoff from all local interactions. Varying the duration of pre-reproductive, reproductive, and post-reproductive life history stages, long-term simulations allowed a systematic evaluation of the influence of the duration of these specific life history stages. Our results revealed complex interactions among the effects of the three basic life history stages and the benefit to defect. Overall, a long post-reproductive stage promoted the evolution of cooperation, while a prolonged pre-reproductive stage has a negative effect. In general, the total length of life also increased the probability of the evolution of cooperation. Thus, our specific model suggests that the timing of life history transitions and total duration of life history stages may affect the evolution of cooperative behaviour. We conclude that the causation of the empirically observed association of life expectancy and sociality may be more complex than previously realized.

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Unilateral hand contractions produce motivational biases in social economic decision making

Katia Harlé & Alan Sanfey
Neuropsychology, January 2015, Pages 76-81

Objective: Unilateral hand contractions have been shown to induce relative activation of the contralateral hemisphere, which is in turn associated with distinct motivational states. Specifically, right hand contraction increases relative left activation and promotes an approach state, and left hand contractions promote relative right activation and withdrawal states. Using the same hand clenching technique, the present study extends this research to examine the incidental role of motivational tendency on interactive economic decision making.

Method: A total of 75 right-handed participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 conditions, including withdrawal/left-hand contractions, approach/right-hand contractions, and control/no contraction. Participants completed 2 well-known economic tasks, namely the Ultimatum Game (UG), Dictator Game (DG).

Results: In the UG, we found that relative to individuals in the withdrawal condition, those in the approach (right-hand contraction) condition made higher monetary offers to human partners who could either accept or reject these offers. Moreover, those in the approach condition rejected significantly more unfair offers from human partners.

Conclusions: This study provides the first evidence that hemispheric activation, using unilateral muscle contractions, may play a causal role in biasing social economic decision making. Overall, there results suggest that greater relative left frontal activation promotes reward-maximizing strategies, consistent with an approach motivation, and relative right frontal activation may decrease such strategic tendencies.

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Medial prefrontal cortex reacts to unfairness if this damages the self: A tDCS study

Claudia Civai, Carlo Miniussi & Raffaella Rumiati
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Neural correlates of unfairness perception depend on who is the target of the unfair treatment (Civai et al., 2010; Corradi-Dell'Acqua et al., 2013). These previous findings suggest that the activation of medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) is related to unfairness perception only when the subject of the measurement is also the person affected by the unfair treatment. We aim at demonstrating the specificity of MPFC involvement by employing transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), a technique that induces cortical excitability changes in the targeted region. We employ a modified version of the Ultimatum Game (UG), in which responders play both for themselves (myself –MS- condition) and on behalf of an unknown third-party (TP condition), where they respond to unfairness without being the target of it. We find that the application of cathodal tDCS over MPFC decreases the probability of rejecting unfair offers in MS, but not in TP; conversely, the same stimulation increases the probability of rejecting fair offers in TP, but not in MS. We confirm the hypothesis that MPFC is specifically related to processing unfairness when the self is involved, and discuss possible explanations for the opposite effect of the stimulation in TP.

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Sinking Slowly: Diversity in Propensity to Trust Predicts Downward Trust Spirals in Small Groups

Amanda Ferguson & Randall Peterson
Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines the phenomenon of trust spirals in small groups. Drawing on literature on the spiral reinforcement of trust, we theorize that diversity in propensity to trust has affective and cognitive consequences related to trust (i.e., feelings of frustration and perceptions of low similarity), reducing the level of experienced intragroup trust early in a group’s development. Reduced experienced trust then fuels relationship conflict and lowers trust even further over time, ultimately having a negative effect on group performance. These ideas are tested using a sample of MBA student groups surveyed at 3 time periods over 4 months. Results confirm our hypothesis that diversity in propensity to trust is sufficient to trigger a downward trust spiral and poor performance in small groups.

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Many ways to walk a mile in another’s moccasins: Type of social perspective taking and its effect on negotiation outcomes

Hunter Gehlbach et al.
Computers in Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
The process of social perspective taking holds tremendous promise as a means to facilitate conflict resolution. Despite rapidly accumulating knowledge about social perspective taking in general, scholars know little about how the type of social perspective taking affects outcomes of interest. This study tests whether different ways to “walk a mile in another’s shoes” cause different outcomes. By taking advantage of a computer-based simulation (where participants can learn about others by virtually walking around in the shoes of other characters), we assigned participants from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (N = 842) to five different perspective taking treatments or a control condition. Results show that perspective takers who receive information about the other party foster more positive relationships and make greater concessions than participants who did not receive information about the other party. Furthermore, those who experientially learned about the other party’s perspective felt more positive about their relationships and made greater concessions during the negotiation than those who were simply provided information about the other party’s perspective. No differences were found between virtually and imaginatively taking the perspective of others. These findings suggest the importance of accounting for the type of social perspective taking in studying how this social-cognitive process may facilitate conflict resolution.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Making sense

Universal Cognitive Mechanisms Explain the Cultural Success of Bloodletting

Helena Miton, Nicolas Claidière & Hugo Mercier
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Bloodletting — the practice of letting blood out to cure a patient — was for centuries one of the main therapies in the West. We lay out three potential explanations for bloodletting’s cultural success: that it was efficient, that it was defended by prestigious sources — in particular ancient physicians — and that cognitive mechanisms made it a particularly attractive practice. To test these explanations, we first review the anthropological data available in eHRAF. These data reveal that bloodletting is practiced by many unrelated cultures worldwide, where it is performed for different indications and in different ways. This suggests that the success of bloodletting cannot only be explained by its medical efficiency or by the prestige of Western physicians. Instead, some universal cognitive mechanisms likely make bloodletting an attractive form of therapy. We further test this hypothesis using the technique of transmission chains. Three experiments are conducted in the U.S., a culture that does not practice bloodletting. Studies 1 and 2 reveal that stories involving bloodletting survive longer than some other common therapies, and that the most successful variants in the experiments are also the most successful variants worldwide. Study 3 shows how a story about a mundane event — an accidental cut — can turn into a story about bloodletting. This research demonstrates the potential of combining different methodologies — review of anthropological data, experiments, and modeling — to investigate cultural phenomena.

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Placebo effect of medication cost in Parkinson disease: A randomized double-blind study

Alberto Espay et al.
Neurology, forthcoming

Objective: To examine the effect of cost, a traditionally “inactive” trait of intervention, as contributor to the response to therapeutic interventions.

Methods: We conducted a prospective double-blind study in 12 patients with moderate to severe Parkinson disease and motor fluctuations (mean age 62.4 ± 7.9 years; mean disease duration 11 ± 6 years) who were randomized to a “cheap” or “expensive” subcutaneous “novel injectable dopamine agonist” placebo (normal saline). Patients were crossed over to the alternate arm approximately 4 hours later. Blinded motor assessments in the “practically defined off” state, before and after each intervention, included the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale motor subscale, the Purdue Pegboard Test, and a tapping task. Measurements of brain activity were performed using a feedback-based visual-motor associative learning functional MRI task. Order effect was examined using stratified analysis.

Results: Although both placebos improved motor function, benefit was greater when patients were randomized first to expensive placebo, with a magnitude halfway between that of cheap placebo and levodopa. Brain activation was greater upon first-given cheap but not upon first-given expensive placebo or by levodopa. Regardless of order of administration, only cheap placebo increased activation in the left lateral sensorimotor cortex and other regions.

Conclusion: Expensive placebo significantly improved motor function and decreased brain activation in a direction and magnitude comparable to, albeit less than, levodopa. Perceptions of cost are capable of altering the placebo response in clinical studies.

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You Turn Me Cold: Evidence for Temperature Contagion

Ella Cooper et al.
PLoS ONE, December 2014

Introduction: During social interactions, our own physiological responses influence those of others. Synchronization of physiological (and behavioural) responses can facilitate emotional understanding and group coherence through inter-subjectivity. Here we investigate if observing cues indicating a change in another's body temperature results in a corresponding temperature change in the observer.

Methods: Thirty-six healthy participants (age; 22.9±3.1 yrs) each observed, then rated, eight purpose-made videos (3 min duration) that depicted actors with either their right or left hand in visibly warm (warm videos) or cold water (cold videos). Four control videos with the actors' hand in front of the water were also shown. Temperature of participant observers' right and left hands was concurrently measured using a thermistor within a Wheatstone bridge with a theoretical temperature sensitivity of <0.0001°C. Temperature data were analysed in a repeated measures ANOVA (temperature × actor's hand × observer's hand).

Results: Participants rated the videos showing hands immersed in cold water as being significantly cooler than hands immersed in warm water, F(1,34) = 256.67, p<0.001. Participants' own hands also showed a significant temperature-dependent effect: hands were significantly colder when observing cold vs. warm videos F(1,34) = 13.83, p = 0.001 with post-hoc t-test demonstrating a significant reduction in participants' own left (t(35) = −3.54, p = 0.001) and right (t(35) = −2.33, p = 0.026) hand temperature during observation of cold videos but no change to warm videos (p>0.1). There was however no evidence of left-right mirroring of these temperature effects p>0.1). Sensitivity to temperature contagion was also predicted by inter-individual differences in self-report empathy.

Conclusions: We illustrate physiological contagion of temperature in healthy individuals, suggesting that empathetic understanding for primary low-level physiological challenges (as well as more complex emotions) are grounded in somatic simulation.

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The consequences of suggesting false childhood food events

Daniel Bernstein, Alan Scoboria & Robert Arnold
Acta Psychologica, March 2015, Pages 1–7

Abstract:
We combined data across eight published experiments (N = 1369) to examine the formation and consequences of false autobiographical beliefs and memories. Our path models revealed that the formation of false autobiographical belief fully mediated the pathway between suggesting to people that they had experienced a positive or negative food-related event in the past and current preference for that food. Suggestion indirectly affected intention to eat the food via change in autobiographical belief. The development of belief with and without memory produced similar changes in food preferences and behavior intention, indicating that belief in the event drives changes in suggestion-related attitudes. Finally, positive suggestions (e.g., “you loved asparagus the first time you tried it”) yielded stronger effects than negative suggestions (e.g., “you got sick eating egg salad”). These findings show that false autobiographical suggestions lead to the development of autobiographical beliefs, which in turn, have consequences for one's attitudes and behaviors.

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What Would Be Usain Bolt’s 100-Meter Sprint World Record Without Tyson Gay? Unintentional Interpersonal Synchronization Between the Two Sprinters

Manuel Varlet & Michael Richardson
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, February 2015, Pages 36-41

Abstract:
Despite the desire of athletes to separate themselves from their competitors, to be faster or better, their performance is often influenced by those they are competing with. Here we show that the unintentional or spontaneous interpersonal synchronization of athletes’ movements may partially account for such performance modifications. We examined the 100-m final of Usain Bolt in the 12th IAAF World Championship in Athletics (Berlin, 2009) in which he broke the world record, and demonstrate that Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay who ran side-by-side throughout the race spontaneously and intermittently synchronized their steps. This finding demonstrates that even the most optimized individual motor skills can be modulated by the simple presence of another individual via interpersonal coordination processes. It extends previous research by showing that the hard constraints of individual motor performance do not overwhelm the occurrence of spontaneous interpersonal synchronization and open promising new research directions for better understanding and improving athletic performance.

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On the Importance of Being Vocal: Saying “Ow” Improves Pain Tolerance

Genevieve Swee & Annett Schirmer
Journal of Pain, forthcoming

Abstract:
Vocalizing is a ubiquitous pain behavior. Here we investigated whether it helps alleviate pain and sought to discern potential underlying mechanisms. Participants were asked to immerse one hand into painfully cold water. On separate trials, they said “ow”, heard a recording of them saying “ow”, heard a recording of another person saying “ow”, pressed a button, or sat passively. Compared to sitting passively, saying “ow” increased the duration of hand immersion. Although on average, participants predicted this effect, their expectations were uncorrelated with pain tolerance. Like vocalizing, button pressing increased the duration of hand immersion and this increase was positively correlated with the vocalizing effect. Hearing one's own or another person's “ow” were not analgesic. Together, these results provide first evidence that vocalizing helps individuals cope with pain. Moreover, they suggest that motor more than other processes contribute to this effect.

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Exploring the Secrecy Burden: Secrets, Preoccupation, and Perceptual Judgments

Michael Slepian, Nicholas Camp & E.J. Masicampo
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent work suggests that secrecy is perceived as burdensome. A secrecy–burden relationship would have a number of consequences for cognitive, perceptual, social, and health psychology, but the reliability of these influences, and potential mechanisms that support such influences are unknown. Across 4 studies, the current work examines both the reliability of, and mechanisms that support, the influence of secrecy processes upon a judgment that varies with diminished resources (i.e., judgments of hill slant). The current work finds that a manipulation of secret “size” fails to reliably predict judged hill slant, whereas measurement and manipulation of preoccupation with a secret does reliably predict judged hill slant. Moreover, these effects are found to be mediated by judged effort to keep the secret, consistent with a resource-based mechanism of the burdens of secrecy.

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The placebo effect in inflammatory skin reactions: The influence of verbal suggestion on itch and weal size

Margot Darragh et al.
Journal of Psychosomatic Research, forthcoming

Purpose: To investigate suggestion-induced placebo effects in inflammatory skin reactions.

Methods: A healthy sample of volunteers (N = 48) attended two laboratory sessions. In each, a local short term inflammatory skin reaction was induced with histamine. Participants were told that one session was a control session and the other was a treatment session in which an antihistamine cream would be applied to the arm to reduce the size of the weal and the experience of itch. Inert aqueous cream was applied in both sessions. Participants were randomly allocated to undergo either the control or the treatment session first.

Results: The placebo manipulation successfully reduced self-reported itch from the control to the placebo treatment session, but no placebo effect was demonstrated in weal size. Order effects were observed such that only those who underwent control procedures first had a smaller weal in the placebo treatment session as compared to the control session. The same order effect was seen for reported itch at one minute post histamine administration, but this disappeared at the three and five minute measures.

Conclusion: Findings suggest that explicit verbal suggestion can reduce the experience of itch. In addition to conscious awareness, a concrete representation of the suggested changes gained from prior experience to the stimulus may be an important component of placebo effects on inflammatory skin reactions.

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Threat is in the sex of the beholder: Men find weapons faster than do women

Danielle Sulikowski & Darren Burke
Evolutionary Psychology, October 2014, Pages 913-931

Abstract:
In visual displays, people locate potentially threatening stimuli, such as snakes, spiders, and weapons, more quickly than similar benign stimuli, such as beetles and gadgets. Such biases are likely adaptive, facilitating fast responses to potential threats. Currently, and historically, men have engaged in more weapons-related activities (fighting and hunting) than women. If biases of visual attention for weapons result from selection pressures related to these activities, then we would predict such biases to be stronger in men than in women. The current study reports the results of two visual search experiments, in which men showed a stronger bias of attention toward guns and knives than did women, whether the weapons were depicted wielded or not. When the weapons were depicted wielded, both sexes searched for them with more caution than when they were not. Neither of these effects extended reliably to syringes, a non-weapon — yet potentially threatening — object. The findings are discussed with respect to the “weapons effect” and social coercion theory.

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Anticipatory Control Through Associative Learning of Subliminal Relations: Invisible May Be Better Than Visible

Ausaf Farooqui & Tom Manly
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We showed that anticipatory cognitive control could be unconsciously instantiated through subliminal cues that predicted enhanced future control needs. In task-switching experiments, one of three subliminal cues preceded each trial. Participants had no conscious experience or knowledge of these cues, but their performance was significantly improved on switch trials after cues that predicted task switches (but not particular tasks). This utilization of subliminal information was flexible and adapted to a change in cues predicting task switches and occurred only when switch trials were difficult and effortful. When cues were consciously visible, participants were unable to discern their relevance and could not use them to enhance switch performance. Our results show that unconscious cognition can implicitly use subliminal information in a goal-directed manner for anticipatory control, and they also suggest that subliminal representations may be more conducive to certain forms of associative learning.

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Why do highly visible people appear more important? Affect mediates visual fluency effects in impression formation

Joseph Forgas
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
People who are highly visible may be perceived as also more important and influential. Can good or bad moods influence the extent to which people rely on such irrelevant visual fluency cues when forming impressions? Based on recent work on affect and cognition, two experiments predicted and found that positive affect increased, and negative affect eliminated the effects of visual fluency on impressions. In Experiment 1, after an autobiographical mood induction participants read about two people whose visual fluency was factorially manipulated by changing the size and colour of their photos. Both mood and visual fluency influenced impressions, and there was a significant mood by visibility interaction such that positive affect increased, and negative affect eliminated the effects of visual fluency. Experiment 2 replicated these results with a different mood induction, and also found that mood-induced differences in information processing style mediated these effects. The relevance of these findings for impression formation in everyday situations is considered, and their implications for recent affect-cognition theories are discussed.

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What have I just done? Anchoring, self-knowledge, and judgments of recent behavior

Nathan Cheek, Sarah Coe-Odess & Barry Schwartz
Judgment and Decision Making, January 2015, Pages 76–85

Abstract:
Can numerical anchors influence people’s judgments of their own recent behavior? We investigate this question in a series of six studies. In Study 1, subjects’ judgments of how many anagrams they were given assimilated to numerical anchors. Subjects’ judgments of how many math problems they correctly solved and how many stairs they had just walked up were also influenced by numerical anchors (Studies 2A and 3A), and this occurred even when the anchors were extreme and nonsensical (Studies 2B and 3B). Thus, our first five studies showed that anchors can affect people’s judgments of their own recent behavior. Finally, in Study 4, we tested the hypothesis that self-knowledge, despite not eliminating anchoring effects, does still attenuate anchoring. However, we found no evidence that self-knowledge reduced anchoring: subjects’ judgments of their own recent behavior and subjects’ judgments of other people’s recent behavior were equally influenced by anchors. We discuss implications of these findings for research on domain knowledge and anchoring, as well as for research on the malleability of memory.

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A Sign of Things to Come: Behavioral Change Through Dynamic Iconography

Luca Cian, Aradhna Krishna & Ryan Elder
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
We propose that features of static visuals can lead to perceived movement (via dynamic imagery) and prepare the observer for action. We operationalize our research within the context of warning sign icons and show how a subtle differences in iconography can affect human behavioral response. Across five studies incorporating multiple methodologies and technologies (click-data heat maps, driving simulations, surveys, reaction time, and eye tracking), we show that warning sign icons which evoke more (vs. less) perceived movement lead to a quicker propensity to act because they suggest greater risk to oneself or others and increase attentional vigilance. Icons used in our studies include children crossings signs near schools, wet floor signs in store settings, and shopping cart crossings near malls. Our findings highlight the importance of incorporating dynamic elements into icon design to promote imagery thereby eliciting desired and responsible consumer behavior.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, February 13, 2015

Divisive

Trade in Polarized America: The Border Effect between Red States and Blue States

Hirokazu Ishise & Miwa Matsuo
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
Political and cultural polarization in the United States is widely discussed, but does it relate to any economic disconnection among states? We estimate the “border” effect between Red and Blue states using the gravity equation with a nonlinear generalized method of moments estimator to simultaneously overcome the problems associated with endogeneity, cross-state price differences, and zero-trade flow. The border effect is robustly confirmed for the 2000s, while not so robustly detected for the 1990s. Notably, in 2007, the border reduces trade between Red and Blue states to approximately 75% of the trade within each set of states. This estimated border effect is much smaller than the United States–Canada national border effect estimated by Anderson and van Wincoop (2003), and by Feenstra (2002), yet is comparable to the border effect that Nitsch and Wolf (2009) find for the former West and East Germanies approximately 10 years after reunification. While the border effect in Germany after reunification is decreasing, the border effect between the Red and Blue states is emerging. We also find the border effect is more significant for consumption, rather than intermediate, goods. The border effect is an important indicator for a potential dismantling of the economic connectivity in the United States.

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Bias in Cable News: Real Effects and Polarization

Gregory Martin & Ali Yurukoglu
NBER Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
We jointly measure the persuasive effects of slanted news and tastes for like-minded news. The key ingredient is using channel positions as exogenous shifters of cable news viewership. Local cable positions affect viewership by cable subscribers. They do not correlate with viewership by local satellite subscribers, who are observably similar to cable subscribers. We estimate a model of voters who select into watching slanted news, and whose ideologies evolve as a result. We estimate that Fox News increases the likelihood of voting Republican by 0.9 points among viewers induced into watching four additional minutes per week by differential channel positions.

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Does Public Election Funding Create More Extreme Legislators? Evidence from Arizona and Maine

Seth Masket & Michael Miller
State Politics & Policy Quarterly, March 2015, Pages 24-40

Abstract:
We investigate whether Maine and Arizona’s Clean Elections laws, which provide public funding for state legislative candidates, are responsible for producing a new cadre of legislators who are unusually ideologically extreme. We find that there is essentially no important difference in the legislative voting behavior of “clean” funded legislators and traditionally funded ones in either Arizona or Maine: those who are financed by private donors are no more or less ideologically extreme than those who are supported by the state. This finding calls into question some concerns about the effects on polarization of money generally and public funding in particular.

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The Partisan Brain: How Dissonant Science Messages Lead Conservatives and Liberals to (Dis)Trust Science

Erik Nisbet, Kathryn Cooper & Kelly Garrett
ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, March 2015, Pages 36-66

Abstract:
There has been deepening concern about political polarization in public attitudes toward the scientific community. The “intrinsic thesis” attributes this polarization to psychological deficiencies among conservatives as compared to liberals. The “contextual thesis” makes no such claims about inherent psychological differences between conservatives and liberals, but rather points to interacting institutional and psychological factors as the forces driving polarization. We evaluate the evidence for both theses in the context of developing and testing a theoretical model of audience response to dissonant science communication. Conducting a national online experiment (N = 1,500), we examined audience reactions to both conservative-dissonant and liberal-dissonant science messages and consequences for trust in the scientific community. Our results suggest liberals and conservatives alike react negatively to dissonant science communication, resulting in diminished trust of the scientific community. We discuss how our findings link to the larger debate about political polarization of science and implications for science communicators.

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Partisanship and Electoral Accountability: Evidence from the UK Expenses Scandal

Andrew Eggers
Quarterly Journal of Political Science, Fall 2014, Pages 441-472

Abstract:
Why do voters support corrupt politicians? One reason is that voters care about both corruption and partisan control of government; the more voters care about which party wins, the less they can deter individual wrongdoing. I highlight this tradeoff in the 2009 UK expenses scandal, showing that electoral accountability was less effective in constituencies where the partisan stakes of the local contest were higher: not only did corrupt MPs in these constituencies suffer smaller punishments, but these MPs were also more likely to be implicated in the scandal in the first place. The findings point to an under-appreciated consequence of partisanship (and underlying causes such as strong party systems and polarization at the elite or mass level) for the electoral control of politicians.

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Fear Among the Extremes: How Political Ideology Predicts Negative Emotions and Outgroup Derogation

Jan-Willem van Prooijen et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
The “rigidity of the right” hypothesis predicts that particularly the political right experiences fear and derogates outgroups. We propose that above and beyond that, the political extremes (at both sides of the spectrum) are more likely to display these responses than political moderates. Results of a large-scale sample reveal the predicted quadratic term on socio-economic fear. Moreover, although the political right is more likely to derogate the specific category of immigrants, we find a quadratic effect on derogation of a broad range of societal categories. Both extremes also experience stronger negative emotions about politics than politically moderate respondents. Finally, the quadratic effects on derogation of societal groups and negative political emotions were mediated by socio-economic fear, particularly among left- and right-wing extremists. It is concluded that negative emotions and outgroup derogation flourish among the extremes.

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The Role of Ideology in State Legislative Elections

Nathaniel Birkhead
Legislative Studies Quarterly, February 2015, Pages 55–82

Abstract:
In this article, I examine the effect of incumbent ideology on elections in 45 state legislatures, showing that ideological extremists are more likely to be opposed in the general election than are moderates and that extremists tend to do worse in challenged elections than moderates do. I also explore the intervening role of legislative professionalism, finding that in the majority of state legislatures moderation is rewarded, though in the most professionalized legislatures, incumbents are actually rewarded for extremism. These results show that despite the informational disadvantage of the electorate, the ideology of state legislators is an important factor in elections.

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Polarization without Parties: Term Limits and Legislative Partisanship in Nebraska’s Unicameral Legislature

Seth Masket & Boris Shor
State Politics & Policy Quarterly, March 2015, Pages 67-90

Abstract:
Despite a long history of nonpartisanship, the Nebraska state legislature has polarized rapidly within the past decade. Using interviews and campaign finance records, we examine politics in the modern Unicam to investigate nonpartisan polarization. We find that newly instituted term limits created opportunities for the state’s political parties to recruit and finance candidates in an increasingly partisan fashion. Social network analysis suggests that there is a growing level of structure to campaign donations, with political elites increasingly less likely to contribute across party lines. The results offer a compelling example of parties overcoming institutions designed to eliminate them.

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Fair and Balanced? Experimental Evidence on Partisan Bias in Grading

Paul Musgrave & Mark Rom
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Is grading polarized in political science classrooms? We offer experimental evidence that suggests it is not. Many have argued that instructors’ grading in political science classrooms is skewed by the political characteristics of the instructor, the student, or an interaction between the two. Yet the evaluations of whether such biases exist has been asserted and denied with little evidence — even though prominent theories in political science suggest that the charge is not entirely implausible. Using a set of anonymous essays by undergraduates graded by teaching assistants at a variety of institutions, we test for the presence of bias in a framework that avoids the usual selection bias issues that confound attempts at inference. After evaluating the evidence carefully, we find that the evidence for bias is much weaker than activists claim.

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Does Partisanship Shape Attitudes toward Science and Public Policy? The Case for Ideology and Religion

Joshua Blank & Daron Shaw
ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, March 2015, Pages 18-35

Abstract:
Despite the apparent partisan divide over issues such as global warming and hydraulic fracturing, little is known about what shapes citizens’ willingness to accept scientific recommendations on political issues. We examine the extent to which Democrats, Republicans, and independents are likely to defer to scientific expertise in matters of policy. Our study draws on an October 2013 U.S. national survey of 2,000 respondents. We find that partisan differences exist: our data show that most Americans see science as relevant to policy, but that their willingness to defer to science in policy matters varies considerably across issues. While party, ideology, and religious beliefs clearly influence attitudes toward science, Republicans are not notably skeptical about accepting scientific recommendations. Rather, it seems that Democrats are particularly receptive to the advice and counsel of scientists, when compared to both independents and Republicans.

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Rationalizing Conflict: The Polarizing Role of Accountability in Ideological Decision Making

Carly Wayne et al.
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
How does accountability impact political decisions? Though previous research on accountability has demonstrated its potential effects in the realms of business, elections, and more, very little research has explored the effect of citizen accountability in highly ideological, intractable, and political conflicts. This article addresses this issue, looking at the unique interaction between accountability and ideology on Israeli citizens’ political attitudes regarding the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. The results of two experimental studies in Israel reveal that accountable individuals behave in significantly more ideologically partisan ways than their nonaccountable counterparts. Moreover, this polarization is dependent on the specific conflict context, with leftists more affected by the issue of negotiations and rightists by security concerns. This signals that ideological polarization under accountability may depend on the “issue ownership” each ideological group feels toward the specific conflict context and its corresponding social goal of projecting ideological consistency on these issues.

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Political Extremism Predicts Belief in Conspiracy Theories

Jan-Willem van Prooijen, André Krouwel & Thomas Pollet
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Historical records suggest that the political extremes — at both the “left” and the “right” — substantially endorsed conspiracy beliefs about other-minded groups. The present contribution empirically tests whether extreme political ideologies, at either side of the political spectrum, are positively associated with an increased tendency to believe in conspiracy theories. Four studies conducted in the United States and the Netherlands revealed a quadratic relationship between strength of political ideology and conspiracy beliefs about various political issues. Moreover, participants’ belief in simple political solutions to societal problems mediated conspiracy beliefs among both left- and right-wing extremists. Finally, the effects described here were not attributable to general attitude extremity. Our conclusion is that political extremism and conspiracy beliefs are strongly associated due to a highly structured thinking style that is aimed at making sense of societal events.

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Listening to Outsiders: The Impact of Messenger Nationality on Transnational Persuasion in the United States

Nick Dragojlovic
International Studies Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Does nationality disadvantage foreign actors when they attempt to persuade the American public? Using data from an online survey experiment administered to a sample of US citizens, we find that the nationality of British and French advocates only reduces persuasiveness among American Republicans with low levels of political awareness. Among American Democrats, credible French or British advocates can be more persuasive than a comparable American source. Overall, foreign messengers from friendly countries are not disadvantaged by nationality, as nationality has low political salience and other domestic characteristics (such as partisanship) dominate subjects' heuristic processing. When a foreign advocate's nationality does play a role, however, it is likely to lead to polarization in domestic audience attitudes.

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Neither Ideologues nor Agnostics: Alternative Voters’ Belief System in an Age of Partisan Politics

Delia Baldassarri & Amir Goldberg
American Journal of Sociology, July 2014, Pages 45-95

Abstract:
How do Americans organize their political beliefs? This article argues that party polarization and the growing prominence of moral issues in recent decades have catalyzed different responses by different groups of Americans. The article investigates systematic heterogeneity in the organization of political attitudes using relational class analysis, a graph-based method for detecting multiple patterns of opinion in survey data. Three subpopulations, each characterized by a distinctive way of organizing its political beliefs, are identified: ideologues, whose political attitudes strongly align with either liberal or conservative categories; alternatives, who are instead morally conservative but economically liberal, or vice versa; and agnostics, who exhibit weak associations between political beliefs. Individuals’ sociodemographic profiles, particularly their income, education, and religiosity, lie at the core of the different ways in which they understand politics. Results show that while ideologues have gone through a process of issue alignment, alternatives have grown increasingly apart from the political agendas of both parties. The conflictual presence of conservative and liberal preferences has often been resolved by alternative voters in favor of the Republican Party.

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Red States, Blue States, and Brain States: Issue Framing, Partisanship, and the Future of Neurolaw in the United States

Francis Shen & Dena Gromet
ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, March 2015, Pages 86-101

Abstract:
Advances in neuroscience are beginning to shape law and public policy, giving rise to the field of “neurolaw.” The impact of neuroscientific evidence on how laws are written and interpreted in practice will depend in part on how neurolaw is understood by the public. Drawing on a nationally representative telephone survey experiment, this article presents the first evidence on public approval of neurolaw. We find that the public is generally neutral in its support for neuroscience-based legal reforms. However, how neurolaw is framed affects support based on partisanship: Republicans’ approval of neurolaw decreases when neuroscience is seen as primarily serving to reduce offender culpability, whereas Democrats’ approval is unaffected by how neurolaw is framed. These results suggest that both framing and partisanship may shape the future of neuroscience-based reforms in law and policy.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The way we do it

Hierarchical cultural values predict success and mortality in high-stakes teams

Eric Anicich, Roderick Swaab & Adam Galinsky
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 3 February 2015, Pages 1338–1343

Abstract:
Functional accounts of hierarchy propose that hierarchy increases group coordination and reduces conflict. In contrast, dysfunctional accounts claim that hierarchy impairs performance by preventing low-ranking team members from voicing their potentially valuable perspectives and insights. The current research presents evidence for both the functional and dysfunctional accounts of hierarchy within the same dataset. Specifically, we offer empirical evidence that hierarchical cultural values affect the outcomes of teams in high-stakes environments through group processes. Experimental data from a sample of expert mountain climbers from 27 countries confirmed that climbers expect that a hierarchical culture leads to improved team coordination among climbing teams, but impaired psychological safety and information sharing compared with an egalitarian culture. An archival analysis of 30,625 Himalayan mountain climbers from 56 countries on 5,104 expeditions found that hierarchy both elevated and killed in the Himalayas: Expeditions from more hierarchical countries had more climbers reach the summit, but also more climbers die along the way. Importantly, we established the role of group processes by showing that these effects occurred only for group, but not solo, expeditions. These findings were robust to controlling for environmental factors, risk preferences, expedition-level characteristics, country-level characteristics, and other cultural values. Overall, this research demonstrates that endorsing cultural values related to hierarchy can simultaneously improve and undermine group performance.

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Psychological Language on Twitter Predicts County-Level Heart Disease Mortality

Johannes Eichstaedt et al.
Psychological Science, February 2015, Pages 159-169

Abstract:
Hostility and chronic stress are known risk factors for heart disease, but they are costly to assess on a large scale. We used language expressed on Twitter to characterize community-level psychological correlates of age-adjusted mortality from atherosclerotic heart disease (AHD). Language patterns reflecting negative social relationships, disengagement, and negative emotions — especially anger — emerged as risk factors; positive emotions and psychological engagement emerged as protective factors. Most correlations remained significant after controlling for income and education. A cross-sectional regression model based only on Twitter language predicted AHD mortality significantly better than did a model that combined 10 common demographic, socioeconomic, and health risk factors, including smoking, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. Capturing community psychological characteristics through social media is feasible, and these characteristics are strong markers of cardiovascular mortality at the community level.

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Children’s inequity aversion depends on culture: A cross-cultural comparison

Markus Paulus
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent work showed the presence of strong forms of inequity aversion in young children. When presented with an uneven number of items, children would rather tend to throw one item away than to distribute them unequally between two anonymous others. The current study examined whether or not this pattern is a universal part of typical development by investigating 6- and 7-year-old Ugandan children. Results revealed that the Ugandan children, in contrast to their U.S. peers, tended to distribute the resources unequally rather than to throw the remaining resource away. This points to cross-cultural differences in the development of children’s fairness-related decision making.

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Social Structure, Infectious Diseases, Disasters, Secularism, and Cultural Change in America

Igor Grossmann & Michael Varnum
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why do cultures change? The present work examined cultural change in eight cultural-level markers, or correlates, of individualism in the United States, all of which increased over the course of the 20th century: frequency of individualist themes in books, preference for uniqueness in baby naming, frequency of single-child relative to multichild families, frequency of single-generation relative to multigeneration households, percentage of adults and percentage of older adults living alone, small family size, and divorce rates (relative to marriage rates). We tested five key hypotheses regarding cultural change in individualism-collectivism. As predicted by previous theories, changes in socioeconomic structure, pathogen prevalence, and secularism accompanied changes in individualism averaged across all measures. The relationship with changes in individualism was less robust for urbanization. Contrary to previous theories, changes in individualism were positively (as opposed to negatively) related to the frequency of disasters. Time-lagged analyses suggested that only socioeconomic structure had a robust effect on individualism; changes in socioeconomic structure preceded changes in individualism. Implications for anthropology, psychology, and sociology are discussed.

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“Heroes” and “Villains” of World History across Cultures

Katja Hanke et al.
PLoS ONE, February 2015

Abstract:
Emergent properties of global political culture were examined using data from the World History Survey (WHS) involving 6,902 university students in 37 countries evaluating 40 figures from world history. Multidimensional scaling and factor analysis techniques found only limited forms of universality in evaluations across Western, Catholic/Orthodox, Muslim, and Asian country clusters. The highest consensus across cultures involved scientific innovators, with Einstein having the most positive evaluation overall. Peaceful humanitarians like Mother Theresa and Gandhi followed. There was much less cross-cultural consistency in the evaluation of negative figures, led by Hitler, Osama bin Laden, and Saddam Hussein. After more traditional empirical methods (e.g., factor analysis) failed to identify meaningful cross-cultural patterns, Latent Profile Analysis (LPA) was used to identify four global representational profiles: Secular and Religious Idealists were overwhelmingly prevalent in Christian countries, and Political Realists were common in Muslim and Asian countries. We discuss possible consequences and interpretations of these different representational profiles.

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Language and Female Economic Participation

Victor Gay et al.
University of Chicago Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
This paper explores the relationship between the use of gender in language and the gender gap in economic participation. Using the American Community Survey, we show that among female migrants to the U.S., those who speak a language which makes sex-based grammatical gender distinctions exhibit lower labor force participation, hours worked, and weeks worked during the year, with larger effects for languages with more pervasive gender elements. To account for the impact of correlated origin country influences, we employ a fixed effects strategy and obtain identification off of variation in language spoken across immigrants from the same country.

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Money vs. Prestige: Cultural Attitudes and Occupational Choices

Crystal Zhan
Labour Economics, January 2015, Pages 44–56

Abstract:
This paper studies the occupational choices of highly educated native-born American males and links their choices to cultural attitudes towards pecuniary rewards and social prestige in their ancestral countries. These cultural attitudes were reported in the World Values Survey, which surveyed individuals’ opinions on a series of subjects in various societies. The empirical analysis verifies that cultural attitudes play a significant role in occupational choices: when other factors that may be correlated with one’s opportunity and advantage are controlled for, a stronger cultural demand for pecuniary rewards leads individuals to choose more lucrative jobs, and a stronger demand for social prestige leads them to choose more prestigious jobs. The paper further explores neighborhood effects on cultural transmission and finds a positive relationship between the proportion of the population from the same ancestry in the residential area and the effects of cultural attitudes on occupational selection.

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Genetic polymorphisms predict national differences in life history strategy and time orientation

Michael Minkov & Michael Harris Bond
Personality and Individual Differences, April 2015, Pages 204–215

Abstract:
The existence of a genetic factor behind group-level differences in life history strategy (LHS) has long been disputed. A number of recent studies suggest that some polymorphisms in the androgen receptor gene AR, the dopamine receptor gene DRD4, and the 5-HTTLPR VNTR of the serotonin transporter gene are associated with risk acceptance versus prudence and a short-term versus long-term time orientation, which are important aspects of LHS. We integrated studies from diverse nations reporting the prevalence of these three polymorphisms for many countries. We collected national indices for each of the three polymorphisms and found that they define a strong, single factor, yielding a single LHS-related, national genetic index. As expected, this index is strongly associated with reported national measures of LHS and time orientation, even after controlling for socioeconomic variables. The genetic effect seems especially strong across societies with high socioeconomic inequality.

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The Different Behavioral Intentions of Collectivists and Individualists in Response to Social Exclusion

Michaela Pfundmair et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, March 2015, Pages 363-378

Abstract:
We investigated how participants with collectivistic and individualistic orientation cope with social exclusion on a behavioral level. In Studies 1 and 2, we found participants with more individualistic orientation to indicate more antisocial behavioral intentions in response to exclusion than in response to inclusion; however, participants with more collectivistic orientation did not differ in their behavioral intentions between exclusion and inclusion. In the third and fourth study, we replicated our findings across cultures: German and U.S. participants indicated more antisocial and avoiding behavioral intentions under exclusion than under inclusion, whereas Turkish and Indian participants did not differ in their behavioral intentions between exclusion and inclusion. In Studies 3 and 4, only German and U.S. participants were significantly affected by exclusion, showing more negative mood, which correlated with their behavioral intentions. In Study 4, the different behavioral intentions of collectivists and individualists were mediated by a different threat experience. The findings emphasize the role of self-construal and culture, as well as the self-threat inherent in exclusion.

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A Gender-Based Theory of the Origin of the Caste System of India

Chris Bidner & Mukesh Eswaran
Journal of Development Economics, May 2015, Pages 142–158

Abstract:
We propose a theory of the origins of India’s caste system by explicitly recognizing the productivity of women in complementing their husbands’ occupation-specific skill. The theory explains the core features of the caste system: its hereditary and hierarchical nature, and its insistence on endogamy (marriage only within castes). Endogamy is embraced by a group to minimize an externality that arises when group members marry outsiders. We demonstrate why the caste system embodies gender asymmetries in punishments for violations of endogamy and tolerates hypergamy (marrying up) more than hypogamy (marrying down). Our model also speaks to other aspects of caste, such as commensality restrictions and arranged/child marriages. We suggest that India’s caste system is so unique because the Brahmins sought to preserve and orally transmit the Hindu scriptures for over a millennium with no script. We show that economic considerations were of utmost importance in the emergence of the caste system.

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Climate, vocal folds, and tonal languages: Connecting the physiological and geographic dots

Caleb Everett, Damián Blasi & Seán Roberts
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 3 February 2015, Pages 1322–1327

Abstract:
We summarize a number of findings in laryngology demonstrating that perturbations of phonation, including increased jitter and shimmer, are associated with desiccated ambient air. We predict that, given the relative imprecision of vocal fold vibration in desiccated versus humid contexts, arid and cold ecologies should be less amenable, when contrasted to warm and humid ecologies, to the development of languages with phonemic tone, especially complex tone. This prediction is supported by data from two large independently coded databases representing 3,700+ languages. Languages with complex tonality have generally not developed in very cold or otherwise desiccated climates, in accordance with the physiologically based predictions. The predicted global geographic–linguistic association is shown to operate within continents, within major language families, and across language isolates. Our results offer evidence that human sound systems are influenced by environmental factors.

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Problem-Solving Effort and Success in Innovation Contests: The Role of National Wealth and National Culture

Jesse Bockstedt, Cheryl Druehl & Anant Mishra
Journal of Operations Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
Innovation contests allow firms to harness specialized skills and services from globally dispersed participants for solutions to business problems. Such contests provide a rich setting for Operations Management (OM) scholars to explore problem solving in global labor markets as firms continue to unbundle their innovation value chains. In this study, we examine the implications of specific types of diversity in innovation contests on problem-solving effort and success. First, we conceptualize diversity among contestants in terms of national wealth (measured as Gross Domestic Product per capita (GDPP) adjusted for purchasing power parity) and national culture (measured using the culture dimensions of performance orientation and uncertainty avoidance) and examine how such factors influence problem-solving effort. Next, we examine how differences between contestants and contest holders in terms of the above factors influence contest outcomes. Using data from a popular online innovation contest platform and country-level archival data, we find that contestants from countries with lower levels of GDPP are more likely to exert greater problem-solving effort compared to other contestants. With regards to national culture, we find that performance orientation and uncertainty avoidance have positive and negative effects, respectively, each of which weakens with increasing levels of GDPP. Finally, our analysis provides evidence of homophily effects indicating that contestants who share greater similarities with the contest holder in terms of national wealth and national culture are more likely to be successful in a contest. We discuss the implications of the study's findings for contest holders and platform owners who organize innovation contests, and for emerging research on innovation contests.

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Expression of Anger and Ill Health in Two Cultures: An Examination of Inflammation and Cardiovascular Risk

Shinobu Kitayama et al.
Psychological Science, February 2015, Pages 211-220

Abstract:
Expression of anger is associated with biological health risk (BHR) in Western cultures. However, recent evidence documenting culturally divergent functions of the expression of anger suggests that its link with BHR may be moderated by culture. To test this prediction, we examined large probability samples of both Japanese and Americans using multiple measures of BHR, including pro-inflammatory markers (interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein) and indices of cardiovascular malfunction (systolic blood pressure and ratio of total to HDL cholesterol). We found that the link between greater expression of anger and increased BHR was robust for Americans. As predicted, however, this association was diametrically reversed for Japanese, among whom greater expression of anger predicted reduced BHR. These patterns were unique to the expressive facet of anger and remained after we controlled for age, gender, health status, health behaviors, social status, and reported experience of negative emotions. Implications for sociocultural modulation of bio-physiological responses are discussed.

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Rate of language evolution is affected by population size

Lindell Bromham et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
The effect of population size on patterns and rates of language evolution is controversial. Do languages with larger speaker populations change faster due to a greater capacity for innovation, or do smaller populations change faster due to more efficient diffusion of innovations? Do smaller populations suffer greater loss of language elements through founder effects or drift, or do languages with more speakers lose features due to a process of simplification? Revealing the influence of population size on the tempo and mode of language evolution not only will clarify underlying mechanisms of language change but also has practical implications for the way that language data are used to reconstruct the history of human cultures. Here, we provide, to our knowledge, the first empirical, statistically robust test of the influence of population size on rates of language evolution, controlling for the evolutionary history of the populations and formally comparing the fit of different models of language evolution. We compare rates of gain and loss of cognate words for basic vocabulary in Polynesian languages, an ideal test case with a well-defined history. We demonstrate that larger populations have higher rates of gain of new words whereas smaller populations have higher rates of word loss. These results show that demographic factors can influence rates of language evolution and that rates of gain and loss are affected differently. These findings are strikingly consistent with general predictions of evolutionary models.

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How Is Men’s Conformity to Masculine Norms Related to Their Body Image? Masculinity and Muscularity Across Western Countries

Kristina Holmqvist Gattario et al.
Psychology of Men & Masculinity, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has suggested that men’s conformity to masculine norms (CMN) is an important correlate of men’s drive for muscularity. The present study aimed to further delineate the relationship between masculinity and men’s body image by examining various dimensions of CMN in relation to various dimensions of men’s body image (muscularity, leanness, and fitness) in a cross-national sample. Participants comprised young men from the United States (n = 192), the United Kingdom (n = 141), Australia (n = 160), and Sweden (n = 142). Multigroup path analyses showed that CMN was related to drive for muscularity, leanness, and fitness in all 4 countries, but there were differences across countries in which dimensions of CMN predicted men’s body image. Whereas conformity to the masculine norm of winning was a salient predictor across the 4 countries, conformity to the norm of risk-taking was linked to Australian men’s body image, and conformity to the norm of violence to British men’s body image. The findings support previous research suggesting that men’s endorsement of the male gender role plays a significant role in their desire for an ideal body, but the results uniquely document that this relationship may differ across countries.

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Capturing Culture: A New Method to Estimate Exogenous Cultural Effects Using Migrant Populations

Javier Polavieja
American Sociological Review, February 2015, Pages 166-191

Abstract:
We know that culture influences people’s behavior. Yet estimating the exact extent of this influence poses a formidable methodological challenge for the social sciences. This is because preferences and beliefs are endogenous, that is, they are shaped by individuals’ own experiences and affected by the same macro-structural conditions that constrain their actions. This study introduces a new method to overcome endogeneity problems in the estimation of cultural effects by using migrant populations. This innovative method uses imputed traits, generated from non-migrating equivalents observed at the country of origin, as instruments for immigrants’ own cultural traits measured at the country of destination. By construction, imputed traits are exogenous to immigrants’ host social environment. The predicted power of imputed traits over observed traits in instrumental-variable estimation captures the non-idiosyncratic component of preferences and beliefs that migrants and non-migrating equivalents share as members of the same national-origin group, that is, their culture. I use this innovative method to estimate the net exogenous impact of traditional values on female labor-force participation in Europe. I find that this impact is much larger than standard regression methods would suggest.

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It's Not Just Numbers: Cultural Identities Influence How Nutrition Information Influences the Valuation of Foods

Pierrick Gomez & Carlos Torelli
Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines how cultural mindsets cued by a salient identity can influence how consumers interpret seemingly benign nutrition information in foods. Results show that nutrition information can be incongruent with the cultural norm of food enjoyment distinctively associated with French (and not American) identity. This occurs because of a conflict between the motivation to enjoy foods activated by a salient French identity and the utilitarian nature of nutrition information in foods — that does not belong to a French-culture mindset. Three studies demonstrate that French (and not American) consumers with a salient cultural identity are more sensitive (i.e., perceive as riskier for their health) and evaluate more negatively foods that display (vs. not) nutrition information. Furthermore, this devaluation effect is mediated by anticipated feelings that the foods would not be enjoyable. Providing further evidence for the motivational inconsistency between the culturally-distinctive norm of food enjoyment cued by a salient French-culture mindset, French (and not American) consumers with a salient (vs. not) cultural identity experienced more disfluency when processing nutrition information in foods.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

An easy sell

The Power of Repetition: Repetitive Lyrics in a Song Increase Processing Fluency and Drives Market Success

Joseph Nunes, Andrea Ordanini & Francesca Valsesia
Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The majority of music people listen to in their daily lives includes lyrics. This research documents how more repetitive songs lyrically are processed more fluently and thus adopted more broadly and quickly in the marketplace. Study 1 is a controlled laboratory experiment demonstrating how lexical repetition, a feature of the stimulus and not the consequence of repeated exposures, results in greater processing fluency. Study 2 replicates the effect utilizing custom-produced song excerpts holding everything constant except the lyrics. Utilizing data from Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart from 1958-2012, Study 3 documents how more repetitive songs stand a greater chance of reaching #1 as opposed to lingering at the bottom of the chart. An analysis of #1 hits reveals increased repetition decreases the time it takes to reach #1 and increases the odds of debuting in the Top 40. This research chronicles the impact of processing fluency on consumer choice in the real world while demonstrating repetition as a stimulus feature matters. It also introduces a new variable to the processing fluency literature: lexical repetition.

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Computer-based personality judgments are more accurate than those made by humans

Wu Youyou, Michal Kosinski & David Stillwell
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 27 January 2015, Pages 1036–1040

Abstract:
Judging others’ personalities is an essential skill in successful social living, as personality is a key driver behind people’s interactions, behaviors, and emotions. Although accurate personality judgments stem from social-cognitive skills, developments in machine learning show that computer models can also make valid judgments. This study compares the accuracy of human and computer-based personality judgments, using a sample of 86,220 volunteers who completed a 100-item personality questionnaire. We show that (i) computer predictions based on a generic digital footprint (Facebook Likes) are more accurate (r = 0.56) than those made by the participants’ Facebook friends using a personality questionnaire (r = 0.49); (ii) computer models show higher interjudge agreement; and (iii) computer personality judgments have higher external validity when predicting life outcomes such as substance use, political attitudes, and physical health; for some outcomes, they even outperform the self-rated personality scores. Computers outpacing humans in personality judgment presents significant opportunities and challenges in the areas of psychological assessment, marketing, and privacy.

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How images and color in business plans influence venture investment screening decisions

Richard Chan & Haemin Dennis Park
Journal of Business Venturing, forthcoming

Abstract:
We explore how product images and color in business plans influence venture investment screening decisions. Because images are accessible, memorable, and influential, we argue that product images in a business plan will increase the likelihood of favorable judgments during screening decisions. Moreover, because red and blue automatically affect an individual's cognition in different manners such that red elicits negative associations and blue elicits positive ones from the evaluators, we predict that the use of red in a business plan will decrease the favorability of judgments during screening decisions, while the use of blue will increase their favorability. Using a quasi-experimental field study and a series of controlled experiments, we find partial support for a positive effect of product images on favorable screening decisions and a consistent negative effect of red on favorable screening decisions.

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Backlash against the “Big Box”: Local Small Business and Public Opinion toward Business Corporations

Benjamin Newman & John Kane
Public Opinion Quarterly, Winter 2014, Pages 984-1002

Abstract:
Political discourse often distinguishes “big” from “small” business, with the former cast as the insidious monolith of the present era and the latter as the virtuous incarnation of the average citizen’s participation in the American dream. Throughout the nation, this abstract juxtaposition of big and small business takes concrete form in the emerging dominance of large-scale corporate retail chain stores over locally owned small retail businesses. While studies have analyzed the economic and civic impact of corporate “big-box” store development, social scientists have yet to address the basic public opinion question of whether residing in local areas where retail commerce is dominated by big-box corporations activates hostility among citizens toward business corporations. Drawing upon two national surveys combined with Census data, this article demonstrates that citizens’ attitudes toward large corporate retailers, and business corporations more generally, are strongly linked to the vitality of small local retail business.

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Consumers' Response to Commercials: When the Energy Level in the Commercial Conflicts with the Media Context

Nancy Puccinelli, Keith Wilcox & Dhruv Grewal
Journal of Marketing, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines how media-induced consumer activation level impacts consumer response to highly energetic commercials. Over six studies, including a Hulu field experiment, consumers experiencing a deactivating emotion (e.g., sadness induced by a movie) find it more difficult to watch highly energetic commercials compared to consumers who are not experiencing a deactivating emotion. As a result, consumers experiencing a deactivating emotion are less likely to watch highly energetic commercials and recall the advertiser compared to consumers who are not experiencing a deactivating emotion. These same effects are not observed when consumers experiencing a deactivating emotion watch commercials that are moderately energetic or when consumers do not experience a deactivating emotion. These findings suggest that when advertisers run commercials in media that induces a deactivating emotion (e.g., sadness, relaxed, contentment) they should avoid running highly energetic commercials (e.g., with upbeat, enthusiastic spokespeople). Additionally, this research recommends that when advertisers are unable to determine the emotions induced by the media context they should run commercials that are moderate in energy. The results of a meta-analysis across the present studies shows that consumers experiencing a deactivating emotion will respond as much as 50% more favorably to moderately energetic commercials compared to highly energetic ones.

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Lifting the Veil: The Benefits of Cost Transparency

Bhavya Mohan, Ryan Buell & Leslie John
Harvard Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
A firm's costs are typically tightly-guarded secrets. However, across six laboratory experiments and a field study we identify when and why firms benefit from revealing cost information to consumers. Disclosing the variable costs associated with a product's production heightens consumers' attraction to the firm, which in turn increases purchase interest (Experiments 1-3). In fact, cost transparency has a stronger impact on purchase interest than emphasizing the firm's personal relationship with the consumer - a much more involved marketing tactic (Experiment 4). Further experiments explore boundary conditions and suggest that the benefit of cost transparency weakens as firms increase price relative to costs, and when markups are made salient (Experiments 5-6). Consistent with our lab findings, a natural experiment with an online retailer demonstrates that cost transparency improves sales. In particular, cost transparency led to a 44.0% increase in daily unit sales. This research implies that by revealing costs - typically tightly-guarded secrets - managers can potentially improve both brand attraction and sales.

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The Role and Growth of New-Car Leasing: Theory and Evidence

Justin Johnson, Henry Schneider & Michael Waldman
Journal of Law and Economics, August 2014, Pages 665-698

Abstract:
There has been substantial growth in rates of new-car leasing over the last few decades. Building on recent theoretical research, we construct a model of the leasing decision in which leasing mitigates adverse selection and reduces transaction costs, but moral hazard limits its use. In our model, the prevalence of leasing is related to new-car reliability, which suggests that the recent growth in leasing is at least partly due to improvements in new-car reliability. We use this model to derive testable implications and then conduct an empirical analysis to investigate whether the operation of the new- and used-car markets is consistent with the predictions of this theoretical approach. Our empirical results support the theoretical predictions of our model. In particular, we provide direct evidence that leasing mitigates adverse selection and that an important factor in the growth in new-car leasing rates has indeed been the growth of new-car reliability.

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Expert Opinion and Product Quality: Evidence from New York City Restaurants

Olivier Gergaud, Karl Storchmann & Vincenzo Verardi
Economic Inquiry, April 2015, Pages 812–835

Abstract:
We analyze whether consumers' quality perception and/or producer investment of New York City restaurants, measured by Zagat scores, responds to newly appearing expert opinion, measured by Michelin scores. Answering this question is of general economic interest as it applies to all markets with information asymmetries. Employing a difference-in-differences approach as well as a propensity score matching approach we find significant Michelin treatment effects on food and décor quality. Based on these changes, we find a Michelin-induced price increase of approximately 30% per Michelin star. To examine whether the improved food and nonfood quality is based on restaurant investments or is merely imagined, we analyze nonfood investments by referring to Wine Spectator wine list awards. Our analysis suggests that Michelin-reviewed restaurants are significantly more likely to invest in their wine list than others. As a result, Michelin reviewed restaurants are more likely to improve food and nonfood (esp. décor) quality leading to significant price increases. However, while restaurants that increase prices only due to décor and service improvements are more likely to go out of business, food improvements appear to secure a restaurant's survival.

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The Truth Hurts: How Customers May Lose From Honest Advertising

Praveen Kopalle & Donald Lehmann
International Journal of Research in Marketing, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines the impact of competition, brand equity, and the cost of overstating quality on optimal quality and quality claims of new products. We consider two firms simultaneously introducing a new product and making one-time decisions about its quality, price, and advertised quality. Using a two period model which allows for larger weight on future period sales, we find competition often leads firms to overstate quality unless they are constrained by high legal costs imposed by regulations or third-party legal action. More interesting, when competitors are constrained to be truthful in their advertising due to legal or other costs, optimal product quality can be lower and profits can be higher.

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Sex Really Does Sell: The Recall of Sexual and Non-sexual Television Advertisements in Sexual and Non-sexual Programmes

James King, Alastair McClelland & Adrian Furnham
Applied Cognitive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present study examined memory for advertisements as a function of both advertisement content and the contextual programme content. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: in one condition, they watched a sexual programme and in the other a non-sexual programme. Embedded within each programme were the same highly sexual and non-sexual advertisements that had been matched in pairs for five products. Memory for the advertisements and involvement in the programmes was measured. It was found that on three indices (free recall, brand recognition and prompted recall), memory for the sexual advertisements was superior to that for non-sexual advertisements. There was no effect of the programme content on advertisement recall and no relationship between programme involvement and advertisement recall. The results are discussed with reference to extant literature on memory for advertisements.

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Merchant steering of consumer payment choice: Evidence from a 2012 diary survey

Joanna Stavins & Oz Shy
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, April 2015, Pages 1–9

Abstract:
This paper seeks to discover whether U.S. merchants are using their recently granted freedom to offer price discounts and other incentives to steer customers to pay with methods that are less costly to merchants. Using evidence of merchant steering based on the 2012 Diary of Consumer Payment Choice, we find that only a very small fraction of transactions received a cash or debit card discount, and even fewer were subjected to a credit card surcharge. We attribute this finding in part to the merchants’ fear of alienating consumers, who may not view the steering attempts as an “acceptable norm.” Transactions at gasoline stations were more likely to receive either cash discounts or credit card surcharges than transactions in other sectors. Transactions over $20 were significantly more likely to receive a cash discount.

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Brain responses to movie-trailers predict individual preferences for movies and their population-wide commercial success

Maarten Boksem & Ale Smidts
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although much progress has been made in relating brain activations to choice behaviour, evidence that neural measures could actually be useful for predicting the successfulness of marketing actions remains limited. To be of added value, neural measures should significantly increase predictive power, above and beyond conventional measures. In the present study, the authors obtained both stated preference measures and neural measures (electroencephalography; EEG) in response to advertisements for commercially released movies (i.e. movie-trailers), to probe its potential to provide insight into individual preferences in our subjects, as well as movie sales in the population at large. The results show that EEG measures (beta and gamma oscillations) provide unique information regarding individual and population-wide preference, above and beyond stated preference measures, and can thus in principle be used as a neural marker for commercial success. As such, these results provide the first evidence that EEG measures are related to real-world outcomes, and that these neural measures can significantly add to models predicting choice behaviour compared to models that include only stated preference measures.

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Spoiler Alert: Consequences of Narrative Spoilers for Dimensions of Enjoyment, Appreciation, and Transportation

Benjamin Johnson & Judith Rosenbaum
Communication Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
As suggested by the common phrase “spoiler alert!” many people avoid spoilers for narrative entertainment. However, recent research has found that exposure to spoilers may actually enhance enjoyment. The present study sought to replicate and extend those findings with a multidimensional approach to enjoyment and by examining choice of spoiled versus unspoiled narratives. Comprehension theories suggest that spoilers should improve media appreciation, whereas excitation-transfer theory suggests that spoilers harm arousal and suspense. Additionally, media users’ conventionally held beliefs imply that respondents should choose unspoiled stories. A within-subjects experiment (N = 412) tested these hypotheses. As expected, unspoiled stories were more fun and suspenseful. Surprisingly, unspoiled stories were also more moving and enjoyable in general. No effect of media choice emerged.

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Touch and Go: Merely Grasping a Product Facilitates Brand Perception and Choice

Mathias Streicher & Zachary Estes
Applied Cognitive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Consumers often touch products, and such haptic exploration can improve consumers' evaluations of the product. We tested whether cross-modal priming might contribute to this effect. Under the guise of a weight judgment task, which served as a haptic prime, we had blindfolded participants grasp familiar products (e.g., a Coca Cola bottle). We then had participants visually identify the brand name as quickly as possible (Experiments 1 and 2), list the first beverage brands that come to mind (Experiment 3), or choose between beverage brands as reward for participation (Experiment 4). Haptic exposure facilitated visual recognition of the given brand and increased participants' consideration and choice of that brand. Moreover, this haptic priming was brand specific and occurred even among participants who did not consciously identify the prime brand. These results demonstrate that haptic brand identities can facilitate recognition, consideration, and brand choice, regardless of consumers' conscious awareness of this haptic priming.

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Substitutes or Complements? Consumer Preference for Local and Organic Food Attributes

Thong Meas et al.
American Journal of Agricultural Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines consumer preference and compares their willingness-to-pay for a host of value-added attributes of processed blackberry jam, and focuses on various organic and local production location designations. Instead of being treated as a binary attribute, three levels of USDA organic are considered: 100% organic, at least 95% organic, and made with organic ingredients (at least 70% organic). For local production, three levels are also included in the analysis: cross-state region (the Ohio Valley), state boundary (state-proud logos), as well as sub-state regions. Stated-preference data collected from a choice experiment in a mail survey in Kentucky and Ohio are used. Results from the study confirm positive willingness-to-pay for both organic and local attributes. However, consumers were willing to pay comparatively more for jam produced locally in regions smaller than the border of a state compared to organic jam. Furthermore, substitution and complementary effects between food attributes were investigated. The study found strong substitution effects between organic and local production claims, an issue that has thus far received minimal treatment in the existing literature on organic and local food willingness-to-pay studies. The results indicate a large degree of overlapping values in the willingness-to-pay for these two food attributes. In addition, the “small farm” attribute considered in the study also appears to be a substitute for organic and local attributes, which confirms the previous belief that one of the many reasons consumers purchase organic or local products is to support small or family-owned farms.

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Bowling for Dollars: Title Sponsorship of College Football Bowls

John Fizel & Chris McNeil
Journal of Sports Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Corporate title sponsorship of college football bowl games has proliferated over the past two decades, yet little analysis has been made concerning the returns to these investments. This article examines the impact that title sponsorships have had on the stock value of the corporate sponsors. Using event study analysis, we find that there was no significant change, on average, in the stock prices following the sponsorship announcements. However, a cross-sectional analysis of changes in firm stock prices relative to corporate and bowl characteristics reveals that markets view sponsorships by large and high-tech firms negatively and major bowls positively.

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Category Taken-for-Grantedness as a Strategic Opportunity: The Case of Light Cigarettes, 1964 to 1993

Greta Hsu & Stine Grodal
American Sociological Review, February 2015, Pages 28-62

Abstract:
Theories within organizational and economic sociology that center on market categories often equate taken-for-grantedness with increased constraint on category members’ features. In contrast, we develop a novel perspective that considers how market participants’ changing category-related attributions decrease the scrutiny of category offerings, opening up strategic opportunities for firms. We further argue that whether producers should be expected to take advantage of these opportunities depends on the extent to which they are incentivized to do so. We use the case of the light cigarette category to test this thesis. We argue and find evidence that increasing taken-for-grantedness of the light cigarette category created greater opportunity for tobacco firms to strategically manipulate category features.

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The Handmade Effect: What's Love Got to Do with It?

Christoph Fuchs, Martin Schreier & Stijn Van Osselaer
Journal of Marketing, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite the popularity and high quality of machine-made products, handmade products have not disappeared even in many product categories where machinal production is common. We present the first systematic set of studies exploring whether and how stated production mode (handmade vs. machine-made) affects product attractiveness. Four studies provide evidence for the existence of a positive handmade effect on product attractiveness. This effect is to an important extent driven by perceptions that handmade products symbolically “contain love”. This love account is validated controlling for alternative value drivers of handmade production (mere effort, product quality, uniqueness, authenticity, pride). The handmade effect is moderated by two factors that affect the value of love. Specifically, consumers indicate stronger purchase intentions for handmade than machine-made products when buying gifts for their loved ones, but not for more distant gift recipients and pay more for handmade gifts when they are bought to convey love than when buying the best-performing product.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The more you know

The Psychology of Intelligence Analysis: Drivers of Prediction Accuracy in World Politics

Barbara Mellers et al.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article extends psychological methods and concepts into a domain that is as profoundly consequential as it is poorly understood: intelligence analysis. We report findings from a geopolitical forecasting tournament that assessed the accuracy of more than 150,000 forecasts of 743 participants on 199 events occurring over 2 years. Participants were above average in intelligence and political knowledge relative to the general population. Individual differences in performance emerged, and forecasting skills were surprisingly consistent over time. Key predictors were (a) dispositional variables of cognitive ability, political knowledge, and open-mindedness; (b) situational variables of training in probabilistic reasoning and participation in collaborative teams that shared information and discussed rationales (Mellers, Ungar, et al., 2014); and (c) behavioral variables of deliberation time and frequency of belief updating. We developed a profile of the best forecasters; they were better at inductive reasoning, pattern detection, cognitive flexibility, and open-mindedness. They had greater understanding of geopolitics, training in probabilistic reasoning, and opportunities to succeed in cognitively enriched team environments. Last but not least, they viewed forecasting as a skill that required deliberate practice, sustained effort, and constant monitoring of current affairs.

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Constructing Rich False Memories of Committing Crime

Julia Shaw & Stephen Porter
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Memory researchers long have speculated that certain tactics may lead people to recall crimes that never occurred, and thus could potentially lead to false confessions. This is the first study to provide evidence suggesting that full episodic false memories of committing crime can be generated in a controlled experimental setting. With suggestive memory-retrieval techniques, participants were induced to generate criminal and noncriminal emotional false memories, and we compared these false memories with true memories of emotional events. After three interviews, 70% of participants were classified as having false memories of committing a crime (theft, assault, or assault with a weapon) that led to police contact in early adolescence and volunteered a detailed false account. These reported false memories of crime were similar to false memories of noncriminal events and to true memory accounts, having the same kinds of complex descriptive and multisensory components. It appears that in the context of a highly suggestive interview, people can quite readily generate rich false memories of committing crime.

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Decision-Making Under the Gambler's Fallacy: Evidence from Asylum Judges, Loan Officers, and Baseball Umpires

Daniel Chen, Tobias Moskowitz & Kelly Shue
University of Chicago Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
Can misperceptions of what constitutes a fair process lead to unfair decisions? Previous research on the law of small numbers and the gambler's fallacy suggests that many people view sequential streaks of 0's or 1's as unlikely to occur even though such streaks often occur by chance. We hypothesize that the gambler’s fallacy leads agents to engage in negatively autocorrelated decision-making. We document negatively autocorrelated decisions in three high-stakes contexts: refugee asylum courts, loan application review, and baseball umpire calls. This negative autocorrelation is stronger among more moderate and less experienced decision-makers, following longer streaks of decisions in one direction, and when agents face weaker incentives for accuracy. We show that the negative autocorrelation in decision-making is unlikely to be driven by potential alternative explanations such as sequential contrast effects, quotas, or preferences to treat two teams fairly.

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Sequential Judgment Effects in the Workplace: Evidence from the National Basketball Association

Paul Gift
Economic Inquiry, April 2015, Pages 1259–1274

Abstract:
This study investigates the impact of past performance evaluations on future decisions involving judgment. I analyze the decisions of highly skilled and highly monitored referees regarding offensive fouls and violations in the National Basketball Association. After testing for equilibrium adjustments in player behavior, findings support a hypothesis of increased referee scrutiny on one team following a potentially questionable call on the opposing team. Results are inconclusive for subsequent changes in scrutiny toward the original violating team. The analysis provides a nonexperimental test of sequential bias on elite employees working under strict performance standards, and suggests a likely role for sequential judgment effects in other areas of economic activity.

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Thinking Outside the Box: Multiple Identity Mind-Sets Affect Creative Problem Solving

Sarah Gaither et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Rigid thinking is associated with less creativity, suggesting that priming a flexible mind-set should boost creative thought. In three studies, we investigate whether priming multiple social identities predicts more creativity in domains unrelated to social identity. Study 1 asked monoracial and multiracial participants to write about their racial identities before assessing creativity. Priming a multiracial’s racial identity led to greater creativity compared to a no-prime control. Priming a monoracial’s racial identity did not affect creativity. Study 2 showed that reminding monoracials that they, too, have multiple identities increased creativity. Study 3 replicated this effect and demonstrated that priming a multiracial identity for monoracials did not affect creativity. These results are the first to investigate the association between flexible identities and flexible thinking, highlighting the potential for identity versatility to predict cognitive differences between individuals who have singular versus multifaceted views of their social selves.

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Decision Making and Underperformance in Competitive Environments: Evidence from the National Hockey League

Gueorgui Kolev, Gonçalo Pina & Federico Todeschini
Kyklos, February 2015, Pages 65–80

Abstract:
We find evidence of suboptimal decisions leading to underperformance in a policy experiment where two teams of professionals compete in a tournament (National Hockey League shootout) performing a task (penalty shot) sequentially. Before an exogenous policy change, home teams had to perform the task second in the sequence. After the policy change, home teams were given the choice to lead or to follow in the sequence. Home teams should move first only when this is optimal, and this should lead them to winning the tournament more often. We find that after given the choice, home teams most of the time choose to move first in the sequence, and this results in a lower winning frequency for them. Contrary to what economic theory would predict, we find that an expanded choice set can lead to worse outcomes for the agents.

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Fueling doubt and openness: Experiencing the unconscious, constructed nature of perception induces uncertainty and openness to change

William Hart et al.
Cognition, April 2015, Pages 1–8

Abstract:
Because people lack access to the many unconscious thought processes that influence perception, they often have the experience of seeing things “as they are”. Psychologists have long presumed that this “naïve realism” plays a role in driving human confidence and closed-mindedness. Yet, surprisingly, these intuitive links have not been empirically demonstrated. Presumably, if naïve realism drives confidence and closed-mindedness, then disabusing people of naïve realism should reduce confidence in one’s judgments and instill openness to change. In the present experiment, we found that participants who read about naïve realism and also experienced various perceptual illusions showed reduced confidence in their social judgments and indicated a greater willingness to change their judgments relative to participants who merely read about naïve realism and perceptual illusions, participants who received failure feedback on an earlier task, or participants left in a baseline state. Broadly, the present research provides evidence for an untested origin of human confidence and closed-mindedness and may have broad implications for decision making.

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Attenuating the Escalation of Commitment to a Faltering Project in Decision-Making Groups: An Implementation Intention Approach

Frank Wieber, Lukas Thürmer & Peter Gollwitzer
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
When groups receive negative feedback on their progress toward a set goal, they often escalate rather than temper their commitment. To attenuate such escalation, we suggest initiating a self-distancing response (i.e., taking the perspective of a neutral observer) by forming implementation intentions when, where, and how to act (i.e., making if-then plans). Implementation intentions should help groups to translate a self-distancing intention into action. In line with this reasoning, only groups that had added implementation intentions to their goal to make optimal investment decisions reduced their high levels of investment (Study 1) or maintained their moderate levels of investment (Study 2) after negative feedback. Groups that had merely formed goal intentions, however, escalated even when their decision goal was supplemented with self-distancing instructions (Study 1), and they escalated as much as control groups without such a goal (Study 2). Implications for improving group decision making by implementation intentions are discussed.

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On making the right choice: A meta-analysis and large-scale replication attempt of the unconscious thought advantage

Mark Nieuwenstein et al.
Judgment and Decision Making, January 2015, Pages 1–17

Abstract:
Are difficult decisions best made after a momentary diversion of thought? Previous research addressing this important question has yielded dozens of experiments in which participants were asked to choose the best of several options (e.g., cars or apartments) either after conscious deliberation, or after a momentary diversion of thought induced by an unrelated task. The results of these studies were mixed. Some found that participants who had first performed the unrelated task were more likely to choose the best option, whereas others found no evidence for this so-called unconscious thought advantage (UTA). The current study examined two accounts of this inconsistency in previous findings. According to the reliability account, the UTA does not exist and previous reports of this effect concern nothing but spurious effects obtained with an unreliable paradigm. In contrast, the moderator account proposes that the UTA is a real effect that occurs only when certain conditions are met in the choice task. To test these accounts, we conducted a meta-analysis and a large-scale replication study (N = 399) that met the conditions deemed optimal for replicating the UTA. Consistent with the reliability account, the large-scale replication study yielded no evidence for the UTA, and the meta-analysis showed that previous reports of the UTA were confined to underpowered studies that used relatively small sample sizes. Furthermore, the results of the large-scale study also dispelled the recent suggestion that the UTA might be gender-specific. Accordingly, we conclude that there exists no reliable support for the claim that a momentary diversion of thought leads to better decision making than a period of deliberation.

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Money, Time, and the Stability of Consumer Preferences

Leonard Lee et al.
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Consumers often make product choices that involve the consideration of money and time. Building on dual-process models, the authors propose that these two basic resources activate qualitatively different modes of processing: while money is processed analytically, time is processed more affectively. Importantly, this distinction then influences the stability of consumer preferences. An initial set of three experiments demonstrates that, compared with a control condition free of the consideration of either resource, money consideration generates significantly more violations of transitivity in product choice, while time consideration has no such impact. The next three experiments use multiple approaches to demonstrate the role of different processing modes associated with money versus time consideration in this result. Finally, two additional experiments test ways in which the cognitive noise associated with the analytical processing that money consideration triggers could be reduced, resulting in more consistent preferences.

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The bigger they come, the harder they fall: The paradoxical effect of regulatory depletion on attitude change

John Petrocelli, Sally Williams & Joshua Clarkson
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, May 2015, Pages 82–94

Abstract:
The present research explores a new effect of regulatory resource depletion on persuasion by proposing that the experience of depletion can increase or decrease openness to attitude change by undermining perceived counterargument strength. Ironically, this openness is hypothesized to be strongest for individuals holding attitudes with high (versus low) certainty, as individuals should expect high certainty attitudes to be more resistant — an expectation the experience of depletion is hypothesized to violate. Supporting the hypotheses, three studies demonstrate that individuals expect high certainty attitudes to be stable (Study 1), the experience of resource depletion violates this expectancy and increases the openness to counterattack (Study 2), and this openness is driven by decreased perceptions of counterargument strength (Study 3). By augmenting (attenuating) the effect of argument quality for high (low) certainty attitudes, the experience of depletion on perceived counterargument performance offers insight into novel means by which resource depletion can influence persuasion.

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No pain no gain: The positive impact of punishment on the strategic regulation of accuracy

Michelle Arnold, Lisa Chisholm & Toby Prike
Memory, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous studies have shown that punishing people through a large penalty for volunteering incorrect information typically leads them to withhold more information (metacognitive response bias), but it does not appear to influence their ability to distinguish between their own correct and incorrect answers (metacognitive accuracy discrimination). The goal of the current study was to demonstrate that punishing people for volunteering incorrect information — versus rewarding volunteering correct information — produces more effective metacognitive accuracy discrimination. All participants completed three different general-knowledge tests: a reward test (high points for correct volunteered answers), a baseline test (equal points/penalties for volunteered correct/incorrect answers) and a punishment test (high penalty for incorrect volunteered answers). Participants were significantly better at distinguishing between their own correct and incorrect answers on the punishment than reward test, which has implications for situations requiring effective accuracy monitoring.

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Reason, Intuition, and Time

Marco Sahm & Robert von Weizsäcker
Managerial and Decision Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study the influence of reason and intuition on decision-making over time. Facing a sequence of similar problems, agents can either decide rationally according to expected utility theory or intuitively according to case-based decision theory. Rational decisions are more precise but create higher costs, though these costs may decrease over time. We find that intuition will outperform reason in the long run if individuals are sufficiently ambitious. Moreover, intuitive decisions are prevalent in the early and late stages of a learning process, whereas reason governs decisions in intermediate stages. Examples range from playing behavior in games like chess to professional decisions during a manager's career.

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Fear-Appeal Messages: Message Processing and Affective Attitudes

Nancy Rhodes
Communication Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Theories of fear appeals suggest that fear-inducing messages can be effective, but public service announcements (PSAs) that emphasize fear do not always lead to desired change in behavior. To better understand how fear-inducing PSAs are processed, an experiment testing the effects of exposure to safe-driving messages is reported. College students (N = 108) viewed PSAs of varying message sensation value (MSV). Results indicated that messages with medium MSV resulted in intentions to drive more slowly than messages with low or high MSV. Measures of affective attitudes indicated that medium MSV messages resulted in fast driving being rated as less fun and exciting than those of either high or low MSV. These affective evaluations mediated the effect of message exposure on driving intention. Message derogation was not related to message intensity. Production of message-related thoughts decreased, and emotional thoughts increased with message intensity. This decrease in processing of message content suggested a limited capacity explanation for the effect of highly intense fear appeals.

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Anxious and Egocentric: How Specific Emotions Influence Perspective Taking

Andrew Todd et al.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
People frequently feel anxious. Although prior research has extensively studied how feeling anxious shapes intrapsychic aspects of cognition, much less is known about how anxiety affects interpersonal aspects of cognition. Here, we examine the influence of incidental experiences of anxiety on perceptual and conceptual forms of perspective taking. Compared with participants experiencing other negative, high-arousal emotions (i.e., anger or disgust) or neutral feelings, anxious participants displayed greater egocentrism in their mental-state reasoning: They were more likely to describe an object using their own spatial perspective, had more difficulty resisting egocentric interference when identifying an object from others’ spatial perspectives, and relied more heavily on privileged knowledge when inferring others’ beliefs. Using both experimental-causal-chain and measurement-of-mediation approaches, we found that these effects were explained, in part, by uncertainty appraisal tendencies. Further supporting the role of uncertainty, a positive emotion associated with uncertainty (i.e., surprise) produced increases in egocentrism that were similar to anxiety. Collectively, the results suggest that incidentally experiencing emotions associated with uncertainty increase reliance on one’s own egocentric perspective when reasoning about the mental states of others.

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Diverging effects of mortality salience on variety seeking: The different roles of death anxiety and semantic concept activation

Zhongqiang(Tak) Huang & Robert Wyer
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, May 2015, Pages 112–123

Abstract:
Thoughts about one's death can not only induce death anxiety but also activate death-related semantic concepts. These effects of mortality salience have different implications for judgments and behavior. We demonstrate these differences in an investigation of variety-seeking behavior. Four experiments showed that the anxiety elicited by thinking about one's own death decreased the variety of participants' choices in an unrelated multiple-choice decision situation, whereas activating semantic concepts of death without inducing anxiety increased it. Moreover, inducing cognitive load decreased the anxiety-inducing effect of mortality salience, leading its concept-activation effect to predominate. The accessibility of death-related semantic concepts spontaneously induces a global processing style that increases the range of acceptable choice alternatives in a variety-seeking task, and this occurs regardless of how mortality salience is induced. However, the effect of inducing death anxiety, which is driven by a desire for stability, may override the effect of semantic concept activation when participants think about their own death.

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Turning molehills into mountains: Sleepiness increases workplace interpretive bias

Larissa Barber & Christopher Budnick
Journal of Organizational Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Three studies draw from evolutionary theory to assess whether sleepiness increases interpretive biases in workplace social judgments. Study 1 established a relationship between sleepiness and interpretive bias using ambiguous interpersonal scenarios from a measure commonly used in personnel selection (N = 148). Study 2 explored the boundary conditions of the sleepiness–interpretive bias link via an experimental online field survey of U.S. adults (N = 433). Sleepiness increased interpretive bias when social threats were clearly present (unfair workplace) but did not affect bias in the absence of threat (fair workplace). Study 3 replicated and extended findings from the previous two studies using objective measures of sleep loss and a quasi-experimental manipulation of minor sleep loss (N = 175). Negative affect, ego depletion, or personality variables did not influence the observed relationships. Overall, results suggest that a self-protection/evolutionary perspective best explains the effects of sleepiness on workplace interpretive biases. These studies advance the current research on sleep in organizations by adding a cognitive “threat interpretation” bias approach to past work examining the emotional reaction/behavioral side of sleep disruption. Interpretive biases due to sleepiness may have significant implications for employee health and counterproductive behavior.

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The Role of Self-Affirmation and User Status in Readers’ Response to Identity-Threatening News

Xiao Wang, Andrea Hickerson & Laura Arpan
Communication Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent research suggests that the effect of self-affirmation on readers’ responses to media messages is not uniform across groups. The present experiment examined whether self-affirmation and group/user status interacted in influencing participants’ responses to a news article with identity-threatening information related to Apple sweatshops in China. Results revealed that for non-Apple users, self-affirmation influenced their appraisal of emotional responses, led them to perceive more news slant and more negative influence of the article on neutral Americans, and lowered their future purchase intentions. The effect of self-affirmation was nonsignificant among Apple users, which could have been thwarted by Apple users’ high defensiveness. Both theoretical implications for future self-affirmation research and practical implications are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, February 9, 2015

Get busy

Marriage stability, taxation and aggregate labor supply in the U.S. vs. Europe

Indraneel Chakraborty, Hans Holter & Serhiy Stepanchuk
Journal of Monetary Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Americans work more than Europeans. Using micro data from the United States and 17 European countries, we document that women are typically the largest contributors to the cross-country differences in work hours. We also show that there is a negative relation between taxes and annual hours worked, driven by men, and a positive relation between divorce rates and annual hours worked, driven by women. In a calibrated life-cycle model with heterogeneous agents, marriage and divorce, we find that the divorce and tax mechanisms together can explain 45% of the variation in labor supply between the United States and the European countries.

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The Impact of Unemployment Benefit Extensions on Employment: The 2014 Employment Miracle?

Marcus Hagedorn, Iourii Manovskii & Kurt Mitman
NBER Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
We measure the effect of unemployment benefit duration on employment. We exploit the variation induced by the decision of Congress in December 2013 not to reauthorize the unprecedented benefit extensions introduced during the Great Recession. Federal benefit extensions that ranged from 0 to 47 weeks across U.S. states at the beginning of December 2013 were abruptly cut to zero. To achieve identification we use the fact that this policy change was exogenous to cross-sectional differences across U.S. states and we exploit a policy discontinuity at state borders. We find that a 1% drop in benefit duration leads to a statistically significant increase of employment by 0.0161 log points. In levels, 1.8 million additional jobs were created in 2014 due to the benefit cut. Almost 1 million of these jobs were filled by workers from out of the labor force who would not have participated in the labor market had benefit extensions been reauthorized.

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Educational Expansion and Occupational Change: US Compulsory Schooling Laws and the Occupational Structure 1850–1930

Emily Rauscher
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
During the US Industrial Revolution, educational expansion may have created skilled jobs through innovation and skill upgrading or reduced skilled jobs by mechanizing production. Such arguments contradict classic sociological work that treats education as a sorting mechanism, allocating individuals to fixed occupations. I capitalize on state differences in the timing of compulsory school attendance laws to ask whether raising the minimum level of schooling: (1) increased school attendance rate; or (2) shifted state occupational distributions away from agricultural toward skilled and non-manual occupation categories. Using state-level panel data constructed from 1850–1930 censuses and state-year fixed effects models, I find that compulsory laws significantly increased school attendance rates, particularly among lower-class children, and shifted the categorical distribution toward skilled and non-manual occupations. Thus, rather than deskilling through mechanization, raising the minimum level of education seems to have created skilled jobs and raised the occupational distribution through skill-biased technological change. Results suggest that education was not merely a sorting mechanism, supporting the importance of education as an institution even around the turn of the century.

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Optimal Life Cycle Unemployment Insurance

Caludio Michelacci & Hernán Ruffo
American Economic Review, February 2015, Pages 816-859

Abstract:
We argue that US welfare would rise if unemployment insurance were increased for younger and decreased for older workers. This is because the young tend to lack the means to smooth consumption during unemployment and want jobs to accumulate high-return human capital. So unemployment insurance is most valuable to them, while moral hazard is mild. By calibrating a life cycle model with unemployment risk and endogenous search effort, we find that allowing unemployment replacement rates to decline with age yields sizeable welfare gains to US workers.

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What Explains the 2007–2009 Drop in Employment?

Atif Mian & Amir Sufi
Econometrica, November 2014, Pages 2197–2223

Abstract:
We show that deterioration in household balance sheets, or the housing net worth channel, played a significant role in the sharp decline in U.S. employment between 2007 and 2009. Counties with a larger decline in housing net worth experience a larger decline in non-tradable employment. This result is not driven by industry-specific supply-side shocks, exposure to the construction sector, policy-induced business uncertainty, or contemporaneous credit supply tightening. We find little evidence of labor market adjustment in response to the housing net worth shock. There is no significant expansion of the tradable sector in counties with the largest decline in housing net worth. Further, there is little evidence of wage adjustment within or emigration out of the hardest hit counties.

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The Effect of Unemployment Benefits on the Duration of Unemployment Insurance Receipt: New Evidence from a Regression Kink Design in Missouri, 2003-2013

David Card et al.
NBER Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
We provide new evidence on the effect of the unemployment insurance (UI) weekly benefit amount on unemployment insurance spells based on administrative data from the state of Missouri covering the period 2003-2013. Identification comes from a regression kink design that exploits the quasi-experimental variation around the kink in the UI benefit schedule. We find that UI durations are more responsive to benefit levels during the recession and its aftermath, with an elasticity between 0.65 and 0.9 as compared to about 0.35 pre-recession.

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The Effect of Population Aging on Economic Growth

Nicole Maestas, Kathleen Mullen & David Powell
RAND Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
Population aging is widely expected to have detrimental effects on aggregate economic growth. However, we have little empirical evidence about the actual existence or magnitude of such effects. In this paper, we exploit differential aging patterns at the state level in the United States between 1980 and 2010. Many states have already experienced high growth rates of the 60 population, comparable to the predicted national growth rate over the next several decades. Furthermore, these differential growth rates occur partially for reasons unrelated to economic growth, providing a natural approach to isolate the impact of aging on growth. We predict the magnitude of population aging at the state-level given the state’s age structure in an initial period and exploit this predictable differential growth to estimate the impact of population aging on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, and its constituent parts, labor force and productivity growth. We estimate that a 10% increase in the fraction of the population ages 60 decreases GDP per capita by 5.7%. We find that this reduction in economic growth caused by population aging is primarily due to a decrease in growth in the supply of labor. To a lesser extent, it is also due to a reduction in productivity growth. We present evidence of downward adjustment of earnings growth to reflect the reduction in productivity.

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Does Delay Cause Decay? The Effect of Administrative Decision Time on the Labor Force Participation and Earnings of Disability Applicants

David Autor et al.
NBER Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
This paper measures the causal effect of time out of the labor force on subsequent employment of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) applicants and distinguishes it from the discouragement effect of receiving disability benefits. Using a unique Social Security Administration workload database to identify exogenous variation in decision times induced by differences in processing speed among disability examiners to whom applicants are randomly assigned, we find that longer processing times reduce the employment and earnings of SSDI applicants for multiple years following application, with the effects concentrated among applicants awarded benefits during their initial application. A one standard deviation (2.1 month) increase in initial processing time reduces long-run “substantial gainful activity” rates by 0.36 percentage points (3.5%) and long-run annual earnings by $178 (5.1%). Because applicants initially denied benefits spend on average more than 15 additional months appealing their denials, previous estimates of the benefit receipt effect are confounded with the effect of delays on subsequent employment. Accounting separately for these channels, we find that the receipt effect is at least 50% larger than previously estimated. Combining the delay and benefits receipt channels reveals that the SSDI application process reduces subsequent employment of applicants on the margin of award by twice as much as prior literature suggests.

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Cohort Size and Youth Earnings: Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment

Louis-Philippe Morin
Labour Economics, January 2015, Pages 99–111

Abstract:
In this paper, I use data from the Canadian Labour Force Surveys (LFS), and the 2001 and 2006 Canadian Censuses to estimate the impact of an important labour supply shock on the earnings of young high-school graduates. The abolition of Ontario’s Grade 13 generated a very large cohort of high-school graduates that simultaneously entered the Ontario labour market, generating a sudden increase in the labour supply. This provides a rare occasion to measure the impact of cohort size on earnings without the supply shock being possibly confounded with unobserved trends — a recurring problem in the literature. The Census findings suggest that the effect of the supply shock is statistically and economically important, depressing weekly earnings by 5 to 9 percent. The findings from the Census are supported by the LFS results that suggest that the immediate impact of the supply shock — measured about six months after high-school graduation — is also important.

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The Skill Complementarity of Broadband Internet

Anders Akerman, Ingvil Gaarder & Magne Mogstad
NBER Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
Does adoption of broadband internet in firms enhance labor productivity and increase wages? And is this technological change skill biased or factor neutral? We exploit rich Norwegian data to answer these questions. A public program with limited funding rolled out broadband access points, and provides plausibly exogenous variation in the availability and adoption of broadband internet in firms. Our results suggest that broadband internet improves (worsens) the labor outcomes and productivity of skilled (unskilled) workers. We explore several possible explanations for the skill complementarity of broadband internet. We find suggestive evidence that broadband adoption in firms complements skilled workers in executing nonroutine abstract tasks, and substitutes for unskilled workers in performing routine tasks. Taken together, our findings have important implications for the ongoing policy debate over government investment in broadband infrastructure to encourage productivity and wage growth.

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Organizational Failure and Intraprofessional Status Loss

Christopher Rider & Giacomo Negro
Organization Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine variation in intraprofessional status changes for employees displaced by organizational failure. We propose that failure-related reductions in bargaining power are moderated by individual status characteristics that influence potential employers’ evaluations of job candidates and, therefore, individuals’ status loss risks. Treating a prominent law firm’s failure as a quasi-experiment, we test our arguments by analyzing 224 firm partners’ transitions to subsequent employers. Most partners regained employment at firms of lower status than the failed firm. But, independent of their demonstrated productivity, a partner’s likelihood of status loss increased with tenure in the failed firm’s partnership and decreased with educational prestige. These results suggest not only that organizational failure can diminish cumulative career advantages but also that status characteristics that enable attainment, such as education, can protect individuals against status loss.

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Minimum Wages and Gross Domestic Product

Joseph Sabia
Contemporary Economic Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study is the first to explore the relationship between minimum wage increases and state gross domestic product (GDP). Using data drawn from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the Current Population Survey (CPS) from 1979 to 2012, I find no evidence that minimum wage increases were associated with changes in overall state GDP. However, this null finding masks substantial heterogeneity in the productivity effects of minimum wages across industries and over the business cycle. Difference-in-difference-in-difference estimates suggest that a 10% increase in the minimum wage is associated with a short-run 1% to 2% decline in state GDP generated by lower-skilled industries relative to more highly skilled industries. This differential appears larger during troughs as compared to that during peaks of the state business cycle.

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Technology and Labor Regulations: Theory and Evidence

Alberto Alesina, Michele Battisti & Joseph Zeira
NBER Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
This paper shows that different labor market policies can lead to differences in technology across sectors in a model of labor saving technologies. Labor market regulations reduce the skill premium and as a result, if technologies are labor saving, countries with more stringent labor regulation, which are binding for low skilled workers, become less technologically advanced in their high-skilled sectors, and more technologically advanced in their low-skilled sectors. We then present data on capital output ratios, on estimated productivity levels and on patent creation, which support the predictions of our model.

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A Pareto-improving Minimum Wage

Eliav Danziger & Leif Danziger
Economica, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper shows that a graduated minimum wage, in contrast to a constant minimum wage, can provide a strict Pareto improvement over what can be achieved with an optimal income tax. The reason is that a graduated minimum wage requires high-productivity workers to work more to earn the same income as low-productivity workers, which makes it more difficult for the former to mimic the latter. In effect, a graduated minimum wage allows the low-productivity workers to benefit from second-degree price discrimination, which increases their income.

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The Employment Effects of Terminating Disability Benefits

Timothy Moore
George Washington University Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
Few Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) beneficiaries return to the labor force, making it hard to assess their likely employment in the absence of benefits. Using administrative data, I examine the employment of individuals who lost DI eligibility after the 1996 removal of drug and alcohol addictions as qualifying conditions. Approximately 22 percent started working at levels that would have disqualified them for DI, an employment response that is large relative to their work histories. Those who received DI for 2-3 years had the largest response, suggesting that a period of public assistance may maximize the employment of some disabled individuals.

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The bigger the worse? A comparative study of the welfare state and employment commitment

Kjetil van der Wel & Knut Halvorsen
Work, Employment & Society, February 2015, Pages 99-118

Abstract:
This article investigates how welfare generosity and active labour market policies relate to employment commitment. As social policy is increasingly directed towards stimulating employment in broader sections of society, this article particularly studies employment commitment among groups with traditionally weaker bonds to the labour market. This is also theoretically interesting because the employment commitment in these groups may be more affected by the welfare context than is the employment commitment of the core work force. A welfare scepticism view predicts that disincentive effects and norm erosion will lead to lower employment commitment in more generous and activating welfare states, while a welfare resources perspective holds the opposite view. Using multilevel data for individuals in 18 European countries, the article finds increasing employment commitment as social spending gets more generous and activating. This was also evident for weaker groups in the labour market, although the effect was less pronounced in some groups.

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Increased longevity and social security reform: Questioning the optimality of individual accounts when education matters

Gilles Le Garrec
Journal of Population Economics, April 2015, Pages 329-352

Abstract:
In many European countries, population aging had led to debate about a switch from conventional unfunded public pension systems to notional systems characterized by individual accounts. In this article, we develop an overlapping generations model in which endogenous growth is based on an accumulation of knowledge driven by the proportion of skilled workers and by the time they have spent in training. In such a framework, we show that conventional pension systems, contrary to notional systems, can enhance economic growth by linking benefits only to the partial earnings history. Thus, to ensure economic growth, the optimal adjustment to increased longevity could consist in increasing the size of existing retirement systems rather than switching to notional systems.

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The Effects of Youth Employment: Evidence from New York City Summer Youth Employment Program Lotteries

Alexander Gelber, Adam Isen & Judd Kessler
NBER Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
Programs to encourage labor market activity among youth, including public employment programs and wage subsidies like the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, can be supported by three broad rationales. They may: (1) provide contemporaneous income support to participants; (2) encourage work experience that improves future employment and/or educational outcomes of participants; and/or (3) keep participants “out of trouble.” We study randomized lotteries for access to New York City's Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), the largest summer youth employment program in the U.S., by merging SYEP administrative data on 294,580 lottery participants to IRS data on the universe of U.S. tax records and to New York State administrative incarceration data. In assessing the three rationales, we find that: (1) SYEP participation causes average earnings and the probability of employment to increase in the year of program participation, with modest contemporaneous crowdout of other earnings and employment; (2) SYEP participation causes a moderate decrease in average earnings for three years following the program and has no impact on college enrollment; and (3) SYEP participation decreases the probability of incarceration and decreases the probability of mortality, which has important and potentially pivotal implications for analyzing the net benefits of the program.

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Low IQ has become less important as a risk factor for early disability pension: A longitudinal population-based study across two decades among Swedish men

Nina Karnehed, Finn Rasmussen & Karin Modig
Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, forthcoming

Background: Low IQ has been shown to be an important risk factor for disability pension (DP) but whether the importance has changed over time remains unclear. It can be hypothesised that IQ has become more important for DP over time in parallel with a more demanding working life. The aim of this study was to investigate the relative risk of low IQ on the risk of DP before age 30 between 1971 and 2006.

Methods: This study covered the entire Swedish male population born between 1951 and 1976, eligible for military conscription. Information about the study subjects was obtained by linkage of national registers. Associations between IQ and DP over time were analysed by descriptive measures (mean values, proportions, etc) and by Cox proportional hazards regressions. Analyses were adjusted for educational level.

Results: The cohort consisted of 1 229 346 men. The proportion that received DP before the age of 30 increased over time, from 0.68% in the cohort born between 1951 and 1955 to 0.95% in the cohort born between 1971 and 1976. The relative risk of low IQ (adjusted for education) in relation to high IQ decreased from 5.68 (95% CI 4.71 to 6.85) in the cohort born between 1951 and 1955 to 2.62 (95% CI 2.25 to 3.05) in the cohort born between 1971 and 1976.

Conclusions: Our results gave no support to the idea that the importance of low IQ for the risk of DP has increased in parallel with increasing demands in working life. In fact, low IQ has become less important as a risk factor for DP compared with high IQ between the early 1970s and 1990s. An increased educational level over the same time period is likely to be part of the explanation.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Lean on me

Reducing Social Stress Elicits Emotional Contagion of Pain in Mouse and Human Strangers

Loren Martin et al.
Current Biology, 2 February 2015, Pages 326–332

Abstract:
Empathy for another’s physical pain has been demonstrated in humans and mice; in both species, empathy is stronger between familiars. Stress levels in stranger dyads are higher than in cagemate dyads or isolated mice, suggesting that stress might be responsible for the absence of empathy for the pain of strangers. We show here that blockade of glucocorticoid synthesis or receptors for adrenal stress hormones elicits the expression of emotional contagion (a form of empathy) in strangers of both species. Mice and undergraduates were tested for sensitivity to noxious stimulation alone and/or together (dyads). In familiar, but not stranger, pairs, dyadic testing was associated with increased pain behaviors or ratings compared to isolated testing. Pharmacological blockade of glucocorticoid synthesis or glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid receptors enabled the expression of emotional contagion of pain in mouse and human stranger dyads, as did a shared gaming experience (the video game Rock Band) in human strangers. Our results demonstrate that emotional contagion is prevented, in an evolutionarily conserved manner, by the stress of a social interaction with an unfamiliar conspecific and can be evoked by blocking the endocrine stress response.

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The ease and extent of recursive mindreading, across implicit and explicit tasks

C. O’Grady et al.
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recursive mindreading is the ability to embed mental representations inside other mental representations e.g. to hold beliefs about beliefs about beliefs. An advanced ability to entertain recursively embedded mental states is consistent with evolutionary perspectives that emphasise the importance of sociality and social cognition in human evolution: high levels of recursive mindreading are argued to be involved in several distinctive human behaviours and institutions, such as communication, religion, and story-telling. However, despite a wealth of research on first-level mindreading under the term Theory of Mind, the human ability for recursive mindreading is relatively understudied, and existing research on the topic has significant methodological flaws. Here we show experimentally that human recursive mindreading abilities are far more advanced than has previously been shown. Specifically, we show that humans are able to mindread to at least seven levels of embedding, both explicitly, through linguistic description, and implicitly, through observing social interactions. However, our data suggest that mindreading may be easier when stimuli are presented implicitly rather than explicitly. We argue that advanced mindreading abilities are to be expected in an extremely social species such as our own, where the ability to reason about others’ mental states is an essential, ubiquitous and adaptive component of everyday life.

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Friends First? The Peer Network Origins of Adolescent Dating

Derek Kreager et al.
Journal of Research on Adolescence, forthcoming

Abstract:
The proximity of dating partners in peer friendship networks has important implications for the diffusion of health-risk behaviors and adolescent social development. We derive two competing hypotheses for the friendship–romance association. The first predicts that daters are proximally positioned in friendship networks prior to dating and that opposite-gender friends are likely to transition to dating. The second predicts that dating typically crosses group boundaries and opposite-gender friends are unlikely to later date. We test these hypotheses with longitudinal friendship data for 626 ninth-grade PROSPER heterosexual dating couples. Results primarily support the second hypothesis: Romantic partners are unlikely to be friends in the previous year or share the same cohesive subgroup, and opposite-gender friends are unlikely to transition to dating.

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Can’t Buy Me Friendship? Peer Rejection and Adolescent Materialism: Implicit Self-esteem as a Mediator

Jiang Jiang et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, May 2015, Pages 48–55

Abstract:
Peer rejection is closely connected to adolescent materialism, and self-esteem is a mediator of this relationship. However, most previous studies have revealed only a correlational link between peer rejection and adolescent materialism, and have emphasized explicit self-esteem but not implicit self-esteem. We conducted three studies to address this weakness. Study 1a and Study 1b verified the causal connection between peer rejection and adolescent materialism by showing that participants who recalled experiences of being rejected by peers reported higher levels of materialism than those who recalled acceptance experiences. In Study 2, participants who were rejected by peers demonstrated lower implicit self-esteem and higher materialism levels than those who were not. This study also found that implicit self-esteem mediated the relationship between peer rejection and adolescent materialism. In Study 3, after experiencing peer rejection, priming high implicit self-esteem induced a decline in the participants’ materialism levels, which further validated the mediating role of implicit self-esteem. Overall, these findings suggest that peer rejection boosts adolescent materialism by lowering implicit self-esteem and that materialism is a way to compensate for impaired implicit self-esteem.

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Locus of Control and Peer Relationships Among Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian, and African American Adolescents

Hannah Soo Kang et al.
Journal of Youth and Adolescence, January 2015, Pages 184-194

Abstract:
Past research has shown that locus of control plays an important role in a wide range of behaviors, such as academic achievement and positive social behaviors. However, little is known about whether locus of control plays the same role in minority adolescents’ peer relationships. The current study examined ethnic differences in the associations between locus of control and peer relationships in early adolescence using samples from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS-K: 5,612 Caucasian, 1,562 Hispanic, 507 Asian, and 908 African-American adolescents) and the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS: 8,484 Caucasian, 1,604 Hispanic, and 860 Asian, and 1,228 African American adolescents). Gender was approximately evenly split in both samples. The results from the two datasets were highly consistent. Significant interactions between ethnicity and locus of control indicated that having a more internal locus of control was particularly important for Caucasian students’ peer relationships (ECLS-K) and social status (NELS), but less so for Asian, Hispanic, and African American students. Our findings suggest that the role of locus of control in peer relationship is contingent upon culture.

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The relation between memories of childhood psychological maltreatment and Machiavellianism

András Láng & Kata Lénárd
Personality and Individual Differences, April 2015, Pages 81–85

Abstract:
Machiavellianism is a hot topic in several branches of psychology. Using Life-History Theory several studies identified Machiavellianism as a fast life strategy. According to this idea, Machiavellianism should be related to childhood adversities. Using a sample of adults we investigated the relationship between Machiavellianism and self-reported memories of childhood psychological maltreatment. Participants (247 individuals, 141 female, 32.38 ± 5.43 years of age on average) completed the Mach-IV Scale and the Childhood Abuse and Trauma Scale. Results showed a relationship between neglect and Machiavellianism in general, Machiavellian tactics, and Machiavellian world view. There was also a marginally significant link between punishment and Machiavellian tactics. Results are discussed from a moral developmental perspective and through the alexithymia hypothesis of Machiavellianism.

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Social network diversity and white matter microstructural integrity in humans

Tara Molesworth et al.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Diverse aspects of physical, affective, and cognitive health relate to social integration, reflecting engagement in social activities and identification with diverse roles within a social network. However, the mechanisms by which social integration interacts with the brain are unclear. In healthy adults (N=155) we tested the links between social integration and measures of white matter microstructure using diffusion tensor imaging. Across the brain, there was a predominantly positive association between a measure of white matter integrity, fractional anisotropy (FA), and social network diversity. This association was particularly strong in a region near the anterior corpus callosum and driven by a negative association with the radial component of the diffusion signal. This callosal region contained projections between bilateral prefrontal cortices, as well as cingulum and corticostriatal pathways. FA within this region was weakly associated with circulating levels of the inflammatory cytokine IL-6, but IL-6 did not mediate the social network and FA relationship. Finally, variation in FA indirectly mediated the relationship between social network diversity and intrinsic functional connectivity of medial corticostriatal pathways. These findings suggest that social integration relates to myelin integrity in humans, which may help explain the diverse aspects of health affected by social networks.

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School mobility and school-age children’s social adjustment

Veronique Dupere et al.
Developmental Psychology, February 2015, Pages 197-210

Abstract:
This study explored how nonpromotional school changes, a potentially major event for children, were associated with 3 forms of social maladjustment: isolation/withdrawal, affiliation with maladjusted peers, and aggression toward peers. Given that school mobility frequently co-occurs with family transitions, the moderating role of these transitions was investigated. These issues were examined in 2 longitudinal samples of U.S. (N = 1,364) and Canadian (N = 1,447) elementary school children. Propensity weighted analyses controlling for premobility individual, family, and friends’ characteristics indicated that children who experienced both school and family transitions were at risk of either social withdrawal (in the Canadian sample) or affiliation with socially maladjusted peers (in the U.S. sample). These findings suggest the importance of considering both the social consequences of school mobility and the context in which such mobility occurs.

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Quality of Social Experience Explains the Relation Between Extraversion and Positive Affect

Luke Smillie et al.
Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
The personality trait extraversion is associated with higher positive affect, and individuals who behave in an extraverted way experience increased positive affect. Across 2 studies, we examine whether the positive affectivity of extraverts can be explained in terms of qualitative aspects of social experience resulting from extraverted (i.e., bold, assertive) behavior. In our first study (N = 225, 58% female), we found that social well-being, a broad measure of quality of social life (Keyes, 1998) was a significant mediator of the relation between trait extraversion and trait positive affect. This effect was specific to 1 aspect of social well-being — social contribution, one’s sense of making an impact on one’s social world. In our second study (N = 81, 75% female), we found that a momentary assessment of social well-being mediated the effect of experimentally manipulated extraverted behavior (in the context of 2 brief discussion tasks) on state positive affect. Furthermore, perceived contribution to the discussion tasks accounted for up to 70% of the effect of enacted extraversion on positive affect. This is the first identified mediator of the effect of enacted extraversion on positive affect. Implications and suggestions for extensions of this research are discussed.

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Network Extraversion Bias: People May Not Be as Outgoing as You Think (Unless You're an Introvert)

Daniel Feiler & Adam Kleinbaum
Dartmouth College Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
Using the emergent friendship network of an incoming cohort of MBA students, we examined the role of extraversion in shaping social networks. Extraversion has two important implications for the emergence of network ties: a popularity effect, in which extraverts accumulate more friends than introverts, and a homophily effect, in which two individuals are more likely to become friends if they have similar levels of extraversion. These effects result in a systematic network extraversion bias, in which people’s social networks will tend to be overpopulated with extraverts and underpopulated with introverts. Further, network extraversion bias is greatest for the most extraverted individuals and least for more introverted individuals. Our finding that social networks are systematically misrepresentative of the broader social environment raises questions about whether there is a societal bias toward believing others are more extraverted than they actually are and whether introverts are better socially calibrated than extraverts.

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Distress of ostracism: Oxytocin receptor gene polymorphism confers sensitivity to social exclusion

Robyn McQuaid et al.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
A single-nucleotide polymorphism on the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR), rs53576, involving a guanine (G) to adenine (A) substitution has been associated with altered prosocial features. Specifically, individuals with the GG genotype (i.e. the absence of the polymorphism) display beneficial traits including enhanced trust, empathy and self-esteem. However, because G carriers might also be more socially sensitive, this may render them more vulnerable to the adverse effects of a negative social stressor. The current investigation, conducted among 128 white female undergraduate students, demonstrated that relative to individuals with AA genotype, G carriers were more emotionally sensitive (lower self-esteem) in response to social ostracism promoted through an on-line ball tossing game (Cyberball). Furthermore, GG individuals also exhibited altered blood pressure and cortisol levels following rejection, effects not apparent among A carriers. The data support the view that the presence of the G allele not only promotes prosocial behaviors but also favors sensitivity to a negative social stressor.

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Disadvantaged Minorities’ Use of the Internet to Expand Their Social Networks

Amy Gonzales
Communication Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
An essential argument of the social diversification hypothesis is that disadvantaged groups use the Internet rather than face-to-face communication to broaden social networks, whereas advantaged groups use the Internet to reinforce existing network ties. Previous research in this area has not accounted for both online and off-line communication, has only been examined with cross-sectional data, and has primarily been studied in Israel. To address these gaps with a U.S. data set, 2,669 conversations were analyzed over 6-day periods using ecological momentary assessment (EMA). Indeed, unlike participants from racially or educationally advantaged groups, participants who were from a racially marginalized group or lacked college training were more likely to broaden social networks online rather than face-to-face with interracial and weak tie exchanges. This proof of concept of social diversification theory across cultures is the first to use real-time, within-person measures of both race and tie strength.

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When social media isn’t social: Friends’ responsiveness to narcissists on Facebook

Mina Choi et al.
Personality and Individual Differences, April 2015, Pages 209–214

Abstract:
Narcissists are characterized by a desire to show off and to obtain external validation from others. Research has shown that narcissists are particularly attracted to Facebook, because it allows them to self-promote. But do they receive the attention they crave on Facebook? This study examined Friends’ responsiveness (operationalized as number of comments and “likes”) to Facebook users’ status updates, as a function of the latter’s narcissism. Undergraduates (N = 155) filled out a narcissism scale and offered us access to their profiles, from which we extracted indicators of Friends’ responsiveness. Results show that individuals high in narcissism were less likely to receive comments and “likes” in response to their status updates than individuals low in narcissism. This effect was driven by exploitativeness and entitlement, two components of narcissism. The findings extend understanding of narcissists’ social interactions, an understudied topic, and elucidate some of the psychological factors that drive Facebook interaction.

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Oxytocin improves mentalizing – Pronounced effects for individuals with attenuated ability to empathize

Melanie Feeser et al.
Psychoneuroendocrinology, March 2015, Pages 223–232

Abstract:
The ability to predict the behavior of others based on their mental states is crucial for social functioning. Previous studies have provided evidence for the role of Oxytocin (OXT) in enhancing the ability to mentalize. It has also been demonstrated that the effect of OXT seems to strongly depend on socio-cognitive skills with more pronounced effects in individuals with lower socio-cognitive skills. Although recent studies indicate that mentalizing is related to empathy, no study has yet examined whether the effects of OXT on mentalizing depend on the ability to empathize. 71 male participants participated in a double-blind, between-subjects, placebo-controlled experiment. The Reading the Mind in the Eye Test (RMET) was used to investigate mentalizing abilities. We analyzed the effect of OXT on easy and difficult items of the RMET depending on differential empathy scores of the participants as assessed with the Empathy Quotient (EQ). Our results showed that OXT improves mentalizing for difficult but not for easy items. We generally observed increased mentalizing accuracy in participants with higher empathy scores. Importantly, however, whereas the performance in participants with higher empathy scores was comparable in both OXT and placebo condition, OXT specifically enhanced mentalizing accuracy in participants with lower empathy scores. Our findings suggest that OXT enhances mentalizing abilities. However, we also demonstrate that not all participants benefited from OXT application. It seems that the effects of OXT strongly depend on baseline social-cognitive skills such as empathy.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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