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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Working families

Welfare Rules, Incentives, and Family Structure

Robert Moffitt, Brian Phelan & Anne Winkler
NBER Working Paper, June 2015

Abstract:
In this study we provide a new examination of the incentive effects of welfare rules on family structure. Focusing on the AFDC and TANF programs, we first emphasize that the literature, by and large, has assumed that the rules of those programs make a key distinction between married women and cohabiting women, but this is not a correct interpretation. In fact, it is the biological relationship between the children and any male in the household that primarily determines how the family is treated. In an empirical analysis conducted over the period 1996 to 2004 that correctly matches family structure outcomes to welfare rules, we find significant effects of several welfare policies on family structure, both work-related policies and family-oriented policies, effects that are stronger than in most past work. Many of our significant effects show that these rules led to a decrease in single motherhood and an increase in biological partnering. For all of our results, our findings indicate that the impact of welfare rules crucially hinges on the biological relationship of the male partner to the children in the household.

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Single-Parent Households and Children's Educational Achievement: A State-Level Analysis

Paul Amato, Sarah Patterson & Brett Beattie
Social Science Research, September 2015, Pages 191-202

Abstract:
Although many studies have examined associations between family structure and children's educational achievement at the individual level, few studies have considered how the increase in single-parent households may have affected children's educational achievement at the population level. We examined changes in the percentage of children living with single parents between 1990 and 2011 and state mathematics and reading scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Regression models with state and year fixed effects revealed that changes in the percentage of children living with single parents were not associated with test scores. Increases in maternal education, however, were associated with improvements in children's test scores during this period. These results do not support the notion that increases in single parenthood have had serious consequences for U.S. children's school achievement.

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Young Adult Outcomes and the Life-Course Penalties of Parental Incarceration

Daniel Mears & Sonja Siennick
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, forthcoming

Objectives: The transition to adulthood can be challenging, especially for children of incarcerated parents. Drawing on reentry and life-course scholarship, we argue that parental incarceration may adversely affect multiple life outcomes for children as they progress from adolescence into adulthood and that such effects may persist from early young adulthood into late young adulthood.

Methods: The study uses propensity score matching analyses of National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health data (N = 12,844).

Results: Analyses identified harmful effects of parental incarceration on many life domains, including criminal behavior, mental health, illegal drug use, education, earnings, and intimate relationships. These effects typically surfaced by early young adulthood and continued into late young adulthood.

Conclusions: The results suggest that parental incarceration constitutes a significant turning point in the lives of young people and underscore the importance of life-course perspectives for understanding incarceration effects. They also illustrate that formal punishment policies may create harms that potentially offset intended benefits.

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Impact of Maternal Incarceration on the Criminal Justice Involvement of Adult Offspring: A Research Note

Lisa Muftić, Leana Bouffard & Gaylene Armstrong
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, forthcoming

Objectives: This note examines the relationship between maternal incarceration and adverse outcomes for offspring in early adulthood.

Methods: Utilizing data derived from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, a series of multivariate models are conducted to examine the impact maternal incarceration has on criminal justice involvement among young adults. To control for selection effects that may be associated with maternal imprisonment, propensity score matching is utilized.

Results: Respondents whose mothers had served time in prison were significantly more likely to have an adult arrest, conviction, and incarceration, even after controlling for important demographic factors and correlates of criminal behavior. This effect persisted following matching.

Conclusions: Maternal incarceration had a substantial effect on the offspring's adult involvement in the criminal justice system. These findings bolster contentions regarding the unintended consequences of maternal incarceration that include long-term collateral damage to their children.

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Family Structure Transitions and Child Development: Instability, Selection, and Population Heterogeneity

Dohoon Lee & Sara McLanahan
American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
A growing literature documents the importance of family instability for child wellbeing. In this article, we use longitudinal data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to examine the impacts of family instability on children's cognitive and socioemotional development in early and middle childhood. We extend existing research in several ways: (1) by distinguishing between the number and types of family structure changes; (2) by accounting for time-varying as well as time-constant confounding; and (3) by assessing racial/ethnic and gender differences in family instability effects. Our results indicate that family instability has a causal effect on children's development, but the effect depends on the type of change, the outcome assessed, and the population examined. Generally speaking, transitions out of a two-parent family are more negative for children's development than transitions into a two-parent family. The effect of family instability is more pronounced for children's socioemotional development than for their cognitive achievement. For socioemotional development, transitions out of a two-parent family are more negative for white children, whereas transitions into a two-parent family are more negative for Hispanic children. These findings suggest that future research should pay more attention to the type of family structure transition and to population heterogeneity.

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What makes siblings different? The development of sibling differences in academic achievement and interests

Alexander Jensen & Susan McHale
Journal of Family Psychology, June 2015, Pages 469-478

Abstract:
To illuminate processes that contribute to the development of sibling differences, this study examined cross-lagged links between parents' beliefs about sibling differences in academic ability and differences between siblings' grade point averages (GPAs), and cross-lagged links between differences in siblings' GPAs and sibling differences in academic interests. Data were collected from mothers, fathers, firstborn youth (M age at Time 1 = 15.71, SD = 1.07), and secondborn youth (M age at Time 1 = 13.18, SD = 1.29) from 388 European American families on 3 annual occasions. Findings revealed that, after controlling for siblings' average grades and prior differences in performance, parents' beliefs about sibling differences in academic ability predicted differences in performance such that youth rated by parents as relatively more competent than their sibling earned relatively higher grades the following year. Siblings' relative school performance, however, did not predict parents' beliefs about differences between siblings' competencies. Further, after controlling for average interests and grades, sibling differences in GPA predicted differences in siblings' interests such that youth who had better grades than their siblings reported relatively stronger academic interests the following year. Differences in interest, however, did not predict sibling differences in GPA. Findings are discussed in terms the role of sibling dynamics in family socialization.

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The Intergenerational Transmission of Schooling: Are Mothers Really Less Important than Fathers?

Vikesh Amin, Petter Lundborg & Dan-Olof Rooth
Economics of Education Review, August 2015, Pages 100-117

Abstract:
There is a "puzzle" in the literature on the intergenerational transmission of schooling, where twin studies emphasize the importance of fathers' schooling, whereas IV-studies often emphasize the importance of mothers. We provide new evidence on this "puzzle" using register based Swedish data on the largest sample of twins used so far in the literature. In contrast to previous twin studies, our results confirm the importance of mothers' schooling. We also provide the first twin-based evidence of possible role model effects, where our estimates suggest that mother's schooling matters more than father's schooling for daughters schooling. One additional year of mothers' schooling raises daughter's schooling by a tenth of a year, which is similar to some of the previous IV-based estimates in the literature. Finally, we bring in new US twin data that for the first time allows a replication of previous twin-based estimates of the intergenerational transmission of schooling in the US. The results show no statistically significant effect of mothers' and fathers' schooling on children's schooling. Our results have implications for assessing the efficiency of policies that subsidize the schooling of men and women and are in contrast to most previous findings in the twin literature.

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Brothers are Better: The Effect of Sibling Sex Composition on Women's Schooling, Health, Earnings, and Labor Supply

Moiz Bhai
University of Illinois Working Paper, February 2015

Abstract:
Using a twin research design that exploits exogenous gender variation in dizygotic twins, this paper credibly identifies the effect of sibling sex composition on schooling, earnings, health, and labor supply. Women born with a male co-twin have higher earnings, schooling, labor force participation, and better health than women born with a female co-twin. Men born with a female co-twin, on the other hand, have higher rates of ever smoking but differences on all other outcomes are statistically indistinguishable from zero. Family characteristics provide a limited explanation of the sibling sex composition effect.

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Family and Housing Instability: Longitudinal Impact on Adolescent Emotional and Behavioral Well-Being

Patrick Fowler, David Henry & Katherine Marcal
Social Science Research, September 2015, Pages 364-374

Abstract:
This study investigated the longitudinal effects of family structure changes and housing instability in adolescence on functioning in the transition to adulthood. A model examined the influence of household composition changes and mobility in context of ethnic differences and sociodemographic risks. Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health measured household and residential changes over a 12-month period among a nationally representative sample of adolescents. Assessments in young adulthood measured rates of depression, criminal activity, and smoking. Findings suggested housing mobility in adolescence predicted poorer functioning across outcomes in young adulthood, and youth living in multigenerational homes exhibited greater likelihood to be arrested than adolescents in single-generation homes. However, neither family structure changes nor its interaction with residential instability or ethnicity related to young adult outcomes. Findings emphasized the unique influence of housing mobility in the context of dynamic household compositions.

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Autonomy supportive fathers beget system-supporting children: The role of autonomy support on protesting behavior

Sook Ning Chua & Frédérick Philippe
Personality and Individual Differences, November 2015, Pages 348-353

Abstract:
In this paper we examined the influence of father autonomy support on protesting behavior. Drawing from Relational Model Theory and Self-determination Theory, we hypothesized that individuals' perception and interactions with authority figures are shaped by their experiences with their fathers. When people experience their fathers as empathetic and caring, they are more likely to view other authority figures positively and make benevolent interpretations of their actions. We found support for our hypothesis in two studies conducted in Malaysia and Canada with self-reported engagement in political causes. As expected, perceived father autonomy support was related to positive perception of the government and less protesting against the government. Overall, the present paper provides evidence that children's internalized representations of their fathers are related to intentions and behaviors to change the social systems.

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Conformity Expectations: Differential Effects on IVF Twins and Singletons' Parent-Child Relationships and Adjustment

Kayla Anderson et al.
Journal of Family Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Increased utilization of in vitro fertilization (IVF) to treat infertility has resulted in a growing twin birthrate. Despite early childhood risks, twins have fewer psychosocial problems in middle childhood than singleton children. This study proposes that parents' conformity expectations for children have differential effects on parent-child relationships for twin and singleton children, which indirectly explains twins' more optimum psychosocial adjustment. Parental conformity expectations, parent-child relationship satisfaction, and children's emotional, behavioral, and attention problems were assessed in a sample of 288 6- to 12-year-old IVF-conceived twins and singletons. Overall, parents of twins had higher expectations for child conformity to parent rules than singleton parents. Path models demonstrate that twin status and parental expectations for child conformity interact to influence parent-child relationships, and this interaction indirectly accounted for differences in twins' and singletons' psychosocial adjustment. Findings suggest parenting constructs have differential influences on the association between twin status and parent-child relationships. Parenting research, predominantly conducted with singletons, should be reexamined before applying existing research to twin children and their families.

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The impact of early intervention on the school readiness of children born to teenage mothers

Amber Brown
Journal of Early Childhood Research, June 2015, Pages 181-195

Abstract:
This study examined the effect of participation in the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters program on the school readiness of children born to teenage mothers versus children born to traditional-age mothers participating in the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters program. A 45-item survey was collected from the kindergarten teachers of both the children of teenage mothers in the Texas Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters program and a matched control group. The survey consisted of five subsections: socioemotional development, approaches to learning, physical development, language development, and general knowledge. Results of independent samples t-tests indicated no statistical difference between the two groups. These results seem to suggest that the curriculum used by the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters program, which focuses on supporting parents as their child's first teacher, helps to mitigate any potential negative effects on being a child of a teenage mother.

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Housing and Household Instability

Matthew Desmond & Kristin Perkins
Urban Affairs Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research attempting to estimate the effects of residential instability typically overlooks other consequential changes within households that may be coincident with moving. Drawing on novel data of renting households in Milwaukee that recently relocated (N = 569), this article establishes the frequency at which residential or housing instability is accompanied by household instability: changes in the composition of adults living under the same roof. We find that most moves are accompanied by household instability and that households with young children are significantly more likely to experience household instability. These findings imply that researchers attempting to isolate the effects of residential instability, especially for children, should account for the possible influence of household change.

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The effect of child support on the labor supply of custodial mothers participating in TANF

Laura Cuesta & Maria Cancian
Children and Youth Services Review, July 2015, Pages 49-56

Abstract:
Child support is a critical source of income, especially for the growing proportion of children born to unmarried mothers. Current social policy supports custodial parent employment (e.g., the Earned Income Tax Credit [EITC] and other work supports have largely taken the place of an entitlement to cash assistance for single mothers of young children). Given many single mothers' limited earnings potential, child support from noncustodial fathers is also important. This raises questions about the effects of child support on custodial mothers' labor supply, and whether policies that increase child support receipt will thereby discourage mothers' employment. This paper addresses these questions, taking advantage of data from a statewide randomized experiment conducted in Wisconsin. Unlike previous nonexperimental research, we do not find any negative effect of child support on the likelihood to work for pay or the number of hours worked in a given week. Recent U.S. social welfare policies have focused on increasing both custodial mothers' child support collections and their labor supply. The results suggest that these may be compatible policies; the absence of a negative labor supply effect strengthens the potential antipoverty effectiveness of child support.

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Do Social Resources Protect Against Lower Quality of Life Among Diverse Young Adolescents?

Sarah Scott et al.
Journal of Early Adolescence, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examined whether social resources from the family and the community moderate the risk associated with low socioeconomic status (SES) for reduced quality of life (QL) among youth across racial/ethnic groups. Data were from 4,824 fifth-grade youth (age Formula = 11.1, SD = 0.6; 49% females) in the Healthy PassagesT study (2004-2006) located in Birmingham, Alabama; Los Angeles County, California; and Houston, Texas. Youth reported their QL using the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory Version 4.0 and the Global Self-Worth subscale of the Self-Perception Profile and their status for hypothesized protective social mechanisms. Overall, family cohesion, parental nurturance, other adult, and peer support were positively associated with QL across racial/ethnic groups. There were few significant interactions, but all suggested that higher SES youth benefited more than lower SES youth. In fact, family cohesion among African American youth and other adult support among Hispanic youth differentiated QL at higher, but not lower SES. Further research should examine other risk contexts and seek to inform targeted prevention efforts.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, July 20, 2015

State of care

Basic versus supplementary health insurance: Moral hazard and adverse selection

Jan Boone
Journal of Public Economics, August 2015, Pages 50-58

Abstract:
This paper introduces a tractable model of health insurance with both moral hazard and adverse selection. We show that government sponsored universal basic insurance should cover treatments with the biggest adverse selection problems. Treatments not covered by basic insurance can be covered on the private supplementary insurance market. Surprisingly, the cost effectiveness of a treatment does not affect its priority to be covered by basic insurance.

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Medical Spending of the U.S. Elderly

Mariacristina De Nardi et al.
NBER Working Paper, June 2015

Abstract:
We use data from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) to document the medical spending of Americans aged 65 and older. We find that medical expenses more than double between ages 70 and 90 and that they are very concentrated: the top 10% of all spenders are responsible for 52% of medical spending in a given year. In addition, those currently experiencing either very low or very high medical expenses are likely to find themselves in the same position in the future. We also find that the poor consume more medical goods and services than the rich and have a much larger share of their expenses covered by the government. Overall, the government pays for 65% of the elderly's medical expenses. Despite this, the expenses that remain after government transfers are even more concentrated among a small group of people. Thus, government health insurance, while potentially very valuable, is far from complete. Finally, while medical expenses before death can be large, on average they constitute only a small fraction of total spending, both in the aggregate and over the life cycle. Hence, medical expenses before death do not appear to be an important driver of the high and increasing medical spending found in the U.S.

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Did Medicare Part D Affect National Trends in Health Outcomes or Hospitalizations?: A Time-Series Analysis

Becky Briesacher et al.
Annals of Internal Medicine, 16 June 2015, Pages 825-833

Objective: To examine changes in health outcomes and medical services in the Medicare population after implementation of Part D.

Design: Population-level longitudinal time-series analysis with generalized linear models.

Patients: Nationally representative sample of Medicare beneficiaries (n = 56 293 [unweighted and unique]) from 2000 to 2010.

Results: Five years after Part D implementation, no clinically or statistically significant reductions in the prevalence of fair or poor health status or limitations in ADLs or instrumental ADLs, relative to historical trends, were detected. Compared with trends before Part D, no changes in emergency department visits, hospital admissions or days, inpatient costs, or mortality after Part D were seen. Confirmatory analyses were consistent.

Conclusion: Five years after implementation, and contrary to previous reports, no evidence was found of Part D's effect on a range of population-level health indicators among Medicare enrollees. Further, there was no clear evidence of gains in medical care efficiencies.

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Understanding Pay Differentials Among Health Professionals, Nonprofessionals, And Their Counterparts In Other Sectors

Sherry Glied, Stephanie Ma & Ivanna Pearlstein
Health Affairs, June 2015, Pages 929-935

Abstract:
About half of the $2.1 trillion of US health services spending constitutes compensation to employees. We examined how the wages paid to health-sector employees compared to those paid to workers with similar qualifications in other sectors. Overall, we found that health care workers are paid only slightly more than workers elsewhere in the US economy, but the patterns are starkly different for nonprofessional and professional employees. Nonprofessional health care workers earn slightly less than their counterparts elsewhere in the economy. By contrast, the average nurse earns about 40 percent more than the median comparable worker in a different sector. The average physician earns about 50 percent more than a comparable worker in another sector of the economy, and this differential has increased sharply since 1993. Cost containment is likely to lead to reductions in the earnings of health care professionals, but it will also require using fewer or less skilled employees to produce a given service.

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The Value of Medicaid: Interpreting Results from the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment

Amy Finkelstein, Nathaniel Hendren & Erzo Luttmer
NBER Working Paper, June 2015

Abstract:
We develop a set of frameworks for valuing Medicaid and apply them to welfare analysis of the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment, a Medicaid expansion for low-income, uninsured adults that occurred via random assignment. Our baseline estimates of Medicaid's welfare benefit to recipients per dollar of government spending range from about $0.2 to $0.4, depending on the framework, with at least two-fifths - and as much as four-fifths - of the value of Medicaid coming from a transfer component, as opposed to its ability to move resources across states of the world. In addition, we estimate that Medicaid generates a substantial transfer, of about $0.6 per dollar of government spending, to the providers of implicit insurance for the low-income uninsured. The economic incidence of these transfers is critical for assessing the social value of providing Medicaid to low-income adults relative to alternative redistributive policies.

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Examining Causes of Racial Disparities in General Surgical Mortality: Hospital Quality Versus Patient Risk

Jeffrey Silber et al.
Medical Care, July 2015, Pages 619-629

Objectives: To determine if black-white disparities in general surgery mortality for Medicare patients are attributable to poorer health status among blacks on admission or differences in the quality of care provided by the admitting hospitals.

Subjects: All black elderly Medicare general surgical patients (N=18,861) and white-matched controls within the same 6 states or within the same 838 hospitals.

Results: Matching on age, sex, year, state, and the exact same procedure, blacks had higher 30-day mortality (4.0% vs. 3.5%, P<0.01), in-hospital mortality (3.9% vs. 2.9%, P<0.0001), in-hospital complications (64.3% vs. 56.8% P<0.0001), and failure-to-rescue rates (6.1% vs. 5.1%, P<0.001), longer length of stay (7.2 vs. 5.8 d, P<0.0001), and more 30-day readmissions (15.0% vs. 12.5%, P<0.0001). Adding preoperative risk factors to the above match, there was no significant difference in mortality or failure-to-rescue, and all other outcome differences were small. Blacks matched to whites in the same hospital displayed no significant differences in mortality, failure-to-rescue, or readmissions.

Conclusions: Black and white Medicare patients undergoing the same procedures with closely matched risk factors displayed similar mortality, suggesting that racial disparities in general surgical mortality are not because of differences in hospital quality. To reduce the observed disparities in surgical outcomes, the poorer health of blacks on presentation for surgery must be addressed.

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Informational Shocks and the Effects of Physician Detailing

Bradley Shapiro
University of Chicago Working Paper, June 2015

Abstract:
The effects of pharmaceutical firm advertising directly to physicians using sales reps, or detailing, has been a major area of interest for both regulators and firms. As firms spend vast amounts of money on detailing activities, understanding the response of such inputs is crucial to profit maximization. Regulators, on the other hand, worry that detailing might be illegally focused on off-label prescribing. In addition there is a regulatory worry that promotion will lead to prescriptions to those who do not need the drugs. Finally, regulators worry whether detailing provides socially useful information or socially harmful quid pro quo relationships. In this paper, I estimate the effect of detailing in the anti-psychotic category, a roughly $9 billion per year category which has been hit with over $6.5 billion in regulatory fines due to promotional practices in the past fifteen years. I estimate these effects using two studies that disseminated new information that drastically changed the nature of competition. Detailing effects are significant, but modest, with the average effect of a visit being to increase prescriptions by 0.15 over the short term and 0.3 over the long term. While detailing raises both on-label and off-label prescriptions, I find evidence that it disproportionately raises on-label prescriptions. I find evidence that the effect of detailing is primarily informational: those visits that included the presentation of a clinical study were 70% more effective than those that did not and visits that included a meal were no more effective than those visits that did not. Additionally, visits do not increase the proportion of low severity patients taking anti-psychotics.

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Hospitals as Insurers of Last Resort

Craig Garthwaite, Tal Gross & Matthew Notowidigdo
NBER Working Paper, June 2015

Abstract:
American hospitals are required to provide emergency medical care to the uninsured. We use previously confidential hospital financial data to study the resulting uncompensated care, medical care for which no payment is received. We use both panel-data methods and case studies from state-wide Medicaid disenrollments and find that the uncompensated care costs of hospitals increase in response to the size of the uninsured population. The results suggest that each additional uninsured person costs local hospitals $900 each year in uncompensated care. Similarly, the closure of a nearby hospital increases the uncompensated care costs of remaining hospitals. Increases in the uninsured population also lower hospital profit margins, which suggests that hospitals cannot simply pass along all increased costs onto privately insured patients. For-profit hospitals are less affected by these factors, suggesting that non-profit hospitals serve a unique role as part of the social insurance system.

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Misinformed About the Affordable Care Act? Leveraging Certainty to Assess the Prevalence of Misperceptions

Josh Pasek, Gaurav Sood & Jon Krosnick
Journal of Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
According to some recent research, Americans hold a great deal of misinformation about important political issues. However, such investigations treat incorrect answers to quiz questions measuring knowledge as evidence of misinformation. This study instead defines misperceptions as incorrect answers that respondents are confident are correct. Two surveys of representative samples of American adults on the Affordable Care Act reveal that most people were uncertain about the provisions in the law. Confidently held incorrect beliefs were far less common than incorrect answers. Misperceptions were most prevalent on aspects of the law on which elites prominently and persistently made incorrect claims. Furthermore, although Americans appear to have learned about the law between 2010 and 2012, misperceptions on many provisions of the law persisted.

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Heterogeneity and the Effect of Mental Health Parity Mandates on the Labor Market

Martin Andersen
Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Health insurance benefit mandates are believed to have adverse effects on the labor market, but efforts to document such effects for mental health parity mandates have had limited success. I show that one reason for this failure is that the association between parity mandates and labor market outcomes vary with mental distress. Accounting for this heterogeneity, I find adverse labor market effects for non-distressed individuals, but favorable effects for moderately distressed individuals and individuals with a moderately distressed family member. On net, I conclude that the mandates are welfare increasing for moderately distressed workers and their families, but may be welfare decreasing for non-distressed individuals.

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The Impact of Medicaid Payer Status on Hospitalizations in Nursing Homes

Shubing Cai et al.
Medical Care, July 2015, Pages 574-581

Objectives: To examine the association between payer status (Medicaid vs. private-pay) and the risk of hospitalizations among long-term stay nursing home (NH) residents who reside in the same facility.

Data and Study Population: The 2007-2010 National Medicare Claims and the Minimum Data Set were linked. We identified newly admitted NH residents who became long-stayers and then followed them for 180 days.

Results: The prevalence of all-cause hospitalization during a 180-day follow-up period was 23.3% among Medicaid residents compared with 21.6% among private-pay residents. After accounting for individual characteristics and facility effects, the probability of any all-cause hospitalization was 1.8-percentage point (P<0.01) higher for Medicaid residents than for private-pay residents within the same facility. We also found that Medicaid residents were more likely to be hospitalized for discretionary conditions (5% increase in the likelihood of discretionary hospitalizations), but not for nondiscretionary conditions. The findings from the sensitivity analyses were consistent with the main analyses.

Conclusions: We observed a higher hospitalization rate among Medicaid NH residents than private-pay residents. The difference is in part driven by the financial incentives NHs have to hospitalize Medicaid residents.

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Deficiencies In Care At Nursing Homes And Racial/Ethnic Disparities Across Homes Fell, 2006-11

Yue Li et al.
Health Affairs, July 2015, Pages 1139-1146

Abstract:
Despite the increased use of nursing homes by minority residents, nursing home care remains highly segregated. Compared to whites, racial/ethnic minorities tend to be cared for in facilities with limited clinical and financial resources, low nurse staffing levels, and a relatively high number of care deficiency citations. We assessed the trends from 2006 to 2011 in those citations and in disparities across facilities with four different concentrations of racial/ethnic minority residents. We found that the number of health care-related deficiencies and the percentage of facilities with serious deficiencies decreased over time for all four facility groups. From 2006 to 2011 the average annual number of health care-related deficiencies declined from 7.4 to 6.8 for facilities with low minority concentrations (<5 percent) and from 10.6 to 9.4 for facilities with high minority concentrations (?35 percent). In multivariable analyses, across-site disparities in health care-related deficiencies and in life-safety deficiencies narrowed over time. We also found that increasing the Medicaid payment rate might help improve both overall quality and disparities, but state case-mix payment approaches might worsen both. These results suggest the need to reevaluate quality improvement and cost containment efforts to better foster the quality and equity of nursing home care.

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Projecting Primary Care Use in the Medicaid Expansion Population: Evidence for Providers and Policy Makers

Eric Roberts & Darrell Gaskin
Medical Care Research and Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Millions of low-income adults are beginning to gain Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act. To forecast the resulting need for primary care providers, we estimate the effect of Medicaid take-up on visits to office-based primary care providers, including clinics. We estimate that adults with Medicaid coverage at any point in the year have an average of 1.32 visits per year to primary care providers, 0.48 more visits than low-income adults without Medicaid. Consequently, we project a need for 2,113 additional primary care providers (range: 1,130-3,138) if all states expand Medicaid. Our estimates are somewhat lower than several recent forecasts, which may not have controlled adequately for selection bias, and which used non-representative samples for forecasting. Our findings shed light on disparities in access to care, particularly in counties with relatively few primary care providers per capita. Efforts to expand access to primary care should focus on where providers practice, rather than simply training more providers.

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Sorting Out the Health Risk in California's State-Based Marketplace

Andrew Bindman et al.
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: To characterize the health risk of enrollees in California's state-based insurance marketplace (Covered California) by metal tier, region, month of enrollment, and plan.

Data Collection/Extraction Methods: Chronic Illness and Disability Payment System (CDPS) health risk scores derived from an individual's age and sex from the enrollment file and the diagnoses captured in the hospitalization and ED records. CDPS scores were standardized by setting the average to 1.00.

Principal Findings: Among the 1,286,089 enrollees, 120,573 (9.4 percent) had at least one ED visit and/or a hospitalization in 2012. Higher risk enrollees chose plans with greater actuarial value. The standardized CDPS health risk score was 11 percent higher in the first month of enrollment (1.08; 99 percent CI: 1.07-1.09) than the last month (0.97; 99 percent CI: 0.97-0.97). Four of the 12 plans enrolled 91 percent of individuals; their average health risk scores were each within 3 percent of the marketplace's statewide average.

Conclusions: Providing health plans with a means to assess the health risk of their year 1 enrollees allowed them to anticipate whether they would receive or contribute payments to a risk-adjustment pool. After receiving these findings as a part of their negotiations with Covered California, health plans covering the majority of enrollees decreased their initially proposed 2015 rates, saving consumers tens of millions of dollars in potential premiums.

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Does Defensive Medicine Reduce Health Care Spending?

Scott Barkowski
Clemson University Working Paper, February 2015

Abstract:
The medical community often argues that physician fear of legal liability increases health care spending. Theoretically, though, the effect could be positive or negative, and empirical evidence has supported both cases. Previous empirical work, however, has ignored the fact that physicians face risk from industry oversight groups like state-level medical licensing boards in addition to civil litigation risk. This paper addresses this omission by incorporating previously unused data on punishments by oversight groups against physicians, known as adverse actions, along with malpractice payments data to study state-level health care spending. My analysis suggests that health care spending does not rise in response to higher levels of risk. An increase in adverse actions equal to 16 (the mean, absolute value of year-to-year changes within a state) is found to be associated with statistically significant average annual spending decreases in hospital care and prescription drugs of as much as 0.25% (nearly $29 million) and 0.29% (almost $9.3 million). Malpractice payments were generally estimated to have smaller, statistically insignificant effects.

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MetroHealth Care Plus: Effects Of A Prepared Safety Net On Quality Of Care In A Medicaid Expansion Population

Randall Cebul et al.
Health Affairs, July 2015, Pages 1121-1130

Abstract:
Studies of Medicaid expansion have produced conflicting results about whether the expansion is having a positive impact on health and the cost and efficiency of care delivery. To explore the issue further, we examined MetroHealth Care Plus, a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) waiver program in Ohio composed of three safety-net organizations that enrolled 28,295 uninsured poor patients in closed-panel care during 2013. All participating organizations used electronic health records and patient-centered medical homes, publicly reported performance in a regional health improvement collaborative, and accepted a budget-neutral cap approved by CMS. We compared changes between 2012 and 2013 in achieving quality standards for diabetes and hypertension among 3,437 MetroHealth Care Plus enrollees to changes among 1,150 patients with the same conditions who remained uninsured in both years. Compared to continuously uninsured patients with diabetes, MetroHealth Care Plus enrollees with diabetes improved significantly more on composite standards of care and intermediate outcomes. Among enrollees with hypertension, blood pressure control improvements were insignificantly larger than those in the continuously uninsured group with hypertension. Across all 28,295 enrollees, 2013 total costs of care were 28.7 percent below the budget cap, providing cause for optimism that a prepared safety net can meet the challenges of Medicaid expansion.

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Do Hospital Mergers Reduce Costs?

Matt Schmitt
Northwestern University Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
Proponents of hospital consolidation claim that mergers lead to significant cost savings, but there is little systematic evidence backing these claims. For a large sample of hospital mergers between 2000 and 2010, I estimate differences-in-differences models that compare cost trends for acquired hospitals (treatments) to a set of hospitals whose ownership did not change during the period (controls). Pre-merger, the two groups of hospitals appear to share common cost trends. Post-merger, hospitals that were acquired experience slower cost growth than controls. The results indicate that hospitals being acquired realize cost savings between 3 and 5 percent as a result of merger, on average. These results are robust to several different control strategies, such as matching treatments and controls (on the basis of observable hospital characteristics) using optimal matching methods from the statistics literature. I also find suggestive - but not conclusive - evidence that (1) hospitals of acquiring hospitals/systems experience no changes in cost and (2) cost reductions primarily occur with mergers involving multi-hospital systems.

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Beyond Statistics: The Economic Content of Risk Scores

Liran Einav et al.
NBER Working Paper, June 2015

Abstract:
In recent years, the increased use of "big data" and statistical techniques to score potential transactions has transformed the operation of insurance and credit markets. In this paper, we observe that these widely-used scores are statistical objects that constitute a one-dimensional summary of a potentially much richer heterogeneity, some of which may be endogenous to the specific context in which they are applied. We demonstrate this point empirically using rich data from the Medicare Part D prescription drug insurance program. We show that the "risk scores," which are designed to predict an individual's drug spending and are used by Medicare to customize reimbursement rates to private insurers, do not distinguish between two different sources of spending: underlying health, and responsiveness of drug spending to the insurance contract. Naturally, however, these two determinants of spending have very different implications when trying to predict counterfactual spending under alternative contracts. As a result, we illustrate that once we enrich the theoretical framework to allow individuals to have heterogeneous behavioral responses to the contract, strategic incentives for cream skimming still exist, even in the presence of "perfect" risk scoring under a given contract.

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Concentration In Orthopedic Markets Was Associated With A 7 Percent Increase In Physician Fees For Total Knee Replacements

Eric Sun & Laurence Baker
Health Affairs, June 2015, Pages 916-921

Abstract:
Physician groups are growing larger in size and fewer in number. Although this consolidation could result in improved patient care, the resulting increase in market concentration also could allow larger groups to negotiate higher physician fees from private insurers. We examined the association between market concentration and physician fees in the case of total knee arthroplasty by calculating market concentration for orthopedic groups practicing in a given market and by analyzing administrative claims data from Marketscan. In the period 2001-10 the average professional fee for total knee arthroplasty was $2,537. During this time, in markets that moved from the bottom quartile of concentration to the top quartile, physician fees paid by private payers increased by $168 per procedure. The increase nearly offset the $261 decline in fees that we observed, absent changes in market concentration. These findings suggest that caution should be used in implementing policies designed to encourage further group concentration, which could produce similar effects.

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Does Compensating Primary Care Providers to Produce Higher Quality Make Them More or Less Patient Centric?

Judith Hibbard et al.
Medical Care Research and Review, August 2015, Pages 481-495

Abstract:
Both payment reform and patient engagement are key elements of health care reform. Yet the question of how incentivizing primary care providers (PCPs) on quality outcomes affects the degree to which PCPs are supportive of patient activation and patient self-management has received little attention. In this mixed-methods study, we use in-depth interviews and survey data from PCPs working in a Pioneer Accountable Care Organization that implemented a compensation model in which a large percentage of PCP salary is based on quality performance. We assess how much PCPs report focusing their efforts on supporting patient activation and self-management, and whether or not they become frustrated with patients who do not change their behaviors. The findings suggest that most PCPs do not see the value in investing their own efforts in supporting patient self-management and activation. Most PCPs saw patient behavior as a major obstacle to improving quality and many were frustrated that patient behaviors affected their compensation.

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Hospital Alignment with Physicians as a Bargaining Response to Commercial Insurance Markets

Sean Sheng-Hsiu Huang & Ian McCarthy
Georgetown University Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
The relationship between physicians and hospitals has dramatically changed over the last decade, with the employer-employee model supplanting the traditional model of private physicians with hospital admitting privileges. We examine the motivations for this increase in physician-hospital alignment, focusing on alignment as a tool to increase bargaining power with private insurers. We then investigate the subsequent effects of such alignment on efficiency and prices, as well as the extent to which a hospital's bargaining motives may influence these effects. Our results suggest that increased concentration in the private insurance market significantly increases hospital-physician alignment, with a 1% increase in health insurance concentration leading to a 0.47% increase in hospital employment of physicians and a 1.08% increase in equity arrangements between hospitals and physicians. We also find significant price increases among some (but not all) forms of physician-hospital alignment, with heterogeneous effects across hospital ownership type. Finally, we find that alignment as a bargaining response to insurance market pressures can lead to significant increases in average Medicare costs per beneficiary of between $900 and $1,350, particularly with certain forms of alignment such as equity agreements. Our results highlight the heterogeneities in the effects of alignment on prices and efficiency, with differential effects across hospital ownership type and competitiveness in the local hospital market. Broadly, we find evidence that physician-hospital alignment in the form of an employee model may improve population-level efficiency with no apparent increase in hospital prices, while some of the more loosely defined arrangements such as physician-hospital organizations are more likely to increase prices and potentially reduce efficiency.

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Risk-Adjusted In-Hospital Mortality Models for Congestive Heart Failure and Acute Myocardial Infarction: Value of Clinical Laboratory Data and Race/Ethnicity

Eunjung Lim et al.
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: To examine the impact of key laboratory and race/ethnicity data on the prediction of in-hospital mortality for congestive heart failure (CHF) and acute myocardial infarction (AMI).

Data Sources: Hawaii adult hospitalizations database between 2009 and 2011, linked to laboratory database.

Principal Findings: Adding a simple three-level summary measure based on the number of abnormal laboratory data observed to hospital administrative claims data significantly improved the model prediction for inpatient mortality compared with a baseline risk model using administrative data that adjusted only for age, gender, and risk of mortality (determined using 3M's All Patient Refined Diagnosis Related Groups classification). The addition of race/ethnicity also improved the model.

Conclusions: The results of this study support the incorporation of a simple summary measure of laboratory data and race/ethnicity information to improve predictions of in-hospital mortality from CHF and AMI. Laboratory data provide objective evidence of a patient's condition and therefore are accurate determinants of a patient's risk of mortality. Adding race/ethnicity information helps further explain the differences in in-hospital mortality.

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Geographic variation in the demand for emergency care: A local population-level analysis

David Lee et al.
Healthcare, forthcoming

Background: Geographic variation in healthcare has been traditionally studied in large areas such as hospital referral regions or service areas. These analyses are limited by variation that exists within local communities.

Materials and methods: Using a New York claims database, we analyzed variation in emergency department use using 35 million visits from 2008 to 2012 among 4797 Census tracts, a smaller unit than usually studied. Using multivariate analysis, we studied associations between population characteristics and proximity to healthcare with rates of emergency department use. We analyzed how factors associated with emergency department utilization differed among urban, suburban, and rural regions.

Results: We found significant geographic variation in emergency department use among Census tracts. Public insurance and uninsurance were correlated with high emergency department utilization across all types of regions. We found that race, ethnicity, and poverty were only associated with high emergency department use in urban regions. In suburban and rural regions, a lower proportion of elderly residents and shorter distances to the nearest ED were correlated with high emergency department use.

Conclusions: Significant variation in emergency department use exists locally when studied within small geographic areas. Insurance type is significantly associated with variation in emergency department use across urban, suburban, and rural regions, whereas the significance of other factors depended on urbanicity.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, July 19, 2015

None too happy

Sad as a Matter of Choice? Emotion-Regulation Goals in Depression

Yael Millgram et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research on deficits in emotion regulation has devoted considerable attention to emotion-regulation strategies. We propose that deficits in emotion regulation may also be related to emotion-regulation goals. We tested this possibility by assessing the direction in which depressed people chose to regulate their emotions (i.e., toward happiness, toward sadness). In three studies, clinically depressed participants were more likely than nondepressed participants to use emotion-regulation strategies in a direction that was likely to maintain or increase their level of sadness. This pattern was found when using the regulation strategies of situation selection (Studies 1 and 2) and cognitive reappraisal (Study 3). The findings demonstrate that maladaptive emotion regulation may be linked not only to the means people use to regulate their emotions, but also to the ends toward which those means are directed.

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Status- and Stigma-related Consequences of Military Service and PTSD: Evidence from a Laboratory Experiment

Crosby Hipes, Jeffrey Lucas & Meredith Kleykamp
Armed Forces & Society, July 2015, Pages 477-495

Abstract:
This article describes an experimental study that investigates the status- and stigma-related consequences of military service and of experiences in war resulting in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In the study, participants interacted with fictitious partners whom they believed were real in four conditions: a control condition, a condition in which the “partner” was in the military, a condition in which the “partner” was a war veteran who had been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, and a condition in which the partner was a military veteran with PTSD who had been deployed. Results support predictions that military experience would advantage partners with respect to influence over participants, but that PTSD would be disadvantaging. Previous contact with veterans moderated this relationship, mitigating the loss of influence associated with PTSD. A prediction that PTSD would significantly increase social distance was not supported.

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Suicide Attempts in the US Army During the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, 2004 to 2009

Robert Ursano et al.
JAMA Psychiatry, forthcoming

Objective: To identify risk factors for suicide attempts among active-duty members of the regular Army from January 1, 2004, through December 31, 2009.

Design, Setting, and Participants: This longitudinal, retrospective cohort study, as part of the Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (STARRS), used individual-level person-month records from Army and Department of Defense administrative data systems to examine sociodemographic, service-related, and mental health predictors of medically documented suicide attempts among active-duty regular Army soldiers from January 1, 2004, through December 31, 2009. We analyzed data from 9791 suicide attempters and an equal-probability sample of 183 826 control person-months using a discrete-time survival framework. Data analysis was performed from February 3 through November 12, 2014.

Results: Enlisted soldiers accounted for 98.6% of all suicide attempts (9650 attempters; overall rate, 377.0 [95% CI, 369.7-384.7] per 100 000 person-years). In multivariate models, suicide attempts among enlisted soldiers were predicted (data reported as odds ratio [95% CI]) by female sex (2.4 [2.3-2.5]), entering Army service at 25 years or older (1.6 [1.5-1.8]), current age of 29 years or younger (<21 years, 5.6 [5.1-6.2]; 21-24 years, 2.9 [2.6-3.2]; 25-29 years, 1.6 [1.5-1.8]), white race (black, 0.7 [0.6-0.7]; Hispanic, 0.7 [0.7-0.8]; Asian, 0.7 [0.6-0.8]), an educational level of less than high school (2.0 [2.0-2.1]), being in the first 4 years of service (1-2 years, 2.4 [2.2-2.6]; 3-4 years, 1.5 [1.4-1.6]), having never (2.8 [2.6-3.0]) or previously (2.6 [2.4-2.8]) been deployed, and a mental health diagnosis during the previous month (18.2 [17.4-19.1]). Attempts among officers (overall rate, 27.9 per 100 000 person-years) were predicted by female sex (2.8 [2.0-4.1]), entering Army service at 25 years or older (2.0 [1.3-3.1]), current age of 40 years or older (0.5 [0.3-0.8]), and a mental health diagnosis during the previous month (90.2 [59.5-136.7]). Discrete-time hazard models indicated risk among enlisted soldiers was highest in the second month of service (102.7 per 100 000 person-months) and declined substantially as length of service increased (mean during the second year of service, 56.0 per 100 000 person-years; after 4 years of service, 29.4 per 100 000 person-months), whereas risk among officers remained stable (overall mean, 6.1 per 100 000 person-months).

Conclusions and Relevance: Our results represent, to our knowledge, the most comprehensive accounting to date of suicide attempts in the Army. The findings reveal unique risk profiles for enlisted soldiers and officers and highlight the importance of research and prevention focused on enlisted soldiers in their first Army tour.

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Is the Suicide Rate a Random Walk?

Bijou Yang et al.
Psychological Reports, June 2015, Pages 983-985

Abstract:
The yearly suicide rates for the period 1933–2010 and the daily suicide numbers for 1990 and 1991 were examined for whether the distribution of difference scores (from year to year and from day to day) fitted a normal distribution, a characteristic of stochastic processes that follow a random walk. If the suicide rate were a random walk, then any disturbance to the suicide rate would have a permanent effect and national suicide prevention efforts would likely fail. The distribution of difference scores from day to day (but not the difference scores from year to year) fitted a normal distribution and, therefore, were consistent with a random walk.

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Psychopathic personality traits, intelligence, and economic success

Cashen Boccio & Kevin Beaver
Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, July/August 2015, Pages 551-569

Abstract:
A wealth of research has revealed that psychopathy and psychopathic personality traits are associated with criminal involvement. Comparatively less research, however, has examined whether psychopathic personality traits influence economic outcomes in adulthood. The current study addresses this gap in the literature by analyzing data drawn from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The results of the analyses indicate that psychopathic personality traits are negatively related to a number of economic outcomes, including household income and employment history measures. Individuals with high levels of psychopathic personality traits were found to have lower household incomes and to be fired more frequently than individuals with lower levels of psychopathic personality traits. Unexpectedly, psychopathic personality traits were also found to be negatively associated with household debt. There was also some evidence that the effect of psychopathic personality traits was moderated by intelligence in the prediction of household income. We discuss what these findings mean for the psychopathy and economics literatures.

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Economic downturns and suicide mortality in the USA, 1980–2010: Observational study

Sam Harper et al.
International Journal of Epidemiology, forthcoming

Background: Several studies have suggested strong associations between economic downturns and suicide mortality, but are at risk of bias due to unmeasured confounding. The rationale for our study was to provide more robust evidence by using a quasi- experimental design.

Methods: We analysed 955 561 suicides occurring in the USA from 1980 to 2010 and used a broad index of economic activity in each US state to measure economic conditions. We used a quasi-experimental, fixed-effects design and we also assessed whether the effects were heterogeneous by demographic group and during periods of official recession.

Results: After accounting for secular trends, seasonality and unmeasured fixed characteristics of states, we found that an economic downturn similar in magnitude to the 2007 Great Recession increased suicide mortality by 0.14 deaths per 100 000 population [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.00, 0.28] or around 350 deaths. Effects were stronger for men (0.28, 95% CI 0.07, 0.49) than women and for those with less than 12 years of education (1.22 95% CI 0.83, 1.60) compared with more than 12 years of education. The overall effect did not differ for recessionary (0.11, 95% CI −0.02, 0.25) vs non- recessionary periods (0.15, 95% CI 0.01, 0.29). The main study limitation is the potential for misclassified death certificates and we cannot definitively rule out unmeasured confounding.

Conclusions: We found limited evidence of a strong, population-wide detrimental effect of economic downturns on suicide mortality. The overall effect hides considerable heterogeneity by gender, socioeconomic position and time period.

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Word-finding impairment in veterans of the 1991 Persian Gulf War

Kristin Moffett et al.
Brain and Cognition, August 2015, Pages 65–73

Abstract:
Approximately one quarter of 1991 Persian Gulf War Veterans experience cognitive and physiological sequelae that continue to be unexplained by known medical or psychological conditions. Difficulty coming up with words and names, familiar before the war, is a hallmark of the illness. Three Gulf War Syndrome subtypes have been identified and linked to specific war-time chemical exposures. The most functionally impaired veterans belong to the Gulf War Syndrome 2 (Syndrome 2) group, for which subcortical damage due to toxic nerve gas exposure is the suspected cause. Subcortical damage is often associated with specific complex language impairments, and Syndrome 2 veterans have demonstrated poorer vocabulary relative to controls. 11 Syndrome 1, 16 Syndrome 2, 9 Syndrome 3, and 14 age-matched veteran controls from the Seabees Naval Construction Battalion were compared across three measures of complex language. Additionally, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was collected during a covert category generation task, and whole-brain functional activity was compared between groups. Results demonstrated that Syndrome 2 veterans performed significantly worse on letter and category fluency relative to Syndrome 1 veterans and controls. They also exhibited reduced activity in the thalamus, putamen, and amygdala, and increased activity in the right hippocampus relative to controls. Syndrome 1 and Syndrome 3 groups tended to show similar, although smaller, differences than the Syndrome 2 group. Hence, these results further demonstrate specific impairments in complex language as well as subcortical and hippocampal involvement in Syndrome 2 veterans. Further research is required to determine the extent of language impairments in this population and the significance of altered neurologic activity in the aforementioned brain regions with the purpose of better characterizing the Gulf War Syndromes.

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A Longitudinal Analysis of Changes in Job Control and Mental Health

Rebecca Bentley et al.
American Journal of Epidemiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Deteriorating job control has been previously shown to predict poor mental health. The impact of improvement in job control on mental health is less well understood, yet it is of policy significance. We used fixed-effects longitudinal regression models to analyze 10 annual waves of data from a large Australian panel survey (2001–2010) to test within-person associations between change in self-reported job control and corresponding change in mental health as measured by the Mental Component Summary score of Short Form 36. We found evidence of a graded relationship; with each quintile increase in job control experienced by an individual, the person's mental health increased. The biggest improvement was a 1.55-point increase in mental health (95% confidence interval: 1.25, 1.84) for people moving from the lowest (worst) quintile of job control to the highest. Separate analyses of each of the component subscales of job control — decision authority and skill discretion — showed results consistent with those of the main analysis; both were significantly associated with mental health in the same direction, with a stronger association for decision authority. We conclude that as people's level of job control increased, so did their mental health, supporting the value of targeting improvements in job control through policy and practice interventions.

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How regional personality affects individuals’ life satisfaction: A case of emotional contagion?

Olga Stavrova
Journal of Research in Personality, October 2015, Pages 1–5

Abstract:
Recent research has shown that life satisfaction is lower in states with a high neuroticism level than in less neurotic states. The present study disentangles the effect of state- and individual-level neuroticism on life satisfaction in a multilevel regression analysis using nationally representative data from 16 German federal states. The results show that controlling for individual-level neuroticism results in a reduction of the effect of state-level neuroticism on individuals’ life satisfaction, although it remains statistically and practically significant. Hence, the ecological correlation between state-level neuroticism and state-level life satisfaction reported in prior research is not a mere reflection of individual-level associations. The process of emotional contagion is proposed as the potential mechanism of the state-level neuroticism effect.

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Computer Game Play Reduces Intrusive Memories of Experimental Trauma via Reconsolidation-Update Mechanisms

Ella James et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Memory of a traumatic event becomes consolidated within hours. Intrusive memories can then flash back repeatedly into the mind’s eye and cause distress. We investigated whether reconsolidation — the process during which memories become malleable when recalled—can be blocked using a cognitive task and whether such an approach can reduce these unbidden intrusions. We predicted that reconsolidation of a reactivated visual memory of experimental trauma could be disrupted by engaging in a visuospatial task that would compete for visual working memory resources. We showed that intrusive memories were virtually abolished by playing the computer game Tetris following a memory-reactivation task 24 hr after initial exposure to experimental trauma. Furthermore, both memory reactivation and playing Tetris were required to reduce subsequent intrusions (Experiment 2), consistent with reconsolidation-update mechanisms. A simple, noninvasive cognitive-task procedure administered after emotional memory has already consolidated (i.e., > 24 hours after exposure to experimental trauma) may prevent the recurrence of intrusive memories of those emotional events.

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Psychological Effect of an Analogue Traumatic Event Reduced by Sleep Deprivation

Kate Porcheret et al.
Sleep, July 2015, Pages 1017–1025

Study Objective: To examine the effect of sleep deprivation compared to sleep, immediately after experimental trauma stimuli on the development of intrusive memories to that trauma stimuli.

Design: Participants were exposed to a film with traumatic content (trauma film). The immediate response to the trauma film was assessed, followed by either total sleep deprivation (sleep deprived group, N = 20) or sleep as usual (sleep group, N = 22). Twelve hours after the film viewing the initial psychological effect of the trauma film was measured and for the subsequent 6 days intrusive emotional memories related to the trauma film were recorded in daily life.

Measurements and results: On the first day after the trauma film, the psychological effect as assessed by the Impact of Event Scale – Revised was lower in the sleep deprived group compared to the sleep group. In addition, the sleep deprived group reported fewer intrusive emotional memories (mean 2.28, standard deviation [SD] 2.91) compared to the sleep group (mean 3.76, SD 3.35). Because habitual sleep/circadian patterns, psychological health, and immediate effect of the trauma film were similar at baseline for participants of both groups, the results cannot be accounted for by pre-existing inequalities between groups.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that sleep deprivation on one night, rather than sleeping, reduces emotional effect and intrusive memories following exposure to experimental trauma.

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(Dis)connected: An Examination of Interoception in Individuals With Suicidality

Lauren Forrest et al.
Journal of Abnormal Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Sensing one’s internal physiological sensations is a process known as interoception. Several lines of research suggest that poor interoception may facilitate engagement in dangerous self-harm. In 2 studies, we investigated interoceptive abilities in individuals with differing degrees of suicidality. In Study 1, we compared interoception in controls (n = 27) and suicide ideators (n = 35), planners (n = 14), and attempters (n = 30). We found that those with suicidality had worse interoception than controls. Further, attempters reported worse interoception than planners or ideators. In Study 2, we compared interoception in psychiatric outpatients who had (n = 136) or had not (n = 459) attempted suicide. Again, we found that attempters reported worse interoception than nonattempters. In addition, we found that recent attempts were more strongly associated with interoceptive deficits than distant attempts. Together, our findings suggest that interoception is impaired in individuals with suicidality. Furthermore, the extent to which interoception is disturbed may differentiate not only between those who desire suicide from those who attempt suicide, but also between recent and distant suicide attempters. Impaired interoception may be important for engaging in serious self-injury; thus, reestablishing one’s connection to the body may aid in the prevention of suicidal behavior.

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Happiness and Age in European Adults: The Moderating Role of Gross Domestic Product per Capita

Jessica Morgan, Oliver Robinson & Trevor Thompson
Psychology and Aging, forthcoming

Abstract:
Studies of happiness levels across the life span have found support for two rival hypotheses. The positivity effect states that as people get older, they increasingly attend to positive information, which implies that happiness remains stable or increases with age, whereas the U-shaped hypothesis posits a curvilinear shape resulting from a dip during midlife. Both have been presented as potentially universal hypotheses that relate to cognitive and/or biological causes. The current study examined the happiness-age relationship across 29 European nations (N = 46,301) to explore whether it is moderated by national wealth, as indexed by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita. It was found that eudaimonic and hedonic happiness remained relatively stable across the life span only in the most affluent nations; in poorer nations, there was either a fluctuating or steady age-associated decline. These findings challenge the cultural universality of the happiness-age relationship and suggest that models of how age relates to happiness should include the socioeconomic level of analysis.

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Nature experience reduces rumination and subgenual prefrontal cortex activation

Gregory Bratman et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 14 July 2015, Pages 8567–8572

Abstract:
Urbanization has many benefits, but it also is associated with increased levels of mental illness, including depression. It has been suggested that decreased nature experience may help to explain the link between urbanization and mental illness. This suggestion is supported by a growing body of correlational and experimental evidence, which raises a further question: what mechanism(s) link decreased nature experience to the development of mental illness? One such mechanism might be the impact of nature exposure on rumination, a maladaptive pattern of self-referential thought that is associated with heightened risk for depression and other mental illnesses. We show in healthy participants that a brief nature experience, a 90-min walk in a natural setting, decreases both self-reported rumination and neural activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex (sgPFC), whereas a 90-min walk in an urban setting has no such effects on self-reported rumination or neural activity. In other studies, the sgPFC has been associated with a self-focused behavioral withdrawal linked to rumination in both depressed and healthy individuals. This study reveals a pathway by which nature experience may improve mental well-being and suggests that accessible natural areas within urban contexts may be a critical resource for mental health in our rapidly urbanizing world.

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Gender, Status, and Psychiatric Labels

Amy Kroska et al.
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine a key modified labeling theory proposition — that a psychiatric label increases vulnerability to competence-based criticism and rejection — within task- and collectively oriented dyads comprised of same-sex individuals with equivalent education. Drawing on empirical work that approximates these conditions, we expect the proposition to hold only among men. We also expect education, operationalized with college class standing, to moderate the effects of gender by reducing men’s and increasing women’s criticism and rejection. But, we also expect the effect of education to weaken when men work with a psychiatric patient. As predicted, men reject suggestions from teammates with a psychiatric history more frequently than they reject suggestions from other teammates, while women’s resistance to influence is unaffected by their teammate’s psychiatric status. Men also rate psychiatric patient teammates as less powerful but no lower in status than other teammates, while women’s teammate assessments are unaffected by their teammate’s psychiatric status. Also as predicted, education reduces men’s resistance to influence but only when working with non-psychiatric patients. Education also increases men’s ratings of their teammate’s power, as predicted, but has no effect on women’s resistance or teammate ratings. We discuss the implications of these findings for the modified labeling theory of mental illness and status characteristics theory.

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Increased Levels of Depressive Symptoms Among Pregnant Women in The Netherlands After the Crash of Flight MH17

Sophie Truijens et al.
American Journal of Epidemiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
On July 17, 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down, a tragedy that shocked the Dutch population. As part of a large longitudinal survey on mental health in pregnant women that had a study inclusion period of 19 months, we were able to evaluate the possible association of that incident with mood changes using pre- and postdisaster data. We compared mean Edinburgh Depression Scale (EDS) scores from a group of women (n = 126 cases) at 32 weeks’ gestation during the first month after the crash with mean scores from a control group (n = 102) with similar characteristics who completed the EDS at 32 weeks’ gestation during the same summer period in 2013. The mean EDS scores of the 126 case women in the first month after the crash were significantly higher than the scores of 102 control women. There were no differences in mean EDS scores between the 2 groups at the first and second trimesters. The present study is among the first in which perinatal mental health before and after the occurrence of a disaster has been investigated, and the results suggest that national disasters might lead to emotional responses.

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Thin Images Reflected in the Water: Narcissism and Girls' Vulnerability to the Thin-Ideal

Sander Thomaes & Constantine Sedikides
Journal of Personality, forthcoming

Objective: The purpose of this research is to test how adolescent girls' narcissistic traits ― characterized by a need to impress others and avoid ego-threat ― influence acute adverse effects of thin-ideal exposure.

Method: Participants (11-15 years; total N = 366; all female) reported their narcissistic traits. Next, in two experiments, they viewed images of either very thin or average-sized models, reported their wishful identification with the models (Experiment 2), and tasted high-calorie foods in an alleged taste test (both experiments).

Results: Narcissism kept girls from wishfully identifying with thin models, which is consistent with the view that narcissistic girls are prone to disengage from thin-ideal exposure. Moreover, narcissism protected vulnerable girls (those who experience low weight-esteem) from inhibiting their food intake, and led other girls (those who consider their appearance relatively unimportant) to increase their food intake. These effects did not generalize to conceptually related traits of self-esteem and perfectionism, and were not found for a low-calorie foods outcome, attesting to the specificity of findings.

Conclusions: These experiments demonstrate the importance of narcissism at reducing girls' thin-ideal vulnerability. Girls high in narcissism disengage self-protectively from threats to their self-images, a strategy that renders at least subsets of them less vulnerable to the thin-ideal.

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Selective Attention Toward Angry Faces and Risk for Major Depressive Disorder in Women: Converging Evidence From Retrospective and Prospective Analyses

Mary Woody et al.
Clinical Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current study examined selective attention toward emotional images as a risk factor for major depressive disorder (MDD). Using multiple indices of attention in a dot-probe task (i.e., reaction time [RT] and eye-tracking-based measures) in a retrospective, high-risk design, we found that women with remitted MDD, compared with controls, exhibited greater selective attention toward angry faces across RT and eye-tracking indices and greater attention toward sad faces for RT measures. Second, we followed women with remitted MDD prospectively to determine if the attentional biases retrospectively associated with MDD history would predict MDD recurrence across a 2-year follow-up. We found that women who spent a greater proportion of time looking at angry faces during the dot-probe task at the baseline assessment had a significantly shorter time to MDD onset. Taken together, these findings provide converging retrospective and prospective evidence that selective attention toward angry faces may increase risk for MDD recurrence.

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Pupillary Reactivity to Sad Stimuli as a Biomarker of Depression Risk: Evidence From a Prospective Study of Children

Katie Burkhouse et al.
Journal of Abnormal Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The primary aim of the current study was to examine whether physiological reactivity to depression-relevant stimuli, measured via pupil dilation, serves as a biomarker of depression risk among children of depressed mothers. Participants included 47 mother–child dyads. All mothers had a history of major depressive disorder. Pupil dilation was recorded while children viewed angry, happy, and sad faces. Follow-up assessments occurred 6, 12, 18, and 24 months after the initial assessment, during which structured interviews were used to assess for children’s levels of depressive symptoms as well as the onset of depressive diagnoses. Children exhibiting relatively greater pupil dilation to sad faces experienced elevated trajectories of depressive symptoms across the follow-up as well as a shorter time to depression onset. These findings were not observed for children’s pupillary reactivity to angry or happy faces. The current findings suggest that physiological reactivity to sad stimuli, assessed using pupillometry, serves as a potential biomarker of depression risk among children of depressed mothers. Notably, pupillometry is an inexpensive tool that could be administered in clinical settings, such as pediatricians’ offices, to help identify which children of depressed mothers are at highest risk for developing depression themselves.

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Relaxation training assisted by heart rate variability biofeedback: Implication for a military predeployment stress inoculation protocol

Gregory Lewis et al.
Psychophysiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Decreased heart rate variability (HRV) is associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression symptoms, but PTSD's effects on the autonomic stress response and the potential influence of HRV biofeedback in stress relaxation training on improving PTSD symptoms are not well understood. The objective of this study was to examine the impact of a predeployment stress inoculation training (PRESTINT) protocol on physiologic measures of HRV in a large sample of the military population randomly assigned to experimental HRV biofeedback-assisted relaxation training versus a control condition. PRESTINT altered the parasympathetic regulation of cardiac activity, with experimental subjects exhibiting greater HRV, that is, less arousal, during a posttraining combat simulation designed to heighten arousal. Autonomic reactivity was also found to be related to PTSD and self-reported use of mental health services. Future PRESTINT training could be appropriate for efficiently teaching self-help skills to reduce the psychological harm following trauma exposure by increasing the capacity for parasympathetically modulated reactions to stress and providing a coping tool (i.e., relaxation method) for use following a stressful situation.

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Thinking of Attachments Reduces Noradrenergic Stress Response

Richard Bryant & Lilian Chan
Psychoneuroendocrinology, October 2015, Pages 39–45

Abstract:
Although there is much evidence that activating mental representations of attachments figure is beneficial for psychological health and can reduce stress response, no research has directly investigated whether attachment activation can ameliorate hormonal stress response. This study investigated whether activating an attachment figure or a non-attachment figure following administration of a socially evaluated cold pressor test to elicit stress impacted on glucocorticoid and noradrenergic response. Participants (N = 61) provided baseline salivary samples, underwent a cold pressor test, then imagined an attachment or non-attachment figure, and finally provided subsequent saliva samples. Participants who imagined a non-attachment figure had greater noradrenergic response following the stressor than those who imagined an attachment figure. These findings highlight that activating attachment representations can ameliorate the immediate noradrenergic stress response.

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Implicit Theories of Change and Stability Moderate Effects of Subjective Distance on the Remembered Self

Cindy Ward & Anne Wilson
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Temporal self-appraisal theory suggests that people can regulate current self-view by recalling former selves in ways that flatter present identity. People critique their subjectively distant (but not recent) former selves, creating the illusion of improvement over time. However, this revisionist strategy might not apply to everyone: People with fixed (entity) beliefs may not benefit from critiquing even distant selves. In three studies, we found that implicit theories of change and stability moderate the effects of subjective distance on the remembered self. In all studies, participants rated past selves portrayed as subjectively close or distant (controlling calendar time). Incremental theorists (but not entity theorists) were more critical of their subjectively distant (but not recent) past attributes. We found the same pattern when measuring existing implicit theories (Studies 1, 2) or manipulating them (Study 3). The present research is the first to integrate temporal self-appraisal theory and the implicit theories literature.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Scoring system

Positioning Multiraciality in Cyberspace: Treatment of Multiracial Daters in an Online Dating Website

Celeste Vaughan Curington, Ken-Hou Lin & Jennifer Hickes Lundquist
American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
The U.S. multiracial population has grown substantially in the past decades, yet little is known about how these individuals are positioned in the racial hierarchies of the dating market. Using data from one of the largest dating websites in the United States, we examine how monoracial daters respond to initial messages sent by multiracial daters with various White/non-White racial and ethnic makeups. We test four different theories: hypodescent, multiracial in-betweenness, White equivalence, and what we call a multiracial dividend effect. We find no evidence for the operation of hypodescent. Asian-White daters, in particular, are afforded a heightened status, and Black-White multiracials are treated as an in-between group. For a few specific multiracial gender groups, we find evidence for a dividend effect, where multiracial men and women are preferred above all other groups, including Whites.

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Testosterone at your fingertips: Digit ratios (2D:4D and rel2) as predictors of courtship-related consumption intended to acquire and retain mates

Marcelo Vinhal Nepomuceno et al.
Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
While hormones have been shown to impact a wide range of behaviors, little is known regarding their influence on consumer behavior. The current research examines the association between digit ratios and courtship-related consumption. Digit ratios (2D:4D and rel2) are indicators of prenatal testosterone exposure and are assessed by measuring finger length. In Study 1, masculinized digit ratios (low digit ratios, high prenatal testosterone) in men were associated with greater courtship-related consumption to acquire mates, and this association was stronger for men with high mating confidence. In women, feminized digit ratios (high digit ratios, low prenatal testosterone) were associated with greater courtship-related consumption to acquire mates. In Study 2, men with masculinized digit ratios engaged in greater courtship-related consumption by offering romantic gifts as a means of retaining mates. In women, feminized digit ratios were associated with greater romantic gift giving. Our findings suggest that high prenatal testosterone in men leads to greater courtship-related consumption, whereas low prenatal testosterone leads to greater courtship-related consumption in women.

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Is pornography consumption associated with condom use and intoxication during hookups?

Scott Braithwaite et al.
Culture, Health & Sexuality, forthcoming

Abstract:
In order to examine whether pornography consumption is associated with risky sexual behaviour among emerging adults, we examined two large samples of those who reported hooking up in the past 12 months (combined n = 1216). Pornography use was associated with a higher likelihood of having a penetrative hookup; a higher incidence of intoxication during hookups for men (but a lower incidence of intoxication during hookups for women); increasing levels of intoxication during hookups for men but decreasing levels of intoxication for women; and a higher likelihood of being in the riskiest category of having a penetrative hookup, without a condom, while intoxicated. For each of these outcomes, our point estimates for Study 2 fell within the 95% confidence intervals from Study 1. Controlling for trait self-control, binge drinking frequency, broader problematic patterns of alcohol use, openness to experience, and attitudes toward casual sex did not change the pattern of results. Implications for interventions to reduce sexual risk are discussed.

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Lady in Red: Hormonal Predictors of Women’s Clothing Choices

Adar Eisenbruch, Zachary Simmons & James Roney
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent evidence supports the idea that women use red clothing as a courtship tactic, and results from one study further suggested that women were more likely to wear red on days of high fertility in their menstrual cycles. Subsequent studies provided mixed support for the cycle-phase effect, although all such studies relied on counting methods of cycle-phase estimation and used between-subjects designs. By comparison, in the study reported here, we employed frequent hormone sampling to more accurately assess ovulatory timing and used a within-subjects design. We found that women were more likely to wear red during the fertile window than on other cycle days. Furthermore, within-subjects fluctuations in the ratio of estradiol to progesterone statistically mediated the within-subjects shifts in red-clothing choices. Our results appear to represent the first direct demonstration of specific hormone measurements predicting observable changes in women’s courtship-related behaviors. We also demonstrate the advantages of hormonal determination of ovulatory timing for tests of cycle-phase shifts in psychology or behavior.

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The “Cougar” Phenomenon: An Examination of the Factors That Influence Age-Hypogamous Sexual Relationships Among Middle-Aged Women

Milaine Alarie & Jason Carmichael
Journal of Marriage and Family, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using data from the National Survey of Family Growth, the authors considered the prevalence of the “cougar” phenomenon and the characteristics of middle-aged women who reported having sexual relationships with younger men in the past 12 months. They found that roughly 13% of sexually active women between ages 35 and 44 had slept with a man who was at least 5 years younger. Contrary to conventional assumptions, the results show that women with low incomes and those who self-identify as “other race” (not White or Black) are more likely to be in an age-hypogamous sexual relationship. Relative to all other relationship statuses, previously married women are the most likely to choose younger partners. Finally, the results suggest that age-hypogamous relationships are not simply “flings”; a majority of them last at least 2 years, and a sizable share of “cougars” are married to their younger partners. These results highlight the need to reconsider our conventional understanding of women's sexual relationships at midlife.

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Experiences during specific developmental stages influence face preferences

Tamsin Saxton
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Much research has documented how people’s face preferences vary, but we do not know whether there is a specific sensitive period during development when some individual differences in face preferences become established. This study investigates which specific developmental phases may be instrumental in forming individual differences in face preferences in adulthood. The study design is based on the established finding that people tend to be attracted to facial features that resemble those of their other-sex parent, particularly if they report a close childhood relationship with that parent. Accordingly, if individual differences in adult facial preferences (specifically, preferences for faces that resemble one’s parents) are formed during specific developmental stages, then only the quality of the parental relationship in those stages should predict adult preferences for facial features that resemble one’s parents. Adult participants reported the emotional support received from their parents during three different developmental phases and at the current time, and they reported the hair and eye colour of their ideal and actual partner, and their parents and selves. The study found that a woman’s retrospectively reported greater emotional support from her mother or father after menarche predicted significantly stronger preferences for partners whose eye colour was closer to that of the parent. In contrast, emotional support prior to menarche predicted greater dissimilarity between the eye colour of the parent and a woman’s preferred partner. These results indicate a possible interplay of positive and negative sexual imprinting that may arise from adaptations to promote optimal outbreeding. The study also found that parental hair colour, and in particular maternal hair colour, predicted women’s preferences for hair colour in a partner, although this may have been driven by ethnic group matching. The results of the study suggest that experiences during specific childhood and adolescent developmental periods may have longstanding effects on individual differences in human facial preferences.

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Examining gender specificity of sexual response with concurrent thermography and plethysmography

Jackie Huberman & Meredith Chivers
Psychophysiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Men's genital responses are significantly greater to sexual stimuli of their preferred gender compared to their nonpreferred gender (gender-specific), whereas androphilic (i.e., sexually attracted to men) women's genital responses are similar to sexual stimuli depicting either women or men (gender-nonspecific). This gendered pattern of genital response has only been demonstrated using vaginal photoplethysmography (VPP) in women and primarily penile plethysmography (PPG) in men. These measures assess different aspects of genital vasocongestion, thereby limiting comparisons between genders. Thermography is a newer sexual psychophysiology methodology that measures genital vasocongestion via temperature change and is better suited to assess sexual response between genders because the dependent measure, change in genital temperature, is similar for women and men. Further, previous studies have assessed gender specificity of sexual response across relatively short sexual stimuli, allowing only the examination of initial phases of sexual response. We examined gender specificity of sexual arousal by measuring women's and men's genital responses to lengthier stimuli with concurrent thermography and VPP/PPG. Gynephilic men (i.e., sexually attracted to women; n = 27) and androphilic women (n = 28) viewed 10-min films depicting men masturbating, women masturbating, and a nonsexual film, and reported feelings of sexual arousal while genital responses were assessed. Across measures, men's sexual responses were gender-specific and women's responses were gender-nonspecific, indicating that the gender difference in gender specificity of arousal is robust to methodology and stimulus duration. These findings replicate previous research, extend knowledge of gendered sexual response, and highlight the utility of multimethod approaches in sexual psychophysiology.

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(Hetero)sexual Compliance with Unwanted Casual Sex: Associations with Feelings about First Sex and Sexual Self-Perceptions

Jennifer Katz & Monica Schneider
Sex Roles, May 2015, Pages 451-461

Abstract:
Sexual compliance involves willing consent to unwanted sex. The current study examined experiences and correlates of compliant sex with casual partners. Guided by sexual script theory, feelings about first partnered sex and sexual self-perceptions were identified as possible correlates of compliance. Potential moderating effects of gender also were explored. Sexually active heterosexual undergraduates (N = 258) in the northeastern U.S. responded to self-report measures of desire, pleasure, and emotional discomfort associated with first partnered sex, sexual self-awareness, sexual refusal efficacy, and compliance with vaginal and oral sex. About a third of the sample reported complying with casual sex at least once. Overall, very few participants who complied with a casual partner also complied with a committed partner. More women than men complied with giving oral sex to a casual partner; there were no gender differences in compliance with either vaginal sex or receiving oral sex. Emotional discomfort with first partnered sex was positively associated with compliant casual sex only among women. Although women reported less desire and pleasure associated with first partnered sex than men, neither desire nor pleasure from first sex were associated with casual compliance for either gender. Refusal efficacy was negatively associated with compliant casual sex for both women and men. The implications of these findings for future research and educating college students about compliance and its correlates are discussed.

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Internal consistency predicts attractiveness in biological motion walkers

Malte Klüver, Heiko Hecht, Nikolaus Troje
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why do some people appear attractive to us while others don't? Evolutionary psychology states that sexual attractiveness has evolved to assess the reproductive qualities of a potential mate. Past research in the field has identified a number of traits that can be linked directly to qualities such as immuno-competence, developmental stability, and fertility. The current study is motivated by the hypothesis that attractiveness is determined not just by individual, independent traits, but also by whether or not their pattern is internally consistent. Exploiting the domain of biological motion, we manipulate internal consistency between anthropometry and kinematics of a moving body. In two experiments, we varied internal consistency by using original point-light walkers (high internal consistency) and hybrid walkers, generated by combining anthropometric and kinematic data from different walkers (low internal consistency). As predicted, we found a significant link between internal consistency and sexual attractiveness, suggesting that internal consistency signals health and mate quality.

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Dark traits: Sometimes hot, and sometimes not? Female preferences for Dark Triad faces depend on sociosexuality and contraceptive use

Urszula Marcinkowska, Samuli Helle & Minna Lyons
Personality and Individual Differences, November 2015, Pages 369–373

Abstract:
Although the Dark Triad personality (i.e., Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy) has been researched widely, only few studies have investigated women's preferences for men who present high and low Dark Triad features. With an on-line two-alternative forced choice questionnaire we investigated the interaction between preferences of 1962 Finnish women for facial stimuli that differed in the intensity of the Dark Triad traits, accounting for mating context, contraceptive use, and sexual openness (sociosexuality). Among non-contraceptive-using women, unrestricted sociosexuality was positively correlated with preference for high narcissistic male faces, whereas in contraceptive-using women, sociosexuality correlated negatively with preference for high Machiavellian male faces. We suggest that i) facial cues to Dark Triad traits are detectable by women, but ii) their effect on the judgments of attractiveness may vary depending on sociosexuality and contraceptive use, and that iii) preference for narcissism follows similar variation trends as masculinity preference, depending on sociosexuality and the use of hormonal contraception.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, July 17, 2015

The running game

Gender Roles, Work-Life Balance, and Running for Office

Rachel Silbermann
Quarterly Journal of Political Science, Spring 2015, Pages 123-153

Abstract:
Political scientists have studied why so few women run for office in the United States, but explanations concerning the challenge of balancing work and life have received little empirical support. I present two forms of data to show how expectations about work-life balance affect the supply of potential women politicians. The common thread in these analyses is that time spent traveling to and from work is particularly burdensome for those who spend time caring for children. Because women do a majority of the child care and housework, commuting is particularly burdensome to women. Analyzing a novel data set, I find that women are less likely to run for state legislative office in districts further from state capitals. I validate these results with an original survey experiment run on undergraduates in the midst of choosing their own careers. I find that female students weigh proximity to home twice as heavily as male students do in a hypothetical decision of whether to run for higher office. These results suggest that equal representation of women in government would require men and women to share household responsibilities more equally.

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Objectivity and Information Bias in Campaign News

Johanna Dunaway et al.
Journal of Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article examines whether objective campaign news stories — defined here as those with equitable tone toward 2 competing candidates — are less informative than slanted stories favoring one candidate over the other. Using a large news content dataset composed of campaign news stories from statewide elections in 2004, 2006, and 2008, we measure news story quality 6 different ways. It is modeled as a function of differences in story tone toward opposing candidates and a host of other news outlet and electoral characteristics known to influence the nature and type of information in campaign news. We find that slant is positively related to the likelihood that news articles focus on substance, issues, and include sourced content.

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Politically hyperactive? The civic participation of American Jews

Kenneth Wald
Politics, Groups, and Identities, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although American Jews are often perceived as extremely active if not hyperpolitical, scholars have seldom studied the degree to which Jews in the US actually participate in public life. In a statistical sense, Jews are overrepresented in some domains that tend to favor groups with substantial socioeconomic resources (although these participation differences tend to disappear or diminish in multivariate models). This paper examines another major form of participation – civic activism – that research has suggested is less responsive to socioeconomic resources and thus might provide a more neutral venue to assess comparative Jewish engagement in the public square. Using Roper surveys from 1989–1992 with a sample of Jews and a comparison sample of non-Jews selected by propensity matching, I find that Jews are less likely to engage in civic activities than comparable non-Jews, suggesting that the reputation of Jews for political hyperactivity is considerably over-stated.

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Candy Elasticity: Halloween Experiments on Public Political Statements

Julian Jamison & Dean Karlan
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
We conducted experiments during trick-or-treating on Halloween in a predominantly liberal neighborhood in the weeks preceding the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. We decorated one side of a house porch with McCain material in 2008 (Romney material in 2012) and the other side with Obama material. Children were asked to choose a side, with half receiving the same candy on either side and half receiving more candy to go to the McCain/Romney side. This yields a “candy elasticity” of children's political support. Results vary by age: children ages nine and older were two to three times more likely to choose the Republican candidate when offered double candy for voting Republican compared to when offered equal candy, whereas children ages eight and under were particularly sticky and did not waver in their choice of candidate despite the offer of double candy.

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Political Advertising and Election Outcomes

Jörg Spenkuch & David Toniatti
Northwestern University Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
We propose a new approach for estimating the persuasive effects of political advertising. Our empirical strategy exploits FCC regulations that result in plausibly exogenous variation in the number of impressions across the borders of neighboring counties. Applying this approach to uniquely detailed data on television advertisement broadcasts and viewership patterns during the 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns, our results indicate that total political advertising has virtually no impact on aggregate turnout. The point estimates are precise enough to rule out even moderately sized effects. By contrast, we find a positive and economically meaningful effect of advertising on candidates' vote shares. Evidence from a regression discontinuity design with millions of observations shows that advertising's impact on elections is largely due to compositional changes of the electorate.

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Power, Conflict, and Community: How Gendered Views of Political Power Influence Women's Political Ambition

Monica Schneider et al.
Political Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We provide a novel approach to understanding the political ambition gap between men and women by examining perceptions of the role of politician. Across three studies, we find that political careers are viewed as fulfilling power-related goals, such as self-promotion and competition. We connect these goals to a tolerance for interpersonal conflict and both of these factors to political ambition. Women's lack of interest in conflict and power-related activities mediates the relationship between gender and political ambition. In an experiment, we show that framing a political career as fulfilling communal goals — and not power-related goals — reduces the ambition gap.

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Why women don’t run: Experimental evidence on gender differences in political competition aversion

Jessica Preece & Olga Stoddard
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Women's underrepresentation in leadership positions has been well documented, but the reasons behind it are not well understood. We carry out a field experiment to test a prominent theory about the source of the gender gap in leadership ambition: women's higher aversion to competitive environments. Using politics as a context for our study, we employ two distinct subject pools – highly politically active individuals and workers from an online labor market. We find that priming individuals to consider the competitive nature of politics has a strong negative effect on women's interest in political office, but not on men's interest, hence significantly increasing the gender gap in leadership ambition.

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Rendering the implicit explicit: Political advertisements, partisan cues, race, and white public opinion in the 2012 presidential election

Tatishe Nteta, Rebecca Lisi & Melinda Tarsi
Politics, Groups, and Identities, forthcoming

Abstract:
In The Race Card (2001), Tali Mendelberg claims that once the racial content of an implicit racial appeal has been exposed the appeal loses its ability to mobilize voters. In this paper, we investigate this claim by employing a survey experiment embedded in Amazon's Mechanical Turk in which respondents view Mitt Romney's “Right Choice” television ad on welfare and then read a short op-ed. The op-ed, written by a fictitious member of Congress whose partisanship was systematically varied, argues that the Romney ad (1) is racist or (2) has no racial undertones. In line with Mendelberg's predictions, we find that – regardless of the partisanship of the elite in question – exposure to an op-ed that denounces the Romney welfare advertisement as racist leads white Democrats and Republicans to more strongly perceive the advertisement as racist and express greater opposition to Romney's campaign. Our findings contribute to the literatures on racial priming and partisan motivated reasoning, and also make a strong case for further evaluating the influence of political leadership on racial attitudes.

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The Regulation of Political Finance and Corruption

Avi Ben-Bassat & Momi Dahan
Election Law Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) database on political finance regulations for 82 countries, we found that a contribution limits index increased corruption, after controlling for a standard list of explanatory variables. This result remains consistent employing an array of robustness checks intended to minimize the risk of a bias due to potential reverse causality and endogeneity. In contrast, the level of perceived corruption is lower in countries with higher indices of public funding and transparency requirements but these effects are rarely significant. Interestingly, we show that the mix of more generous public funding and less stringent regulations of private contributions is associated with lower corruption.

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Looking for Two-sided Coattail Effects: Integrated Parties and Multilevel Elections in the U.S.

Amuitz Garmendia Madariaga & Ege Ozen
Electoral Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the context of the American federalism, integrated parties provide the necessary coordination mechanism for state and federal politicians to be electorally successful. This argument rests on the assumption that voters are able to observe the benefits of voting a straight ticket. We test this individual level explanation by using the CCES data. Moreover, at the aggregate level, we measure the so-called ‘two-sided’ coattail effects in concurrent multilevel elections in the U.S. since 1960. By using a simultaneous equation model, we estimate the reciprocal relationship between presidential and gubernatorial vote shares at the state level. While we find no consistent presidential coattails, we reveal robust and significant gubernatorial coattail effects on state-level presidential vote, underscoring the role of multilevel forces within parties in democratic federations.

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Razor's Edge: The Politics of Facial Hair

Rebekah Herrick, Jeanette Morehouse Mendez & Ben Pryor
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objective: This article argues that whether male candidates have facial hair has political implications. We argue that facial hair makes men appear overly masculine, having strong support for use of violence and little support for feminist views, which makes them less attractive candidates for women and feminists. Further, we argue that these perceptions are likely accurate.

Methods: Using a survey of college-age subjects, the research generally supports this theory.

Results: Men with facial hair are seen as more masculine, as well as more conservative on feminist issues, and women and feminists are less likely to vote for them. Further, we find perceptions of masculinity mediate the effects of facial hair on voters’ perceptions of them and willingness to vote for them. However, candidates with facial hair are seen as less supportive of use of force and these perceptions are not accurate based on members’ roll-call votes.

Conclusion: This article indicates that male candidates send a signal to voters about their masculinity by their choice of whether to shave.

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Deception and Political Participation: Theory and Laboratory Evidence

Daniel Houser, Sandra Ludwig & Thomas Stratmann
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
We model two-candidate elections in which (1) voters are uncertain about candidates' attributes; and (2) candidates can inform voters of their attributes by sending advertisements. We compare between political campaigns with truthful advertising and campaigns in which there is a small chance of deceptive advertising. Our model predicts that voters should vote in-line with an advertisement's information. We test our model's predictions using laboratory elections. We find, in the presence of even a small probability that an advertisement is deceptive, voters become substantially more likely to elect a “low-quality” candidate. We discuss implications of this for existing models of voting decisions.

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Local Economic Gains from Primary Election Spending

Rebecca Lessem & Carly Urban
Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper asks how government and private consumption spending affect earnings in service sectors. To do this, we exploit the variation across states and time in the money spent while campaigning for a party's Presidential primary nomination. We create a novel dataset combining the date each state held its primary from 1976-2008, the date in each election cycle in which only one candidate remained, and quarterly state earnings by sector. Using an instrumental variable strategy, we find that hosting a primary election increases earnings, particularly in the retail and accommodations sectors. These results remain consistent when using data on primary campaign expenditures across states in the 2004 and 2008 elections.

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Lateral Orbitofrontal Cortex Links Social Impressions to Political Choices

Chenjie Xia et al.
Journal of Neuroscience, 3 June 2015, Pages 8507-8514

Abstract:
Recent studies of political behavior suggest that voting decisions can be influenced substantially by “first-impression” social attributions based on physical appearance. Separate lines of research have implicated the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) in the judgment of social traits on the one hand and economic decision-making on the other, making this region a plausible candidate for linking social attributions to voting decisions. Here, we asked whether OFC lesions in humans disrupted the ability to judge traits of political candidates or affected how these judgments influenced voting decisions. Seven patients with lateral OFC damage, 18 patients with frontal damage sparing the lateral OFC, and 53 matched healthy participants took part in a simulated election paradigm, in which they voted for real-life (but unknown) candidates based only on photographs of their faces. Consistent with previous work, attributions of “competence” and “attractiveness” based on candidate appearance predicted voting behavior in the healthy control group. Frontal damage did not affect substantially the ability to make competence or attractiveness judgments, but patients with damage to the lateral OFC differed from other groups in how they applied this information when voting. Only attractiveness ratings had any predictive power for voting choices after lateral OFC damage, whereas other frontal patients and healthy controls relied on information about both competence and attractiveness in making their choice. An intact lateral OFC may not be necessary for judgment of social traits based on physical appearance, but it seems to be crucial in applying this information in political decision-making.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Someone else's shoes

Racial bias in driver yielding behavior at crosswalks

Tara Goddard, Kimberly Barsamian Kahn & Arlie Adkins
Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, August 2015, Pages 1–6

Abstract:
Psychological and social identity-related factors have been shown to influence drivers’ behaviors toward pedestrians, but no previous studies have examined the potential for drivers’ racial bias to impact yielding behavior with pedestrians. If drivers’ yielding behavior results in differential behavior toward Black and White pedestrians, this may lead to disparate pedestrian crossing experiences based on race and potentially contribute to disproportionate safety outcomes for minorities. We tested the hypothesis that drivers’ yielding behavior is influenced by pedestrians’ race in a controlled field experiment at an unsignalized midblock marked crosswalk in downtown Portland, Oregon. Six trained male research team participants (3 White, 3 Black) simulated an individual pedestrian crossing, while trained observers cataloged the number of cars that passed and the time until a driver yielded. Results (88 pedestrian trials, 173 driver-subjects) revealed that Black pedestrians were passed by twice as many cars and experienced wait times that were 32% longer than White pedestrians. Results support the hypothesis that minority pedestrians experience discriminatory treatment by drivers at crosswalks.

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Emotions Facilitate the Communication of Ambiguous Group Memberships

Konstantin Tskhay & Nicholas Rule
Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
It is well known that emotions intersect with obvious social categories (e.g., race), influencing both how targets are categorized and the emotions that are read from their faces. Here, we examined the influence of emotional expression on the perception of less obvious group memberships for which, in the absence of obvious and stable physical markers, emotion may serve as a major avenue for group categorization and identification. Specifically, we examined whether emotions are embedded in the mental representations of sexual orientation and political affiliation, and whether people may use emotional expressions to communicate these group memberships to others. Using reverse correlation methods, we found that mental representations of gay and liberal faces were characterized by more positive facial expressions than mental representations of straight and conservative faces (Study 1). Furthermore, participants were evaluated as expressing more positive emotions when enacting self-defined “gay” and “liberal” versus “straight” and “conservative” facial expressions in the lab (Study 2). In addition, neutral faces morphed with happiness were perceived as more gay than when morphed with anger, and when compared to unmorphed controls (Study 3). Finally, we found that affect facilitated perceptions of sexual orientation and political affiliation in naturalistic settings (Study 4). Together, these studies suggest that emotion is a defining characteristic of person construal that people tend to use both when signaling their group memberships and when receiving those signals to categorize others.

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The Ascent of Man: Theoretical and Empirical Evidence for Blatant Dehumanization

Nour Kteily et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Dehumanization is a central concept in the study of intergroup relations. Yet although theoretical and methodological advances in subtle, “everyday” dehumanization have progressed rapidly, blatant dehumanization remains understudied. The present research attempts to refocus theoretical and empirical attention on blatant dehumanization, examining when and why it provides explanatory power beyond subtle dehumanization. To accomplish this, we introduce and validate a blatant measure of dehumanization based on the popular depiction of evolutionary progress in the “Ascent of Man.” We compare blatant dehumanization to established conceptualizations of subtle and implicit dehumanization, including infrahumanization, perceptions of human nature and human uniqueness, and implicit associations between ingroup–outgroup and human–animal concepts. Across 7 studies conducted in 3 countries, we demonstrate that blatant dehumanization is (a) more strongly associated with individual differences in support for hierarchy than subtle or implicit dehumanization, (b) uniquely predictive of numerous consequential attitudes and behaviors toward multiple outgroup targets, (c) predictive above prejudice, and (d) reliable over time. Finally, we show that blatant — but not subtle — dehumanization spikes immediately after incidents of real intergroup violence and strongly predicts support for aggressive actions like torture and retaliatory violence (after the Boston Marathon bombings and Woolwich attacks in England). This research extends theory on the role of dehumanization in intergroup relations and intergroup conflict and provides an intuitive, validated empirical tool to reliably measure blatant dehumanization.

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The Hard-Knock Life? Whites Claim Hardships in Response to Racial Inequity

Taylor Phillips & Brian Lowery
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, November 2015, Pages 12–18

Abstract:
Racial inequality continues to plague America, yet many Whites still doubt the existence of racial advantages, limiting progress and cooperation. What happens when people are faced with evidence that their group benefits from privilege? We suggest such evidence will be threatening and that people will claim hardships to manage this threat. These claims of hardship allow individuals to deny that they personally benefit from privilege, while still accepting that group-level inequity exists. Experiments 1a and 1b show that Whites exposed to evidence of racial privilege claim to have suffered more personal life hardships than those not exposed to evidence of privilege. Experiment 2 shows that self-affirmation reverses the effect of exposure to evidence of privilege on hardship claims, implicating the motivated nature of hardship claims. Further, affirmed participants acknowledge more personal privilege, which is associated with increased support for inequity-reducing policies.

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Who Needs Individual Responsibility? Audience Race and Message Content Influence Third-Party Evaluations of Political Messages

Phia Salter et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present research examined the idea that people believe Black Americans think society is less fair than members of other racial groups (Study 1a), that these beliefs are out of touch with reality (Study 1b), and that Black audiences need to hear individual blame messages to bring these discrepant views more in line with reality (Study 2). We then examined a downstream consequence of these beliefs: differing third-party evaluations of speeches based on the race of the audience (Black vs. White) and the content of the message (individual vs. system blame). We found that individual blame messages were evaluated more positively when they were directed at Black audiences relative to White audiences. By comparison, evaluations did not differ for system blame messages (Studies 3a and 3b). Implications for system justification and policy endorsement are discussed.

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Threat as justification of prejudice

Angela Bahns
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
When people feel prejudice toward a group, they can justify their prejudice by perceiving the group as threatening. Three experiments tested the hypothesis that prejudice causes threat perception, using affective conditioning to create new prejudice toward unfamiliar groups. The experimentally created prejudice increased threat perception (Experiments 1–3), except when threat information was inconsistent with conditioned affect (Experiment 3). Consistency of affect and threat information is necessary in order for threat to be a plausible justification of prejudice. Mere prejudice can cause perception of threat in the absence of information about the group; this finding suggests threats are not necessarily inherent to the characteristics of the group. Threat perception can be used as a way to explain the experience of prejudice, rather than forming the source of the prejudice itself.

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People Judge Male Sexism More Leniently When Women Emasculate Men

Kenneth Michniewicz & Joseph Vandello
Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
While overt sexism has become less acceptable in recent years, sexism frequently goes unchallenged by observers for a variety of reasons. In the present investigation, we propose that people may excuse men’s sexist remarks when the remarks follow a manhood threat caused by a woman. In Study 1, we found that a man’s sexist remark buffered against the emasculating effect of a threat to his masculinity from an ex-girlfriend. In Study 2, we further show that observers excuse a man’s sexist remark following a competitive loss to a woman to the extent that they perceive him as less manly as a result. We replicate this finding in Study 3 while ruling out two competing explanations. We discuss the implication that sexism prevention efforts need to identify and address gender-related contexts where sexism is excused in order for efforts to move toward its prevention.

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A Localized Masculine Crisis: Local Men's Subordination within the Marcellus Shale Region's Masculine Structure

Matthew Filteau
Rural Sociology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Rural economic decline in the United States has contributed to new situational conditions under which men construct masculinity. Under these conditions, men define jobs and activities that were feminized during periods of economic stability as masculine. One exception to rural economic decline for men is economic growth associated with oil and natural gas development in geographical hot spots throughout the United States and around the world. Employment opportunities in the oil and gas industry largely favor men; however, it is unclear what effect this development has on local men because itinerant extralocal male workers complete most of the labor. This article conceptualizes masculinity as a social structure, and uses economic reports and theoretically distinct literatures on natural-resource-based masculinities and energy boomtowns to illuminate how multinational energy companies and a predominantly extralocal, male itinerant workforce in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale region cause adverse situational conditions for local men's constructions of masculinity. Within the new masculine structure, extralocal men's constructions of hegemonic masculinity become more important for defining the local socially dominant masculinity, which subordinates local men's constructions of nonhegemonic masculinities in their own communities. The article concludes with a discussion of how the oil and gas industry's hegemonic masculinity impedes sustainable economic development and community well-being.

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Counter-stereotypes Reduce Emotional Intergroup Bias by Eliciting Surprise in the Face of Unexpected Category Combinations

Francesca Prati, Richard Crisp & Monica Rubini
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
In three experiments we investigated the impact that exposure to counter-stereotypes has on emotional reactions to outgroups. In Experiment 1, thinking about gender counter-stereotypes attenuated stereotyped emotions towards females and males. In Experiment 2, an immigrant counterstereotype attenuated stereotyped emotions towards this outgroup and reduced dehumanization tendencies. Experiment 3 replicated these results using an alternative measure of humanization. In both Experiments 2 and 3 sequential meditational analysis revealed that counter-stereotypes produced feelings of surprise which, in turn, elicited a cognitive process of expectancy violation which resulted in attenuated stereotyped emotions and an enhanced use of uniquely human characteristics to describe the outgroup. The findings extend research supporting the usefulness of counter-stereotype exposure for reducing prejudice and highlight its positive impact on intergroup emotions.

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Gender Stereotype-Inconsistent Acts Are Seen as More Acceptable Than Stereotype-Consistent Acts, if They Are Clever

Maartje Meijs, Joris Lammers & Kate Ratliff
Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Four studies show that gender stereotype-inconsistent behavior is seen as more acceptable than gender stereotype-consistent behavior, if it is clever. Four studies found consistently that participants rated the behavior of a man who relied on attractiveness or passiveness (stereotypically female) to be more acceptable than similar behavior by a woman. The behavior of a woman who relied on dominance or aggressiveness (stereotypically male) was sometimes seen as more (Study 1A) and sometimes equally (Study 1B, Study 2, Study 3) acceptable as the behavior of a man who acted similarly. This shows that double standards might play a role: Whereas men are benefited by gender stereotype-inconsistent behavior, this is not the case for women. Across studies, these effects were driven by the interpretation of the gender stereotype-inconsistent acts as more clever and less trashy than gender stereotype-consistent acts. These results qualify the idea that people dislike stereotype-inconsistency.

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Perpetuating online sexism offline: Anonymity, interactivity, and the effects of sexist hashtags on social media

Jesse Fox, Carlos Cruz & Ji Young Lee
Computers in Human Behavior, November 2015, Pages 436–442

Abstract:
Sexism and sexual harassment are not uncommon in online environments such as social networking sites, forums, and video games. This experiment investigated whether users’ anonymity and level of interactivity with sexist content on social media influenced sexist attitudes and offline behavior. Participants (N = 172) used a Twitter account that was anonymous or had personally identifying details. They were asked to share (i.e., retweet) or write posts incorporating a sexist hashtag. After exposure, participants completed two purportedly unrelated tasks, a survey and a job hiring simulation in which they evaluated male and female candidates’ resumés. Anonymous participants reported greater hostile sexism after tweeting than nonanonymous participants. Participants who composed sexist tweets reported greater hostile sexism and ranked female job candidates as less competent than those who retweeted, although this did not significantly affect their likelihood to hire.

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Suspicion of White People’s Motives Relates to Relative Accuracy in Detecting External Motivation to Respond without Prejudice

Jennifer LaCosse et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, November 2015, Pages 1–4

Abstract:
As a result of prevalent pressure to inhibit prejudice, racial minorities may wonder whether White people’s nonprejudiced behavior is primarily motivated by personal commitments to egalitarianism (i.e., internal motivation) or superficial efforts to appear nonprejudiced (i.e., external motivation). The present work investigated whether minority group members chronically suspicious of White people’s motives (i.e., those who believe White people are more externally than internally motivated), are more accurate than those who are less suspicious in detecting the motives behind White individuals’ pleasant behavior toward minorities. Minority participants viewed four videos of White targets engaging in dyadic interracial interactions with a Black peer and evaluated the White targets’ motivations. Compared to those low in suspicion, those high in suspicion were more accurate at assessing White targets’ actual levels of external motivation. Hence, suspicion seems to carry some functional benefit as it attunes minority-group members to Whites’ externally motivated positivity.

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Macho Nachos: The Implicit Effects of Gendered Food Packaging on Preferences for Healthy and Unhealthy Foods

Luke (Lei) Zhu et al.
Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present studies examine how culturally held stereotypes about gender (that women eat more healthfully than men) implicitly influence food preferences. In Study 1, priming masculinity led both male and female participants to prefer unhealthy foods, while priming femininity led both male and female participants to prefer healthy foods. Study 2 extended these effects to gendered food packaging. When the packaging and healthiness of the food were gender schema congruent (i.e., feminine packaging for a healthy food, masculine packaging for an unhealthy food) both male and female participants rated the product as more attractive, said that they would be more likely to purchase it, and even rated it as tasting better compared to when the product was stereotype incongruent. In Study 3, packaging that explicitly appealed to gender stereotypes (“The muffin for real men”) reversed the schema congruity effect, but only among participants who scored high in psychological reactance.

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Who Am I? Who Do You Think I Am? Stability of Racial/Ethnic Self-Identification among Youth in Foster Care and Concordance with Agency Categorization

Jessica Schmidt et al.
Children and Youth Services Review, September 2015, Pages 61–67

Abstract:
While it has been well documented that racial and ethnic disparities exist for children of color in child welfare, the accuracy of the race and ethnicity information collected by agencies has not been examined, nor has the concordance of this information with youth self-report. This article addresses a major gap in the literature by examining: 1) the racial and ethnic self-identification of youth in foster care, and the rate of agreement with child welfare and school categorizations; 2) the level of concordance between different agencies (school and child welfare); and 3) the stability of racial and ethnic self-identification among youth in foster care over time. Results reveal that almost 1 in 5 youth change their racial identification over a one-year period, high rates of discordance exist between the youth self-report of Native American, Hispanic and multiracial youth and how agencies categorize them, and a greater tendency for the child welfare system to classify a youth as White, as compared to school and youth themselves. Information from the study could be used to guide agencies towards a more youth-centered and flexible approach in regards to identifying, reporting and affirming youth’s evolving racial and ethnic identity.

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U.S. ethnic minorities' attitudes towards Whites: The role of shared reality theory in intergroup relations

Terri Conley, Joshua Rabinowitz & Jes Matsick
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the current research, we suggest that shared reality, the belief that one perceives the world the same way as another group, can predict attitudes towards that group. We tested shared reality theory in the context of American ethnic minority groups' (i.e. African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinas/os) attitudes towards White Americans. In surveys of two samples recruited from different geographical locations in the USA, we tested predictions derived from different theories of intergroup relations. Using mediational analysis, we defined models to assess the extent to which shared reality theory predicted — directly and indirectly — prejudicial attitudes towards Whites. We tested the model derived from shared reality theory against other theoretical alternatives. Taken together, the results of the research indicated that shared reality predicts attitudes towards White Americans among these three ethnic groups. Thus, shared reality is a relevant, though largely overlooked, factor in intergroup dynamics.

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Independent or ungrateful? Consequences of confronting patronizing help for people with disabilities

Katie Wang et al.
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, July 2015, Pages 489-503

Abstract:
People with disabilities routinely face a dilemma in dealing with patronizing help: While accepting unsolicited assistance may be harmful for its recipients, confronting the helper can lead to negative interpersonal repercussions. Across two studies, participants were presented with a scenario depicting an interaction between a blind target and a sighted pedestrian and asked to evaluate the behaviors of the characters involved. Study 1 showed that, whereas blind participants considered both patronizing and hostile treatment as inappropriate responses to the blind target’s request for information, sighted participants saw patronizing help as significantly more appropriate than openly hostile treatment. Study 2 further demonstrated that, among sighted participants, blind targets were viewed as less warm and more rude when confronting benevolent versus hostile discrimination. These findings highlighted the difficulty of confronting patronizing treatment and have important implications for people with disabilities as well as other patronized minorities more generally.

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Manning Up: Threatened Men Compensate by Disavowing Feminine Preferences and Embracing Masculine Attributes

Sapna Cheryan et al.
Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current paper investigates two basic strategies that men use to recover from masculinity threats: (i) avoiding stereotypically feminine preferences and (ii) exaggerating their masculinity. In two experiments, males were either given false feedback that threatened their masculinity (i.e., underperforming on a masculinity test in Study 1, being physically weak in Study 2) or told they were average for their gender (control). Males who had their masculinity threatened expressed lower preference for stereotypically feminine products but did not express greater preference for stereotypically masculine products (Studies 1 and 2). Additionally, threatened men claimed more stereotypically masculine attributes, such as height, number of past sexual relationships, and aggressiveness (Study 2). These findings provide insight into how people react to identity threats by deploying specific strategies that most effectively restore their questioned identities.

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Modern Prejudice: Subtle, but Unconscious? The Role of Bias Awareness in Whites’ Perceptions of Personal and Others’ Biases

Sylvia Perry, Mary Murphy & John Dovidio
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Three studies introduced the construct of bias awareness and examined its effect on Whites' responses to evidence of personal and others' racial biases. Contemporary theories of prejudice suggest that awareness of personal bias is a critical step in reducing one's prejudice and discrimination. When bias is a cloaked in a way that people do not recognize, they are likely to continue to perpetuate their biased behaviors and unlikely to reduce their negative attitudes. However, when people become aware of their biases, they often adjust their attitudes and behavior to be more egalitarian. The present research investigated (a) individual differences in Whites' awareness of their propensity to express subtly biased behavior against Blacks in interracial contexts (Study 1), (b) the convergent and discriminant validity of a new individual difference measure of bias awareness (Studies 1, 2, and 3), (c) whether this measure uniquely predicts Whites' responses to a difficult race-related context — receiving feedback that they are high in implicit bias from an Implicit Association Test (R-IAT; Study 2), and (d) whether this measure uniquely predicts Whites' perceptions of others' racial bias, particularly subtle expressions (Study 3). Results revealed that the Bias Awareness Scale measures a distinct construct that uniquely predicts Whites' emotional and behavioral responses to information about their own bias, and their ability to detect bias in others.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The ultimate sacrifice

Conscription, Inequality, and Partisan Support for War

Douglas Kriner & Francis Shen
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
While recent scholarship suggests that conscription decreases support for military action, we argue that its effect is contingent both on a draft's consequences for inequality in military sacrifice and on partisanship. In an experiment examining public support for defending South Korea, we find that reinstating the draft significantly decreases support for war among Democrats; however, this effect is diminished if the draft reduces inequality in sacrifice. Support for war among Republicans, by contrast, responds neither to information about conscription nor its inequality ramifications. A follow-up experiment shows that conscription continues to significantly decrease support for war, even in the context of a retaliatory strike against a foreign state that targeted American forces. Moreover, partisanship and the inequality ramifications of the draft continue to moderate the relationships between conscription and public opinion. More broadly, our study emphasizes the importance of examining how Americans evaluate foreign policy–relevant information through partisan lenses.

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Insurgency and Small Wars: Estimation of Unobserved Coalition Structures

Francesco Trebbi & Eric Weese
NBER Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
Insurgency and guerrilla warfare impose enormous socioeconomic costs and often persist for decades. This paper studies the detection of unobserved coalitions of insurgent groups in conflict areas, and their main socioeconomic determinants. We present a novel methodology based on daily geocoded incident-level data on insurgent attacks, and provide an application in the context of the Afghan conflict during the 2004-2009 period. We show statistically that the Afghani Taliban are not an umbrella coalition, but rather a highly unified group, and that their span of control has grown substantially beyond ethnic Pashtun areas post-2007.

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Examining the effect of repressive and conciliatory government actions on terrorism activity in Israel

Vladimir Bejan & William Parkin
Economics Letters, August 2015, Pages 55–58

Abstract:
This paper examines the impact of repressive and conciliatory actions by Israel on terrorist activity using vector autoregression. Increases in repressive actions lead to a significant reduction in terrorist attacks. Conciliatory actions, on the other hand, have no effect.

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Mediation and Peace

Johannes Hörner, Massimo Morelli & Francesco Squintani
Review of Economic Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article applies mechanism design to the study of international conflict resolution. Standard mechanisms in which an arbitrator can enforce her decisions are usually not feasible because disputants are sovereign entities. Nevertheless, we find that this limitation is inconsequential. Despite only being capable of making unenforceable recommendations, mediators can be equally effective as arbitrators. By using recommendation strategies that do not reveal that one player is weak to a strong opponent, a mediator can effectively circumvent the unenforceability constraint. This is because these strategies make the strong player agree to recommendations that yield the same payoff as arbitration in expectation. This result relies on the capability of mediators to collect confidential information from the disputants, before making their recommendations. Simple protocols of unmediated communication cannot achieve the same level of ex ante welfare, as they preclude confidentiality.

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The Production of Medical Isotopes without Nuclear Reactors or Uranium Enrichment

Seth Hoedl & Derek Updegraff
Science & Global Security, Summer 2015, Pages 121-153

Abstract:
This article examines the current capability of accelerator technology, which is rapidly improving, to produce medical isotopes. A detailed analysis of 12 medical isotopes that are in active diagnostic and therapeutic use and typically made in nuclear reactors shows that accelerator-based technologies, such as linear accelerators, cyclotrons, and spallation neutron sources, could meet medical demand for these isotopes, without the use of enriched uranium and with low proliferation risk. The feasibility of accelerator-based production of an additional 70 isotopes that have a potential medical use is also discussed. A simple estimate suggests that accelerators can produce isotopes at a cost comparable to reactors. This article includes four case studies that illustrate the recent choices that emerging market countries have made when expanding domestic medical isotope production. Technical, commercial, and regulatory steps for commercialization are also described. The article concludes with policy suggestions that would increase the adoption of accelerator-based medical isotope production.

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The Strategist's Curse: A Theory of False Optimism as a Cause of War

Daniel Altman
Security Studies, Spring 2015, Pages 284-315

Abstract:
This article proposes a new theory of false optimism as a cause of war. Named for its similarity to the winner's curse in auctions, this theory explains how and why established sources of misperception (cognitive, psychological, bureaucratic, and organizational) interact with the selection of one military strategy from a set of alternatives to produce a surprising amount of additional false optimism. Even if a state's general perceptions of how well it will fare in a potential war are not biased toward optimism, this theory explains why its perceptions of the particular strategy on which it will base its plans for fighting that war will be systematically biased toward optimism. Simulations and formal modeling confirm the logic of the theory and suggest that the strategist's curse can sharply increase the probability of war due to false optimism.

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Dictators and Death: Casualty Sensitivity of Autocracies in Militarized Interstate Disputes

Cigdem Sirin & Michael Koch
International Studies Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why are some authoritarian regimes so quick to surrender amid lower numbers of casualties while others prove willing to incur significant casualty counts to continue their war efforts? In this study, we explore the propensity of different authoritarian regime types to sustain casualties in interstate conflicts. We argue that authoritarian leaders with smaller winning coalitions find it easier to distribute the costs of militarized conflicts outside of those coalitions. This diminishes their sensitivity to casualties. Applying a theoretical model based on an inverse divide-the-dollar game (with respect to the distribution of public "bads"), we find that personalist regimes tend to sustain the highest number of casualties in militarized interstate disputes when compared to other autocracies. Our findings suggest that along with the audience cost abilities of an autocratic adversary, target states should also consider an autocratic regime's casualty sensitivity in deciding whether to reciprocate with military action.

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No Postmaterialists in Foxholes: Postmaterialist Values, Nationalism, and National Threat in the People's Republic of China

Jonathan Joseph Reilly
Political Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this article, I present findings from a survey experiment in which Chinese university students exposed to a treatment designed to increase feelings of national threat were — based on their responses to the four-item postmaterialism values-priority battery — significantly more likely to be classified as "pure materialists." These findings are presented in support of the proposition that perception of a hostile international environment may tend to exaggerate citizens' authoritarian and nationalistic sentiments at the expense of more democratically favorable value orientations. Media and political figures in the West who rail against the evils of China's authoritarian leadership might believe that they are championing and encouraging democratic aspirations among the Chinese people, but might instead be inciting impulses and attitudes that are far less "democracy-friendly."

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A Two-Way Street on Iraq: On the Interaction of Citizen Policy Preferences and Presidential Approval

Michael Bailey & Clyde Wilcox
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
To the extent voters respond at all to presidential policy positions, they may do so by changing their views on the policy or by changing their views of the president. Presidents need to account for both changes as they care both about citizen approval and citizen policy views. We explore this dynamic in response to the Iraq War using multiple statistical methods. We find consistent evidence that citizen views of President Bush influenced their support for the war even as citizen views of the war affected their approval of Bush. Net changes in aggregate public opinion were smaller than gross changes because of simultaneous movement in both directions on both the war and the president. Recognizing this two-way movement of opinion helps us to better understand the challenges facing presidents in leading public opinion.

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Transnational Terrorism as an Unintended Consequence of a Military Footprint

Alex Braithwaite
Security Studies, Spring 2015, Pages 349-375

Abstract:
Terrorist groups commonly cite the local presence of foreign troops as a motivation for their violence. This article examines the validity and robustness of the proposition that the deployment of military capabilities overseas provokes terrorist violence against the deploying state's global interests. A cross-national dataset, combining data on foreign troop deployments and transnational terrorist violence directed against states' global interests, is used to create a series of empirical models at the directed-dyad-year level of analysis. Descriptive statistics and multivariate analyses provide corroborative evidence of territorial terrorism. These findings are robust to a wide variety of alternative specifications and to the use of instrumental variables regression to model the potential endogeneity of terrorism to troop deployment decisions.

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Democracy and War Effort: An Experiment

Andrew Bausch
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article uses a laboratory experiment to explore how groups' internal rules for leader selection affect how leaders select into and fight conflicts. The findings reveal that, counter to expectations, leaders of democratic groups were more likely than leaders of autocratic groups to select into a conflict rather than accept a negotiated settlement. Conditional on conflict occurring, democratic leaders did not mobilize more resources for war than autocratic leaders. However, democratic leaders were less likely to accept a settlement once a war was underway and they expended more effort in the last round of conflict, suggesting once they entered a war they fought for a decisive victory. Domestically, democratic leaders were punished for losing wars more often than autocratic leaders, while winning wars did not benefit democratic leaders significantly.

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Seen Like a State: How Illegitimacy Shapes Terrorism Designation

Winston Chou
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why are only some violent political actors designated as terrorists? To answer this question, I examine formal terrorism designations made by the US government. Conceptualizing terrorism designation as a marker of organizational illegitimacy, I hypothesize that groups that appear more like a state — effective, representative, and secular — are more likely to be seen as legitimate contenders for political power. As a result, these groups have a lower risk of being designated as terrorists. Conversely, groups that target more legitimate states have a higher risk of being designated as terrorists. Empirically, I demonstrate several facts in support of these hypotheses. First, the United States has disproportionately labeled weak and politically non-representative groups as terrorists. Second, it has disproportionately labeled groups in countries with greater state capacity as terrorists. Third, especially in recent years, it has disproportionately labeled Islamist groups as terrorists.

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Pro- and Anti-Americanism in Sub-Saharan Africa

Felicity Duncan, Devra Moehler & Laura Silver
International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Summer 2015, Pages 220-243

Abstract:
Do theories developed to explain widespread anti-Americanism in some regions generalize to countries where pro-Americanism is the norm? Anti-Americanism has intensified in most places, yet sentiments remain relatively positive in sub-Saharan Africa. We compare survey responses from Africa with those from other regions in the developing world to determine why Africans are more pro-American than others. The evidence indicates that personal contacts with individuals in the United States, support for international engagement, and admiration of the American model generate goodwill in Africa. Notably, these individual-level drivers of approval in Africa are similar to those in other regions. We conclude that Africans are relatively favorable toward the United States because more Africans than non-Africans have attitudes, traits, and experiences that encourage pro-American sentiments.

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Third-party intervention in intergroup reconciliation: The role of neutrality and common identity with the other conflict party

Nicole Syringa Harth & Nurit Shnabel
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
Third parties, particularly if neutral, have been found to promote instrumental conflict resolution. Using the needs-based model's theoretical framework, we investigated whether third parties can also promote socioemotional reconciliation. Study 1 (N = 124) revealed that in the context of fraud between universities, conciliatory messages from either the other conflict party or a third party sharing common identity with it increased group members' willingness to reconcile more than equivalent messages from a neutral third party. Replicating and extending this pattern, Study 2 (N = 177) exposed Israeli Jewish participants to texts which reminded them of historical transgressions conducted by Palestinians or against them. We found that compared to a control condition, messages supposedly conveyed by either Palestinians or Jordanians, but not by the UN, increased Israeli Jews' willingness to reconcile with Palestinians. These effects were mediated by the extent to which the official conveying these messages was perceived as representing the other conflict party.

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The United States and Nicaragua: Understanding the Breakdown in Relations

Robert Hager & Robert Snyder
Journal of Cold War Studies, Spring 2015, Pages 3-35

Abstract:
Although the United States and Nicaragua maintained cooperative relations for a period after the Sandinista revolution of 1979, ties between the two states deteriorated. What explains the shift from cordial to hostile relations? The two dominant explanations have been that the aggressive policies of the new Reagan administration forced the Sandinista regime into a defensive position of hostility or that a downward spiral occurred based on the security dilemma. This paper rejects both and offers an alternative: The Sandinistas for ideological and domestic political reasons chose antagonistic relations when they opted to arm and support the rebels in El Salvador in violation of an earlier agreement between the two states. Drawing on research that shows the aggressive tendencies of revolutionary states, the article contrasts this theory with the spiral model. Moreover, analysis of the archives of the early Reagan administration shows that it wanted to find an accommodation with Managua. Although the revolutionary Sandinistas were motivated by ideology, Washington was more influenced by geopolitical concerns.

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Predicting Jewish-Israeli Recognition of Palestinian Pain and Suffering

Rotem Nagar & Ifat Maoz
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recognition is vital for conflict resolution. This study was designed to learn more about the factors underlying the willingness to recognize the pain and suffering of the opponent in the asymmetrical protracted conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Data were collected through a public opinion survey conducted with a representative sample of Israeli-Jewish adults (N = 511). Perceptions of threat/distrust toward Palestinians and dehumanization of Palestinians each made a significant contribution to explaining Jewish-Israeli (un)willingness to recognize Palestinian pain and suffering (R2 = .36). Hawkishness made an added significant contribution to the overall explanatory power of the model (R2 = .38). Higher scores on the threat/distrust scale and the dehumanization scale, as well as higher hawkishness predicted decreased willingness to recognize Palestinian pain and suffering. The implications of our findings for understanding the role of recognition and of moral concern in conflict resolution are discussed.

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Images of Injury: Graphic News Visuals' Effects on Attitudes Toward the Use of Unmanned Drones

Erica Scharrer & Greg Blackburn
Mass Communication and Society, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this study, sanitized coverage of the United States' use of military drone strikes in foreign countries is pitted against more graphic news images in an experimental setting to determine effects on attitudes toward the use of US. military drones. Additionally, multiple news exposures are tested to determine whether individuals can become emotionally inured to war coverage, even when images are more graphic. Key results find those who viewed graphic news visuals did not show evidence of desensitization after repeated viewing, and expressed higher levels of concern regarding drone use, but not reduced support for U.S. drone policy.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Join the club

Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Local Gender-Based Earnings Inequality and Women's Belief in the American Dream

Benjamin Newman
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article ties together research on gender, income inequality, and political ideology, by exploring the effect of gender-based earnings inequality on women's belief in a fundamental tenet of the “American Dream” — meritocracy. Focusing on gender-based earnings inequality in women's local residential context, and drawing upon relative deprivation theory, this article argues that variation across local areas in the relative economic status of women should influence the ideological outlook of resident women. In contrast to relative deprivation theory, but consistent with rising expectations theory, I argue that ideological disillusionment should peak in contexts in which women's earnings fall closely behind men, and that ideological optimism should rebound in contexts in which women's earnings have achieved parity with that of men. Utilizing pooled survey data, I find strong evidence that individual women's belief in the American Dream varies according to whether local women's relative earnings indicate confrontation with or breaking of the “glass ceiling.”

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Room for Debate (and Derogation): Negativity of Readers’ Comments on Black Authors’ Online Content

Rachel Sumner, Maclen Stanley & Anthony Burrow
Psychology of Popular Media Culture, forthcoming

Abstract:
When most people think of anonymous comments written on online content, they think of messages that are overtly negative and offensive. Previous research suggests that readers of online content about race may react more negatively to authors who are members of stigmatized racial groups. In 2 studies, we tested this possibility with respect to online content written by Black and White authors. In Study 1, we analyzed readers’ comments on actual race-related opinion-editorial (op-ed) essays published on The New York Times’ Room for Debate blog over a 1-year period. As predicted, readers wrote more (and more negative) comments on Black authors’ op-eds compared to comments written on White authors’ op-eds. Study 2, which included information about the readers, revealed that people who rate themselves as likely to comment online are also more likely to have negative reactions to Black authors’ content. Implications for race-related online content and directions for future research are discussed.

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Confidence Men? Gender and Confidence: Evidence among Top Economists

Heather Sarsons & Guo Xu
Harvard Working Paper, June 2015

Abstract:
Does a confidence gap exist between men and women who made it to the very top of their careers? Using data from a select group of economists working in top U.S. universities, we find that women are still less confident than men along two margins. First, when asked about their level of agreement on survey questions about the economy, women are less likely to give “extreme” answers in which they strongly agree or disagree. Second, women are less confident in the accuracy of their answer. The results persist after controlling for the year the PhD was granted, the PhD awarding institution, the current institution, and the number of solo and co-authored publications up to the point of tenure. We provide suggestive evidence that the confidence gap is driven by women being less confident when asked questions that are outside their field of expertise.

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A Man’s (Precarious) Place: Men’s Experienced Threat and Self-Assertive Reactions to Female Superiors

Ekaterina Netchaeva, Maryam Kouchaki & Leah Sheppard
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Across three studies, we investigate men’s reactions to women in superior roles. Drawing from precarious manhood theory, we hypothesize that when a woman occupies a superior organizational role, men in subordinate positions experience threat, which leads them to behave more assertively toward her and advocate for themselves. In Studies 1 and 2, we demonstrate that men feel more threatened (relative to women) by women in superior roles (relative to men in superior roles) and, as a result, engage in more assertive behaviors toward these women. In Study 3, we investigate a boundary condition to this effect and demonstrate that a woman in a superior role who displays qualities associated with administrative agency (e.g., directness, proactivity) rather than ambitious agency (e.g., self-promotion, power-seeking) elicits less assertive behavior from men. We conclude by discussing implications as well as directions for future research.

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The Role of Proximal Social Contexts: Assessing Stigma-by-Association Effects on Leader Appraisals

Morela Hernandez et al.
Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prior research suggests that segregation in the U.S. workplace is on the rise (Hellerstein, Neumark, & McInerney, 2008); as such, leaders are more likely to lead groups of followers composed primarily of their own race (Elliot & Smith, 2001; Smith & Elliott, 2002). Drawing from theory on stigma-by-association, the authors posit that such segregated proximal social contexts (i.e., the leader’s group of followers) can have detrimental effects on leader appraisals. Specifically, they argue that leaders of mostly Black follower groups experience stigmatization based on race stereotypic beliefs, which affects how they are viewed in the eyes of observers. The results of a large field study show performance evaluations generally tend to be lower when the proportion of Black followers is higher. Moreover, 3 experiments demonstrate that the impact of proximal social contexts extends to other outcomes (i.e., perceptions of market value and competency) but appears limited to those who are less internally and externally motivated to control their prejudice. Taken together, these findings explain how workplace segregation systematically can create a particular disadvantage for Black leaders.

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Minorities Are Disproportionately Underrepresented in Special Education: Longitudinal Evidence Across Five Disability Conditions

Paul Morgan et al.
Educational Researcher, June/July 2015, Pages 278-292

Abstract:
We investigated whether minority children attending U.S. elementary and middle schools are disproportionately represented in special education. We did so using hazard modeling of multiyear longitudinal data and extensive covariate adjustment for potential child-, family-, and state-level confounds. Minority children were consistently less likely than otherwise similar White, English-speaking children to be identified as disabled and so to receive special education services. From kindergarten entry to the end of middle school, racial- and ethnic-minority children were less likely to be identified as having (a) learning disabilities, (b) speech or language impairments, (c) intellectual disabilities, (d) health impairments, or (e) emotional disturbances. Language-minority children were less likely to be identified as having (a) learning disabilities or (b) speech or language impairments.

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Parental race as symbolic and social capital: Teacher evaluations of part-white biracial and monoracial minority students

Tomeka Davis
Race Ethnicity and Education, forthcoming

Abstract:
As the number of biracial individuals in the US continues to grow, so does research focused on them. While some of this literature examines how biracials fare on a host of social outcomes, little research examines whether part-white biracials are able to use their whiteness as a resource to gain additional resources or rewards. This research seeks to close this gap. Using data from the 1st grade wave of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten-Class (ECLS-K), I examine whether the parental involvement of white mothers of black/white and Hispanic/white biracial students leads to higher teacher ratings for these children compared to their monoracial minority counterparts. I find the involvement of white mothers results in higher teacher ratings for part-white biracial children, but only when the teacher is white. I conclude that whiteness serves as a symbolic and social capital resource that enhances biracial educational outcomes when it is invoked.

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Attitudes Toward Women’s Work and Family Roles in the United States, 1976–2013

Kristin Donnelly et al.
Psychology of Women Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine time period and generational differences in attitudes toward women’s work and family roles in two large, nationally representative U.S. samples, the Monitoring the Future survey of 12th graders (1976–2013) and the General Social Survey of adults (1977–2012). Twelfth graders became more accepting of working mothers and equal roles for women in the workplace between the 1970s and the 2010s, with most change occurring between the 1970s and the late 1990s. Acceptance of dual-income families and fathers working half-time or not at all (stay-at-home dads) also increased. Thus, for the most part, Millennials (born 1980s–1990s) have continued trends toward more egalitarian gender roles. However, slightly more 12th graders in the 2010s (vs. the late 1990s) favored the husband as the achiever and decision maker in the family. Adults’ attitudes toward working mothers became more egalitarian between the 1970s and the early 1990s, showed a small “backlash” in the late 1990s, and then continued the trend toward increased egalitarianism in the 2000s and 2010s. In hierarchical linear modeling analyses separating the effects of time period, generation/cohort, and age, trends were primarily due to time period with a generational peak in egalitarianism among White women Boomers (born 1946–1964). Policy makers should recognize that support for working mothers is now a solid majority position in the United States and design programs for working families accordingly.

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Gender Differences in Recognition for Group Work

Heather Sarsons
Harvard Working Paper, June 2015

Abstract:
Within academia, men are tenured at higher rates than women are in most quantitative fields, including economics. Researchers have attempted to identify the source of this disparity but find that nearly 30% of the gap remains unexplained even after controlling for family commitments and differences in productivity. Using data from academic economists' CVs, I test whether coauthored and solo-authored publications matter differently for tenure for men and women. While solo-authored papers send a clear signal about one's ability, coauthored papers are noisy in that they do not provide specific information about each contributor's skills. I find that men are tenured at roughly the same rate regardless of whether they coauthor or solo-author. Women, however, suffer a significant penalty when they coauthor. The results hold after controlling for the total number of papers published, quality of papers, field of study, tenure institution, tenure year, and the number of years it took an individual to go up for tenure. The result is most pronounced for women coauthoring with only men and is less pronounced the more women there are on a paper, suggesting that some gender bias is at play. I present a model in which bias enters when workers collaborate and test its predictions in the data.

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Gender Gaps in Overestimation of Math Performance

Shane Bench et al.
Sex Roles, June 2015, Pages 536-546

Abstract:
In the United States, men are more likely to pursue math-intense STEM courses and careers than women. This investigation explored whether positivity bias in the degree to which people overestimate their past performance contributes to this gender gap. To find out, two studies were conducted with undergraduate college students in the Southern United States. In Study 1, participants (n = 122) completed a math test and estimated the percent they had solved. They then were given feedback and completed a second math test and estimation. Men overestimated their performance more than women, judging they had done better on the test than they actually had. This gender difference was not present after feedback. Further, women, but not men, who reported a more positive previous experience with math were more likely to overestimate their performance. In Study 2, participants (n = 184) completed a math test and estimated the percent they had solved. They also reported their interest in pursuing math courses and careers. Again, men overestimated their performance more than women. This greater overestimation of performance in men accounted for their greater intent to pursue math fields compared to women. The findings suggest that gender gaps in STEM fields are not necessarily the result of women underestimating their abilities, but rather may be due to men overestimating their abilities.

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Selection Bias: Stereotypes and Discrimination Related to Having a History of Cancer

Larry Martinez et al.
Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although great strides have been made in increasing equality and inclusion in organizations, a number of stigmatized groups are overlooked by diversity initiatives, including people with a history of cancer. To examine the workplace experiences of these individuals in selection contexts, we conducted 3 complementary studies that assess the extent to which cancer is disclosed, the stereotypes associated with cancer in the workplace, and discrimination resulting from these stereotypes. In a pilot study, we surveyed 196 individuals with a history of cancer (across 2 samples) about their workplace disclosure habits. In Study 1, we explored stereotypes related to employees with a history of cancer using the framework outlined by the stereotype content model. In Study 2, we used a field study to assess the experiences of job applicants who indicated they were “cancer survivors” (vs. not) with both formal and interpersonal forms of discrimination. This research shows that cancer is disclosed at relatively high rates (pilot study), those with a history of cancer are stereotyped as being higher in warmth than competence (Study 1), and the stereotypes associated with those who have had cancer result in actual discrimination toward them (Study 2). We discuss the theory behind these findings and aim to inform both science and practice with respect to this growing workplace population.

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Insidious Procedures: Diversity Awards Legitimize Unfair Organizational Practices

Teri Kirby, Cheryl Kaiser & Brenda Major
Social Justice Research, June 2015, Pages 169-186

Abstract:
Does the presence (versus absence) of an organizational diversity award increase the perceived fairness of biased personnel procedures? Participants examined fair or unfair personnel procedures at a company that had received a diversity award or an award unrelated to diversity. When the company had received a diversity award (versus a control award), participants perceived the unfair personnel procedure as fairer for minorities, and White participants were more supportive of enacting the biased procedure. These findings suggest that organizations perceived as successfully supporting diversity might be afforded particular legitimacy to enact policies and procedures that disadvantage the very groups they are perceived as valuing.

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Latino Physicians in the United States, 1980–2010: A Thirty-Year Overview From the Censuses

Gloria Sánchez et al.
Academic Medicine, July 2015, Pages 906–912

Purpose: To update and extend a 2000 study on the California Latino physician workforce, the authors examined the Latino physician workforce in the 30-year time frame spanning 1980 to 2010, comparing changes in the rates of physicians per 100,000 population for the Latino and non-Hispanic white (NHW) populations in the United States as a whole and in the five states with (in 2010) the largest Latino populations.

Method: The authors used detailed data from the U.S. Census (Public Use Microdata Samples for 1980–2010) to identify total population, total number of physicians, and Spanish-language ability for both the Latino and NHW populations. They examined nativity for only Latinos.

Results: At the national level, the NHW physician rate per 100,000 of the NHW population increased from 211 in 1980 to 315 in 2010 while the Latino physician rate per 100,000 of the Latino population dropped over the same period from 135 to 105. With small variations, the same trend occurred in all five of the states examined. At the national and state levels, Latino physicians were far more likely to speak Spanish than NHW physicians. Over the 30-year period, the Latino physician population has evolved from being primarily foreign born to being about evenly split between foreign born and U.S. born.

Conclusions: The Latino physician shortage has worsened over the past 30 years. The authors recommend immediate action on the national and local level to increase the supply of Latino physicians.

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End of An Era? Managerial Losses of African American and Latinos in the Public Sector

George Wilson & Vincent Roscigno
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this article, we examine whether “new governance” reforms in public sector work over the last two decades have generated managerial wage losses for African Americans and Latinos. Findings from Integrated Public Use Micro-Series data across three time points indicate that the new “business logic” encompassing, most notably, increased employer discretion has progressively disadvantaged African American and Latino men and women relative to their White and gender counterparts. Indeed, for both African Americans and Latinos in the managerial ranks, relative parity in wages that were witnessed in the public sector progressively eroded between 2000 and 2010. Qualifications to these findings indicate that levels of inequality become pronounced for African Americans, and more so among men than women. We discuss the historical niche status of public sector work for racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S. and the importance of conducting further analyses of the public sector because of its fluid nature as a locus of racial stratification.

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When Justice Promotes Injustice: Why Minority Leaders Experience Bias When They Adhere to Interpersonal Justice Rules

Cindy Zapata, Andrew Carton & Joseph Liu
Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Accumulated knowledge on organizational justice leaves little reason to doubt the notion that organizational members benefit when leaders adhere to interpersonal justice rules. However, upon considering how justice behaviors influence subordinates' cognitive processes, we predict that interpersonal justice has a surprising, unintended negative consequence. Supervisors who violate interpersonal justice rules trigger subordinates to search for reasons why their supervisors are threatening them, causing subordinates to be more attuned to supervisors' individual characteristics and therefore unlikely to use stereotypes when evaluating them. In contrast, supervisors who adhere to interpersonal justice rules allow subordinates to divert attention away from them, leading subordinates' judgments of their supervisors to be influenced by stereotypes. Consistent with these predictions, in a survey we found that minority supervisors faced bias relative to Caucasian supervisors when supervisors adhered to — but not when they violated — interpersonal justice rules. We replicated this effect in an experiment and established that it is explained by an alternating pattern of stereotype activation and inhibition: participants viewed minority supervisors to be more deceitful than Caucasians when supervisors adhered to — but not when they violated — interpersonal justice rules. We then conducted exploratory analyses and identified one factor (unit size) that mitigates this troubling pattern.

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Do gender differences persist? An examination of gender diversity on firm performance, risk, and executive compensation

Alexa Perryman, Guy Fernando & Arindam Tripathy
Journal of Business Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Women have made great strides in recent years in climbing the corporate ladder, yet the current corporate landscape suggests that obstacles still exist before true gender equity is achieved. We investigate the impact of gender diversity in top management teams (TMTs) on firm performance and firm risk, in conjunction with examining the moderating effect of gender diversity on executive compensation. We find that firms with greater gender diversity in TMTs show lower risk and deliver better performance. In turn, female executives were found to be paid less than their male colleagues, even at the TMT level. However, as gender diversity in the TMT increases, compensation differences between the genders decrease. As such, we highlight a failure in the employment market place and also point to continuing challenges faced by female executives in their search for parity in TMTs.

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Stereotype threat, Mental Arithmetic, and the Mere Effort Account

Allison Seitchik & Stephen Harkins
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The currently prevailing explanation for stereotype threat (ST) debilitation effects argues for working memory interference as the proximal mediator. Using mental arithmetic problems as the test bed, Beilock et al. (2007) have spelled out in greater detail exactly how this process might work. They propose that worries resulting from activation of the negative stereotype occupy the phonological loop, taking up capacity that could be used to remember the intermediate values produced when solving horizontal mental subtraction problems. In the current work, we test an alternative, motivational account for this effect, mere effort. The mere effort account argues that ST motivates stigmatized participants to want to perform well, potentiating the prepotent response on the given task. In Experiment 1 we identified a possible prepotent response for horizontal subtraction, termed the method of adjustment (e.g., adjust the second number to the nearest 10, subtract the two numbers, and then add the adjustment). Consistent with the mere effort account, Experiment 2 showed that ST potentiated the prepotent approach, the method of adjustment. Experiment 3 pitted the mere effort account against the working memory account. Working memory predicts debilitation effects on horizontal subtraction problems when participants need to use the phonological loop (i.e., entering answers from left-to-right), whereas mere effort predicts that the potentiated use of the method of adjustment should facilitate performance when answers must be entered from left-to-right. Results supported the mere effort account. Finally, Experiment 4 showed that when we control for the effect of the potentiated prepotent response, instead of performing more poorly, threatened participants perform better than no threat participants. Overall, these experiments support the mere effort account, which argues for motivation as a core process in producing ST effects.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, July 13, 2015

Misjudged

Is Justice Really Blind? Race and Reversal in US Courts

Maya Sen
Journal of Legal Studies, January 2015, Pages S187-S229

Abstract:
I use two newly collected data sets to demonstrate that black federal district judges are consistently overturned on appeal more often than white district judges, with a gap in reversal rates of up to 10 percentage points. This gap is robust and persists after taking into account previous professional and judicial experience, educational background, qualification ratings assigned by the American Bar Association, and differences in appellate panel composition. In total, I find that approximately 2,800 additional cases authored by black judges have been reversed over the last 12 years. This study is among the first to explore how higher-court judges evaluate opinions written by judges of color, and it has clear implications: despite attempts to make the judiciary more reflective of the general population, racial disparities in the legal system appear to persist.

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Possibility of Death Sentence Has Divergent Effect on Verdicts for Black and White Defendants

Jack Glaser, Karin Martin & Kimberly Kahn
Law and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
When anticipating the imposition of the death penalty, jurors may be less inclined to convict defendants. On the other hand, minority defendants have been shown to be treated more punitively, particularly in capital cases. Given that the influence of anticipated sentence severity on verdicts may vary as a function of defendant race, the goal of this study was to test the independent and interactive effects of these factors. We conducted a survey-embedded experiment with a nationally representative sample to examine the effect on verdicts of sentence severity as a function of defendant race, presenting respondents with a triple murder trial summary that manipulated the maximum penalty (death vs. life without parole) and the race of the defendant. Respondents who were told life-without-parole was the maximum sentence were not significantly more likely to convict Black (67.7%) than White (66.7%) defendants. However, when death was the maximum sentence, respondents presented with Black defendants were significantly more likely to convict (80.0%) than were those with White defendants (55.1%). The results indicate that the death penalty may be a cause of racial disparities in criminal justice, and implicate threats to civil rights and to effective criminal justice.

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Facial Trustworthiness Predicts Extreme Criminal-Sentencing Outcomes

John Paul Wilson & Nicholas Rule
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Untrustworthy faces incur negative judgments across numerous domains. Existing work in this area has focused on situations in which the target's trustworthiness is relevant to the judgment (e.g., criminal verdicts and economic games). Yet in the present studies, we found that people also overgeneralized trustworthiness in criminal-sentencing decisions when trustworthiness should not be judicially relevant, and they did so even for the most extreme sentencing decision: condemning someone to death. In Study 1, we found that perceptions of untrustworthiness predicted death sentences (vs. life sentences) for convicted murderers in Florida (N = 742). Moreover, in Study 2, we found that the link between trustworthiness and the death sentence occurred even when participants viewed innocent people who had been exonerated after originally being sentenced to death. These results highlight the power of facial appearance to prejudice perceivers and affect life outcomes even to the point of execution, which suggests an alarming bias in the criminal-justice system.

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Judicial Decision Making: A Dynamic Reputation Approach

Alma Cohen, Alon Klement & Zvika Neeman
Journal of Legal Studies, January 2015, Pages S133-S159

Abstract:
We seek to contribute to an understanding of how judicial elections affect the incentives and decisions of judges. We develop a theoretical model suggesting that judges who are concerned about their reputation will tend to decide against their prior decisions as they approach elections. That is, judges who imposed a large number of severe sentences in the past and are thus perceived to be strict will tend to impose less severe sentences prior to elections. Conversely, judges who imposed a large number of light sentences in the past and are thus perceived to be lenient will tend to impose more severe sentences prior to elections. Using data from the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing, we test, and find evidence consistent with, the predictions of our model.

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The Roberts Court and Criminal Justice: An Empirical Assessment

Christopher Smith, Madhavi McCall & Michael McCall
American Journal of Criminal Justice, June 2015, Pages 416-440

Abstract:
An empirical examination of decisions by the Roberts Court can illuminate the contemporary Supreme Court's impact on criminal justice. The Court's decisions and the voting patterns of its justices confirm the Roberts Court's generally conservative reputation with respect to criminal justice. However, contrary to commentators' assertions about a five-member conservative majority actively reshaping criminal justice law in a rights-restricting fashion, the deeply-divided Court actually produces a notable number of rights-protective liberal decisions. Indeed, when the Roberts Court is most deeply divided on criminal justice issues, it has produced more liberal decisions than conservative decisions, due largely to the voting patterns of Justice Anthony Kennedy whose moderate voting record places him at the Court's center. Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas have also made important contributions to liberal decisions in divided cases. Generalizations about the Roberts Court's conservatism and judicial activism in criminal justice are overstated without recognition of the voting patterns that have contributed to the production of rights-maintaining and rights-expanding liberal decisions.

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Judicial Noncompliance with Mandatory Procedural Rules under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act

Todd Henderson & William Hubbard
Journal of Legal Studies, January 2015, Pages S87-S105

Abstract:
Section 21D(c)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act subjects courts to an unusually clear mandate: courts must make findings on whether attorneys complied with Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (which sanctions frivolous or unsupported claims) in every case arising under the act. Yet we find that courts make these required findings less than 14 percent of the time. We also find that the required Rule 11 findings are not more likely in cases where parties seek sanctions under Rule 11 but are made overwhelmingly in court orders approving settlements — the circumstance in which sanctions are least likely. To explain these surprising results, we offer an account of judicial behavior that emphasizes judicial learning, judicial effort, and the crucial ways in which the incentives of the judge and of the attorneys may interact in complex cases.

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The Joint Effects of Gender and Race/Ethnicity on Sentencing Outcomes in Federal Courts

Jill Doerner
Women & Criminal Justice, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using data from the U.S. Sentencing Commission, the present study examines the interaction effects of gender and race/ethnicity on sentencing outcomes of male and female offenders in federal courts. Findings indicate that female offenders in all racial/ethnic categories receive less severe sentence outcomes than male offenders in the same categories, even after legal, extralegal, and contextual factors are controlled. In addition, racial/ethnic differences are found within gender groups, such that Hispanic males are more likely to be incarcerated and Black males receive longer sentence terms compared to White male offenders. However, contrary to expectations, the analysis indicates that White females are more likely to be incarcerated than Black and Hispanic females and receive longer sentence terms than Hispanic females. Gender and racial/ethnic interactions are also explored across offense type (drug vs. non-drug) and type of sentencing departure (no departure, downward, or substantial assistance). Implications for future research are also discussed.

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The Politics of Opinion Assignment and Authorship on the US Court of Appeals: Evidence from Sexual Harassment Cases

Sean Farhang, Jonathan Kastellec & Gregory Wawro
Journal of Legal Studies, January 2015, Pages S59-S85

Abstract:
We evaluate opinion assignment and authorship on the US courts of appeals. We derive theoretical explanations and predictions for opinion assignment that are motivated by the courts of appeals' distinct institutional setting. Using an original data set of sexual harassment cases, we test our predictions and find that female and more liberal judges are substantially more likely to write opinions in sexual harassment cases. We further find that this pattern appears to result not from policy-driven behavior by female and liberal assigners but from an institutional environment in which judges seek out opinions they wish to write. Judicial opinions are the vehicles of judicial policy, and thus these results have important implications for the relationship between legal rules and opinion assignment and for the study of diversity and representation on multimember courts.

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How Uncertainty About Judicial Nominees Can Distort the Confirmation Process

Maya Sen & William Spaniel
Journal of Theoretical Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Judicial nominees to federal courts rarely reveal their genuine views on controversial issues. As a result, political actors -- and especially the Senate -- often have only partial information about how a nominee would vote on issues likely to come before the courts. We formulate a model that departs from the previous literature by incorporating this type of uncertainty into the nominations process. Our model shows that the absence of such information can yield suboptimal outcomes. In particular, when the President and Senate are ideologically divergent, low information about nominees' views results in the Senate occasionally rejecting acceptable nominees. Thus, even though low information allows the President to ''sneak in" more extreme candidates, it leads to both the President and the Senate being worse off than they would be with more transparency. Under such conditions, more information weakly increases both sides' welfare. Our results therefore raise questions about why nominees are permitted to keep important views private.

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Pushing Constitutional Limits in the U.S. States: Legislative Professionalism and Judicial Review of State Laws by the U.S. Supreme Court

Susan Miller, Eve Ringsmuth & Joshua Little
State Politics & Policy Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
When the U.S. Supreme Court exercises its power of judicial review over state laws, its decisions, like the legislation it considers, frequently speak to major policy debates. Despite the Court's routine involvement with state statutes, theoretical explanations of judicial review generally do not distinguish between state laws and federal laws. The characteristics of state legislatures lead legislators in different states to have distinct perspectives and incentives, and ultimately affect the types of laws enacted in different states. We suggest that because the level of professionalism of state legislatures affects the types of laws pursued by different states, it may also affect the likelihood that a state has a law struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. We find support for this expectation. Specifically, legislative professionalism is associated with an increased likelihood that a state has a law invalidated by the Court. This new evidence indicates that it is important to consider the legislative context in which state laws originate when examining the Court's review of state laws.

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Partisanship in State Supreme Courts: The Empirical Relationship between Party Campaign Contributions and Judicial Decision Making

Michael Kang & Joanna Shepherd
Journal of Legal Studies, January 2015, Pages S161-S185

Abstract:
In this article, we explore the relationship between political parties' campaign contributions and partisan voting among state supreme court judges who won partisan elections. Using three different measures of partisan voting, we find that contributions from political parties are associated with partisanship in judicial decision making. Campaign contributions from political parties are related to judicial voting in the party-preferred ideological direction and to cohesive voting among judges from the same political party. We find that the relationship between party contributions and partisan voting is stronger for Republican judges than for Democratic judges.

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Holding Steady on Shifting Sands: Countermajoritarian Decision Making in the US Courts of Appeals

Matthew Hall, Justin Kirkland & Jason Harold Windett
Public Opinion Quarterly, Summer 2015, Pages 504-523

Abstract:
Empirical claims that US Supreme Court decisions tend to follow public opinion raise important questions about the countermajoritarian role of the American judiciary. Yet, for the vast majority of federal cases, the de facto court of last resort is actually a US court of appeals. We examine the role of public opinion in shaping decisions on these courts. We argue that the courts of appeals' position in the judicial hierarchy, lack of docket control, and lack of public attention encourage circuit judges to ignore public opinion and adhere to consistent legal rules; however, appeals by federal litigants are strongly associated with public opinion. Consequently, circuit judges actively resist ideological shifts in public opinion, as they issue consistent rulings in the face of varying case facts. Applying multilevel modeling techniques to a data set of courts of appeals decisions from 1952 to 2002, we find strong support for our theory.

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When Good Little Debts Went Bad: Civil Litigation on the Virginia Frontier, 1745–1755

Tinni Sen, Turk McCleskey & Atin Basuchoudhary
Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Summer 2015, Pages 60-89

Abstract:
The use of a multinomial logit model to analyze a hitherto unavailable dataset of 1,376 small-claims lawsuits in colonial Augusta County, Virginia, for information about debts, litigants, and procedures finds no evidence of prejudice in the legal system. The magistrates' consistently fair enforcement of legitimate contracts may have induced both plaintiffs and defendants to settle their disputes in court rather than in private. The evidence corroborates the view that by the mid-eighteenth century, Virginia's frontier judicial system was sufficiently impartial to encourage creditors to draw up efficient contracts even for small debts.

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Liability Insurer Data as a Window on Lawyers' Professional Liability

Tom Baker & Rick Swedloff
UC Irvine Law Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using the best publicly available data on lawyers' liability claims and insurance – from the largest insurer of large law firms in the U.S., the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Professional Liability, and a summary of large claims from a leading insurance broker – this article reports the frequency of lawyers' liability claims, the distribution and cost of claims by type of practice, the disposition of claims, and lawyers liability insurance premiums from the early 1980s to 2013. Notable findings include remarkable stability over thirty years in the distribution of claims by area of practice among both small and large firms, a large percentage of claims (64-70%) involving de minimus expense (less than $1000) in the small firm market, and in the large firm market a declining rate of "real claims" per 1000 lawyers, a declining rate of real average gross loss per claim, and stable real premiums per lawyer since the early 1990s. Because of data limitations, however, these results cannot be confidently generalized. Further advances in the understanding of lawyers' liability and insurance will require qualitative research.

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Dangerousness or Diminished Capacity? Exploring the Association of Gender and Mental Illness with Violent Offense Sentence Length

Megan Davidson & Jeffrey Rosky
American Journal of Criminal Justice, June 2015, Pages 353-376

Abstract:
The presence of mental illness within criminal sentencing can be conceptualized both as a mitigating factor based on the diminished capacity argument and as an aggravating factor stemming from the perceived dangerousness stigma associated with mental illness. The current study tests these hypotheses for violent offenses using data from the 2004 Survey of Inmates in State Correctional Facilities within a weighted negative binomial regression framework. Separate analyses were conducted for male and female offenders to isolate gender effects in relation to the sentence length of offenders with a mental illness. The findings reveal that the presence of a mental illness tended to increase violent conviction sentence length reported by male offenders and decrease sentence length reported by female offenders, suggesting mental illness in the context of a violent conviction may be interpreted as evidence of diminished capacity for females and future dangerousness for males.

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Signaling and Counter-Signaling in the Judicial Hierarchy: An Empirical Analysis of En Banc Review

Deborah Beim, Alexander Hirsch & Jonathan Kastellec
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We leverage the institutional features of American courts to evaluate the importance of whistleblowers in hierarchical oversight. Drawing on a formal theory of signaling in the judicial hierarchy, we examine the role of whistleblowing dissents in triggering en banc review of three-judge panels by full circuits of the Courts of Appeals. The theory generates predictions about how dissent interacts with judicial preferences to influence circuits' review and reversal decisions, which we test using original and existing data. First, we show that judges who dissent counter to their preferences are more likely to see their dissents lead to review and reversal. Second, we show that dissents are most influential when the likelihood of non-compliance by a three-judge panel is highest. Our results underscore the importance of dissent in the judicial hierarchy and illustrate how judicial whistleblowers can help appellate courts target the most important cases for review.

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Shared Race/Ethnicity, Court Procedural Justice, and Self-Regulating Beliefs: A Study of Female Offenders

Thomas Baker et al.
Law & Society Review, June 2015, Pages 433–466

Abstract:
Using survey data from a sample of white, black, and Hispanic incarcerated females (N = 554), we examine if the theoretically hypothesized and empirically demonstrated relationship between procedural justice and obligation to obey the law is substantiated among a sample of offenders and explore the impact that sharing the race/ethnicity of the defense attorney and prosecutor in their most recent conviction has on female inmates' perceptions of court procedural justice and their perceived obligation to obey the law. The findings reveal that female offenders who perceive the courts as more procedurally just report a significantly greater obligation to obey the law. In addition, white female inmates who had a white prosecutor were significantly more likely to perceive the courts as procedurally just. Non-whites, though, perceive the courts as more fair if they encountered a minority prosecutor regardless of whether the prosecutor was black or Hispanic.

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The Role of Competence in Promotions from the Lower Federal Courts'

Stephen Choi, Mitu Gulati & Eric Posner
Journal of Legal Studies, January 2015, Pages S107-S131

Abstract:
The judicial behavior literature typically assumes that politicians nominate judges on the basis of their ideology. That assumption helps explain studies that show a statistical correlation between the party of the nominating president and the ideological direction of the votes of judges. However, the assumption is too simple. Casual empiricism suggests that politicians, interest groups, and the public care not only about the ideology of judges. They may also care about their competence and political loyalty and about ensuring that the judicial system is diverse. We focus on the role of competence in judicial promotions. We find, however, that presidents do not take much account of competence when promoting judges — despite the fact that there is some, albeit mixed, evidence that the most competent appellate judges were highly competent district judges.

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The People's Hired Guns? Experimentally Testing the Motivating Force of a Legal Frame

Christoph Engel & Alicja Reuben
International Review of Law and Economics, August 2015, Pages 67–82

Abstract:
Legal realists expect prosecutors to be selfish. If they get the defendant convicted, this helps them advance their careers. If the odds of winning on the main charge are low, prosecutors have a second option. They can exploit the ambiguity of legal doctrine and charge the defendant for vaguely defined crimes, like "conspiracy". We model the situation as a signaling game and test it experimentally. If we have participants play the naked game, at least a minority play the game theoretic equilibrium and use the broad rule if a signal indicates that the defendant is guilty. This becomes even slightly more frequent if a misbehaving defendant imposes harm on a third participant. By contrast if we frame the situation as a court case, almost all prosecutors take the signal at face value and knowingly run the risk of losing in court if the signal was false. Our experimental prosecutors behave like textbook legal idealists, and follow the urge of duty. The experiment demonstrates the strong behavioral force of a legal frame.

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Do Attorney Surveys Measure Judicial Performance or Respondent Ideology? Evidence from Online Evaluations

Thomas Miles
Journal of Legal Studies, January 2015, Pages S231-S267

Abstract:
Which judges are "good" at their jobs, and which are not? The answer may depend on the ideology of whom you ask. Judicial decisions inevitably involve policy making, and lawyers may prefer judges whose policy preferences match their own. This paper tests that prediction with online evaluations of judges. Criminal defense attorneys, a group likely to hold progressive views, make up a disproportionate share of the respondents. The respondents assign lower average scores to Republican appointees, especially female and minority ones, even after controlling for the judges' backgrounds and performance measures. In comments, respondents object to judges with conservative tendencies more often than those with liberal ones. The objections to conservative tendencies correlate with large reductions in a judge's numerical ratings, while objections to liberal ones do not. The results suggest that judicial evaluation surveys should take account of how attorneys' ideology influences their perceptions of judicial performance.

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The Generalizability of Gender Bias: Testing the Effects of Contextual, Explicit, and Implicit Sexism on Labor Arbitration Decisions

Erik Girvan, Grace Deason & Eugene Borgida
Law and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Decades of social-psychological research show that gender bias can result from features of the social context and from individual-level psychological predispositions. Do these sources of bias impact legal decisions, which are frequently made by people subject to factors that have been proposed to reduce bias (training and accountability)? To answer the question, we examined the potential for 3 major social-psychological theories of gender bias (role-congruity theory, ambivalent sexism, and implicit bias) to predict outcomes of labor arbitration decisions. In the first study, undergraduate students and professional arbitrators made decisions about 2 mock arbitration cases in which the gender of the employee-grievants was experimentally manipulated. Student participants' decisions showed the predicted gender bias, whereas the decisions of experienced professionals did not. Individual-level attitudes did not predict the extent of the observed bias and accountability did not attenuate it. In the second study, arbitrators' explicit and implicit gender attitudes were significant predictors of their decisions in published cases. The laboratory and field results suggest that context, expertise, and implicit and explicit attitudes are relevant to legal decision-making, but that laboratory experiments alone may not fully capture the nature of their effect on legal professionals' decisions in real cases.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Got brains

Big data and the well-being nexus: Tracking Google search activity by state IQ

Michael McDaniel, Bryan Pesta & Allison Gabriel
Intelligence, May–June 2015, Pages 21–29

Abstract:
In the era of “big data,” internet search activity can provide interesting insight into human behavior. Here we used the Google Correlate algorithm (a database tracking billions of user searches) to identify search terms that co-varied most strongly with U.S. state-level IQ and well-being (see Pesta, McDaniel, & Bertsch, 2010). First, we identified the 100 strongest positive (e.g., crock pot applesauce, custom woodworking) and negative (e.g., ASVAB for Dummies, Hello Kitty) search term covariates for state IQ. We then rationally clustered search terms into composites (e.g., “food,” “job seeking activity”) based on similarity of concept. Thereafter, we correlated the composite scores with other well-being variables (e.g., crime, health). Search-term composite scores correlated strongly with all well-being variables. We offer post-hoc explanations for the various composite-score correlations, showing how state differences in internet search activity fit within the “well-being nexus” for the U.S. Moreover, we explore how the use of Google Correlate can inform additional research inquires in this domain.

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Estimating the strength of genetic selection against heritable g in a sample of 3520 Americans, sourced from MIDUS II

Michael Woodley of Menie et al.
Personality and Individual Differences, November 2015, Pages 266–270

Abstract:
The relationship between IQ and completed fertility among a sample of 3520 Americans from MIDUS II (1960's birth cohorts) is examined using a common factor comprised of eight cognitive ability measures, in order to determine the rate of phenotypic IQ loss due to genetic selection. Negative correlations are present in both the male and female subsamples, and are associated with a predicted loss in heritable g (g.h) of − .262 points per decade, increasing to − 1.072 points when the additive effect of mutation accumulation is considered. The ability–fertility associations showed Jensen effects at the level of the whole sample (.167), and also separately for each sex (.185 and .147 for the females and males respectively). The magnitude of the expected g.h loss in this cohort due to selection is comparable to that derived from a meta-analysis of disattenuated decadal g.h declines from eight US studies (− .44 points per decade; N = 127,389). There is a Flynn effect in the US amounting to gains of 3.6 points per decade, which are concentrated on more environmentally plastic and specialized sources of ability variance (s.e) suggesting co-occurrent socio-ecological specialization with respect to narrower cognitive abilities in the present cohort.

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By their words ye shall know them: Evidence of genetic selection against general intelligence and concurrent environmental enrichment in vocabulary usage since the mid 19th century

Michael Woodley et al.
Frontiers in Psychology, April 2015

Abstract:
It has been theorized that declines in general intelligence (g) due to genetic selection stemming from the inverse association between completed fertility and IQ and the Flynn effect co-occur, with the effects of the latter being concentrated on less heritable non-g sources of intelligence variance. Evidence for this comes from the observation that 19th century populations were more intellectually productive, and also exhibited faster simple reaction times than modern ones, suggesting greater information-processing ability and therefore higher g. This co-occurrence model is tested via examination of historical changes in the utilization frequencies of words from the highly g-loaded WORDSUM test across 5.9 million texts spanning the period 1850–2005. Consistent with predictions, words with higher difficulties (δ parameters from Item Response Theory) and stronger negative correlations between pass rates and completed fertility declined in use over time whereas less difficult and less strongly selected words, increased in use over time, consistent with a Flynn effect stemming in part from the vocabulary enriching effects of increases in population literacy. These findings persisted when explicitly controlled for word age, changing literacy rates and temporal autocorrelation. These trends constitute compelling evidence for the co-occurrence model.

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When Higher Working Memory Capacity Hinders Insight

Marci DeCaro, Charles Van Stockum & Mareike Wieth
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, forthcoming

Abstract:
Higher working memory capacity (WMC) improves performance on a range of cognitive and academic tasks. However, a greater ability to control attention sometimes leads individuals with higher WMC to persist in using complex, attention-demanding approaches that are suboptimal for a given task. We examined whether higher WMC would hinder insight problem solving, which is thought to rely on associative processes that operate largely outside of close attentional control. In addition, we examined whether characteristics of the insight problems influence whether this negative relationship will be revealed. In Experiment 1, participants completed matchstick arithmetic problems, which require a similar initial problem representation for all problems. Higher WMC was associated with less accurate insight problem solving. In Experiment 2, participants completed insight word problems, which require substantially different representations for each problem. Higher WMC was again negatively associated with insight, but only after statistically controlling for shared variance between insight and incremental problem-solving accuracy. These findings suggest that WMC may benefit performance on fundamental processes common to both incremental and insight problem solving (e.g., initial problem representation), but hinder performance on the processes that are unique to insight (e.g., solution and restructuring). By considering the WMC of the individual, and the nature of the insight task, we may better understand the process of insight and how to best support it.

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A randomized controlled trial of brain training with non-action video games in older adults: Results of the 3-month follow-up

Soledad Ballesteros et al.
Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, April 2015

Abstract:
This randomized controlled study (ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02007616) investigated the maintenance of training effects of 20 1-hr non-action video game training sessions with selected games from a commercial package on several age-declining cognitive functions and subjective wellbeing after a 3-month no-contact period. Two groups of cognitively normal older adults participated in both the post-training (posttest) and the present follow-up study, the experimental group who received training and the control group who attended several meetings with the research team during the study but did not receive training. Groups were similar at baseline on demographics, vocabulary, global cognition, and depression status. Significant improvements in the trained group, and no variation in the control group had been previously found at posttest, in processing speed, attention and visual recognition memory, as well as in two dimensions of subjective wellbeing. In the current study, improvement from baseline to 3 months follow-up was found only in wellbeing (Affection and Assertivity dimensions) in the trained group whereas there was no change in the control group. Previous significant improvements in processing speed, attention and spatial memory become non-significant after the 3-month interval. Training older adults with non-action video games enhanced aspects of cognition just after training but this effect disappeared after a 3-month no-contact follow-up period. Cognitive plasticity can be induced in older adults by training, but to maintain the benefits periodic boosting sessions would be necessary.

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Dietary nitrate modulates cerebral blood flow parameters and cognitive performance in humans: A double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover investigation

Emma Wightman et al.
Physiology & Behavior, October 2015, Pages 149–158

Abstract:
Nitrate derived from vegetables is consumed as part of a normal diet and is reduced endogenously via nitrite to nitric oxide. It has been shown to improve endothelial function, reduce blood pressure and the oxygen cost of sub-maximal exercise, and increase regional perfusion in the brain. The current study assessed the effects of dietary nitrate on cognitive performance and prefrontal cortex cerebral blood-flow (CBF) parameters in healthy adults. In this randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-groups study 40 healthy adults received either placebo or 450 ml beetroot juice (~ 5.5 mmol nitrate). Following a 90 minute drink/absorption period, participants performed a selection of cognitive tasks that activate the frontal cortex for 54 min. Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) was used to monitor CBF and hemodynamics, as indexed by concentration changes in oxygenated and deoxygenated-haemoglobin, in the frontal cortex throughout. The bioconversion of nitrate to nitrite was confirmed in plasma by ozone-based chemi-luminescence. Dietary nitrate modulated the hemodynamic response to task performance, with an initial increase in CBF at the start of the task period, followed by consistent reductions during the least demanding of the three tasks utilised. Cognitive performance was improved on the serial 3s subtraction task. These results show that single doses of dietary nitrate can modulate the CBF response to task performance and potentially improve cognitive performance, and suggest one possible mechanism by which vegetable consumption may have beneficial effects on brain function.

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The effect of implementation intentions on transfer of training

Shlomit Friedman & Simcha Ronen
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Two experiments investigated the effect of forming implementation intentions on transfer of training in two training programs. In the first experiment (N = 37), trainees who formed implementation intentions implemented active listening skills sooner, and to a greater degree, than those in the control group. In the second experiment (n = 28), conducted in the field, trainees who formed implementation intentions received a higher performance score for implementing the trained behavior compared with those in the control condition. Results from both experiments provide empirical evidence suggesting that forming implementation intentions at the end of a training program increases the likelihood of using the newly acquired skills.

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Comparing the developmental genetics of cognition and personality over the lifespan

Daniel Briley & Elliot Tucker-Drob
Journal of Personality, forthcoming

Objective: Empirical studies of cognitive ability and personality have tended to operate in isolation of one another. We suggest that returning to a unified approach to considering the development of individual differences in both cognition and personality can enrich our understanding of human development.

Method: We draw on previous meta-analyses of longitudinal, behavior genetic studies of cognition and personality across the lifespan, focusing particular attention on age trends in heritability and differential stability.

Results: Both cognition and personality are moderately heritable and exhibit large increases in stability with age; however, marked differences are evident. First, the heritability of cognition increases substantially with child age, while the heritability of personality decreases modestly with age. Second, increasing stability of cognition with age is overwhelmingly mediated by genetic factors, whereas increasing stability of personality with age is entirely mediated by environmental factors. Third, the maturational time-course of stability differs: Stability of cognition nears its asymptote by the end of the first decade of life, whereas stability of personality takes three decades to near its asymptote.

Conclusions: We discuss how proximal gene-environment dynamics, developmental processes, broad social contexts, and evolutionary pressures may intersect to give rise to these divergent patterns.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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