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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Relationship status

Social network sites, marriage well-being and divorce: Survey and state-level evidence from the United States

Sebastián Valenzuela, Daniel Halpern & James Katz
Computers in Human Behavior, July 2014, Pages 94–101

Abstract:
This study explores the relationship between using social networks sites (SNS), marriage satisfaction and divorce rates using survey data of married individuals and state-level data from the United States. Results show that using SNS is negatively correlated with marriage quality and happiness, and positively correlated with experiencing a troubled relationship and thinking about divorce. These correlations hold after a variety of economic, demographic, and psychological variables related to marriage well-being are taken into account. Further, the findings of this individual-level analysis are consistent with a state-level analysis of the most popular SNS to date: across the U.S., the diffusion of Facebook between 2008 and 2010 is positively correlated with increasing divorce rates during the same time period after controlling for all time-invariant factors of each state (fixed effects), and continues to hold when time-varying economic and socio-demographic factors that might affect divorce rates are also controlled. Possible explanations for these associations are discussed, particularly in the context of pro- and anti-social perspectives towards SNS and Facebook in particular.

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More than a dalliance? Pornography consumption and extramarital sex attitudes among married U.S. adults

Paul Wright, Robert Tokunaga & Soyoung Bae
Psychology of Popular Media Culture, April 2014, Pages 97-109

Abstract:
Extramarital sex is one of the most commonly cited reasons for divorce. U.S. adults who have more positive extramarital sex attitudes are more likely to engage in extramarital sex. Given pornography’s positive portrayal of extramarital sex, several recent studies have explored whether people who consume pornography have a more positive attitude toward extramarital sex. Consistent correlations have been found, but limitations to inference are posed by the sampling of adolescents and college students and the cross-sectional designs used. This brief report used national panel data gathered from two separate samples of married U.S. adults. Data were gathered from the first sample in 2006 and in 2008 (N = 282). Data were gathered from the second sample in 2008 and in 2010 (N = 269). Consistent with a social learning perspective on media, prior pornography consumption was correlated with more positive subsequent extramarital sex attitudes in both samples, even after controlling for earlier extramarital sex attitudes and nine additional potential confounds. Contrary to a selective exposure perspective on media, prior extramarital sex attitudes were unrelated to subsequent pornography consumption in both samples.

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Marriage or Carriage? Trends in Union Context and Birth Type by Education

Christina Gibson-Davis & Heather Rackin
Journal of Marriage and Family, June 2014, Pages 506–519

Abstract:
Using data from 8,951 first-time mothers in the National Survey of Family Growth, the authors analyzed trends in union contexts during the transition to motherhood by social class (proxied by maternal education). Conventional classifications of union contexts as married or cohabiting were extended by classifying births relative to union status at conception. The most conventional married birth type, in which the mother was married at conception and at birth, declined sharply, but only among low- and moderately educated women. Women with lower levels of education were instead more likely to have a birth in the context of a cohabiting union formed prior to conception. In 2005–2010, the adjusted probability of a low-educated mother having a conventional married birth was 11.5%, versus 78.4% for highly educated mothers. The growing disparity in union type at first birth by social class may have implications for social and economic inequality.

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The costs of being put on a pedestal: Effects of feeling over-idealized

Jennifer Tomlinson et al.
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, May 2014, Pages 384-409

Abstract:
This research explored the possibility of feeling over-idealized, or “put on a pedestal” by a partner, examining whether there is an optimal level of perceived idealization, such that too little or too much is detrimental. Perceived over-idealization was manipulated experimentally with 99 dating couples (Study 1), and in surveys of 89 married (Study 2) and 156 dating couples (Study 3). Study 1 found that participants physically distanced themselves from their partners following a perceived over-idealization manipulation. Study 2 found curvilinear associations (i.e., positive up to a point, then negative) of satisfaction with perceived idealization of traits and abilities. Study 3 found a similar curvilinear association of perceived idealization of abilities with satisfaction, which appeared to be mediated by reduced accommodation and possibly also by threat to self, as suggested by theory.

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A Reconsideration of Sex Differences in Response to Sexual and Emotional Infidelity

Tsukasa Kato
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous studies have found that males are more upset over sexual infidelity than females whereas females are more upset over emotional infidelity than males. We hypothesized that such sex differences are explained by explicit sexual imagery by males. The hypothesis was tested in a laboratory using vivid infidelity scenarios and photographs to induce detailed and sexually oriented imagery of a partner’s infidelity. In the main experiment, participants included 64 males and 64 females who were currently in committed relationships. The results showed that participants became more upset when they imagined sexual infidelity vividly and realistically than when they did not and there were no significant sex differences in jealousy found when sexual infidelity was imagined in this matter. Overall, our findings suggested that the sex differences in jealousy resulted from males’ tendency to imagine sexual infidelity more vividly than females.

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Changes in Sleep Time and Sleep Quality across the Ovulatory Cycle as a Function of Fertility and Partner Attractiveness

Brooke Gentle, Elizabeth Pillsworth & Aaron Goetz
PLoS ONE, April 2014

Abstract:
Research suggests that near ovulation women tend to consume fewer calories and engage in more physical activity; they are judged to be more attractive, express greater preferences for masculine and symmetrical men, and experience increases in sexual desire for men other than their primary partners. Some of these cycle phase shifts are moderated by partner attractiveness and interpreted as strategic responses to women's current reproductive context. The present study investigated changes in sleep across the ovulatory cycle, based on the hypothesis that changes in sleep may reflect ancestral strategic shifts of time and energy toward reproductive activities. Participants completed a 32-day daily diary in which they recorded their sleep time and quality for each day, yielding over 1,000 observations of sleep time and quality. Results indicated that, when the probability of conception was high, women partnered with less attractive men slept more, while women with more attractive partners slept less.

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Framing love: When it hurts to think we were made for each other

Spike Lee & Norbert Schwarz
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Love can be metaphorically framed as perfect unity between two halves made for each other or as a journey with ups and downs. Given their differential interpretations of romantic relationship, these frames have the power to change the evaluative impact of relational conflicts. We find that thinking about conflicts with one’s partner hurts more with the unity (vs. journey) frame in mind, whether the frames are activated within the relational context using linguistic expressions (Study 1) or in an unrelated context using physical cues (Studies 2a & 2b). The frames only influence relationship evaluation after thinking about conflicts (but not celebrations) and require applicability to the target. These patterns support the logic of metaphorical framing as distinct from metaphorical transfer. They shed new light on how to think about love, how it matters for relationship evaluation, and fundamentally, how frames influence judgments.

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Cohabitation, Post-Conception Unions, and the Rise in Nonmarital Fertility

Daniel Lichter, Sharon Sassler & Richard Turner
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
The majority of U.S. nonmarital births today are to cohabiting couples. This study focuses on transitions to cohabitation or marriage among pregnant unmarried women during the period between conception and birth. Results using the newly-released 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth show that nonmarital pregnancy is a significant precursor to cohabitation before childbirth (18 percent), exceeding transitions to marriage (5 percent) by factor of over three. For pregnant women, the boundaries between singlehood, cohabitation, and marriage are highly fluid. The results also reveal substantial variation in post-conception cohabiting and marital unions; e.g., disproportionately low percentages of black single and cohabiting women transitioned into marriage, even when conventional social and economic risk factors are controlled. The multivariate analyses also point to persistent class differences in patterns of family formation, including patterns of cohabitation and marriage following conception. Poorly educated women, in particular, are much more likely to become pregnant as singles living alone or as partners in cohabiting unions. But compared with college-educated women, pregnancies are less likely to lead to either cohabitation or marriage. This paper highlights the conceptual and technical challenges involved in making unambiguous interpretations of nonmarital fertility during a period of rising nonmarital cohabitation.

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Gender, added-worker effects, and the 2007–2009 recession: Looking within the household

Martha Starr
Review of Economics of the Household, June 2014, Pages 209-235

Abstract:
The U.S. recession of 2007–2009 saw unemployment rates for men rise by significantly more than those for women, resulting in the downturn’s characterization as a ‘mancession’. This paper uses data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reexamine gender-related dimensions of the 2007–2009 recession. Unlike most previous work, we analyze data that connects men’s and women’s employment status to that of their spouses. A difference-in-difference framework is used to characterize how labor-market outcomes for one spouse varied according to outcomes for the other. Results show that that employment rates of women whose husbands were non-employed rose significantly in the recession, while those for people in other situations held steady or fell — consistent with the view that women took on additional bread-winning responsibilities to make up for lost income. However, probabilities of non-participation did not rise by more for men with working wives than they did for other men, casting doubt on ideas that men in this situation made weaker efforts to return to work because they could count on their wives’ paychecks to support the household.

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Exposure to Perceived Male Rivals Raises Men’s Testosterone on Fertile relative to Nonfertile Days of their Partner’s Ovulatory Cycle

Melissa Fales, Kelly Gildersleeve & Martie Haselton
Hormones and Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
The challenge hypothesis posits that male testosterone levels increase in the presence of fertile females to facilitate mating and increase further in the presence of male rivals to facilitate male-male competition. This hypothesis has been supported in a number of nonhuman animal species. We conducted an experiment to test the challenge hypothesis in men. Thirty-four men were randomly assigned to view high-competitive or low-competitive male rivals at high and low fertility within their partner’s ovulatory cycle (confirmed by luteinizing hormone tests). Testosterone was measured upon arrival to the lab and before and after the manipulation. Based on the challenge hypothesis, we predicted that a) men’s baseline testosterone would be higher at high relative to low fertility within their partner’s cycle, and b) men’s testosterone would be higher in response to high-competitive rivals, but not in response to low-competitive rivals, at high relative to low fertility within their partner’s cycle. Contrary to the first prediction, men’s baseline testosterone levels did not differ across high and low fertility. However, consistent with the second prediction, men exposed to high-competitive rivals showed significantly higher post-test testosterone levels at high relative to low fertility, controlling for pre-test testosterone levels. Men exposed to low-competitive rivals showed no such pattern (though the fertility by competition condition interaction fell short of statistical significance). This preliminary support for the challenge hypothesis in men builds on a growing empirical literature suggesting that men possess mating adaptations sensitive to fertility cues emitted by their female partners.

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Effects of Administered Alcohol on Intimate Partner Interactions in a Conflict Resolution Paradigm

Maria Testa et al.
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, March 2014, Pages 249-258

Objective: Although couples' alcohol use has been associated with intimate partner aggression and poorer marital functioning, few studies have examined the proximal effects of alcohol on couple interactions. The current experimental study examined the effects of alcohol, administered independently to male and female intimate partners, on positive and negative interaction behaviors within a naturalistic conflict resolution paradigm.

Method: Married and cohabiting couples (n = 152) were recruited from the community and each partner randomly assigned to receive either alcohol (target dose: .08 mg/kg) or no alcohol. They engaged in two 15-minute interactions regarding current disagreements in their relationship, one before and one after beverage administration. Videotaped interactions were coded by trained observers using the Rapid Marital Interaction Coding System, and positive and negative interaction behaviors were analyzed using the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model.

Results: Participants displayed decreased negativity and increased positivity following alcohol consumption when their partners were sober but no differences in negativity or positivity when their partners also consumed alcohol. There were no gender differences. Although participants with a history of perpetrating intimate partner aggression displayed more negativity, prior aggression did not interact with beverage condition.

Conclusions: The immediate effects of alcohol consumption on couple interaction behaviors appeared more positive than negative. Contrary to hypotheses, congruent partner drinking had neither particularly positive nor particularly negative effects. These unique findings represent a rare glimpse into the immediate consequences of alcohol consumption on couple interaction and stand in contrast to its delayed or long-term effects.

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Partnership Transitions and Antisocial Behavior in Young Adulthood: A Within-person, Multi-Cohort Analysis

Sonja Siennick et al.
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, forthcoming

Objectives: This study examines the effects of young adult transitions into marriage and cohabitation on criminal offending and substance use, and whether those effects changed since the 1970s, as marriage rates declined and cohabitation rates rose dramatically. It also examines whether any beneficial effects of cohabitation depend on marriage intentions.

Methods: Using multi-cohort national panel data from the Monitoring the Future (N = 15,875) study, the authors estimated fixed effects models relating within-person changes in marriage and cohabitation to changes in criminal offending and substance use.

Results: Marriage predicts lower levels of criminal offending and substance use, but the effects of cohabitation are limited to substance use outcomes and to engaged cohabiters. There are no cohort differences in the associations of marriage and cohabitation with criminal offending, and no consistent cohort differences in their associations with substance use. There is little evidence of differences in effects by gender or parenthood.

Conclusions: Young adults are increasingly likely to enter romantic partnership statuses that do not appear as effective in reducing antisocial behavior. Although cohabitation itself does not reduce antisocial behavior, engagement might. Future research should examine the mechanisms behind these effects, and why nonmarital partnerships reduce substance use and not crime.

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Older opposite-sex romantic partners, sexual risk, and victimization in adolescence

Barbara Oudekerk, Lucy Guarnera & Dickon Reppucci
Child Abuse & Neglect, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examined how age gaps among opposite-sex romantic partners related to sexual risk-taking and victimization by partners among 201 at-risk adolescents (60.2% female). We examined three questions: (a) is younger partner age, age gap between partners, or a combination of these two factors most strongly related to negative outcomes; (b) do age gaps relate to negative outcomes differently for male versus female adolescents; and (c) why do age gaps relate to negative outcomes? Results revealed that the wider the age gap between partners, the more likely adolescents were to engage in sex and the less likely they were to use protection against pregnancy and STIs. Wider age gaps were also associated with more frequent emotional and physical victimization and higher odds of unwanted sexual behavior. Findings did not differ significantly by gender or younger partner age. Analyses revealed that the wider the age gap, the more likely both partners were to engage in risky lifestyles (i.e., substance use and delinquency), and risky lifestyles – rather than poor negotiation or decision-making equality – helped to explain associations between age gaps and engagement in sexual intercourse and victimization experiences. Results suggest that relationships with age gaps tend to involve two partners who are engaging in deviant lifestyles overall, further corroborating the need to identify and provide services to these youth. Results also support movements toward considering partner age gaps rather than relying on a set age of consent when determining adolescents’ legal competency to consent to sex.

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Generous or Greedy Marriage? A Longitudinal Study of Volunteering and Charitable Giving

Christopher Einolf & Deborah Philbrick
Journal of Marriage and Family, June 2014, Pages 573–586

Abstract:
Recent scholarship has explored whether marriage encourages individuals to contribute to or withdraw from society. The authors examined how marriage affects volunteering and charitable giving, using longitudinal data from the 2001 to 2009 waves of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. Newly married men, but not women, were significantly more likely to give money to charity in the first survey wave after marriage and gave larger amounts of money. Newly married women, but not men, were significantly less likely to volunteer after marriage and volunteered fewer hours. Marriage had a stronger effect on religious giving than overall giving among men and had a significant and positive effect on religious giving among women. Marriage had a stronger positive effect on men's giving in the second wave after marriage than after the first.

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The Effect of Relationship Status on Health with Dynamic Health and Persistent Relationships

Jennifer Kohn & Susan Averett
Journal of Health Economics, July 2014, Pages 69–83

Abstract:
The dynamic evolution of health and persistent relationship status pose econometric challenges to disentangling the causal effect of relationships on health from the selection effect of health on relationship choice. Using a new econometric strategy we find that marriage is not universally better for health. Rather, cohabitation benefits the health of men and women over 45, being never married is no worse for health, and only divorce marginally harms the health of younger men. We find strong evidence that unobservable health-related factors can confound estimates. Our method can be applied to other research questions with dynamic dependent and multivariate endogenous variables.

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Fluctuation in Relationship Quality Over Time and Individual Well-Being: Main, Mediated, and Moderated Effects

Sarah Whitton, Galena Rhoades & Mark Whisman
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examined how the degree of within-person variation (or temporal fluctuation) in relationship quality over time was associated with well-being (psychological distress and life satisfaction). A national sample of 18- to 34-year-old men and women in unmarried, opposite-sex relationships completed six waves of surveys every 4 months (N = 748). Controlling for initial levels of and linear changes in relationship quality, greater temporal fluctuation in relationship quality over time was associated with increasing psychological distress and decreasing life satisfaction over time. Decreased confidence in one’s relationship partially mediated these associations. Moderation analyses revealed that the association between fluctuations in relationship quality and change in life satisfaction was stronger for women, participants cohabiting with their partners, and those with greater anxious attachment, whereas the association between fluctuations in relationship quality and change in psychological distress was stronger for people with greater avoidant attachment.

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Dyadic Associations Between Testosterone and Relationship Quality in Couples

Robin Edelstein et al.
Hormones and Behavior, April 2014, Pages 401–407

Abstract:
Testosterone is thought to be positively associated with “mating effort”, or the initiation and establishment of sexual relationships (Wingfield et al., 1990). Yet, because testosterone is negatively associated with nurturance (van Anders et al., 2011), high levels of testosterone may be incompatible with relationship maintenance. For instance, partnered men with high testosterone report lower relationship quality compared to partnered men with low testosterone (e.g., Booth and Dabbs, 1993). Findings for women are inconsistent, however, and even less is known about potential dyadic associations between testosterone and relationship quality in couples. In the current report, we assessed relationship satisfaction, commitment, and investment in heterosexual couples and tested the hypothesis that these aspects of relationship quality would be negatively associated with an individual’s own and his/her partner’s testosterone levels. We found that testosterone was in fact negatively associated with relationship satisfaction and commitment in both men and women. There was also evidence for dyadic associations: Participants’ satisfaction and commitment were negatively related to their partners’ levels of testosterone, and these associations were larger for women’s than men’s testosterone. Our findings are consistent with the idea that high testosterone may be incompatible with the maintenance of nurturant relationships. The current findings also provide some of the first evidence for dyadic associations between testosterone and relationship quality in couples, highlighting the interdependent nature of close relationship processes and the importance of considering this interdependence in social neuroendocrine research.

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Genetic Associations With Intimate Partner Violence in a Sample of Hazardous Drinking Men in Batterer Intervention Programs

Gregory Stuart et al.
Violence Against Women, April 2014, Pages 385-400

Abstract:
The etiology of intimate partner violence (IPV) is multifactorial. However, etiological theories of IPV have rarely included potential genetic factors. The purpose of the present study was to examine whether a cumulative genetic score (CGS) containing the monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) and the human serotonin transporter gene linked polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) was associated with IPV perpetration after accounting for the effects of alcohol problems, drug problems, age, and length of relationship. We obtained DNA from 97 men in batterer intervention programs in the state of Rhode Island. In the full sample, the CGS was significantly associated with physical and psychological aggression and injuries caused to one’s partner, even after controlling for the effects of alcohol problems, drug problems, age, and length of relationship. Two of the men in the sample likely had Klinefelter’s syndrome, and analyses were repeated excluding these two individuals, leading to similar results. The implications of the genetic findings for the etiology and treatment of IPV among men in batterer intervention programs are briefly discussed.

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Marriage Duration and Divorce: The Seven-Year Itch or a Lifelong Itch?

Hill Kulu
Demography, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous studies have shown that the risk of divorce is low during the first months of marriage; it then increases, reaches a maximum, and thereafter begins to decline. Some researchers consider this pattern consistent with the notion of a “seven-year itch,” while others argue that the rising-falling pattern of divorce risk is a consequence of misspecification of longitudinal models because of omitted covariates or unobserved heterogeneity. The aim of this study is to investigate the causes of the rising-falling pattern of divorce risk. Using register data from Finland and applying multilevel hazard models, the analysis supports the rising-falling pattern of divorce by marriage duration: the risk of marital dissolution increases, reaches its peak, and then gradually declines. This pattern persists when I control for the sociodemographic characteristics of women and their partners. The inclusion of unobserved heterogeneity in the model leads to some changes in the shape of the baseline risk; however, the rising-falling pattern of the divorce risk persists.

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Are People Healthier If Their Partners Are More Optimistic? The Dyadic Effect of Optimism On Health Among Older Adults

Eric Kim, William Chopik & Jacqui Smith
Journal of Psychosomatic Research, forthcoming

Objective: Optimism has been linked with an array of positive health outcomes at the individual level. However, researchers have not examined how a spouse’s optimism might impact an individual’s health. We hypothesized that being optimistic (and having an optimistic spouse) would both be associated with better health.

Methods: Participants were 3,940 adults (1,970 couples) from the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative panel study of American adults over the age of 50. Participants were tracked for four years and outcomes included: physical functioning, self-rated health, and number of chronic illnesses. We analyzed the dyadic data using the actor partner interdependence model.

Results: After controlling for several psychological and demographic factors, a person’s own optimism and their spouse’s optimism predicted better self-rated health and physical functioning (b’s = .08-.25, p’s < .01). More optimistic people also reported better physical functioning (b = -.11, p < .01) and fewer chronic illnesses (b = -.01, p < .05) over time. Further, having an optimistic spouse uniquely predicted better physical functioning (b = -.09, p < .01) and fewer chronic illnesses (b = -.01, p < .05) over time. The strength of the relationship between optimism and health did not diminish over time.

Conclusions: Being optimistic and having an optimistic spouse were both associated with better health. Examining partner effects is important because such analyses reveal the unique role that spouses play in promoting health. These findings may have important implications for future health interventions.

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Touch increases autonomic coupling between romantic partners

Jonas Chatel-Goldman et al.
Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, March 2014

Abstract:
Interpersonal touch is of paramount importance in human social bonding and close relationships, allowing a unique channel for affect communication. So far the effect of touch on human physiology has been studied at an individual level. The present study aims at extending the study of affective touch from isolated individuals to truly interacting dyads. We have designed an ecological paradigm where romantic partners interact only via touch and we manipulate their empathic states. Simultaneously, we collected their autonomic activity (skin conductance, pulse, respiration). Fourteen couples participated to the experiment. We found that interpersonal touch increased coupling of electrodermal activity between the interacting partners, regardless of the intensity and valence of the emotion felt. In addition, physical touch induced strong and reliable changes in physiological states within individuals. These results support an instrumental role of interpersonal touch for affective support in close relationships. Furthermore, they suggest that touch alone allows the emergence of a somatovisceral resonance between interacting individuals, which in turn is likely to form the prerequisites for emotional contagion and empathy.

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Coregulation of respiratory sinus arrhythmia in adult romantic partners

Jonathan Helm, David Sbarra & Emilio Ferrer
Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Questions surrounding physiological interdependence in romantic relationships are gaining increased attention in the research literature. One specific form of interdependence, coregulation, can be defined as the bidirectional linkage of oscillating signals within optimal bounds. Conceptual and theoretical work suggests that physiological coregulation should be instantiated in romantic couples. Although these ideas are appealing, the central tenets of most coregulatory models await empirical evaluation. In the current study, we evaluate the covariation of respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) in 32 romantic couples during a series of laboratory tasks using a cross-lagged panel model. During the tasks, men’s and women’s RSA were associated with their partners’ previous RSA responses, and this pattern was stronger for those couples with higher relationship satisfaction. The findings are discussed in terms of their implications for attachment theory, as well as the association between relationships and health.

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Interactions of Sexual Activity, Gender, and Depression with Immunity

Tierney Lorenz & Sari van Anders
Journal of Sexual Medicine, April 2014, Pages 966–979

Introduction: Depression can suppress immune function, leading to lower resistance against infection and longer healing times in depressed individuals. Sexuality may also influence immune function, with evidence that sexual activity is associated with lowered immune function in women and mixed results in men. Immune mediators like immunoglobulin A (IgA) are immediately relevant to sexual health, since they are the first line of defense against pathogens at mucous membranes like the vagina.

Aim: This study aims to determine if and how depression, sexual activity, and their interaction impact salivary IgA (SIgA) in men and women.

Methods: In Study 1, a community-based sample of 84 women and 88 men provided saliva samples and completed questionnaires on their demographic background, level of depression, and frequency of partnered and solitary sexual activity. Study 2, conducted separately in an undergraduate student sample of 54 women and 52 men, had similar methods.

Results: Across studies, higher levels of partnered sexual activity were associated with lower SIgA for women with high depression scores, but not for women with low depression scores. In contrast, higher levels of partnered sexual activity were associated with higher SIgA for men with high depression scores, but not for men with low depression scores.

Conclusion: Our results show that partnered sexual activity is a risk factor for lowered immunity in women with depressive symptoms but a possible resilience factor for men with depressive symptoms. This suggests a role for sexual activity in determining the impact of depression on physical health parameters.

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Social benefits of humility: Initiating and maintaining romantic relationships

Daryl Van Tongeren, Don Davis & Joshua Hook
Journal of Positive Psychology, July/August 2014, Pages 313-321

Abstract:
Previous research has highlighted the social nature of humility. In three studies, we provide evidence that humility facilitates the initiation and maintenance of romantic relationships. In Study 1, very humble potential dating partners, relative to less humble partners, were rated more favorably and were more likely to elicit intentions to initiate a romantic relationship. Study 2 was a conceptual replication of Study 1 that provided evidence that participants find humble potential dating partners more attractive than arrogant dating partners. In Study 3, we examined perceptions of humility in participants in proximal or long-distance relationships. We found that humility buffers against unforgiveness in long-distant relationships. Although long-distance relationships were associated with greater unforgiveness, this effect was only present when partners were viewed as having low humility. Together, these findings highlight the social benefits of humility in initiating and maintaining romantic relationships.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Light the way

Behavioral Responses to Daylight Savings Time

Alison Sexton & Timothy Beatty
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Daylight Savings Time (DST) is promoted as a tool to conserve energy. However, ex post reduced form estimates of the effects of DST find no evidence of energy savings and find some evidence of a small increase in energy use. This paper investigates this disconnect using detailed individual time use data to look at the behavioral effects of DST. We study how individuals change their time use in response to the abrupt shift in daylight associated with DST. We leverage two natural experiments to identify the effect of DST on behavior. First, we study periods around the annual shift in daylight induced by moving into and out of DST. Second, we compare activities by time interval before and after the change in DST start dates that occurred in 2007. We find cautious evidence that individuals are shifting potentially energy intensive activities earlier in the day, which is consistent with earlier findings of increased energy usage.

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Particulate Pollution and the Productivity of Pear Packers

Tom Chang et al.
NBER Working Paper, February 2014

Abstract:
We study the effect of outdoor air pollution on the productivity of indoor workers at a pear-packing factory. We focus on fine particulate matter (PM2.5), a harmful pollutant that easily penetrates indoor settings. We find that an increase in PM2.5 outdoors leads to a statistically and economically significant decrease in packing speeds inside the factory, with effects arising at levels well below current air quality standards. In contrast, we find little effect of PM2.5 on hours worked or the decision to work, and little effect of pollutants that do not travel indoors, such as ozone. This effect of outdoor pollution on the productivity of indoor workers suggests a thus far overlooked consequence of pollution. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that nationwide reductions in PM2.5 from 1999 to 2008 generated $19.5 billion in labor cost savings, which is roughly one-third of the total welfare benefits associated with this change.

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The Federalism of Fracking: How the Locus of Policy-Making Authority Affects Civic Engagement

Gwen Arnold & Robert Holahan
Publius, Spring 2014, Pages 344-368

Abstract:
In 1961, V. Ostrom, Tiebout, and Warren (OTW) argued that small political jurisdictions foster more civic engagement than large jurisdictions. Empirical tests of this claim have produced mixed results. Drawing on E. Ostrom's theorizing, we contend that these mixed findings may result from scholars ignoring differences in the policy-making capacity of seemingly comparable jurisdictions. We nuance OTW's hypothesis by examining how the size of the jurisdiction with authority to shape policy affects civic engagement surrounding hydraulic fracturing in New York and Pennsylvania. Empirical analysis supports the nuanced OTW hypothesis: Citizens in New York, where meaningful fracking policy-making authority rests with small local jurisdictions, evidence more civic engagement than citizens in Pennsylvania, where the locus for fracking policy-making authority is a large, commonwealth-wide jurisdiction.

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Environmental Sustainability and National Personality

Jacob Hirsh
Journal of Environmental Psychology, June 2014, Pages 233-240

Abstract:
Previous research has linked higher levels of the personality traits Agreeableness and Openness with greater concern about environmental issues. While these traits are important predictors of environmental attitudes among individuals, a growing literature has begun examining the broader consequences of population differences in personality characteristics. The present study examines whether nationally-aggregated personality traits can be significant predictors of a country's environmental sustainability. National personality scores were derived from an existing database of 12,156 respondents across 51 countries and examined in relation to each country's scores on the Environmental Performance Index, a benchmark of the sustainability of a country's environmental policies. Just as Agreeableness and Openness predict environmental concern at the individual level, countries with higher population levels of Agreeableness and Openness had significantly better performance on the sustainability index. These results remained when controlling for national differences in wealth, education, and population size and were unique to these two traits.

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Focusing Events and Public Opinion: Evidence from the Deepwater Horizon Disaster

Bradford Bishop
Political Behavior, March 2014, Pages 1-22

Abstract:
Scholarly research has found a weak and inconsistent role for self-interest in public opinion, and mixed evidence for a relationship between local pollution risks and support for environmental protection. In this study, I argue that focusing events can induce self-interested responses from people living in communities whose economies are implicated by the event. I leverage a unique 12-wave panel survey administered between 2008 and 2010 to analyze public opinion toward offshore oil drilling before and after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. I find that residence in counties highly dependent upon the offshore drilling industry was predictive of pro-drilling attitudes following the spill, though not prior to the spill. In addition, there is no significant evidence that residence in a county afflicted by the spill influenced opinion. This study concludes that local support for drilling often arises only after focusing events make the issue salient.

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Speculation in the Oil Market

Luciana Juvenal & Ivan Petrella
Journal of Applied Econometrics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The run-up in oil prices since 2004 coincided with growing investment in commodity markets and increased price co-movement among different commodities. We assess whether speculation in the oil market played a role in driving this salient empirical pattern. We identify oil shocks from a large dataset using a dynamic factor model. This method is motivated by the fact that a small-scale vector autoregression is not informationally sufficient to identify the shocks. The main results are as follows. (i) While global demand shocks account for the largest share of oil price fluctuations, speculative shocks are the second most important driver. (ii) The increase in oil prices over the last decade is mainly driven by the strength of global demand. However, speculation played a significant role in the oil price increase between 2004 and 2008 and its subsequent collapse. (iii) The co-movement between oil prices and the prices of other commodities is mainly explained by global demand shocks. Our results support the view that the recent oil price increase is mainly driven by the strength of global demand but that the financialization process of commodity markets also played a role.

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How Frames Can Undermine Support for Scientific Adaptations: Politicization and the Status-Quo Bias

Toby Bolsen, James Druckman & Fay Lomax Cook
Public Opinion Quarterly, Spring 2014, Pages 1-26

Abstract:
The politicization of science is a phenomenon that has sparked a great deal of attention in recent years. Nonetheless, few studies directly explore how frames that highlight politicization affect public support for scientific adaptations. We study how frames that highlight politicization affect support for using nuclear power, and test our hypotheses with two experiments. We find, in one study, that politicizing science reduces support for nuclear power and renders arguments about the environmental benefits of nuclear energy invalid, regardless of whether there is a reference to consensus scientific evidence. We find, in a second study, that reference to the potential health risks associated with using nuclear power also decreases support in the presence of additional frames that highlight either science's progress or its politicization. In the end, our findings suggest that a status-quo bias prevails that, under some circumstances, can serve as a significant impediment to generating public support for scientific innovations.

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Stories that Count: Influence of News Narratives on Issue Attitudes

Fuyuan Shen, Lee Ahern & Michelle Baker
Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, March 2014, Pages 98-117

Abstract:
This paper examines the impact of using narratives to frame a political issue on individuals' attitudes. In an experiment, we asked participants to read either narrative or informational news articles that emphasized the potential economic benefits or environmental consequences associated with shale gas drilling. Results indicated both news formats (narrative vs. informational) and frames (environmental vs. economic) had significant immediate effects on issue attitudes and other responses; narrative environmental news had a significantly greater impact than informational environmental news. Cognitive responses and empathy were significant partial mediators of narrative impact. Environmental narratives also had a more significant impact on individuals' delayed issue attitudes.

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Radiation dose rates now and in the future for residents neighboring restricted areas of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

Kouji Harada et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 11 March 2014, Pages E914-E923

Abstract:
Radiation dose rates were evaluated in three areas neighboring a restricted area within a 20- to 50-km radius of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in August-September 2012 and projected to 2022 and 2062. Study participants wore personal dosimeters measuring external dose equivalents, almost entirely from deposited radionuclides (groundshine). External dose rate equivalents owing to the accident averaged 1.03, 2.75, and 1.66 mSv/y in the village of Kawauchi, the Tamano area of Soma, and the Haramachi area of Minamisoma, respectively. Internal dose rates estimated from dietary intake of radiocesium averaged 0.0058, 0.019, and 0.0088 mSv/y in Kawauchi, Tamano, and Haramachi, respectively. Dose rates from inhalation of resuspended radiocesium were lower than 0.001 mSv/y. In 2012, the average annual doses from radiocesium were close to the average background radiation exposure (2 mSv/y) in Japan. Accounting only for the physical decay of radiocesium, mean annual dose rates in 2022 were estimated as 0.31, 0.87, and 0.53 mSv/y in Kawauchi, Tamano, and Haramachi, respectively. The simple and conservative estimates are comparable with variations in the background dose, and unlikely to exceed the ordinary permissible dose rate (1 mSv/y) for the majority of the Fukushima population. Health risk assessment indicates that post-2012 doses will increase lifetime solid cancer, leukemia, and breast cancer incidences by 1.06%, 0.03% and 0.28% respectively, in Tamano. This assessment was derived from short-term observation with uncertainties and did not evaluate the first-year dose and radioiodine exposure. Nevertheless, this estimate provides perspective on the long-term radiation exposure levels in the three regions.

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Should we build more large dams? The actual costs of hydropower megaproject development

Atif Ansar et al.
Energy Policy, June 2014, Pages 43-56

Abstract:
A brisk building boom of hydropower mega-dams is underway from China to Brazil. Whether benefits of new dams will outweigh costs remains unresolved despite contentious debates. We investigate this question with the "outside view" or "reference class forecasting" based on literature on decision-making under uncertainty in psychology. We find overwhelming evidence that budgets are systematically biased below actual costs of large hydropower dams - excluding inflation, substantial debt servicing, environmental, and social costs. Using the largest and most reliable reference data of its kind and multilevel statistical techniques applied to large dams for the first time, we were successful in fitting parsimonious models to predict cost and schedule overruns. The outside view suggests that in most countries large hydropower dams will be too costly in absolute terms and take too long to build to deliver a positive risk-adjusted return unless suitable risk management measures outlined in this paper can be affordably provided. Policymakers, particularly in developing countries, are advised to prefer agile energy alternatives that can be built over shorter time horizons to energy megaprojects.

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Energy Policy with Externalities and Internalities

Hunt Allcott, Sendhil Mullainathan & Dmitry Taubinsky
Journal of Public Economics, April 2014, Pages 72-88

Abstract:
We analyze optimal policy when consumers of energy-using durables undervalue energy costs relative to their private optima. First, there is an Internality Dividend from Externality Taxes: aside from reducing externalities, they also offset distortions from underinvestment in energy efficiency. Discrete choice simulations of the auto market suggest that the Internality Dividend could more than double the social welfare gains from a carbon tax at marginal damages. Second, we develop the Internality Targeting Principle: the optimal combination of multiple instruments depends on the average internality of the consumers marginal to each instrument. Because consumers who undervalue energy costs are mechanically less responsive to energy taxes, the optimal policy will tend to involve an energy tax below marginal damages coupled with a larger subsidy for energy efficient products. Third, although the exact optimal policy depends on joint distributions of unobservables which would be difficult to estimate, we develop formulas to closely approximate optimal policy and welfare effects based on reduced form "sufficient statistics" that can be estimated using field experiments or quasi-experimental variation in product prices and energy costs.

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Towards Understanding the Role of Price in Residential Electricity Choices: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

Katrina Jessoe, David Rapson & Jeremy Smith
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine a choice setting in which residential electricity consumers may respond to non-financial incentives in addition to prices. Using data from a natural field experiment that exposed some households to a change in their electricity rates, we find that households reduced electricity usage in response to a contemporaneous decrease in electricity prices. This provides clear evidence that other factors - potentially encompassing non-monetary and dynamic considerations - can influence consumer choice, and even dominate the static price response in some cases. A comprehensive understanding of household behavior in energy markets is essential for the effective implementation of market-based energy and environmental policies. The documentation of our result and others like it is a necessary step in achieving such an understanding.

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Distribution of income and toxic emissions in Maine, United States: Inequality in two dimensions

Rachel Bouvier
Ecological Economics, June 2014, Pages 39-47

Abstract:
Ecological distribution refers to inequalities in the use of environmental sinks and sources. This article explores one such dimension of ecological distribution - that of toxic air emissions. Using data from the Risk-Screening Environmental Indicators model and the United States Census Bureau, I analyze the distribution of both environmental risk and income at the block-group level in the state of Maine. The state of Maine was chosen for its historical dependence upon natural resources as well as its economic and spatial heterogeneity. Results clearly indicate that the toxic air emissions are distributed much more unequally than is income, and that those inequalities are reinforcing. While not in itself an indication of environmental injustice, such analyses may help us to rethink the assumption that there is a tradeoff between income and pollution.

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Are State Renewable Portfolio Standards Contagious?

Oguzhan Dincer, James Payne & Kristi Simkins
American Journal of Economics and Sociology, April 2014, Pages 325-340

Abstract:
This study examines whether the target levels of a state's renewable portfolio standard (RPS) are influenced by target levels in neighboring states, controlling for state-specific characteristics. Contrary to previous studies, target levels in neighboring states have a positive and statistically significant impact. In addition, the renewable energy potential and transmission capacity within a state, as well as in neighboring states, all have a positive and statistically significant impact. Both a state's unemployment rate and its educational attainment have a positive impact. Furthermore, states with Democratic governors have higher RPS target levels. The results also indicate significant regional variation in RPS target levels.

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An Ethanol Blend Wall Shift is Prone to Increase Petroleum Gasoline Demand

Cheng Qiu, Gregory Colson & Michael Wetzstein
Energy Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
In 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a waiver allowing an increase in the fuel-ethanol blend limit (the "blend wall") from 10% (E10) to 15% (E15). Justifications for the waiver are reduced vehicle-fuel prices and less consumption of petroleum gasoline, leading to greater energy security. Empirical investigations of this waiver using Monte Carlo simulations reveal an anomaly where a relaxation of this blend wall elicits a demand response. Under a wide range of elasticities, this demand response can actually increase the consumption of petroleum gasoline and thus lead to greater energy insecurity. The economics supporting this result and associated policy implications are developed and discussed.

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The social symbolism of water-conserving landscaping

Rebecca Neel et al.
Journal of Environmental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Three studies examined the symbolic and self-presentational meaning of low-water-use residential landscaping in a desert city in the southwestern United States. We hypothesized that owners' water-intensive or water-conserving landscape choices would be seen to convey very different characteristics. Data indicated that these two types of residential landscapes led to substantially different attributions about homeowners and also that potential homeowners could use landscapes to convey an array of characteristics to a social audience. In general, water-intensive landscapes led to more positive attributions than did water-conserving landscapes. The results support the idea that landscaping choice may be guided by self-presentational considerations, and that such considerations might influence the adoption of high- or low-water-use landscapes.

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To shut down or to shift: Multinationals and environmental regulation

Helen Naughton
Ecological Economics, June 2014, Pages 113-117

Abstract:
According to the pollution haven effect mobile capital responds to environmental regulation by moving from countries with high regulation to countries with low regulation. Previous tests of the pollution haven effect focus on host country regulation effect. This study also examines the effect of home country regulation on foreign direct investment (FDI). Using a panel of 28 OECD countries for 1990-2000 to estimate host and home country environmental regulations' effect on FDI, this study finds that host regulation decreases FDI. In contrast, home environmental regulation increases FDI at low levels of home regulation and decreases FDI at high levels of home regulation.

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Global Benefits of Marine Protected Areas

James Rising & Geoffrey Heal
NBER Working Paper, March 2014

Abstract:
Case studies suggest that Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) can be effective tools for fishery management. This study uses global datasets of MPAs and stock assessments to estimate the strength and robustness of their benefits. We apply multiple models, including a treatment-control pairing, a logistic model estimated with fixed-effects, and a regression tree to identify key characteristics. We find that regions with significant MPA designations increased their yearly yield by 17e3 MT/yr while those without experienced a loss of 20e3 MT/yr. On average, a 1% increase in protected area results in an increase in the growth rate of fish populations by about 1%. Considering only IUCN classified protected areas, and only marine portions of MPAs, growth rates increase 2% per percent area protected. MPA size is a key parameter which determines their per-area effectiveness. Using these results, we produce an estimate of the economic benefits of protected areas, relative to their costs. About 60% of country regions currently have insufficient protected areas to generate economic benefits, where the average break-even point for economic benefits of MPAs is at 8.5% of marine area.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

International relating

The Dopamine D4 Receptor Gene (DRD4) Moderates Cultural Difference in Independent Versus Interdependent Social Orientation

Shinobu Kitayama et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prior research suggests that cultural groups vary on an overarching dimension of independent versus interdependent social orientation, with European Americans being more independent, or less interdependent, than Asians. Drawing on recent evidence suggesting that the dopamine D4 receptor gene (DRD4) plays a role in modulating cultural learning, we predicted that carriers of DRD4 polymorphisms linked to increased dopamine signaling (7- or 2-repeat alleles) would show higher levels of culturally dominant social orientations, compared with noncarriers. European Americans and Asian-born Asians (total N = 398) reported their social orientation on multiple scales. They were also genotyped for DRD4. As in earlier work, European Americans were more independent, and Asian-born Asians more interdependent. This cultural difference was significantly more pronounced for carriers of the 7- or 2-repeat alleles than for noncarriers. Indeed, no cultural difference was apparent among the noncarriers. Implications for potential coevolution of genes and culture are discussed.

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Cross-Cultural Comparison of Nonverbal Cues in Emoticons on Twitter: Evidence from Big Data Analysis

Jaram Park, Young Min Baek & Meeyoung Cha
Journal of Communication, April 2014, Pages 333–354

Abstract:
Relying on Gudykunst's cultural variability in communication (CVC) framework and culture-specific facial expressions of emotion, we examined how people's use of emoticons varies cross-culturally. By merging emoticon usage patterns on Twitter with Hofstede's national culture scores and national indicators across 78 countries, this study found that people within individualistic cultures favor horizontal and mouth-oriented emoticons like :), while those within collectivistic cultures favor vertical and eye-oriented emoticons like ^_^. Our study serves to demonstrate how recent big data-driven approaches can be used to test research hypotheses in cross-cultural communication effectively from the methodological triangulation perspective. Implications and limitations regarding the findings of this study are also discussed.

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Individualism and the Extended-Self: Cross-Cultural Differences in the Valuation of Authentic Objects

Nathalia Gjersoe et al.
PLoS ONE, March 2014

Abstract:
The current studies examine how valuation of authentic items varies as a function of culture. We find that U.S. respondents value authentic items associated with individual persons (a sweater or an artwork) more than Indian respondents, but that both cultures value authentic objects not associated with persons (a dinosaur bone or a moon rock) equally. These differences cannot be attributed to more general cultural differences in the value assigned to authenticity. Rather, the results support the hypothesis that individualistic cultures place a greater value on objects associated with unique persons and in so doing, offer the first evidence for how valuation of certain authentic items may vary cross-culturally.

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Gun Culture: Mapping a Peculiar Preference for Firearms in the Commission of Suicide

Ryan Brown, Mikiko Imura & Lindsey Osterman
Basic and Applied Social Psychology, March/April 2014, Pages 164-175

Abstract:
Research has shown how honor cultures promote aggression against others (e.g., homicide) and the self (e.g., suicide). Two studies examine the connection between honor and a predilection for guns in the commission of suicide. Study 1 shows that Whites living in honor states are especially likely to use guns to commit suicide, controlling for gun accessibility. Study 2 reveals that a “gun access gap” in honor states — a positive difference between the proportion of all suicides that involve a gun and the gun ownership rate — predicts outcomes linked previously to honor cultures: homicides and accidental deaths.

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How People React to Social-Psychological Accounts of Wrongdoing: The Moderating Effects of Culture

Ying Tang, Leonard Newman & Lihui Huang
Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
While social-psychological research has afforded much insight into the causes of human behavior, its emphasis on “the power of the situation” has been met with resistance from laypeople. Previous research found that American participants, when provided with different accounts of wrongdoing, were comfortable endorsing dispositional explanations of the behavior, but suspected that psychologists were exonerating wrongdoers when they were provided with situational explanations. The current study extends this research by examining the moderating effect of culture on laypeople’s perceptions of different explanations of wrongdoing. Chinese and American participants read about two hypothetical studies about wrongdoing and learned that either situational factors or personality variables seemed to account for the behavior. They then made responsibility attributions for the wrongdoer from both their own perspective and from what they perceived was the psychologists’ perspective. When given dispositional explanations, both Chinese and Americans reported consistency between their own and what they perceived to be the psychologists’ perspectives. However, when given situational explanations, although Chinese participants again reported consistency between their own and the psychologists’ perspectives, American participants thought the psychologists were exonerating the wrongdoer. These findings shed light on why social-psychological research sometimes faces skepticism and on cross-cultural variations in how people explain human behaviors. Practical implications of the study include a reminder that when social psychologists package their messages, they should take into account the biases of different targeted audiences.

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Characterizing the Time-Perspective of Nations with Search Engine Query Data

Takao Noguchi et al.
PLoS ONE, April 2014

Abstract:
Vast quantities of data on human behavior are being created by our everyday internet usage. Building upon a recent study by Preis, Moat, Stanley, and Bishop (2012), we used search engine query data to construct measures of the time-perspective of nations, and tested these measures against per-capita gross domestic product (GDP). The results indicate that nations with higher per-capita GDP are more focused on the future and less on the past, and that when these nations do focus on the past, it is more likely to be the distant past. These results demonstrate the viability of using nation-level data to build psychological constructs.

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Cultural differences in hedonic emotion regulation after a negative event

Yuri Miyamoto, Xiaoming Ma & Amelia Petermann
Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Beliefs about emotions can influence how people regulate their emotions. The present research examined whether Eastern dialectical beliefs about negative emotions lead to cultural differences in how people regulate their emotions after experiencing a negative event. We hypothesized that, because of dialectical beliefs about negative emotions prevalent in Eastern culture, Easterners are less motivated than Westerners to engage in hedonic emotion regulation — up-regulation of positive emotions and down-regulation of negative emotions. By assessing online reactions to a recent negative event, Study 1 found that European Americans are more motivated to engage in hedonic emotion regulation. Furthermore, consistent with the reported motivation to regulate emotion hedonically, European Americans show a steeper decline in negative emotions 1 day later than do Asians. By examining retrospective memory of reactions to a past negative event, Study 2 further showed that cultural differences in hedonic emotion regulation are mediated by cultural differences in dialectical beliefs about motivational and cognitive utility of negative emotions, but not by personal deservingness or self-efficacy beliefs. These findings demonstrate the role of cultural beliefs in shaping emotion regulation and emotional experiences.

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Imagined intergroup contact facilitates intercultural communication for college students on academic exchange programs

Loris Vezzali et al.
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
Imagined intergroup contact (Crisp & Turner, 2009) is a new cognitive intervention designed to improve intergroup relations. In two studies, we examined whether it could also facilitate intercultural communication among international students and host country natives engaged in a college exchange program. In Study 1, international students who had recently arrived in Italy and participated in an imagined contact session displayed increased self-disclosure toward, and improved evaluation of, host country natives. In Study 2, Italian students mentally simulated positive contact with an unknown native from the host country prior to leaving for the exchange. Results from an online questionnaire administered on their return (on average, more than 7 months after the imagery task) revealed that participants who imagined contact reported spending more time with natives during the stay and enhanced outgroup evaluation, via reduced intergroup anxiety. Implications for enhancing the quality and effectiveness of college student exchange programs are discussed.

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A Macro-Sociological Study into the Changes in the Popularity of Domestic, European, and American Pop Music in Western Countries

Hidde Bekhuis, Marcel Lubbers & Wout Ultee
European Sociological Review, April 2014, Pages 180-193

Abstract:
Relying on the top 100 pop songs from year-end charts, we coded more than 30,000 chart positions based on the country of origin of the artist and the language of performance, in nine Western countries. We estimated cross-national differences and trends since 1973, testing expectations on globalization as has been reviewed in the literature, where Americanization/Westernization, diversification, nationalization, and glocalization have been distinguished. Since the late 1980s, there has been an upward trend in the popularity of domestic artists, both when they perform in English or in their native language. Levels of globalization turn out to be positively related to the popularity of domestic artists singing in English. We also found evidence that when public opinion shows more pride in the nation, the chart success of artists performing in the domestic language is greater.

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Social Trust Fosters an Ability to Help Those in Need: Jewish Refugees in the Nazi Era

Christian Bjørnskov
Political Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
An ignored aspect of efforts to save Jewish citizens in occupied Europe during the Second World War is that large-scale rescue arguably constitutes a collective action problem. Due to Nazi occupation, no formal institutions contributed to solving this problem. Exploring the differences in rescue rates across all 30 occupied countries shows that the informal institution of social trust contributed to solving the collective action problem and strongly affected rescue rates.

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How good is “very good”? Translation effect in the racial/ethnic variation in self-rated health status

Sukyong Seo, Sukyung Chung & Martha Shumway
Quality of Life Research, March 2014, Pages 593-600

Purpose: To examine the influence of translation when measuring and comparing self-rated health (SRH) measured with five response categories (excellent, very good, good, fair, and poor), across racial/ethnic groups.

Methods: Using data from the California Health Interview Survey, which were administered in five languages, we analyzed variations in the five-category SRH across five racial/ethnic groups: non-Hispanic white, Latino, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean. Logistic regression was used to estimate independent effects of race/ethnicity, culture, and translation on SRH, after controlling for risk factors and other measures of health status.

Results: Latinos, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Koreans were less likely than non-Hispanic whites to rate their health as excellent or very good and more likely to rate it as good, fair, or poor. This racial/ethnic difference diminished when adjusting for acculturation. Independently of race/ethnicity, respondents using non-English surveys were less likely to answer excellent (OR = 0.24–0.55) and very good (OR = 0.30–0.34) and were more likely to answer fair (OR = 2.48–4.10) or poor (OR = 2.87–3.51), even after controlling for other measures of SRH.

Conclusions: Responses to the five-category SRH question depend on interview language. When responding in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, or Vietnamese, respondents are more likely to choose a lower level SRH category, “fair” in particular. If each SRH category measured in different languages is treated as equivalent, racial/ethnic disparities in SRH among Latinos and Asian subgroups, as compared to non-Hispanic whites, may be exaggerated.

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Cultural Differences in Victory Signals of Triumph

Hyisung Hwang & David Matsumoto
Cross-Cultural Research, May 2014, Pages 177-191

Abstract:
A recent study reported that winners in agonistic competition displayed a victory signal that might be related to power and dominance, but losers did not. We explored cultural differences in this victory expression by reanalyzing data from that study on the country level, examining the association between country means in Olympic judo players’ first expressions at the moment of winning or losing a medal and Hofstede’s Power Distance (PD) dimension. Country-level PD was correlated with winners’ victory signals but not with those of losers, even when country-level Individualism-Collectivism was controlled. These findings indicated that hierarchical and dominant cultures may endorse more expressivity of triumph in competitive contexts.

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Emotional fit with culture: A predictor of individual differences in relational well-being

Jozefien De Leersnyder et al.
Emotion, April 2014, Pages 241-245

Abstract:
There is increasing evidence for emotional fit in couples and groups, but also within cultures. In the current research, we investigated the consequences of emotional fit at the cultural level. Given that emotions reflect people’s view on the world, and that shared views are associated with good social relationships, we expected that an individual’s fit to the average cultural patterns of emotion would be associated with relational well-being. Using an implicit measure of cultural fit of emotions, we found across 3 different cultural contexts (United States, Belgium, and Korea) that (1) individuals’ emotional fit is associated with their level of relational well-being, and that (2) the link between emotional fit and relational well-being is particularly strong when emotional fit is measured for situations pertaining to relationships (rather than for situations that are self-focused). Together, the current studies suggest that people may benefit from emotionally “fitting in” to their culture.

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Marriage, education and assortative mating in Latin America

Ina Ganguli, Ricardo Hausmann & Martina Viarengo
Applied Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this article, we establish facts related to marriage and education in Latin American countries. Using census data from IPUMS International, we show how marriage and assortative mating patterns have changed from 1980 to 2000 and how the patterns in Latin America compare to the United States. We find that in Latin American countries, highly educated individuals are less likely to be married than the less educated, and the pattern is stronger for women. We also show that while it has been increasing over time, there is less positive assortative mating in Latin America than in the United States.

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Living in the north is not necessarily favorable: Different metaphoric associations between cardinal direction and valence in Hong Kong and in the United States

Yanli Huang, Chi-Shing Tse & Kit Cho
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The Conceptual Metaphor Theory (e.g., Lakoff & Johnson) suggests that people represent abstract concepts in terms of concrete concepts via metaphoric association. Participants in the United States (US) showed that cardinal direction (north/south) is metaphorically associated with valence (positive/negative), as reflected by their estimate for where a person with high or low socioeconomic status (SES) lives in a fictional city or their own living preference (Meier, Moller, Chen, & Riemer-Peltz). The present study tested whether the cardinal direction–valence metaphoric association could be moderated by cultural differences. Although US participants believed that high-SES and low-SES individuals were more likely to live in the northern and southern part of the city, respectively, the reverse was so for Hong Kong (HK) participants (Study 1). When asked where they themselves would like to live, HK participants preferred to live in a southern area, whereas US participants showed no preference (Studies 2 and 3). These findings demonstrate cultural differences in metaphoric associations between cardinal direction and valence for HK and US participants.

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Speaking of Corporate Social Responsibility

Hao Liang et al.
Harvard Working Paper, March 2014

Abstract:
We argue that the language spoken by corporate decision makers influences their firms’ social responsibility and sustainability practices. Linguists suggest that obligatory future-time-reference (FTR) in a language reduces the psychological importance of the future. Prior research has shown that speakers of strong FTR languages (such as English, French, and Spanish) exhibit less future-oriented behavior (Chen, 2013). Yet, research has not established how this mechanism may affect the future-oriented activities of corporations. We theorize that companies with strong-FTR languages as their official/working language would have less of a future orientation and so perform worse in future-oriented activities such as corporate social responsibility (CSR) compared to those in weak-FTR language environments. Examining thousands of global companies across 59 countries from 1999-2011, we find support for our theory, and further that the negative association between FTR and CSR performance is weaker for firms that have greater exposure to diverse global languages as a result of (a) being headquartered in countries with higher degree of globalization, (b) having a higher degree of internationalization, and (c) having a CEO with more international experience. Our results suggest that language use by corporations is a key cultural variable that is a strong predictor of CSR and sustainability.

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Connecting Societal Change to Value Differences Across Generations: Adolescents, Mothers, and Grandmothers in a Maya Community in Southern Mexico

Adriana Manago
Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study tests the hypothesis that societal change from subsistence agriculture to a market economy with higher levels of formal schooling leads to an increase in individualistic values that guide human development. Values relating to adolescent development and the transition to adulthood were compared across three generations of women in 18 families in the Maya community of Zinacantán in southern Mexico. Grandmothers grew up in Zinacantán when it was a farming community; mothers grew up during the introduction of commerce in the late 1970s and 1980s; daughters are now experiencing adolescence with an opportunity to attend high school in their community. Comparisons were also conducted between 40 female and male adolescents in high school and a matched sample of 40 adolescents who discontinued school after elementary. Values were measured using eight ethnographically derived social dilemmas about adolescent relationships with parents and peers, work and family gender roles, and sexuality and partnering. One character in the dilemmas advocates for interdependent values; a second character advocates for independent values. High school adolescents were more likely to endorse characters articulating independent values than non–high school adolescents, mothers, and grandmothers. Involvement in a market economy was also associated with higher levels of independent value endorsement in the mother and grandmother generations. Results suggest that the introduction of commerce drove value changes between grandmother and mother generations, and now schooling drives change. Qualitative examples of participants’ responses also illustrate how families negotiate shifting values.

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Does individualism bring happiness? Negative effects of individualism on interpersonal relationships and happiness

Yuji Ogihara & Yukiko Uchida
Frontiers in Psychology, March 2014

Abstract:
We examined the negative effects of individualism in an East Asian culture. Although individualistic systems decrease interpersonal relationships through competition, individualistic values have prevailed in European American cultures. One reason is because individuals could overcome negativity by actively constructing interpersonal relationships. In contrast, people in East Asian cultures do not have such strategies to overcome the negative impact of individualistic systems, leading to decreased well-being. To test this hypothesis, we investigated the relationship between individualistic values, number of close friends, and subjective well-being (SWB). Study 1 indicated that individualistic values were negatively related with the number of close friends and SWB for Japanese college students but not for American college students. Moreover, Study 2 showed that even in an individualistic workplace in Japan, individualistic values were negatively related with the number of close friends and SWB. We discuss how cultural change toward increasing individualism might affect interpersonal relationships and well-being.

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Evaluating Group Member Behaviour Under Individualist and Collectivist Norms: A Cross-Cultural Comparison

Martin Hagger, Panagiotis Rentzelas & Severine Koch
Small Group Research, April 2014, Pages 217-228

Abstract:
Research has shown that people in group contexts prefer group members who display collectivist as opposed to individualist behavior, but that preference is attenuated when the prevailing group norm prescribes individualism. The present study investigated this effect in people from a predominantly individualist or collectivist cultural background. Due to their greater sensitivity to contextual social cues, individuals from a collectivist background were expected to give more polarized evaluations of group members than individuals from an individualist background. Group member evaluations were gathered in samples from a collectivist and an individualist background, manipulating the prevailing group norm (individualist or collectivist) and the behavior of a hypothetical group member (individualist or collectivist). The previously observed attenuation effect in which people provided more positive evaluations of individualist behavior under an individualist, as opposed to a collectivist, group norm was found only in participants from a collectivist cultural background. Implications of our findings and the absence of an attenuation effect in the individualist sample are discussed.

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Cross-cultural management of money: The roles of ethnicity, religious affiliation, and income levels in asset allocation

Rosalie Tung, Chris Baumann & Hamin Hamin
International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, April 2014, Pages 85-104

Abstract:
This study examines the interplay between ethnicity, religious affiliation, and income levels to understand differences in managing money. Asset allocation decisions among 730 Caucasian and ethnic Chinese were examined. Respondents in Australia, Canada, and China revealed their monetary decisions in an online survey. Multivariate analysis of variance was used to examine differences and interaction effects between ethnic, religious, and income groups. The study found that for the higher-income respondents, asset allocation decisions converged despite differences in ethnic and religious background. In the lower-income segment, asset allocation decisions varied along ethnic lines. These differences were further compounded by their religious background. The implications of this study of management are twofold: the high-income group can be treated as one segment, for example, from the international marketing segmentation perspective. On the other hand, respondents in the low-income bracket diverged in their investment strategies on the basis of ethnicity and religion. As such, they ought to be treated separately according to their values.

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Hollywood in the world market – evidence from Australia in the mid-1930s

John Sedgwick, Michael Pokorny & Peter Miskell
Business History, forthcoming

Abstract:
By the mid-1930s the major Hollywood studios had developed extensive networks of distribution subsidiaries across five continents. This article focuses on the operation of American film distributors in Australia – one of Hollywood's largest foreign markets. Drawing on two unique primary datasets, the article compares and investigates film distribution in Sydney's first-run and suburban-run markets. It finds that the subsidiaries of US film companies faced a greater liability of foreignness in the city centre market than in the suburban one. Our data supports the argument that film audiences in local or suburban cinema markets were more receptive to Hollywood entertainment than those in metropolitan centres.

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Language Universals Engage Broca's Area

Iris Berent et al.
PLoS ONE, April 2014

Abstract:
It is well known that natural languages share certain aspects of their design. For example, across languages, syllables like blif are preferred to lbif. But whether language universals are myths or mentally active constraints — linguistic or otherwise — remains controversial. To address this question, we used fMRI to investigate brain response to four syllable types, arrayed on their linguistic well-formedness (e.g., blif≻bnif≻bdif≻lbif, where ≻ indicates preference). Results showed that syllable structure monotonically modulated hemodynamic response in Broca's area, and its pattern mirrored participants' behavioral preferences. In contrast, ill-formed syllables did not systematically tax sensorimotor regions — while such syllables engaged primary auditory cortex, they tended to deactivate (rather than engage) articulatory motor regions. The convergence between the cross-linguistic preferences and English participants' hemodynamic and behavioral responses is remarkable given that most of these syllables are unattested in their language. We conclude that human brains encode broad restrictions on syllable structure.

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“I think I can”: Achievement-oriented themes in storybooks from Indonesia, Japan, and the United States

Maria Suprawati, Florencia Anggoro & Danuta Bukatko
Frontiers in Psychology, March 2014

Abstract:
The focus of the present study is on the ways in which storybooks communicate cultural ideals about achievement orientation, and in particular, the role of effort, perseverance, and hard work in fostering successful outcomes. Sixty preschool children's books from Indonesia, Japan, and the United States (20 from each country) were examined for the presence of achievement-oriented themes. These countries were chosen due to previously documented cultural differences in models of learning and individualist/collectivist tendencies that could have some bearing on achievement outcomes. Texts were assessed for (1) the frequency with which “challenge events” appeared in the narratives, (2) whether these events derived from sources internal or external to the main character, and (3) whether solutions relied on the main character individually or included the assistance of others. Results show that Japanese storybooks contained significantly more challenge events than Indonesian storybooks. Compared with Japanese storybooks, American storybooks tended to include a greater proportion of challenges derived from internal qualities of the main character as opposed to external factors. Compared with American storybooks, Japanese storybooks contained a significantly greater proportion of challenges that were solved with individual efforts as opposed to efforts involving the assistance of others. Findings from this study contribute to our understanding of how storybook contexts can provide a rich source of information for young children learning about culturally valued qualities and behaviors related to achievement.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, April 28, 2014

Apprehension

Surveillance and System Avoidance: Criminal Justice Contact and Institutional Attachment

Sarah Brayne
American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
The degree and scope of criminal justice surveillance increased dramatically in the United States over the past four decades. Recent qualitative research suggests the rise in surveillance may be met with a concomitant increase in efforts to evade it. To date, however, there has been no quantitative empirical test of this theory. In this article, I introduce the concept of “system avoidance,” whereby individuals who have had contact with the criminal justice system avoid surveilling institutions that keep formal records. Using data from Add Health (n = 15,170) and the NLSY97 (n = 8,894), I find that individuals who have been stopped by police, arrested, convicted, or incarcerated are less likely to interact with surveilling institutions, including medical, financial, labor market, and educational institutions, than their counterparts who have not had criminal justice contact. By contrast, individuals with criminal justice contact are no less likely to participate in civic or religious institutions. Because criminal justice contact is disproportionately distributed, this study suggests system avoidance is a potential mechanism through which the criminal justice system contributes to social stratification: it severs an already marginalized subpopulation from institutions that are pivotal to desistance from crime and their own integration into broader society.

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Less Cash, Less Crime: Evidence from the Electronic Benefit Transfer Program

Richard Wright et al.
NBER Working Paper, March 2014

Abstract:
It has been long recognized that cash plays a critical role in fueling street crime due to its liquidity and transactional anonymity. In poor neighborhoods where street offenses are concentrated, a significant source of circulating cash stems from public assistance or welfare payments. In the 1990s, the Federal government mandated individual states to convert the delivery of their welfare benefits from paper checks to an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system, whereby recipients received and expended their funds through debit cards. In this paper, we examine whether the reduction in the circulation of cash on the streets associated with EBT implementation had an effect on crime. To address this question, we exploit the variation in the timing of the EBT implementation across Missouri counties. Our results indicate that the EBT program had a negative and significant effect on the overall crime rate as well as burglary, assault, and larceny. According to our point estimates, the overall crime rate decreased by 9.8 percent in response to the EBT program. We also find a negative effect on arrests, especially those associated with non-drug offenses. EBT implementation had no effect on rape, a crime that is unlikely to be motivated by the acquisition of cash. Interestingly, the significant drop in crime in the United States over several decades has coincided with a period of steady decline in the proportion of financial transactions involving cash. In that sense, our findings serve as a fresh contribution to the important debate surrounding the factors underpinning the great American crime decline.

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Reevaluating Foreclosure Effects on Crime During the “Great Recession”

Kevin Wolff, Joshua Cochran & Eric Baumer
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, February 2014, Pages 41-69

Abstract:
High rates of foreclosures during the “Great Recession” raised concerns about the potential harmful effects of the housing crisis not just on the economy, but also on levels of crime. Grounded primarily in theories of social disorganization and incivility, a growing body of empirical research has been directed at exploring whether the foreclosure crisis stimulated higher crime rates in America than would otherwise have been experienced. Many studies have now reported a significant association between rates of foreclosure and crime during the recession, but we are skeptical of whether this represents a causal effect because it is unclear whether the traditional regression approaches applied in most of the extent research account sufficiently for preexisting differences present in areas that experienced varying levels of foreclosure. We advance the literature on foreclosure and crime by employing a propensity score matching (PSM) technique to better account for such differences, evaluating whether U.S. counties that received larger “doses” of foreclosure during the recent recession experienced higher levels of property crime than comparable counties in which rates of foreclosure remained relatively low. Our analysis shows that, once prerecession differences between counties with high versus medium-to-low foreclosure rates are removed, there is no evidence of a significant association between rates of foreclosure and crime.

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Bring a gun to a gunfight: Armed Adversaries and Violence across Nations

Richard Felson, Mark Berg & Meghan Rogers
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
We use homicide data and the International Crime Victimization Survey to examine the role of firearms in explaining cross-national variation in violence. We suggest that while gun violence begets gun violence, it inhibits the tendency to engage in violence without guns. We attribute the patterns to adversary effects — i.e., the tendency of offenders to take into account the threat posed by their adversaries. Multi-level analyses of victimization data support the hypothesis that living in countries with high rates of gun violence lowers an individual’s risk of an unarmed assault and assaults with less lethal weapons. Analyses of aggregate data show that homicide rates and gun violence rates load on a separate underlying factor than other types of violence. The results suggest that a country’s homicide rate reflects, to a large extent, the tendency of its offenders to use firearms.

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Effects of the Repeal of Missouri’s Handgun Purchaser Licensing Law on Homicides

Daniel Webster, Cassandra Kercher Crifasi & Jon Vernick
Journal of Urban Health, April 2014, Pages 293-302

Abstract:
In the USA, homicide is a leading cause of death for young males and a major cause of racial disparities in life expectancy for men. There are intense debate and little rigorous research on the effects of firearm sales regulation on homicides. This study estimates the impact of Missouri’s 2007 repeal of its permit-to-purchase (PTP) handgun law on states’ homicide rates and controls for changes in poverty, unemployment, crime, incarceration, policing levels, and other policies that could potentially affect homicides. Using death certificate data available through 2010, the repeal of Missouri’s PTP law was associated with an increase in annual firearm homicides rates of 1.09 per 100,000 (+23 %) but was unrelated to changes in non-firearm homicide rates. Using Uniform Crime Reporting data from police through 2012, the law’s repeal was associated with increased annual murders rates of 0.93 per 100,000 (+16 %). These estimated effects translate to increases of between 55 and 63 homicides per year in Missouri.

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The Transformation of Prison Regimes in Late Capitalist Societies

John Sutton
American Journal of Sociology, November 2013, Pages 715-746

Abstract:
Recent studies argue that cultural and political-economic shifts have led to a sea change in penal regimes among modern Western societies, resulting in more punitive social policies in general and a trend toward higher incarceration rates in particular. This is a special case of a wider argument that globalization has led to a decline in state autonomy and convergence on a market-based model of economic and social policy. This thesis has been challenged by the empirical literature on welfare states, which finds persistent cross-national diversity in institutional structures, policies, and patterns of inequality. Focusing on incarceration rates as the outcome of interest, this study evaluates these arguments by applying a Bayesian change-point model to four decades of data from 15 countries. Results show that a regime shift did occur but that incarceration rates increased mainly among countries with unregulated labor markets, decentralized polities, or weak labor unions. Profound institutional differences persist and are fateful for incarceration trajectories.

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Coercion, Control, and Cooperation in a Prostitution Ring

Carlo Morselli & Isa Savoie-Gargiso
ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, May 2014, Pages 247-265

Abstract:
Coercion and control are key components of the dominant narrative on sex trafficking, but the power and exchange relations between some of the key players in trafficking have not been carefully examined. This study is based on electronic surveillance data from a two-year police investigation of a prostitution network in Montreal. All of the prostitutes in the network had initially been recruited when they were minors. Whereas most of the writing on sex trafficking portrays pimps as being involved in highly exploitative and coercive relationships with prostitutes, we found that control was not always the sole purview of the pimps, that prostitutes often held key positions and privileged roles within the network, and that pimps’ and prostitutes’ relationships involved complex exchanges of network resources.

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How often and how consistently do symptoms directly precede criminal behavior among offenders with mental illness?

Jillian Peterson et al.
Law and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although offenders with mental illness are overrepresented in the criminal justice system, psychiatric symptoms relate weakly to criminal behavior at the group level. In this study of 143 offenders with mental illness, we use data from intensive interviews and record reviews to examine how often and how consistently symptoms lead directly to criminal behavior. First, crimes rarely were directly motivated by symptoms, particularly when the definition of symptoms excluded externalizing features that are not unique to Axis I illness. Specifically, of the 429 crimes coded, 4% related directly to psychosis, 3% related directly to depression, and 10% related directly to bipolar disorder (including impulsivity). Second, within offenders, crimes varied in the degree to which they were directly motivated by symptoms. These findings suggest that programs will be most effective in reducing recidivism if they expand beyond psychiatric symptoms to address strong variable risk factors for crime like antisocial traits.

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Does Self-Defense Training Prevent Sexual Violence Against Women?

Jocelyn Hollander
Violence Against Women, March 2014, Pages 252-269

Abstract:
Self-defense classes are offered across the nation as a strategy for reducing women’s vulnerability to sexual assault. Yet there has been little systematic research assessing the effectiveness of these classes. In this article, I use data from a mixed methods study of a 10-week, university-based, feminist self-defense class to examine the effectiveness of self-defense training over a 1-year follow-up period. My analyses indicate that women who participate in self-defense training are less likely to experience sexual assault and are more confident in their ability to effectively resist assault than similar women who have not taken such a class.

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Resisting Rape: The Effects of Victim Self-Protection on Rape Completion and Injury

Jongyeon Tark & Gary Kleck
Violence Against Women, March 2014, Pages 270-292

Abstract:
The impact of victim resistance on rape completion and injury was examined utilizing a large probability sample of sexual assault incidents, derived from the National Crime Victimization Survey (1992-2002), and taking into account whether harm to the victim followed or preceded self-protection (SP) actions. Additional injuries besides rape, particularly serious injuries, following victim resistance are rare. Results indicate that most SP actions, both forceful and nonforceful, reduce the risk of rape completion, and do not significantly affect the risk of additional injury.

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Violence and Economic Conditions in the United States, 1973-2011: Gender, Race, and Ethnicity Patterns in the National Crime Victimization Survey

Janet Lauritsen, Maribeth Rezey & Karen Heimer
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, February 2014, Pages 7-28

Abstract:
To more fully understand how economic conditions and the latest economic downturn might be associated with rates of violence, this research examines a variety of economic indicators and their relationships to subgroup rates of violence overall and by victim–offender relationship. We find that the recent recession of 2007 to 2009 has not produced significant increases in victimization for any of the groups or violence types analyzed here. We also find that several economic indicators are associated with violence during the 1973 to 2000 period, yet these same factors fail to be significantly correlated with the trends from 2001 to 2011. This suggests that historical conditions unique to the more recent period are moderating the relationships between trends in the macroeconomy and violence, and that future research should focus on developing and modeling indicators of various potential moderating influences. We also caution, however, that this recent change in the association between the economy and the violence is based on the data from a relatively few number of years and may not continue into the future.

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“Take My License n’ All That Jive, I Can’t See … 35”: Little Hope for the Future Encourages Offending Over time

Alex Piquero
Justice Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
A very small number of studies has observed that persons who perceive an early age-at-death report a higher risk of offending. This literature, however, is limited by the use of general population samples, cross-sectional data, and the failure to consider both the determinants of perceived age-at-death, as well as some of the mediating processes associated with the relationship between perceived age-at-death and offending. Using data for a large sample of serious youthful offenders from two urban cities and who were followed for seven years, the current study attends to these concerns. Results show that gender, race/ethnicity, and adverse neighborhood conditions influence the perceived age-at-death; this perception distinguishes between distinct trajectories of offending, and such perceptions also influence both perceived risks and perceived rewards as well as one’s impulse control.

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Forfeiture of Illegal Gains, Attempts, and Implied Risk Preferences

Murat Mungan & Jonathan Klick
Journal of Legal Studies, January 2014, Pages 137-153

Abstract:
In the law enforcement literature there is a presumption — supported by some experimental and econometric evidence — that criminals are more responsive to increases in the certainty than the severity of punishment. Under a general set of assumptions, this implies that criminals are risk seeking. We show that this implication is no longer valid when forfeiture of illegal gains and the possibility of unsuccessful attempts are considered. Therefore, when drawing inferences concerning offenders’ attitudes toward risk based on their responses to various punishment schemes, special attention must be paid to whether and to what extent offenders’ illegal gains can be forfeited and whether increases in the probability of punishment affect the probability of attempts being successful. We discuss policy implications related to our observations.

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The law & economics of private prosecutions in industrial revolution England

Mark Koyama
Public Choice, April 2014, Pages 277-298

Abstract:
Can the market provide law enforcement? This paper addresses this question by analyzing an historical case study: the system of private prosecutions that prevailed in England prior to the introduction of the police. I examine why this system came under strain during the Industrial Revolution, and how private clubs emerged to internalize the externalities that caused the private system to generate too little deterrence. The historical evidence suggests that these private order institutions were partially successful in ameliorating the problem of crime in a period when public choice considerations precluded the introduction of a professional police force.

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High-fidelity specialty mental health probation improves officer practices, treatment access, and rule compliance

Sarah Manchak et al.
Law and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many probation agencies in the United States assign offenders with mental illness to relatively small specialty caseloads supervised by officers with relevant training, rather than to large general caseloads. Specialty caseloads are designed to improve the process and outcomes of probation, largely by linking these probationers with psychiatric treatment and avoiding unnecessary violations. In this multimethod, longitudinal matched trial, we tested whether a prototypical specialty agency (n = 183) differed from a traditional agency (n = 176) in officers’ practices, probationers’ treatment access, and probationers’ rule violations. The specialty agency yielded significantly (a) better officer practices (e.g., problem solving rather than sanction threats; higher quality relationships with probationers; more boundary spanning), (b) greater rates of treatment involvement, and (c) lower rates of violation reports than the traditional agency. Additionally, officers’ use of sanctions and threats increased probationers’ risk of incurring a probation violation, whereas high-quality officer−probationer relationships protected against this outcome. When implemented with fidelity, specialty mental health caseloads improved the supervision process for this high-need group.

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The impact of skills in probation work: A reconviction study

Peter Raynor, Pamela Ugwudike & Maurice Vanstone
Criminology and Criminal Justice, April 2014, Pages 235-249

Abstract:
This article reports on the results of a quasi-experimental study of practitioners’ skills in probation work. Videotaped interviews were produced by a group of probation officers and analysed by researchers using a checklist designed to identify the range of skills used in one-to-one supervision. Reconviction rates were found to be significantly lower among those whose supervisors were assessed as using a wider range of skills. The article also reviews the recent history of research on practitioners’ skills in probation, and considers the implications of positive findings from this and other studies.

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Long-Term Consequences of Adolescent Gang Membership for Adult Functioning

Amanda Gilman, Karl Hill & David Hawkins
American Journal of Public Health, May 2014, Pages 938-945

Objectives: We examined the possible public health consequences of adolescent gang membership for adult functioning.

Methods: Data were drawn from the Seattle Social Development Project, a longitudinal study focusing on the development of positive and problem outcomes. Using propensity score matching and logistic regression analyses, we assessed the effects of adolescent gang membership on illegal behavior, educational and occupational attainment, and physical and mental health at the ages of 27, 30, and 33 years.

Results: In comparison with their nongang peers, who had been matched on 23 confounding risk variables known to be related to selection into gang membership, those who had joined a gang in adolescence had poorer outcomes in multiple areas of adult functioning, including higher rates of self-reported crime, receipt of illegal income, incarceration, drug abuse or dependence, poor general health, and welfare receipt and lower rates of high school graduation.

Conclusions: The finding that adolescent gang membership has significant consequences in adulthood beyond criminal behavior indicates the public health importance of the development of effective gang prevention programs.

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The Relationship between Incarceration and Premature Adult Mortality: Gender Specific Evidence

Michael Massoglia et al.
Social Science Research, July 2014, Pages 142–154

Abstract:
We examine the relationship between incarceration and premature mortality for men and women. Analyses using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79) reveal strong gender differences. Using two different analytic procedures the results show that women with a history of incarceration are more likely to die than women without such a history, even after controlling for health status and criminal behavior prior to incarceration, the availability of health insurance, and other socio-demographic factors. In contrast, there is no relationship between incarceration and mortality for men after accounting for these factors. The results point to the importance of examining gender differences in the collateral consequences of incarceration. The results also contribute to a rapidly emerging literature linking incarceration to various health hazards. Although men constitute the bulk of inmates, future research should not neglect the special circumstances of female former inmates and their rapidly growing numbers.

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Neighborhood Disinvestment, Abandonment, and Crime Dynamics

Erica Raleigh & George Galster
Journal of Urban Affairs, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article develops a conceptual framework of neighborhood crime dynamics based on a synthesis of criminology and neighborhood change literatures which suggests that neighborhood decline can produce a nonlinear response in crime rates. The authors probe this relationship using a rich Detroit data set containing detailed, block-level information about housing, land, abandonment, population, schools, liquor outlets, and crime reports of various categories. Negative binomial models reveal that several neighborhood attributes are consistently associated with all types of crime (renter occupancy, population density, establishments with liquor licenses) while other attributes are only associated with particular types of crime. A simulation using estimated parameters suggests that processes of disinvestment and abandonment can generate a nonlinear pattern in the rate of growth in neighborhood crimes that vary in intensity by crime type. The authors explore the implications of their findings for anticrime strategies focusing on demolishing abandoned housing, “right-sizing” urban footprints, and regulating liquor-selling establishments.

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Criminogenic Facilities and Crime across Street Segments in Philadelphia: Uncovering Evidence about the Spatial Extent of Facility Influence

Elizabeth Groff & Brian Lockwood
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, May 2014, Pages 277-314

Objectives: Test whether the exposure of street segments to five different potentially criminogenic facilities is positively related to violent, property, or disorder crime counts controlling for sociodemographic context. The geographic extent of the relationship is also explored.

Method: Facility exposure is operationalized as total inverse distance from each street segment in Philadelphia, PA, to surrounding facilities within three threshold distances of 400, 800, and 1,200 feet. All distances are measured using shortest path street distance. Census block group data representing ethnic heterogeneity, concentrated disadvantage, and stability are proportionally allocated to each street block. Negative binomial regression is used to model the relationships.

Results: Exposure to bars and subway stations was positively associated with violent, property, and disorder crime at all distance thresholds from street segments. Schools were associated with disorder offenses at all distance thresholds. The effects of exposure to halfway houses and drug treatment centers varied by distance and by crime type.

Conclusions: Facilities have a significant effect on crime at nearby places even controlling for sociodemographic variables. The geographic extent of a facility’s criminogenic influence varies by type of facility and type of crime. Future research should examine additional types of facilities and include information about place management.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Downer

Not always the best medicine: Why frequent smiling can reduce wellbeing

Aparna Labroo, Anirban Mukhopadhyay & Ping Dong
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2014, Pages 156–162

Abstract:
Conventional wisdom (and existing research) suggests that the more people smile, the happier they will be, and happiness is known to enhance wellbeing. Across three studies, instead, we show more frequent smiling does not always increase happiness, and as a consequence, wellbeing. Frequent smiling results in more wellbeing than infrequent smiling only among people who interpret smiling as reactive or reflecting happiness. Among people who interpret smiling as proactive and causing happiness, frequent smiling results in less wellbeing than infrequent smiling. Here, frequent smiling backfires, evoking less happiness than infrequent smiling, which in turn reduces wellbeing. Thus, smiling by itself does not increase happiness, or wellbeing. Instead, the belief that one must already be happy when one smiles is what increases happiness, and as a result, wellbeing.

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Does the level of wealth inequality within an area influence the prevalence of depression amongst older people?

Alan Marshall et al.
Health & Place, May 2014, Pages 194–204

Abstract:
This paper considers whether the extent of inequality in house prices within neighbourhoods of England is associated with depressive symptoms in the older population using the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. We consider two competing hypotheses: first, the wealth inequality hypothesis which proposes that neighbourhood inequality is harmful to health and, second, the mixed neighbourhood hypothesis which suggests that socially mixed neighbourhoods are beneficial for health outcomes. Our results are supportive of the mixed neighbourhood hypothesis, we find a significant association between neighbourhood inequality and depression with lower levels of depression amongst older people in neighbourhoods with greater house price inequality after controlling for individual socio-economic and area correlates of depression. The association between area inequality and depression is strongest for the poorest individuals, but also holds among the most affluent. Our results are in line with research that suggests there are social and health benefits associated with economically mixed communities.

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Asians demonstrate reduced sensitivity to unpredictable threat: A preliminary startle investigation using genetic ancestry in a multiethnic sample

Brady Nelson et al.
Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research has indicated that individuals of Asian descent, relative to other racial groups, demonstrate reduced emotional responding and lower prevalence rates of several anxiety disorders. It is unclear though whether these group differences extend to biomarkers of anxiety disorders and whether genetic differences play a role. This study compared self-identified Caucasian, Latino, and Asian persons (total N = 174) on startle response during a baseline period and while anticipating unpredictable threat — a putative biomarker for certain anxiety disorders — as well as predictable threat. In addition, the association between genetic ancestry and startle response was examined within each racial group to determine potential genetic influences on responding. For the baseline period, Asian participants exhibited a smaller startle response relative to Caucasian and Latino participants, who did not differ. Within each racial group, genetic ancestry was associated with baseline startle. Furthermore, genetic ancestry mediated racial group differences in baseline startle. For the threat conditions, a Race × Condition interaction indicated that Asian participants exhibited reduced startle potentiation to unpredictable, but not predicable, threat relative to Caucasian and Latino participants, who did not differ. However, genetic ancestry was not associated with threat-potentiated startle in any racial group. This study adds to the growing literature on racial differences in emotional responding and provides preliminary evidence suggesting that genetic ancestry may play an important role. Moreover, reduced sensitivity to unpredictable threat may reflect a mechanism for why individuals of Asian descent are at less risk for particular anxiety disorders relative to other racial groups.

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Neighborhood disadvantage in context: The influence of urbanicity on the association between neighborhood disadvantage and adolescent emotional disorders

Kara Rudolph et al.
Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, March 2014, Pages 467-475

Purpose: Inconsistent evidence of a relationship between neighborhood disadvantage and adolescent mental health may be, in part, attributable to heterogeneity based on urban or rural residence. Using the largest nationally representative survey of US adolescent mental health available, we estimated the association between neighborhood disadvantage and adolescent emotional disorders and the extent to which urbanicity modified this association.

Methods: The National Comorbidity Survey Replication Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A) sampled adolescents aged 13–17 years (N = 10,123). Households were geocoded to Census tracts. Using a propensity score approach that addresses bias from non-random selection of individuals into neighborhoods, logistic regression models were used to estimate the relative odds of having a DSM-IV emotional disorder (any past-year anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder or dysthymia) comparing similar adolescents living in disadvantaged versus non-disadvantaged neighborhoods in urban center, urban fringe, and non-urban areas.

Results: The association between neighborhood disadvantage and emotional disorder was more than twice as large for adolescents living in urban centers versus non-urban areas. In urban centers, living in a disadvantaged neighborhood was associated with 59 % (95 % confidence interval 25–103) increased adjusted odds of emotional disorder.

Conclusions: Urbanicity modifies the relationship between neighborhood disadvantage and emotional disorder in adolescents. This effect modification may explain why evidence of a relationship between neighborhood disadvantage and adolescent mental health has been inconsistent. Recognizing the joint influence of neighborhood socioeconomic context and urbanicity may improve specificity in identifying relevant neighborhood processes.

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What Determines Happiness? Income or Attitude: Evidence from U.S. Longitudinal Data

Madhu Mohanty
Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using the data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, a longitudinal data set from the United States, this study demonstrates that the covariates of happiness differ to some extent between matured adults and young-adults and that the relationship of personal happiness with positive attitude is stronger than that with any other covariate of happiness known in the literature including income. These results remain robust to changes in estimation techniques in response to varying assumptions on the attitude variable. Assuming endogeneity of the attitude variable, the study estimates happiness and positive attitude equations simultaneously by a two-stage procedure and obtains interesting new results. These results indicate that positive attitude is not only a covariate of happiness, but also a determinant of happiness, especially in the sample of matured adults. To increase personal happiness therefore the study recommends policies designed to help individuals not only increase their incomes, but also improve their attitudes.

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Efficacy of Intravenous Ketamine for Treatment of Chronic Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Adriana Feder et al.
JAMA Psychiatry, forthcoming

Importance: Few pharmacotherapies have demonstrated sufficient efficacy in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a chronic and disabling condition.

Objective: To test the efficacy and safety of a single intravenous subanesthetic dose of ketamine for the treatment of PTSD and associated depressive symptoms in patients with chronic PTSD.

Design, Setting, and Participants: Proof-of-concept, randomized, double-blind, crossover trial comparing ketamine with an active placebo control, midazolam, conducted at a single site (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York). Forty-one patients with chronic PTSD related to a range of trauma exposures were recruited via advertisements.

Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome measure was change in PTSD symptom severity, measured using the Impact of Event Scale–Revised. Secondary outcome measures included the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale, the Clinical Global Impression–Severity and –Improvement scales, and adverse effect measures, including the Clinician-Administered Dissociative States Scale, the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, and the Young Mania Rating Scale.

Results: Ketamine infusion was associated with significant and rapid reduction in PTSD symptom severity, compared with midazolam, when assessed 24 hours after infusion (mean difference in Impact of Event Scale–Revised score, 12.7 [95% CI, 2.5-22.8]; P = .02). Greater reduction of PTSD symptoms following treatment with ketamine was evident in both crossover and first-period analyses, and remained significant after adjusting for baseline and 24-hour depressive symptom severity. Ketamine was also associated with reduction in comorbid depressive symptoms and with improvement in overall clinical presentation. Ketamine was generally well tolerated without clinically significant persistent dissociative symptoms.

Conclusions and Relevance: This study provides the first evidence for rapid reduction in symptom severity following ketamine infusion in patients with chronic PTSD. If replicated, these findings may lead to novel approaches to the pharmacologic treatment of patients with this disabling condition.

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Prevalence of Diagnosed Depression in Adolescents With History of Concussion

Sara Chrisman & Laura Richardson
Journal of Adolescent Health, May 2014, Pages 582–586

Purpose: Previous studies in adults have suggested concussion and other brain injury presents a risk factor for depression. The goal of our study was to analyze the association between previous concussion and current depression diagnosis in a large nationally representative adolescent data set.

Methods: Retrospective cohort study using the National Survey of Children's Health 2007–2008, a nationally representative survey conducted via random digit dialing. Data were obtained by parental report. We included youth 12–17 years old without a current concussion (N = 36,060), and evaluated the association between previous concussion (binary) and current depression diagnosis (binary) using multiple logistic regression to control for age, sex, parental mental health, and socioeconomic status.

Results: After controlling for age, sex, parental mental health, and socioeconomic status, history of concussion was associated with a 3.3-fold greater risk for depression diagnosis (95% CI: 2.0–5.5). Other factors significantly associated with depression diagnosis included poor or fair parental mental health (OR: 3.7, 95% CI: 2.8–4.9), and older age (15–17 years vs. 12–14 years, OR: 1.4, 95% CI: 1.1–1.8). Sex of the subject was not significantly related to depression diagnosis. Being above 200% of the poverty level was associated with approximately a 50% decreased risk of depression diagnosis (95% CI: 35%–70%).

Conclusions: History of concussion was associated with a higher prevalence of diagnosed depression in a large nationally representative adolescent data set. Clinicians should screen for depression in their adolescent patients with concussion. Future studies should confirm this association using prospective methodology and examine potential treatment approaches.

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Rethinking emotion: Cognitive reappraisal is an effective positive and negative emotion regulation strategy in bipolar disorder

June Gruber, Aleena Hay & James Gross
Emotion, April 2014, Pages 388-396

Abstract:
Bipolar disorder involves difficulties with emotion regulation, yet the precise nature of these emotion regulatory difficulties is unclear. The current study examined whether individuals with remitted bipolar I disorder (n = 23) and healthy controls (n = 23) differ in their ability to use one effective and common form of emotion regulation, cognitive reappraisal. Positive, negative, and neutral films were used to elicit emotion, and participants were cued to watch the film carefully (i.e., uninstructed condition) or reappraise while measures of affect, behavior, and psychophysiology were obtained. Results showed that reappraisal was associated with reductions in emotion reactivity across subjective (i.e., positive and negative affect), behavioral (i.e., positive facial displays), and physiological (i.e., skin conductance) response domains across all participants. Results suggest that reappraisal may be an effective regulation strategy for both negative and positive emotion across both healthy adults and individuals with bipolar disorder. Discussion focuses on clinical and treatment implications for bipolar disorder.

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Adult Health Outcomes of Childhood Bullying Victimization: Evidence From a Five-Decade Longitudinal British Birth Cohort

Ryu Takizawa, Barbara Maughan & Louise Arseneault
American Journal of Psychiatry, forthcoming

Objective: The authors examined midlife outcomes of childhood bullying victimization.

Method: Data were from the British National Child Development Study, a 50-year prospective cohort of births in 1 week in 1958. The authors conducted ordinal logistic and linear regressions on data from 7,771 participants whose parents reported bullying exposure at ages 7 and 11 years, and who participated in follow-up assessments between ages 23 and 50 years. Outcomes included suicidality and diagnoses of depression, anxiety disorders, and alcohol dependence at age 45; psychological distress and general health at ages 23 and 50; and cognitive functioning, socioeconomic status, social relationships, and well-being at age 50.

Results: Participants who were bullied in childhood had increased levels of psychological distress at ages 23 and 50. Victims of frequent bullying had higher rates of depression (odds ratio=1.95, 95% CI=1.27–2.99), anxiety disorders (odds ratio=1.65, 95% CI=1.25–2.18), and suicidality (odds ratio=2.21, 95% CI=1.47–3.31) than their nonvictimized peers. The effects were similar to those of being placed in public or substitute care and an index of multiple childhood adversities, and the effects remained significant after controlling for known correlates of bullying victimization. Childhood bullying victimization was associated with a lack of social relationships, economic hardship, and poor perceived quality of life at age 50.

Conclusions: Children who are bullied — and especially those who are frequently bullied — continue to be at risk for a wide range of poor social, health, and economic outcomes nearly four decades after exposure. Interventions need to reduce bullying exposure in childhood and minimize long-term effects on victims’ well-being; such interventions should cast light on causal processes.

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Is serotonin transporter genotype associated with epigenetic susceptibility or vulnerability? Examination of the impact of socioeconomic status risk on African American youth

Steven Beach et al.
Development and Psychopathology, May 2014, Pages 289-304

Abstract:
We hypothesized that presence of the short allele in the promoter region of the serotonin transporter would moderate the effect of early cumulative socioeconomic status (SES) risk on epigenetic change among African American youth. Contrasting hypotheses regarding the shape of the interaction effect were generated using vulnerability and susceptibility frameworks and applied to data from a sample of 388 African American youth. Early cumulative SES risk assessed at 11–13 years based on parent report interacted with presence of the short allele to predict differential methylation assessed at age 19. Across multiple tests, a differential susceptibility perspective rather than a diathesis–stress framework best fit the data for genes associated with depression, consistently demonstrating greater epigenetic response to early cumulative SES risk among short allele carriers. A pattern consistent with greater impact among short allele carriers also was observed using all cytosine nucleotide–phosphate–guanine nucleotide sites across the genome that were differentially affected by early cumulative SES risk. We conclude that the short allele is associated with increased responsiveness to early cumulative SES risk among African American youth, leading to epigenetic divergence for depression-related genes in response to exposure to heightened SES risk among short allele carriers in a “for better” or “for worse” pattern.

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Genetic Variations in the Human Cannabinoid Receptor Gene Are Associated with Happiness

Masahiro Matsunaga et al.
PLoS ONE, April 2014

Abstract:
Happiness has been viewed as a temporary emotional state (e.g., pleasure) and a relatively stable state of being happy (subjective happiness level). As previous studies demonstrated that individuals with high subjective happiness level rated their current affective states more positively when they experience positive events, these two aspects of happiness are interrelated. According to a recent neuroimaging study, the cytosine to thymine single-nucleotide polymorphism of the human cannabinoid receptor 1 gene is associated with sensitivity to positive emotional stimuli. Thus, we hypothesized that our genetic traits, such as the human cannabinoid receptor 1 genotypes, are closely related to the two aspects of happiness. In Experiment 1, 198 healthy volunteers were used to compare the subjective happiness level between cytosine allele carriers and thymine-thymine carriers of the human cannabinoid receptor 1 gene. In Experiment 2, we used positron emission tomography with 20 healthy participants to compare the brain responses to positive emotional stimuli of cytosine allele carriers to that of thymine-thymine carriers. Compared to thymine-thymine carriers, cytosine allele carriers have a higher subjective happiness level. Regression analysis indicated that the cytosine allele is significantly associated with subjective happiness level. The positive mood after watching a positive film was significantly higher for the cytosine allele carriers compared to the thymine-thymine carriers. Positive emotion-related brain region such as the medial prefrontal cortex was significantly activated when the cytosine allele carriers watched the positive film compared to the thymine-thymine carriers. Thus, the human cannabinoid receptor 1 genotypes are closely related to two aspects of happiness. Compared to thymine-thymine carriers, the cytosine allele carriers of the human cannabinoid receptor 1 gene, who are sensitive to positive emotional stimuli, exhibited greater magnitude positive emotions when they experienced positive events and had a higher subjective happiness level.

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Hypoactive medial prefrontal cortex functioning in adults reporting childhood emotional maltreatment

Anne-Laura van Harmelen et al.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Childhood emotional maltreatment (CEM) has adverse effects on medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) morphology, a structure that is crucial for cognitive functioning and (emotional) memory and which modulates the limbic system. In addition, CEM has been linked to amygdala hyperactivity during emotional face processing. However, no study has yet investigated the functional neural correlates of neutral and emotional memory in adults reporting CEM. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we investigated CEM-related differential activations in mPFC during the encoding and recognition of positive, negative and neutral words. The sample (N = 194) consisted of patients with depression and/or anxiety disorders and healthy controls (HC) reporting CEM (n = 96) and patients and HC reporting no abuse (n = 98). We found a consistent pattern of mPFC hypoactivation during encoding and recognition of positive, negative and neutral words in individuals reporting CEM. These results were not explained by psychopathology or severity of depression or anxiety symptoms, or by gender, level of neuroticism, parental psychopathology, negative life events, antidepressant use or decreased mPFC volume in the CEM group. These findings indicate mPFC hypoactivity in individuals reporting CEM during emotional and neutral memory encoding and recognition. Our findings suggest that CEM may increase individuals’ risk to the development of psychopathology on differential levels of processing in the brain; blunted mPFC activation during higher order processing and enhanced amygdala activation during automatic/lower order emotion processing. These findings are vital in understanding the long-term consequences of CEM.

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Cognitive Vulnerabilities Amplify the Effect of Early Pubertal Timing on Interpersonal Stress Generation During Adolescence

Jessica Hamilton et al.
Journal of Youth and Adolescence, May 2014, Pages 824-833

Abstract:
Early pubertal timing has been found to confer risk for the occurrence of interpersonal stressful events during adolescence. However, pre-existing vulnerabilities may exacerbate the effects of early pubertal timing on the occurrence of stressors. Thus, the current study prospectively examined whether cognitive vulnerabilities amplified the effects of early pubertal timing on interpersonal stress generation. In a diverse sample of 310 adolescents (M age = 12.83 years, 55 % female; 53 % African American), early pubertal timing predicted higher levels of interpersonal dependent events among adolescents with more negative cognitive style and rumination, but not among adolescents with lower levels of these cognitive vulnerabilities. These findings suggest that cognitive vulnerabilities may heighten the risk of generating interpersonal stress for adolescents who undergo early pubertal maturation, which may subsequently place adolescents at greater risk for the development of psychopathology.

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Behavioral effects of longitudinal training in cognitive reappraisal

Bryan Denny & Kevin Ochsner
Emotion, April 2014, Pages 425-433

Abstract:
Although recent emotion regulation research has identified effective regulatory strategies that participants can employ during single experimental sessions, a critical but unresolved question is whether one can increase the efficacy with which one can deploy these strategies through repeated practice. To address this issue, we focused on one strategy, reappraisal, which involves cognitively reframing affective events in ways that modulate one’s emotional response to them. With a commonly used reappraisal task, we assessed the behavioral correlates of four laboratory sessions of guided practice in down-regulating responses to aversive photos. Two groups received practice in one of two types of reappraisal tactics: psychological distancing and reinterpretation. A third no-regulation control group viewed images in each session without instructions to regulate. Three key findings were observed. First, both distancing and reinterpretation training resulted in reductions over time in self-reported negative affect. Second, distancing participants also showed a reduction over time in negative affect on baseline trials in which they responded naturally. Only distancing group participants showed such a reduction over and above the reduction observed in the no-regulation control group, indicating that it was not attributable to habituation. Third, only participants who distanced reported less perceived stress in their daily lives. The present results provide the first evidence for the longitudinal trainability of reappraisal in healthy adults using short courses of reappraisal practice, particularly using psychological distancing.

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Roles of Heat Shock Factor 1 in Neuronal Response to Fetal Environmental Risks and Its Relevance to Brain Disorders

Kazue Hashimoto-Torii et al.
Neuron, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prenatal exposure of the developing brain to various environmental challenges increases susceptibility to late onset of neuropsychiatric dysfunction; still, the underlying mechanisms remain obscure. Here we show that exposure of embryos to a variety of environmental factors such as alcohol, methylmercury, and maternal seizure activates HSF1 in cerebral cortical cells. Furthermore, HSF1 deficiency in the mouse cortex exposed in utero to subthreshold levels of these challenges causes structural abnormalities and increases seizure susceptibility after birth. In addition, we found that human neural progenitor cells differentiated from induced pluripotent stem cells derived from schizophrenia patients show higher variability in the levels of HSF1 activation induced by environmental challenges compared to controls. We propose that HSF1 plays a crucial role in the response of brain cells to prenatal environmental insults and may be a key component in the pathogenesis of late-onset neuropsychiatric disorders.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Fired up

Effects of individualist and collectivist group norms and choice on intrinsic motivation

Martin Hagger, Panagiotis Rentzelas & Nikos Chatzisarantis
Motivation and Emotion, April 2014, Pages 215-223

Abstract:
Previous research suggests that the positive effect of personal choice on intrinsic motivation is dependent on the extent to which the pervading cultural norm endorses individualism or collectivism (Iyengar and Lepper in J Pers Soc Psychol 76:349–366, 1999). The present study tested effects of personal choice on intrinsic motivation under situationally-induced individualist and collectivist group norms. An organizational role-play scenario was used to manipulate individualist and collectivist group norms in participants from a homogenous cultural background. Participants then completed an anagram task under conditions of personal choice or when the task was either assigned to them by an in-group (company director) or out-group (experimenter) social agent. Consistent with hypotheses, when the group norm prescribed individualism participants in the personal choice condition exhibited greater intrinsic motivation. When the group norm prescribed collectivism, participants’ assigned to the task by the company director were more intrinsically motivated. The implications of results for theories of intrinsic motivation are discussed.

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Dying to Win? Olympic Gold Medals and Longevity

Adam Leive
University of Pennsylvania Working Paper, March 2014

Abstract:
This paper investigates how status affects health by comparing mortality between Gold medalists in Olympic Track and Field and other finalists. Due to the nature of Olympic competition, analyzing performance on a single day provides a way to cut through potential endogeneity between status and health. I first document that an athlete’s longevity is affected by whether he wins or loses and then detail mechanisms driving the results. Winning on a team confers a survival advantage, with evidence that higher mortality among losers may be due to poor performance relative to one’s teammates. However, winning an individual event is associated with an earlier death. By analyzing the best performances of each athlete before the Olympics, I demonstrate that an athlete’s performance relative to his expectations partly explains the earlier death of winners in individual events: on average, Olympic Gold medalists expected to win, but losers exceeded their expectations. Conversely, athletes considered “favorites” but who fail to win die earlier than other athletes who also lost. My results are robust to estimating a range of parametric and semi-parametric survival models that make different assumptions about unobserved heterogeneity. My central estimates imply lifespan differentials of a year or more between winners and losers. The findings point to the importance of expectations, relative performance, surprise, and disappointment in affecting health, which are not highlighted by standard models of health capital, but are consistent with reference-dependent utility. I also discuss potential implications for employment contracts in terms of a trade-off between ex post health and ex ante incentives for productivity.

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The mnemonic mover: Nostalgia regulates avoidance and approach motivation

Elena Stephan et al.
Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
In light of its role in maintaining psychological equanimity, we proposed that nostalgia — a self-relevant, social, and predominantly positive emotion — regulates avoidance and approach motivation. We advanced a model in which (a) avoidance motivation triggers nostalgia and (b) nostalgia, in turn, increases approach motivation. As a result, nostalgia counteracts the negative impact of avoidance motivation on approach motivation. Five methodologically diverse studies supported this regulatory model. Study 1 used a cross-sectional design and showed that avoidance motivation was positively associated with nostalgia. Nostalgia, in turn, was positively associated with approach motivation. In Study 2, an experimental induction of avoidance motivation increased nostalgia. Nostalgia then predicted increased approach motivation. Studies 3–5 tested the causal effect of nostalgia on approach motivation and behavior. These studies demonstrated that experimental nostalgia inductions strengthened approach motivation (Study 3) and approach behavior as manifested in reduced seating distance (Study 4) and increased helping (Study 5). The findings shed light on nostalgia’s role in regulating the human motivation system.

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Motivated Misperception: Self-Regulatory Resources Affect Goal Appraisals

Michelle vanDellen et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2014, Pages 118–124

Abstract:
Three studies examine how self-regulatory resources affect goal appraisals, finding support for the hypothesis that when low in self-regulatory resources, individuals endorse statements that rationalize either inaction or less effortful goal pursuit. Study 1 examines appraisals of self-set personal goals, finding that resource-depleted participants describe their goals as less urgent and less consequential. Study 2 examines reappraisals of weight loss goals, replicating the effects of Study 1. Finally, Study 3 examines this reappraisal process in the context of a broader societal goal of environmental conservation. This work contributes a new perspective to the large literature on resource depletion by demonstrating that depletion alters cognition in ways that may excuse the well-documented decrease in behavioral pursuit that arises from resource depletion.

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Academic and emotional functioning in middle school: The role of implicit theories

Carissa Romero et al.
Emotion, April 2014, Pages 227-234

Abstract:
Adolescents face many academic and emotional challenges in middle school, but notable differences are evident in how well they adapt. What predicts adolescents’ academic and emotional outcomes during this period? One important factor might be adolescents’ implicit theories about whether intelligence and emotions can change. The current study examines how these theories affect academic and emotional outcomes. One hundred fifteen students completed surveys throughout middle school, and their grades and course selections were obtained from school records. Students who believed that intelligence could be developed earned higher grades and were more likely to move to advanced math courses over time. Students who believed that emotions could be controlled reported fewer depressive symptoms and, if they began middle school with lower well-being, were more likely to feel better over time. These findings illustrate the power of adolescents’ implicit theories, suggesting exciting new pathways for intervention.

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“I’d Like to Be That Attractive, But At Least I’m Smart”: How Exposure to Ideal Advertising Models Motivates Improved Decision-Making

Kamila Sobol & Peter Darke
Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The use of idealized advertising models has been heavily criticized in recent years. Existing research typically adopts a social comparison framework and shows that upward comparisons with models can lower self-esteem and affect, as well as produce maladaptive behavior. However, the alternative possibility that consumers can cope with threatening advertising models by excelling in other behavioral domains has not been examined. The present research draws on fluid compensation theory (Tesser, 2000) and shows idealized models motivate improved performance in consumer domains that fall outside that of the original comparison. These more positive coping effects operate through self-discrepancies induced by idealized models, rather than self-esteem or negative affect. Specifically, self-discrepancies motivate consumers to improve decision-making by: 1) making more optimal choices from well-specified consideration sets, and 2) better self-regulating indulgent choices. More broadly, the current research integrates and extends theories of fluid compensation and self-discrepancy, as well as provides a more complete picture of the ways in which consumers cope with idealized advertising models.

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Fluency in Future Focus: Optimizing Outcome Elaboration Strategies for Effective Self-Control

Gergana Nenkov, Kelly Haws & Min Jung (MJ) Kim
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current research sheds new light on how individuals can best use the consideration of future outcomes as a self-control strategy to enhance their likelihood of goal attainment. Across three studies, the authors find that the effectiveness of positively versus negatively valenced outcome elaboration is dependent upon the construal level at which the potential outcomes are considered. This research demonstrates that positive outcome elaboration is more effective when it is abstract, whereas negative outcome elaboration is more effective when it is concrete. Moreover, the authors explore the process underlying these effects and demonstrate that the increased effectiveness of matching the outcomes’ valence and construal level is due to outcome elaboration fluency, as increased ease of generating outcomes that are positive and abstract or negative and concrete promotes more effective self-control.

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Love to Win or Hate to Lose? Asymmetry of Dopamine D2 Receptor Binding Predicts Sensitivity to Reward versus Punishment

Rachel Tomer et al.
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, May 2014, Pages 1039-1048

Abstract:
Humans show consistent differences in the extent to which their behavior reflects a bias toward appetitive approach-related behavior or avoidance of aversive stimuli [Elliot, A. J. Approach and avoidance motivation. In A. J. Elliot (Ed.), Handbook of approach and avoidance motivation (pp. 3–14). New York: Psychology Press, 2008]. We examined the hypothesis that in healthy participants this motivational bias (assessed by self-report and by a probabilistic learning task that allows direct comparison of the relative sensitivity to reward and punishment) reflects lateralization of dopamine signaling. Using [F-18]fallypride to measure D2/D3 binding, we found that self-reported motivational bias was predicted by the asymmetry of frontal D2 binding. Similarly, striatal and frontal asymmetries in D2 dopamine receptor binding, rather than absolute binding levels, predicted individual differences in learning from reward versus punishment. These results suggest that normal variation in asymmetry of dopamine signaling may, in part, underlie human personality and cognition.

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Openness to experience and aesthetic chills: Links to heart rate sympathetic activity

Iva Čukić & Timothy Bates
Personality and Individual Differences, July 2014, Pages 152–156

Abstract:
Openness to experience has important links to cognitive processes such as creativity, and to values, such as political attitudes. The biological origins of variation in openness to experience are, however, obscure. The centrality of “aesthetic chills” to high openness suggests that sympathetic nervous system activation may play a role. Here, we tested this using the low-frequency heart rate variability power measure (LF) as biomarker of sympathetic activation, tested under baseline and stress conditions in a sample of 952 subjects, and controlling for measured confounders of age, sex, height, weight and BMI. A significant association was found between LF and openness to experience (β = 0.10, 95% CI [0.02, 0.17], p < .01). These results suggest links between openness to experience and sympathetic nervous system activity explaining, at least in part, relationships of openness to such traits as aesthetic chills.

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Genetic Relations Among Procrastination, Impulsivity, and Goal-Management Ability: Implications for the Evolutionary Origin of Procrastination

Daniel Gustavson et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has revealed a moderate and positive correlation between procrastination and impulsivity. However, little is known about why these two constructs are related. In the present study, we used behavior-genetics methodology to test three predictions derived from an evolutionary account that postulates that procrastination arose as a by-product of impulsivity: (a) Procrastination is heritable, (b) the two traits share considerable genetic variation, and (c) goal-management ability is an important component of this shared variation. These predictions were confirmed. First, both procrastination and impulsivity were moderately heritable (46% and 49%, respectively). Second, although the two traits were separable at the phenotypic level (r = .65), they were not separable at the genetic level (rgenetic = 1.0). Finally, variation in goal-management ability accounted for much of this shared genetic variation. These results suggest that procrastination and impulsivity are linked primarily through genetic influences on the ability to use high-priority goals to effectively regulate actions.

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At Their Best When No One Is Watching: Decision Context Moderates the Effect of Envy on the Tendency Toward Self-Improvement

Jin Youn & Kelly Goldsmith
Northwestern University Working Paper, April 2014

Abstract:
Consumers regularly experience feelings of envy; however, to date, little is known about if or how incidental feelings of envy affect subsequent, unrelated consumption decisions. The current research addresses this by examining how incidental feelings of envy influence consumers’ tendency to engage in self-improvement related behaviors. Prior research suggests that although envy generally triggers the desire for self-improvement, it is also an emotion that bears a heavy social cost. On the basis of this work, we suggest that the effects of incidental envy on one’s tendency toward self-improvement will be moderated by whether the decision context is private or public. We present three experiments that support these predictions, and conclude with a discussion of future directions suggested by this work, as well as the relevant practical implications.

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The Effects of Goal Progress Cues: An Implicit Theory Perspective

Pragya Mathur, Lauren Block & Ozge Yucel-Aybat
Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Consumers often encounter goods and services that provide cues to mark their progress. We define the term “goal progress cues” to reflect the diverse category of cues that highlight progress towards a goal. Across a series of three studies, we show that entity theorists, who rely on cues that highlight completion in order to signal their abilities to others, evaluate tasks that include these cues more favorably than those that lack these features. In contrast, incremental theorists, who focus on improving competence, are impacted only by progress cues that highlight learning. We demonstrate these findings across a variety of goal pursuit contexts that represent a mix of customer-centric (retail queues), service-oriented managerial (sales calls), and personal achievement consumer product (mazes) domains using both behavioral and self-reported measures. We conclude with a discussion about the theoretical and substantive implications of our findings.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, April 25, 2014

Payback

Borrower Misreporting and Loan Performance

Mark Garmaise
Journal of Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
Borrower misreporting is associated with seriously adverse loan outcomes. Significantly more residential mortgage borrowers reported personal assets just above round number thresholds than just below. Borrowers who reported above-threshold assets were almost 25 percentage points more likely to become delinquent (mean delinquency was 20%). For applicants with unverified assets, the increase in delinquency was greater than 40 percentage points. Misreporting was most frequent in areas with low financial literacy or social capital. Incorporating behavioral cues such as threshold effects into a risk assessment model improves its ability to uncover delinquencies, though at a cost of mischaracterizing some safe loans.

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Safer Ratios, Riskier Portfolios: Banks' Response to Government Aid

Ran Duchin & Denis Sosyura
Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using novel data on bank applications to the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), we study the effect of government assistance on bank risk taking. Bailed-out banks initiate riskier loans and shift assets toward riskier securities after government support. However, this shift in risk occurs mostly within the same asset class and, therefore, remains undetected by regulatory capital ratios, which indicate improved capitalization at bailed-out banks. Consequently, these banks appear safer according to regulatory ratios, but show an increase in volatility and default risk. These findings are robust to controlling for credit demand and account for selection of TARP recipients by exploiting banks' geography-based political connections as an instrument for bailout approvals.

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Using Bankruptcy to Reduce Foreclosures: Does Strip-down of Mortgages Affect the Supply of Mortgage Credit?

Wenli Li, Ishani Tewari & Michelle White
NBER Working Paper, March 2014

Abstract:
We assess the credit market impact of allowing mortgage "strip-down" - that is, reducing the principal of underwater residential mortgages to the current market value of the property for homeowners in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Our identification is provided by a series of U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decisions in the early 1990's that introduced mortgage strip-down in parts of the U.S., followed by a 1993 Supreme Court ruling that abolished it all over the U.S. We find that the Supreme Court decision led to a short-term reduction of 3% in mortgage interest rates and a short-term increase of 1% in mortgage approval rates, but only the approval rate effect persists in longer sample periods. In contrast, the circuit court decisions to allow strip-down did not have consistent effects on mortgage terms. We also show that strip-down had little effect on default rates by homeowners with existing mortgages. Taken together, these results suggest that mortgage lenders responded weakly to both the adoption and abolition of strip-down because strip-down had little effect on their profits from mortgage lending. According to these findings, re-introducing strip-down of mortgages in bankruptcy as a foreclosure-prevention program would have only small and transient effects on the supply of mortgage loans.

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Does Mortgage Deregulation Increase Foreclosures? Evidence from Cleveland

Yilan Xu
Regional Science and Urban Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines how relaxing a local anti-predatory lending law for mortgages affects foreclosures. The empirical evidence is drawn from a quasi experiment in Cleveland, Ohio, where the State Supreme Court repealed an ordinance that imposed lending restrictions on home mortgages of high Annual Percentage Rates (APRs). Empirical evidence shows that observable loan and borrower characteristics were not affected by the repeal, nor did the overall originations appear to increase; yet the APRs were 20 percent more likely to exceed the regulatory thresholds that were nullified. Moreover, the foreclosure rate increased by six percentage points to 20 percent.

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Heterogeneity and Stability: Bolster the Strong, Not the Weak

Dong Beom Choi
Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
We first study a stylized model of self-fulfilling panic among agents with differing fragilities to strategic risk and show that depending on the severity of coordination problems, the panic trigger threshold can depend only on one type's fragility. We then present a model of systemic panic among financial institutions with heterogeneous fragilities to financial spillovers. Concerns about potential spillovers generate strategic interaction, triggering a pre-emption game in which one tries to exit the market before others to avoid spillovers. Although financial contagion originates in weaker institutions, systemic risk can critically depend on the financial health of stronger institutions in the contagion chain. In this case, bolstering the strong, rather than the weak, more effectively enhances systemic stability.

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Credit Card Blues: The Middle Class and the Hidden Costs of Easy Credit

Randy Hodson, Rachel Dwyer & Lisa Neilson
Sociological Quarterly, Spring 2014, Pages 315-340

Abstract:
In an era of increased access to credit, it becomes increasingly important to understand the consequences of taking on unsecured consumer debt. We argue that credit can have both positive and negative consequences resulting from its ability to smooth life transitions and difficulties but that this occurs simultaneously with increased financial risks and stress resulting from carrying unsecured debt. We find that those in the middle of the income distribution suffer the greatest disruptions to mental health from carrying debt. Affluent borrowers are relatively unmoved by debt, suggesting the use of short-term debt as a convenience strategy for the financially well heeled. The least advantaged borrowers also suffer emotionally less from debt, possibly because securing spendable funds for necessities remains their most pressing concern. The onset of the Great Recession, however, produced increased emotional distress for all classes.

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Inconsistent Regulators: Evidence from Banking

Sumit Agarwal et al.
Quarterly Journal of Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We find that regulators can implement identical rules inconsistently due to differences in their institutional design and incentives and that this behavior may adversely impact the effectiveness with which regulation is implemented. We study supervisory decisions of U.S. banking regulators and exploit a legally determined rotation policy that assigns federal and state supervisors to the same bank at exogenously set time intervals. Comparing federal and state regulator supervisory ratings within the same bank, we find that federal regulators are systematically tougher, downgrading supervisory ratings almost twice as frequently as state supervisors. State regulators counteract these downgrades to some degree by upgrading more frequently. Under federal regulators, banks report worse asset quality, higher regulatory capital ratios, and lower return on assets. Leniency of state regulators relative to their federal counterparts is related to costly outcomes, such as higher failure rates and lower repayment rates of government assistance funds. The discrepancy in regulator behavior is related to different weights given by regulators to local economic conditions and, to some extent, to differences in regulatory resources. We find no support for regulator self-interest, which includes "revolving doors" as a reason for leniency of state regulators.

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Corporate Taxes and Securitization

Joongho Han, Kwangwoo Park & George Pennacchi
Journal of Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
Most banks pay corporate income taxes, but securitization vehicles do not. Our model shows that when a bank faces strong loan demand but limited deposit market power, this tax asymmetry creates an incentive to sell loans despite less-efficient screening and monitoring of sold loans. Moreover, loan-selling increases as a bank's corporate income tax rate and capital requirement rise. Our empirical tests show that U.S. commercial banks sell more of their mortgages when they operate in states that impose higher corporate income taxes. A policy implication is that tax-induced loan-selling will rise if banks' required equity capital increases.

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Do Big Banks Have Lower Operating Costs?

Anna Kovner, James Vickery & Lily Zhou
Economic Policy Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examines the relationship between bank holding company (BHC) size and components of noninterest expense (NIE), in order to shed light on the sources of scale economies in banking. Drawing on detailed expense information provided by U.S. banking firms in the memoranda of their regulatory filings, the authors find a robust negative relationship between size and normalized measures of NIE. The relationship is strongest for employee compensation expenses and components of "other" noninterest expense such as information technology and corporate overhead expenses. In addition, the authors find no evidence that the inverse relationship between banking firm size and NIE ratios disappears above a given size threshold. In dollar terms, their estimates imply that for a BHC of mean size, an additional $1 billion in assets reduces noninterest expense by $1 million to $2 million per year, relative to a base case where operating cost ratios are unrelated to size.

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The Effects of Monetary Policy on Stock Market Bubbles: Some Evidence

Jordi Gali & Luca Gambetti
NBER Working Paper, March 2014

Abstract:
We estimate the response of stock prices to exogenous monetary policy shocks using a vector-autoregressive model with time-varying parameters. Our evidence points to protracted episodes in which, after a short-run decline, stock prices increase persistently in response to an exogenous tightening of monetary policy. That response is clearly at odds with the "conventional" view on the effects of monetary policy on bubbles, as well as with the predictions of bubbleless models. We also argue that it is unlikely that such evidence be accounted for by an endogenous response of the equity premium to the monetary policy shocks.

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Government Policies, Residential Mortgage Defaults and the Boom and Bust Cycle of Housing Prices

Marius Ascheberg et al.
Real Estate Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We develop a micro-based macromodel for residential home prices in an economy where defaults on residential mortgages negatively affect housing prices. Our model enables us to study the impact of subprime defaults on prime borrowers and the impact of various government policies on the housing market boom and bust cycle. In this regard, our key conclusions are that (i) there is a contagion effect from subprime defaults to prime defaults due to the negative impact of subprime defaults and (ii) monetary policy is the most effective tool for decreasing mortgage defaults and increasing aggregate home prices in contrast to alternative government fiscal policies designed to loosen mortgage credit.

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What Makes a Good Economy? Evidence from Public Opinion Surveys

Darren Grant
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
Analysis of 35 years of previously unstudied survey data shows how the American public evaluates the health of the macroeconomy. Survey responses are multidimensional, distinct from indexes of "consumer sentiment," and based mostly on genuine perceptions of economic conditions, not media reports of economic statistics. As such, they contain unique information about current and future values of these statistics, particularly consumption growth, a longstanding focus of the literature. Both "intangibles" and macroeconomic fundamentals explain substantial variation in the survey data; the public equates 2 to 5 percentage points of inflation with 1 percentage point of unemployment.

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Components of U.S. Financial Sector Growth, 1950-2013

Samuel Antill, David Hou & Asani Sarkar
Economic Policy Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
We provide measures of the size of the financial sector and its components, estimated relative to that of the total business (financial and nonfinancial) sector, and show how they relate to firm type, firm size and valuation. We find that the financial sector has been growing consistently since 1959, until reversed by the recent financial crisis. The relative size of finance is smaller when private firm liabilities are excluded. Although financial firms are more prevalent among large firms, on average large and small financial firms grew at similar rates. Shadow banks have doubled in size since the 1970s, and have grown consistently relative to traditional banks until the recent financial crisis. Small shadow banks have grown faster than large shadow banks, while the reverse is true for traditional banks. Finally, we find that, as compared to nonfinancial firms, the stock market has valued (as indicated by the market-to-book ratio) financial firms in general and traditional banks in particular lower, but shadow banks higher, and that this "value gap" has grown over time. Overall, these results show that growth in finance has mainly occurred in opaque, complex and less-regulated subsectors of finance.

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Spillover Effects of Subprime Mortgage Originations: The Effects of Single-family Mortgage Credit Expansion on the Multifamily Rental Market

Brent Ambrose & Moussa Diop
Journal of Urban Economics, May 2014, Pages 114-135

Abstract:
The dramatic expansion in subprime mortgage credit fueled a remarkable boom and bust in the US housing market and created a global financial crisis. Even though considerable research examines the housing and mortgage markets during the previous decade, how the expansion in mortgage credit affected the rental market remains unclear; and yet, over 30 percent of all U.S. households reside in the rental market. Our study fills this gap by showing how the multifamily rental market was adversely affected by the development of subprime lending in the single-family market before the advent of the 2007/2008 subprime induced financial crisis. We provide evidence for a fundamentals based linkage by which the effect of an innovation in one market (i.e, the growth in subprime mortgage originations) is propagated through to another market. Using a large database of residential rental lease payment records, our results confirm that the expansion in subprime lending corresponds with an overall decline in the quality of rental payments. Finally, we present evidence showing that the financial performance of multifamily rental properties reflected the increase in rental lease defaults.

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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder: The effect of corporate tax avoidance on the cost of bank loans

Iftekhar Hasan et al.
Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We find that firms with greater tax avoidance incur higher spreads when obtaining bank loans. This finding is robust in a battery of sensitivity analyses and in two quasi-experimental settings including the implementation of Financial Accounting Standards Board Interpretation No. 48 and the revelation of past tax sheltering activity. Firms with greater tax avoidance also incur more stringent nonprice loan terms, incur higher at-issue bond spreads, and prefer bank loans over public bonds when obtaining debt financing. Overall, these findings indicate that banks perceive tax avoidance as engendering significant risks.

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Mortgage Brokers, Origination Fees, Price Transparency and Competition

Brent Ambrose & James Conklin
Real Estate Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article examines the dynamics between mortgage broker competition, origination fees and price transparency. A reverse first-price sealed-bid auction model is used to motivate broker pricing behavior. Confirming the model predictions, our empirical analysis shows that increased mortgage brokerage competition at the Metropolitan Statistical Area level leads to lower fees. The findings are robust to different measures of fees as well as different measures of competition. We also provide evidence that broker competition reduces mortgage origination fees on retail (nonbrokered) loans as well. In addition, our results indicate that pricing complexity is an important determinant of fees, and increased broker competition is associated with a higher probability of a loan being priced with transparency. Our results suggest that mortgage brokers increase competition and lower fees in the mortgage market.

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Household Leveraging and Deleveraging

Alejandro Justiniano, Giorgio Primiceri & Andrea Tambalotti
Federal Reserve Working Paper, March 2013

Abstract:
U.S. households' debt skyrocketed between 2000 and 2007, but has since been falling. This leveraging and deleveraging cycle cannot be accounted for by the liberalization and subsequent tightening of mortgage credit standards that occurred during the period. We base this conclusion on a quantitative dynamic general equilibrium model calibrated using macroeconomic aggregates and microeconomic data from the Survey of Consumer Finances. From the perspective of the model, the credit cycle is more likely due to factors that impacted house prices more directly, thus affecting the availability of credit through a collateral channel. In either case, the macroeconomic consequences of leveraging and deleveraging are relatively minor because the responses of borrowers and lenders roughly wash out in the aggregate.

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Incentivizing Calculated Risk-Taking: Evidence from an Experiment with Commercial Bank Loan Officers

Shawn Allen Cole, Martin Kanz & Leora Klapper
Journal of Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
We conduct an experiment with commercial bank loan officers to test how performance compensation affects risk-assessment and lending. High-powered incentives lead to greater screening effort and more profitable lending decisions. This effect is, however, muted by deferred compensation and limited liability, two standard features of loan officer compensation contracts. We find that career concerns and personality traits affect loan officer behavior, but show that the response to incentives does not vary with traits such as risk-aversion, optimism or overconfidence. Finally, we present evidence that incentive contracts distort the assessment of credit risk, even among trained professionals with many years of experience.

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Liquidity Trap and Excessive Leverage

Anton Korinek & Alp Simsek
NBER Working Paper, March 2014

Abstract:
We investigate the role of macroprudential policies in mitigating liquidity traps driven by deleveraging, using a simple Keynesian model. When constrained agents engage in deleveraging, the interest rate needs to fall to induce unconstrained agents to pick up the decline in aggregate demand. However, if the fall in the interest rate is limited by the zero lower bound, aggregate demand is insufficient and the economy enters a liquidity trap. In such an environment, agents' ex-ante leverage and insurance decisions are associated with aggregate demand externalities. The competitive equilibrium allocation is constrained inefficient. Welfare can be improved by ex-ante macroprudential policies such as debt limits and mandatory insurance requirements. The size of the required intervention depends on the differences in marginal propensity to consume between borrowers and lenders during the deleveraging episode. In our model, contractionary monetary policy is inferior to macroprudential policy in addressing excessive leverage, and it can even have the unintended consequence of increasing leverage.

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CDS as Insurance: Leaky Lifeboats in Stormy Seas

Eric Stephens & James Thompson
Journal of Financial Intermediation, forthcoming

Abstract:
What market features of financial risk transfer exacerbate counterparty risk? To analyze this, we formulate a model which elucidates important differences between financial risk transfer and traditional insurance, using the example of Credit Default Swaps (CDS). We allow for (heterogeneous) insurer insolvency, which captures the possibility that relatively risky counterparties may exist in the market. Further, we find that stable insurers become less stable as the price of the contract decreases. The analysis includes insured parties that have heterogeneous motivations for purchasing CDS. For example, some may own the underlying asset and purchase CDS for risk management, while others buy these contracts purely for trading purposes. We show that traders will choose to contract with less stable insurers, resulting in higher counterparty risk in this market relative to that of traditional insurance; however, a regulatory policy that removes traders can, perversely, cause stable counterparties to become less stable. We conclude with two extensions of the model that consider a Central Counterparty (CCP) arrangement and the consequences of asymmetric information over insurer type.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Give it some thought

Psychological Strategies for Winning a Geopolitical Forecasting Tournament

Barbara Mellers et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Five university-based research groups competed to recruit forecasters, elicit their predictions, and aggregate those predictions to assign the most accurate probabilities to events in a 2-year geopolitical forecasting tournament. Our group tested and found support for three psychological drivers of accuracy: training, teaming, and tracking. Probability training corrected cognitive biases, encouraged forecasters to use reference classes, and provided forecasters with heuristics, such as averaging when multiple estimates were available. Teaming allowed forecasters to share information and discuss the rationales behind their beliefs. Tracking placed the highest performers (top 2% from Year 1) in elite teams that worked together. Results showed that probability training, team collaboration, and tracking improved both calibration and resolution. Forecasting is often viewed as a statistical problem, but forecasts can be improved with behavioral interventions. Training, teaming, and tracking are psychological interventions that dramatically increased the accuracy of forecasts. Statistical algorithms (reported elsewhere) improved the accuracy of the aggregation. Putting both statistics and psychology to work produced the best forecasts 2 years in a row.

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Give your ideas some legs: The positive effect of walking on creative thinking

Marily Oppezzo & Daniel Schwartz
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, forthcoming

Abstract:
Four experiments demonstrate that walking boosts creative ideation in real time and shortly after. In Experiment 1, while seated and then when walking on a treadmill, adults completed Guilford's alternate uses (GAU) test of creative divergent thinking and the compound remote associates (CRA) test of convergent thinking. Walking increased 81% of participants' creativity on the GAU, but only increased 23% of participants' scores for the CRA. In Experiment 2, participants completed the GAU when seated and then walking, when walking and then seated, or when seated twice. Again, walking led to higher GAU scores. Moreover, when seated after walking, participants exhibited a residual creative boost. Experiment 3 generalized the prior effects to outdoor walking. Experiment 4 tested the effect of walking on creative analogy generation. Participants sat inside, walked on a treadmill inside, walked outside, or were rolled outside in a wheelchair. Walking outside produced the most novel and highest quality analogies. The effects of outdoor stimulation and walking were separable. Walking opens up the free flow of ideas, and it is a simple and robust solution to the goals of increasing creativity and increasing physical activity.

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Forceful Phantom Firsts: Framing Experiences as Firsts Amplifies their Influence on Judgment

Robyn LeBoeuf, Elanor Williams & Lyle Brenner
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
First experiences are highly influential. Here, the authors show that non-first experiences can be made to seem like firsts and consequently to have a disproportionate influence on judgment. In six experiments, one piece of a series of information was framed to appear to have "first" status: for example, a weather report that appeared at the end of a sequence of weather reports happened to correspond to the first day of a vacation, and a customer review that appeared at the end of a sequence of hotel reviews happened to be the new year's first review. Such information had greater influence on subsequent judgments (e.g., of the next day's weather or of the hotel's quality) than did identical information not framed as a first. This effect seems to arise largely because "phantom first" pieces of information receive greater weight than, but not necessarily more attention than, other pieces of information.

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Redesigning Photo-ID to Improve Unfamiliar Face Matching Performance

David White et al.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, forthcoming

Abstract:
Viewers find it difficult to match photos of unfamiliar faces for identity. Despite this, the use of photographic ID is widespread. In this study we ask whether it is possible to improve face matching performance by replacing single photographs on ID documents with multiple photos or an average image of the bearer. In 3 experiments we compare photo-to-photo matching with photo-to-average matching (where the average is formed from multiple photos of the same person) and photo-to-array matching (where the array comprises separate photos of the same person). We consistently find an accuracy advantage for average images and photo arrays over single photos, and show that this improvement is driven by performance in match trials. In the final experiment, we find a benefit of 4-image arrays relative to average images for unfamiliar faces, but not for familiar faces. We propose that conventional photo-ID format can be improved, and discuss this finding in the context of face recognition more generally.

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Does Lacking Threat-Management Resources Increase Information Avoidance? A Multi-sample, Multi-method Investigation

Jennifer Howell, Benjamin Crosier & James Shepperd
Journal of Research in Personality, June 2014, Pages 102-109

Abstract:
Are people who lack personal and interpersonal resources more likely to avoid learning potentially threatening information? We conducted four studies assessing three different populations (undergraduates, high school students, and a nationally-representative sample of adults), using a variety of measures and methods (e.g., single and multi-item self-report measures, a behavioral measure, social network analysis), across three information contexts (i.e., general health information, specific disease risk, socially-evaluative information). The consistent finding is that people who lack personal and interpersonal resources to manage threat are more likely to avoid learning potentially-threatening information. The results indicate that personal and interpersonal resources represent generalizable and robust predictors of information avoidance.

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Causal Control of Medial-Frontal Cortex Governs Electrophysiological and Behavioral Indices of Performance Monitoring and Learning

Robert Reinhart & Geoffrey Woodman
Journal of Neuroscience, 19 March 2014, Pages 4214-4227

Abstract:
Adaptive human behavior depends on the capacity to adjust cognitive processing after an error. Here we show that transcranial direct current stimulation of medial-frontal cortex provides causal control over the electrophysiological responses of the human brain to errors and feedback. Using one direction of current flow, we eliminated performance-monitoring activity, reduced behavioral adjustments after an error, and slowed learning. By reversing the current flow in the same subjects, we enhanced performance-monitoring activity, increased behavioral adjustments after an error, and sped learning. These beneficial effects fundamentally improved cognition for nearly 5 h after 20 min of noninvasive stimulation. The stimulation selectively influenced the potentials indexing error and feedback processing without changing potentials indexing mechanisms of perceptual or response processing. Our findings demonstrate that the functioning of mechanisms of cognitive control and learning can be up- or down-regulated using noninvasive stimulation of medial-frontal cortex in the human brain.

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Overconfidence Across World Regions

Lazar Stankov & Jihyun Lee
Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this article, nine world regions (based on samples from 33 nations) are compared in their performance on a cognitive ability test and confidence ratings obtained from the items of the same test. Our results indicate that differences between the world regions are greater on cognitive ability than they are on confidence ratings. Consequently, overconfidence - that is, the degree to which people overestimate their performance on cognitive tasks - is pronounced within the world regions that have lower scores on measures of cognitive ability. A less pronounced overconfidence is also present among the high-achieving world regions. Our findings support a cognitive hypothesis according to which individuals suffer from illusory superiority if the task is difficult. Thus, a commonly observed overconfidence can be seen as a self-deceiving, probably unconscious, mechanism that cushions a person (and countries) from experiencing negative feelings due to cognitive failures.

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Negatively-Biased Credulity and the Cultural Evolution of Beliefs

Daniel Fessler, Anne Pisor & Carlos David Navarrete
PLoS ONE, April 2014

Abstract:
The functions of cultural beliefs are often opaque to those who hold them. Accordingly, to benefit from cultural evolution's ability to solve complex adaptive problems, learners must be credulous. However, credulity entails costs, including susceptibility to exploitation, and effort wasted due to false beliefs. One determinant of the optimal level of credulity is the ratio between the costs of two types of errors: erroneous incredulity (failing to believe information that is true) and erroneous credulity (believing information that is false). This ratio can be expected to be asymmetric when information concerns hazards, as the costs of erroneous incredulity will, on average, exceed the costs of erroneous credulity; no equivalent asymmetry characterizes information concerning benefits. Natural selection can therefore be expected to have crafted learners' minds so as to be more credulous toward information concerning hazards. This negatively-biased credulity extends general negativity bias, the adaptive tendency for negative events to be more salient than positive events. Together, these biases constitute attractors that should shape cultural evolution via the aggregated effects of learners' differential retention and transmission of information. In two studies in the U.S., we demonstrate the existence of negatively-biased credulity, and show that it is most pronounced in those who believe the world to be dangerous, individuals who may constitute important nodes in cultural transmission networks. We then document the predicted imbalance in cultural content using a sample of urban legends collected from the Internet and a sample of supernatural beliefs obtained from ethnographies of a representative collection of the world's cultures, showing that beliefs about hazards predominate in both.

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To Switch or Not To Switch: Understanding Social Influence in Online Choices

Haiyi Zhu & Bernardo Huberman
American Behavioral Scientist, forthcoming

Abstract:
The authors designed and ran an experiment to measure social influence in online recommender systems, specifically, how often people's choices are changed by others' recommendations when facing different levels of confirmation and conformity pressures. In this experiment, participants were first asked to provide their preference from pairs of items. They were then asked to make second choices about the same pairs with knowledge of other people's preferences. The results show that other people's opinions significantly sway people's own choices. The influence is stronger when people are required to make their second decision sometime later (22.4%) rather than immediately (14.1%). Moreover, people seem to be most likely to reverse their choices when facing a moderate, as opposed to large, number of opposing opinions. Finally, the time people spend making the first decision significantly predicts whether they will reverse their decisions later on, whereas demographics such as age and gender do not. These results have implications for consumer behavior research as well as online marketing strategies.

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Reversal of fortune: A statistical analysis of penalty calls in the National Hockey League

Jason Abrevaya & Robert McCulloch
Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper analyzes a unique data set consisting of all penalty calls in the National Hockey League between the 1995-1996 and 2001-2002 seasons. The primary finding is the prevalence of "reverse calls:" if previous penalties have been on one team, then the next penalty is more likely to be on the other. This pattern is consistent with a simple behavioral rationale based on the fundamental difficulty of refereeing a National Hockey League game. Statistical modeling reveals that the identity of the next team to be penalized also depends on a variety of other factors, including the score, the time in the game, the time since last penalty, which team is at home, and whether one or two referees are calling the game. There is also evidence of differences among referees in their tendency to reverse calls.

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Deception and decision making in professional basketball: Is it beneficial to flop?

Elia Morgulev et al.
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, June 2014, Pages 108-118

Abstract:
We examine the behavior of professional referees and players in the context of offensive fouls in basketball. Over 500 incidents that had the potential to meet the criteria of an offensive foul were recorded from the 2009/10 season of the Israeli Basketball Super League and were analyzed by basketball experts. Falling intentionally in order to improve the chances to get an offensive foul is a very common behavior of defenders (almost two thirds of the recorded falls). It seems to be helpful at first, increasing indeed the chances to get an offensive foul, but a more careful analysis shows that the entire impact of an intentional fall on the team seems to be negative. We suggest that both rational reasons and biased decision making lead players to frequently act against their team's interest by falling. Referees almost never call an offensive foul if the player remained on his feet, and are generally calling fewer fouls than the number judged by experts as appropriate. We explain the referees' behavior both by using the representativeness heuristic and by examining closely the referees' interests and observing that to some extent even their officiating mistakes may be rational.

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The Use of Cognitive Task Analysis to Reveal the Instructional Limitations of Experts in the Teaching of Procedural Skills

Maura Sullivan et al.
Academic Medicine, forthcoming

Purpose: Because of the automated nature of knowledge, experts tend to omit information when describing a task. A potential solution is cognitive task analysis (CTA). The authors investigated the percentage of knowledge experts omitted when teaching a cricothyrotomy to determine the percentage of additional knowledge gained during a CTA interview.

Method: Three experts were videotaped teaching a cricothyrotomy in 2010 at the University of Southern California. After transcription, they participated in CTA interviews for the same procedure. Three additional surgeons were recruited to perform a CTA for the procedure, and a "gold standard" task list was created. Transcriptions from the teaching sessions were compared with the task list to identify omitted steps (both "what" and "how" to do). Transcripts from the CTA interviews were compared against the task list to determine the percentage of knowledge articulated by each expert during the initial "free recall" (unprompted) phase of the CTA interview versus the amount of knowledge gained by using CTA elicitation techniques (prompted).

Results: Experts omitted an average of 71% (10/14) of clinical knowledge steps, 51% (14/27) of action steps, and 73% (3.6/5) of decision steps. For action steps, experts described "how to do it" only 13% (3.6/27) of the time. The average number of steps that were described increased from 44% (20/46) when unprompted to 66% (31/46) when prompted.

Conclusions: This study supports previous research that experts unintentionally omit knowledge when describing a procedure. CTA is a useful method to extract automated knowledge and augment expert knowledge recall during teaching.

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Making Information Matter: Symmetrically Appealing Layouts Promote Issue Relevance, which Facilitates Action and Attention to Argument Quality

Brianna Middlewood & Karen Gasper
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2014, Pages 100-106

Abstract:
What makes information relevant? We hypothesized that text displayed in a symmetrical, rather than asymmetrical, layout would be more appealing to people, and that appeal would then be used to infer that the topic is personally relevant. Relevance, in turn, should increase the degree to which people engage with the information presented in the message. In three experiments, respondents read text arranged symmetrically or asymmetrically. As predicted, symmetry influences relevance indirectly through appeal, such that symmetrical articles were more appealing than asymmetrical articles, and appeal predicted relevance. Relevance, then, predicted the desire to acquire and act on the information in the article (Experiment 2) and increased attention to argument quality, for participants were more influenced by strong, rather than weak, arguments (Experiment 3). Perceptions of reading difficulty and trustworthiness did not account for the findings, indicating that it is the appeal of symmetry which promoted issue relevance.

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We'll Be Honest, This Won't Be the Best Article You'll Ever Read: The Use of Dispreferred Markers in Word-of-Mouth Communication

Ryan Hamilton, Kathleen Vohs & Ann McGill
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Consumers value word-of-mouth communications in large part because customer reviews are more likely to include negative information about a product or service than are communications originating from the marketer. Despite the fact that negative information is frequently valued by those receiving it, baldly declaring negative information may come with social costs to both communicator and receiver. For this reason, communicators sometimes soften pronouncements of bad news by couching them in dispreferred markers, including phrases such as, "I'll be honest," "God bless it," or "I don't want to be mean, but ." The present work identified and tested in five experiments a phenomenon termed the dispreferred marker effect, in which consumers evaluate communicators who use dispreferred markers as more credible and likable than communicators who assert the same information without dispreferred markers. We further found that the dispreferred marker effect can spill over to evaluations of the product being reviewed, increasing willingness to pay and influencing evaluations of the credibility and likability of the evaluated product's personality.

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Social influence constrained by the heritability of attitudes

Nicholas Schwab
Personality and Individual Differences, August 2014, Pages 54-57

Abstract:
Previous work by Tesser (1993) and Bourgeois (2002) found that heritable attitudes are more resistant to social influence and attitude change. The present study sought to replicate and extend previous work by utilizing attitudes and heritability estimates not previously used in studies examining the effect of heritable attitudes on social influence processes. It was hypothesized that attitudes with higher heritability estimates would change less after group discussion relative to attitudes with lower heritability estimates. As predicted, highly heritable attitudes did show greater resistance to social influence in the context of group discussion. The present findings add further support to the notion that attitude heritability is an important element of attitude change and extend previous work through the study of novel attitudes and heritability estimates.

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Judging a Part by the Size of its Whole: The Category Size Bias in Probability Judgments

Mathew Isaac & Aaron Brough
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Whereas prior research shows that consumers' probability judgments are sensitive to the number of categories into which a set of possible outcomes is grouped, this research demonstrates that categorization can bias predictions even when the number of categories is fixed. Specifically, five experiments document a category size bias in which consumers perceive an outcome as more likely to occur when it is categorized with many rather than few alternative possibilities, even when the grouping criterion is irrelevant and the objective probability of each outcome is identical. For example, participants in one study irrationally predicted being more likely to win a lottery if their ticket color matched most (vs. few) of the other gamblers' tickets - and wagered nearly 25% more as a result. These findings suggest that consumers' perceptions of risk and probability are influenced not only by the number of categories into which possible outcomes are classified, but also by category size.

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Discrediting in a Message Board Forum: The Effects of Social Support and Attacks on Expertise and Trustworthiness

Michael Hughes et al.
Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, April 2014, Pages 325-341

Abstract:
Given the prevalence of online media today, credibility continues to be a popular subject of empirical research. However, studies examining the effects of discrediting strategies are rare. This issue is significant given the popularity of online media and the ease of such sources to spread misinformation. Therefore, the present study examines the effects of attacking the expertise and trustworthiness of a proponent of a major social issue. Results showed that support as well specific combinations of discrediting attack strategies significantly reduced message board readers' perceptions of the proponent's credibility. In addition, attacks on either the proponent's expertise or trustworthiness resulted in a reduced likelihood of readers taking action with respect to the issue.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Trading up

Wisdom of Crowds: The Value of Stock Opinions Transmitted Through Social Media

Hailiang Chen et al.
Review of Financial Studies, May 2014, Pages 1367-1403

Abstract:
Social media has become a popular venue for individuals to share the results of their own analysis on financial securities. This paper investigates the extent to which investor opinions transmitted through social media predict future stock returns and earnings surprises. We conduct textual analysis of articles published on one of the most popular social media platforms for investors in the United States. We also consider the readers' perspective as inferred via commentaries written in response to these articles. We find that the views expressed in both articles and commentaries predict future stock returns and earnings surprises.

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Exuberance Out of Left Field: Do Sports Results Cause Investors to Take Their Eyes Off the Ball?

Christos Pantzalis & Jung Chul Park
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study investigates whether stock price performance contains a sizeable component that emanates from local sports sentiment. We measure sports sentiment by the performance of sports teams from the four major professional sports leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL) that are based nearby firms’ headquarters. We find that concurrent stock returns and sports performances associated with the same locality are highly correlated. Consistent with the notion that mispricing is indeed caused by sports sentiment, we also determine that sentiment is related to a subsequent gradual return reversal, which occurs over the following three year period. In addition, we confirm that local comovement is more pronounced in the presence of sports sentiment in support of the notion that local stock preference of relatively less sophisticated retail investors can be driven by factors that are not information-based. Finally, we devise investment strategies based on recent past observations of sports sentiment and find that they generate sizable abnormal returns, especially in cases of firms located in areas where fan base support appears to be stronger.

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Did Regulation Fair Disclosure, SOX, and Other Analyst Regulations Reduce Security Mispricing?

Edward Lee, Norman Strong & Zhenmei (Judy) Zhu
Journal of Accounting Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Between 2000 and 2003 a series of disclosure and analyst regulations curbing abusive financial reporting and analyst behavior were enacted to strengthen the information environment of U.S. capital markets. We investigate whether these regulations reduced security mispricing and increased stock market efficiency. After the regulations, we find a significant reduction in short-term stock price continuation following analyst forecast revisions and earnings announcements. The effect was more pronounced among higher information uncertainty firms, where we expect security valuation to be most sensitive to regulation. Analyst forecast accuracy also improved in these firms, consistent with reduced mispricing being due to an improved corporate information environment following the regulations. Our findings are robust to controls for time trends, trading activity, the financial crisis, analyst coverage, delistings, and changes in information uncertainty proxies. We find no concurrent effect among European firms and a regression discontinuity design supports our identification of a regulatory effect.

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Attracting Investor Attention through Advertising

Dong Lou
Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper provides evidence that managers adjust firm advertising, in part, to attract investor attention and influence short-term stock returns. First, I show that increased advertising spending is associated with a contemporaneous rise in retail buying and abnormal stock returns, and is followed by lower future returns. Second, I document a significant increase in advertising spending prior to insider sales and a significant decrease in the subsequent year. Additional analyses suggest that the inverted V-shaped pattern in advertising spending around insider sales is most consistent with managers' opportunistically adjusting firm advertising to exploit the temporary return effect to their own benefit.

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Rating Agencies

Harold Cole & Thomas Cooley
NBER Working Paper, March 2014

Abstract:
For decades credit rating agencies were viewed as trusted arbiters of creditworthiness and their ratings as important tools for managing risk. The common narrative is that the value of ratings was compromised by the evolution of the industry to a form where issuers pay for ratings. In this paper we show how credit ratings have value in equilibrium and how reputation insures that, in equilibrium, ratings will reflect sound assessments of credit worthiness. There will always be an information distortion because of the fact that purchasers of ratings need not reveal them. We argue that regulatory reliance on ratings and the increasing importance of risk-weighted capital in prudential regulation have more likely contributed to distorted ratings than the matter of who pays for them. In this respect, much of the regulatory obsession with the conflict created by issuers paying for ratings is a distraction.

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Have Rating Agencies Become More Conservative? Implications for Capital Structure and Debt Pricing

Ramin Baghai, Henri Servaes & Ane Tamayo
Journal of Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
Rating agencies have become more conservative in assigning corporate credit ratings over the period 1985 to 2009; holding firm characteristics constant, average ratings have dropped by three notches. This change does not appear to be fully warranted because defaults have declined over this period. Firms affected more by conservatism issue less debt, have lower leverage, hold more cash, are less likely to obtain a debt rating, and experience lower growth. Their debt spreads are lower than those of unaffected firms with the same rating, which implies that the market partly undoes the impact of conservatism on debt prices. This evidence suggests that firms and capital markets do not perceive the increase in conservatism to be fully warranted.

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Predicting anomaly performance with politics, the weather, global warming, sunspots, and the stars

Robert Novy-Marx
Journal of Financial Economics, May 2014, Pages 137–146

Abstract:
Predictive regressions find that the party of the US president, the weather in Manhattan, global warming, the El Niño phenomenon, sunspots, and the conjunctions of the planets all have significant power predicting the performance of popular anomalies. The interpretation of these results has important implications for the asset pricing literature.

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Market-based Credit Ratings

Drew Creal, Robert Gramacy & Ruey Tsay
Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We present a methodology for rating in real-time the creditworthiness of public companies in the U.S. from the prices of traded assets. Our approach uses asset pricing data to impute a term structure of risk neutral survival functions or default probabilities. Firms are then clustered into ratings categories based on their survival functions using a functional clustering algorithm. This allows all public firms whose assets are traded to be directly rated by market participants. For firms whose assets are not traded, we show how they can be indirectly rated by matching them to firms that are traded based on observable characteristics. We also show how the resulting ratings can be used to construct loss distributions for portfolios of bonds. Finally, we compare our ratings to Standard & Poors and find that, over the period 2005 to 2011, our ratings lead theirs for firms that ultimately default.

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The Long-Run Role of the Media: Evidence from Initial Public Offerings

Laura Xiaolei Liu, Ann Sherman & Yong Zhang
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The unique characteristics of the U.S. initial public offering (IPO) process, particularly the strict quiet period regulations, allow us to explore the effects of media coverage when the coverage does not contain genuine news (i.e., hard information that was previously unknown). We show that a simple, objective measure of pre-IPO media coverage is positively related to the stock's long-term value, liquidity, analyst coverage, and institutional investor ownership. Our results are robust to additional controls for size, to using abnormal or excess media, and to an instrumental variable approach. We also find that pre-IPO media coverage is negatively related to future expected returns, measured by the implied cost of capital. In all, we find a long-term role for media coverage, consistent with Merton's attention or investor recognition hypothesis.

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Leverage and Beliefs: Personal Experience and Risk Taking in Margin Lending

Peter Koudijs & Hans-Joachim Voth
NBER Working Paper, March 2014

Abstract:
What determines risk-bearing capacity and the amount of leverage in financial markets? Using unique archival data on collateralized lending, we show that personal experience can affect individual risk-taking and aggregate leverage. When an investor syndicate speculating in Amsterdam in 1772 went bankrupt, many lenders were exposed. In the end, none of them actually lost money. Nonetheless, only those at risk of losing money changed their behavior markedly – they lent with much higher haircuts. The rest continued as before. The differential change is remarkable since the distress was public knowledge. Overall leverage in the Amsterdam stock market declined as a result.

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Equity Analyst Recommendations: A Case for Affirmative Disclosure?

William Baker & Gregory Dumont
Journal of Consumer Affairs, Spring 2014, Pages 96–123

Abstract:
The financial well-being of retail investors is impacted by the quality of their investment decisions. Inaccurate or misleading financial information that is misconstrued by investors to be reliable can compromise decision making. This research reports on the results of three studies that show despite the fact that equities with “buy” ratings significantly underperform equities with “hold” ratings, retail investors rely on them when making investment decisions. It also shows analysts' guidance remains inaccurate in the aggregate despite the passage of Sarbanes-Oxley and related legislation/regulation. This article begins a conversation on the implications of this dilemma, specifically the value of affirmative disclosure as a remedy.

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Short Sellers and Innovation: Evidence from a Quasi-Natural Experiment

Jie He & Xuan Tian
University of Georgia Working Paper, January 2014

Abstract:
We examine the causal effect of short selling on innovation. Using exogenous variation in short-selling costs generated by a quasi-natural experiment, Regulation SHO, which randomly assigns a subsample of the Russell 3000 index firms into a pilot program, we show that short selling has a positive, causal effect on firm innovation. The positive effect of short selling on innovation is more pronounced when firms are subject to greater agency problems between shareholders and managers and a higher degree of information asymmetry. Our evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that short sellers encourage innovation both by disciplining managers through their active trading and monitoring and by mitigating information asymmetry through their information production activities about firm fundamentals. Our paper provides new insights into the real effects of short selling and has important policy implications for security laws and regulations that aim to encourage innovation.

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Does Short Selling Amplify Price Declines or Align Stocks with Their Fundamental Values?

Asher Curtis & Neil Fargher
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Critics of short selling argue that short sellers amplify price declines by targeting firms with falling prices in an unwarranted manner. Contrary to this viewpoint, we find that increases in short interest for firms following a price decline are associated with measures of overpricing based on financial statement analysis. Our results extend to short-selling activity following marketwide declines. We also find evidence consistent with the profitability of short selling following price declines being driven by valuation-based positions. Overall, our findings suggest short sellers primarily undertake valuation-based strategies following price declines and have implications for regulators. Limiting short selling following price declines is likely to impede efficient price discovery.

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Connected Stocks

Miguel Antón & Christopher Polk
Journal of Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
We connect stocks through their common active mutual fund owners. We show that the degree of shared ownership forecasts cross-sectional variation in return correlation, controlling for exposure to systematic return factors, style and sector similarity, and many other pair characteristics. We argue that shared ownership causes this excess comovement based on evidence from a natural experiment — the 2003 mutual fund trading scandal. These results motivate a novel cross-stock-reversal trading strategy exploiting information in ownership connections. We show that long-short hedge fund index returns covary negatively with this strategy, suggesting these funds may exacerbate this excess comovement.

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Scale and Skill in Active Management

Lubos Pastor, Robert Stambaugh & Lucian Taylor
NBER Working Paper, February 2014

Abstract:
We empirically analyze the nature of returns to scale in active mutual fund management. We find strong evidence of decreasing returns at the industry level: As the size of the active mutual fund industry increases, a fund's ability to outperform passive benchmarks declines. At the fund level, all methods considered indicate decreasing returns, but estimates that avoid econometric biases are insignificant. We also find that the active management industry has become more skilled over time. This upward trend in skill coincides with industry growth, which precludes the skill improvement from boosting fund performance. Finally, we find that performance deteriorates over a typical fund's lifetime. This result can also be explained by industry-level decreasing returns to scale.

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Winners in the spotlight: Media coverage of fund holdings as a driver of flows

David Solomon, Eugene Soltes & Denis Sosyura
Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We show that media coverage of mutual fund holdings affects how investors allocate money across funds. Fund holdings with high past returns attract extra flows, but only if these stocks were recently featured in the media. In contrast, holdings that were not covered in major newspapers do not affect flows. We present evidence that media coverage tends to contribute to investors’ chasing of past returns rather than facilitate the processing of useful information in fund portfolios. Our evidence suggests that media coverage can exacerbate investor biases and that it is the primary mechanism that makes fund window dressing effective.

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Investing in a Global World

Jeffrey Busse, Amit Goyal & Sunil Wahal
Review of Finance, April 2014, Pages 561-590

Abstract:
We examine active retail mutual funds and institutional products with a mandate to invest in global equity markets. We find little reliable evidence of alphas in the aggregate or on average. The right tail of the distribution contains some large alphas. Decomposing stock selection from country selection, we find some evidence of superior stock picking abilities in the extreme right tail. However, simulations suggest that they are produced just as likely by luck as by skill. Persistence tests show little evidence of continuation in superior performance.

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Do Security Analysts Speak in Two Tongues?

Ulrike Malmendier & Devin Shanthikumar
Review of Financial Studies, May 2014, Pages 1287-1322

Abstract:
Why do security analysts issue overly positive recommendations? We propose a novel approach to distinguish strategic motives (e.g., generating small-investor purchases and pleasing management) from nonstrategic motives (genuine overoptimism). We argue that nonstrategic distorters tend to issue both positive recommendations and optimistic forecasts, while strategic distorters “speak in two tongues,” issuing overly positive recommendations but less optimistic forecasts. We show that the incidence of strategic distortion is large and systematically related to proxies for incentive misalignment. Our “two-tongues metric” reveals strategic distortion beyond those indicators and provides a new tool for detecting incentives to distort that are hard to identify otherwise.

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Analyst herding and investor protection: A cross-country study

A.G. Kerl & T. Pauls
Applied Financial Economics, Spring 2014, Pages 533-542

Abstract:
Using a multi-national data set, we investigate the herding behaviour of financial analysts. Our results across a range of different countries suggest that analysts consistently deviate from their true forecasts and issue earnings forecasts that are biased by anti-herding. Furthermore, the level of bias (i.e. anti-herding) seems to be systematically higher for forecasts on companies from European countries compared to the US or Japan. We argue that such differences might stem from diverse levels of investor protection and corporate governance as analysts deviate less from true forecasts when the overall information environment is more transparent and company disclosures are of higher quality. Thereby, we proxy investor protection based on the company-level share of institutional ownership as well as on country-level investor protection measures. Our results show that increasing levels of investor protection and corporate governance mitigate the anti-herding behaviour. Especially, when companies that are located in high investor protection countries are held by an increasing number of institutional investors, analysts are most reluctant to issue biased forecasts.

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How Constraining Are Limits to Arbitrage? Evidence from a Recent Financial Innovation

Alexander Ljungqvist & Wenlan Qian
NBER Working Paper, January 2014

Abstract:
Limits to arbitrage play a central role in behavioral finance. They are thought to interfere with arbitrage processes so that security prices can deviate from true values for extended periods of time. We describe a recent financial innovation that allows limits to arbitrage to be sidestepped, and overvaluation thereby to be corrected, even in settings characterized by extreme costs of information discovery and severe short-sale constraints. We report evidence of shallow-pocketed “arbitrageurs” expending considerable resources to identify overvalued companies and profitably correcting overpricing. The innovation that allows the arbitrageurs to sidestep limits to arbitrage involves credibly revealing their information to the market, in an effort to induce long investors to sell so that prices fall. This simple but apparently effective way around the limits suggests that limits to arbitrage may not always be as constraining as sometimes assumed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Buzz feed

Did Liberalising Bar Hours Decrease Traffic Accidents?

Colin Green, John Heywood & Maria Navarro
Journal of Health Economics, May 2014, Pages 189–198

Abstract:
Legal bar closing times in England and Wales have historically been early and uniform. Recent legislation liberalised closing times with the object of reducing social problems thought associated with drinking to “beat the clock.” Indeed, using both difference in difference and synthetic control approaches we show that one consequence of this liberalisation was a decrease in traffic accidents. This decrease is heavily concentrated among younger drivers. Moreover, we provide evidence that the effect was most pronounced in the hours of the week directly affected by the liberalisation; late nights and early mornings on weekends. This evidence survives a series of robustness checks and suggests at least one socially positive consequence of extending bar hours.

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Relative Deprivation and Risky Behaviors

Ana Balsa, Michael French & Tracy Regan
Journal of Human Resources, Spring 2014, Pages 446-471

Abstract:
Relative deprivation has been associated with lower social and job satisfaction as well as adverse health outcomes. Using Add Health data, we examine whether a student’s relative socioeconomic status (SES) has a direct effect on substance use. We advance the existing literature by addressing selection and simultaneity bias and by focusing on a reference group likely to exert the most influence on the respondents. We find that relative deprivation is positively associated with alcohol consumption, drinking to intoxication, and smoking for adolescent males, but not for females. Alternative variable definitions and robustness checks confirm these findings.

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The Impact of State Medical Marijuana Legislation on Adolescent Marijuana Use

Esther Choo et al.
Journal of Adolescent Health, forthcoming

Purpose: The state-level legalization of medical marijuana has raised concerns about increased accessibility and appeal of the drug to youth. The objective of this study was to assess the impact of medical marijuana legalization across the United States by comparing trends in adolescent marijuana use between states with and without legalization of medical marijuana.

Methods: The study utilized data from the Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance Survey between 1991 and 2011. States with a medical marijuana law for which at least two cycles of Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance data were available before and after the implementation of the law were selected for analysis. Each of these states was paired with a state in geographic proximity that had not implemented the law. Chi-squared analysis was used to compare characteristics between states with and without medical marijuana use policies. A difference-in-difference regression was performed to control for time-invariant factors relating to drug use in each state, isolating the policy effect, and then calculated the marginal probabilities of policy change on the binary dependent variable.

Results: The estimation sample was 11,703,100 students. Across years and states, past-month marijuana use was common (20.9%, 95% confidence interval 20.3–21.4). There were no statistically significant differences in marijuana use before and after policy change for any state pairing. In the regression analysis, we did not find an overall increased probability of marijuana use related to the policy change (marginal probability .007, 95% confidence interval −.007, .02).

Conclusions: This study did not find increases in adolescent marijuana use related to legalization of medical marijuana.

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Does Liberalizing Cannabis Laws Increase Cannabis Use?

Jenny Williams & Anne Line Bretteville-Jensen
Journal of Health Economics, July 2014, Pages 20–32

Abstract:
A key question in the ongoing policy debate over cannabis’ legal status is whether liberalizing cannabis laws leads to an increase in cannabis use. This paper provides new evidence on the impact of a specific type of liberalization, decriminalization, on initiation into cannabis use. Our identification strategy exploits variation in the timing of cannabis policy reforms and our estimation framework marries a difference-in-difference approach with a discrete time duration model. Our results reveal evidence of both heterogeneity and dynamics in the response of cannabis uptake to decriminalization. Overall, we find that the impact of decriminalization is concentrated amongst minors, who have a higher rate of uptake in the first five years following its introduction.

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Witnessing a Violent Death and Smoking, Alcohol Consumption, and Marijuana Use among Adolescents

Roman Pabayo, Beth Molnar & Ichiro Kawachi
Journal of Urban Health, April 2014, Pages 335-354

Abstract:
Witnessing violence has been linked to maladaptive coping behaviors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and marijuana use. However, more research is required to identify mechanisms in which witnessing violence leads to these behaviors. The objectives of this investigation were to examine the association between witnessing a violent death and smoking, alcohol consumption, and marijuana use among adolescents, to identify whether exhibiting depressive symptoms was a mediator within this relationship, and to determine if those who had adult support in school were less likely to engage in risky health behaviors. Data were collected from a sample of 1,878 urban students, from 18 public high schools participating in the 2008 Boston Youth Survey. In 2012, we used multilevel log-binomial regression models and propensity score matching to estimate the association between witnessing a violent death and smoking, alcohol consumption, and marijuana use. Analyses indicated that girls who witnessed a violent death were more likely to use marijuana (relative risk (RR) = 1.09, 95 % confidence interval (CI) = 1.02, 1.17), and tended towards a higher likelihood to smoke (RR = 1.06, 95 % CI = 1.00, 1.13) and consume alcohol (RR = 1.07, 95 % CI = 0.97, 1.18). Among boys, those who witnessed a violent death were significantly more likely to smoke (RR = 1.20, 95 % CI = 1.11, 1.29), consume alcohol (RR = 1.30, 95 % CI = 1.17, 1.45) and use marijuana (RR = 1.33, 95 % CI = 1.21, 1.46). When exhibiting depressive symptoms was included, estimates were not attenuated. However, among girls who witnessed a violent death, having an adult at school for support was protective against alcohol consumption. When we used propensity score matching, findings were consistent with the main analyses among boys only. This study adds insight into how witnessing violence can lead to adoption of adverse health behaviors.

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The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on Crime: Evidence from State Panel Data, 1990-2006

Robert Morris et al.
PLoS ONE, March 2014

Background: Debate has surrounded the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes for decades. Some have argued medical marijuana legalization (MML) poses a threat to public health and safety, perhaps also affecting crime rates. In recent years, some U.S. states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, reigniting political and public interest in the impact of marijuana legalization on a range of outcomes.

Methods: Relying on U.S. state panel data, we analyzed the association between state MML and state crime rates for all Part I offenses collected by the FBI.

Findings: Results did not indicate a crime exacerbating effect of MML on any of the Part I offenses. Alternatively, state MML may be correlated with a reduction in homicide and assault rates, net of other covariates.

Conclusions: These findings run counter to arguments suggesting the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes poses a danger to public health in terms of exposure to violent crime and property crimes.

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Social Drinking versus Administering Alcohol

Björn Frank, Justus Haucap & Annika Herr
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
Alcohol consumption tends to make some people (unwillingly) tell the truth, hence social drinking can serve as a signal in social contact games. We provide empirical evidence which shows that social drinking can serve as a trust facilitating mechanism. Liver cirrhosis mortality and the rate of abstainers are used to construct a novel index of moderate alcohol consumption, which correlates with trust levels in a cross-country analysis.

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Positive peer pressure: Priming member prototypicality can decrease undergraduate drinking

Chris Goode, Rhonda Balzarini & Heather Smith
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
In two field experiments, we manipulated the extent to which sorority members viewed themselves as prototypical group members before they learned social norm information. In Study 1 (n = 109), participants who learned that they closely matched the ideal group member's personality intended to drink less alcohol after reading about related group norms. In Study 2 (n = 155), participants primed to think of themselves as ideal group members reported drinking less alcohol in comparison to participants primed to think of themselves as unique individuals. Participants who heard a descriptive norm presentation reported drinking less alcohol in comparison to participants who heard injunctive or combined norm presentations. If speakers prime group member prototypicality before delivering normative information, their message can be more effective.

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Modulation of smoking and decision-making behaviors with transcranial direct current stimulation in tobacco smokers: A preliminary study

Shirley Fecteau et al.
Drug and Alcohol Dependence, forthcoming

Background: Most tobacco smokers who wish to quit fail to reach their goal. One important, insufficiently emphasized aspect of addiction relates to the decision-making system, often characterized by dysfunctional cognitive control and a powerful drive for reward. Recent proof-of-principle studies indicate that transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) can transiently modulate processes involved in decision-making, and reduce substance intake and craving for various addictions. We previously proposed that this beneficial effect of stimulation for reducing addictive behaviors is in part mediated by more reflective decision-making. The goal of this study was to test whether nicotine intake and decision-making behaviors are modulated by tDCS over the DLPFC in tobacco smokers who wished to quit smoking

Methods: Subjects received two five-day tDCS regimens (active or sham). Stimulation was delivered over the right DLPFC at a 2 mA during 30 minutes. Nicotine cravings, cigarette consumption and decision-making were assessed before and after each session

Results: Main findings include a significant decrease in the number of cigarettes smoked when participants received active as compared to sham stimulation. This effect lasted up to four days after the end of the stimulation regimen. In regards to decision-making, smokers rejected more often offers of cigarettes, but not offers of money, after they received active as compared to sham stimulation at the Ultimatum Game. No significant change was observed at the Risk Task with cigarettes or money as rewards.

Conclusion: Overall, these findings suggest that tDCS over the DLPFC may be beneficial for smoking reduction and induce reward sensitive effects.

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Rising Opioid Prescribing in Adult U.S. Emergency Department Visits: 2001–2010

Maryann Mazer-Amirshahi et al.
Academic Emergency Medicine, March 2014, Pages 236–243

Objectives: The objective was to describe trends in opioid and nonopioid analgesia prescribing for adults in U.S. emergency departments (EDs) over the past decade.

Methods: Data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) 2001 through 2010 were analyzed. ED visits for adult patients (≥18 years of age) during which an analgesic was prescribed were included. Trends in the use of six commonly prescribed opioids, stratified by Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) schedule, as well as nonopioid analgesics were explored, along with the frequency of pain-related ED visits. For 2005 through 2010, data were further divided by whether the opioid was administered in the ED versus prescribed at discharge.

Results: Between 2001 and 2010, the percentage of overall ED visits (pain-related and non–pain-related) where any opioid analgesic was prescribed increased from 20.8% to 31.0%, an absolute increase of 10.2% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 7.0% to 13.4%) and a relative increase of 49.0%. Use of DEA schedule II analgesics increased from 7.6% in 2001 to 14.5% in 2010, an absolute increase of 6.9% (95% CI = 5.2% to 8.5%) and a relative increase of 90.8%. Use of schedule III through V agents increased from 12.6% in 2001 to 15.6% in 2010, an absolute increase of 3.0% (95% CI = 2.0% to 5.7%) and a relative increase of 23.8%. Prescribing of hydrocodone, hydromorphone, morphine, and oxycodone all increased significantly, while codeine and meperidine use declined. Prescribing of nonopioid analgesics was unchanged, 26.2% in 2001 and 27.3% in 2010 (95% CI = –1.0% to 3.4%). Hydromorphone and oxycodone had the greatest increase in ED administration between 2005 and 2010, while oxycodone and hydrocodone had the greatest increases in discharge prescriptions. There was no difference in discharge prescriptions for nonopioid analgesics. The percentage of visits for painful conditions during the period increased from 47.1% in 2001 to 51.1% in 2010, an absolute increase of 4.0% (95% CI = 2.3% to 5.8%).

Conclusions: There has been a dramatic increase in prescribing of opioid analgesics in U.S. EDs in the past decade, coupled with a modest increase in pain-related complaints. Prescribing of nonopioid analgesics did not significantly change.

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Neurocognition in college-aged daily marijuana users

Mary Becker, Paul Collins & Monica Luciana
Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, forthcoming

Background: Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit substance in the United States. Use, particularly when it occurs early, has been associated with cognitive impairments in executive functioning, learning, and memory.

Method: This study comprehensively measured cognitive ability as well as comorbid psychopathology and substance use history to determine the neurocognitive profile associated with young adult marijuana use. College-aged marijuana users who initiated use prior to age 17 (n = 35) were compared to demographically matched controls (n = 35).

Results: Marijuana users were high functioning, demonstrating comparable IQs to controls and relatively better processing speed. Marijuana users demonstrated relative cognitive impairments in verbal memory, spatial working memory, spatial planning, and motivated decision making. Comorbid use of alcohol, which was heavier in marijuana users, was unexpectedly found to be associated with better performance in some of these areas.

Conclusions: This study provides additional evidence of neurocognitive impairment in the context of adolescent and young adult marijuana use. Findings are discussed in relation to marijuana’s effects on intrinsic motivation and discrete aspects of cognition.

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Labor Market Impacts of Smoking Regulations on the Restaurant Industry

Tami Gurley-Calvez, George Hammond & Randall Childs
Contemporary Economic Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines the impact of smoking regulations on restaurant employment in West Virginia, a state with a high rate of smoking prevalence. Using a confidential establishment-level dataset, our results suggest that smoking bans reduced restaurant employment by between 0.7 and 1.5 workers, depending on model specification. We find that smoking restrictions have heterogeneous impacts across establishments, with the largest impacts on mid-sized establishments, defined as those with 10–29 employees. Our results also suggest that the impact of smoking restrictions was larger in counties with higher rates of smoking prevalence.

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Alcohol Availability and Crime: Lessons from Liberalized Weekend Sales Restrictions

Hans Grönqvist & Susan Niknami
Journal of Urban Economics, May 2014, Pages 77–84

Abstract:
We investigate a large-scale experimental scheme implemented in Sweden whereby the state in the year 2000 required all alcohol retail stores in selected areas to stay open on Saturdays. The purpose of the scheme was to evaluate possible social consequences of expanding access to alcohol during weekends. Using rich individual level data we show that this increase in alcohol availability raised both alcohol use and crime.

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Association Between Riding With an Impaired Driver and Driving While Impaired

Kaigang Li et al.
Pediatrics, April 2014, Pages 620-626

Objective: To examine the association between driving while alcohol/drug impaired (DWI) and the timing and amount of exposure to others’ alcohol/drug-impaired driving (riding while impaired [RWI]) and driving licensure timing among teenage drivers.

Methods: The data were from waves 1, 2, and 3 (W1, W2, and W3, respectively) of the NEXT Generation Study, with longitudinal assessment of a nationally representative sample of 10th graders starting in 2009–2010. Multivariate logistic regression was used for the analyses.

Results: Teenagers exposed to RWI at W1 (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 21.12, P < .001), W2 (AOR = 19.97, P < .001), and W3 (AOR = 30.52, P < .001) were substantially more likely to DWI compared with those reporting never RWI. Those who reported RWI at 1 wave (AOR = 10.89, P < .001), 2 waves (AOR = 34.34, P < .001), and all 3 waves (AOR = 127.43, P < .001) were more likely to DWI compared with those who never RWI. Teenagers who reported driving licensure at W1 were more likely to DWI compared with those who were licensed at W3 (AOR = 1.83, P < .05).

Conclusions: The experience of riding in a vehicle with an impaired driver increased the likelihood of future DWI among teenagers after licensure. There was a strong, positive dose-response association between RWI and DWI. Early licensure was an independent risk factor for DWI. The findings suggest that RWI and early licensure could be important prevention targets.

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Repeal of Prohibition: A Benefit-Cost Analysis

Donald Vitaliano
Contemporary Economic Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
In spite of an estimated increase in annual alcohol-related motor vehicle costs of $2.767 billion (1947 dollars), the net social benefit of repeal of alcohol Prohibition amounts to $432 million per annum in 1934–1937, about 0.33% of gross domestic product. Total benefits of $3.25 billion consist primarily of increased consumer and producer surplus, tax revenues, and reduced criminal violence costs. A Monte Carlo simulation shows the probability of negative net benefits is 16%. The estimated price elasticity of demand for spirits, beer, and wine are –.60, −.56, and –.51 respectively, which is consistent with the modern literature.

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Individual and spousal unemployment as predictors of smoking and drinking behavior

Mariana Arcaya et al.
Social Science & Medicine, June 2014, Pages 89–95

Abstract:
The effects of unemployment on health behaviors, and substance use in particular, is still unclear despite substantial existing research. This study aimed to assess the effects of individual and spousal unemployment on smoking and alcohol consumption. The study was based on eight waves of geocoded Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort data (US) from 1971-2008 that contained social network information. We fit three series of models to assess whether lagged 1) unemployment, and 2) spousal unemployment predicted odds of being a current smoker or drinks consumed per week, adjusting for a range of socioeconomic and demographic covariates. Compared with employment, unemployment was associated with nearly twice the subsequent odds of smoking, and with increased cigarette consumption among male, but not female, smokers. In contrast, unemployment predicted a one drink reduction in weekly alcohol consumption, though effects varied according to intensity of consumption, and appeared stronger among women. While spousal unemployment had no effect on substance use behaviors among men, wives responded to husbands’ unemployment by reducing their alcohol consumption. We conclude that individual, and among women, spousal unemployment predicted changes in substance use behaviors, and that the direction of the change was substance-dependent. Complex interactions among employment status, sex, and intensity and type of consumption appear to be at play and should be investigated further.

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Prenatal Smoking and Genetic Risk: Examining the Childhood Origins of Externalizing Behavioral Problems

Melissa Petkovsek et al.
Social Science & Medicine, June 2014, Pages 17–24

Abstract:
An ever-growing body of research has begun to focus closely on the role of prenatal smoke exposure in the development of conduct problems in children. To this point, there appears to be a correlation between prenatal nicotine exposure and behavioral problems. We build on this prior research by examining the coalescence of prenatal smoke exposure and genetic risk factors in the prediction of behavior problems. Specifically, the current study analyzed data from a nationally representative sample of twin pairs collected during early childhood. Our findings suggested that an interaction existed between prenatal smoke exposure and genetic risk factors which corresponded to increased risk of behavior problems. These findings provide evidence of a gene-environment interaction, in that prenatal smoke exposure conditioned the influence of genetic risk factors in the prediction of aggressive behavior. Interestingly, the association between genetic risk and prenatal smoking was sex-specific, and only reached statistical significance in females. Given the nature of our findings, it may shed light on why heterogeneity exists concerning the relationship between prenatal smoke exposure and externalizing behavioral problems in children.

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‘Ecstasy’ as a social drug: MDMA preferentially affects responses to emotional stimuli with social content

Margaret Wardle, Matthew Kirkpatrick & Harriet de Wit
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, ‘ecstasy’) is used recreationally to improve mood and sociability, and has generated clinical interest as a possible adjunct to psychotherapy. One way that MDMA may produce positive ‘prosocial’ effects is by changing responses to emotional stimuli, especially stimuli with social content. Here, we examined for the first time how MDMA affects subjective responses to positive, negative and neutral emotional pictures with and without social content. We hypothesized that MDMA would dose-dependently increase reactivity to positive emotional stimuli and dampen reactivity to negative stimuli, and that these effects would be most pronounced for pictures with people in them. The data were obtained from two studies using similar designs with healthy occasional MDMA users (total N = 101). During each session, participants received MDMA (0, 0.75 and 1.5 mg/kg oral), and then rated their positive and negative responses to standardized positive, negative and neutral pictures with and without social content. MDMA increased positive ratings of positive social pictures, but reduced positive ratings of non-social positive pictures. We speculate this ‘socially selective’ effect contributes to the prosocial effects of MDMA by increasing the comparative value of social contact and closeness with others. This effect may also contribute to its attractiveness to recreational users.

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Cross-Border Health and Productivity Effects of Alcohol Policies

Per Johansson, Tuomas Pekkarinen & Jouko Verho
Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper studies the cross-border health and productivity effects of alcohol taxes. We estimate the effect of a large cut in the Finnish alcohol tax on mortality, alcohol-related illnesses and work absenteeism in Sweden. This tax cut led to large differences in the prices of alcoholic beverages between these two countries and to a considerable increase in cross-border shopping. The effect is identified using differences-in-differences strategy where changes in these outcomes in regions near the Finnish border are compared to changes in other parts of northern Sweden. We use register data where micro level data on deaths, hospitalisations and absenteeism is merged to population-wide micro data on demographics and labour market outcomes. Our results show that the Finnish tax cut did not have any clear effect on mortality or alcohol-related hospitalisations in Sweden. However, we find that workplace absenteeism increased by 9% for males and by 15% for females near the Finnish border as a result of the tax cut.

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Vaccine for Cocaine Dependence: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Efficacy Trial

Thomas Kosten et al.
Drug and Alcohol Dependence, forthcoming

Aims: We evaluated the immunogenicity, efficacy, and safety of succinylnorcocaine conjugated to cholera toxin B protein as a vaccine for cocaine dependence.

Methods: This 6-site, 24 week Phase III randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial assessed efficacy during weeks 8 to 16. We measured urine cocaine metabolites thrice weekly as the main outcome

Results: The 300 subjects (76% male, 72% African-American, mean age 46 years) had smoked cocaine on average for 13 days monthly at baseline. We hypothesized that retention might be better and positive urines lower for subjects with anti-cocaine IgG levels of ≥ 42 μg/mL (high IgG), which was attained by 67% of the 130 vaccine subjects receiving five vaccinations. Almost 3-times fewer high than low IgG subjects dropped out (7% vs 20%). Although for the full 16 weeks cocaine positive urine rates showed no significant difference between the three groups (placebo, high, low IgG), after week 8, more vaccinated than placebo subjects attained abstinence for at least two weeks of the trial (24% vs 18%), and the high IgG group had the most cocaine-free urines for the last 2 weeks of treatment (OR = 3.02), but neither were significant. Injection site reactions of induration and tenderness differed between placebo and active vaccine, and the 29 serious adverse events did not lead to treatment related withdrawals, or deaths

Conclusions: The vaccine was safe, but it only partially replicated the efficacy found in the previous study based on retention and attaining abstinence.

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Alcohol Dependence and Reproductive Timing in African and European Ancestry Women: Findings in a Midwestern Twin Cohort

Mary Waldron et al.
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, March 2014, Pages 235-240

Objective: We examined associations between reproductive onset and history of alcohol dependence (AD) in 475 African ancestry (AA) and 2,865 European or other ancestry (EA) female twins.

Method: Participants were drawn from a U.S. midwestern birth cohort study of like-sex female twin pairs born between 1975 and 1985, ages 21–32 as of last completed assessment. Cox proportional hazards regression models were estimated predicting age at first childbirth from history of AD, separately by race/ethnicity, without and with adjustment for sociodemographic characteristics, body mass index, history of other substance involvement, psychopathology, and family and childhood risks.

Results: Among EA twins, AD predicted early childbearing through age 17 and delayed childbearing from age 25 onward; in adjusted models, AD was associated with overall delayed childbearing. Among AA twins, reproductive timing and AD were not significantly related in either unadjusted or adjusted models.

Conclusions: Findings for twins of European ancestry are consistent with well-documented links between early alcohol mis/use and teenage parenting as well as delays in childbearing associated with drinking-related reproductive and relationship difficulties. Extension of analyses to other racial/ethnic groups of sufficient sample size remains important.

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Can technology help to reduce underage drinking? Evidence from the false ID laws with scanner provision

Barış Yörük
Journal of Health Economics, July 2014, Pages 33–46

Abstract:
Underage drinkers often use false identification to purchase alcohol or gain access into bars. In recent years, several states have introduced laws that provide incentives to retailers and bar owners who use electronic scanners to ensure that the customer is 21 years or older and uses a valid identification to purchase alcohol. This paper is the first to investigate the effects of these laws using confidential data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1997 Cohort (NLSY97). Using a difference-in-differences methodology, I find that the false ID laws with scanner provision significantly reduce underage drinking, including up to a 0.22 drink decrease in the average number of drinks consumed by underage youth per day. This effect is observed particularly in the short-run and more pronounced for non-college students and those who are relatively younger. These results are also robust under alternative model specifications. The findings of this paper highlight the importance of false ID laws in reducing alcohol consumption among underage youth.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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