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Monday, October 14, 2013

Cargo hold

Trade, Foreign Direct Investment and Immigration Policy Making in the US

Margaret Peters
International Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper argues that immigration policy formation in the US after 1950 can only be understood in the context of the increasing integration of world markets. Increasing trade openness has exposed firms that rely on immigrant labor to foreign competition and increased the likelihood that these firms fail. Increasing openness by other states to foreign direct investment allowed these same firms to move production overseas. Firms' choice to close their doors or to move overseas decreases their need for labor at home, leading them to spend their political capital on issues other than immigration. Their lack of support for open immigration, in turn, allows policymakers to restrict immigration. An examination of voting behavior on immigration in the US Senate shows that the integration of world capital and goods markets has had an important effect on the politics of immigration in the US and shows little support for existing theories of immigration policy formation. In addition to increasing our understanding of immigration policy, this paper, thus, sheds light on how trade openness and firms' choice of production location can affect their preference for other foreign economic policies as well as domestic policies such as labor, welfare and environmental policies.

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Racial Diversity and American Support for Trade Protection

Alexandra Guisinger
University of Notre Dame Working Paper, August 2013

Abstract:
Why does trade protection remain so popular among so many Americans? While support has decreased for most forms of government-supported income transfers and for government regulations in general, trade protection retains wide-spread support across the political spectrum. I argue that for many, trade protection serves as an alternative to transfer programs like Welfare which have become racialized in public discourse. Individuals tend to support some level of redistribution, but this preference appears to be highly conditional on community characteristics, with support falling as community diversity increases. Trade protection, as a non-income based redistribution mechanism, turns the relationship on its head. Trade protection is supported because it aids “the deserving workers” rather than the “undeserving” poor, who are commonly perceived as primarily drawn from minority groups. As a result, support for redistribution via trade protection increases with community diversity, in contrast to support for race and income based redistribution policies. Using individual survey responses from three decades of the American National Election Study (ANES), I analyze support for three types of transfer programs “Welfare”, “Social Security”, and “limits on imports” and find evidence that validates the contention that racial diversity contributes to the continued support of trade protection. Support for trade protection is highest in communities with higher levels of racial diversity; while support for Welfare is lowest in these communities. This finding on trade protection offers an important caveat to the more general literature linking increased diversity with lower support for public goods, adds an additional component to models of individual trade policy preference formation, and help explains the cross-partisan nature of support for trade protection.

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Task Routineness and Trade Policy Preferences

Bruce Blonigen & Jacob McGrew
NBER Working Paper, September 2013

Abstract:
Understanding the formation of individual trade policy preferences is a fundamental input into the modeling of trade policy outcomes. Surprisingly, past studies have found mixed evidence that various labor market and industry attributes of workers affect their trade policy preferences, even though recent studies have found that trade policy can have substantial impacts on workers’ incomes. This paper provides the first analysis of the extent to which task routineness affects trade policy preferences using survey data from the American National Election Studies (ANES). We find substantial evidence that greater task routineness leads workers to be much more supportive of import restrictions, consistent with recent evidence on how trade openness puts downward pressure on employment and wages for workers whose occupations involve routine tasks. In fact, other than education levels, task routineness is the only labor market attribute that displays a robust correlation with individuals’ stated trade policy preferences. We also provide evidence that there are some significant interactions between the economic and non-economic factors in our study. For example, women’s trade policy views are much more invariant to their labor market attributes than men.

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Import Competition and Skill Content in U.S. Manufacturing Industries

Yi Lu & Travis Ng
Review of Economics and Statistics, October 2013, Pages 1404-1417

Abstract:
Skill content varies enormously across industries and over time. This paper shows that import competition can explain a significant portion of the variation in various skill measures across manufacturing industries. Industries that face more intense import competition employ more nonroutine skill sets, including cognitive, interpersonal, and manual skills, and fewer cognitive routine skills. In addition, we find that the impact of import competition on skills is not driven by imports from low-wage countries or from China. A number of robustness checks also suggest that our results are unlikely to be driven by econometric problems.

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Easier Done Than Said: Transnational Bribery, Norm Resonance, and the Origins of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

Ellen Gutterman
Foreign Policy Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
The US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (FCPA) is having an unprecedented moment. In 2010, corporations paid $1.8 billion in FCPA fines, penalties, and disgorgements — the most ever recorded in this controversial Act's history and half of all criminal-division penalties at the Justice Department. While this recent pattern of enforcement is itself interesting, a deeper puzzle lies in the origins and early trajectory of the FCPA. Throughout the late 1970s and most of the 1980s, major US business groups opposed its unilateral ban on transnational bribery and lobbied the government to repeal this costly constraint on American businesses operating overseas. Yet, despite a decade of pressure from otherwise powerful groups, the government failed to respond to business demands amidst strategic trade concerns about the FCPA. Why? The paper applies a Constructivist lens, together with concepts from the theory of legal reasoning, to analyze the early history of the FCPA and explain its continued significance in US foreign economic policy. Anti-corruption norm resonance and the pressure publicly to justify norm-transgressing practices made foreign corrupt practices by American businesses “easier done than said.”

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Using Field Experiments in International Relations: A Randomized Study of Anonymous Incorporation

Michael Findley, Daniel Nielson & J.C. Sharman
International Organization, October 2013, Pages 657-693

"After receiving clearance from our university’s institutional review board, we adopted email aliases, posed as international consultants, and requested confidential incorporation from 1,264 corporate service providers in 182 countries...First, there is a substantial level of non-compliance with the international standards mandating that providers obtain certified ID from beneficial owners when forming shell companies...Second, service providers are no more likely to comply with international rules when they are prompted about the existence and content of the rules...Third, service providers are most sensitive to the combination of information about international standards and mention of legal penalties for not following these standards...Although it depressed response rates (as might be expected), it also made providers less, not more, likely to either refuse service or demand certified documents (depending on the specification of the statistical analysis) compared to the placebo condition. This finding is at odds with the idea that sanctions enhance compliance."

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US versus Them: Mass Attitudes toward Offshore Outsourcing

Edward Mansfield & Diana Mutz
World Politics, October 2013, Pages 571-608

Abstract:
Economists have argued that outsourcing is another form of international trade. However, based on a representative national survey of Americans conducted in 2007 and 2009, the distribution of preferences on these two issues appears to be quite different. This article examines the origins of attitudes toward outsourcing, focusing on the extent to which it reflects (1) the economic vulnerabilities of individuals; (2) the information they receive about outsourcing, including their subjective understanding of what constitutes outsourcing; and (3) noneconomic attitudes toward foreign people and foreign countries. The findings emphasize the importance of variations in understandings of the term, as well as the highly symbolic nature of attitudes toward this issue. Individuals who believe the US should distance itself from international affairs more generally, who are nationalistic, or who feel that members of other ethnic and racial groups within the US are less praiseworthy than their own group tend to have particularly hostile reactions to outsourcing. The informational cues people receive are also important influences on their understanding of and attitudes toward outsourcing. Experimental results further emphasize the symbolic nature of attitudes toward outsourcing. Taken together, the results strongly suggest that attitudes are shaped less by the economic consequences of outsourcing than by a sense of “us” versus “them.”

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A race to the bottom? Employment protection and foreign direct investment

William Olney
Journal of International Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
A common critique of globalization is that it leads to a race to the bottom. Specifically, it is assumed that multinationals invest in countries with lower regulatory standards and that countries competitively undercut each other’s standards in order to attract foreign capital. This paper tests this hypothesis and finds robust empirical support for both predictions. First, a reduction in employment protection rules leads to an increase in foreign direct investment (FDI). Furthermore, changes in employment protection legislation have a larger impact on the relatively mobile types of FDI. Second, there is evidence that countries are competitively undercutting each other’s labor market standards.

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International trade and wage inequality: A non-monotonic relationship

Dan Liu
Economics Letters, November 2013, Pages 244–246

Abstract:
In this paper, I empirically examine the non-monotonic relationship between openness and within-group wage inequality predicted by Helpman, Itskhoki and Redding (2010a) using a panel data for the US, 1983–2005. Within-group wage inequality is measured for each industry and matched with exports. It can be shown that after controlling for year fixed effects, industry fixed effects and labor compositions, within-group wage inequality first increases with the degree of openness and then decreases. The average turning point, measured by the ratio of exports to domestic sales, is around 0.3–0.35. The results are robust to various measures of within-group wage inequality.

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Policy Uncertainty, Trade and Welfare: Theory and Evidence for China and the U.S.

Kyle Handley & Nuno Limão
NBER Working Paper, August 2013

Abstract:
We assess the impact of U.S. trade policy uncertainty (TPU) toward China in a tractable general equilibrium framework with heterogeneous firms. We show that increased TPU reduces investment in export entry and technology upgrading, which in turn reduces trade flows and real income for consumers. We apply the model to analyze China's export boom around its WTO accession and argue that in the case of the U.S. the most important policy effect was a reduction in TPU: granting permanent normal trade relationship status and thus ending the annual threat to revert to Smoot-Hawley tariff levels. We construct a theory-consistent measure of TPU and estimate that it can explain between 22-30% of Chinese exports to the US after WTO accession. We also estimate a welfare gain of removing this TPU for U.S. consumers and find it is of similar magnitude to the U.S. gain from new imported varieties in 1990-2001.

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Stressful Integration

Oded Stark
European Economic Review, October 2013, Pages 1–9

Abstract:
This paper considers the integration of economies as a merger of populations. The premise is that the merger of groups of people alters their social landscape and their comparators. The paper identifies the effect of the merger on aggregate distress. A merger is shown to increase aggregate distress, measured as aggregate relative deprivation: the social distress of a merged population is greater than the sum of the social distress of the constituent populations when apart. Physiological evidence from neighboring disciplines points to an increase in societal stress upon merger.

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The effect of WTO on the extensive and the intensive margins of trade

Pushan Dutt, Ilian Mihov & Timothy Van Zandt
Journal of International Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We use 6-digit bilateral trade data to document the effect of WTO/GATT membership on the extensive and intensive product margins of trade. We construct gravity equations for the two product margins where the specifications of these gravity equations aremotivated by a Melitz-Chaney model. The empirical results show that standard gravity variables provide good explanatory power for bilateral trade on both margins. Importantly, we show that the impact of the WTO is concentrated almost exclusively on the extensive product margin of trade, i.e. trade in goods that were not previously traded. In our preferred specification, WTO membership increases the extensive margin of exports by 25%. At the same time, WTO membership has a negative impact on the intensive margin. Our results suggest that WTO membership works as reducing the fixed rather than the variable costs of trade.

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Who governs? Delegations and delegates in global trade lawmaking

Terence Halliday, Josh Pacewicz & Susan Block-Lieb
Regulation & Governance, September 2013, Pages 279–298

Abstract:
Who governs in the international organizations (IOs) that promulgate global norms on trade and commercial law? Using a new analytic approach, this paper focuses on previously invisible attributes of a global legislature – the state and non-state delegations and delegates that create universal norms for international trade and commercial law through the most prominent trade law legislature, the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). Based on ten years of fieldwork, extensive interviews, and unique data on delegation and delegate attendance and participation in UNCITRAL's Working Group on Insolvency, we find that the inner core of global trade lawmakers at UNCITRAL represent a tiny and unrepresentative subset of state and non-state actors. This disjunction between UNCITRAL's public face, which accords with a global norm of democratic governance, and its private face, where dominant states and private interests prevail, raises fundamental questions about legitimacy and efficacy of representation in global lawmaking.

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Opening to the East: Shipping Between Europe and Asia, 1770–1830

Peter Solar
Journal of Economic History, September 2013, Pages 625-661

Abstract:
Shipping costs between Europe and Asia were reduced by two-thirds between the 1770s and the 1820s. Copper sheathing and other technical improvements which allowed ships to make more frequent voyages over longer lifetimes accounted for part of the cost reduction. British hegemony in the Indian Ocean, which ended an eighteenth-century arms race, accounted for the rest by allowing the substitution of smaller ships which cost less to build and required fewer men per ton. These changes were at least as important as the elimination of monopoly profits in narrowing intercontinental price differentials during the early nineteenth century.

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The Political Economy of Project Preparation: An Empirical Analysis of World Bank Projects

Christopher Kilby
Journal of Development Economics, November 2013, Pages 211–225

Abstract:
Using a novel application of stochastic frontier analysis to overcome data limitations, this paper finds substantially shorter project preparation periods for World Bank loans to countries that are geopolitically important (especially to the U.S.). Accelerated preparation is one explanation for how the World Bank might increase the number of loans to a recipient member country within a fixed time frame, for example in response to that country siding with powerful donor countries on important UN votes or while that country occupies an elected seat on the UN Security Council or the World Bank Executive Board. This channel of donor influence has important implications for institutional reform and provides a new angle to examine the cost of favoritism and the impact of project preparation.

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The Effects of Transactions Costs and Social Distance: Evidence from a Field Experiment

Jonathan Meer & Oren Rigbi
B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, July 2013, Pages 271–296

Abstract:
We use data from a field experiment at Kiva, the online microfinance platform, to examine the role of transactions costs and social distance in decision-making. Requests for loans are either written in English or another language, and our treatment consists of posting requests in the latter category with or without translation. We find evidence that relatively small transactions costs have a large effect on the share of funding coming from speakers of languages other than that in which the request was written. Social distance plays a smaller role in funding decisions.

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Genetic distance, transportation costs, and trade

Paola Giuliano, Antonio Spilimbergo & Giovanni Tonon
Journal of Economic Geography, forthcoming

Abstract:
Genetic distance, geographic proximity, and economic variables are strongly correlated. Disentangling the effects of these factors is crucial for interpreting these correlations. We show that geographic factors that shaped genetic patterns in the past are also relevant for current transportation costs and could explain the correlation between trading flows and genetic distance. After controlling for geography, the impact of genetic distance on trade disappears. We make our point by constructing a database on geographical barriers, by introducing a novel dataset on transportation costs, and by proposing a new classification of goods according to the ease with which they can be transported.

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International aid and financial crises in donor countries

Hai-Anh Dang, Stephen Knack & Halsey Rogers
European Journal of Political Economy, December 2013, Pages 232–250

Abstract:
The recent global financial crisis placed new economic and fiscal pressures on donor countries that may have long-term effects on their ability and willingness to provide aid. Not only did donor-country incomes fall, but the cause of the drop – the banking and financial-sector crisis – may exacerbate the long-term effect on aid flows. This paper estimates how donor-country banking crises have affected aid flows in the past, using panel data from 24 donor countries between 1977 and 2010. We find that banking crises in donor countries are associated with a substantial additional fall in aid flows, beyond any income-related effects, at least in part because of the high fiscal costs of crisis and the debt hangover in the post-crisis periods. Aid flows from crisis-affected countries are estimated to fall by 28 percent or more (relative to the counterfactual) and to bottom out only about a decade after the banking crisis hits. In addition, our results confirm that donor-country incomes are robustly related to per-capita aid flows, with an elasticity of about 3. Findings are robust to estimation using either static or dynamic panel data methods to account for possible biases. Because many donor countries, which together provide two-thirds of aid, were hit hard by the global recession, this historical evidence indicates that aggregate aid could fall by a significant amount (again, relative to counterfactual) in the coming years. We also explore how crises affect different types of aid, such as social-sector and humanitarian aid, as well as whether strategic interaction among donors is likely to deepen or mitigate the fall in aid.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Down under

Income inequality among American states and the incidence of major depression

Roman Pabayo, Ichiro Kawachi & Stephen Gilman
Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, forthcoming

Background: Although cross-sectional and ecological studies have shown that higher area-level income inequality is related to increased risk for depression, few longitudinal studies have been conducted. This investigation examines the relationship between state-level income inequality and major depression among adults participating in a population-based, representative longitudinal study.

Methods: We used data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (n=34 653). Respondents completed structured diagnostic interviews at baseline (2001–2002) and follow-up (2004–2005). Weighted multilevel modelling was used to determine if US state-level income inequality (measured by the Gini coefficient) was a significant predictor of depression at baseline and at follow-up, while controlling for individual-level and state-level covariates. We also repeated the longitudinal analyses, excluding those who had a history of depression or at baseline, in order to test whether income inequality was related to incident depression.

Results: State-level inequality was associated with increased incidence of depression among women but not men. In comparison to women residing in states belonging to the lowest quintile of income inequality, women were at increased risk for depression in the second (OR=1.18, 95% CI 0.86 to 1.62), third (OR=1.22, 95% CI 0.91 to 1.62), fourth (OR=1.37, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.82) and fifth (OR=1.50, 95% CI 1.14 to 1.96) quintiles at follow-up (p<0.05 for the linear trend).

Conclusions: Living in a state with higher income inequality increases the risk for the development of depression among women.

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Recession Depression: Mental Health Effects of the 2008 Stock Market Crash

Melissa McInerney, Jennifer Mellor & Lauren Hersch Nicholas
Journal of Health Economics, December 2013, Pages 1090–1104

Abstract:
Do sudden, large wealth losses affect mental health? We use exogenous variation in the interview dates of the 2008 Health and Retirement Study to assess the impact of large wealth losses on mental health among older U.S. adults. We compare cross-wave changes in wealth and mental health for respondents interviewed before and after the October 2008 stock market crash. We find that the crash reduced wealth and increased feelings of depression and use of antidepressant drugs, and that these effects were largest among respondents with high levels of stock holdings prior to the crash. These results suggest that sudden wealth losses cause immediate declines in subjective measures of mental health. However, we find no evidence that wealth losses lead to increases in clinically-validated measures of depressive symptoms or indicators of depression.

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Financial distress and use of mental health care: Evidence from antidepressant prescription claims

Haizhen Lin et al.
Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using nationwide county-level longitudinal data, we show that recent declines in housing prices are associated with an increased utilization of antidepressant prescriptions among the near elderly. Our results persist in difference-in-difference models using either all non-antidepressant drugs or statins as controls.

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The Effect of Depression on Labor Market Outcomes

Lizhong Peng, Chad Meyerhoefer & Samuel Zuvekas
NBER Working Paper, September 2013

Abstract:
We estimated the effect of depression on labor market outcomes using data from the 2004-2009 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. After accounting for the endogeneity of depression through a correlated random effects panel data specification, we found that depression reduces the likelihood of employment. We did not, however, find evidence of a causal relationship between depression and hourly wages or weekly hours worked. Our estimates are substantially smaller than those from previous studies, and imply that depression reduces the probability of employment by 2.6 percentage points. In addition, we examined the effect of depression on work impairment and found that depression increases annual work loss days by about 1.4 days (33 percent), which implies that the annual aggregate productivity loses due to depression-induced absenteeism range from $700 million to 1.4 billion in 2009 USD.

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Association of Hormonal Contraceptive Use With Reduced Levels of Depressive Symptoms: A National Study of Sexually Active Women in the United States

Katherine Keyes et al.
American Journal of Epidemiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
An estimated 80% of sexually active young women in the United States use hormonal contraceptives during their reproductive years. Associations between hormonal contraceptive use and mood disturbances remain understudied, despite the hypothesis that estrogen and progesterone play a role in mood problems. In this study, we used data from 6,654 sexually active nonpregnant women across 4 waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (1994–2008), focusing on women aged 25–34 years. Women were asked about hormonal contraceptive use in the context of a current sexual partnership; thus, contraceptive users were compared with other sexually active women who were using either nonhormonal contraception or no contraception. Depressive symptoms were assessed with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. At ages 25–34 years, hormonal contraceptive users had lower mean levels of concurrent depressive symptoms (β = −1.04, 95% confidence interval: −1.73, −0.35) and were less likely to report a past-year suicide attempt (odds ratio = 0.37, 95% confidence interval: 0.14, 0.95) than women using low-efficacy contraception or no contraception, in models adjusted for propensity scores for hormonal contraceptive use. Longitudinal analyses indicated that associations between hormonal contraception and depressive symptoms were stable. Hormonal contraception may reduce levels of depressive symptoms among young women. Systematic investigation of exogenous hormones as a potential preventive factor in psychiatric epidemiology is warranted.

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Suicidal and Online: How Do Online Behaviors Inform Us of This High-Risk Population?

Keith Harris, John McLean & Jeanie Sheffield
Death Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
To assist suicide prevention we need a better understanding of how suicidal individuals act in their environment, and the online world offers an ideal opportunity to examine daily behaviors. This anonymous survey (N = 1,016) provides first-of-its-kind empirical evidence demonstrating suicide-risk people (n = 290) are unique in their online behaviors. Suicidal users reported more time online, greater likelihood of developing online personal relationships, and greater use of online forums. In addition, suicide-risk women reported more time browsing/surfing and social networking. We conclude that suicide prevention efforts should respond to suicide-risk users’ greater demands for online interpersonal communications.

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Ethnicity Moderates the Association Between 5-HTTLPR and National Suicide Rates

Anne Schild et al.
Archives of Suicide Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
The association between ethnicity, national suicide rates, and the functional serotonin transporter gene polymorphism (5-HTTLPR), under consideration of the role of economic indicators, national alcohol intake, and national happiness scores was analyzed with an ecologic analysis. Data on allelic frequencies of the short (s) allele from 38 countries from over 100,000 healthy screened or general population individuals were analyzed with multiple regression models. Allele frequency varied widely both within and across ethnicities and an ethnicity-based interaction between national suicide rates and 5-HTTLPR allele frequency was revealed with the s allele acting as protective factor in Caucasian and as a risk factor in non-Caucasian populations. This interaction effect underlines the importance of ethnicity as a moderating factor in the genetics of suicide.

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Integrating Social Science and Behavioral Genetics: Testing the Origin of Socioeconomic Disparities in Depression Using a Genetically Informed Design

Briana Mezuk, John Myers & Kenneth Kendler
American Journal of Public Health, October 2013, Pages S145-S151

Objectives: We tested 3 hypotheses — social causation, social drift, and common cause — regarding the origin of socioeconomic disparities in major depression and determined whether the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and major depression varied by genetic liability for major depression.

Methods: Data were from a sample of female twins in the baseline Virginia Adult Twin Study of Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders interviewed between 1987 and 1989 (n = 2153). We used logistic regression and structural equation twin models to evaluate these 3 hypotheses.

Results: Consistent with the social causation hypothesis, education (odds ratio [OR] = 0.78; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.66, 0.93; P < .01) and income (OR = 0.93; 95% CI = 0.89, 0.98; P < .01) were significantly related to past-year major depression. Upward social mobility was associated with lower risk of depression. There was no evidence that childhood SES was related to development of major depression (OR = 0.98; 95% CI = 0.89, 1.09; P > .1). Consistent with a common genetic cause, there was a negative correlation between the genetic components of major depression and education (r2 =  –0.22). Co-twin control analyses indicated a protective effect of education and income on major depression even after accounting for genetic liability.

Conclusions: This study utilized a genetically informed design to address how social position relates to major depression. Results generally supported the social causation model.

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Association between subjective and cortisol stress response depends on the menstrual cycle phase

Annie Duchesne & Jens Pruessner
Psychoneuroendocrinology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The relation between the physiologic and subjective stress responses is inconsistently reported across studies. Menstrual cycle phases variations have been found to influence the psychophysiological stress response; however little is known about possible cycle phase differences in the relationship between physiological and subjective stress responses. This study examined the effect of menstrual cycle phase in the association between subjective stress and physiological response. Forty-five women in either the follicular (n = 21) or the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle were exposed to a psychosocial stress task. Salivary cortisol, cardiovascular, and subjective stress were assessed throughout the experiment. Results revealed a significant group difference in the association between peak levels of cortisol and post task subjective stress. In women in the follicular phase a negative association was observed (r2 = .199 p= 0.04), while this relation was positive in the group of women in the luteal phase (r2= .227 p = 0.02). These findings suggest a possible role of sex hormones in modulating the cortisol stress response function in emotion regulation.

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Social group memberships protect against future depression, alleviate depression symptoms and prevent depression relapse

Tegan Cruwys et al.
Social Science & Medicine, forthcoming

Abstract:
A growing body of research suggests that a lack of social connectedness is strongly related to current depression and increases vulnerability to future depression. However, few studies speak to the potential benefits of fostering social connectedness among persons already depressed or to the protective properties of this for future depression trajectories. We suggest that this may be in part because connectedness tends to be understood in terms of (difficult to establish) ties to specific individuals rather than ties to social groups. The current study addresses these issues by using population data to demonstrate that the number of groups that a person belongs to is a strong predictor of subsequent depression (such that fewer groups predicts more depression), and that the unfolding benefits of social group memberships are stronger among individuals who are depressed than among those who are non-depressed. These analyses control for initial group memberships, initial depression, age, gender, socioeconomic status, subjective health status, relationship status and ethnicity, and were examined both proximally (across 2 years, N=5055) and distally (across 4 years, N=4087). Depressed respondents with no group memberships who joined one group reduced their risk of depression relapse by 24%; if they joined three groups their risk of relapse reduced by 63%. Together this evidence suggests that membership of social groups is both protective against developing depression and curative of existing depression. The implications of these results for public health and primary health interventions are discussed.

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Prevalence of mental health disorders among low-income African American adolescents

Gayle Byck et al.
Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, October 2013, Pages 1555-1567

Purpose: Data on the prevalence of mental health disorders for low-income, urban African American adolescents are scarce. This study presents data about the burden of mental disorders for this understudied population.

Methods: Mental disorders were assessed using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children (C-DISC), Youth Self-Report (YSR), and Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) among a sample of adolescents and their caregivers from very impoverished neighborhoods in a Southern city.

Results: Based on the C-DISC, 3.8, 5.1 and 7.7 % of adolescents met diagnostic criteria for major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and conduct disorder, respectively. There were significant differences among some of the mental health disorders based on adolescent and caregiver characteristics such as sex, school status, caregiver work status, and income level. We found a low prevalence of alcohol, marijuana, and substance abuse and dependence disorders.

Conclusions: Information about the prevalence of mental health disorders in specific communities and populations can assist in addressing unmet needs, planning for services and treatment, and reducing health disparities.

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Exploring The Intergenerational Persistence Of Mental Health: Evidence From Three Generations

David Johnston, Stefanie Schurer & Michael Shields
Journal of Health Economics, December 2013, Pages 1077–1089

Abstract:
This paper uses data from the 1970 British Cohort Study to quantify the intergenerational persistence of mental health, and the long-run economic costs associated with poor parental mental health. We find a strong and significant intergenerational correlation that is robust to different covariate sets, sample restrictions, model specifications and potential endogeneity. Importantly, the intergenerational persistence is economically relevant, with maternal mental health associated with lasting effects on the child's educational attainment, future household income and the probability of having criminal convictions. These results do not disappear after controlling for children's own childhood and adulthood mental health.

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Sex Differences in the Persistence of the Amygdala Response to Negative Material

Joseph Andreano, Bradford Dickerson & Lisa Feldman Barrett
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous studies have indicated that men and women have different amygdala responses to novel (vs familiar) and valenced (positive vs negative) material. It is not known, however, whether these affective sex differences are related. In this study, we tested whether women have more persistent amygdala responses to familiar, negative material than men do. During fMRI, male and female participants viewed evocative images that varied in novelty and valence. Women and men showed equivalent responses to novel negative material, but women showed a sustained amygdala response to familiar negative material relative to men, indicating that women's amygdala responses were more persistent over multiple repetitions of negative material. Individuals with more persistent amygdala responses also reported greater levels of negative affect. These findings have implications for sex differences in the incidence of affective disorders.

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Impact of civil war on emotion recognition: The denial of sadness in Sierra Leone

Maria Allessandra Umiltà et al.
Frontiers in Psychology, September 2013

Abstract:
Studies of children with atypical emotional experience demonstrate that childhood exposure to high levels of hostility and threat biases emotion perception. This study investigates emotion processing, in former child soldiers and non-combatant civilians. All participants have experienced prolonged violence exposure during childhood. The study, carried out in Sierra Leone, aimed to examine the effects of exposure to and forced participation in acts of extreme violence on the emotion processing of young adults war survivors. A total of 76 young, male adults (38 former child soldier survivors and 38 civilian survivors) were tested in order to assess participants' ability to identify four different facial emotion expressions from photographs and movies. Both groups were able to recognize facial expressions of emotion. However, despite their general ability to correctly identify facial emotions, participants showed a significant response bias in their recognition of sadness. Both former soldiers and civilians made more errors in identifying expressions of sadness than in the other three emotions and when mislabeling sadness participants most often described it as anger. Conversely, when making erroneous identifications of other emotions, participants were most likely to label the expressed emotion as sadness. In addition, while for three of the four emotions participants were better able to make a correct identification the greater the intensity of the expression, this pattern was not observed for sadness. During movies presentation the recognition of sadness was significantly worse for soldiers. While both former child soldiers and civilians were found to be able to identify facial emotions, a significant response bias in their attribution of negative emotions was observed. Such bias was particularly pronounced in former child soldiers. These findings point to a pervasive long-lasting effect of childhood exposure to violence on emotion processing in later life.

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Perceived control: A general psychological vulnerability factor for hoarding

Amanda Raines et al.
Personality and Individual Differences, January 2014, Pages 175–179

Abstract:
Perceived control, the degree to which the environment is believed to be within an individual’s control, has been identified as a key vulnerability factor among numerous anxiety conditions. Specifically, it has been suggested that a sense of uncontrollability over potentially threatening events and emotions leads to increased fear and avoidance behaviors. Patterns of behavioral avoidance are central to theoretical models and observations of hoarding. However, no studies to date have examined the associations between perceived control and hoarding. The primary aim of the current study was to examine relationships between perceived control and hoarding behaviors. Participants consisted of undergraduate students (N = 180). As predicted, perceived control was significantly associated with increased hoarding severity even after controlling for overall negative affect. In addition, perceived control was significantly associated with several more specific hoarding behaviors including acquiring and difficulty discarding. When examining specific perceived control subfactors, only the threat control subfactor was associated with increased hoarding severity. The current study supports previous research suggesting that diminished perceived control over aversive events is central to the development and maintenance of numerous anxiety-related conditions. Moreover, the current study adds to a growing body of literature identifying potential risk factors for hoarding.

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Sustained Striatal Activity Predicts Eudaimonic Well-Being and Cortisol Output

Aaron Heller et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Eudaimonic well-being — a sense of purpose, meaning, and engagement with life — is protective against psychopathology and predicts physical health, including lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Although it has been suggested that the ability to engage the neural circuitry of reward may promote well-being and mediate the relationship between well-being and health, this hypothesis has remained untested. To test this hypothesis, we had participants view positive, neutral, and negative images while fMRI data were collected. Individuals with sustained activity in the striatum and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex to positive stimuli over the course of the scan session reported greater well-being and had lower cortisol output. This suggests that sustained engagement of reward circuitry in response to positive events underlies well-being and adaptive regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.

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Oxytocin Receptor Genotype Modulates Ventral Striatal Activity to Social Cues and Response to Stressful Life Events

Eva Loth et al.
Biological Psychiatry, forthcoming

Background: Common variants in the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) have been shown to influence social and affective behavior and to moderate the effect of adverse experiences on risk for social-affective problems. However, the intermediate neurobiological mechanisms are not fully understood. Although human functional neuroimaging studies have reported that oxytocin effects on social behavior and emotional states are mediated by amygdala function, animal models indicate that oxytocin receptors in the ventral striatum (VS) modulate sensitivity to social reinforcers. This study aimed to comprehensively investigate OXTR-dependent brain mechanisms associated with social-affective problems.

Methods: In a sample of 1445 adolescents we tested the effect of 23-tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms across the OXTR region and stressful life events (SLEs) on functional magnetic resonance imaging blood oxygen level–dependent activity in the VS and amygdala to animated angry faces. Single nucleotide polymorphisms for which gene-wide significant effects on brain function were found were then carried forward to examine associations with social-affective problems.

Results: A gene-wide significant effect of rs237915 showed that adolescents with minor CC-genotype had significantly lower VS activity than CT/TT-carriers. Significant or nominally significant gene × environment effects on emotional problems (in girls) and peer problems (in boys) revealed a strong increase in clinical symptoms as a function of SLEs in CT/TT-carriers but not CC-homozygotes. However, in low-SLE environments, CC-homozygotes had more emotional problems (girls) and peer problems (boys). Moreover, among CC-homozygotes, reduced VS activity was related to more peer problems.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that a common OXTR-variant affects brain responsiveness to negative social cues and that in “risk-carriers” reduced sensitivity is simultaneously associated with more social-affective problems in “favorable environments” and greater resilience against stressful experiences.

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Inflammatory dietary pattern and risk of depression among women

Michel Lucas et al.
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, forthcoming

Backround: Inflammation is considered as a mechanism leading to depression, but the association between inflammatory dietary pattern and depression risk is unknown.

Methods: Using reduced-rank regression, we identified a dietary pattern that was related to plasma levels of inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor receptor 2), and we conducted a prospective analysis of the relationship of this pattern and depression risk among participants in the Nurses’ Health Study. A total of 43,685 women (aged 50−77) without depression at baseline (1996) were included and followed up until 2008. Diet information was obtained from food frequency questionnaires completed between 1984 through 2002 and computed as cumulative average of dietary intakes with a 2-year latency applied. We used a strict definition of depression that required both self-reported physician-diagnosed depression and use of antidepressants, and a broader definition that included women who reported either clinical diagnosis or antidepressant use.

Results: During the 12-year follow-up, we documented 2,594 incident cases of depression using the stricter definition and 6,446 using the broader definition. After adjustment for body mass index and other potential confounders, relative risks comparing extreme quintiles of the inflammatory dietary pattern were 1.41 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.22, 1.63; P-trend <.001) for the strict definition and 1.29 (95% CI, 1.18, 1.41; P-trend <.001) for the broader definition of depression.

Conclusions: The inflammatory dietary pattern is associated with a higher depression risk. This finding suggests that chronic inflammation may underlie the association between diet and depression.

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Cortisol and PTSD Symptoms Among Male and Female High-Exposure 9/11 Survivors

Sharon Dekel et al.
Journal of Traumatic Stress, forthcoming

Abstract:
Only a few studies have examined cortisol response to trauma-related stressors in relation to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We followed a sample of high-exposure survivors of the attacks on September 11, 2001 (9/11; 32 men and 29 women) and examined their cortisol response after recalling the escape from the attack, 7 and 18 months post-9/11. PTSD symptoms and saliva cortisol levels were assessed before and after trauma recollection. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that PTSD symptoms and male sex predicted increased cortisol response following recollections. For men, elevated cortisol was associated with greater severity of reexperiencing symptoms (p < .001) and lower severity of avoidance symptoms (p < .001). For women, recall-induced cortisol was minimal and unrelated to PTSD symptoms (p = .164 and p = .331, respectively). These findings suggest that augmented cortisol response to trauma-related stressors may be evident in men reporting symptoms of PTSD. Thus, as cortisol abnormalities related to PTSD symptoms appear sex-specific, future research on mechanisms of sex differences in response to trauma is warranted.

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Longitudinal patterns of autonomic nervous system responding to emotion evocation among children with conduct problems and/or depression

Karen Pang & Theodore Beauchaine
Developmental Psychobiology, November 2013, Pages 698–706

Abstract:
Conduct disorder (CD) and depression co-occur at far greater levels than chance, despite largely separate diagnostic criteria. One potential shared mechanism of this comorbidity is emotion dysregulation, which characterizes both internalizing and externalizing disorders. Previous research demonstrates that respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) — a peripheral biomarker of emotion regulation — is attenuated among children with CD, and among children with depression. However, few studies have examined biomarkers of emotion regulation as a function of heterotypic comorbidity. We evaluated longitudinal patterns of RSA and RSA reactivity to emotion evocation across three annual assessments among 207 children diagnosed at ages 8–12 years with CD (n = 30), depression (n = 28), comorbid CD and depression (n = 80), or no psychiatric condition (n = 69). Using continuous symptom counts as predictors, Depression × CD interactions were observed for both Time 1 resting RSA and Time 1 RSA reactivity. CD, depression, and their interaction were all associated with low resting RSA at Time 1. In addition, concurrently elevated CD and depression scores predicted the greatest RSA reactivity to emotion evocation. Psychopathology scores were unrelated to developmental changes in RSA and RSA reactivity over time.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Use the force

Quality of Professional Players’ Poker Hands Is Perceived Accurately From Arm Motions

Michael Slepian et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

"In three studies with two unique video sets, observers naive to the quality of professional players’ poker hands could judge, better than chance, poker-hand quality from merely observing players’ arm actions while placing bets. The accuracy of participants’ judgments when viewing players’ upper bodies was no different from chance, and when observing players’ faces, participants’ accuracy was nearly worse than chance, which suggests that players’ facial cues were deceptive. Arm motions might provide a more diagnostic cue to poker-hand quality than other nonverbal behaviors."

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Embodied Cognition and Social Consumption: Self-Regulating Temperature through Social Products and Behaviors

Seung-Hwan (Mark) Lee, Jeff Rotman & Andrew Perkins
Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Extant embodied cognition research suggests that individuals can reduce a perceived lack of interpersonal warmth by substituting physical warmth, and vice versa. We suggest that this behavior is self-regulatory in nature and that this self-regulation can be accomplished via consumptive behavior. Experiment 1 found that consumers perceived ambient temperature to be significantly lower when eating alone compared to eating with a partner. Experiment 2 found that consuming a cool (vs. warm) drink led individuals to generate more socially-oriented attributes for a hypothetical product. Experiment 3 found that physically cooler individuals desired a social consumption setting, whereas physically warmer individuals desired a lone consumption setting. We interpret these results within the context of self-regulation, such that perceived physical temperature deviations from a steady state unconsciously motivate the individual to find bodily balance in order to alleviate that deviation.

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Bacteria as Bullies: Effects of Linguistic Agency Assignment in Health Message

Robert Bell, Matthew McGlone & Marko Dragojevic
Journal of Health Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
When describing health threats, communicators can assign agency to the threat (e.g., “Hepatitis C has infected 4 million Americans”) or to humans (e.g., “Four million Americans have contracted hepatitis C”). In an online experiment, the authors explored how assignment of agency affects perceptions of susceptibility and severity of a health threat, response efficacy, self-efficacy, fear arousal, and intentions to adopt health-protective recommendations. Participants were 719 individuals recruited through Mechanical Turk (www.mturk.com), a crowdsource labor market run by Amazon (www. amazon.com). The participants were assigned randomly to read 1 of 8 flyers defined by a 2 × 4 (Agency Assignment × Topic) factorial design. Each flyer examined 1 health threat (E. coli, necrotizing fasciitis, salmonella, or Carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae) and was written in language that emphasized bacterial or human agency. Perceived susceptibility and severity were highest when bacterial agency language was used. Response efficacy, self-efficacy, and fear arousal were not significantly affected by agency assignment. Participants reported stronger intentions to adopt recommendations when bacteria agency language was used, but this effect did not reach conventional standards of significance (p < .051). The authors concluded that health communicators can increase target audiences' perceptions of susceptibility and severity by assigning agency to the threat in question when devising health messages.

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Self-Affirmation Counteracts the Effects of Burdens on Judgments of Distance

Loreal Shea & E.J. Masicampo
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, January 2014, Pages 105–108

Abstract:
When a person’s capacity for physical movement is diminished, judgments of the environment change — unless, perhaps, the person is able to self-affirm. We observed as in previous work that physical burdens altered judgments of distance. When participants wore a heavy backpack rather than a light one, they estimated a landmark to be significantly farther away. Crucially, self-affirmation eliminated this effect. When participants self-affirmed prior to making judgments, the weight of the backpack had no effect on distance estimates. The influence of self-affirmation was not accounted for by effects of self-affirmation on mood or by increased thoughts of supportive friends and family among the self-affirmed. These data reveal a simple strategy for counteracting the effects that bodily constraints can have on visual judgments. They also expose the far reaching effects of self-affirmation, which can counteract reactions not only to psychological challenges but to physical ones as well.

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How to Become a Mentalist: Reading Decisions from a Competitor’s Pupil Can Be Achieved without Training but Requires Instruction

Marnix Naber et al.
PLoS ONE, August 2013

Abstract:
Pupil dilation is implicated as a marker of decision-making as well as of cognitive and emotional processes. Here we tested whether individuals can exploit another’s pupil to their advantage. We first recorded the eyes of 3 "opponents", while they were playing a modified version of the "rock-paper-scissors" childhood game. The recorded videos served as stimuli to a second set of participants. These "players" played rock-paper-scissors against the pre-recorded opponents in a variety of conditions. When players just observed the opponents’ eyes without specific instruction their probability of winning was at chance. When informed that the time of maximum pupil dilation was indicative of the opponents’ choice, however, players raised their winning probability significantly above chance. When just watching the reconstructed area of the pupil against a gray background, players achieved similar performance, showing that players indeed exploited the pupil, rather than other facial cues. Since maximum pupil dilation was correct about the opponents’ decision only in 60% of trials (chance 33%), we finally tested whether increasing this validity to 100% would allow spontaneous learning. Indeed, when players were given no information, but the pupil was informative about the opponent’s response in all trials, players performed significantly above chance on average and half (5/10) reached significance at an individual level. Together these results suggest that people can in principle use the pupil to detect cognitive decisions in another individual, but that most people have neither explicit knowledge of the pupil’s utility nor have they learnt to use it despite a lifetime of exposure.

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Popcorn in the cinema: Oral interference sabotages advertising effects

Sascha Topolinski, Sandy Lindner & Anna-Lena Freudenberg
Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
One important psychological mechanism of advertising is mere exposure inducing positive attitudes towards brands. Recent basic research has shown that the underlying mechanism of mere exposure for words, in turn, is the training of subvocal pronunciation, which can be obstructed by oral motor-interference. Commercials for foreign brands were shown in cinema sessions while participants either ate popcorn, chewed gum (oral interference) or consumed a single sugar cube (control). Brand choice and brand attitudes were assessed one week later. While control participants more likely spent money (Experiment 1, N = 188) and exhibited higher preference and physiological responses (Experiment 2, N = 96) for advertised than for novel brands, participants who had consumed popcorn or gum during commercials showed no advertising effects. It is concluded that advertising might be futile under ecological situations involving oral interference, such as snacking or talking, which ironically is often the case.

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Seeing storms behind the clouds: Biases in the attribution of anger

Andrew Galperin et al.
Evolution and Human Behavior, September 2013, Pages 358–365

Abstract:
Anger-prone individuals are volatile and frequently dangerous. Accordingly, inferring the presence of this personality trait in others was important in ancestral human populations. This inference, made under uncertainty, can result in two types of errors: underestimation or overestimation of trait anger. Averaged over evolutionary time, underestimation will have been the more costly error, as the fitness decrements resulting from physical harm or death due to insufficient vigilance are greater than those resulting from lost social opportunities due to excessive caution. We therefore hypothesized that selection has favored an upwards bias in the estimation of others' trait anger relative to estimations of other traits not characterized by such an error asymmetry. Moreover, we hypothesized that additional attributes that i) make the actor more dangerous, or ii) make the observer more vulnerable increase the error asymmetry with regard to inferring anger-proneness, and should therefore correspondingly increase this overestimation bias. In Study 1 (N = 161), a fictitious individual portrayed in a vignette was judged to have higher trait anger than trait disgust, and trait anger ratings were more responsive than trait disgust ratings to behavioral cues of emotionality. In Study 2 (N = 335), participants viewed images of angry or fearful faces. The interaction of factors indicating target's formidability (male sex), target's intent to harm (direct gaze), and perceiver's vulnerability (female sex or high belief in a dangerous world) increased ratings of the target's trait anger but not trait fear.

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Smiling after thinking increases reliance on thoughts

Borja Paredes et al.
Social Psychology, Fall 2013, Pages 349-353

Abstract:
The present research examines the impact of smiling on attitude change. Participants were first exposed to a story that elicited mostly positive thoughts (about an employee’s good day at work) or negative thoughts (about an employee’s bad day at work). After writing down their thoughts, participants were asked to hold a pen with their teeth (smile) or with their lips (control). Finally, all participants reported the extent to which they liked the story. In line with the self-validation hypothesis, we predicted and found that the effect of the initial thought direction induction on story evaluations was greater for smiling than control participants. These results conceptually replicate those obtained in previous research on embodiment (i.e., more favorable evaluations of stories when smiling; Strack, Martin, & Stepper, 1988) when participants had positive thoughts, but showed the opposite pattern of results (less favorable evaluations for smiling) for negative thoughts.

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Turning Body and Self Inside Out: Visualized Heartbeats Alter Bodily Self-Consciousness and Tactile Perception

Jane Elizabeth Aspell et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prominent theories highlight the importance of bodily perception for self-consciousness, but it is currently not known whether bodily perception is based on interoceptive or exteroceptive signals or on integrated signals from these anatomically distinct systems. In the research reported here, we combined both types of signals by surreptitiously providing participants with visual exteroceptive information about their heartbeat: A real-time video image of a periodically illuminated silhouette outlined participants’ (projected, “virtual”) bodies and flashed in synchrony with their heartbeats. We investigated whether these “cardio-visual” signals could modulate bodily self-consciousness and tactile perception. We report two main findings. First, synchronous cardio-visual signals increased self-identification with and self-location toward the virtual body, and second, they altered the perception of tactile stimuli applied to participants’ backs so that touch was mislocalized toward the virtual body. We argue that the integration of signals from the inside and the outside of the human body is a fundamental neurobiological process underlying self-consciousness.

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The effect of facial attractiveness on temporal perception

Ruth Ogden
Cognition & Emotion, Fall 2013, Pages 1292-1304

Abstract:
Previous research suggests that feelings of fear, dislike, shame and sadness affect our perception of duration (Droit-Volet et al., 2004; Gil et al., 2009). The current study sought to expand our understanding of the variables which moderate temporal perception by examining whether the attractiveness of a face influenced its perceived duration. Participants completed a verbal estimation task in which they judged the duration of attractive, unattractive and neutral faces. The results showed that participants underestimated the duration of unattractive faces relative to attractive and neutral faces. Estimates of unattractive faces were also less accurate than those of the attractive and neutral faces. The results are consistent with Gil et al.'s (2009) suggestion that the duration of disliked stimuli are underestimated relative to liked and neutral stimuli because they detract attention from temporal perception. Analysis of the slope and intercept of the estimation gradients supports Zakay and Block's (1997) suggestion that reduced attention to time results in a multiplicative underestimation of duration.

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You Should Read This! Perceiving and Acting upon Action Primes Influences Sense of Agency

Tom Damen, Rick van Baaren & Ap Dijksterhuis
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, January 2014, Pages 21–26

Abstract:
In two studies, we investigated the degree to which action primes, and acting upon those primes affect agency ratings. Participants performed left or right button-presses that generated tones, and were subsequently asked to indicate the degree to which they felt that they, instead of the computer, had caused the tones. Prior to button-presses, participants were subliminally or supraliminally primed with “left” or “right”. Participants were free to press either button, and thus could perform prime-compatible or prime-incompatible actions. Results showed that incompatible subliminal primes lowered sense of agency compared to the effects of subliminal compatible primes. In contrast, supraliminal compatible primes lowered agency compared to incompatible primes.

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Power to the will: How exerting physical effort boosts the sense of agency

Jelle Demanet et al.
Cognition, December 2013, Pages 574–578

Abstract:
The sense of agency refers to the experience of being in control of one’s actions and their consequences. The 19th century French philosopher Maine de Biran proposed that the sensation of effort might provide an internal cue for distinguishing self-caused from other changes in the environment. The present study is the first to empirically test the philosophical idea that effort promotes self-agency. We used intentional binding, which refers to the subjective temporal attraction between an action and its sensory consequences, as an implicit measure of the sense of agency. Effort was manipulated independent of the primary task by requiring participants to pull stretch bands of varying resistance levels. We found that intentional binding was enhanced under conditions of increased effort. This suggests not only that the experience of effort directly contributes to the sense of agency, but also that the integration of effort as an agency cue is non-specific to the effort requirement of the action itself.

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Pain sensitivity during experimentally induced systemic inflammation in humans

B. Karshikoff et al.
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, September 2013, Pages e32

Abstract:
Animal research suggests that systemic inflammation may induce pain hypersensitivity through central mechanisms such as glia cell activation, a mechanism that has also been proposed to be central in several clinical pain conditions. In two placebo controlled studies we used two low doses of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) injections (0.6 ng/kg and 0.8 ng/kg) as experimental models of systemic inflammation in healthy human subjects and investigated the effect on (a) pressure, heat, and cold pain thresholds, (b) suprathreshold noxious heat and cold sensitivity, and (c) endogenous pain modulation. LPS induced significantly lower pressure pain thresholds as compared to placebo, whereas heat and cold threshold pain thresholds remained unaffected. Women in the LPS group rated suprathreshold noxious stimuli as more painful than the placebo group, whereas suprathreshold pain ratings of LPS treated men were similar to male controls. LPS impaired endogenous pain inhibition, but this effect was also restricted to women. The pattern of results was here observed in two consecutive and independent experiments of pain sensitivity. This study extends the findings of animal research to humans, suggesting a link between inflammation and pain regulation in humans.

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‘If you are good, I get better’: The role of social hierarchy in perceptual decision-making

Hernando Santamaría-García et al.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
So far, it was unclear if social hierarchy could influence sensory or perceptual cognitive processes. We evaluated the effects of social hierarchy on these processes using a basic visual perceptual decision task. We constructed a social hierarchy where participants performed the perceptual task separately with two covertly simulated players (superior, inferior). Participants were faster (better) when performing the discrimination task with the superior player. We studied the time course when social hierarchy was processed using event-related potentials and observed hierarchical effects even in early stages of sensory-perceptual processing, suggesting early top–down modulation by social hierarchy. Moreover, in a parallel analysis, we fitted a drift-diffusion model (DDM) to the results to evaluate the decision making process of this perceptual task in the context of a social hierarchy. Consistently, the DDM pointed to nondecision time (probably perceptual encoding) as the principal period influenced by social hierarchy.

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Other People as Means to a Safe End: Vicarious Extinction Blocks the Return of Learned Fear

Armita Golkar et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Information about what is dangerous and safe in the environment is often transferred from other individuals through social forms of learning, such as observation. Past research has focused on the observational, or vicarious, acquisition of fears, but little is known about how social information can promote safety learning. To address this issue, we studied the effects of vicarious-extinction learning on the recovery of conditioned fear. Compared with a standard extinction procedure, vicarious extinction promoted better extinction and effectively blocked the return of previously learned fear. We confirmed that these effects could not be attributed to the presence of a learning model per se but were specifically driven by the model’s experience of safety. Our results confirm that vicarious and direct emotional learning share important characteristics but that social-safety information promotes superior down-regulation of learned fear. These findings have implications for emotional learning, social-affective processes, and clinical practice.

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Relatively random: Context effects on perceived randomness and predicted outcomes

William Matthews
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, September 2013, Pages 1642-1648

Abstract:
This article concerns the effect of context on people’s judgments about sequences of chance outcomes. In Experiment 1, participants judged whether sequences were produced by random, mechanical processes (such as a roulette wheel) or skilled human action (such as basketball shots). Sequences with lower alternation rates were judged more likely to result from human action. However, this effect was highly context-dependent: A moderate alternation rate was judged more likely to indicate a random physical process when encountered among sequences with lower alternation rates than when embedded among sequences with higher alternation rates. Experiment 2 found the same effect for predictions of the next outcome following a streak: A streak of 3 at the end of the sequence was judged less likely to continue by participants who had encountered shorter terminal streaks in previous trials than by those who had encountered longer ones. These contrast effects (a) help to explain variability in the types of sequences that are judged to be random and that elicit the gambler’s fallacy, and urge caution about attempts to establish universal parameterizations of these effects; (b) are congruent with theories of sequence judgment that emphasize the importance of people’s actual experiences with sequences of different kinds; (c) provide a link between models of sequence judgment and broader accounts of psychophysical/economic judgment; and (d) may offer new insight into individual differences in randomness judgments and sequence predictions.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, October 11, 2013

Strict scrutiny

The Rule of Law in the Fight against Terrorism

Tiberiu Dragu & Mattias Polborn
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
What is the role of legal limits on executive power, if any, when citizens demand more security from terrorism, and allowing executive officials legal flexibility of action appears necessary to achieve it? We develop a game-theoretic model to show that when the executive faces increased electoral incentives to provide security and has legal flexibility to choose any policy it finds optimal, security from terrorism can actually decrease. In contrast, when the executive faces increased electoral incentives to provide security and there is an explicit legal limit on executive counterterrorism activities, security from terrorism increases. We also show that the executive achieves the objective of terrorism prevention more effectively when there are some limitations on its counterterrorism powers. The article provides a security rationale for legal limits on executive power and has implications for understanding how to design the institutional structure of liberal governments when the social objective is terrorism prevention.

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Are Forensic Experts Biased by the Side That Retained Them?

Daniel Murrie et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
How objective are forensic experts when they are retained by one of the opposing sides in an adversarial legal proceeding? Despite long-standing concerns from within the legal system, little is known about whether experts can provide opinions unbiased by the side that retained them. In this experiment, we paid 108 forensic psychologists and psychiatrists to review the same offender case files, but deceived some to believe that they were consulting for the defense and some to believe that they were consulting for the prosecution. Participants scored each offender on two commonly used, well-researched risk-assessment instruments. Those who believed they were working for the prosecution tended to assign higher risk scores to offenders, whereas those who believed they were working for the defense tended to assign lower risk scores to the same offenders; the effect sizes (d) ranged up to 0.85. The results provide strong evidence of an allegiance effect among some forensic experts in adversarial legal proceedings.

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Eyewitness Identifications and Police Practices: A Virginia Case Study

Brandon Garrett
Virginia Journal of Criminal Law, forthcoming

Abstract:
Over three decades of social science research has powerfully shown that lineup procedures really matter and that eyewitness errors predictable result from substandard lineups. Yet traditionally, many police departments had no written policies at all on conducting photo arrays or lineups. In response, more police departments, prosecutors, state courts and legislatures have acted to improve identification procedures. Although much has changed in the past decade, less is known about how many police departments have not yet adopted best practices. This Essay reports the results of a 2013 survey conducted of lineup procedures in Virginia, where a new state model policy was adopted in 2011 in response to a series of DNA exonerations caused by eyewitness misidentifications, as well as concern with the slow pace of adoption of best practices. Of the 201 law enforcement agencies that responded, 144 supplied eyewitness identification policies. Troubling findings included that in total, only 29% required blind lineup procedures and only 40% made blind lineup procedures available even as an option. Only 6% adopted the revised model policy. The results suggest that institutional inertia, and not policy choices, explain the slow pace of adoption of best practices. As a result, dissemination of best practices by state policymakers may not be enough, and stronger regulatory measures may be required to safeguard the accuracy of criminal investigations.

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Race, Justifiable Homicide, and Stand Your Ground Laws: Analysis of FBI Supplementary Homicide Report Data

John Roman
Urban Institute Working Paper, July 2013

Abstract:
This study finds that homicides with a white perpetrator and a black victim are ten times more likely to be ruled justified than cases with a black perpetrator and a white victim, and the gap is larger in states with Stand Your Ground laws. After accounting for a variety of factors, such as whether the victim and perpetrator were strangers, the gap is smaller, but still significant. Cases with a white perpetrator and a black victim are 281 percent more likely to be ruled justified than cases with a white perpetrator and white victim.

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Judicial Consensus and Public Opinion: Conditional Response to Supreme Court Majority Size

Michael Salamone
Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Do judicial dissents affect mass politics? The conventional wisdom is that unanimous rulings boost support for Supreme Court decisions, while division fuels popular opposition. However, empirical analysis of public reaction to unanimity and dissent is sparse, incomplete, and inconsistent. Through a series of survey experiments, I expand upon existing research on public opinion of judicial unity. I find that reaction to judicial consensus is dependent on the ideological salience of the issue involved and that, contrary to conventional wisdom and recent findings, dissent can foster acceptance of rulings among the Court's opponents by suggesting evidence of procedural justice.

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The Swing Justice

Peter Enns & Patrick Wohlfarth
Journal of Politics, October 2013, Pages 1089-1107

Abstract:
In the Supreme Court's most closely divided cases, one pivotal justice can determine the outcome. Given this fact, judicial scholars have paid substantial attention to the swing justice. This article makes two theoretical contributions to the study of the swing justice and this justice's resulting influence on case outcomes. First, we show that in a substantial number of cases, the justice that casts the pivotal vote is not the median justice on the Court. Second, we argue that the swing justice will typically rely less on attitudinal considerations and more on strategic and legal considerations than the other justices on the Court. The analysis suggests that even among the Court's most closely divided decisions, which are typically thought to reflect the Court's most ideologically driven outcomes, the pivotal swing vote is significantly less likely to reflect attitudinal predispositions and more likely to reflect strategic considerations, such as the public's preferences, and case-specific considerations such as the position advocated by the Solicitor General. The theory and findings suggest that a failure to consider the unique behavior of a pivotal actor - whether on the Supreme Court or any other decision-making body - can lead to incorrect conclusions about the determinants of policy outputs.

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Jury Size and the Hung-Jury Paradox

Barbara Luppi & Francesco Parisi
Journal of Legal Studies, June 2013, Pages 399-422

Abstract:
In Williams v. Florida (399 U.S. 78 [1970]), the U.S. Supreme Court decided a case addressing the constitutionality of juries composed of fewer than 12 jurors, ruling that smaller juries are not inconsistent with the Sixth Amendment. In an effort to speed deliberation and reduce the rate of mistrials, 11 states have subsequently adopted juries of fewer than 12 in state felony trials, and 40 states have diminished their jury sizes for state misdemeanor trials. Curiously, however, contrary to the predictions of probability theory and common sense, these reductions in jury sizes have failed to deliver the expected reduction in mistrial rates. In this paper, we offer two interrelated explanations for this fact: informational cascades and the heterogeneity of jurors.

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Law, Fact, and the Threat of Reversal From Above

Joseph Smith
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article argues that the threat of review and reversal by supervising courts affects circuit court judges differently in disputes focusing on law compared to disputes focusing on facts. Because fact-bound cases are less likely to be reviewed than law-bound cases, lower court judges are freer to indulge their policy preferences in fact-bound cases. I test this argument using computer-assisted content analysis to measure the extent to which legal disputes are based on interpretations of facts and interpretations of relevant legal standards, respectively. The results of this content analysis are then used as independent variables in a model predicting the outcomes of legal challenges to the actions of administrative agencies. The results indicate that highly fact-bound decisions amplify the effects of judicial ideology while highly law-bound decisions constrain the effects of ideology.

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The Elusive Effects of Alcohol Intoxication on Visual Attention and Eyewitness Memory

Alistair Harvey, Wendy Kneller & Alison Campbell
Applied Cognitive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Alcohol is a contributing factor in many crimes, yet little is known of its effects on eyewitness memory and face identification. Some authors suggest that intoxication impairs attention and memory, particularly for peripheral scene information, but the data supporting this claim are limited. The present study therefore sought to determine whether (i) intoxicated participants spend less time fixating on peripheral regions of crime images than sober counterparts, (ii) whether less information is recognised from image regions receiving fewer gaze fixations and (iii) whether intoxicated participants are less able to identify the perpetrator of a crime than sober participants. Contrary to expectations, participants' ability to explore and subsequently recognise the contents of the stimulus scenes was unaffected by alcohol, suggesting that the relationship between intoxication, attention and eyewitness memory requires closer scrutiny.

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Gender as social threat: A study of offender sex, situational factors, gender dynamics and social control

Ryon Stephanie Bontrager
Journal of Criminal Justice, November-December 2013, Pages 426-437

Purpose: Adopting a social threat perspective, the assessment explores how gender and social gender dynamics affect the labeling of convicted felons using a unique sentencing outcome - adjudication withheld.

Methods: This research investigates the direct effect of gender, and interactive impact of offender sex/crime type, on adjudication withheld for a sample of probationers (N = 110,419) sentenced in Florida between 2000 and 2002 using Hierarchical Generalized Linear Modeling. The study also explores how social gender dynamics moderate these relationships.

Results: Female offenders are significantly more likely than men to receive adjudication withheld. Women convicted of atypical crimes, such as assault, auto theft and drug sale/manufacturing have better odds of avoiding the felon label than females convicted of other crimes. Finally, measures of gendered threat do not increase the use of social control for female offenders.

Conclusions: Women have significantly better chances of avoiding a felon label; however, this varies by crime type. Criminal justice actors may be reluctant to penalize female offenders with a felon label and the stigma of violent crime convictions. Finally, gendered threat measures did not weaken the leniency shown to female probationers in Florida, possible due to the increased resources available to women in the study areas.

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The Gestural Misinformation Effect: Skewing Eyewitness Testimony Through Gesture

Daniel Gurney, Karen Pine & Richard Wiseman
American Journal of Psychology, Fall 2013, Pages 301-314

Abstract:
The susceptibility of eyewitnesses to verbal suggestion has been well documented, although little attention has been paid to the role of nonverbal communication in misinformation. Three experiments are reported; in each, participants watched footage of a crime scene before being questioned about what they had observed. In Experiments 1 and 2, an on-screen interviewer accompanied identically worded questions with gestures that either conveyed accurate information about the scene or conveyed false, misleading information. The misleading gestures significantly influenced recall, and participants' responses were consistent with the gestured information. In Experiment 3, a live interview was conducted, and the gestural misinformation effect was found to be robust; participants were influenced by misleading gestures performed by the interviewer during questioning. These findings provide compelling evidence for the gestural misinformation effect, whereby subtle hand gestures can implant information and distort the testimony of eyewitnesses. The practical and legal implications of these findings are discussed.

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The Questionable Character of the Bar's Character and Fitness Inquiry

Leslie Levin, Christine Zozula & Peter Siegelman
Law & Social Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
Lawyers who engage in misconduct can do substantial harm. To screen out "unfit" lawyers, bar examining authorities collect detailed personal information from bar applicants. The rationale for this "character and fitness" inquiry is to identify who is likely to become a problematic lawyer. Despite the history of discrimination associated with this inquiry and the highly personal information requested, there has been no rigorous test of whether such predictions are possible. This article examines the information disclosed by 1,343 Connecticut bar applicants and their subsequent disciplinary records. It reveals that while some bar application data are associated with an elevated risk of future discipline, the predictive power of the data is extremely low. Moreover, several variables are more strongly associated with less severe discipline than with more severe discipline. We argue that some of the causal mechanisms linking application data to subsequent discipline may have more to do with career trajectory than with an underlying propensity to engage in misconduct.

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The Cost of Law: Promoting Access to Justice through the (Un)Corporate Practice of Law

Gillian Hadfield
International Review of Law and Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The U.S. faces a mounting crisis in access to justice. Vast numbers of ordinary Americans represent themselves in routine legal matters daily in our over-burdened courts. Obtaining ex ante legal advice is effectively impossible for almost everyone except larger corporate entities, organizations and governments. In this paper, I explain why, as a matter of economic policy, it is essential that the legal profession abandon the prohibition on the corporate practice of law in order to remedy the access problem. The prohibitions on the corporate practice of law rule out the use of essential organizational and contracting tools widely used in most industries to control costs, improve quality and reduce errors. This keeps prices for legal assistance high by cutting the industry off from the ordinary economic benefits of scale, data analysis, product and process engineering and diversified sources of capital and innovation. Lawyers operating in law firms have not generated these benefits but they have appeared in countries, such as the U.K., where the corporate practice of law doctrine does not prevail. Eliminating restrictions on the corporate practice of law can significantly improve the access ordinary Americans have to legal help in a law-thick world.

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Who Will Manage Complex Civil Litigation? The Decision to Transfer and Consolidate Multidistrict Litigation

Margaret Williams & Tracey George
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, September 2013, Pages 424-461

Abstract:
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation may transfer factually related actions filed in different federal districts to a single judge for consolidated pretrial litigation. This transferee judge has significant discretion over the management of the litigation, including ruling on dispositive pretrial motions. Nearly all cases are resolved without returning to the original district court. Thus, as a practical matter, the MDL Panel controls where these disputes will be litigated. And, the MDL Panel has substantial discretion in making that decision. In its first 44 years of existence, the Panel has transferred and consolidated nearly 400,000 lawsuits, including high-profile securities and derivative lawsuits, large-scale consumer actions, and mass torts involving products liability claims, common disasters, and air crashes. The Panel's transfer ruling has never been overturned. The current study provides the first systematic and comprehensive empirical investigation of the Panel's decision to transfer and consolidate pending federal civil lawsuits, examining the rationale for transfer and for the selection of a specific district court and judge to handle the consolidated litigation. We find that the Panel grants most motions to transfer and consolidate, but exercises meaningful discretion in choosing where and by whom the cases will be adjudicated. The MDL Panel is much more likely to assign cases to a district court where a current panelist sits and that is supported by at least one defendant and to a district judge who currently serves on the Panel. Thus, the composition of the Panel has a meaningful effect on where and how large-scale litigation will be resolved.

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Innocence and Resisting Confession During Interrogation: Effects on Physiologic Activity

Max Guyll et al.
Law and Human Behavior, October 2013, Pages 366-375

Abstract:
Innocent suspects may not adequately protect themselves during interrogation because they fail to fully appreciate the danger of the situation. This experiment tested whether innocent suspects experience less stress during interrogation than guilty suspects, and whether refusing to confess expends physiologic resources. After experimentally manipulating innocence and guilt, 132 participants were accused and interrogated for misconduct, and then pressured to confess. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP, DBP), heart rate (HR), respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), and preejection period (PEP) responses quantified stress reactions. As hypothesized, the innocent evidenced smaller stress responses to interrogation for SBP, DBP, HR, and RSA than did the guilty. Furthermore, innocents who refused to confess exhibited greater sympathetic nervous system activation, as evidenced by shorter PEPs, than did innocent or guilty confessors. These findings suggest that innocent suspects underestimate the threat of interrogation and that resisting pressures to confess can diminish suspects' physiologic resources and lead to false confessions.

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Consensus and Cooperation on State Supreme Courts

Meghan Leonard & Joseph Ross
State Politics & Policy Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
The opinion-writing process is a vital yet understudied aspect of judicial decision making on state supreme courts. We argue that this process is influenced by the political context and particularly by institutional rules that serve to reactivate and reinforce divisions among justices, leading to less cooperation on the court. We test our theory with original data comprising all education cases decided from 1995 to 2005 in all 50 states and find evidence to support our theory. Specifically, we find that elections lead to fewer unanimous decisions and more separate written opinions, indicating that judicial elections may have a more pervasive effect on the daily work of these courts than previously thought.

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Investigating the Effects of Repeated Miranda Warnings: Do They Perform a Curative Function on Common Miranda Misconceptions?

Richard Rogers et al.
Behavioral Sciences & the Law, July/August 2013, Pages 397-410

Abstract:
In Miranda v. Arizona (1966), the Supreme Court of the United States required that custodial suspects be apprised of their Constitutional rights against self-incrimination. The Court could not have anticipated the rampant popularization of Miranda warnings in subsequent movies and television dramas. Influenced by public media, many arrestees assume that they already "know" their rights, with no awareness of their misconceptions. The current investigation examines whether repeated exposures to Miranda warnings performs any "curative" function (i.e., dispelling common Miranda misconceptions held by pretrial defendants). The accumulative effects of five different Miranda warnings were tested over a several-hour period on 260 detainees. For the nearly half (113 or 43.5%) with three or more misconceptions, improvement (i.e., ?2 fewer misconceptions) occurred for only 35 defendants. Predictably, this improved group also tended to display a better understanding of Miranda-relevant vocabulary words and a better recall of the administered Miranda warnings than their unimproved counterparts. On average, the improved group also performed better on general measures of intelligence, and listening and reading comprehension, while still evidencing substantial cognitive deficits. The curative function of Miranda advisements is considered in light of these findings.

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How Jurors Evaluate Fingerprint Evidence: The Relative Importance of Match Language, Method Information, and Error Acknowledgment

Brandon Garrett & Gregory Mitchell
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, September 2013, Pages 484-511

Abstract:
Fingerprint examiners use a variety of terms and phrases to describe a finding of a match between a defendant's fingerprints and fingerprint impressions collected from a crime scene. Despite the importance and ubiquity of fingerprint evidence in criminal cases, no prior studies examine how jurors evaluate such evidence. We present two studies examining the impact of different match phrases, method descriptions, and statements about possible examiner error on the weight given to fingerprint identification evidence by laypersons. In both studies, the particular phrase chosen to describe the finding of a match - whether simple and imprecise or detailed and claiming near certainty - had little effect on participants' judgments about the guilt of a suspect. In contrast, the examiner admitting the possibility of error reduced the weight given to the fingerprint evidence - regardless of whether the admission was made during direct or cross-examination. In addition, the examiner providing information about the method used to make fingerprint comparisons reduced the impact of admitting the possibility of error. We found few individual differences in reactions to the fingerprint evidence across a wide range of participant variables, and we found widespread agreement regarding the uniqueness of fingerprints and the reliability of fingerprint identifications. Our results suggest that information about the reliability of fingerprint identifications will have a greater impact on lay interpretations of fingerprint evidence than the specific qualitative or quantitative terms chosen to describe a fingerprint match.

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Examining the Effects of Information, Attorney Capability, and Amicus Participation on U.S. Supreme Court Decision Making

John Szmer & Martha Humphries Ginn
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Focusing on litigators or amicus curiae, a significant amount of scholarship has examined the impact of information on Supreme Court decision making. Taking into account that justices have varying degrees of substantive expertise across issues, we model the interaction of justice expertise with these external sources of information. Specifically, we test whether justices are more likely to be influenced by attorney capability in cases where they have less substantive legal expertise. We also explore whether justices' reliance on amici is conditional on their own expertise, as well as the overall quality of the litigants' attorneys. As anticipated, this research finds that as the justice's legal expertise increases, the influence of attorney capability tends to decrease. Moreover, as the expertise of the judge and/or the quality of the attorneys increase, the impact of amici tends to decrease.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Angels and demons

The Cheater’s High: The Unexpected Affective Benefits of Unethical Behavior

Nicole Ruedy et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, October 2013, Pages 531-548

Abstract:
Many theories of moral behavior assume that unethical behavior triggers negative affect. In this article, we challenge this assumption and demonstrate that unethical behavior can trigger positive affect, which we term a “cheater’s high.” Across 6 studies, we find that even though individuals predict they will feel guilty and have increased levels of negative affect after engaging in unethical behavior (Studies 1a and 1b), individuals who cheat on different problem-solving tasks consistently experience more positive affect than those who do not (Studies 2–5). We find that this heightened positive affect does not depend on self-selection (Studies 3 and 4), and it is not due to the accrual of undeserved financial rewards (Study 4). Cheating is associated with feelings of self-satisfaction, and the boost in positive affect from cheating persists even when prospects for self-deception about unethical behavior are reduced (Study 5). Our results have important implications for models of ethical decision making, moral behavior, and self-regulatory theory.

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Social Comparisons and Deception Across Workplace Hierarchies: Field and Experimental Evidence

Benjamin Edelman & Ian Larkin
Harvard Working Paper, August 2013

Abstract:
We examine how unfavorable social comparisons differentially spur employees of varying hierarchical levels to engage in deception. Drawing on literatures in social psychology and workplace self-esteem, we theorize that negative comparisons with peers could cause either junior or senior employees to seek to improve reported relative performance measures via deception. In a first study, we use deceptive self-downloads on SSRN, the leading working paper repository in the social sciences, to show that employees higher in a hierarchy are more likely to engage in deception, particularly when the employee has enjoyed a high level of past success. In a second study, we confirm this finding in two scenario-based experiments. Our results suggest that longer-tenured and more successful employees face a greater loss of self-esteem from negative social comparisons, and are more likely engage in deception in response to reported performance that is lower than that of peers.

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Gut Check: Reappraisal of Disgust Helps Explain Liberal–Conservative Differences on Issues of Purity

Matthew Feinberg et al.
Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Disgust plays an important role in conservatives’ moral and political judgments, helping to explain why conservatives and liberals differ in their attitudes on issues related to purity. We examined the extent to which the emotion-regulation strategy reappraisal drives the disgust–conservatism relationship. We hypothesized that disgust has less influence on the political and moral judgments of liberals because they tend to regulate disgust reactions through emotional reappraisal more than conservatives. Study 1a found that a greater tendency to reappraise disgust was negatively associated with conservatism, independent of disgust sensitivity. Study 1b replicated this finding, demonstrating that the effect of reappraisal is unique to disgust. In Study 2, liberals condemned a disgusting act less than conservatives, and did so to the extent that they reappraised their initial disgust response. Study 3 manipulated participants’ use of reappraisal when exposed to a video of men kissing. Conservatives instructed to reappraise their emotional reactions subsequently expressed more support for same-sex marriage than conservatives in the control condition, demonstrating attitudes statistically equivalent to liberal participants.

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Does Cultural Exposure Partially Explain the Association Between Personality and Political Orientation?

Xiaowen Xu, Raymond Mar & Jordan Peterson
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Differences in political orientation are partly rooted in personality, with liberalism predicted by Openness to Experience and conservatism by Conscientiousness. Since Openness is positively associated with intellectual and creative activities, these may help shape political orientation. We examined whether exposure to cultural activities and historical knowledge mediates the relationship between personality and political orientation. Specifically, we examined the mediational role of print exposure (Study 1), film exposure (Study 2), and knowledge of American history (Study 3). Studies 1 and 2 found that print and film exposure mediated the relationships Openness to Experience and Conscientiousness have with political orientation. In Study 3, knowledge of American history mediated the relationship between Openness and political orientation, but not the association between Conscientiousness and political orientation. Exposure to culture, and a corollary of this exposure in the form of acquiring knowledge, can therefore partially explain the associations between personality and political orientation.

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Locomotion concerns with moral usefulness: When liberals endorse binding moral foundations

James Cornwell & Tory Higgins
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, January 2014, Pages 109–117

Abstract:
Moral Foundations Theory has provided a framework for understanding the endorsement of different moral beliefs. Our research investigated whether there are other reasons to endorse moral foundations in addition to epistemic concerns; specifically, the perceived social usefulness of moral foundations. In Study 1, we demonstrate that those showing stronger locomotion concerns for controlling movement tend toward a higher endorsement of binding foundations, and that this effect is stronger among political liberals who otherwise do not typically endorse these foundations. In Study 2, we show that priming participants with assessment concerns (emphasizing truth) rather than locomotion concerns (emphasizing control) reduces the response variance among liberals and also removes the association between locomotion and the binding foundations. In Study 3, we directly ask participants to focus on moral truth versus moral usefulness, with moral truth replicating the Study 2 effect of assessment priming, and moral usefulness replicating the effect of locomotion priming.

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Genetic Influences on Political Ideologies: Genome-Wide Findings on Three Populations, and a Mega-Twin Analysis of 19 Measures of Political Ideologies from Five Western Democracies

Peter Hatemi et al.
Behavior Genetics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Almost forty years ago evidence from large studies of adult twins and their relatives suggested that between 30-60% of the variance in Liberal and Conservative attitudes can be explained by genetic influences. However, these findings have not been widely accepted or incorporated into the dominant paradigms that explain the etiology of political ideology. This has been attributed in part to measurement and sample limitations as well the inability to identify specific genetic markers related to political ideology. Here we present results from original analyses of a combined sample of over 12,000 twins pairs, ascertained from nine different studies conducted in five western democracies(Australia, Hungary, Denmark, Sweden, and the U.S.A.), sampled over the course of four decades. We provide definitive evidence that heritability plays a role in the formation of political ideology, regardless of how ideology is measured, the time period or population sampled. The only exceptions are questions that explicitly use the phrase "Left-Right". We then present results from one of the first genome-wide association studies on political ideology using data from three samples: a 1990 Australian sample involving 6,894 individuals from 3,516 families; a 2008 Australian sample of 1,160 related individuals from 635 families and a 2010 Swedish sample involving 3,334 individuals from 2,607 families. Several polymorphisms related to olfaction reached genome-wide significance in the 2008 Australian sample, but did not replicate across samples and remained suggestive in the meta-analysis. The combined evidence suggests that political ideology constitutes a fundamental aspect of one's genetically informed psychological disposition, but as Fisher proposed long ago, genetic influences on complex traits will be composed of thousands of markers of very small effects.

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Personality, Childhood Experience, and Political Ideology

Jan-Emmanuel De Neve
Political Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article studies the relationship between the “big five” personality traits and political ideology in a large U.S. representative sample (N = 14,672). In line with research in political psychology, “openness to experience” is found to predict liberal ideology, and “conscientiousness” predicts conservative ideology. The availability of family clusters in the data is leveraged to show that these results are robust to a sibling fixed-effects specification. The way that personality might interact with environmental influences in the development of ideology is also explored. A variety of childhood experiences are studied that may have a differential effect on political ideology based on a respondent's personality profile. Childhood trauma is found to interact with “openness” in predicting ideology, and this complex relationship is investigated using mediation analysis. These findings provide new evidence for the idea that differences in political ideology are deeply intertwined with variation in the nature and nurture of individual personalities.

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Paving the road to preferential treatment with good intentions: Empathy, accountability and fairness

Steven Blader & Naomi Rothman
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, January 2014, Pages 65–81

Abstract:
Four studies explore whether, why, and under what conditions empathy may prompt group authorities and decision makers to enact preferential treatment toward particular members, favoring those group members over others when making allocation decisions. Based on prior research that emphasizes the prosocial consequences of empathy in dyadic relations, we predicted and found that empathy can prompt group leaders to enact preferential treatment even in multi-party contexts. However, this effect was moderated by the extent to which these leaders were accountable for their decisions, with high accountability attenuating the effect of empathy on preferential treatment. The mediating role of concerns about justice was also explored. Empathy led to preferential treatment among low accountability leaders because empathic emotion led leaders to perceive preferential treatment as relatively fair. In contrast, high accountability leaders evaluated preferential treatment as relatively unfair. These results indicate that empathy leads to preferential treatment because of people’s concerns about fairness — and not despite those concerns. Implications for theory and research on empathy and justice are discussed.

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Physiological Mechanisms That Underlie the Effects of Interactional Unfairness on Deviant Behavior: The Role of Cortisol Activity

Liu-Qin Yang et al.
Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although experiencing unfairness is a primary source of stress, there are surprisingly few studies that have examined the physiological underpinnings of unfairness. Drawing from social self-preservation theory, we derive predictions regarding the effects of interactional unfairness on activity in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis, which is one of the body’s primary hormonal systems for responding to stress. Using an experimental design with objective physiological measures, we found support for our hypothesis that interactional unfairness triggers the release of cortisol by the HPA axis. This cortisol activity in turn mediated the effects of interactional unfairness on deviant behavior. This indirect effect remained significant after controlling for established attitudinal and self-construal mediators of the justice–deviance relationship. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of these findings for the occupational stress and organizational justice literatures.

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Communicating the right emotion makes violence seem less wrong: Power-congruent emotions lead outsiders to legitimize violence of powerless and powerful groups in intractable conflict

Elanor Kamans et al.
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
In intractable intergroup conflicts, groups often try to frame intergroup violence as legitimate through the use of emotional appeals. Two experiments demonstrate that outsiders’ perception of which emotion conflict parties communicate influences the extent to which they legitimize their violence. Results show that although outsiders typically give more leeway to powerless groups because of their “underdog” status, communicating power-congruent emotions qualifies this effect; observers legitimize intergroup violence most when powerless groups communicate fear and when powerful groups communicate anger. This is because fear communicates that the group is a victim that cannot be blamed for their violence, whereas anger communicates that the group is wronged and thus their violence seems righteous and moral. Results further show that sympathy for the powerless appears to be a more fragile basis for legitimization of violence than the moral high ground for the powerful. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of these findings.

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Personal characteristics and lying: An experimental investigation

Jason Childs
Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
We explore the relationship between personal characteristics and the decision to lie to an anonymous partner in a cheap talk environment. We find that sex, age, grade point average, student debt, size of return, socioeconomic status, and average time spent in religious observation are not related to the decision to lie. A subject’s major of study, the marital status of their parents, whether or not they were raised by a single parent, religious importance and whether or not the subjects came to collect their pay were important explanatory variables.

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Fearless dominance mediates the relationship between the facial width-to-height ratio and willingness to cheat

Shawn Geniole et al.
Personality and Individual Differences, forthcoming

Abstract:
The facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) is associated with a range of behaviours in men, but little is known about the underlying psychological mechanisms. We tested whether psychopathic personality traits were related to fWHR and mediated the link between this metric and cheating behaviour. Participants (146 men, 76 women) completed the Psychopathic Personality Inventory-Revised and rolled dice to determine the number of ballots allowed for entry into a lottery for a cash prize. Men’s willingness to cheat (entering more ballots than permitted) and their extent of cheating (number of additional ballots) was associated positively with fearless dominance and fWHR. Further, in men, fearless dominance was correlated with fWHR and mediated the relationship between fWHR and willingness to cheat, but not the extent of cheating. In women, there were no differences in fWHR or in personality traits between cheaters and non-cheaters. Psychopathic personality traits may thus underlie some fWHR-behaviour relationships in men.

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Social distance decreases responders’ sensitivity to fairness in the ultimatum game

Hyunji Kim et al.
Judgment and Decision Making, September 2013, Pages 632–638

Abstract:
Studies using the Ultimatum Game have shown that participants reject unfair offers extended by another person although this incurs a financial cost. Previous research suggests that one possible explanation for this apparently self-defeating response is that unfair offers involve strong negative responses that decrease the chances of responders accepting offers that would objectively constitute a net profit. We tested the hypothesis that one way of reducing responders’ rejections of unfair offers is through increased psychological distance, so that participants move away from the concrete feeling of being unfairly treated. Social distance was manipulated by having participants play the Ultimatum Game either for themselves, or for another person. Compared to deciding for one’s self or a close social contact, participants showed less sensitivity to fairness when deciding for a stranger, as indicated by fewer rejected unfair offers. We suggest that social distance helps people move beyond immediate fairness concerns in the Ultimatum Game.

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The Joint Effects of Machiavellianism and Ethical Environment on Whistle-Blowing

Derek Dalton & Robin Radtke
Journal of Business Ethics, September 2013, Pages 153-172

Abstract:
Given the importance of the Machiavellianism construct on informing a wide range of ethics research, we focus on gaining a better understanding of Machiavellianism within the whistle-blower context. In this regard, we examine the effect of Machiavellianism on whistle-blowing, focusing on the underlying mechanisms through which Machiavellianism affects whistle-blowing. Further, because individuals who are higher in Machiavellianism (high Machs) are expected to be less likely to report wrongdoing, we examine the ability of an organization’s ethical environment to increase whistle-blowing intentions of high Machs. Results from a sample of 116 MBA students support our premise that Machiavellianism is negatively related to whistle-blowing. Further, we find that Machiavellianism has an indirect effect on whistle-blowing through perceived benefits and perceived responsibility. Finally, we find that a strong ethical environment, relative to a weak ethical environment, increases whistle-blowing intentions incrementally more for individuals who are higher in Machiavellianism. Taken together, these findings extend our understanding of how Machiavellianism and an organization’s ethical environment impact whistle-blowing.

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Harming Ourselves and Defiling Others: What Determines a Moral Domain?

Alek Chakroff, James Dungan & Liane Young
PLoS ONE, September 2013

Abstract:
Recent work has distinguished “harm” from “purity” violations, but how does an act get classified as belonging to a domain in the first place? We demonstrate the impact of not only the kind of action (e.g., harmful versus impure) but also its target (e.g., oneself versus another). Across two experiments, common signatures of harm and purity tracked with other-directed and self-directed actions, respectively. First, participants judged self-directed acts as primarily impure and other-directed acts as primarily harmful. Second, conservatism predicted harsher judgments of self-directed but not other-directed acts. Third, while participants delivered harsher judgments of intentional versus accidental acts, this effect was smaller for self-directed than other-directed acts. Finally, participants judged self-directed acts more harshly when focusing on the actor’s character versus the action itself; other-directed acts elicited the opposite pattern. These findings suggest that moral domains are defined not only by the kind of action but also by the target of the action.

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What People Think About Torture: Torture Is Inherently Bad … Unless It Can Save Someone I Love

Shannon Houck & Lucian Gideon Conway
Journal of Applied Security Research, Fall 2013, Pages 429-454

Abstract:
Prior research suggests people's abstract views of torture are often negative. We suspected, however, that those views might not fully represent torture perceptions in a scenario where they felt closeness to the potential victims. To test this idea, participants read a scenario about a crisis situation and completed measurements of their support for torture usage in the scenario. Scenarios varied in their degree of personal closeness to the victim. Results from 2 studies suggest that people were considerably more likely to support torture in applied, personally relevant scenarios compared to at-a-distant scenarios involving unknown victims. These studies can inform both our understanding of torture perceptions and the current cultural debate between deontologists and consequentialists about this topic.

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Methodological concerns in moral judgement research: Severity of harm shapes moral decisions

Bastien Trémolière & Wim De Neys
Journal of Cognitive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research on moral judgement traditionally deals with scenarios involving trade-offs between saving lives and causing harm or death. In the field of moral psychology and philosophy, these specific scenarios are regularly used jointly, regardless of the severity of harm. We predicted that the confounding between distinct phrasings involving different degrees of harm will have an impact on the frequency of utilitarian judgements regardless of the mere moral value of the action (as usually investigated in the moral judgement field). In line with this prediction, a first experiment showed that utilitarian responses were less frequent for conflicting moral scenarios that involved death, as compared to scenarios that involved non-lethal harm. A second experiment showed that participants' utilitarian responses decreased as the severity of harm increased. Experimental studies on moral reasoning should take greater care to avoid potential confounds associated with this content factor.

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Disaster threat and justice sensitivity: A terror management perspective

Andreas Kastenmüller et al.
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Based on terror management theory, we tested the idea that reminders of death strengthen justice sensitivity. In Study 1, we exposed participants to three different kinds of death-related pictures (terrorism vs. natural disasters vs. graveyards) or neutral pictures. The results showed that death-related visual material led to more justice sensitivity from three perspectives (victim, observer, and perpetrator) than neutral visual material. Likewise, Study 2 indicated that fake newspaper articles claiming that the likelihood of terrorism is very high (vs. low) strengthened these three justice sensitivity types. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

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Are People More Disturbed by Animal or Human Suffering: The Influence of Species and Age

Jack Levin & Arnold Arluke
Northeastern University Working Paper, August 2013

Abstract:
This research examines the widely held belief that people are more emotionally disturbed by reports of animal than human suffering or abuse. Two hundred and fifty six undergraduates at a major northeastern university were asked to indicate their degree of empathy for either a brutally beaten human adult or child versus an adult dog or puppy, as described in a fictitious news report. In a 2 (dog vs human) X 2 (infant or puppy vs adult) factorial experimental design, participants responded to one of four vignettes on a scale designed to assess their degree of empathy. We hypothesized that the dependence of victims — their age and not species — would determine participants’ level of distress and concern for them. However, results revealed a somewhat more complicated picture. The main effect for age but not for species was significant. In a significant interaction effect, moreover, we found significantly more empathy for victims who are human children, puppies and fully-grown dogs than for victims who are adult humans. In other words, age makes a difference for empathy toward human victims, but not for dog victims. We also found that female participants were significantly more empathic toward victims — either human or animal — than were their male counterparts.

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Focused on Fairness: Alcohol Intoxication Increases the Costly Rejection of Inequitable Rewards

Carey Morewedge, Tamar Krishnamurti & Dan Ariely
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, January 2014, Pages 15–20

Abstract:
This research examined the effect of alcohol intoxication on the propensity to behave inequitably and responses to inequitable divisions of rewards. Intoxicated and sober participants played ten rounds of a modified ultimatum game in two studies. Whereas intoxicated and sober participants were similarly generous in the proposals they made to their partners, intoxicated participants more often rejected unfair offers than did sober participants. These results were consistent whether alcohol intoxication was self-determined (Study 1) or randomly assigned (Study 2). The results provide insight into the cognitive processes underlying standards of equity and responses to inequity, and elucidate how intoxication influences these processes and subsequent behavioral responses.

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Unfairness sensitivity and social decision-making in individuals with alcohol dependence: A preliminary study

Damien Brevers et al.
Drug and Alcohol Dependence, forthcoming

Background: Altruistic punishment is an evolutionary-based mechanism aimed at maximizing the probability of reciprocity in cooperative exchanges, through the deterrence of non-cooperators. In economic games, humans will often punish others for non-cooperation, even if this punishment is costly to the self. For instance, in the Ultimatum Game paradigm, people refuse offers considered as unfair even though they are disadvantaged financially by doing so. Here, we hypothesize that, due to an impulsive decision making style, individuals with alcoholism will display an heightened unfairness sensitivity that leads them to reject advantageous offers more frequently on the Ultimatum Game

Methods: Thirty recently detoxified alcohol-dependent individuals and 30 matched healthy control participants performed the Ultimatum Game task, in which participants had to respond to take-it-or-leave-it offers ranging from fair to unfair and made by a fictive proposer

Results: Alcohol-dependent participants decided to reject unfair offers more frequently during the Ultimatum Game, as compared to controls

Conclusions: In situations of social frustration or irritation, such as unfair Ultimatum Game offers, alcohol-dependent individuals may have more difficulty than controls regulating their emotional impulses, and respond aggressively or retributively (i.e., by rejecting the unfair offer).

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An fMRI study of affective perspective taking in individuals with psychopathy: Imagining another in pain does not evoke empathy

Jean Decety et al.
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, September 2013

Abstract:
While it is well established that individuals with psychopathy have a marked deficit in affective arousal, emotional empathy, and caring for the well-being of others, the extent to which perspective taking can elicit an emotional response has not yet been studied despite its potential application in rehabilitation. In healthy individuals, affective perspective taking has proven to be an effective means to elicit empathy and concern for others. To examine neural responses in individuals who vary in psychopathy during affective perspective taking, 121 incarcerated males, classified as high (n = 37; Hare psychopathy checklist-revised, PCL-R ≥ 30), intermediate (n = 44; PCL-R between 21 and 29), and low (n = 40; PCL-R ≤ 20) psychopaths, were scanned while viewing stimuli depicting bodily injuries and adopting an imagine-self and an imagine-other perspective. During the imagine-self perspective, participants with high psychopathy showed a typical response within the network involved in empathy for pain, including the anterior insula (aINS), anterior midcingulate cortex (aMCC), supplementary motor area (SMA), inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), somatosensory cortex, and right amygdala. Conversely, during the imagine-other perspective, psychopaths exhibited an atypical pattern of brain activation and effective connectivity seeded in the anterior insula and amygdala with the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC). The response in the amygdala and insula was inversely correlated with PCL-R Factor 1 (interpersonal/affective) during the imagine-other perspective. In high psychopaths, scores on PCL-R Factor 1 predicted the neural response in ventral striatum when imagining others in pain. These patterns of brain activation and effective connectivity associated with differential perspective-taking provide a better understanding of empathy dysfunction in psychopathy, and have the potential to inform intervention programs for this complex clinical problem.

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Studying deception without deceiving participants: An experiment of deception experiments

Federica Alberti & Werner Güth
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, September 2013, Pages 196–204

Abstract:
Like avoiding labor protection laws via foreign subcontractors, banning deception in economic experiments does not exclude experiments with participants in the role of experimenters who, similar to properly incentivized subcontractors, can gain by deceiving those in the role of proper participants. We compare treatments with and without possible deception by ‘experimenter-participants’ in a dictator experiment and test whether participants in the role of experimenters engage in deception and whether deception affects the behavior of ‘participant-participants.’ We find that most participants in the role of experimenters engage in deception and that there is no difference in the behavior of participant-participants between treatments, even when repeating the experiment without deception after debriefing. Our results can be viewed as a contribution to studying the effects of unethical behavior via outsourcing it to subcontractors, by letting them do the harm.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Gassy

Delayed detection of climate mitigation benefits due to climate inertia and variability

Claudia Tebaldi & Pierre Friedlingstein
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Climate change mitigation acts by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and thus curbing, or even reversing, the increase in their atmospheric concentration. This reduces the associated anthropogenic radiative forcing, and hence the size of the warming. Because of the inertia and internal variability affecting the climate system and the global carbon cycle, it is unlikely that a reduction in warming would be immediately discernible. Here we use 21st century simulations from the latest ensemble of Earth System Model experiments to investigate and quantify when mitigation becomes clearly discernible. We use one of the scenarios as a reference for a strong mitigation strategy, Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 2.6 and compare its outcome with either RCP4.5 or RCP8.5, both of which are less severe mitigation pathways. We analyze global mean atmospheric CO2, and changes in annually and seasonally averaged surface temperature at global and regional scales. For global mean surface temperature, the median detection time of mitigation is about 25–30 y after RCP2.6 emissions depart from the higher emission trajectories. This translates into detection of a mitigation signal by 2035 or 2045, depending on whether the comparison is with RCP8.5 or RCP4.5, respectively. The detection of climate benefits of emission mitigation occurs later at regional scales, with a median detection time between 30 and 45 y after emission paths separate. Requiring a 95% confidence level induces a delay of several decades, bringing detection time toward the end of the 21st century.

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When Truth Is Personally Inconvenient, Attitudes Change: The Impact of Extreme Weather on Implicit Support for Green Politicians and Explicit Climate-Change Beliefs

Laurie Rudman, Meghan McLean & Martin Bunzl
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
A naturalistic investigation of New Jersey residents, both before and after they experienced Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, examined support for politicians committed or opposed to policies designed to combat climate change. At Time 1, before both hurricanes, participants showed negative implicit attitudes toward a green politician, but at Time 2, after the hurricanes, participants drawn from the same cohort showed a reversed automatic preference. Moreover, those who were significantly affected by Hurricane Sandy were especially likely to implicitly prefer the green politician, and implicit attitudes were the best predictor of voting after the storms, whereas explicit climate-change beliefs was the best predictor before the storms. In concert, the results suggest that direct experience with extreme weather can increase pro-environmentalism, and further support conceptualizing affective experiences as a source of implicit attitudes.

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Weather, Salience of Climate Change and Congressional Voting

Evan Herrnstadt & Erich Muehlegger
Harvard Working Paper, June 2013

Abstract:
Climate change is a complex long-run phenomenon. The speed and severity with which it is occurring is difficult to observe, complicating the formation of beliefs for individuals. We use Google Insights search intensity data as a proxy for the salience of climate change and examine how search patterns vary with unusual local weather. We find that searches for "climate change" and "global warming" increase with extreme temperatures and unusual lack of snow. The responsiveness to weather shocks is greater in states that are more reliant on climate-sensitive industries and that elect more environmentally-favorable congressional delegations. Furthermore, we demonstrate that effects of abnormal weather extend beyond search behavior to observable action on environmental issues. We examine the voting records of members of the U.S. Congress from 2004 to 2011 and find that members are more likely to take a pro-environment stance on votes when their home-state experiences unusual weather.

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Addressing Global Environmental Externalities: Transaction Costs Considerations

Gary Libecap
NBER Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
Is there a way to understand why some global environmental externalities are addressed effectively whereas others are not? The transaction costs of defining the property rights to mitigation benefits and costs is a useful framework for such analysis. This approach views international cooperation as a contractual process among country leaders to assign those property rights. Leaders cooperate when it serves domestic interests to do so. The demand for property rights comes from those who value and stand to gain from multilateral action. Property rights are supplied by international agreements that specify resource access and use, assign costs and benefits including outlining the size and duration of compensating transfer payments and determining who will pay and who will receive them. Four factors raise the transaction costs of assigning property rights: (i) scientific uncertainty regarding mitigation benefits and costs; (ii) varying preferences and perceptions across heterogeneous populations; (iii) asymmetric information; and (iv) the extent of compliance and new entry. These factors are used to examine the role of transaction costs in the establishment and allocation of property rights to provide globally-valued national parks, implement the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), execute the Montreal Protocol to control emissions that damage the stratospheric ozone layer, set limits on harvest of highly-migratory ocean fish stocks, and control greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).

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The Structure of Economic Modeling of the Potential Impacts of Climate Change: Grafting Gross Underestimation of Risk onto Already Narrow Science Models

Nicholas Stern
Journal of Economic Literature, September 2013, Pages 838-859

Abstract:
Scientists describe the scale of the risks from unmanaged climate change as potentially immense. However, the scientific models, because they omit key factors that are hard to capture precisely, appear to substantially underestimate these risks. Many economic models add further gross underassessment of risk because the assumptions built into the economic modeling on growth, damages and risks, come close to assuming directly that the impacts and costs will be modest and close to excluding the possibility of catastrophic outcomes. A new generation of models is needed in all three of climate science, impact and economics with a still stronger focus on lives and livelihoods, including the risks of large-scale migration and conflicts.

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Robust increases in severe thunderstorm environments in response to greenhouse forcing

Noah Diffenbaugh, Martin Scherer & Robert Trapp
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 8 October 2013, Pages 16361-16366

Abstract:
Although severe thunderstorms are one of the primary causes of catastrophic loss in the United States, their response to elevated greenhouse forcing has remained a prominent source of uncertainty for climate change impacts assessment. We find that the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, Phase 5, global climate model ensemble indicates robust increases in the occurrence of severe thunderstorm environments over the eastern United States in response to further global warming. For spring and autumn, these robust increases emerge before mean global warming of 2 °C above the preindustrial baseline. We also find that days with high convective available potential energy (CAPE) and strong low-level wind shear increase in occurrence, suggesting an increasing likelihood of atmospheric conditions that contribute to the most severe events, including tornadoes. In contrast, whereas expected decreases in mean wind shear have been used to argue for a negative influence of global warming on severe thunderstorms, we find that decreases in shear are in fact concentrated in days with low CAPE and therefore do not decrease the total occurrence of severe environments. Further, we find that the shift toward high CAPE is most concentrated in days with low convective inhibition, increasing the occurrence of high-CAPE/low-convective inhibition days. The fact that the projected increases in severe environments are robust across a suite of climate models, emerge in response to relatively moderate global warming, and result from robust physical changes suggests that continued increases in greenhouse forcing are likely to increase severe thunderstorm occurrence, thereby increasing the risk of thunderstorm-related damage.

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Distributional and Efficiency Impacts of Clean and Renewable Energy Standards for Electricity

Sebastian Rausch & Matthew Mowers
Resource and Energy Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine the efficiency and distributional impacts of greenhouse gas policies directed toward the electricity sector in a model that links a “top-down” general equilibrium representation of the U.S. economy with a “bottom-up” electricity-sector dispatch and capacity expansion model. Our modeling framework features a high spatial and temporal resolution of electricity supply and demand, including renewable energy resources and generating technologies, while representing CO2 abatement options in non-electric sectors as well as economy-wide interactions. We find that clean and renewable energy standards entail substantial efficiency costs compared to a carbon pricing policy such as a cap-and-trade program or a carbon tax, and that these policies are regressive across the income distribution. The geographical distribution of cost is characterized by high burdens for regions that depend on non-qualifying generation fuels, primarily coal. Regions with abundant hydro power and wind resources, and a relatively clean generation mix in the absence of policy, are among the least impacted. An important shortcoming of energy standards vis-à-vis a carbon pricing policy is that no revenue is generated that can be used to alter unintended distributional consequences.

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Trade sanctions in international environmental policy: Deterring or encouraging free riding?

Alexandra Cirone & Johannes Urpelainen
Conflict Management and Peace Science, September 2013, Pages 309-334

Abstract:
Could trade sanctions improve environmental cooperation by reducing countries’ incentives to free ride? While carbon tariffs are a widely debated environmental policy, their ability to facilitate climate cooperation remains unclear. We examine game-theoretic models of environmental cooperation with and without trade sanctions. While trade sanctions prevent free riders from obtaining unfair competitive advantages, we show that they can also impede environmental cooperation. Most importantly, since trade sanctions reduce the cost of unilateral policy, they prevent environmentally inclined countries from credibly threatening to suspend cooperation if other countries defect. We use these findings to illuminate outcomes in normatively important cases such as ozone depletion and overfishing, and discuss how they cast a shadow of doubt on the use of carbon tariffs to enforce climate cooperation.

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Climate policy and dependence on traded carbon

Robbie Andrew, Steven Davis & Glen Peters
Environmental Research Letters, July 2013

Abstract:
A growing number of countries regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions occurring within their borders, but due to rapid growth in international trade, the products consumed in many of the same countries increasingly rely on coal, oil and gas extracted and burned in other countries where CO2 is not regulated. As a consequence, existing national and regional climate policies may be growing less effective every year. Furthermore, countries that are dependent on imported products or fossil fuels are more exposed to energy and climate policies in other countries. We show that the combined international trade in carbon (as fossil fuels and also embodied in products) increased from 12.3 GtCO2 (55% of global emissions) in 1997 to 17.6 GtCO2 (60%) in 2007 (growing at 3.7% yr−1). Within this, trade in fossil fuels was larger (10.8 GtCO2 in 2007) than trade in embodied carbon (6.9 GtCO2), but the latter grew faster (4.6% yr−1 compared with 3.1% yr−1 for fuels). Most major economies demonstrate increased dependence on traded carbon, either as exports or as imports. Because energy is increasingly embodied in internationally traded products, both as fossil fuels and as products, energy and climate policies in other countries may weaken domestic climate policy via carbon leakage and mask energy security issues.

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Co-benefits of mitigating global greenhouse gas emissions for future air quality and human health

Jason West et al.
Nature Climate Change, October 2013, Pages 885–889

Abstract:
Actions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions often reduce co-emitted air pollutants, bringing co-benefits for air quality and human health. Past studies typically evaluated near-term and local co-benefits, neglecting the long-range transport of air pollutants, long-term demographic changes, and the influence of climate change on air quality. Here we simulate the co-benefits of global GHG reductions on air quality and human health using a global atmospheric model and consistent future scenarios, via two mechanisms: reducing co-emitted air pollutants, and slowing climate change and its effect on air quality. We use new relationships between chronic mortality and exposure to fine particulate matter and ozone, global modelling methods and new future scenarios. Relative to a reference scenario, global GHG mitigation avoids 0.5±0.2, 1.3±0.5 and 2.2±0.8 million premature deaths in 2030, 2050 and 2100. Global average marginal co-benefits of avoided mortality are US$50–380 per tonne of CO2, which exceed previous estimates, exceed marginal abatement costs in 2030 and 2050, and are within the low range of costs in 2100. East Asian co-benefits are 10–70 times the marginal cost in 2030. Air quality and health co-benefits, especially as they are mainly local and near-term, provide strong additional motivation for transitioning to a low-carbon future.

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Combined inequality in wealth and risk leads to disaster in the climate change game

Maxwell Burton-Chellew, Robert May & Stuart West
Climatic Change, October 2013, Pages 815-830

Abstract:
It is generally agreed that the risk of catastrophic climate change can only be reduced if agents cooperate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the course of the 21st Century. Previous economic experiments have suggested that sufficient cooperation can often be achieved providing individuals are adequately and convincingly informed of the consequences of their actions and the stakes involved. However, this previous work, has not allowed for the fact that in the real world agents vary in both: (1) their resources to mitigate climate change, and (2) the consequences that they face from climate change. We develop and expand the protocol of previous economic experiments to investigate the introduction of such combined asymmetries. We find that when inequality in resources is combined with a greater relative risk for poorer members, cooperation collapses, with tragic consequences. This is because the rich invest proportionally less into preventing climate change when they are less at risk. We also find, through the use of a post-game questionnaire, that those individuals who were more skeptical about climate change in the real world cooperated less in our games. Insofar as such experiments can be trusted as a guide to either people’s everyday behaviour or the interactions of nation states, these results suggest that voluntary cooperation to avoid climate catastrophe in the real world is likely to be hard to achieve.

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“Not in (or Under) My Backyard”: Geographic Proximity and Public Acceptance of Carbon Capture and Storage Facilities

Rachel Krause et al.
Risk Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is an innovative technical approach to mitigate the problem of climate change by capturing carbon dioxide emissions and injecting them underground for permanent geological storage. CCS has been perceived both positively, as an innovative approach to facilitate a more environmentally benign use of fossil fuels while also generating local economic benefits, and negatively, as a technology that prolongs the use of carbon-intensive energy sources and burdens local communities with prohibitive costs and ecological and human health risks. This article extends existing research on the “not in my backyard” (NIMBY) phenomenon in a direction that explores the public acceptance of CCS. We utilize survey data collected from 1,001 residents of the coal-intensive U.S. state of Indiana. Over 80% of respondents express support for the general use of CCS technology. However, 20% of these initial supporters exhibit a NIMBY-like reaction and switch to opposition as a CCS facility is proposed close to their communities. Respondents’ worldviews, their beliefs about the local economic benefits that CCS will generate, and their concerns about its safety have the greatest impact on increasing or decreasing the acceptance of nearby facilities. These results lend valuable insights into the perceived risks associated with CCS technology and the possibilities for its public acceptance at both a national and local scale. They may be extended further to provide initial insights into likely public reactions to other technologies that share a similar underground dimension, such as hydraulic fracturing.

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Human and natural influences on the changing thermal structure of the atmosphere

Benjamin Santer et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Since the late 1970s, satellite-based instruments have monitored global changes in atmospheric temperature. These measurements reveal multidecadal tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling, punctuated by short-term volcanic signals of reverse sign. Similar long- and short-term temperature signals occur in model simulations driven by human-caused changes in atmospheric composition and natural variations in volcanic aerosols. Most previous comparisons of modeled and observed atmospheric temperature changes have used results from individual models and individual observational records. In contrast, we rely on a large multimodel archive and multiple observational datasets. We show that a human-caused latitude/altitude pattern of atmospheric temperature change can be identified with high statistical confidence in satellite data. Results are robust to current uncertainties in models and observations. Virtually all previous research in this area has attempted to discriminate an anthropogenic signal from internal variability. Here, we present evidence that a human-caused signal can also be identified relative to the larger “total” natural variability arising from sources internal to the climate system, solar irradiance changes, and volcanic forcing. Consistent signal identification occurs because both internal and total natural variability (as simulated by state-of-the-art models) cannot produce sustained global-scale tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling. Our results provide clear evidence for a discernible human influence on the thermal structure of the atmosphere.

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Decarbonizing Europe’s power sector by 2050 - Analyzing the economic implications of alternative decarbonization pathways

Cosima Jägemann et al.
Energy Economics, November 2013, Pages 622–636

Abstract:
The European Union aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95 % in 2050 compared to 1990 levels. The transition towards a low-carbon economy implies the almost complete decarbonization of Europe's power sector, which could be achieved along various pathways. In this paper, we evaluate the economic implications of alternative energy policies for Europe's power sector by applying a linear dynamic electricity system optimization model in over 36 scenarios. We find that the costs of decarbonizing Europe's power sector by 2050 vary between 139 and 633 bn €2010, which corresponds to an increase of between 11 % and 44 % compared to the total system costs when no CO2 reduction targets are implemented. In line with economic theory, the decarbonization of Europe's power sector is achieved at minimal costs under a stand-alone CO2 reduction target, which ensures competition between all low-carbon technologies. If, however, renewable energies are exempt from competition via supplementary renewable energy (RES-E) targets or if investments in new nuclear and CCS power plants are politically restricted, the costs of decarbonization significantly rise. Moreover, we find that the excess costs of supplementary RES-E targets depend on the acceptance of alternative lowcarbon technologies. For example, given a complete nuclear phase-out in Europe by 2050 and politically implemented restrictions on the application of CCS to conventional power plants, supplementary RES-E targets are redundant. While in such a scenario the overall costs of decarbonization are comparatively high, the excess costs of supplementary RES-E targets are close to zero.

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Climate change mitigation policies and poverty in developing countries

Zekarias Hussein, Thomas Hertel & Alla Golub
Environmental Research Letters, July 2013

Abstract:
Mitigation of the potential impacts of climate change is one of the leading policy concerns of the 21st century. However, there continues to be heated debate about the nature, the content and, most importantly, the impact of the policy actions needed to limit greenhouse gas emissions. One contributing factor is the lack of systematic evidence on the impact of mitigation policy on the welfare of the poor in developing countries. In this letter we consider two alternative policy scenarios, one in which only the Annex I countries take action, and the second in which the first policy is accompanied by a forest carbon sequestration policy in the non-Annex regions. Using an economic climate policy analysis framework, we assess the poverty impacts of the above policy scenarios on seven socio-economic groups in 14 developing countries. We find that the Annex-I-only policy is poverty friendly, since it enhances the competitiveness of non-Annex countries — particularly in agricultural production. However, once forest carbon sequestration incentives in the non-Annex regions are added to the policy package, the overall effect is to raise poverty in the majority of our sample countries. The reason for this outcome is that the dominant impacts of this policy are to raise returns to land, reduce agricultural output and raise food prices. Since poor households rely primarily on their own labor for income, and generally own little land, and since they also spend a large share of their income on food, they are generally hurt on both the earning and the spending fronts. This result is troubling, since forest carbon sequestration — particularly through avoided deforestation — is a promising, low cost option for climate change mitigation.

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The danger of overvaluing methane’s influence on future climate change

Julie Shoemaker & Daniel Schrag
Climatic Change, October 2013, Pages 903-914

Abstract:
Minimizing the future impacts of climate change requires reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) load in the atmosphere. Anthropogenic emissions include many types of GHG’s as well as particulates such as black carbon and sulfate aerosols, each of which has a different effect on the atmosphere, and a different atmospheric lifetime. Several recent studies have advocated for the importance of short timescales when comparing the climate impact of different climate pollutants, placing a high relative value on short-lived pollutants, such as methane (CH4) and black carbon (BC) versus carbon dioxide (CO2). These studies have generated confusion over how to value changes in temperature that occur over short versus long timescales. We show the temperature changes that result from exchanging CO2 for CH4 using a variety of commonly suggested metrics to illustrate the trade-offs involved in potential carbon trading mechanisms that place a high value on CH4 emissions. Reducing CH4 emissions today would lead to a climate cooling of approximately ~0.5 °C, but this value will not change greatly if we delay reducing CH4 emissions by years or decades. This is not true for CO2, for which the climate is influenced by cumulative emissions. Any delay in reducing CO2 emissions is likely to lead to higher cumulative emissions, and more warming. The exact warming resulting from this delay depends on the trajectory of future CO2 emissions but using one business-as usual-projection we estimate an increase of 3/4 °C for every 15-year delay in CO2 mitigation. Overvaluing the influence of CH4 emissions on climate could easily result in our “locking” the earth into a warmer temperature trajectory, one that is temporarily masked by the short-term cooling effects of the CH4 reductions, but then persists for many generations.

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Measurements of methane emissions at natural gas production sites in the United States

David Allen et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Engineering estimates of methane emissions from natural gas production have led to varied projections of national emissions. This work reports direct measurements of methane emissions at 190 onshore natural gas sites in the United States (150 production sites, 27 well completion flowbacks, 9 well unloadings, and 4 workovers). For well completion flowbacks, which clear fractured wells of liquid to allow gas production, methane emissions ranged from 0.01 Mg to 17 Mg (mean = 1.7 Mg; 95% confidence bounds of 0.67–3.3 Mg), compared with an average of 81 Mg per event in the 2011 EPA national emission inventory from April 2013. Emission factors for pneumatic pumps and controllers as well as equipment leaks were both comparable to and higher than estimates in the national inventory. Overall, if emission factors from this work for completion flowbacks, equipment leaks, and pneumatic pumps and controllers are assumed to be representative of national populations and are used to estimate national emissions, total annual emissions from these source categories are calculated to be 957 Gg of methane (with sampling and measurement uncertainties estimated at ±200 Gg). The estimate for comparable source categories in the EPA national inventory is ∼1,200 Gg. Additional measurements of unloadings and workovers are needed to produce national emission estimates for these source categories. The 957 Gg in emissions for completion flowbacks, pneumatics, and equipment leaks, coupled with EPA national inventory estimates for other categories, leads to an estimated 2,300 Gg of methane emissions from natural gas production (0.42% of gross gas production).

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Estimating the Carbon Sequestration Capacity of Shale Formations Using Methane Production Rates

Zhiyuan Tao & Andres Clarens
Environmental Science & Technology, 1 October 2013, Pages 11318–11325

Abstract:
Hydraulically fractured shale formations are being developed widely for oil and gas production. They could also represent an attractive repository for permanent geologic carbon sequestration. Shales have a low permeability, but they can adsorb an appreciable amount of CO2 on fracture surfaces. Here, a computational method is proposed for estimating the CO2 sequestration capacity of a fractured shale formation and it is applied to the Marcellus shale in the eastern United States. The model is based on historical and projected CH4 production along with published data and models for CH4/CO2 sorption equilibria and kinetics. The results suggest that the Marcellus shale alone could store between 10.4 and 18.4 Gt of CO2 between now and 2030, which represents more than 50% of total U.S. CO2 emissions from stationary sources over the same period. Other shale formations with comparable pressure–temperature conditions, such as Haynesville and Barnett, could provide significant additional storage capacity. The mass transfer kinetic results indicate that injection of CO2 would proceed several times faster than production of CH4. Additional considerations not included in this model could either reinforce (e.g., leveraging of existing extraction and monitoring infrastructure) or undermine (e.g., leakage or seismicity potential) this approach, but the sequestration capacity estimated here supports continued exploration into this pathway for producing carbon neutral energy.

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Mapping climate change in European temperature distributions

David Stainforth, Sandra Chapman & Nicholas Watkins
Environmental Research Letters, September 2013

Abstract:
Climate change poses challenges for decision makers across society, not just in preparing for the climate of the future but even when planning for the climate of the present day. When making climate sensitive decisions, policy makers and adaptation planners would benefit from information on local scales and for user-specific quantiles (e.g. the hottest/coldest 5% of days) and thresholds (e.g. days above 28 ° C), not just mean changes. Here, we translate observations of weather into observations of climate change, providing maps of the changing shape of climatic temperature distributions across Europe since 1950. The provision of such information from observations is valuable to support decisions designed to be robust in today's climate, while also providing data against which climate forecasting methods can be judged and interpreted. The general statement that the hottest summer days are warming faster than the coolest is made decision relevant by exposing how the regions of greatest warming are quantile and threshold dependent. In a band from Northern France to Denmark, where the response is greatest, the hottest days in the temperature distribution have seen changes of at least 2 ° C, over four times the global mean change over the same period. In winter the coldest nights are warming fastest, particularly in Scandinavia.

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Experimental and Natural Warming Elevates Mercury Concentrations in Estuarine Fish

Jennifer Dijkstra et al.
PLoS ONE, March 2013

Abstract:
Marine food webs are the most important link between the global contaminant, methylmercury (MeHg), and human exposure through consumption of seafood. Warming temperatures may increase human exposure to MeHg, a potent neurotoxin, by increasing MeHg production as well as bioaccumulation and trophic transfer through marine food webs. Studies of the effects of temperature on MeHg bioaccumulation are rare and no study has specifically related temperature to MeHg fate by linking laboratory experiments with natural field manipulations in coastal ecosystems. We performed laboratory and field experiments on MeHg accumulation under varying temperature regimes using the killifish, Fundulus heteroclitus. Temperature treatments were established in salt pools on a coastal salt marsh using a natural temperature gradient where killifish fed on natural food sources. Temperatures were manipulated across a wider range in laboratory experiments with killifish exposed to MeHg enriched food. In both laboratory microcosms and field mesocosms, MeHg concentrations in killifish significantly increased at elevated temperatures. Moreover, in field experiments, other ancillary variables (salinity, MeHg in sediment, etc.) did not relate to MeHg bioaccumulation. Modeling of laboratory experimental results suggested increases in metabolic rate as a driving factor. The elevated temperatures we tested are consistent with predicted trends in climate warming, and indicate that in the absence of confounding factors, warmer sea surface temperatures could result in greater in bioaccumulation of MeHg in fish, and consequently, increased human exposure.

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Coastal habitats shield people and property from sea-level rise and storms

Katie Arkema et al.
Nature Climate Change, October 2013, Pages 913–918

Abstract:
Extreme weather, sea-level rise and degraded coastal ecosystems are placing people and property at greater risk of damage from coastal hazards. The likelihood and magnitude of losses may be reduced by intact reefs and coastal vegetation, especially when those habitats fringe vulnerable communities and infrastructure. Using five sea-level-rise scenarios, we calculate a hazard index for every 1 km2 of the United States coastline. We use this index to identify the most vulnerable people and property as indicated by being in the upper quartile of hazard for the nation’s coastline. The number of people, poor families, elderly and total value of residential property that are most exposed to hazards can be reduced by half if existing coastal habitats remain fully intact. Coastal habitats defend the greatest number of people and total property value in Florida, New York and California. Our analyses deliver the first national map of risk reduction owing to natural habitats and indicates where conservation and restoration of reefs and vegetation have the greatest potential to protect coastal communities.

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Recent global-warming hiatus tied to equatorial Pacific surface cooling

Yu Kosaka & Shang-Ping Xie
Nature, 19 September 2013, Pages 403–407

Abstract:
Despite the continued increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, the annual-mean global temperature has not risen in the twenty-first century, challenging the prevailing view that anthropogenic forcing causes climate warming. Various mechanisms have been proposed for this hiatus in global warming, but their relative importance has not been quantified, hampering observational estimates of climate sensitivity. Here we show that accounting for recent cooling in the eastern equatorial Pacific reconciles climate simulations and observations. We present a novel method of uncovering mechanisms for global temperature change by prescribing, in addition to radiative forcing, the observed history of sea surface temperature over the central to eastern tropical Pacific in a climate model. Although the surface temperature prescription is limited to only 8.2% of the global surface, our model reproduces the annual-mean global temperature remarkably well with correlation coefficient r = 0.97 for 1970–2012 (which includes the current hiatus and a period of accelerated global warming). Moreover, our simulation captures major seasonal and regional characteristics of the hiatus, including the intensified Walker circulation, the winter cooling in northwestern North America and the prolonged drought in the southern USA. Our results show that the current hiatus is part of natural climate variability, tied specifically to a La-Niña-like decadal cooling. Although similar decadal hiatus events may occur in the future, the multi-decadal warming trend is very likely to continue with greenhouse gas increase.

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End of the Little Ice Age in the Alps forced by industrial black carbon

Thomas Painter et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 17 September 2013, Pages 15216-15221

Abstract:
Glaciers in the European Alps began to retreat abruptly from their mid-19th century maximum, marking what appeared to be the end of the Little Ice Age. Alpine temperature and precipitation records suggest that glaciers should instead have continued to grow until circa 1910. Radiative forcing by increasing deposition of industrial black carbon to snow may represent the driver of the abrupt glacier retreats in the Alps that began in the mid-19th century. Ice cores indicate that black carbon concentrations increased abruptly in the mid-19th century and largely continued to increase into the 20th century, consistent with known increases in black carbon emissions from the industrialization of Western Europe. Inferred annual surface radiative forcings increased stepwise to 13–17 W⋅m−2 between 1850 and 1880, and to 9–22 W⋅m−2 in the early 1900s, with snowmelt season (April/May/June) forcings reaching greater than 35 W⋅m−2 by the early 1900s. These snowmelt season radiative forcings would have resulted in additional annual snow melting of as much as 0.9 m water equivalent across the melt season. Simulations of glacier mass balances with radiative forcing-equivalent changes in atmospheric temperatures result in conservative estimates of accumulating negative mass balances of magnitude −15 m water equivalent by 1900 and −30 m water equivalent by 1930, magnitudes and timing consistent with the observed retreat. These results suggest a possible physical explanation for the abrupt retreat of glaciers in the Alps in the mid-19th century that is consistent with existing temperature and precipitation records and reconstructions.

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Separating Forced from Chaotic Climate Variability over the Past Millennium

Andrew Schurer et al.
Journal of Climate, September 2013, Pages 6954–6973

Abstract:
Reconstructions of past climate show notable temperature variability over the past millennium, with relatively warm conditions during the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) and a relatively cold Little Ice Age (LIA). Multimodel simulations of the past millennium are used together with a wide range of reconstructions of Northern Hemispheric mean annual temperature to separate climate variability from 850 to 1950 CE into components attributable to external forcing and internal climate variability. External forcing is found to contribute significantly to long-term temperature variations irrespective of the proxy reconstruction, particularly from 1400 onward. Over the MCA alone, however, the effect of forcing is only detectable in about half of the reconstructions considered, and the response to forcing in the models cannot explain the warm conditions around 1000 CE seen in some reconstructions. The residual from the detection analysis is used to estimate internal variability independent from climate modeling, and it is found that the recent observed 50- and 100-yr hemispheric temperature trends are substantially larger than any of the internally generated trends even using the large residuals over the MCA. Variations in solar output and explosive volcanism are found to be the main drivers of climate change from 1400 to 1900, but for the first time a significant contribution from greenhouse gas variations to the cold conditions during 1600–1800 is also detected. The proxy reconstructions tend to show a smaller forced response than is simulated by the models. This discrepancy is shown, at least partly, to be likely associated with the difference in the response to large volcanic eruptions between reconstructions and model simulations.

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Response of Tropical Cyclones to Idealized Climate Change Experiments in a Global High-Resolution Coupled General Circulation Model

Ray Bell et al.
Journal of Climate, October 2013, Pages 7966–7980

Abstract:
The authors present an assessment of how tropical cyclone activity might change owing to the influence of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, using the U.K. High-Resolution Global Environment Model (HiGEM) with N144 resolution (~90 km in the atmosphere and ~40 km in the ocean). Tropical cyclones are identified using a feature-tracking algorithm applied to model output. Tropical cyclones from idealized 30-yr 2×CO2 (2CO2) and 4×CO2 (4CO2) simulations are compared to those identified in a 150-yr present-day simulation that is separated into a five-member ensemble of 30-yr integrations. Tropical cyclones are shown to decrease in frequency globally by 9% in the 2CO2 and 26% in the 4CO2. Tropical cyclones only become more intense in the 4CO2; however, uncoupled time slice experiments reveal an increase in intensity in the 2CO2. An investigation into the large-scale environmental conditions, known to influence tropical cyclone activity in the main development regions, is used to determine the response of tropical cyclone activity to increased atmospheric CO2. A weaker Walker circulation and a reduction in zonally averaged regions of updrafts lead to a shift in the location of tropical cyclones in the Northern Hemisphere. A decrease in mean ascent at 500 hPa contributes to the reduction of tropical cyclones in the 2CO2 in most basins. The larger reduction of tropical cyclones in the 4CO2 arises from further reduction of the mean ascent at 500 hPa and a large enhancement of vertical wind shear, especially in the Southern Hemisphere, North Atlantic, and northeast Pacific.

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Future Changes in Northern Hemisphere Snowfall

John Krasting et al.
Journal of Climate, October 2013, Pages 7813–7828

Abstract:
Using simulations performed with 18 coupled atmosphere–ocean global climate models from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5), projections of the Northern Hemisphere snowfall under the representative concentration pathway (RCP4.5) scenario are analyzed for the period 2006–2100. These models perform well in simulating twentieth-century snowfall, although there is a positive bias in many regions. Annual snowfall is projected to decrease across much of the Northern Hemisphere during the twenty-first century, with increases projected at higher latitudes. On a seasonal basis, the transition zone between negative and positive snowfall trends corresponds approximately to the −10°C isotherm of the late twentieth-century mean surface air temperature, such that positive trends prevail in winter over large regions of Eurasia and North America. Redistributions of snowfall throughout the entire snow season are projected to occur—even in locations where there is little change in annual snowfall. Changes in the fraction of precipitation falling as snow contribute to decreases in snowfall across most Northern Hemisphere regions, while changes in total precipitation typically contribute to increases in snowfall. A signal-to-noise analysis reveals that the projected changes in snowfall, based on the RCP4.5 scenario, are likely to become apparent during the twenty-first century for most locations in the Northern Hemisphere. The snowfall signal emerges more slowly than the temperature signal, suggesting that changes in snowfall are not likely to be early indicators of regional climate change.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Each other

The Role of Paternity Presumption and Custodial Rights for Understanding Marriage Patterns

Lena Edlund
Economica, October 2013, Pages 650–669

Abstract:
In marriage, men obtain and women surrender parental rights because: (i) by default, an unmarried woman giving birth is the child's only known parent and sole custodian; (ii) a married mother shares custody with her husband and the presumed father; (iii) custody allocation in marriage is fixed; (iv) private contracts on rights over children amount to trade in children and have limited legal validity. As a result: (i) women, not men, marry up; (ii) higher income has opposite effects on men's and women's willingness to marry; (iii) out-of-wedlock fertility results when trade is not feasible.

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Gone to war: Have deployments increased divorces?

Sebastian Negrusa, Brighita Negrusa & James Hosek
Journal of Population Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Owing to the armed conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, members of the US military have experienced very high rates of deployment overseas. Because military personnel have little to no control over their deployments, the military setting offers a unique opportunity to study the causal effect of major disruptions on marital dissolution. In this paper, we use longitudinal individual-level administrative data from 1999 to 2008 and find that an additional month in deployment increases the divorce hazard of military families, with females being more affected. A standard conceptual framework of marital formation and dissolution predicts a differential effect of these types of shocks depending on the degree to which they are anticipated when a couple gets married. Consistent with this prediction, we find a larger effect for couples married before 9/11, who clearly expected a lower risk of deployment than what they faced post 9/11.

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Cohort Trends in Premarital First Births: What Role for the Retreat From Marriage?

Paula England, Lawrence Wu & Emily Fitzgibbons Shafer
Demography, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine cohort trends in premarital first births for U.S. women born between 1920 and 1964. The rise in premarital first births is often argued to be a consequence of the retreat from marriage, with later ages at first marriage resulting in more years of exposure to the risk of a premarital first birth. However, cohort trends in premarital first births may also reflect trends in premarital sexual activity, premarital conceptions, and how premarital conceptions are resolved. We decompose observed cohort trends in premarital first births into components reflecting cohort trends in (1) the age-specific risk of a premarital conception taken to term; (2) the age-specific risk of first marriages not preceded by such a conception, which will influence women’s years of exposure to the risk of a premarital conception; and (3) whether a premarital conception is resolved by entering a first marriage before the resulting first birth (a “shotgun marriage”). For women born between 1920–1924 and 1945–1949, increases in premarital first births were primarily attributable to increases in premarital conceptions. For women born between 1945–1949 and 1960–1964, increases in premarital first births were primarily attributable to declines in responding to premarital conceptions by marrying before the birth. Trends in premarital first births were affected only modestly by the retreat from marriages not preceded by conceptions — a finding that holds for both whites and blacks. These results cast doubt on hypotheses concerning “marriageable” men and instead suggest that increases in premarital first births resulted initially from increases in premarital sex and then later from decreases in responding to a conception by marrying before a first birth.

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Spousal Health Effects - the Role of Selection

James Banks, Elaine Kelly & James Smith
NBER Working Paper, September 2013

Abstract:
In this paper, we investigate the issue of partner selection in the health of individuals who are at least fifty years old in England and the United States. We find a strong and positive association in family background variables including education of partners and their parents. Adult health behaviors such as smoking, drinking, and exercise are more positively associated in England compared to the United States. Childhood health indicators are also positively associated across partners. We also investigated pre and post partnership smoking behavior of couples. There exists strong positive assortative mating in smoking in that smokers are much more likely to partner with smokers and non-smokers with non-smokers. This relationship is far stronger in England compared to the United States. In the United States, we find evidence of asymmetric partner influence in smoking in that men’s pre marriage smoking behavior influences his female partner’s post marriage smoking behavior but there does not appear to be a parallel influence of women’s pre-marriage smoking on their male partner’s post-marital smoking. These relationships are much more parallel across genders in England.

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New facts on infidelity

Effrosyni Adamopoulou
Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
We establish new empirical facts, in line with the recent theoretical literature on infidelity. Infidelity displays seasonality and state dependence. In the U.S. socioeconomic status is not a driver of infidelity and females and males are equally likely to be unfaithful.

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Differential infidelity patterns among the Dark Triad

Daniel Jones & Dana Weiser
Personality and Individual Differences, forthcoming

Abstract:
The Dark Triad traits (Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and narcissism) are overlapping but distinctive. Although all three traits have been independently linked to relationship infidelity, differences among the traits may exist when examined simultaneously. Moreover, consequences resulting from infidelity have not been explored. A large retrospective survey found that all three traits correlated with reporting an infidelity at some point in a current (or most recent) relationship. Among women, however, only psychopathy and Machiavellianism were unique predictors of infidelity, whereas only psychopathy uniquely predicted infidelity among men. However, infidelity committed by psychopathic individuals led to relationship dissolution, whereas infidelity committed by Machiavellian individuals did not. These findings suggest mindset and long-term goals impact situations to create differences in Dark Triad destructive relationship behaviors.

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Preliminary evidence that sub-chronic citalopram triggers the re-evaluation of value in intimate partnerships

Amy Bilderbeck et al.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Depression frequently involves disrupted inter-personal relationships, while treatment with serotonergic anti-depressants can interfere with libido and sexual function. However, little is known about how serotonin activity influences appraisals of intimate partnerships. Learning more could help to specify how serotonergic mechanisms mediate social isolation in psychiatric illness. Forty-four healthy heterosexual adults, currently in romantic relationships, received 8 days treatment with the selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor citalopram (N = 21; 10 male) or placebo (N = 23; 12 male). Participants viewed photographs of unknown, heterosexual couples and made a series of judgements about their relationships. Participants also indicated the importance of relationship features in their own close partnerships, and close partnerships generally. Citalopram reduced the rated quality of couples’ physical relationships and the importance attributed to physical and intimate aspects of participants’ own relationships. In contrast, citalopram also enhanced the evaluated worth of mutual trust in relationships. Amongst males, citalopram was associated with judgements of reduced turbulence and bickering in others’ relationships, and increased male dominance. These data constitute preliminary evidence that enhancing serotonin activity modulates cognitions about sexual activity as part of a re-appraisal of sources of value within close intimate relationships, enhancing the judged importance of longer-term benefits of trust and shared experiences.

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The Effect of Endogamous Marriage: Evidence from Exogenous Variation in Immigrant Flows During 1900-1930 in the United States

Ho-Po Crystal Wong
University of Washington Working Paper, September 2013

Abstract:
Positive assortative matching in marriage in terms of traits like ethnicity, race and personality has been prevalent in marital formation. This paper aims to estimate the impact of endogamous marriage on a variety of household outcomes by using the exogenous variation in immigrant flows in the United States during the period 1900-1930 to disentangle the selection effect of partners. The major finding is that marriage of the same ethnic background generates positive effects on the number of children in households, home ownership and reduces the labor supply of wives. The OLS results appear to substantially bias downward. This provides indirect evidence that intermarried couples are compensated by other unobservable traits in mating that generate marital surplus. The positive sorting effect will be severely underestimated without isolating such selection effect. The results also suggest that interracially married couples tend to have worse family outcomes in terms of home ownership and child-rearing. This provides justification for the strong separation in marriage along the European and non-European dividing line.

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Cyclical Cohabitation Among Unmarried Parents in Fragile Families

Lenna Nepomnyaschy & Julien Teitler
Journal of Marriage and Family, October 2013, Pages 1248–1265

Abstract:
Building on past research suggesting that cohabitation is an ambiguous family form, the authors examined an understudied residential pattern among unmarried parents: cyclical cohabitation, in which parents have multiple cohabitation spells with each other. Using 9 years of panel data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N = 2,084), they found that 10% of all parents with nonmarital births and nearly a quarter of those living together when the child is 9 years old are cyclical cohabitors. Cyclically cohabiting mothers reported more material hardships than mothers in most other relationship patterns but also reported more father involvement with children. On all measures of child well-being except grade retention, children of cyclically cohabiting parents fared no worse than children of stably cohabiting biological parents and did not differ significantly from any other group.

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Education and Cohabitation in Britain: A Return to Traditional Patterns?

Máire Ní Bhrolcháin & Éva Beaujouan
Population and Development Review, September 2013, Pages 441–458

Abstract:
Cohabitation is sometimes thought of as being inversely associated with education, but in Britain a more complex picture emerges. Educational group differences in cohabitation vary by age, time period, cohort, and indicator used. Well-educated women pioneered cohabitation in Britain in the 1970s and 1980s. In the most recent cohorts, however, the less educated have exceeded the best educated in the proportions ever having cohabited at young ages. But the main difference by education currently seems largely a matter of timing — that is, the less educated start cohabiting earlier than the best educated. In Britain, educational differentials in cohabitation appear to be reinstating longstanding social patterns in the level and timing of marriage. Taking partnerships as a whole, social differentials have been fairly stable. Following a period of innovation and diffusion, there is much continuity with the past.

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The Effect of Self-control on Willingness to Sacrifice in Close Relationships

Matthew Findley, Mauricio Carvallo & Christopher Bartak
Self and Identity, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has identified that willingness to sacrifice promotes romantic relationship maintenance. In addition, research has identified relationship-specific factors that promote sacrifice. However, research has neglected to examine the importance of non-relationship-specific factors (e.g., self-control) in sacrifice. The current research examined the possibility (and found evidence) that self-control underlies sacrifice. In Study 1, trait self-control was associated with willingness to sacrifice in a series of hypothetical scenarios, even after controlling for established relationship-specific correlates of sacrifice. In Study 2, romantically involved individuals, who had previously been depleted of self-control resources, were less able to make major sacrifices. Thus, self-control is important for romantic individuals' ability to sacrifice.

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Widowhood Effects in Voter Participation

William Hobbs, Nicholas Christakis & James Fowler
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Past research suggests that spouses influence one another to vote, but it relies almost exclusively on correlation in turnout. It is therefore difficult to establish whether spouses mobilize each other or tend to marry similar others. Here, we test the dependency hypothesis by examining voting behavior before and after the death of a spouse. We link nearly six million California voter records to Social Security death records and use both coarsened exact matching and multiple cohort comparison to estimate the effects of spousal loss. The results show that after turnout rates stabilize, widowed individuals vote nine percentage points fewer than they would had their spouse still been living; the results also suggest that this change may persist indefinitely. Variations in this “widowhood effect” on voting support a social-isolation explanation for the drop in turnout.

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Do Social Relationships Buffer the Effects of Widowhood? A Prospective Study of Adaptation to the Loss of a Spouse

Ivana Anusic & Richard Lucas
Journal of Personality, forthcoming

Objective: The idea that strong social relationships can buffer the negative effects of stress on well-being has received much attention in existing literature. However, previous studies have used less than ideal research designs to test this hypothesis, making it difficult to draw firm conclusions regarding these buffering effects. In this study we examined the buffering hypothesis in the context of reaction and adaptation to widowhood in three large longitudinal datasets.

Method: We tested whether social relationships moderated reaction and adaptation to widowhood in samples of people who experienced loss of spouse from three longitudinal datasets of nationally representative samples from Germany (N = 1,195), Britain (N = 562), and Australia (N = 298).

Results: We found no evidence that social relationships established before widowhood buffered either reaction or adaptation to death of one's spouse. Similarly, social relationships that were in place during the first year of widowhood did not help widows and widowers recover from this difficult event.

Conclusions: Social relationships acquired prior to widowhood, or those available in early stages of widowhood do not appear to explain individual differences in adaptation to loss.

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Do testosterone declines during the transition to marriage and fatherhood relate to men’s sexual behavior? Evidence from the Philippines

Lee Gettler et al.
Hormones and Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Testosterone (T) is thought to help facilitate trade-offs between mating and parenting in humans. Across diverse cultural settings married men and fathers have lower T than other men and couples’ sexual activity often declines during the first years of marriage and after having children. It is unknown whether these behavioral and hormonal changes are related. Here we use longitudinal data from a large study in the Philippines (n = 433) to test this model. We show that among unmarried non-fathers at baseline (n = 153; age: 21.5 ± 0.3 y) who became newly married new fathers by follow-up (4.5 y later), those who experienced less pronounced longitudinal declines in T reported more frequent intercourse with their partners at follow-up (p < 0.01) compared to men with larger declines in T. Controlling for duration of marriage, findings were similar for men transitioning from unmarried to married (without children) (p < 0.05). Men who remained unmarried and childless throughout the study period did not show similar T-sexual activity outcomes. Among newly married new fathers, subjects who had frequent intercourse both before and after the transition to married fatherhood had more modest declines in T compared to peers who had less frequent sex (p < 0.001). Our findings are generally consistent with theoretical expectations and cross-species empirical observations regarding the role of T in male life history trade-offs, particularly in species with bi-parental care, and add to evidence that T and sexual activity have bidirectional relationships in human males.

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Cumulative Risk on the Oxytocin Receptor Gene (OXTR) Underpins Empathic Communication Difficulties at the First Stages of Romantic Love

Inna Schneiderman et al.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Empathic communication between couples plays an important role in relationship quality and individual well-being and research has pointed to the role of oxytocin in providing the neurobiological substrate for pair-bonding and empathy. Here we examined links between genetic variability on the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) and empathic behavior at the initiation of romantic love. Allelic variations on five OXTR single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) previously associated with susceptibility to disorders of social functioning were genotyped in 120 new lovers: OXTRrs13316193, rs2254298, rs1042778, rs2268494, and rs2268490. Cumulative genetic risk was computed by summing risk alleles on each SNP. Couples were observed in support-giving interaction and behavior was coded for empathic communication, including affective congruence, maintaining focus on partner, acknowledging partner's distress, reciprocal exchange, and non-verbal empathy. Hierarchical Linear Modeling indicated that individuals with high OXTR risk exhibited difficulties in empathic communication. OXTR risk predicted empathic difficulties above and beyond the couple level, relationship duration, and anxiety and depressive symptoms. Findings underscore the involvement of oxytocin in empathic behavior during the early stages of social affiliation, and suggest the utility of cumulative risk and plasticity indices on the OXTR as potential biomarkers for research on disorders of social dysfunction and the neurobiology of empathy.

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Sex differences in jealousy over Facebook activity

Francis McAndrew & Sahil Shah
Computers in Human Behavior, November 2013, Pages 2603–2606

Abstract:
Forty heterosexual undergraduate students (24 females, 16 males) who were currently in a romantic relationship filled out a modified version of The Facebook Jealousy questionnaire (Muise, Christofides, & Desmarais, 2009). The questionnaire was filled out twice, once with the participant’s own personal responses, and a second time with what each participant imagined that his/her romantic partner’s responses would be like. The data indicated that females were more prone to Facebook-evoked feelings of jealousy and to jealousy-motivated behavior than males. Males accurately predicted these sex differences in response to the jealousy scale, but females seemed unaware that their male partners would be less jealous than themselves.

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Shifting Dependence: The Influence of Partner Instrumentality and Self-Esteem on Responses to Interpersonal Risk

Sarah Gomillion & Sandra Murray
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
High and low self-esteem people typically have divergent responses to interpersonal risk. Highs draw closer to their partner, whereas lows self-protectively distance. However, these responses should be more likely when people are dependent on the rewards their partner offers. Two experiments tested the hypothesis that structural changes in the situation of interdependence lead high and low self-esteem people to reverse their typical responses to risk. When partners were instrumental to a current goal pursuit (and participants were more dependent on the rewards partners could offer), highs drew closer and lows distanced when risk was primed. However, when partners were not instrumental to an active goal (and participants were less dependent on the rewards partners could offer), these responses were reversed. Reducing one’s dependence on a partner to attain one’s personal goals appears to reduce highs’ incentive to connect, whereas it appears to increase lows’ incentive to connect.

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“Tell me I'm sexy...and otherwise valuable”: Body valuation and relationship satisfaction

Andrea Meltzer & James McNulty
Personal Relationships, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although extant research demonstrates that body valuation by strangers has negative implications for women, Studies 1 and 2 demonstrate that body valuation by a committed male partner is positively associated with women's relationship satisfaction when that partner also values them for their nonphysical qualities, but negatively associated with women's relationship satisfaction when that partner is not committed or does not value them for their nonphysical qualities. Study 3 demonstrates that body valuation by a committed female partner is negatively associated with men's relationship satisfaction when that partner does not also value them for their nonphysical qualities but unassociated with men's satisfaction otherwise. These findings join others demonstrating that fully understanding the implications of interpersonal processes requires considering the interpersonal context.

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An Epideictic Dimension of Symbolic Violence in Disney's Beauty and the Beast: Inter-Generational Lessons in Romanticizing and Tolerating Intimate Partner Violence

Kathryn Olson
Quarterly Journal of Speech, forthcoming

Abstract:
This criticism analyzes one epideictic dimension of Disney's Beauty and the Beast to demonstrate how the film's combination of sophisticated rhetorical strategies might cultivate a romanticized understanding of and tolerance toward intimate partner violence among inter-generational audiences. The film departs from earlier legend versions by focusing exclusively on the romantic arc and introducing various kinds of violence and new characters to exercise, interpret, and accommodate that violence. Pivotal to this particular epideictic dimension's operation are Beast's violent acts toward Belle relative to Gaston's violence toward her, adult characters minimizing, justifying, or romanticizing in the presence of a child character the repeated signs of intimate partner violence, and those adults' efforts to facilitate a romance in spite of Beast's violence and Belle's reluctance. Disney featuring child character Chip, with his questions about romance and front-row seat to the title characters' relationship (including violent episodes that resonate with the phases of Walker's Cycle Theory of Violence), underscores a coherent ideology explaining, on the approving community's behalf, the troubling intersection of violence and romance and (unintentionally, yet powerfully) endorsing that ideology's socially conservative, individualistic prescriptions for handling it.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, October 7, 2013

Standings

The Structure of Inequality and Americans’ Attitudes Toward Redistribution

Matthew Luttig
Public Opinion Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Income inequality has been rising substantially over the past few decades in the United States, making it the most unequal of advanced industrialized democracies. This transformation has had enormous social and political consequences. In this research note, I assess the influence of both income inequality and the changing structure of income inequality on Americans’ public policy mood. Numerous political theorists suggest that rising inequality and the shift in the distribution of income to those at the top should lead to increasing support for liberal policies. But recent evidence contradicts these theories. I empirically evaluate a number of competing theoretical predictions about the relationship between inequality and public preferences. In general, the evidence supports the claim that rising inequality has been a force promoting conservatism in the American public.

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The Status Quo and Perceptions of Fairness: How Income Inequality Influences Public Opinion

Kris-Stella Trump
Harvard Working Paper, September 2013

Abstract:
This paper argues that public opinion regarding the acceptability and desirability of income differences is influenced by actual income inequality. When income differences are (perceived to be) high, the public thinks of larger inequalities of income as fair. This phenomenon exists because of two psychological processes that advantage existing social arrangements: status quo bias and the motivation to believe in a just world. The phenomenon is demonstrated in three experiments, which show that personal experiences of inequality as well as information regarding national-level income inequality can affect perceptions of fairness in income gaps. A fourth experiment shows that at least part of this effect is due to the motivation to believe in a just world. The results can help us explain the empirical puzzle of why higher income inequality across time and space does not systematically result in higher demands for redistribution.

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From the Bedroom to the Budget Deficit: Mate Competition Changes Men’s Attitudes Toward Economic Redistribution

Andrew Edward White et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
How do economic recessions influence attitudes toward redistribution of wealth? From a traditional economic self-interest perspective, attitudes toward redistribution should be affected by one’s financial standing. A functional evolutionary approach suggests another possible form of self-interest: That during periods of economic threat, attitudes toward redistribution should be influenced by one’s mate-value — especially for men. Using both lab-based experiments and real-world data on voting behavior, we consistently find that economic threats lead low mate-value men to become more prosocial and supportive of redistribution policies, but that the same threats lead high mate-value men to do the opposite. Economic threats do not affect women’s attitudes toward redistribution in the same way, and, across studies, financial standing is only weakly associated with attitudes toward redistribution. These findings suggest that during tough economic times, men’s attitudes toward redistribution are influenced by something that has seemingly little to do with economic self-interest — their mating psychology.

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A Theory of Optimal Inheritance Taxation

Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez
Econometrica, September 2013, Pages 1851–1886

Abstract:
This paper derives optimal inheritance tax formulas that capture the key equity-efficiency trade-off, are expressed in terms of estimable sufficient statistics, and are robust to the underlying structure of preferences. We consider dynamic stochastic models with general and heterogeneous bequest tastes and labor productivities. We limit ourselves to simple but realistic linear or two-bracket tax structures to obtain tractable formulas. We show that long-run optimal inheritance tax rates can always be expressed in terms of aggregate earnings and bequest elasticities with respect to tax rates, distributional parameters, and social preferences for redistribution. Those results carry over with tractable modifications to (a) the case with social discounting (instead of steady-state welfare maximization), (b) the case with partly accidental bequests, (c) the standard Barro–Becker dynastic model. The optimal tax rate is positive and quantitatively large if the elasticity of bequests to the tax rate is low, bequest concentration is high, and society cares mostly about those receiving little inheritance. We propose a calibration using micro-data for France and the United States. We find that, for realistic parameters, the optimal inheritance tax rate might be as large as 50%–60% — or even higher for top bequests, in line with historical experience.

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Fear and Loving in Social Hierarchy: Sex Differences in Preferences for Power Versus Status

Nicholas Hays
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, November 2013, Pages 1130–1136

Abstract:
Famous thinkers throughout history from Nepos to Machiavelli have had strong opinions about whether it is better to be feared or loved. A related debate continues today about whether it is preferable to have power or status, a distinction between resources and respect. Across three studies, I find that men desire power more than women do, whereas women desire status more than men do. Furthermore, the extent to which hierarchical differences are seen as fair and legitimate increases the desirability of status, but power legitimacy does not affect the desirability of power. This research indicates that people perceive and value power and status distinctly, and provides additional evidence that confounding the two theoretically or empirically may distort our understanding of psychological responses to social hierarchy.

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A Raw Deal: Heightened Liberalism Following Exposure to Anomalous Playing Cards

Travis Proulx & Brenda Major
Journal of Social Issues, September 2013, Pages 455–472

Abstract:
According to the meaning maintenance model, people may respond to meaning violations by affirming unrelated beliefs to which they are committed. While this affirmation generally moves in the direction of social inequality, meaning violations that are not personally threatening — but that nevertheless evoke uncertainty — should evoke a heightened preference for social equality (i.e., a socially liberal judgment). We tested this hypothesis in an experiment that exposed participants to reverse colored playing cards, where participants were subsequently more supportive of Affirmative Action if they were relatively committed to a belief that social inequality is unjust. This study demonstrates that people will make heightened socially liberal judgments following a meaning violation that is not personally threatening, and that is unrelated to the affirmed meaning frameworks.

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Warm or competent? Improving intergroup relations by addressing threatened identities of advantaged and disadvantaged groups

Nurit Shnabel et al.
European Journal of Social Psychology, October 2013, Pages 482–492

Abstract:
Applying the Needs-Based Model of Reconciliation to contexts of group disparity, two studies examined how messages from outgroup representatives that affirmed the warmth or competence of advantaged or disadvantaged groups influenced their members' intergroup attitudes. Study 1 involved natural groups differing in status; Study 2 experimentally manipulated status. In both studies, advantaged-group members responded more favorably, reporting more positive outgroup attitudes and willingness to change the status quo toward equality, to messages reassuring their group's warmth. Disadvantaged-group members responded more favorably to messages affirming their group's competence. Study 2 further demonstrated that the effectiveness of reassuring a disadvantaged group's competence stemmed from restoring its threatened dimension of identity, irrespective of a change of the status quo. In line with Social Identity Theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1979), these results indicate that beyond the competition over tangible resources, groups are concerned with restoring threatened dimensions of their identities. Exchanging messages that remove identity-related threats may promote not only positive intergroup attitudes but also greater willingness to act collectively for intergroup equality.

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Making Up People — The Effect of Identity on Performance in a Modernizing Society

Karla Hoff & Priyanka Pandey
Journal of Development Economics, January 2014, Pages 118–131

Abstract:
It is typically assumed that being hard-working or clever is a trait of the person, in the sense that it is always there, in a fixed manner. However, in an experiment with 288 high-caste and 294 low-caste students in India, cues to one’s place in the caste system turned out to starkly influence the expression of these traits. The experiment allows us to discriminate between two classes of models that give different answers to the question of how someone’s identity affects his behavior. Models of the fixed self assume that identity is a set of preferences. Models of the frame-dependent self assume that identity entails a set of mental models that are situationally evoked and that mediate information processing. Our findings suggest that the effect of identity on intellectual performance depends on which of the individual’s mental models a given situation evokes, with potentially large impacts on human capital formation.

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Work Norms, Social Insurance and the Allocation of Talent

Giacomo Corneo
Journal of Public Economics, November 2013, Pages 79–92

Abstract:
This paper challanges the view that weak work norms make generous welfare states economically unsustainable. I develop a dynamic model of family-transmitted values that has a laissez-faire equilibrium with strong work norms coexisting with a social-insurance equilibrium with weak work norms. While the former has better incentives, the latter induces more intergenerational occupational mobility which improves the allocation of talent and fuels growth. Strong work norms arise as a way for parents to protect their children from the risk of lacking talent. I present evidence from microdata showing that generous social insurance correlates with high intergenerational occupational mobility and that more mobile individuals endorse weaker work norms.

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Loss aversion, education, and intergenerational mobility

Liam Malloy
Education Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Existing empirical work looking at the effects of parental income on IQ, schooling, wealth, race, and personality is only able to explain about half of the observed intergenerational income elasticity. This paper provides a possible behavioral explanation for this elasticity in which heterogeneous agents in sequential generations choose their education levels in the face of loss-averse preferences and weak borrowing constraints. These borrowing-constrained agents make education investment choices in part to avoid consumption losses rather than to maximize lifetime resources. The model generates a positive intergenerational income elasticity even when there are functioning capital markets to finance education investments. I find empirical support for the J-shape education decision rule generated by the model and show that it is mostly successful in matching the asymmetric intergenerational transition rates between income quintiles of white families.

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Educational Inequality and the Returns to Skills

Shelly Lundberg
University of California Working Paper, September 2013

Abstract:
Research and policy discussion about the diverging fortunes of children from advantaged and disadvantaged households have focused on the skill disparities between these children – how they might arise and how they might be remediated. Analysis of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health reveals another important mechanism in the determinants of educational attainment – differential returns to skills for children in different circumstances. Though the returns to cognitive ability are generally consistent across family background groups, personality traits have very different effects on educational attainment for young men and women with access to different levels of parental resources. These results are consistent with a model in which the provision of focused effort in school is complementary with parental inputs while openness, associated with imagination and exploration, is a substitute for information provision by educated parents and thus contributes to resilience in low-resource environments. In designing interventions to improve outcomes for disadvantaged children, we need to be cognizant of interactions between a child's skills and their circumstances.

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My Poor Friend: Financial Distress within One's Social Network, the Perceived Power of the Rich, and Support for Redistribution

Benjamin Newman
Journal of Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
In exploring the impact of economic problems on public opinion, scholarship has nearly exclusively focused on personal and national economic experiences. At present, little to no research analyzes the impact of economic distress within one's social network on an individual's attitudes. Drawing upon network and contact theories, it is argued that financial hardship experienced vicariously through one's friends should influence an individual's views about the political economy, and ultimately, their economic policy preferences, such as support for redistribution. Utilizing national survey data, this article demonstrates that having economically distressed friends heightens perceived class-based bias in the political system — namely, that the rich have undue influence over politics. Further, moderated regression analysis reveals that this effect depends upon the prevalence of political discussion within one's friendship network. Finally, mediation analysis reveals that, by heightening perceived class-based bias, distress within one's friendship network indirectly increases support for government efforts to redress inequality.

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Wealth Disparities Before and After the Great Recession

Fabian Pfeffer, Sheldon Danziger & Robert Schoeni
ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, November 2013, Pages 98-123

Abstract:
The collapse of the labor, housing, and stock markets beginning in 2007 created unprecedented challenges for American families. This study examines disparities in wealth holdings leading up to the Great Recession and during the first years of the recovery. All socioeconomic groups experienced declines in wealth following the recession, with higher wealth families experiencing larger absolute declines. In percentage terms, however, the declines were greater for less advantaged groups as measured by minority status, education, and prerecession income and wealth, leading to a substantial rise in wealth inequality in just a few years. Despite large changes in wealth, longitudinal analyses demonstrate little change in mobility in the ranking of particular families in the wealth distribution. Between 2007 and 2011, one-fourth of American families lost at least 75 percent of their wealth, and more than half of all families lost at least 25 percent of their wealth. Multivariate longitudinal analyses document that these large relative losses were disproportionally concentrated among lower-income, less educated, and minority households.

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Convergence in National Income Distributions

Rob Clark
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous studies have drawn attention to cross-national convergence across a wide range of topics. In this study, I test for convergence in a new empirical setting, examining the degree to which national income distributions have become more similar to one another over time. Using the Standardized World Income Inequality Database, I construct a set of samples that vary in longitudinal and cross-sectional coverage during the 1965–2005 period. The results show that national income distributions have converged substantially since the 1970s. Moreover, the rise in inequality among Eastern European nations during the early 1990s accounts for only about 30 percent of all convergence during the sample period. Additional analyses suggest that globalization may be playing an important role in homogenizing inequality levels. Finally, a decomposition of the convergence trend shows that income distributions are drawing closer together both between and within world regions. Overall, convergence is the product of (a) inequality levels rising among egalitarian societies; and (b) inequality levels declining in stratified nations, indicating a trend toward moderate levels of inequality from both directions.

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Biomedical Enhancements as Justice

Jeesoo Nam
Bioethics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Biomedical enhancements, the applications of medical technology to make better those who are neither ill nor deficient, have made great strides in the past few decades. Using Amartya Sen's capability approach as my framework, I argue in this article that far from being simply permissible, we have a prima facie moral obligation to use these new developments for the end goal of promoting social justice. In terms of both range and magnitude, the use of biomedical enhancements will mark a radical advance in how we compensate the most disadvantaged members of society.

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Minimising Misery: A New Strategy for Public Policies Instead of Maximising Happiness?

Orsolya Lelkes
Social Indicators Research, October 2013, Pages 121-137

Abstract:
This paper raises the issue whether public policy should focus on minimizing unhappiness rather than maximizing happiness. Using a cross-sectional multi-country dataset with 57,000 observations from 29 European countries, we show that unhappiness varies a great deal more across social groups than (high levels of) happiness does. Our findings are robust to several alternative specifications, using both self-reported life satisfaction and self-reported happiness, and different cut-off points for defining unhappiness (dissatisfaction) and high levels of happiness (satisfaction). While misery appears to strongly relate to broad social issues (such as unemployment, poverty, social isolation), bliss might be more of a private matter, with individual strategies and attitudes, hidden from the eye of a policy-maker. The social cost of unhappiness may be also reflected in the immense cost of mental health problems. Preventing avoidable unhappiness, however, needs to be complemented with other strategies for promoting happiness, perhaps on a more decentralized level, given the different causes of bliss and that of misery.

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Perpetuating One’s Own Disadvantage: Intergroup Contact Enables the Ideological Legitimation of Inequality

Nikhil Sengupta & Chris Sibley
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Contact with the dominant group can increase opposition, among the disadvantaged, to social policies that would benefit their group. This effect can be explained in terms of contact promoting support for an ideology of meritocracy, which privileges the distribution of societal resources based on individual merit, rather than group-level disadvantage. We tested this ideological mechanism in a large, nationally representative sample of Māori (a disadvantaged group in New Zealand; N = 1,008). Positive intergroup contact with the dominant group (New Zealand Europeans) predicted increased opposition to a topical reparative policy (Māori ownership of the foreshore), and this was fully mediated by increased support for the ideology of meritocracy. Intergroup contact may enable the ideological legitimation of inequality among members of disadvantaged groups, engendering political attitudes that are detrimental to their group’s interests. Contact with ingroup members had the opposite effect, increasing support for reparative policy by reducing subscription to meritocratic ideology.

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Adaptation, Anticipation and Social Interaction in Happiness: An Integrated Error-Correction Approach

Maarten Vendrik
Journal of Public Economics, September 2013, Pages 131–149

Abstract:
Adaptation, anticipation and social-reference effects on happiness are strongly interrelated phenomena. However, in the existing empirical literature these phenomena are mainly studied in isolation from each other. Therefore, using SOEP panel data for the years 1984-2007, this study offers an integrated investigation of the implications of these three phenomena for the dynamics of individual life satisfaction. I focus on the short and long-run effects of income and social reference income, but I control for similar dynamics with respect to a large set of control variables. GMM estimates for instrumented income variables in an error correction model indicate an insignificant future income effect, a significant and positive current income effect, and an insignificant long-run income effect on life satisfaction with significant hedonic adaptation. Social reference income has a significant, negative and strong impact in the long run, but not in the short run. Consequently, increasing own income and reference income by the same percentage tends to have an insignificant effect in the long term, but a significant and positive effect in the short term. Adaptation to an income shock and reinforcement of a reference income shock take place for more than 90 percent within three years. On the basis of these results a more comprehensive explanation of the Easterlin Paradox than those given in the literature is presented.

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Procedural fairness and the tolerance for income inequality

Hyejin Ku & Timothy Salmon
European Economic Review, November 2013, Pages 111–128

Abstract:
This paper presents an experiment investigating what cultural and institutional factors underlying a society might render its members more or less tolerant of inequality in favor of greater efficiency. The specific institutional factors we address concern the fairness in the procedures or mechanisms through which individuals believe initial positions or roles in society are determined. Subjects' initial positions (rich vs. poor) are determined based on various criteria (random, meritocratic, arbitrary, and rewarding uncooperative behavior) and individuals' willingness to approve Pareto improvement when the improvement is mainly in favor of the already rich is measured. Our findings show that individuals' willingness to accept higher but more unequal outcomes depends on the source of the initial inequality and random assignment leads to the most tolerance for disadvantageous inequality, generating doubt about commonly held views concerning meritocracy. Moreover, holding the procedures constant, subjects reveal greater tolerance for inequality when self and the opponent share common group identity.

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The sweet side of inequality: How advantageous status modulates empathic response to others’ gains and losses

Qiang Shen, Jia Jin & Qingguo Ma
Behavioural Brain Research, 1 November 2013, Pages 609–617

Abstract:
In the past decade, considerable amounts of studies have explored the neural underpinnings of empathic response toward the positive and negative feelings of others, such as pain and social exclusion, in the field of neuroeconomics. In addition, empathic response of observing other's financial gains and losses have recently started to gain increasing attention in this interdisciplinary field. However, the effects of inequality-averse social preference on individuals’ response toward other's gains and losses have not yet been clearly characterized. This work conducted an electrophysiological study with a simple gambling task to explore how inequality aversion matters in modulating neural temporal dynamics towards self and others’ gains and losses using scalp-recorded event-related potentials (ERPs). The electrophysiological data demonstrated increased amplitude of P300 toward self's monetary gains and losses independent of advantageous and disadvantageous status. Intriguingly, subjects in the high pay group evoked more pronounced gain loss disparity of feedback-related negativity (FRN) amplitude toward others than themselves. Meanwhile, such a pattern was not observed among the subjects in the low pay group. Therefore, the current double dissociation results of FRN and P300 may indicate that advantageous status enhances subjects’ empathic response toward others’ pecuniary outcome, giving a direct electrophysiological evidence for the economic modeling on inequality aversion behavior.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Tit for tat

Testosterone Inhibits Trust but Promotes Reciprocity

Maarten Boksem et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The steroid hormone testosterone has been associated with behavior intended to obtain or maintain high social status. Although such behavior is typically characterized as aggressive and competitive, it is clear that high social status is achieved and maintained not only through antisocial behavior but also through prosocial behavior. In the present experiment, we investigated the impact of testosterone administration on trust and reciprocity using a double-blind randomized control design. We found that a single dose of 0.5 mg of testosterone decreased trust but increased generosity when repaying trust. These findings suggest that testosterone may mediate different types of status-seeking behavior. It may increase competitive, potentially aggressive, and antisocial behavior when social challenges and threats (i.e., abuse of trust and betrayal) need to be considered; however, it may promote prosocial behavior in the absence of these threats, when high status and good reputation may be best served by prosocial behavior.

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Money and trust among strangers

Gabriele Camera, Marco Casari & Maria Bigoni
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 10 September 2013, Pages 14889-14893

Abstract:
What makes money essential for the functioning of modern society? Through an experiment, we present evidence for the existence of a relevant behavioral dimension in addition to the standard theoretical arguments. Subjects faced repeated opportunities to help an anonymous counterpart who changed over time. Cooperation required trusting that help given to a stranger today would be returned by a stranger in the future. Cooperation levels declined when going from small to large groups of strangers, even if monitoring and payoffs from cooperation were invariant to group size. We then introduced intrinsically worthless tokens. Tokens endogenously became money: subjects took to reward help with a token and to demand a token in exchange for help. Subjects trusted that strangers would return help for a token. Cooperation levels remained stable as the groups grew larger. In all conditions, full cooperation was possible through a social norm of decentralized enforcement, without using tokens. This turned out to be especially demanding in large groups. Lack of trust among strangers thus made money behaviorally essential. To explain these results, we developed an evolutionary model. When behavior in society is heterogeneous, cooperation collapses without tokens. In contrast, the use of tokens makes cooperation evolutionarily stable.

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Predictors of hazing motivation in a representative sample of the United States

Aldo Cimino
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Hazing - the abuse of new or prospective group members - remains a puzzling and persistent cross-cultural phenomenon. Aspects of hazing behavior may reflect the operation of psychological adaptations designed to lessen certain forms of ancestral coalitional exploitation. Using a representative sample of the United States, this paper replicates and extends prior findings on predictors of hazing motivation in a university population. Results suggest that probable vectors of ancestral exploitation by newcomers (e.g., freely available group benefits) predict desired hazing severity, and that these effects generalize to a larger and more diverse sample. Findings are discussed in light of hazing's evident complexity and cultural patterning.

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Can you trust the good guys? Trust within and between groups with different missions

Sebastian Fehrler & Michael Kosfeld
Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
NGOs and other non-profit organizations attract workers who strongly identify themselves with their missions. We study whether these "good guys" are more trustworthy and how such pronounced group identities affect trust and trustworthiness within the groups and toward out-groups. We find that subjects who strongly identify themselves with a non-profit mission are more trustworthy in a minimal group setting but also harshly discriminate against out-groups when subjects are grouped by the missions they identify themselves with.

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Is cooperativeness readable in static facial features? An inter-cultural approach

Arnaud Tognetti et al.
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
There is evidence in the literature that non-verbal physical features are used as cues for a propensity to cooperate. However, further studies of the human ability to visually detect cooperativeness are required. In particular, the existence of static facial cues of altruism remains questionable. Moreover, an investigation of both sex differences and cross-cultural applicability with respect to altruism detection skills is crucial in the context of the evolution of human cooperation. In this study, we used both a public good game and a charitable contribution to assess the cooperativeness of 156 men and 172 women in rural Senegal and took facial photographs of these individuals. The second portion of the study was conducted in France. In total, 194 men and 171 women were asked to distinguish the most and least selfish individual from a series of 80 pairs of Senegalese facial photographs, each pair consisting of the highest and the lowest contributor from a group in the public good game. Using mixed modeling techniques, we controlled for facial masculinity, age and socio-economic status. For male pairs, both male and female French raters were able to identify more often than by chance which individual made the smallest contribution to the public good in each group; however, detection was not successful with female faces. These results suggest that sex-specific traits are involved and that only male facial traits indicating cooperative skills are, at least inter-culturally, readable. The specific facial traits involved are investigated. However, the charitable contribution was not correlated with the contribution to the public good, and further work is necessary to identify which specific altruistic traits are detectable and to assess the generality of these results.

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I'm Sorry About the Rain! Superfluous Apologies Demonstrate Empathic Concern and Increase Trust

Alison Wood Brooks, Hengchen Dai & Maurice Schweitzer
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Existing apology research has conceptualized apologies as a device to rebuild relationships following a transgression. Individuals, however, often apologize for circumstances for which they are obviously not culpable (e.g., heavy traffic or bad weather). In this article, we define superfluous apologies as expressions of regret for an undesirable circumstance for which the apologizer is clearly not responsible. Across four studies, we find that superfluous apologies increase trust in the apologizer. This effect is mediated by empathic concern. Issuing a superfluous apology demonstrates empathic concern for the victim and increases the victim's trust in the apologizer.

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Who Cries Wolf, and When? Manipulation of Perceived Threats to Preserve Rank in Cooperative Groups

Pat Barclay & Stephen Benard
PLoS ONE, September 2013

Abstract:
People perform greater within-group cooperation when their groups face external threats, such as hostile outgroups or natural disasters. Researchers and social commentators suggest that high-ranking group members manipulate this "threat-dependent" cooperation by exaggerating threats in order to promote cooperation and suppress competition for their position. However, little systematic research tests this claim or possible situational moderators. In three studies, we use a cooperative group game to show that participants pay to increase others' perceptions of group threats, and spend more on manipulation when holding privileged positions. This manipulation cost-effectively elicits cooperation and sustains privilege, and is fostered by competition over position, not only position per se. Less cooperative people do more manipulation than more cooperative people do. Furthermore, these effects generalize to broader definitions of privilege. Conceptually, these results offer new insights into an understudied dimension of group behavior. Methodologically, the research extends cooperative group games to allow for analyzing more complex group dynamics.

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Convergence of speech rate in conversation predicts cooperation

Joseph Manson et al.
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
During conversation, interlocutors coordinate their behavior on many levels. Two distinct forms of behavioral coordination have been empirically linked with affiliation and cooperation during or following face-to-face interaction: behavior matching and interpersonal synchrony. Only the latter form constitutes behavioral entrainment involving a coupling between independent oscillators. We present the first study of the association between spontaneously occurring behavioral coordination and post-interaction economic game play. Triads of same-sexed strangers conversed for 10 min, after which each participant played an unannounced one-shot prisoner's dilemma (PD) toward each co-participant. When dyads had higher language style matching scores (LSM: Gonzales, A.L., Hancock, J.T., & Pennebaker, J.W. (2010). Language style matching as a predictor of social dynamics in small groups. Communication Research, 31, 3-19), the individuals evaluated each other more positively, but they were no more likely to cooperate in the PD. However, when dyads' speech rates (mean syllable duration) converged more strongly from the beginning to the end of the conversation, they were more likely to cooperate in the PD, despite no effect on interpersonal evaluations. Speech rate convergence, a form of rhythmic entrainment, could benefit interlocutors by mutually reducing cognitive processing during interaction. We suggest that spontaneous, temporally based behavioral coordination might facilitate prosocial behavior when the joint cooperative effort is itself perceived as a form of coordination.

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Sex differences in the neural and behavioral response to intranasal oxytocin and vasopressin during human social interaction

James Rilling et al.
Psychoneuroendocrinology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Both oxytocin (OT) and vasopressin (AVP) are known to modulate social behavior, and dysfunction in both systems has been postulated as a potential cause of certain psychiatric disorders that involve social behavioral deficits. In particular, there is growing interest in intranasal OT as a potential treatment for certain psychiatric disorders, and preliminary pre-clinical and clinical studies suggest efficacy in alleviating some of the associated symptoms. However, the vast majority of research participants in these studies have been male, and there is evidence for sexually differentiated effects of nonapeptides in both humans and non-human animals. To date, no study has investigated the effect of intranasal OT on brain function in human males and females within the same paradigm. Previously, in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind fMRI study, we reported effects of intranasal OT and AVP on behavior and brain activity of human males as they played an interactive social game known as the Prisoner's Dilemma Game. Here, we present findings from an identical study in human females, and compare these with our findings from males. Overall, we find that both behavioral and neural responses to intranasal OT and AVP are highly sexually differentiated. In women, AVP increased conciliatory behavior, and both OT and AVP caused women to treat computer partners more like humans. In men, AVP increased reciprocation of cooperation from both human and computer partners. However, no specific drug effects on behavior were shared between men and women. During cooperative interactions, both OT and AVP increased brain activity in men within areas rich in OT and AVP receptors and in areas playing a key role in reward, social bonding, arousal and memory (e.g., the striatum, basal forebrain, insula, amygdala and hippocampus), whereas OT and AVP either had no effect or in some cases actually decreased brain activity in these regions in women. OT treatment rendered neural responses of males more similar to responses of females in the placebo group and vice-versa, raising the prospect of an inverted u-shaped dose response to central OT levels. These findings emphasize the need to fully characterize the effects of intranasal OT and AVP in both males and females and at multiple doses before widespread clinical application will be warranted.

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Lying about What You Know or about What You Do?

Marta Serra-Garcia, Eric van Damme & Jan Potters
Journal of the European Economic Association, October 2013, Pages 1204-1229

Abstract:
We compare communication about private information to communication about actions in a one-shot 2-person public good game with private information. The informed player, who knows the exact return from contributing and whose contribution is unobserved, can send a message about the return or her contribution. Theoretically, messages can elicit the uninformed player's contribution, and allow the informed player to free-ride. The exact language used is not expected to matter. Experimentally, however, we find that free-ride depends on the language: the informed player free-rides less - and thereby lies less frequently - when she talks about her contribution than when she talks about the return. Further experimental evidence indicates that it is the promise component in messages about the contribution that leads to less free-ride and less lying.

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Resounding Silences: Subtle Norm Regulation in Everyday Interactions

Namkje Koudenburg, Tom Postmes & Ernestine Gordijn
Social Psychology Quarterly, September 2013, Pages 224-241

Abstract:
In this article we suggest a mechanism for norm regulation that does not rely on explicit information exchange or costly reinforcement, but rather on the sensitivity of group members to social cues in their environment. We examine whether brief conversational silences can (a) signal a threat to one's inclusionary status in the group and (b) motivate people to shift their attitudes to be in line with group norms. In two experiments - using videotaped and actual conversations, respectively - we manipulated the presence of a brief silence after group members expressed a certain attitude. As predicted, attitudes changed relative to the norm after such a brief silence. Those highly motivated to belong changed their attitude to become more normative, whereas those less motivated to belong shifted away from the group norm. The results suggest that social regulation may occur through very subtle means.

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Self-Organization for Collective Action: An Experimental Study of Voting on Sanction Regimes

Thomas Markussen, Louis Putterman & Jean-Robert Tyran
Review of Economic Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Entrusting the power to punish to a central authority is a hallmark of civilization, yet informal or horizontal sanctions have attracted more attention of late. We study experimentally a collective action dilemma and test whether subjects choose a formal sanction scheme that costs less than the surplus it makes possible, as predicted by standard economic theory, or instead opt for the use of informal sanctions or no sanctions. Our subjects choose, and succeed in using, informal sanctions surprisingly often, their voting decisions being responsive to the cost of formal sanctions. Adoption by voting enhances the efficiency of both informal sanctions and non-deterrent formal sanctions. Results are qualitatively confirmed under several permutations of the experimental design.

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From extortion to generosity, evolution in the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma

Alexander Stewart & Joshua Plotkin
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 17 September 2013, Pages 15348-15353

Abstract:
Recent work has revealed a new class of "zero-determinant" (ZD) strategies for iterated, two-player games. ZD strategies allow a player to unilaterally enforce a linear relationship between her score and her opponent's score, and thus to achieve an unusual degree of control over both players' long-term payoffs. Although originally conceived in the context of classical two-player game theory, ZD strategies also have consequences in evolving populations of players. Here, we explore the evolutionary prospects for ZD strategies in the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma (IPD). Several recent studies have focused on the evolution of "extortion strategies," a subset of ZD strategies, and have found them to be unsuccessful in populations. Nevertheless, we identify a different subset of ZD strategies, called "generous ZD strategies," that forgive defecting opponents but nonetheless dominate in evolving populations. For all but the smallest population sizes, generous ZD strategies are not only robust to being replaced by other strategies but can selectively replace any noncooperative ZD strategy. Generous strategies can be generalized beyond the space of ZD strategies, and they remain robust to invasion. When evolution occurs on the full set of all IPD strategies, selection disproportionately favors these generous strategies. In some regimes, generous strategies outperform even the most successful of the well-known IPD strategies, including win-stay-lose-shift.

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On the Acceptance of Apologies

Urs Fischbacher & Verena Utikal
Games and Economic Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
An apology is a strong and cheap device to restore social or economic relationships that have been disturbed. In a laboratory experiment in which apologies emerge endogenously, we find that harmdoers use apologies in particular if they fear punishment and if their intentions cannot be easily inferred. After offenses with ambiguous intention punishment for apologizers is lower than for non-apologizers. Victims expect an apology and punish if they do not receive one. An apology does not help at all after clearly intentionally committed offenses. On the contrary, after such offenses an apology strongly increases punishment compared to remaining silent.

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Voluntary Contributions with Redistribution: The Effect of Costly Sanctions when One Person's Punishment is Another's Reward

Talbot Page, Louis Putterman & Bruno Garcia
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, November 2013, Pages 34-48

Abstract:
We introduce new treatments of a voluntary contribution mechanism with opportunities to punish in order to see how contributions, punishments and earnings change when punishment is in the form of fines the punisher distributes to other members of her group. The linked punishment-reward set up is of theoretical interest and could represent simultaneous shifts of social disapproval and approval. Conjectures that punishment will be better targeted, and that it will be more substantial for given deviation from others' contributions, receive support. Making punishment redistributive increases contributions and efficiency, even after netting out the design's free resource element.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Outing

The Editor, the Publisher, and His Mother: The Representation of Lesbians and Gays in the New York Times

Daniel Chomsky & Scott Barclay
Journal of Homosexuality, October 2013, Pages 1389-1408

Abstract:
The attention and prominence given to issues in media outlets may affect the importance citizens attribute to them, so the actors who influence mass media coverage decisions may have political power in society generally. This article seeks to measure the relative influence of journalists, social trends, events, government officials, editors, and owners on the New York Times coverage of lesbians and gays from 1960 to 1995. Although many factors affected the nature and frequency of such coverage, the findings of this article show that the owners of the Times exerted decisive influence. Documentary evidence reveals that the Times' owners actively intervened to suppress coverage of lesbians and gays until 1987, even as reporters and editors recognized that increased social visibility made them newsworthy. Statistical analysis confirms that, although some actual events and statements of officials attracted attention from the newspaper throughout the period, they were more likely to generate prominent coverage after 1987 when the stories were consistent with the enthusiasms of the owners.

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“Doing Fear”: The Influence of Hetero-femininity on (Trans)women's Fears of Victimization

Jill Yavorsky & Liana Sayer
Sociological Quarterly, Fall 2013, Pages 511–533

Abstract:
Through 26 in-depth interviews with male-to-female transsexuals (transwomen), this study examines transwomen's perceptions of safety, pre- and post-transition. The majority reported higher levels of fear and believed they would be unable to fight off an attacker post-transition even though most were large statured and were socialized as males. Exposure to heterosexual practices and to cultural messages depicting women as physically weak and sexually vulnerable, and transwomen's embodiment of hetero-femininity play a central role in increasing their fears. Their experiences as women are powerful enough to override decades of prior male experiences and expose the socially constructed nature of fear and bodily agency.

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Chameleonic social identities: Context induces shifts in homosexuals' self-stereotyping and self-categorization

Mara Cadinu, Silvia Galdi & Anne Maass
European Journal of Social Psychology, October 2013, Pages 471–481

Abstract:
Do people align their self-concepts to the environment? It was predicted that low-status (homosexuals), but not high-status group members (heterosexuals), respond to environmental cues by shifting the type of self-categorization and self-stereotyping. In the presence (vs. absence) of environmental cues to sexual orientation, homosexual individuals felt more talented for typically homosexual jobs and showed greater self-stereotyping on typically homosexual traits (Experiment 1). Using implicit measures of self-categorization and self-stereotyping, we observed parallel findings for homosexuals, but not for heterosexuals (Experiment 2). Results are discussed in relation to research on stigma, with particular attention to the potential benefits for low-status group members of changing their implicit self-concept flexibly across situations.

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Intergroup threat and outgroup attitudes: Macro-level symbolic threat increases prejudice against gay men

Marco Brambilla & David Butz
Social Psychology, Fall 2013, Pages 311-319

Abstract:
Two studies examined the impact of macrolevel symbolic threat on intergroup attitudes. In Study 1 (N = 71), participants exposed to a macrosymbolic threat (vs. nonsymbolic threat and neutral topic) reported less support toward social policies concerning gay men, an outgroup whose stereotypes implies a threat to values, but not toward welfare recipients, a social group whose stereotypes do not imply a threat to values. Study 2 (N = 78) showed that, whereas macrolevel symbolic threat led to less favorable attitudes toward gay men, macroeconomic threat led to less favorable attitudes toward Asians, an outgroup whose stereotypes imply an economic threat. These findings are discussed in terms of their implications for understanding the role of a general climate of threat in shaping intergroup attitudes.

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The Psychophysiology of Social Action: Facial Electromyographic Responses to Stigmatized Groups Predict Antidiscrimination Action

Tracie Stewart et al.
Basic and Applied Social Psychology, September/October 2013, Pages 418-425

Abstract:
We introduced facial electromyography as a tool for predicting advantaged group members' engagement in antidiscrimination action on behalf of a disadvantaged outgroup. Heterosexual men's corrugator supercilii (brow “frowning” muscles) activity while viewing videos of male–male and male–female couples interacting was measured. Corrugator (negative affect) response to male–male versus male–female targets, but not self-reported attitudes toward gay men, predicted number of flyers calling for action to reduce antigay violence and discrimination that participants privately took to distribute. Our discreet behavioral measure mirrored real-life collective action possibilities such as voting against laws prohibiting same-sex marriage in the privacy of one's voting booth.

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Male Androphilia in the Ancestral Environment

Doug VanderLaan, Zhiyuan Ren & Paul Vasey
Human Nature, forthcoming

Abstract:
The kin selection hypothesis posits that male androphilia (male sexual attraction to adult males) evolved because androphilic males invest more in kin, thereby enhancing inclusive fitness. Increased kin-directed altruism has been repeatedly documented among a population of transgendered androphilic males, but never among androphilic males in other cultures who adopt gender identities as men. Thus, the kin selection hypothesis may be viable if male androphilia was expressed in the transgendered form in the ancestral past. Using the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample (SCCS), we examined 46 societies in which male androphilia was expressed in the transgendered form (transgendered societies) and 146 comparison societies (non-transgendered societies). We analyzed SCCS variables pertaining to ancestral sociocultural conditions, access to kin, and societal reactions to homosexuality. Our results show that ancestral sociocultural conditions and bilateral and double descent systems were more common in transgendered than in non-transgendered societies. Across the entire sample, descent systems and residence patterns that would presumably facilitate increased access to kin were associated with the presence of ancestral sociocultural conditions. Among transgendered societies, negative societal attitudes toward homosexuality were unlikely. We conclude that the ancestral human sociocultural environment was likely conducive to the expression of the transgendered form of male androphilia. Descent systems, residence patterns, and societal reactions to homosexuality likely facilitated investments in kin by transgendered males. Given that contemporary transgendered male androphiles appear to exhibit elevated kin-directed altruism, these findings further indicate the viability of the kin selection hypothesis.

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Relationship quality among Swiss women in opposite-sex versus same-sex romantic relationships

Nathalie Meuwly et al.
Swiss Journal of Psychology, October 2013, Pages 229-233

Abstract:
Romantic relationship quality is an important factor for well-being. Most research on romantic relationships is based on heterosexual couples, but studies of different types of dyads showed that relationship functioning among same-sex couples is similar to that among heterosexual couples. However, a few studies suggest that lesbian partners are better communicators and more satisfied in their romantic relationships. The present study aimed to replicate these findings with a sample of Swiss couples, as most of the previous studies have been based on US-American samples. Eighty-two women who were currently in a romantic relationship with either a male or a female partner completed an online questionnaire about their relationship functioning. Compared to heterosexual women, lesbian women reported receiving better support from and experiencing less conflict with their female partners. They also showed a trend toward being more satisfied in their relationship. The study supports the notion that, relative to heterosexual couples, the quality of support and conflict interactions may be enhanced in female same-sex couples.

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Sexual Fantasies and Gender/Sex: A Multimethod Approach with Quantitative Content Analysis and Hormonal Responses

Katherine Goldey, Lanice Avery & Sari van Anders
Journal of Sex Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research links explicit sexuality (e.g., physical attraction and pleasure) to high testosterone (T) and nurturance (loving contact) to low T. Engaging in sexual fantasy, which can include explicit sexual and nurturant elements, increases T in women but not in men. We examined whether individual differences in the explicit sexual and nurturant content of fantasy were linked with T or with estradiol (E2). In addition, we explored whether fantasy content differed or overlapped by gender/sex. Participants (26 women, 23 men) provided saliva samples for hormones before and after imagining a self-defined positive sexual encounter and responding to open-ended questions about the situation they imagined. We systematically content-coded responses for explicit sexual and nurturant content. In men, lower inclusion of nurturant content predicted larger T responses to fantasy. Fantasy content was not linked with T in women or with E2 in women or men. Women and men did not differ significantly in explicit sexual and nurturant content. Our findings suggest that individual experiences of fantasy as more or less nurturant affect T in men, provide support for the Steroid/Peptide Theory of Social Bonds, and highlight the value of integrating hormones and content analysis to investigate research questions relevant to sexuality and gender/sex.

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Oxytocin's impact on social face processing is stronger in homosexual than heterosexual men

Matthias Thienel et al.
Psychoneuroendocrinology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Oxytocin is an evolutionary highly preserved neuropeptide that contributes to the regulation of social interactions including the processing of facial stimuli. We hypothesized that its improving effect on social approach behavior depends on perceived sexual features and, consequently, on sexual orientation. In 19 homosexual and 18 heterosexual healthy young men, we investigated the acute effect of intranasal oxytocin (24 IU) and placebo, respectively, on the processing of social stimuli as assessed by ratings of trustworthiness, attractiveness and approachability for male and female faces. Faces were each presented with a neutral, a happy, and an angry expression, respectively. In heterosexual subjects, the effect of oxytocin administration was restricted to a decrease in ratings of trustworthiness for angry female faces (p < 0.02). In contrast, in homosexual men oxytocin administration robustly increased ratings of attractiveness and approachability for male faces regardless of the facial expression (all p ≤ 0.05), as well as ratings of approachability for happy female faces (p < 0.01). Results indicate that homosexual in comparison to heterosexual men display higher sensitivity to oxytocin's enhancing impact on social approach tendencies, suggesting that differences in sexual orientation imply differential oxytocinergic signaling.

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Disparities in Health Insurance Among Children With Same-Sex Parents

Gilbert Gonzales & Lynn Blewett
Pediatrics, October 2013, Pages 703 -711

Objectives: The objectives of this study were to examine disparities in health insurance coverage for children with same-sex parents and to investigate how statewide policies such as same-sex marriage and second-parent adoptions affect children’s private insurance coverage.

Methods: We used data from the 2008–2010 American Community Survey to identify children (aged 0–17 years) with same-sex parents (n = 5081), married opposite-sex parents (n = 1 369 789), and unmarried opposite-sex parents (n = 101 678). We conducted multinomial logistic regression models to estimate the relationship between family type and type of health insurance coverage for all children and then stratified by each child’s state policy environment.

Results: Although 77.5% of children with married opposite-sex parents had private health insurance, only 63.3% of children with dual fathers and 67.5% with dual mothers were covered by private health plans. Children with same-sex parents had fewer odds of private insurance after controlling for demographic characteristics but not to the extent of children with unmarried opposite-sex parents. Differences in private insurance diminished for children with dual mothers after stratifying children in states with legal same-sex marriage or civil unions. Living in a state that allowed second-parent adoptions also predicted narrower disparities in private insurance coverage for children with dual fathers or dual mothers.

Conclusions: Disparities in private health insurance for children with same-sex parents diminish when they live in states that secure their legal relationship to both parents. This study provides supporting evidence in favor of recent policy statements by the American Academy of Pediatricians endorsing same-sex marriage and second-parent adoptions.

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Male Bisexual Arousal: A Matter of Curiosity?

Gerulf Rieger et al.
Biological Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Conflicting evidence exists regarding whether bisexual-identified men are sexually aroused to both men and women. We hypothesized that a distinct characteristic, level of curiosity about sexually diverse acts, distinguishes bisexual-identified men with and without bisexual arousal. Study 1 assessed men's (N = 277) sexual arousal via pupil dilation to male and female sexual stimuli. Bisexual men were, on average, higher in their sexual curiosity than other men. Despite this general difference, only bisexual-identified men with elevated sexual curiosity showed bisexual arousal. Those lower in curiosity had responses resembling those of homosexual men. Study 2 assessed men's (N = 72) sexual arousal via genital responses and replicated findings of Study 1. Study 3 provided information on the validity on our measure of sexual curiosity by relating it to general curiosity and sexual sensation seeking (N = 83). Based on their sexual arousal and personality, at least two groups of men identify as bisexual.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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