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Monday, March 24, 2014

Fire away

Minimum Wage Effects on Permanent Versus Temporary Minimum Wage Employment

Michele Campolieti, Morley Gunderson & Byron Lee
Contemporary Economic Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
We estimate the effect of minimum wages on employment using the Master Files of the Canadian Labour Force Survey over the recent period 1997–2008. Particular attention is paid to the differences between permanent and temporary minimum wage workers — an important distinction not made in the existing literature. Our estimates for permanent and temporary minimum wage workers combined are at the lower end of estimates based on Canadian studies estimated over earlier time periods, suggesting that the adverse employment effects are declining over time for reasons discussed. Importantly, the adverse employment effects are substantially larger for permanent compared to temporary minimum wage workers; in fact they fall almost exclusively on permanent minimum wage workers.

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Labor Laws and Innovation

Viral Acharya, Ramin Baghai & Krishnamurthy Subramanian
Journal of Law and Economics, November 2013, Pages 997-1037

Abstract:
When contracts are incomplete, dismissal laws prevent employers from arbitrarily discharging employees and thereby limit employers’ ability to hold up innovating employees after an innovation is successful. Therefore, dismissal laws can enhance employees’ innovative efforts and encourage firms to invest in risky but potentially groundbreaking projects. Other forms of labor laws that do not affect dismissal of employees do not have this bright side. We find support for these predictions in empirical tests that exploit country-level changes in dismissal laws in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany: more stringent dismissal laws foster innovation, particularly in innovation-intensive industries, but other labor laws do not.

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Do Labour Laws Increase Equality at the Expense of Higher Unemployment? The Experience of Six OECD Countries, 1970-2010

Simon Deakin, Jonas Malmberg & Prabirjit Sarkar
University of Cambridge Working Paper, February 2014

Abstract:
Using longitudinal data on labour law in France, Germany, Japan, Sweden, the UK and the USA for the four decades after 1970, we estimate the impact of labour regulation on unemployment and equality, using labour’s share of national income as a proxy for the latter. We employ a dynamic panel data analysis which distinguishes between short-run and long-run effects of legal change. We find that worker-protective labour laws in general have no consistent relationship to unemployment but are positively correlated with equality. Laws relating to working time and employee representation are found to have beneficial impacts on both efficiency and distribution.

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Technology Adoption, Turbulence, and the Dynamics of Unemployment

Georg Duernecker
Journal of the European Economic Association, forthcoming

Abstract:
Starting in the late 1970s, European unemployment began to increase while US unemployment remained constant. At the same time, capital-embodied technical change began to accelerate, and the United States adopted the new capital much faster than Europe. I argue that these two facts are related. The main idea is that if there is capital-embodied technical change, then the unemployment rate depends critically on how obsolete the installed capital stock is compared to the frontier. In particular, European workers initially worked with relatively obsolete capital, and so they lacked the skills required to work with frontier capital. When they lost their jobs they therefore stayed unemployed for longer than their American counterparts. I find that this channel accounts for about 70% of the discrepancy between the behavior of unemployment rates in Europe and the United States.

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International trade, risk taking and welfare

G. Vannoorenberghe
Journal of International Economics, March 2014, Pages 363–374

Abstract:
This paper shows that the gains from opening up to international trade are smaller when firms do not fully internalize downward risk. I develop a general equilibrium model with two key assumptions. First, when faced with adverse productivity shocks, employers can lay off workers without fully paying the social costs of their layoff decisions, a common feature of many institutions. Second, when opening to international trade, the elasticity of demand perceived by an industry increases. In this setup, I show that international trade induces firms to take more risk and (i) raises the equilibrium unemployment rate, (ii) increases the volatility of sectoral sales and (iii) increases welfare proportionately less than in the absence of the externality. Inducing firms to internalize the costs of layoff (Blanchard and Tirole, 2003) therefore appears even more important in a globalized world.

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Fit-for-Work – or Work Fit for Disabled People? The Role of Changing Job Demands and Control in Incapacity Claims

Ben Baumberg
Journal of Social Policy, April 2014, Pages 289-310

Abstract:
It remains a puzzle as to why incapacity claims rose in many OECD countries when life expectancy was increasing. While potentially due to hidden unemployment and policy failure, this paper tests a further explanation: that work has become more difficult for disabled workers. It focuses on the UK as a ‘most likely’ case, given evidence of intensification and declining control at work. To get a more objective measure of working conditions, the models use average working conditions in particular occupations, and impute this into the British Household Panel Survey. The results show that people in low-control (but not high-demands) jobs are more likely to claim incapacity benefits in the following year, a result that is robust to a number of sensitivity analyses. Deteriorating job control seems to be a part of the explanation for rising incapacity, and strategies to cut the number of incapacity claimants should therefore consider ways to improve job control. Given the challenges in changing job characteristics, however, an equally important implication is that high levels of incapacity should not just be seen as a result of poor policies and a lack of jobs, but also as a result of the changing nature of work.

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Real Options Approach to Inter-Sectoral Migration of U.S. Farm Labor

Gülcan Önel & Barry Goodwin
American Journal of Agricultural Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The core of the literature on inter-sectoral labor migration is based on net present value models of investment in which individuals are assumed to migrate to take advantage of positive wage differentials. In this article, we argue that a real options approach, taken together with the adjustment costs associated with sectoral relocation, may provide a basis for explaining the migration of farm labor out of the agricultural sector. Given the irreversibility of migration decisions and uncertainty in the economy, potential migrants might choose to postpone migration, even in the face of positive wage differentials. Using annual U.S. employment data from between 1948 and 2009, our results indicate that large elasticities between economic incentives and out-farm migration are observed after a high threshold of wage differentials between farm and off-farm sectors is surpassed.

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Who Works for Startups? The Relation between Firm Age, Employee Age, and Growth

Paige Ouimet & Rebecca Zarutskie
Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Young firms disproportionately employ and hire young workers. On average, young employees in young firms earn higher wages than young employees in older firms. Young employees disproportionately join young firms with greater innovation potential and that exhibit higher growth, conditional on survival. We argue that the skills, risk tolerance, and joint dynamics of young workers contribute to their disproportionate share of employment in young firms. Moreover, an increase in the supply of young workers is positively related to new firm creation in high-tech industries, supporting a causal link between the supply of young workers and new firm creation.

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The Role of Health in Retirement

Alan Gustman & Thomas Steinmeier
NBER Working Paper, February 2014

Abstract:
This paper constructs and estimates a dynamic model of the evolution of health for those over the age of 50 and then embeds that model of health dynamics in a structural, econometric model of retirement and saving. The health model traces the effects of smoking, obesity, alcohol consumption, depression and other proclivities on medical conditions, including hypertension, diabetes, cancer, lung disease, heart problems, stroke, psychiatric problems and arthritis. These in turn influence an overall index of health status based on self-reported health, work limitations and ADLs, which is used to classify the population into good, fair, poor or terrible health. Compared to a situation where the entire population is in good health, the current health status of the population reduces the retirement age of the entire population by an average of about one year. While poor health or terrible health have a great impact on the disutility of work and thus on retirement, fair health as opposed to good health has a relatively minor effect. Smoking depresses full-time work effort by up to 3.5 percentage points by those in the early sixties, reducing the average retirement age by four to five months. Effects of trends in health care and health policies on retirement are also analyzed. Including detailed measurement of health dynamics in a retirement model improves understanding of the effects of health on retirement. It does not, however, influence estimates of the marginal effects of economic incentives on retirement.

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The Effect of 21st Century Military Service on Civilian Labor and Educational Outcomes

Wesley Routon
Journal of Labor Research, March 2014, Pages 15-38

Abstract:
I estimate the effect of military service during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars on civilian labor and educational outcomes using several empirical methodologies including sibling fixed effects and propensity score matching. Since military occupations and training have changed significantly in the past few decades, these effects may be different than those found in previous studies on veterans of earlier theaters. I find that veteran status increases civilian wages by approximately ten percent for minorities but has little or no effect on whites in this regard. Veterans of all demographic groups are found to be equally employable and equally as satisfied with their civilian occupation as non-veterans. For females and minorities, veteran status substantially increases the likelihood one attempts college. These veterans are found to be more apt to pursue and obtain a two year (associate’s) degree instead of a four year (bachelor’s) degree. Lastly, I find mixed evidence that veteran status increases the likelihood of public sector employment.

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A search for evidence of skill mismatch in the aftermath of the great recession

J. Hotchkiss, M. Pitts & F. Rios-Avila
Applied Economics Letters, Spring 2014, Pages 587-592

Abstract:
Using matched individual-level data from the Current Population Survey, this article identifies a significant trend shift upwards in schooling among prime-age labour force leavers following the 2008–2009 recession. However, further evidence discredits skill mismatch as an explanation for that trend shift.

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Do Workers Profit from the Nonprofit Tax Exemption? The Impact of State Tax Exemption on the Nonprofit Wage Differential of Hospital Workers

Paul Byrne
Public Finance Review, March 2014, Pages 199-221

Abstract:
Previous studies on the impact of nonprofit status on employee compensation view nonprofit status as yielding a fixed benefit attributable to the legal prohibition against distributing profits. However, nonprofit status also exempts firms from many federal, state, and local taxes resulting in the size of economic rents varying by the jurisdiction. This study examines how differences in the implied subsidy of state and local tax exemption impact the nonprofit wage differential in the hospital industry. The study also takes advantage of the fact that a significant proportion of nonprofit hospitals are religiously affiliated to control for worker self-selection into the nonprofit sector. Results indicate that nonprofit hospital workers receive a wage premium; however, the wage premium decreases as state tax burden increases. This finding suggests that the nonprofit wage differential is not accentuated by a hospital’s tax-exempt status but is instead a byproduct of the nondistribution constraint.

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College Graduates, Local Retailers, and Community Belonging in the United States

Samuel Stroope et al.
Sociological Spectrum, March/April 2014, Pages 143-162

Abstract:
How do communities retain their highly educated residents? Do local retailers play a role? This study addresses these questions using confidential U.S. census data on locally-oriented retail employment and county-level public-use files. Hierarchical linear modeling is employed to test hypotheses derived from prior research on civic community and migration. The results confirm that state-level local retail employment buffers the extent to which county-level college graduation is associated with county nonmigration. This finding is consistent with civic community theory, suggesting that locally-oriented retailers are a valuable resource for promoting residential stability.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Psych evaluation

Winning Big But Feeling No Better? The Effect of Lottery Prizes on Physical and Mental Health

Benedicte Apouey & Andrew Clark
Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We use British panel data to determine the exogenous impact of income on a number of individual health outcomes: general health status, mental health, physical health problems, and health behaviours (drinking and smoking). Lottery winnings allow us to make causal statements regarding the effect of income on health, as the amount won by winners is largely exogenous. Positive income shocks have no significant effect on self-assessed overall health, but a significant positive effect on mental health. This result seems paradoxical on two levels. First, there is a well-known gradient in health status in cross-sectional data, and second, general health should partly reflect mental health, so that we may expect both variables to move in the same direction. We propose a solution to the first apparent paradox by underlining the endogeneity of income. For the second, we show that lottery winnings are also associated with more smoking and social drinking. General health will reflect both mental health and the effect of these behaviours and so may not improve following a positive income shock.

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School Mobility and Prospective Pathways to Psychotic-Like Symptoms in Early Adolescence: A Prospective Birth Cohort Study

Swaran Singh et al.
Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, forthcoming

Objective: Social adversity and urban upbringing increase the risk of psychosis. We tested the hypothesis that these risks may be partly attributable to school mobility and examined the potential pathways linking school mobility to psychotic-like symptoms.

Method: A community sample of 6,448 mothers and their children born between 1991 and 1992 were assessed for psychosocial adversities (i.e., ethnicity, urbanicity, family adversity) from birth to 2 years, school and residential mobility up to 9 years, and peer difficulties (i.e., bullying involvement and friendship difficulties) at 10 years. Psychotic-like symptoms were assessed at age 12 using the Psychosis-like Symptoms Interview (PLIKSi).

Results: In regression analyses, school mobility was significantly associated with definite psychotic-like symptoms (Odds Ratio [OR] =1.60; 95% Confidence Interval [C.I] =1.07 to 2.38) after controlling for all confounders. Within path analyses, school mobility (Probit co-efficient [β] = 0.108; p = 0.039), involvement in bullying (β = 0.241; p < 0.001), urbanicity (β = 0.342; p = 0.016) and family adversity (β = 0.034; p < 0.001) were all independently associated with definite psychotic-like symptoms. School mobility was indirectly associated with definite psychotic-like symptoms via involvement in bullying (β = 0.018; p = 0.034).

Conclusions: School mobility is associated with increased risk of psychotic-like symptoms both directly and indirectly. The findings highlight the potential benefit of strategies to help mobile students establish themselves within new school environments in order to reduce peer difficulties, and diminish the risk of psychotic-like symptoms. Awareness of mobile students as a possible high-risk population and routine inquiry regarding school changes and bullying experiences may be advisable in mental health care settings.

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Paternal Age at Childbearing and Offspring Psychiatric and Academic Morbidity

Brian D’Onofrio et al.
JAMA Psychiatry, forthcoming

Objective: To examine the associations between advancing paternal age at childbearing and numerous indexes of offspring morbidity.

Design, Setting, and Participants: We performed a population-based cohort study of all individuals born in Sweden in 1973-2001 (N = 2 615 081), with subsets of the data used to predict childhood or adolescent morbidity. We estimated the risk of psychiatric and academic morbidity associated with advancing paternal age using several quasi-experimental designs, including the comparison of differentially exposed siblings, cousins, and first-born cousins.

Results: In the study population, advancing paternal age was associated with increased risk of some psychiatric disorders (eg, autism, psychosis, and bipolar disorders) but decreased risk of the other indexes of morbidity. In contrast, the sibling-comparison analyses indicated that advancing paternal age had a dose-response relationship with every index of morbidity, with the magnitude of the associations being as large or larger than the estimates in the entire population. Compared with offspring born to fathers 20 to 24 years old, offspring of fathers 45 years and older were at heightened risk of autism (hazard ratio [HR] = 3.45; 95% CI, 1.62-7.33), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (HR = 13.13; 95% CI, 6.85-25.16), psychosis (HR = 2.07; 95% CI, 1.35-3.20), bipolar disorder (HR = 24.70; 95% CI, 12.12-50.31), suicide attempts (HR = 2.72; 95% CI, 2.08-3.56), substance use problems (HR = 2.44; 95% CI, 1.98-2.99), failing a grade (odds ratio [OR] = 1.59; 95% CI, 1.37-1.85), and low educational attainment (OR = 1.70; 95% CI, 1.50-1.93) in within-sibling comparisons. Additional analyses using several quasi-experimental designs obtained commensurate results, further strengthening the internal and external validity of the findings.

Conclusions and Relevance: Advancing paternal age is associated with increased risk of psychiatric and academic morbidity, with the magnitude of the risks being as large or larger than previous estimates. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that new genetic mutations that occur during spermatogenesis are causally related to offspring morbidity.

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Ripple Effects of Developmental Disabilities and Mental Illness on Nondisabled Adult Siblings

Barbara Wolfe et al.
Social Science & Medicine, May 2014, Pages 1–9

Abstract:
Developmental disabilities and severe mental illness are costly to the affected individual and frequently to their family as well. Little studied are their nondisabled siblings. Here we examine major life course outcomes (education, employment, and marriage) of these siblings in adulthood using data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study. Our sample comprises 113 individuals with developmental disabilities and 337 of their nondisabled siblings; 97 individuals with mental illness and 235 of their nondisabled siblings; and 17,126 unaffected comparison group members. We find that siblings of individuals with mental illness have less education and less employment than the unaffected comparison group, whereas those who have a sibling with developmental disabilities had normative patterns of education and employment, but less marriage and more divorce. Robustness tests incorporating genetic data do not change the conclusions based on the nongenetic analyses.

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Worrying about the Stock Market: Evidence from Hospital Admissions

Joseph Engelberg & Christopher Parsons
University of California Working Paper, March 2013

Abstract:
Using individual patient records for every hospital in California from 1983-2011, we find a strong inverse link between daily stock returns and hospital admissions, particularly for psychological conditions such as anxiety, panic disorder, or major depression. The effect is nearly instantaneous (within the same day), suggesting that anticipation over future consumption directly influences instantaneous utility, e.g., Caplin and Leahy (2001). Moreover, the effect of such anticipation is path dependent, being strongest during low volatility regimes, and immediately following low returns.

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Long-Term Effects of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence Compared with Non-Sexual War Trauma in Female World War II Survivors: A Matched Pairs Study

Philipp Kuwert et al.
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
The aim of the study was to compare the long-term effects of conflict-related sexual violence experienced at the end of World War II (WWII) with non-sexual WWII trauma (e.g., being exposed to shell shock or physical violence). A total of 27 elderly wartime rape survivors were compared to age- and gender-matched control subjects who were drawn from a larger sample of subjects over 70 years of age who had experienced WWII-related trauma. A modified version of the Posttraumatic Diagnostic Scale was used to assess trauma characteristics and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 was used to assess current psychopathology. Additionally, measures of posttraumatic growth (Posttraumatic Growth Inventory) and social acknowledgement as a trauma survivor (Social Acknowledgement Questionnaire) were used to assess two mediating variables in post-trauma conditions of rape victims. Women exposed to conflict-related sexual violence reported greater severity of PTSD-related avoidance and hyperarousal symptoms, as well as anxiety, compared with female long-term survivors of non-sexual WWII trauma. The vast majority (80.9 %) of these women also reported severe sexual problems during their lifetimes relative to 19.0 % of women who experienced non-sexual war trauma. Women exposed to conflict-related sexual violence also reported greater posttraumatic growth, but less social acknowledgement as trauma survivors, compared to survivors of non-sexual war trauma. The results were consistent with emerging neurobiological research, which suggests that different traumas may be differentially associated with long-term posttraumatic sequelae in sexual assault survivors than in other survivor groups and highlights the need to treat (or better prevent) deleterious effects of conflict-related sexual violence in current worldwide crisis zones.

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Childhood maltreatment and personality disorders in the USA: Specificity of effects and the impact of gender

Rachel Waxman et al.
Personality and Mental Health, February 2014, Pages 30–41

Abstract:
Childhood maltreatment increases the risk for adult personality disorders (PDs), but several PDs or maltreatment types co-occur. Specificity of maltreatment–personality associations is poorly understood. Using a representative US population sample, we identified specific associations between maltreatment types (sexual, physical and emotional abuse and physical and emotional neglect) and PDs after controlling for basic demographics, parental psychopathology, co-occurring maltreatment types and comorbid PD. We then examined interactions of gender and maltreatment in predicting PDs. Each maltreatment type significantly predicted three–four PDs. Borderline and schizotypal PDs were most strongly predicted by sexual abuse, antisocial by physical abuse and avoidant and schizoid by emotional neglect. Specific vulnerabilities differ by gender; maltreated boys may respond with attention seeking and girls with social withdrawal. Findings highlight the importance of evaluating all forms of maltreatment even when they co-occur and can inform development of interventions to prevent personality pathology in at-risk children.

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Suicide assisted by right-to-die associations: A population based cohort study

Nicole Steck et al.
International Journal of Epidemiology, forthcoming

Background: In Switzerland, assisted suicide is legal but there is concern that vulnerable or disadvantaged groups are more likely to die in this way than other people. We examined socio-economic factors associated with assisted suicide.

Methods: We linked the suicides assisted by right-to-die associations during 2003–08 to a census-based longitudinal study of the Swiss population. We used Cox and logistic regression models to examine associations with gender, age, marital status, education, religion, type of household, urbanization, neighbourhood socio-economic position and other variables. Separate analyses were done for younger (25 to 64 years) and older (65 to 94 years) people.

Results: Analyses were based on 5 004 403 Swiss residents and 1301 assisted suicides (439 in the younger and 862 in the older group). In 1093 (84.0%) assisted suicides, an underlying cause was recorded; cancer was the most common cause (508, 46.5%). In both age groups, assisted suicide was more likely in women than in men, those living alone compared with those living with others and in those with no religious affiliation compared with Protestants or Catholics. The rate was also higher in more educated people, in urban compared with rural areas and in neighbourhoods of higher socio-economic position. In older people, assisted suicide was more likely in the divorced compared with the married; in younger people, having children was associated with a lower rate.

Conclusions: Assisted suicide in Switzerland was associated with female gender and situations that may indicate greater vulnerability such as living alone or being divorced, but also with higher education and higher socio-economic position.

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Regular Aerobic Exercise Increases Dispositional Mindfulness in Men: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Hendrik Mothes et al.
Mental Health and Physical Activity, forthcoming

Abstract:
Dispositional mindfulness is a construct described as the propensity to be aware of one’s actions in everyday life. Although high dispositional mindfulness has been demonstrated to be beneficial for improved mental and physical health, little is known about ways to improve dispositional mindfulness for individuals not practicing meditation or mindful exercises. The study aimed at investigating (1) whether dispositional mindfulness can also be trained by regular aerobic exercise and (2) whether changes in dispositional mindfulness are associated with changes in mental and physical health. 149 healthy men were randomly allocated to one of two 12-week interventions (aerobic exercise or relaxation training) or a waitlist control condition. Dispositional mindfulness and mental and physical health were assessed before and after the intervention by self-report questionnaires. Over the course of the intervention, increases in dispositional mindfulness occurred in the aerobic exercise group but not in the relaxation or waitlist control conditions (p = .018). Increases in dispositional mindfulness were moderately correlated with improvements in mental health. For the first time, this study shows that dispositional mindfulness can be increased through regular aerobic exercise. Future research is needed to identify how the mindfulness-enhancing potential of aerobic exercise can be used most effectively.

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Shorter telomeres with high telomerase activity are associated with raised allostatic load and impoverished psychosocial resources

Argita Zalli et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent work has linked psychological stress with premature cellular aging as indexed by reduced leukocyte telomere length. The combination of shorter telomeres with high telomerase activity (TA) may be indicative of active cell stress. We hypothesized that older individuals characterized by shorter telomeres with high TA in unstimulated leukocytes would show signs of high allostatic load and low levels of protective psychosocial resources. We studied 333 healthy men and women aged 54–76 y who underwent laboratory testing in which we measured cardiovascular, neuroendocrine, and inflammatory responses to standardized mental stress tasks. The tasks elicited prompt increases in blood pressure (BP), heart rate, cortisol, and mediators of inflammation and reductions in heart rate variability, returning toward baseline levels following stress. However, men having shorter telomeres with high TA showed blunted poststress recovery in systolic BP, heart rate variability, and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, together with reduced responsivity in diastolic BP, heart rate, and cortisol, in comparison to men with longer telomeres or men with shorter telomeres and low TA. Shorter telomeres with high TA were also associated with reduced social support, lower optimism, higher hostility, and greater early life adversity. These effects were independent of age, socioeconomic status, and body mass index. We did not observe differences among older women. Our findings suggest that active cell stress is associated with impaired physiological stress responses and impoverished psychosocial resources, reflecting an integration of cellular, systemic, and psychological stress processes potentially relevant to health in older men.

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The effect of the physical environment and levels of activity on affective states

Florence-Emilie Kinnafick & Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani
Journal of Environmental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The physical environment and physical activity can independently improve positive affect. The current studies investigated the effects of two opposing environments (urban versus natural) and levels of activity (walking and sitting) on affective states in either a laboratory (study 1) or an outdoor setting (study 2). While doing each activity (walking and sitting in each environment), participants watched film clips of urban or natural outdoor settings (study 1), or were naturally immersed in an urban or a natural environment (study 2). Measures of affect were administered pre, mid and post each condition. Findings highlighted the benefits of being immersed in a natural outdoor environment with physical activity being key for positive effects on energy. Short bouts of sedentary behaviour increased state negative affect, tiredness, and decreased energy levels. Attempts by policy-makers, urban planners and public health promoters should encourage greater use of natural open space to promote acute psychological well-being.

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Overt head movements moderate the effect of depressive symptoms on mood regulation

Juan Rahona et al.
Cognition & Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
A dysfunction in the regulation of negative mood states is one of the core symptoms of depression. Research has found that levels of depression are associated with the intensity of the mood-regulation deficit. The present study aimed to explore the role the body plays in mood-regulation processes. More specifically, we studied whether head movements can influence mood persistence in dysphoric states. Subsequent to a sad-mood induction, participants were presented with a set of positive pictures immediately after performing either vertical (i.e., nodding) or lateral (i.e., shaking) head movements. We considered changes in mood from before to after the experimental task as an index of the effectiveness of mood regulation. As expected, the results showed that higher initial levels of depressive symptoms were associated with greater persistence of sad mood. More importantly, this association was present in participants who shook their heads, but not in those who nodded. These results show that body movements can contribute to mood-regulation processes, thus expanding our knowledge of the psychopathology of mood disorders.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Making it happen

Positive Thinking About the Future in Newspaper Reports and Presidential Addresses Predicts Economic Downturn

Timur Sevincer et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has shown that positive thinking, in the form of fantasies about an idealized future, predicts low effort and poor performance. In the studies reported here, we used computerized content analysis of historical documents to investigate the relation between positive thinking about the future and economic development. During the financial crisis from 2007 to 2009, the more weekly newspaper articles in the economy page of USA Today contained positive thinking about the future, the more the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined in the subsequent week and 1 month later. In addition, between the New Deal era and the present time, the more presidential inaugural addresses contained positive thinking about the future, the more the gross domestic product and the employment rate declined in the presidents’ subsequent tenures. These counterintuitive findings may help reveal the psychological processes that contribute to an economic crisis.

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Objects of Desire: Subordinate Ingratiation Triggers Self-Objectification Among the Powerful

Ena Inesi, Sun Young Lee & Kimberly Rios
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2014, Pages 19–30

Abstract:
We propose that powerful individuals can become victims of self-objectification, whereby power-relevant attributes become more important to their self-definition and lead to behavior consistent with that self-definition. This process is triggered by the receipt of ostensibly kind acts from subordinates, which are interpreted by power-holders as objectifying acts of ingratiation. In Studies 1 and 2, high-power participants rated power-relevant attributes as more important to their self-definition, but only after a triggering event (i.e., receiving a favor, reading a scenario about a subordinate who voices agreement with his boss’s ideas). In Studies 3 and 4, high-power participants who received a favor were more likely than others to believe that they are objectified for their power-relevant attributes. As a result, they rated power-relevant attributes as more important to their self-definition (Study 3) and were willing to pay more for products associated with power, but not for products unrelated to power (Study 4).

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Survivor mission: Do those who survive have a drive to thrive at work?

Lauren Eskreis-Winkler, Elizabeth Shulman & Angela Duckworth
Journal of Positive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Are helping professionals who have experienced the same types of struggles as their clients more engaged at work? In the current investigation, we examine this question in samples of police detectives (with and without a history of violent victimization) and mental health workers (with and without a history of mental illness). Our results indicate that police detectives who have experienced violent victimization and mental health professionals who have experienced the same mental illness as their clients do indeed exhibit greater work engagement than their colleagues who lack these parallel life experiences. The link between a professional’s firsthand experience of his/her client’s hardships and work engagement appears to be partially explained by higher levels of grit among police detectives and by a greater sense of life-narrative continuity among mental health professionals.

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Playing 'Hard to Get': An Economic Rationale for Crowding Out of Intrinsically Motivated Behavior

Wendelin Schnedler & Christoph Vanberg
European Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Anecdotal, empirical, and experimental evidence suggests that offering extrinsic rewards for certain activities can reduce people's willingness to engage in those activities voluntarily. We propose a simple rationale for this ‘crowding out’ phenomenon, using standard economic arguments. The central idea is that the potential to earn rewards in return for an activity may create incentives to play ‘hard to get’ in an effort to increase those rewards. We discuss two specific contexts in which such incentives arise. In the first, refraining from the activity causes others to attach higher value to it because it becomes scarce. In the second, restraint serves to conceal the actor's intrinsic motivation. In both cases, not engaging in the activity causes others to offer larger rewards. Our theory yields the testable prediction that such effects are likely to occur when a motivated actor enjoys a sufficient degree of ‘market power.’

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Preliminary evidence of salivary cortisol predicting performance in a controlled setting

Franziska Lautenbach et al.
Psychoneuroendocrinology, April 2014, Pages 218–224

Abstract:
The aims of this study were to examine the influence of salivary cortisol on tennis serve performance in a controlled setting and to investigate if cortisol predicts unique variance in performance beyond a subjective anxiety measure (i.e., Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 [CSAI-2]). Twenty-three tennis players performed two series of second tennis serves separated by an anxiety induction (i.e., arithmetic task). Cortisol was assessed six times during the experiment. Results show that cortisol response and a drop in serving performance are positively correlated (r = .68, p < .001). Cortisol also explains unique variance in performance (i.e., 19%) beyond CSAI-2 measures. Thus, considering cortisol measurements seems warranted in future research aimed at understanding performance.

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Dopamine and the Cognitive Downside of a Promised Bonus

Esther Aarts et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
It is often assumed that the promise of a monetary bonus improves cognitive control. We show that in fact appetitive motivation can also impair cognitive control, depending on baseline levels of dopamine-synthesis capacity in the striatum. These data not only demonstrate that appetitive motivation can have paradoxical detrimental effects for cognitive control but also provide a mechanistic account of these effects.

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Combining Self-Affirmation With Implementation Intentions to Promote Fruit and Vegetable Consumption

Peter Harris et al.
Health Psychology, forthcoming

Objective: The current study tested whether self-affirmation in the context of a threatening health message helps promote a health behavior (fruit and vegetable consumption) over a 3-month period, and whether adding a manipulation to support the translation of intentions into behavior (an implementation intentions induction) enhances the impact of self-affirmation.

Methods: Participants (N = 332, 71% women) reported their baseline consumption and were randomly assigned to condition in a 2 (self-affirmation: yes, no) × 2 (implementation intentions: formed, not formed) between-subjects factorial design. They completed a self-affirmation/control task and then read a health communication advising eating at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables daily. Next participants reported intentions for behavior change, after which they formed/did not form relevant implementation intentions. Consumption was measured again 7 days and 3 months postintervention.

Results: Self-affirmed (vs. nonaffirmed) participants reported eating more fruit and vegetables at both follow-ups. Forming (vs. not forming) implementation intentions was also beneficial for consumption. At 7 days, there was also a significant self-affirmation × implementation intentions interaction: consumption was highest when self-affirmed participants also formed implementation intentions.

Conclusions: The present study offers new evidence concerning the impact and durability of self-affirmation on health behaviors and the role of implementation intentions in enhancing the impact of self-affirmation.

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Using memories to motivate future behaviour: An experimental exercise intervention

Mathew Biondolillo & David Pillemer
Memory, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study tested a novel memory-based experimental intervention to increase exercise activity. Undergraduate students completed a two-part online survey ostensibly regarding college activity choices. At Time 1, they completed questionnaires that included assessments of exercise-related attitudes, motivation and self-reported behaviours. Next, they described a memory of a positive or negative experience that would increase their motivation to exercise; students in a control condition did not receive a memory prompt. Finally, they rated their intentions to exercise in the future. Eight days following Time 1, students received a Time 2 survey that included an assessment of their self-reported exercise during the prior week. Students in the positive memory condition reported higher levels of subsequent exercise than those in the control condition; students in the negative memory condition reported intermediate levels of exercise. Activating a positive motivational memory had a significant effect on students' self-reported exercise activity even after controlling for prior attitudes, motivation and exercise activity.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, March 21, 2014

Pushing the boundaries

Against a ‘world of enemies’: The impact of the First World War on the development of Hitler's ideology

Brendan Simms
International Affairs, March 2014, Pages 317–336

Abstract:
Adolf Hitler's experiences during the First World War have been much discussed, with historians tending to concentrate on his involvement in the fighting and the operational lessons he later claimed to draw. Much less has been written about the impact of the war on his world view, though recent work has tended to suggest that his paranoid anti-Semitism was not yet visible during the conflict. Drawing on this latest research, but also on newly discovered sources and previously underused material, the author shows that Hitler's main preoccupation during the war and its immediate aftermath was the overwhelming power of Great Britain and its American ally. He associated these two powers with the alleged international Jewish economic conspiracy that had crushed the German empire. Hitler's anti-Semitism thus originated in an anti-capitalist, rather than anti-communist, discourse. He blamed Britain and the US for the rigours of the Versailles peace settlement, a moment which was far more politically formative for him than the experience of defeat itself. His encounter with American soldiers in the summer of 1918 also marked his first engagement with the global power of the United States and the start of a belief in the demographic weakness of the German empire which inspired his plans for Lebensraum in the east.

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Precision Weapons, Civilian Casualties, and Support for the Use of Force

James Igoe Walsh
Political Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Precision weapons such as drones have become important elements of the military strategies of the United States and other countries. How does the use of precision weapons influence public support for the use of force? The public is averse to casualties, mission failure, and collateral damage. I argue that precision weapons increase the salience and importance of avoiding civilian harm. Individuals adopt their expectations about the outcomes of using these weapons and have lower tolerance for attacks that result in civilian deaths. This proposition is consistent with the results of two survey experiments. In the first, the possibility of civilian casualties leads to larger declines in support for the use of force than do military casualties or mission failure. In the second, respondents primed with information about an attack with precision weapons exhibited less tolerance for civilian harm than those primed with other weapons systems, despite the fact that the outcomes described to all respondents were identical.

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Flip-Flops and High Heels: An Experimental Analysis of Elite Position Change and Gender on Wartime Public Support

Sarah Croco & Scott Gartner
International Interactions, Winter 2014, Pages 1-24

Abstract:
We address whether politicians ' flip-flopping on support for a war is damaging to their electoral fortunes, and if the gender of the politician has a conditioning effect on this relationship. A series of survey experiments, conducted in 2010 and designed specifically for this project, allows us to examine the causal power of these two cues. Our results challenge the conventional wisdom: respondents do not fault leaders who change their minds about a conflict, and importantly, this effect holds irrespective of the gender of the politician. Instead, individuals react to the policy position the politician currently holds on a war regardless of the politician's consistency and gender.

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Accommodation or Confrontation? Explaining Differences in Policies Toward Iran

Wolfgang Wagner & Michal Onderco
International Studies Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Even though democracies by and large share the perception of Iran as a threat to peace and security, they disagree over the appropriate policy response. This paper examines why some democracies prefer accommodation while others plead for confrontation. Using a new data set on democracies' policies toward Iran in the 2000s, we assess the impact of power positions, commercial interests, and domestic political cultures while controlling for government ideology. While we find little support for any impact of power positions, “cultures of dealing with deviance,” that is, the discourses and practices of dealing with violations of norms domestically as institutionalized in a society's criminal law and justice system, have a substantial and statistically significant effect on state policies. Finally, we find qualified support for commercial liberalism: Whereas high levels of total trade do not have the expected effect of making states more accommodationist, high levels of trade in strategic goods such as oil do.

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Humanitarian Assistance and the Duration of Peace after Civil War

Neil Narang
Journal of Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The principles of humanitarian assistance dictate that aid be distributed in accordance with need while remaining neutral with respect to the political stakes. However, these principles have unique implications in the postconflict context, where need is often correlated with opponents' performance in the previous contest. In these cases, humanitarian assistance is likely to be biased towards the conflict loser. Using a crisis-bargaining framework, this article describes a simple logic for how humanitarian aid can inadvertently undermine peace by creating a revisionist party with the incentive to renegotiate the postwar settlement. The empirical expectations of the theory are tested using a panel dataset of cross-national humanitarian aid expenditures in civil conflicts since the end of the Cold War. As the theory predicts, postconflict states treated with higher levels of humanitarian assistance exhibit shorter spells of peace; however, this effect only occurs after conflicts that ended with a decisive victory.

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The Austrian hunger crisis and the genesis of international organization after the First World War

Patricia Clavin
International Affairs, March 2014, Pages 265–278

Abstract:
From its foundation in 1918, the new Austrian republic was gripped by famine and a crisis of confidence in its currency that threatened to tip the new state into hyperinflation and revolution. This article shows how western efforts to aid Austria combat famine and its financial crisis were linked, and how they had a profound impact on the new League of Nations, the world's first multi-purpose intergovernmental organization. It also demonstrates the importance of the incipient wartime international bureaucracy for League agency. Contrary to the expectations of its architects, member governments, international financiers, businessmen and economists began to see the League as a useful tool to meet common needs that today would be called the search for human security. The article demonstrates how the Austrian food and financial crisis was the founding moment in the institutionalization of international economic and financial coordination, cooperation and oversight. It established the Economic and Financial Organization of the League of Nations, whose work would later inform its successors, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the European Union. The study speaks to the ways in which the notion of security has broadened in the past two decades to embrace economic, social, political and environmental concerns. But the notion of ‘human security’ is not new; it was written into the body of the League.

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Does State Failure Cause Terrorism? An Empirical Analysis (1999–2008)

Bridget Coggins
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
A developed-world consensus ties state failure to new and serious international insecurity. But that conclusion rests upon an uncertain foundation; insights into the nature and intensity of failure-related threats remain tentative and unsystematic. This study begins to remedy the problem, examining the broad relationships between weakness, failure, and terrorism with panel data for 153 countries (1999–2008). I argue that the quantitative literature too often disregards the political context determining terrorism's use, that terrorism is endogenous to many measures of state failure, and that estimates of the failure-related threat of terrorism are overstated. Consistent with these expectations, I find that most failing and failed states are not predisposed to terrorism. However, among the “most failed” states, those at war or experiencing political collapse are significantly more likely to experience and produce terror. These results refine the relationship between failure and external threat and highlight the importance of terrorism's macro-level political context.

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Under Construction: Development, Democracy, and Difference as Determinants of Systemic Liberal Peace

Erik Gartzke & Alex Weisiger
International Studies Quarterly, March 2014, Pages 130–145

Abstract:
The widely documented dyadic democratic peace observation has led to optimism that the spread of democracy might prove pacifying even outside of democratic dyads. Yet, tensions between the logic of liberal peace in dyads and systems suggest that economic development may be better suited than democracy as a determinant of systemic liberal peace. In particular, regime type heterogeneity (difference) stands to increase conflict at the system level. We argue that there exists a systemic developmental peace, in which increased wealth encourages powerful developed nations to discourage other countries from fighting, even as these same developed states continue to use force in service of their own private objectives. We also separate out the effects of aggregate democracy from regime type difference in our analysis. Systemic and cross-level statistical tests support the following propositions: greater systemic development encourages peace, difference propagates war, and increased systemic democracy has no consistent impact on interstate conflict.

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Information, Popular Constraint, and the Democratic Peace

Philip Potter & Matthew Baum
Harvard Working Paper, March 2014

Abstract:
Politicians and scholars have long argued that democracies are less prone to international conflict, at least with other democracies. However, while there is widespread acceptance of this “law” in international affairs, the theoretical mechanism that drives it remains opaque. We argue that the distinctive behavior of democracies arises from very specific features of their political institutions that can facilitate (or hinder) the transmission of information between leaders and the public. Specifically, popular constraint on executive action relies on robust partisan opposition that can blow the whistle on foreign policy failures, and media institutions that can effectively relay this information to the voting public. Crucially, not all democracies are alike when it comes to these institutions, meaning that the “democratic peace” may not actually apply equally to all. We find support for these propositions in time series, cross-sectional analyses of conflict initiation from 1965 to 2006.

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Nuclear Dominoes: A Self-Defeating Prophecy?

Nicholas Miller
Security Studies, Winter 2014, Pages 33-73

Abstract:
Is the nuclear domino theory historically valid? Despite its longstanding centrality to thinking on nuclear proliferation amongst scholars and policymakers, in recent years a revisionist consensus has emerged in opposition to this traditional view. Based on an analysis of historical evidence from the aftermath of the 1964 Chinese nuclear test, this article argues that scholars have gone too far in rejecting the nuclear domino theory. Reactive proliferation has been more prevalent than commonly believed, and while it is true that only India acquired a nuclear arsenal in response to the Chinese test, to a significant extent this is precisely because the United States was aware of the danger of reactive proliferation and worked to stop it. Finally, the historical evidence suggests that the nuclear domino theory is compatible with both domestic and prestige motivations for proliferation in addition to the security motives normally associated with the theory.

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Employment Restrictions and Political Violence in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Sami Miaari, Asaf Zussman & Noam Zussman
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, May 2014, Pages 24–44

Abstract:
Following the outbreak of the Second Intifada in 2000, Israel imposed severe restrictions on the employment of Palestinians within its borders. We study the effect of this policy change on the involvement of West Bank Palestinians in fatal confrontations with Israelis during the first phase of the Intifada. Identification relies on the fact that variation in the pre-Intifada employment rate in Israel across Palestinian localities was not only considerable but also unrelated to prior levels of involvement in the conflict. We find robust evidence that localities that suffered from a sharper drop in employment opportunities were more heavily involved in the conflict.

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The Political Economy of Multilateral Foreign Aid: UNICEF as a Tool of U.S. Foreign Policy

Marek Hlavac
Harvard Working Paper, February 2013

Abstract:
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has long been controlled by the United States. I show that countries that are politically closely aligned with the United States receive more foreign aid from UNICEF. In addition, UNICEF provides more aid to U.S.-friendly governments in recipient countries' election years, but only if those elections are competitive. I conclude that the United States uses UNICEF as a tool of its foreign policy. It uses its influence in an international organization to help aligned governments win elections, but does not want to waste aid money on elections whose result is known ahead of time. None of these findings hold for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) or the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), two U.N. organizations that have not been dominated by the United States.

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Groupthink and Terrorist Radicalization

Eteri Tsintsadze-Maass & Richard Maass
Terrorism and Political Violence, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why do groups adopt terrorism? Major theories of terrorist radicalization assume it to be a rational process whereby groups select terrorism as the policy most likely to advance their goals. Not all terrorism is rational, however, and these theories cannot explain cases when groups pursue terrorism despite it being self-defeating. We distinguish between rational and irrational terrorism, and explain the latter using social psychology's groupthink mechanism. Although terrorists are widely assumed to be vulnerable to groupthink, empirical work on the phenomenon has focused overwhelmingly on decision-making by national executives. We firmly establish the link between groupthink and terrorist radicalization by tracing groupthink's operation through the development of the Weather Underground, an American terrorist group that emerged in the late 1960s and conducted six years of bombings against the U.S. government. All of the antecedent conditions, symptoms, and decision-making defects predicted by groupthink are evident in the Weather Underground, providing valuable evidence of the dangers of irrational radicalization and offering lessons for its prevention.

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Force or Friendship? Explaining Great Power Nonproliferation Policy

Matthew Kroenig
Security Studies, Winter 2014, Pages 1-32

Abstract:
Why do great powers take such different approaches to the issue of nuclear proliferation? Why do states oppose nuclear proliferation more vigorously in some cases than in others? In short, what explains great power nonproliferation policy? To answer these questions, this article tests two competing theories of nonproliferation policy. The first, political relationship theory, suggests that states oppose nuclear proliferation to their enemies but are less concerned when friends acquire nuclear weapons. The second, power-projection theory, argues that states oppose the spread of nuclear weapons to states over which they have the ability to project military power because nuclear proliferation in those situations would constrain their military freedom of action. In contrast, states will be less likely to resist, and more likely to promote, nuclear proliferation to states against which they cannot use force. To test these hypotheses, this article uses evidence from great power nonproliferation policy from 1945 to 2000. While both theories find some support, the power-projection theory performs significantly better. The findings of this article have important implications for international relations theory and US nonproliferation policy.

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Vicarious Revenge and the Death of Osama bin Laden

Mario Gollwitzer et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Three hypotheses were derived from research on vicarious revenge and tested in the context of the assassination of Osama bin Laden in 2011. In line with the notion that revenge aims at delivering a message (the “message hypothesis”), Study 1 shows that Americans’ vengeful desires in the aftermath of 9/11 predicted a sense of justice achieved after bin Laden’s death, and that this effect was mediated by perceptions that his assassination sent a message to the perpetrators to not “mess” with the United States. In line with the “blood lust hypothesis,” his assassination also sparked a desire to take further revenge and to continue the “war on terror.” Finally, in line with the “intent hypothesis,” Study 2 shows that Americans (but not Pakistanis or Germans) considered the fact that bin Laden was killed intentionally more satisfactory than the possibility of bin Laden being killed accidentally (e.g., in an airplane crash).

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Suicide Bombers in Iraq, 2003–2010: Disaggregating Targets Can Reveal Insurgent Motives and Priorities

Katherine Seifert & Clark McCauley
Terrorism and Political Violence, forthcoming

Abstract:
Extending data reported by Mohammed Hafez in 2007, we compiled a database of 1,779 suicide bombers who attempted or completed attacks in Iraq from 2003 through 2010. From 2003 through 2006, monthly totals of suicide bombers show a pattern different from the pattern of non-suicide insurgent attacks, but from 2007 through 2010 the two patterns were similar. This biphasic pattern indicates that suicide attacks sometimes warrant separate analysis but sometimes are just one tactic in a larger envelope of insurgent violence. We also show that only 13 percent of suicide bombers targeted coalition forces and international civilians, primarily during the early years of the conflict, whereas 83 percent of suicide bombers targeted Iraqis (civilians, members of the Anbar Awakening Movement, Iraqi security forces, and government entities) in attacks that extended throughout the duration of the insurgency. These results challenge the idea that suicide attacks are primarily a nationalist response to foreign occupation, and caution that “smart bombs” may be more often sent against soft targets than hard targets. More generally, our results indicate that suicide attacks must be disaggregated by target in order to understand these attacks as the expression of different insurgent priorities at different times.

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Scenarios for Russia's natural gas exports to 2050

Sergey Paltsev
Energy Economics, March 2014, Pages 262–270

Abstract:
Russia is an important energy supplier as it holds the world's largest natural gas reserves and it is the world's largest exporter of natural gas. Despite a recent reduction in Russia's exports to Europe, it plans to build new pipelines. We explore the long-term (up to 2050) scenarios of Russian natural gas exports to Europe and Asia using the MIT Emissions Prediction and Policy Analysis (EPPA) model, a computable general equilibrium model of the world economy. We found that over the next 20–40 years natural gas can still play a substantial role in Russian exports and there are substantial reserves to support a development of the gas-oriented energy system both in Russia and in its current and potential gas importers. Based on the considered scenarios, Russia does not need any new pipeline capacity to the EU unless it wants to diversify its export routes to supply the EU without any gas transit via Ukraine and Belarus. Asian markets are attractive to Russian gas and substantial volumes may be exported there. Relatively cheap shale gas in China may sufficiently alter the prospects of Russian gas, especially in Asian markets. In the Reference scenario, exports of natural gas grow from Russia's current 7 Tcf to 11–12 Tcf in 2030 and 13–14 Tcf in 2050. Alternative scenarios provide a wider range of projections, with a share of Russian gas exports shipped to Asian markets rising to more than 30% by 2030 and almost 50% in 2050. Europe's reliance on LNG imports increases, while it still maintains sizable imports from Russia.

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Grounds for War: The Evolution of Territorial Conflict

Dominic Johnson & Monica Duffy Toft
International Security, Winter 2013/14, Pages 7-38

Abstract:
In international relations, unlike the natural sciences, there are few fundamental principles or laws. The world map, however, reveals at least one iron law of global politics: human territoriality. Almost every inch of the globe is partitioned into exclusive and bounded spaces that “belong” to specific groups of humans. Any that is not — such as Kashmir, Jerusalem, and the South China Sea — remains hotly contested. Throughout history, territory has led to recurrent and severe conflict. States are prepared to go to war, and individuals are prepared to die, even over land with little intrinsic value. While such behavior presents a puzzle for international relations theory, a broader evolutionary perspective reveals that territorial behavior has the following three characteristics: (1) it is common across the animal kingdom, suggesting a convergent solution to a common strategic problem; (2) it is a dominant strategy in the “hawk-dove” game of evolutionary game theory (under certain well-defined conditions); and (3) it follows a strategic logic, but one calibrated to cost-benefit ratios that prevailed in our evolutionary past, not those of the present. These insights generate novel predictions about when territorial conflict is more or less likely to occur in international relations.

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Multi-decadal global cooling and unprecedented ozone loss following a regional nuclear conflict

Michael Mills et al.
Earth's Future, forthcoming

Abstract:
We present the first study of the global impacts of a regional nuclear war with an Earth system model including atmospheric chemistry, ocean dynamics, and interactive sea-ice and land models. A limited, regional nuclear war between India and Pakistan in which each side detonates 50 15-kt weapons could produce about 5 Tg of black carbon. This would self-loft to the stratosphere, where it would spread globally, producing a sudden drop in surface temperatures and intense heating of the stratosphere. Using the Community Earth System Model with the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model (CESM1(WACCM)), we calculate an e-folding time of 8.7 years for stratospheric black carbon, compared to 4–6.5 years for previous studies. Our calculations show that global ozone losses of 20-50% over populated areas, levels unprecedented in human history, would accompany the coldest average surface temperatures in the last 1000 years. We calculate summer enhancements in UV indices of 30-80% over Mid-Latitudes, suggesting widespread damage to human health, agriculture, and terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Killing frosts would reduce growing seasons by 10–40 days per year for 5 years. Surface temperatures would be reduced for more than 25 years, due to thermal inertia and albedo effects in the ocean and expanded sea ice. The combined cooling and enhanced UV would put significant pressures on global food supplies and could trigger a global nuclear famine. Knowledge of the impacts of 100 small nuclear weapons should motivate the elimination of the more than 17,000 nuclear weapons that exist today.

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Anti-Americanism in Europe: Theoretical Mechanisms and Empirical Evidence

Heiko Beyer & Ulf Liebe
European Sociological Review, February 2014, Pages 90-106

Abstract:
One of the most popular explanations for post-9/11 anti-Americanism argues that resentment against America and Americans is mainly a function of the US government’s unpopular actions. The present article challenges this interpretation: first, it argues that neither the vitality of the resentment in times when the United States had no influence in the respective parts of the world nor its recent radical manifestations are accounted for in a political reductionist framework. In fact, specific traditions of anti-Americanism have an influence on the negative attitudes observed today, as a comparison between Britain, France, Germany, and Poland reveals. Second, this article suggests an alternative theoretical approach. Anti-Americanism can be explained by two basic mechanisms: it functions as a strategy to project denied and disliked self-concepts onto an external object, and it offers an interpretation frame for complex social processes that allows to reduce cognitive dissonance. Multivariate analyses based on empirical data collected in the Pew surveys of 2002 and 2007 show the fruitfulness of our theoretical approach.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cultured

Conspicuous Consumption and Political Regimes: Evidence from East and West Germany

Tim Friehe & Mario Mechtel
European Economic Review, April 2014, Pages 62–81

Abstract:
This paper investigates the influence of political regimes on the relative importance of conspicuous consumption. We use the division of Germany into the communist GDR and the democratic FRG and its reunification in 1990 as a natural experiment. Relying on household data that are representative for Germany, our empirical results strongly indicate that conspicuous consumption is relatively more important in East Germany. Significantly, although we find some convergence, a considerable gap in conspicuous consumption expenditures remains even 18 years after the German reunification.

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Observing culture: Differences in U.S.-American and German team meeting behaviors

Nale Lehmann-Willenbrock, Joseph Allen & Annika Meinecke
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, March 2014, Pages 252-271

Abstract:
Although previous research has theorized about team interaction differences between the German and U.S. cultures, actual behavioral observations of such differences are sparse. This study explores team meetings as a context for examining intercultural differences. We analyzed a total of 5,188 meeting behaviors in German and U.S. student teams. All teams discussed the same task to consensus. Results from behavioral process analyses showed that German teams focused significantly more on problem analysis, whereas U.S. teams focused more on solution production. Moreover, U.S. teams showed significantly more positive socioemotional meeting behavior than German teams. Finally, German teams showed significantly more counteractive behavior such as complaining than U.S. teams. We discuss theoretical and pragmatic implications for understanding these observable differences and for improving interaction in intercultural teams.

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Exploring the Microfoundations of International Community: Toward a Theory of Enlightened Nationalism

Calvert Jones
International Studies Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper challenges conventional wisdom about the drivers of international community at the individual level. Presenting new data and a novel natural experiment approach to the study of cross-border contact and international community, it tests some of the key microfoundations of international relations theory about how a sense of shared international community may arise and evolve among individuals. The hypotheses are tested using survey data from a large sample (n = 571) of American study abroad students in a range of universities across a treatment and a control group. Surprisingly, findings do not support the main hypothesis that cross-border contact fosters a sense of shared international community. However, the second hypothesis drawn from the liberal paradigm, suggesting that cross-border contact lowers threat perceptions, is strongly supported. The “Huntingtonian” hypothesis that cross-border contact heightens nationalism also garners wide support. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications for theory and future research, especially the potential of rethinking the drivers of international community at the individual level to rely less on a sense of shared identity and essential sameness, and more on a feeling of “enlightened nationalism” and appreciation for difference.

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Superstition in the Housing Market

Nicole Fortin, Andrew Hill & Jeff Huang
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
We provide the first solid evidence that Chinese superstitious beliefs can have significant effects on house prices in a North American market with a large immigrant population. Using real estate data on close to 117,000 house sales, we find that houses with address number ending in “4” are sold at a 2.2% discount and those ending in “8” are sold at a 2.5% premium in comparison to houses with other addresses. These price effects are found either in neighborhoods with a higher than average percentage of Chinese residents, consistent with cultural preferences, or in repeated transactions, consistent with speculative behavior.

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Cross-Cultural Differences in Categorical Memory Errors

Aliza Schwartz, Aysecan Boduroglu & Angela Gutchess
Cognitive Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Cultural differences occur in the use of categories to aid accurate recall of information. This study investigated whether culture also contributed to false (erroneous) memories, and extended cross-cultural memory research to Turkish culture, which is shaped by Eastern and Western influences. Americans and Turks viewed word pairs, half of which were categorically related and half unrelated. Participants then attempted to recall the second word from the pair in response to the first word cue. Responses were coded as correct, as blanks, or as different types of errors. Americans committed more categorical errors than did Turks, and Turks mistakenly recalled more non-categorically related list words than did Americans. These results support the idea that Americans use categories either to organize information in memory or to support retrieval strategies to a greater extent than Turks and suggest that culture shapes not only accurate recall but also erroneous distortions of memory.

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Richer in Money, Poorer in Relationships and Unhappy? Time Series Comparisons of Social Capital and Well-Being in Luxembourg

Francesco Sarracino
Social Indicators Research, January 2014, Pages 561-622

Abstract:
The worrying decline of social capital (Putnam in Bowling alone: the collapse and revival of American community. Simon and Schuster, New York, 2000) and the disappointing trends of subjective well-being characterising the US (Easterlin in Nations and households in economic growth. Academic Press, New York, 1974; Easterlin and Angelescu in Happiness and growth the world over: time series evidence on the happiness-income paradox, 2009; Easterlin et al. in Proc Natl Acad Sci 107:22463–22468, 2010) raise urgent questions for modern societies: is the erosion of social capital a feature of the more developed and richer countries or is it rather a characteristic aspect of the American society? To test the hypothesis that the erosion of social capital and declining well-being are not a common feature of richer countries, present work focuses on Luxembourg. The main results are: (1) the erosion of social capital is not a legacy of the richest countries in the world; (2) between 1999 and 2008, people in Luxembourg experienced a substantial increase in almost every proxy of social capital; (3) both endowments and trends of social capital and subjective well-being differ significantly within the population. Migrants participate less in social relationships and report lower levels of well-being; (4) the positive relationship between trends of subjective well-being and social capital found in previous literature is confirmed.

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The Country's Crime Rate Moderates the Relation Between Authoritarian Predispositions and the Manifestations of Authoritarianism: A Multilevel, Multinational Study

Michele Roccato, Alessio Vieno & Silvia Russo
European Journal of Personality, January/February 2014, Pages 14–24

Abstract:
We performed a multilevel, multinational test of Stenner's model on authoritarianism using the 2008 European Values Survey dataset (N = 55 199, nested in 38 nations). We focussed on the effects exerted on four authoritarian manifestations (racial intolerance, political intolerance, negative attitudes towards immigrants, and moral intolerance) by the cross-level interaction between participants' authoritarian predispositions (assessed in terms of childrearing values) and their country's crime rate. Associations between authoritarian predispositions and racial intolerance, political intolerance, negative attitudes towards immigrants, and moral intolerance were significantly stronger among participants living in countries characterised by high crime rates than those among participants living in countries with low crime rates. Limitations, implications, and future directions of this study are discussed.

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Cultural differences in responses to real-life and hypothetical trolley problems

Natalie Gold, Andrew Colman & Briony Pulford
Judgment and Decision Making, January 2014, Pages 65–76

Abstract:
Trolley problems have been used in the development of moral theory and the psychological study of moral judgments and behavior. Most of this research has focused on people from the West, with implicit assumptions that moral intuitions should generalize and that moral psychology is universal. However, cultural differences may be associated with differences in moral judgments and behavior. We operationalized a trolley problem in the laboratory, with economic incentives and real-life consequences, and compared British and Chinese samples on moral behavior and judgment. We found that Chinese participants were less willing to sacrifice one person to save five others, and less likely to consider such an action to be right. In a second study using three scenarios, including the standard scenario where lives are threatened by an on-coming train, fewer Chinese than British participants were willing to take action and sacrifice one to save five, and this cultural difference was more pronounced when the consequences were less severe than death.

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Culture and the Role of Exchange vs. Communal Norms in Friendship

Joan Miller et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We conducted three studies among European-American and Hindu Indian populations examining cultural differences in the norms underlying social support in friend relationships. Study 1 investigated the role of communal norms as compared with reciprocal exchange in real life helping interactions among friends; Study 2 compared respondents’ evaluations of contrasting modes of reciprocating help; while Study 3 experimentally tested whether reciprocation reduces readiness to respond to future need. We found that Indians give greater emphasis to communal norms in friend relationships than do Americans, with this effect unrelated to socioeconomic status; and that Americans place greater emphasis on reciprocal exchange, a relaxed form of exchange that is compatible with close interpersonal ties. Our results point to cultural variation in the strength of communal relationships and imply that reciprocal exchange assumes a more prominent role in close relationships than has been previously observed in the communal/exchange tradition.

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Character strengths in 75 nations: An update

Robert McGrath
Journal of Positive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study represents an extension of Park, Peterson, and Seligman, who found substantial convergence across 54 nations and all 50 US states in the self-report of character strengths. Though their overall sample was substantial, some countries were represented by as few as 20 cases. The present study updates their work, using a sample of 1,063,921 adults who completed the Values in Action Inventory-Inventory of Strengths online between 2002 and 2012. The results for 75 nations each represented by at least 150 respondents suggest substantial cross-cultural similarity in endorsement of the strengths. The most highly endorsed character strengths were Honesty, Fairness, Kindness, Judgment, and Curiosity, while the least endorsed were Self-Regulation, Modesty, Prudence, and Spirituality. Though the participants probably represent a biased sample for many of the countries examined in the study, these results suggest grounds exist for cross-cultural dialog on how to advance the development of good character.

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An economic–genetic theory of corporate corruption across cultures: An interactive effect of wealth and the 5HTTLPR-SS/SL frequency on corporate corruption mediated by cultural endorsement of self-protective leadership

Dejun Tony Kong
Personality and Individual Differences, June 2014, Pages 106–111

Abstract:
Corruption research largely rests on institutional and economic theories. Biological, psychological, and anthropological theories and research can provide unique insights on corporate corruption. Following the emerging perspective of gene–environment interaction in cross-cultural research, the current research presents an economic–genetic theory of corporate corruption across cultures. By examining 30 societies, I found a positive interactive effect of wealth and the 5HTTLPR-SS/SL frequency on corporate corruption mediated by cultural endorsement of self-protective leadership (CESPL). Additionally, the 5HTTLPR-SS/SL frequency moderated the positive effect of CESPL on corporate corruption and CESPL mediated the wealth effect on corporate corruption in societies with low 5HTTLPR-SS/SL frequencies. These findings shed novel light on research on corporate corruption and cross-cultural leadership.

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Shared Burdens, Personal Costs on the Emotional and Social Consequences of Family Honor

Patricia Rodriguez Mosquera, Leslie Tan & Faisal Saleem
Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, April 2014, Pages 400-416

Abstract:
We present two studies on the consequences of threats to family honor. In Study 1, 99 Pakistanis (67 females, 30 males, 2 undisclosed) and 134 European-Americans (65 females, 69 males) reported a recent insult to their family where the offender was either a family or a non-family member. The insults targeted the family as collective or individual family members other than parents. Across targets, insults to one’s family had more negative emotional (e.g., more intense anger, shame) and social (greater relationship strain) consequences for Pakistanis than for European-Americans. Study 2 examined whether these effects extend to insults to parents. Fifty-one Pakistanis (29 females, 22 males) and 58 European-Americans (30 females, 28 males) responded to an insult-to-parents or an insult-to-self scenario. Insults-to-parents and insults-to-self elicited similar emotional responses among Pakistanis. By contrast, European-Americans responded more negatively (e.g., more intense anger) to an insult-to-self than to an insult-to-parents.

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Cultural Relativity in Perceiving Emotion From Vocalizations

Maria Gendron et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
A central question in the study of human behavior is whether certain emotions, such as anger, fear, and sadness, are recognized in nonverbal cues across cultures. We predicted and found that in a concept-free experimental task, participants from an isolated cultural context (the Himba ethnic group from northwestern Namibia) did not freely label Western vocalizations with expected emotion terms. Responses indicate that Himba participants perceived more basic affective properties of valence (positivity or negativity) and to some extent arousal (high or low activation). In a second, concept-embedded task, we manipulated whether the target and foil on a given trial matched in both valence and arousal, neither valence nor arousal, valence only, or arousal only. Himba participants achieved above-chance accuracy only when foils differed from targets in valence only. Our results indicate that the voice can reliably convey affective meaning across cultures, but that perceptions of emotion from the voice are culturally variable.

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No one likes a copycat: A cross-cultural investigation of children’s response to plagiarism

F. Yang et al.
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, May 2014, Pages 111–119

Abstract:
Copying other people’s ideas is evaluated negatively by American children and adults. The current study investigated the influence of culture on children’s evaluations of plagiarism by comparing children from three countries — the United States, Mexico, and China — that differ in terms of their emphasis on the protection of intellectual property and ideas. Children (3- to 6-year-olds) were presented with videos involving two characters drawing pictures and were asked to evaluate the character who drew unique work or the character who copied someone else’s drawing. The study showed that 5- and 6-year-olds from all three cultures evaluated copiers negatively compared with unique drawers. These results suggest that children from cultures that place different values on the protection of ideas nevertheless develop similar concerns with plagiarism by 5-year-olds.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Penal system

The Public's Increasing Punitiveness and Its Influence on Mass Incarceration in the United States

Peter Enns
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Following more than 30 years of rising incarceration rates, the United States now imprisons a higher proportion of its population than any country in the world. Building on theories of representation and organized interest group behavior, this article argues that an increasingly punitive public has been a primary reason for this prolific expansion. To test this hypothesis, I generate a new over-time measure of the public's support for being tough on crime. The analysis suggests that, controlling for the crime rate, illegal drug use, inequality, and the party in power, since 1953 public opinion has been a fundamental determinant of changes in the incarceration rate. If the public's punitiveness had stopped rising in the mid-1970s, the results imply that there would have been approximately 20% fewer incarcerations. Additionally, an analysis of congressional attention to criminal justice issues supports the argument that the public's attitudes have led, not followed, political elites.

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Criminal Group Embeddedness And The Adverse Effects Of Arresting A Gang's Leader: A Comparative Case Study

Robert Vargas
Criminology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although law enforcement agencies arrest criminal group leaders to dismantle organized crime, few studies have assessed whether such interventions produce adverse effects. Through a mixed-method comparative case study of the Latin Kings and 22 Boys street gangs in Chicago, this article examines the consequences of arresting a gang's leader. Using violent crime data, I show that a spike in violent crime took place in the first month after the arrest of the 22 Boys gang leader. In contrast, the arrest of the Latin Kings gang leader produced no change in violent crime. Using several qualitative data sources, I show that the arrest of the 22 Boys gang leader temporarily led to the gang's withdrawal from its territory, which spurred violent aggression from rival gangs in adjacent territories. In contrast, the Latin Kings gang continued its operations because the gang's prison leaders quickly appointed new leadership. The results suggest that criminal group embeddedness (or the social relations between criminal groups) can contribute to adverse effects in interventions targeting gang or other criminal group leaders.

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Do Gang Members Commit Abnormal Homicide?

Matt DeLisi et al.
American Journal of Criminal Justice, March 2014, Pages 125-138

Abstract:
Gang membership is a robust correlate of homicide offending and victimization, but little is known about the association between gang status and various abnormal forms of homicide (e.g., multiple-victim homicide, sexual homicide, and abduction homicide). The current study utilized data from a large sample of 618 male convicted murderers to empirically examine gang status and diverse forms of homicide perpetration. Gang-involved offenders were nearly three times as likely to commit a normal homicide characterized as a single-victim murder. However, gang members were 64 % less likely to perpetrate multiple-victim murder. In other models, gang status reduced the likelihood of sexual homicide by 75 % and reduced the likelihood of abduction homicide by 56 %. These findings present an anomaly in the gang-homicide literature, and suggestions for additional research are offered.

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Traumatic Brain Injury Among Newly Admitted Adolescents in the New York City Jail System

Fatos Kaba et al.
Journal of Adolescent Health, forthcoming

Purpose: Relatively little is known about the prevalence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) among adolescents who come into contact with the criminal justice system.

Methods: We undertook screening for TBI among newly admitted adolescents in the New York City jail system using a validated TBI screening tool. A convenience sample of 300 male and 84 female screenings was examined.

Results: Screening revealed that 50% of male and 49% of female adolescents enter jail with a history of TBI. Incidence of TBI was assessed using patient health records, and revealed an incidence of 3,107 TBI per 100,000 person-years.

Conclusions: Elevated prevalence and incidence of TBI among incarcerated adolescents may relate to criminal justice involvement as well as friction in jail. Given the large representation of violence as a cause of TBI among our patients, we have begun focus groups with them to elicit meaningful strategies for living with and avoiding TBI.

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Prior problem behavior accounts for the racial gap in school suspensions

John Paul Wright et al.
Journal of Criminal Justice, forthcoming

Purpose: A large body of empirical research finds a significant racial gap in the use of exclusionary school discipline with black students punished at rates disproportionate to whites. Furthermore, no variable or set of variables have yet to account for this discrepancy, inviting speculation that this association is caused by racial bias or racial antipathy. We investigate this link and the possibility that differential behavior may play a role.

Methods: Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class (ECLS-K), the largest sample of school-aged children in the United States, we first replicate the results of prior studies. We then estimate a second model controlling for prior problem behavior.

Results: Replicating prior studies, we first show a clear racial gap between black and white students in suspensions. However, in subsequent analyses the racial gap in suspensions was completely accounted for by a measure of the prior problem behavior of the student – a finding never before reported in the literature.

Conclusions: These findings highlight the importance of early problem behaviors and suggest that the use of suspensions by teachers and administrators may not have been as racially biased as some scholars have argued.

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Probable posttraumatic stress disorder in a sample of urban jail detainees

Dawn Ruzich, Jessica Reichert & Arthur Lurigio
International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examined the nature and extent of probable posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among men in a substance abuse treatment program in a large urban jail. Specifically, it explored the prevalence of probable PTSD and other psychiatric problems among jail detainees, the types of trauma detainees experienced during different phases of their lives, and how those experiences might have contributed to the development of probable PTSD. Results showed that psychiatric problems were quite serious; nearly one-quarter of the sample reported previous psychiatric hospitalization, and nearly 10% were being currently treated with psychiatric medication. In addition, 21% of the sample met the criteria for probable PTSD, a rate five times greater than that in the general population. The current study suggests that the presence of probable PTSD among male detainees should be incorporated into the creation and implementation of jail-based behavioral healthcare services, including screening, assessment, and clinical interventions. Furthermore, in-custody drug treatment programs should adopt trauma-informed strategies for all program participants as the expected standard of care.

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The Effect and Implications of Sex Offender Residence Restrictions: Evidence from a Two-State Evaluation

Beth Huebner et al.
Criminology & Public Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
We evaluated the efficacy of sex offender residence restrictions in Michigan and Missouri using a quasi-experimental design with propensity score matching. First, we examined the implementation of the laws and found that sex offenders in both states were less likely to live in restricted areas after the implementation of the laws than the prerestriction sample, but the differences were not statistically significant. In our outcome analysis, we find little evidence that residence restrictions changed the prevalence of recidivism substantially for sex offenders in the postrelease period. In Michigan, trends indicate that the implementation of the laws led to a slight increase in recidivism among the sex offender groups, whereas in Missouri, this effect resulted in a slight decrease in recidivism. Technical violations also declined for both groups in Missouri. The small effect sizes, inconsistent results across states, and the null results between sex offender and non–sex offender models cast doubt on the potential usefulness of the laws to influence individual patterns of recidivism broadly.

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The ‘pains’ of electronic monitoring: A slap on the wrist or just as bad as prison?

Brian Payne, David May & Peter Wood
Criminal Justice Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
The purpose of this research is to examine whether inmates that have served electronic monitoring (EM) find it more punitive than offenders that have not served electronic monitoring. We asked a sample of 1194 inmates currently incarcerated in a Midwestern state to estimate exchange rates of electronic monitoring over prison by rating how many months of EM they would serve to avoid 12 months in prison. The results indicate that inmates view EM as less punitive than prison and that monitored offenders find EM more punitive than unmonitored offenders. Additionally, black inmates were more likely to have served EM than white inmates and older inmates find EM more punitive than younger inmates. Previously monitored offenders report that they will be less likely to rely on family and friends upon release from prison. These results suggest that EM is perceived as a punitive sanction by those that have experienced it. Furthermore, racial differences uncovered here may help explain why minorities view alternative sanctions as particularly punitive and may also partially explain why the experience of EM may negatively impact family relationship among those that have served EM.

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The Minimum Wage and Crime

Andrew Beauchamp & Stacey Chan
B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Does crime respond to changes in the minimum wage? A growing body of empirical evidence indicates that increases in the minimum wage have a displacement effect on low-skilled workers. Economic reasoning provides the possibility that disemployment may cause youth to substitute from legal work to crime. However, there is also the countervailing effect of a higher wage raising the opportunity cost of crime for those who remain employed. We use the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 cohort to measure the effect of increases in the minimum wage on self-reported criminal activity and examine employment–crime substitution. Exploiting changes in state and federal minimum wage laws from 1997 to 2010, we find that workers who are affected by a change in the minimum wage are more likely to commit crime, become idle, and lose employment. Individuals experiencing a binding minimum wage change were more likely to commit crime and work only part time. Analyzing heterogeneity shows those with past criminal connections are especially likely to see decreased employment and increased crime following a policy change, suggesting that reduced employment effects dominate any wage effects. The findings have implications for policy regarding both the low-wage labor market and efforts to deter criminal activity.

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“Last Hired, First Fired”: The Effect of the Unemployment Rate on the Probability of Repeat Offending

Stewart D’Alessio, Lisa Stolzenberg & David Eitle
American Journal of Criminal Justice, March 2014, Pages 77-93

Abstract:
Research examining the connection between the unemployment rate and the aggregate crime is inconclusive. One explanation for the inconsistent findings is that the unemployment rate influences the criminal activity of repeat and first-time offenders in different ways. Results support this thesis by revealing an inverted U-shaped association between the unemployment rate and the probability of repeat offending. The curvilinear relationship likely results from repeat offenders and those lacking a criminal record entering and exiting the labor force at different levels of unemployment. Our findings highlight the role that the unemployment rate plays in affecting repeat offending and underscore the importance of distinguishing between repeat and first-time offending when analyzing the effect of the unemployment rate on crime.

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Mythical numbers and the proceeds of organised crime: Estimating mafia proceeds in Italy

Francesco Calderoni
Global Crime, forthcoming

Abstract:
Organised crime is a field vulnerable to mythical numbers, i.e. exaggerated estimates lacking empirical support, but acquiring acceptance through repetition. The figures on mafia proceeds in Italy are a striking example of this problem. This study proposes an estimation of mafia proceeds in Italy from nine criminal activities (sexual exploitation of women, illicit firearms trafficking, drug trafficking, counterfeiting, the illicit cigarette trade, illicit gambling, illicit waste disposal, loan sharking, and extortion racketeering) by region and type of mafia (Cosa Nostra, Camorra, ‘Ndrangheta, Apulian mafias, and other mafias). The results estimate yearly mafia proceeds at approximately €10.7 bn (0.7% of the Italian GDP), discussing the impact on the regional and national economies and the differences among the types of mafias as to their geographical sources of revenues.

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Cost Analysis of Youth Violence Prevention

Adam Sharp et al.
Pediatrics, March 2014, Pages 448 -453

Background and objective: Effective violence interventions are not widely implemented, and there is little information about the cost of violence interventions. Our goal is to report the cost of a brief intervention delivered in the emergency department that reduces violence among 14- to 18-year-olds.

Methods: Primary outcomes were total costs of implementation and the cost per violent event or violence consequence averted. We used primary and secondary data sources to derive the costs to implement a brief motivational interviewing intervention and to identify the number of self-reported violent events (eg, severe peer aggression, peer victimization) or violence consequences averted. One-way and multi-way sensitivity analyses were performed.

Results: Total fixed and variable annual costs were estimated at $71 784. If implemented, 4208 violent events or consequences could be prevented, costing $17.06 per event or consequence averted. Multi-way sensitivity analysis accounting for variable intervention efficacy and different cost estimates resulted in a range of $3.63 to $54.96 per event or consequence averted.

Conclusions: Our estimates show that the cost to prevent an episode of youth violence or its consequences is less than the cost of placing an intravenous line and should not present a significant barrier to implementation.

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Long-term recidivism of mental health court defendants

Bradley Ray
International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, forthcoming

Abstract:
The first MHC was established in 1997 and now, over 15 years later, there are over 300 mental health courts in the United States. In a relatively short time these courts have become an established criminal justice intervention for persons with a mental illness. However, few studies have looked at the long-term outcomes of MHCs on criminal recidivism. Of the studies evaluating the impact of MHCs on criminal recidivism, most follow defendants after entry into the court during their participation, and only a few have followed defendants after court exit for periods of one or two years. This study follows MHC defendants for a minimum of five years to examine recidivism post-exit with particular attention to MHC completion's effect. Findings show that 53.9% of all MHC defendants were rearrested in the follow-up and averaged 15 months to rearrest. Defendants who completed MHC were significantly less likely to be rearrested (39.6% vs. 74.8%), and went longer before recidivating (17.15 months vs. 12.27 months) than those who did not complete. This study suggests that MHCs can reduce criminal recidivism among offenders with mental illness and that this effect is sustained for several years after defendants are no longer under the court's supervision.

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Maybe I Should Do This Alone: A Comparison of Solo and Co-offending Robbery Outcomes

Marie Skubak Tillyer & Rob Tillyer
Justice Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
There has been a notable increase in co-offending research in recent years, with most studies focusing on the causes and correlates of co-offending. There is little known, however, about the consequences of co-offending and how it may influence crime event outcomes for the offender. The present study compares the monetary reward and arrest risk of solo and co-offending robberies. Data from the National Incident Based Reporting System were analyzed to examine the characteristics and outcomes of robberies perpetrated by one, two, three, and four or more offenders. Though co-offending incidents were associated with greater total property value stolen, co-offending incidents resulted in significantly less property value per offender, controlling for other incident characteristics. The likelihood of an incident resulting in an arrest significantly increased with the number of offenders. We discuss the implications of our findings for theory and research on the real and perceived benefits and costs of co-offending.

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The Role of Transformation Narratives in Desistance Among Released Lifers

Marieke Liem & Nicholas Richardson
Criminal Justice and Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research on desistance emphasizes the importance of the transformation narrative, in which the individual has replaced his old, criminal self with a new, law-abiding self. Key elements of the transformation narrative are generative motivations, the core self, and a sense of agency. Thus far, it is not known what role these elements play in desistance among released lifers. To fill this caveat, we conducted in-depth life interviews with 67 individuals who had served a life sentence. Almost all interviewees presented a transformation narrative that included a good core self and generative motivations, including those who persisted in criminal behavior. We found that individual agency was a key factor distinguishing the paroled lifers from the re-incarcerated lifers. Findings suggest that rather than learning to present a transformation narrative focused on reflecting a good core self and generative motivations, (post-)prison programs should focus on restoring agency to ensure successful re-entry.

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The influence of neighborhood characteristics on police officers' encounters with persons suspected to have a serious mental illness

Shaily Krishan et al.
International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, forthcoming

Objective: Police officers' decisions and behaviors are impacted by the neighborhood context in which police encounters occur. For example, officers may use greater force and be more likely to make arrests in disadvantaged neighborhoods. We examined whether neighborhood characteristics influence police encounters with individuals suspected to have a serious mental illness, addictive disorder, or developmental disability.

Method: We obtained data on 916 encounters from 166 officers in six jurisdictions in Georgia, USA and abstracted geographical data pertaining to the location of these encounters from United States Decennial Census data. Encounters were nested within 163 census tracts. Officer-reported data covered general encounter characteristics, the officer's perception of the subject's condition, subject demographics, use of force, and disposition of the encounter (e.g., arrest v. referral or transport to treatment services). Geographical data included 17 variables representing population and housing characteristics of the census tracts, from which three indices pertaining to neighborhood income, stability, and immigration status were derived using factor-analytic techniques. We then examined associations of these indices with various encounter-related variables using multi-level analysis.

Results: Encounters taking place in higher-income and higher-stability census tracts were more likely to be dispatch-initiated and take place in a private home compared to those in lower-income and lower-stability neighborhoods. In higher-income neighborhoods, encounters were more likely to involve a subject suspected to have a mental illness (as opposed to an addictive disorder or developmental disability) and less likely to involve a subject suspected to have alcohol problems. The officer's level of force used was not associated with neighborhood factors. Regarding disposition, although the likelihood of arrest was unrelated to neighborhood characteristics, encounters taking place in higher-immigrant neighborhoods were more likely to result in referral or transport to services than those in lower-immigrant neighborhoods.

Conclusion: Neighborhood characteristics are important to consider in research on police interactions with individuals with serious mental illnesses, addictive disorders, or developmental disabilities. Such research could inform departmental training policies and procedures based on the needs of the jurisdictions served.

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Profiling, Screening and Criminal Recruitment

Christopher Cotton & Cheng Li
Journal of Public Economic Theory, forthcoming

Abstract:
We model major criminal activity as a game in which a law enforcement officer chooses the rate at which to screen different population groups, and a criminal organization (e.g. drug cartel, terrorist cell) chooses the observable characteristics of its recruits. Our model best describes smuggling or terrorism activities at borders, airports and other security checkpoints. The most effective law enforcement policy imposes only moderate restrictions on the officer's ability to profile. In contrast to models of decentralized crime, requiring equal treatment never improves the effectiveness of law enforcement.

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Estimating the Effect of Crime Risk on Property Values and Time on Market: Evidence from Megan's Law in Virginia

Scott Wentland, Bennie Waller & Raymond Brastow
Real Estate Economics, Spring 2014, Pages 223–251

Abstract:
We examine neighborhood externalities that arise from the perceived risk associated with the proximity of a registered sex offender's residence. We find large negative externality effects on a property's price and liquidity, employing empirical techniques that include a fixed-effects OLS model, a correction for sample selection bias and censoring using a Heckman treatment, and a three-stage least-squares model to account for simultaneity bias in the joint determination of a home's sale price and liquidity. Additionally, we find amplified effects for homes with more bedrooms (a proxy for children) and if the nearby offender is designated by the state as “violent.”

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Limited partnership

Age at Coresidence, Premarital Cohabitation, and Marriage Dissolution: 1985–2009

Arielle Kuperberg
Journal of Marriage and Family, April 2014, Pages 352–369

Abstract:
Does the age at which premarital cohabitors moved in together explain why they have been found to have an increased risk of marital dissolution? Explanations for the increased risk of marriage dissolution among those who marry young center on marital role preparation; for premarital cohabitors, many, if not most, of these roles began at the onset of cohabitation, not marriage. Analyses of the 1995, 2002, and 2006–2010 waves of the National Survey of Family Growth (N = 7,037) revealed that age at coresidence explained a substantial portion of the higher marital dissolution risk of premarital cohabitors. In comparisons standardized by age at coresidence, the difference in risk of marital dissolution between premarital cohabitors and those who married without prior cohabitation (“direct marriers”) was much smaller than in comparisons standardized by age at marriage, and in some models this difference was not significant. Selection into direct marriage and premarital cohabitation was also examined.

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The divorce revolution and generalized trust: Evidence from the United States 1973-2010

Tarja Viitanen
International Review of Law and Economics, June 2014, Pages 25–32

Abstract:
This paper examines the effect of exposure to a culture of easier divorce as a minor on generalized trust using the General Social Survey from 1973-2010. The easier divorce culture is defined as the introduction of no-fault including unilateral divorce reforms across the US. According to the results, the divorce revolution seems to have had some effect on trust levels across the US. While there are no discernible effects for the whole sample of men, there are statistically significant effects for women with an additional year of exposure being associated with a 4 percentage point lower generalized trust in the states with easy divorce culture compared to states with fault based divorce culture. An analysis by sub-group of women indicates that married and divorced/separated women have significantly lower levels of trust associated with exposure to easy divorce culture as a child. The findings are in agreement with the predictions of previous literature regarding no-fault divorce reforms reducing the security offered by marriage, in particular for women.

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Breaking Up Is Hard to Count: The Rise of Divorce in the United States, 1980–2010

Sheela Kennedy & Steven Ruggles
Demography, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article critically evaluates the available data on trends in divorce in the United States. We find that both vital statistics and retrospective survey data on divorce after 1990 underestimate recent marital instability. These flawed data have led some analysts to conclude that divorce has been stable or declining for the past three decades. Using new data from the American Community Survey and controlling for changes in the age composition of the married population, we conclude that there was actually a substantial increase in age-standardized divorce rates between 1990 and 2008. Divorce rates have doubled over the past two decades among persons over age 35. Among the youngest couples, however, divorce rates are stable or declining. If current trends continue, overall age-standardized divorce rates could level off or even decline over the next few decades. We argue that the leveling of divorce among persons born since 1980 probably reflects the increasing selectivity of marriage.

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Intersexual conflict across women’s ovulatory cycle

Steven Gangestad et al.
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
A growing literature shows that the features women find particularly attractive in men vary across the ovulatory cycle. Women furthermore appear to more frequently report attraction to men other than primary partners when they are fertile in their cycle than in the infertile luteal phase. Previous studies have shown that men are more vigilant of or attentive to their primary partners during the fertile phase compared to the luteal phase. This study had several aims: First, to replicate and extend previous findings concerning men’s vigilance of partners using male as well as female reports of men’s behavior; second, to examine changes in women’s behavior toward partners across the cycle; third, to examine ways in which women resist men’s attempts to mate-guard across the cycle. Results indicate that (a) men are particularly self-assertive toward partners when their partners are fertile; (b) similarly, women are especially self-assertive toward partners when they are fertile; (c) women report engaging in more behaviors that resist male vigilance and mate-guarding when they are fertile, especially in ways that are unobservable to male partners; (d) these effects are especially strong when women themselves report greater attraction to men other than partners when they are fertile, compared to the luteal phase.

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Schema via Structure? Personal Network Density and the Moral Evaluation of Infidelity

Markus Schafer
Sociological Forum, March 2014, Pages 120–136

Abstract:
This article considers whether the density of a person's social network is related to his/her moral attitudes toward infidelity. Integrating recent sociological thinking on moral schemas with network theory's insights about deviance and structural independence, I employ data from a representative sample of American men aged 57–85. Findings indicate that men with the densest personal networks are least likely to condone infidelity. This association, moreover, was independent of men's education, their beliefs about religion and sex, and attitudes about their partners, among other factors. The findings imply an affinity between micro-social structure and moral judgment, suggesting that network density can help constrain even the expression of moral attitudes.

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A bogus pipeline approach to studying gender differences in cheating behavior

Terri Fisher & Amy Brunell
Personality and Individual Differences, April–May 2014, Pages 91–96

Abstract:
A bogus pipeline procedure was used to examine whether gender and testing condition influenced 474 college students’ reports of cheating behaviors. Participants were assigned to an anonymous condition, a condition in which they believed that a peer would be handling their completed questionnaires, or one in which they thought they were being monitored by a lie detector. For romantic cheating, gender differences were diminished when participants believed their responses were being monitored by a lie detector, whereas academic cheating did not show this interaction between gender and condition. Hypergender ideology and perception of same-sex friends’ cheating variables were less likely to predict cheating in the pipeline condition than in the other conditions, suggesting that social roles influenced reports of sensitive behaviors unless there was pressure to be honest.

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Imagining the White Picket Fence: Social Class, Future Plans, and Romantic Relationship Quality

Lydia Emery & Benjamin Le
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has established that individuals from a lower social class report lower relationship quality. However, to date, no studies have examined interdependence processes within the relationship as a mechanism underlying this association. The present research investigates the role of planned tangible investments as a mediator between social class and relationship quality. Across two studies, we test this hypothesis correlationally (Study 1) and experimentally (Study 2). As predicted, lower-class individuals reported fewer planned tangible investments, which in turn were associated with lower relationship satisfaction and commitment (Studies 1 and 2), as well as overall satisfaction with life (Study 2). Together, these studies suggest the importance of perceived ability to make future plans for individual and relationship well-being. This research has implications for understanding relationship quality and mental health among lower-class populations, and the findings are discussed in relation to the growing literature on social class and romantic relationships.

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Marriage Age Patterns: A Unifying Theory and Global Evidence

Hanzhe Zhang
University of Chicago Working Paper, February 2014

Abstract:
Around the world, the relationship between age at first marriage and personal income earned in later life has been persistently inverse-U shaped for males: those who marry earlier and later earn significantly less than those who marry around a median age. On the other hand, the correlation between marriage age and personal income for females has been positive until recently in the United States the relationship tends to an inverse-U shape similar to males'. I construct an equilibrium dynamic matching model to explain these relationships and evolutions. The two key drivers are stochastic human capital investment returns and differential fecundity. In equilibrium, individuals of the lowest earning potentials work immediately and marry the earliest. Among the investors who try to improve their labor and marriage prospects, men who more quickly realize their potentials marry earlier and earn more but most women marry early except for the few who can compensate their probable fecundity loss by high expected labor market gain. However, when fecundity becomes less constrained due to technological and social advances, women's optimal marriage timing and personal income-marriage age relationship become more similar to men's. The model also sheds lights on other demographic patterns, such as shrinking gender cap in median age at marriage, spousal matching patterns, and marriage market's influence on career choices.

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Two Decades of Stability and Change in Age at First Union Formation

Wendy Manning, Susan Brown & Krista Payne
Journal of Marriage and Family, April 2014, Pages 247–260

Abstract:
The landscape of union formation has been shifting; Americans are now marrying at the highest ages on record and the majority of young adults have cohabited. Yet little attention has been paid to the timing of cohabitation relative to marriage. Using the National Survey of Families and Households and 4 cycles of the National Survey of Family Growth, the authors examined the timing of marriage, cohabitation, and unions over 20 years. As the median age at first marriage has climbed, the age at cohabitation has remained stable for men and women. The changes in the timing of union formation have been similar according to race/ethnicity. The marked delay in marriage among women and men with low educational attainment has resulted in a near-convergence in the age at first marriage according to education. The authors conclude that the rise in cohabitation has offset changes in the levels and timing of marriage.

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You Looking at Her “Hot” Body May Not be “Cool” for Me: Integrating Male Partners’ Pornography Use into Objectification Theory for Women

Tracy Tylka & Ashley Kroon Van Diest
Psychology of Women Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Within objectification theory research, sexual objectification is typically operationalized as interpersonal sexual objectification — being targets of body evaluation and unwanted sexual advances. We argue that women’s male partners’ pornography use could be integrated within objectification theory as another form of sexual objectification and negatively linked to women’s well-being. College women (N = 171) rated how often their current and previous male partners viewed pornography and whether pornography use bothered them. They also completed measures of objectification theory constructs, internalization of cultural beauty standards, relationship attachment, self-esteem, body appreciation, and negative affect. The extent to which women were bothered by partner pornography use was controlled in all analyses. Path analysis revealed that previous partners’ pornography use (a) directly predicted interpersonal sexual objectification, internalization, and eating disorder symptomatology and (b) indirectly predicted body surveillance and body shame through internalization. In hierarchical regressions, previous partners’ pornography use inversely predicted self-esteem and body appreciation and positively predicted relationship anxiety and negative affect. Current partners’ pornography use was not linked to any criterion. Researchers should more comprehensively examine partners’ pornography use in relation to women’s distress. Practitioners may consider exploring male partners’ pornography use in female clients’ relationship histories and its potential associations with their well-being when relevant to them.

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The ecology of relationships: Meeting locations and cohabitors’ relationship perceptions

Sharon Sassler & Amanda Jayne Miller
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, forthcoming

Abstract:
Locations where individuals meet romantic partners may influence the composition and perceived extent of network social support for relationships. In this article, we use in-depth qualitative interviews to examine how 62 cohabiting couples (124 individuals) met their romantic partners, whether this differentiates respondents’ perceptions of support for their relationships, and how this varies by social class. Many of the cohabiting couples in our sample met through friends and family members who can be considered strong ties. Couples also frequently reported meeting in the community, often while pursuing hobbies. Shared network ties and common interests are often attributed to facilitating the progression of relationships. Couples who met through more anomic settings — at a bar or via the Internet — less often viewed their ways of meeting as socially acceptable; many of these couples devised cover stories to tell others about how they met. Our results suggest that those who meet via weak ties perceive lower levels of support for their unions. Working-class couples meet in more anomic settings or through weaker ties more frequently than their middle-class counterparts. Results are interpreted in light of their implications for the diverging family outcomes of working-class and middle-class young adults.

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Spousal employment and intra-household bargaining power

Francisca Antman
Applied Economics Letters, Spring 2014, Pages 560-563

Abstract:
This article considers the relationship between work status and decision-making power of the head of household and his spouse. I used household fixed effects models to address the possibility that spousal work status may be correlated with unobserved factors that also affect bargaining power within the home. Consistent with the hypothesis that greater economic resources yield greater bargaining power, I found that the spouse of the head of household is more likely to be involved in making decisions when she has been employed. Similarly, the head of household is less likely to be the sole decision-maker when his spouse works.

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Divorce Risk, Wages, and Working Wives: A Quantitative Life-Cycle Analysis of Female Labor Force Participation

Raquel Fernández & Joyce Wong
NBER Working Paper, January 2014

Abstract:
This paper develops a quantitative life-cycle model to study the increase in married women's labor force participation (LFP). We calibrate the model to match key life-cycle statistics for the 1935 cohort and use it to assess the changed environment faced by the 1955 cohort. We find that a higher divorce probability and changes in wage structure are each able to explain a large proportion of the LFP increase. Higher divorce risk increases LFP not because the latter contributes to higher marital assets or greater labor market experience, however. Instead, it is the result of conflicting spousal preferences towards the adjustment of marital consumption in the face of increased divorce risk.

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Euromarriages in Spain: Recent Trends and Patterns in the Context of European Integration

Juan Díez Medrano et al.
Population, Space and Place, March 2014, Pages 157–176

Abstract:
This article examines recent trends and patterns in binational marriages between European citizens in Spain over a 20-year period and the sociodemographic profile and nationality composition of these binational marriages. The analysis relies on aggregate marriage statistics and on marriage register microdata for 2008–2009. We use odds ratios to monitor trends and characteristics of binational marriages and multinomial regression to further examine the sociodemographic profile of these couples. The analysis of marriage records reveals only a modest rise in Euromarriages over the 1990–2009 period. This moderate increase in Euromarriages points towards a weak social impact of the European single market. Moreover, the analysis also suggests that binational marriages more often involve lesser-educated than more-educated individuals. Finally, findings on the social and nationality compositions of binational marriages conform to theoretical predictions drawn from the literatures of marriage markets, endogamy, and social hypergamy. They show that the affinity between Spaniards and European Union (EU-15) citizens is lesser than that between Spaniards and non-Europeans (i.e. Latin Americans). They also show that patterns of binational marriages are highly gender specific. Whereas the affinity between Spanish women and EU-15 men is higher than the affinity between Spanish women and ‘new’ European men, the affinity between Spanish men and ‘new’ European women is higher than the affinity between Spanish men and EU-15 women.

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Marriage, adaptation and happiness: Are there long-lasting gains to marriage?

Salmai Qari
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper uses 23 waves of German panel data and investigates if individuals who decide to marry become permanently happier. Following the same persons over several years we show that they do, thereby challenging a number of recent longitudinal studies in psychology and economics which suggest that individuals fully adapt to the positive impact of marriage. Further, we compare different empirical approaches to measure the extent of adaptation and show that depending on the approach the same sample may generate evidence of full or partial adaptation. This result may be equally important for studies that analyse the nexus of loss compensation and habituation in the context of other life events.

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Too fast, too soon? An empirical investigation into rebound relationships

Claudia Brumbaugh & Chris Fraley
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, forthcoming

Abstract:
A “rebound relationship” is commonly understood as a relationship that is initiated shortly after a romantic breakup — before the feelings about the former relationship have been resolved. However, little research has examined the consequences of quickly beginning new romantic relationships after another has ended. In two studies we examined people who experienced a breakup and assessed their well-being, their feelings about their ex-partner, and whether they were seeing someone new. Analyses indicated that people in new relationships were more confident in their desirability and had more resolution over their ex-partner. Among those in new relationships, the speed with which they began their relationship was associated with greater psychological and relational health. Overall, these findings suggest that rebound relationships may be more beneficial than typically believed.

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Media Exposure and Romantic Relationship Quality: A Slippery Slope?

Abira Reizer & Amir Hetsroni
Psychological Reports, February 2014, Pages 231-249

Abstract:
This study examines whether media consumption predicted relationship quality among 188 college students who were involved in romantic relationships. The respondents assessed their commitment to the relationship, their satisfaction from the relationship, and their tendency to engage in conflicts within the relationship. Media consumption was measured by assessing the time dedicated to television viewing in general, watching specific genres, Internet use, and newspaper reading. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that total TV viewing time statistically predicted lower commitment to the relationship, while viewing of programming focusing on romantic relationships predicted lower satisfaction and stronger tendency to engage in conflicts. Consumption of media other than television and the control factors did not predict any indicator of relationship quality. The pattern of negative associations between TV viewing and relationship quality is discussed with reference to cultivation theory and mood management theory.

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A Friend of Yours Is No Friend of Mine: Jealousy Toward a Romantic Partner’s Friends

Sarah Gomillion, Shira Gabriel & Sandra Murray
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current research examined the novel hypothesis that a romantic partner’s same-sex friends can elicit jealousy by threatening people’s central role in their partner’s life. Thus, we expected that people whose partners were highly central to their lives would be particularly likely to experience jealousy toward their partner’s same-sex friends and that jealousy would be exacerbated when they had reason to doubt their partner’s commitment. Two studies supported our hypotheses. This research highlights how people alter perceptions of their partner’s broader social context to minimize perceived threats to their romantic relationships.

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Spousal Relationship Quality and Cardiovascular Risk: Dyadic Perceptions of Relationship Ambivalence Are Associated With Coronary-Artery Calcification

Bert Uchino, Timothy Smith & Cynthia Berg
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The quality of spousal relationships has been related to physical-health outcomes. However, most studies have focused on relationship positivity or negativity in isolation, despite the fact that many close relationships are characterized by both positive and negative aspects (i.e., ambivalence). In addition, most work has not accounted for the reciprocal nature of close-relationship processes that can have an impact on health. Using a sample of 136 older married couples, we tested whether actor-partner models of relationships that were either primarily positive or ambivalent (i.e., perceived as having both helpful and upsetting aspects) predicted measures of coronary-artery calcification. Results revealed an Actor × Partner interaction whereby coronary-artery calcification scores were highest for individuals who both viewed and were viewed by their spouse as ambivalent. These data are discussed in light of the importance of considering both positive and negative aspects of relationship quality and modeling the interdependence of close relationships.

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Getting Caught and Getting Hitched: An Assessment of the Relationship Between Police Intervention, Life Chances, and Romantic Unions

Nicole Schmidt et al.
Justice Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Little research has assessed the link between formal police intervention, financial hardship, and the formation and quality of romantic relationships. Using data from the Rochester Youth Development Study, we contribute to this literature by examining effects of police intervention at two time points on marriage stability and romantic relationship quality. We find that police intervention during adolescence is associated with increases in financial hardship during young adulthood, which, in turn, decreases the odds of entering into a stable marriage by age 31 and the extent to which those who have a romantic relationship feel their partner is supportive. Early police intervention also is indirectly associated with a reduction in partner satisfaction and an increase in partner violence via young adult arrest. We conclude that even minimally invasive contact with the criminal justice system during adolescence has long-lasting collateral consequences in the family arena.

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In Defense of Self-Love: An Observational Study on Narcissists' Negative Behavior During Romantic Relationship Conflict

Julie Longua Peterson & Tracy DeHart
Self and Identity, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research suggests narcissists respond negatively to ego-threats stemming from both negative evaluative feedback (Bushman, B. J., & Baumeister, R. F. (1998). Threatened egotism, narcissism, self-esteem, and direct and displaced aggression: Does self-love or self-hate lead to violence? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 219–229) and negative social feedback (Twenge, J. M., & Campbell, W. K. (2003). “Isn't it fun to get the respect that we're going to deserve?” Narcissism, social rejection, and aggression. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 261–272). In the current study, we used an observational methodology to examine whether narcissists also respond negatively to romantic relationship conflict. Multi-level analyses revealed that people high (vs. low) in narcissism were observed by independent coders as engaging in significantly more negative behaviors (i.e., criticizing, name-calling, insulting) during a conflict with their romantic partner. Post-conflict, narcissists reported feeling less committed to their relationships, while reporting that their partners felt more committed to their relationships. Together, these results suggest that narcissists self-protectively derogate relationship partners both during and after conflict as a way to defend against relationship-threats.

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Differential effects of intranasal oxytocin on sexual experiences and partner interactions in couples

Behnoush Behnia et al.
Hormones and Behavior, March 2014, Pages 308–318

Abstract:
Knowledge about the effects of the neuropeptide oxytocin (OXT) on human sexual behaviors and partner interactions remains limited. Based on our previous studies, we hypothesize that OXT should be able to positively influence parameters of sexual function and couple interactions. Employing a naturalistic setting involving 29 healthy heterosexual couples (n = 58 participants), we analyzed the acute effects of intranasally administered OXT (24 I.U.) on sexual drive, arousal, orgasm and refractory aspects of sexual behavior together with partner interactions. Data were assessed by psychometric instruments (Acute Sexual Experiences Scale, Arizona Sexual Experience Scale) as well as biomarkers, such as cortisol, α-amylase and heart rate. Intranasal OXT administration did not alter “classical” parameters of sexual function, such as sexual drive, arousal or penile erection and lubrication. However, analysis of variance and a hierarchical linear model (HLM) revealed specific effects related to the orgasmic/post-orgasmic interval as well as parameters of partner interactions. According to HLM analysis, OXT increased the intensity of orgasm, contentment after sexual intercourse and the effect of study participation. According to ANOVA analysis, these effects were more pronounced in men. Men additionally indicated higher levels of sexual satiety after sexual intercourse with OXT administration. Women felt more relaxed and subgroups indicated better abilities to share sexual desires or to empathize with their partners. The effect sizes were small to moderate. Biomarkers indicated moderate psychophysiological activation but were not affected by OXT, gender or method of contraception. Using a naturalistic setting, intranasal OXT administration in couples exerted differential effects on parameters of sexual function and partner interactions. These results warrant further investigations, including subjects with sexual and relationship problems.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, March 17, 2014

Fix

Is Employment Discrimination Based on Tobacco Use Efficient?

Ian Irvine & Hai Nguyen
Contemporary Economic Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Numerous employers in over 20 U.S. states currently discriminate legally against smokers in their hiring policies. We analyze the cost of being a smoker, measured in annual hospital days, and compare this with the cost of being a former smoker, the cost of being obese, and the cost of a variety of other medical conditions, relative to the cost of being a never smoker, using three large recent surveys each having in excess of one hundred thousand observations. The paper also explores the cost of former smokers as determined by the number of years since quitting. Smokers as a whole are not found to be the most costly employees. Furthermore, health costs vary dramatically among smokers of different duration and intensity. As a consequence, our results question the efficiency of such discrimination.

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The Behavioral Economics of Drunk Driving

Frank Sloan, Lindsey Eldred & Yanzhi Xu
Journal of Health Economics, May 2014, Pages 64–81

Abstract:
This study investigates whether drinker-drivers attributes are associated with imperfect rationality or irrationality. Using data from eight U.S. cities, we determine whether drinker-drivers differ from other drinkers in cognitive ability, ignorance of driving while intoxicated (DWI) laws, have higher rates of time preference, are time inconsistent, and lack self-control on other measures. We find that drinker-drivers are relatively knowledgeable about DWI laws and do not differ on two of three study measures of cognitive ability from other drinkers. Drinker-drivers are less prone to plan events involving drinking, e.g., selecting a designated driver in advance of drinking, and are more impulsive. Furthermore, we find evidence in support of hyperbolic discounting. In particular, relative to non-drinker-drivers, the difference between short- and long-term discount rates is much higher for drinker-drivers than for other drinkers. Implications of our findings for public policy, including incapacitation, treatment, and educational interventions, are discussed.

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Cannabis Use and Neurocognitive Functioning in a Non-Clinical Sample of Users

April Thames, Natalie Arbid & Philip Sayegh
Addictive Behaviors, forthcoming

Objective: With the recent debates over marijuana legalization and increases in use, it is critical to examine its role in cognition. While many studies generally support the adverse acute effects of cannabis on neurocognition, the non-acute effects remain less clear. The current study used a cross-sectional design to examine relationships between recent and past cannabis use on neurocognitive functioning in a non-clinical adult sample.

Method: One hundred and fifty-eight participants were recruited through fliers distributed around local college campuses and the community. All participants completed the Brief Drug Use History Form, the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Disorders, underwent urine toxicology screening, and neurocognitive assessment. Participants consisted of recent users (n = 68), past users (n = 41), and non-users (n = 49).

Results: Recent users demonstrated significantly (p < .05) worse performance than non-users across cognitive domains of attention/working memory (M = 42.4, SD = 16.1 vs. M = 50.5, SD = 10.2), information processing speed (M = 44.3, SD = 7.3 vs. M = 52.1, SD = 11.0), and executive functioning (M = 43.6, SD = 13.4 vs. M = 48.6, SD = 7.2). There were no statistically significant differences between recent users and past users on neurocognitive performance. Frequency of cannabis use in the last 4 weeks was negatively associated with global neurocognitive performance and all individual cognitive domains. Similarly, amount of daily cannabis use was negatively associated with global neurocognitive performance and individual cognitive domains.

Conclusions: Our results support the widespread adverse effects of cannabis use on neurocognitive functioning. Although some of these adverse effects appear to attenuate with abstinence, past users’ neurocognitive functioning was consistently lower than non-users.

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Explaining Racial/Ethnic Differences in Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment Completion in the United States: A Decomposition Analysis

Brendan Saloner, Nicholas Carson & Benjamin Lê Cook
Journal of Adolescent Health, forthcoming

Purpose: To identify contributors to racial/ethnic differences in completion of alcohol and marijuana treatment among adolescents at publicly funded providers.

Methods: The 2007 Treatment Episode Data Set provided substance use history, treatment setting, and treatment outcomes for youth aged 12–17 years from five racial/ethnic groups (N = 67,060). Individual-level records were linked to variables measuring the social context and service system characteristics of the metropolitan area. We implemented nonlinear regression decomposition to identify variables that explained minority-white differences.

Results: Black and Hispanic youth were significantly less likely than whites to complete treatment for both alcohol and marijuana. Completion rates were similar for whites, Native Americans, and Asian-Americans, however. Differences in predictor variables explained 12.7% of the black-white alcohol treatment gap and 7.6% of the marijuana treatment gap. In contrast, predictors explained 57.4% of the Hispanic-white alcohol treatment gap and 19.8% of the marijuana treatment gap. While differences in the distribution of individual-level variables explained little of the completion gaps, metropolitan-level variables substantially contributed to Hispanic-white gaps. For example, racial/ethnic composition of the metropolitan area explained 41.0% of the Hispanic-white alcohol completion gap and 23.2% of the marijuana completion gap. Regional differences in addiction treatment financing (particularly use of Medicaid funding) explained 13.7% of the Hispanic-white alcohol completion gap and 9.8% of the Hispanic-white marijuana treatment completion gap.

Conclusions: Factors related to social context are likely to be important contributors to white-minority differences in addiction treatment completion, particularly for Hispanic youth. Increased Medicaid funding, coupled with culturally tailored services, could be particularly beneficial.

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Changes in Alcohol Use after Traumatic Experiences: The Impact of Combat on Army National Guardsmen

Dale Russell et al.
Drug and Alcohol Dependence, forthcoming

Objective: This research documents the impact of combat experiences on alcohol use and misuse among National Guard soldiers. Whereas much research regarding combat personnel is based on post-experience data, this study's design uses both pre- and post-deployment data to identify the association between different types of combat experiences and changes in substance use and misuse.

Method: A National Guard Infantry Brigade Combat Team was surveyed before and after its deployment to Iraq in 2005-2006. Members of the unit completed anonymous surveys regarding behavioral health and alcohol use and, in the post-survey, the combat experiences they had during deployment. The unit was surveyed three months prior to its deployment and three months after its deployment.

Results: Prevalence rates of alcohol use increased from 70.8% pre-deployment to 80.5% post-deployment. Prevalence rates of alcohol misuse more than doubled, increasing from 8.51% before deployment to 19.15% after deployment. However, among the combat experiences examined in this study, changes in alcohol misuse post-deployment appear to be solely affected by the combat experience of killing. Alcohol misuse decreased amongst those who experienced killing during combat.

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Effects of Patient Medication Requests on Physician Prescribing Behavior: Results of A Factorial Experiment

John McKinlay et al.
Medical Care, April 2014, Pages 294-299

Objectives: To estimate the effect of patient requests for medications on physician-prescribing behavior, unconfounded by patient, physician, and practice-setting factors.

Research Design: Two experiments were conducted among 192 primary care physicians, each using different video-based scenarios: an undiagnosed “patient” with symptoms strongly suggesting sciatica, and a “patient” with already diagnosed chronic knee osteoarthritis. Half of patients with sciatica symptoms requested oxycodone, whereas the other half requested something to help with pain. Similarly, half of knee osteoarthritis patients specifically requested celebrex and half requested something to help with pain.

Results: 19.8% of sciatica patients requesting oxycodone would receive a prescription for oxycodone, compared with 1% of those making no specific request (P=0.001). Fifty-three percent of knee osteoarthritis patients requesting celebrex would receive it, compared with 24% of patients making no request (P=0.001). Patients requesting oxycodone were more likely to receive a strong narcotic (P=0.001) and less likely to receive a weak narcotic (P=0.01). Patients requesting celebrex were much less likely to receive a nonselective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (P=0.008). No patient attributes, physician, or organizational factors influenced a physician’s willingness to accede to a patient’s medication request.

Conclusions: In both scenarios, activated patient requests for a medication substantially affected physician-prescribing decisions, despite the drawbacks of the requested medications.

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Policing Cannabis and Drug Related Hospital Admissions: Evidence from Administrative Records

Elaine Kelly & Imran Rasul
Journal of Public Economics, April 2014, Pages 89–114

Abstract:
We evaluate the impact of a policing experiment that depenalized the possession of small quantities of cannabis in the London borough of Lambeth, on hospital admissions related to illicit drug use. To do so, we exploit administrative records on individual hospital admissions classified by ICD-10 diagnosis codes. These records allow the construction of a quarterly panel data set for London boroughs running from 1997 to 2009 to estimate the short and long run impacts of the depenalization policy unilaterally introduced in Lambeth between 2001 and 2002. We find the depenalization of cannabis had significant longer term impacts on hospital admissions related to the use of hard drugs, raising hospital admission rates for men by between 40 and 100% of their pre-policy baseline levels. The impacts are concentrated among men in younger age cohorts. The dynamic impacts across cohorts vary in profile with some cohorts experiencing hospitalization rates remaining above pre-intervention levels three to four years after the depenalization policy is introduced. We combine these estimated impacts on hospitalization rates with estimates on how the policy impacted the severity of hospital admissions to provide a lower bound estimate of the public health cost of the depenalization policy.

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Not All Smokers Die Young: A Model for Hidden Heterogeneity within the Human Population

Morgan Levine & Eileen Crimmins
PLoS ONE, February 2014

Abstract:
The ability of some individuals to reach extreme old age in the presence of clearly high exposure to damaging factors may signal an innate biological advantage. For this study we used data on 4,655 current and never smokers, ages 50 and above, from NHANES III to examine whether long-lived smokers represent a biologically resilient phenotype that could facilitate our understanding of heterogeneity in the aging process. Using a proportional hazards model, our results showed that while smoking significantly increased mortality in most age groups, it did not increase the mortality risk for those who were age 80 and over at baseline. Additionally when comparing the adjusted means of biomarkers between never and current smokers, we found that long-lived smokers (80+) had similar inflammation, HDL, and lung function levels to never smokers. Given that factors which allow some individuals to withstand smoking may also enable others to cope with everyday biological stressors, the investigation of long-lived smokers may eventually allow us to identify molecular and genetic mechanisms which enable longevity extension.

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Should anyone be riding to glory on the now-descending limb of the crack-cocaine epidemic curve in the United States?

Maria Parker & James Anthony
Drug and Alcohol Dependence, forthcoming

Background: Many pre-clinical and clinical researchers do not appreciate the recent decline in United States (US) population-level incidence of crack-cocaine smoking. At present, no more than about 200 young people start using crack-cocaine each day. Ten years ago, the corresponding estimated daily rate was 1,000. This short communication looks into these trends, surrounding evidence on this important public health topic, and checks whether duration-reducing treatment interventions might be responsible, versus selected alternatives.

Methods: Via analyses of standardized computer-assisted self-interview data from the US National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH, 2002-2011; n > 500,000), we evaluated change in incidence estimates, perceived difficulty to acquire crack, risk of using cocaine, treatment entries, and persistence once crack use has started.

Results: We draw attention to a marked overall decline in year-specific incidence rates for crack-cocaine smoking from 2002-2011, especially 2007-2011. There is some variation in estimates of difficulty to acquire crack (p < 0.001) and observed risk of using cocaine among ‘at risk’ susceptibles (p < 0.001), but no appreciable shifts in duration of crack smoking among active users (p > 0.05) nor in proportion of crack users receiving treatment (p > 0.05).

Conclusions: Changing epidemiology of crack-cocaine smoking may rest largely on reductions in newly incident use with no major direct effects due to US cocaine treatment, incarceration, or interdiction. Concurrently, we see quite modest declines in survey-based estimates of cocaine-attributed perceived risk and cocaine availability. As such, we posit that no specific US agency should claim it is ‘riding to glory’ on the descending limb of this epidemic curve.

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Trends in Medical Use, Diversion, and Nonmedical Use of Prescription Medications among College Students from 2003 to 2013: Connecting the Dots

Sean Esteban McCabe et al.
Addictive Behaviors, forthcoming

Objectives: To examine trends in the lifetime and past-year prevalence of medical use, diversion, and nonmedical use of four prescription medication classes (i.e., sedative/anxiety, opioid, sleeping, and stimulant) among college students between 2003 and 2013; and to identify demographic and background characteristics associated with trends in past-year nonmedical use of prescription medications.

Methods: A self-administered, cross-sectional Web survey was conducted in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013 at a large public four-year university in the Midwest United States.

Results: Approximately one in every five individuals reported nonmedical use of at least one prescription medication class in their lifetime. The past-year prevalence of medical use, diversion and nonmedical use of prescription stimulants increased significantly between 2003 and 2013 while the past-year prevalence of medical use, diversion and nonmedical use of prescription opioids decreased significantly over this same time period. The odds of past-year nonmedical use of each prescription medication class were generally greater among males, Whites, members of social fraternities and sororities, and those with a lifetime history of medical use of prescription medications or a past-year history of being approached to divert their prescription medications.

Conclusions: The present study represents the first investigation to demonstrate that trends in medical use of controlled medications parallel changes in diversion and nonmedical use of the same medication class among college students. The findings reinforce the importance of continued monitoring of prescription medication use at colleges to help guide prevention and intervention efforts.

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Correlates of Intentions to Use Cannabis among US High School Seniors in the Case of Cannabis Legalization

Joseph Palamar, Danielle Ompad & Eva Petkova
International Journal of Drug Policy, forthcoming

Background: Support for cannabis (“marijuana”) legalization is increasing in the United States (US). Use was recently legalized in two states and in Uruguay, and other states and countries are expected to follow suit. This study examined intentions to use among US high school seniors if cannabis were to become legally available.

Methods: Data from the last five cohorts (2007-2011) of high school seniors in Monitoring the Future, an annual nationally representative survey of students in the US were utilized. Data were analyzed separately for the 6,116 seniors who reported no lifetime use of cannabis and the 3,828 seniors who reported lifetime use (weighted Ns). We examined whether demographic characteristics, substance use and perceived friend disapproval towards cannabis use were associated with 1) intention to try cannabis among non-lifetime users, and 2) intention to use cannabis as often or more often among lifetime users, if cannabis was legal to use.

Results: Ten percent of non-cannabis-using students reported intent to initiate use if legal and this would constitute a 5.6% absolute increase in lifetime prevalence of cannabis use in this age group from 45.6% (95% CI = 46.6, 44.6) to 51.2% (95% CI = 50.2, 52.2). Eighteen percent of lifetime users reported intent to use cannabis more often if it was legal. Odds for intention to use outcomes increased among groups already at high risk for use (e.g., males, whites, cigarette smokers) and odds were reduced when friends disapproved of use. However, large proportions of subgroups of students normally at low risk for use (e.g., non-cigarette-smokers, religious students, those with friends who disapprove of use) reported intention to use if legal. Recent use was also a risk factor for reporting intention to use as often or more often.

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Impacts of drinking-age laws on mortality in Canada, 1980-2009

Russell Callaghan et al.
Drug and Alcohol Dependence, forthcoming

Background: Given the recent international debates about the effectiveness and appropriate age setpoints for legislated minimum legal drinking ages (MLDAs), the current study estimates the impact of Canadian MLDAs on mortality among young adults. Currently, the MLDA is 18 years of age in Alberta, Manitoba and Québec, and 19 years in the rest of Canada.

Methods: Using a regression-discontinuity approach, we estimated the impacts of the MLDAs on mortality from 1980-2009 among 16-22-year-olds in Canada.

Results: In provinces with an MLDA of 18 years of age, young men slightly older than the MLDA had significant and abrupt increases in all-cause mortality (14.2%, p = 0.002), primarily due to deaths from a broad class of injuries (16.2%, p = 0.008), including fatalities due to motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) (12.7%, p = 0.038). In provinces/territories with an MLDA of 19 years of age, significant jumps appeared immediately after the MLDA among males in all-cause mortality (7.2%, p = 0.003), including injuries from external causes (10.4%, p < 0.001) and MVAs (15.3%, p < 0.001). Among females, there were some increases in mortality following the MLDA, but these jumps were statistically non-significant.

Conclusions: Canadian drinking-age legislation has a powerful impact on youth mortality. Given that removal of MLDA restrictions was associated with sharp upturns in fatalities among young men, the MLDA likely reduces population-level mortality among male youth under the constraints of drinking-age legislation. Alcohol-control policies should target the transition across the MLDA as a pronounced period of mortality risk, especially among males.

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The Myth of Conformity: Adolescents and Abstention from Unhealthy Drinking Behaviors

Carter Rees & Danielle Wallace
Social Science & Medicine, May 2014, Pages 34–45

Abstract:
Adolescent peer groups with pro-drinking group norms are a well-established source of influence for alcohol initiation and use. However, classic experimental studies of social influence, namely ‘minority influence’, clearly indicate social situations in which an individual can resist conforming to the group norm. Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (“Add Health”), a nationally representative sample of adolescents, we find evidence that being a non-drinking adolescent does not unilaterally put youth at risk for drinking onset when faced with a friendship network where the majority of friends drink. Our results also show that a non-drinking adolescent with a majority of drinking friends is significantly less likely to initiate alcohol abuse if he or she has a minority of non-drinking friend(s). Furthermore, a drinking adolescent with a majority of friends who drink has a decreased probability of continuing to drink and has overall lower levels of consumption if he or she has a minority of friends who do not drink. Our findings recognize that adolescent in-group friendships are a mix of behavioral profiles and can perhaps help adolescents continue or begin to abstain alcohol use even when in a friendship group supportive of alcohol use.

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Alcohol Use, Drinking Consequences, and Sensitivity to Social Cues among College Women

Peter Vik et al.
Addictive Behaviors, forthcoming

Abstract:
College students who drink vary in the extent to which they experience drinking consequences, prompting a need to identify factors that differentiate higher-risk drinkers from others. The present study investigated whether difficulty processing subtle social information is related to negative drinking consequences experienced within the past year. Specifically, poor ability to detect subtle non-verbal sarcasm cues was predicted to contribute to drinking consequences. Participants were 39 women, aged 18 to 27 (M = 22), who were enrolled in a public, four-year University. Participants completed a video measure of ability to detect sarcastic comments. After controlling for (high school drinking consequences, maximum drinks in the past 3 months, age), poorer performance in the Simple Sarcasm condition (which provided no cues to others’ intentions) explained an additional 10.8% of the variance in recent drinking consequences (ΔF (1, 34) = 6.15, p = .018). When predicting risky/hazardous alcohol use consequences (e.g., driving intoxicated, fights, unplanned/unprotected sex), Simple Sarcasm again improved prediction by explaining an additional 8.6% of the variance (ΔF (1, 34) = 4.75, p = .036). Sarcasm conditions that provided additional cues to others’ meanings were unrelated to alcohol consequences. Findings are discussed within the context of neurological (orbito-frontal – subcortial) pathways that are common to social information and alcohol reinforcement processes.

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Racial segregation and maternal smoking during pregnancy: A multilevel analysis using the racial segregation interaction index

Tse-Chuan Yang et al.
Social Science & Medicine, April 2014, Pages 26–36

Abstract:
Drawing from both the place stratification and ethnic enclave perspectives, we use multilevel modeling to investigate the relationships between women’s race/ethnicity (i.e., non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, Asian, and Hispanic) and maternal smoking during pregnancy; and examine if these relationships are moderated by racial segregation in the continental United States. The results show that increased interaction with whites is associated with increased probability of maternal smoking during pregnancy for Asian and Hispanic mothers. In addition, racial segregation moderates the relationships between race/ethnicity and maternal smoking. Specifically, living in a less racially segregated area is related to a lower probability of smoking during pregnancy for black women, but it could double and almost triple the probability of smoking for Asian women and Hispanic women, respectively. Our findings provide empirical evidence for both the place stratification and ethnic enclave perspectives.

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Changes in cigarette and alcohol use during cannabis abstinence

David Allsop et al.
Drug and Alcohol Dependence, forthcoming

Objective: Cannabis causes lower mortality and morbidity than alcohol and tobacco so it is clinically important if quitting cannabis is associated with substitution with these substances. This study tests if cannabis is substituted with alcohol and/or tobacco during cannabis abstinence, and factors predicting such substitution.

Method: A secondary analysis of a prospective community based study quantified cannabis, alcohol and tobacco use with Timeline Follow-back during a two-week voluntary cannabis abstinence and at one-month follow-up in non-treatment seeking cannabis users (n = 45). Cannabis use was verified by urine THC-COOH levels.

Results: Alcohol use increased by 8 standard units (SU; d = 0.48)/week and cigarette use by 14 cigarettes/week (d = 0.29) during cannabis abstinence. Those using less of each substance at baseline had greater increases during cannabis abstinence (alcohol P < 0.0001, tobacco P = 0.01). There was a decrease in alcohol (-4.8 SU, d = -0.29) and tobacco (-13 cigarettes/week, d = -0.26) use at follow-up, when most participants (87%, n = 39) had resumed cannabis use. Increased cigarette use was predicted by cannabis withdrawal related sleep difficulty (insomnia) (P = 0.05), restlessness (P = 0.03) and physical symptoms (P = 0.02). Neither alcohol nor cigarette use increased significantly in those (13.3%, n = 6) who remained abstinent from cannabis through to follow-up.

Conclusions: Abstaining from cannabis was associated with increases in alcohol and tobacco use that decreased with resumption of cannabis use; however there were no increases in individuals who remained abstinent from cannabis at one-month follow-up. Tobacco use did not increase in those experiencing milder cannabis withdrawal symptoms. Research on substitution in treatment seekers during outpatient cannabis abstinence is needed.

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‘Me and My Drank:’ Exploring the Relationship Between Musical Preferences and Purple Drank Experimentation

Melanie Hart et al.
American Journal of Criminal Justice, March 2014, Pages 172-186

Abstract:
“Purple drank” is a label typically applied to mixtures of codeine cough syrup with soda, although it has also been applied to mixtures of over-the-counter cough syrups and alcohol. This novel drug formulation was first popularized in the Houston, Texas rap music scene in the 1990’s, and since then references to purple drank have become common in rap and hip-hop songs, but remained virtually absent in other musical genres. Prior research has found that musical preferences can have an influence on choice and frequency of drug use. The goal of the present study is to examine the relationship between musical preferences and experimentation with purple drank. Self-reported information about musical preferences, substance use, and demographic characteristics were collected from 2,349 students at a large university in the southeastern United States. An analysis of lifetime purple drank and other drug use by musical preferences reveals that those who prefer rap/hip-hop music and rock/alternative have the highest risk for reporting purple drank use. Further, this relationship far exceeds the associations between musical preferences and other drugs. Results from logistic regression analyses indicate males, other drug users, and those that prefer rap/hip-hop music have a significantly higher likelihood of using purple drank.

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Association of Unintentional Pediatric Exposures With Decriminalization of Marijuana in the United States

George Wang et al.
Annals of Emergency Medicine, March 2014, Pages 1450-1455

Study objective: We compare state trends in unintentional pediatric marijuana exposures, as measured by call volume to US poison centers, by state marijuana legislation status.

Methods: A retrospective review of the American Association of Poison Control Centers National Poison Data System was performed from January 1, 2005, to December 31, 2011. States were classified as nonlegal if they have not passed legislation, transitional if they enacted legislation between 2005 and 2011, and decriminalized if laws passed before 2005. Our hypotheses were that decriminalized and transitional states would experience a significant increase in call volume, with more symptomatic exposures and more health care admissions than nonlegal states.

Results: There were 985 unintentional marijuana exposures reported from 2005 through 2011 in children aged 9 years and younger: 496 in nonlegal states, 93 in transitional states, and 396 in decriminalized states. There was a slight male predominance, and the median age ranged from 1.5 to 2.0 years. Clinical effects varied, with neurologic effects the most frequent. More exposures in decriminalized states required health care evaluation and had moderate to major clinical effects and critical care admissions compared with exposures from nonlegal states. The call rate in nonlegal states to poison centers did not change from 2005 to 2011. The call rate in decriminalized states increased by 30.3% calls per year, and transitional states had a trend toward an increase of 11.5% per year.

Conclusion: Although the number of pediatric exposures to marijuana reported to the National Poison Data System was low, the rate of exposure increased from 2005 to 2011 in states that had passed marijuana legislation.

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Effects of Reward Sensitivity and Regional Brain Volumes on Substance Use Initiation in Adolescence

Sne┼żana Urošević et al.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
This longitudinal study examines associations between baseline individual differences and developmental changes in reward (i.e., behavioral approach system (BAS)) sensitivity and relevant brain structures' volumes to prospective substance use initiation during adolescence. A community sample of adolescents ages 15 to 18 with no prior substance use was assessed for substance use initiation (i.e., initiation of regular alcohol use and/or any use of other substances) during a two-year follow-up period and for alcohol use frequency in the last year of the follow-up. Longitudinal increases in BAS sensitivity were associated with substance use initiation and increased alcohol use frequency during the follow-up. Moreover, adolescents with smaller left nucleus accumbens (Nacc) at baseline were more likely to initiate substance use during the follow-up period. The present study provides support for the link between developmental increases in reward sensitivity and substance use initiation in adolescence. The study also emphasizes the potential importance of individual differences in volumes of subcortical regions and their structural development for substance use initiation during adolescence.

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Development of Impulse Control Circuitry in Children of Alcoholics

Jillian Hardee et al.
Biological Psychiatry, forthcoming

Background: Difficulty with impulse control is heightened in children with a family history of alcohol use disorders and is a risk factor for later substance problems. Cross-sectional fMRI studies have shown altered impulse control processing in family history positive adolescents, yet developmental trajectories have yet to be examined.

Methods: Longitudinal fMRI was conducted in children of alcoholic (FH+; n=43) and control families (FH-; n=30) starting at ages 7-12yr. Participants performed a go/no-go task during fMRI at 1- to 2-yr intervals, with 2-4 scans per subject. We implemented a repeated-measures linear model fit across all subjects to conduct a whole-brain search for developmental differences between groups.

Results: Performance improved with age in both groups and there were no performance differences between groups. Significant between-group differences in linear age-related activation changes were found in the right caudate, middle cingulate, and middle frontal gyrus. Post-hoc analyses revealed significant activation decreases with age in the caudate and middle frontal gyrus for FH- subjects, and a significant increase with age in middle cingulate activation for the FH+ group. Group differences were evident as early as age 7-12yr, even in alcohol and drug naïve participants, with the FH+ group showing significantly blunted activation compared to FH- subjects at baseline.

Conclusions: Differences in response inhibition circuitry are visible as early as childhood in FH+ individuals; this continues into adolescence, displaying trajectories that are inconsistent with normal response inhibition development. These patterns precede problem drinking and may be a contributing factor for subsequent substance problems.

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Decreased delay discounting in former cigarette smokers at one year after treatment

Roberto Secades-Villa et al.
Addictive Behaviors, forthcoming

Abstract:
Current cigarette smokers exhibit greater delay discounting relative to ex-smokers. However, few studies have assessed longitudinal changes in delay discounting and cigarette smoking. The purpose of this study was to assess changes in delay discounting of hypothetical monetary rewards and smoking among treatment-seeking smokers (N = 80) at baseline, after 6 weeks of behavioral treatment, and at 12-months follow-up. Results showed no changes in delay discounting in either smokers or abstainers at the end-of-treatment. In contrast, at 12-months follow-up, significant decreases in delay discounting were observed in abstainers while delay discounting remained the same for smokers. To our knowledge, this is the first study to observe significant decreases in delay discounting following prolonged smoking abstinence. Such findings provide evidence that delay discounting may have more state-like characteristics than previously believed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Between you and me

Pronoun Use Reflects Standings in Social Hierarchies

Ewa Kacewicz et al.
Journal of Language and Social Psychology, March 2014, Pages 125-143

Abstract:
Five studies explored the ways relative rank is revealed among individuals in small groups through their natural use of pronouns. In Experiment 1, four-person groups worked on a decision-making task with randomly assigned leadership status. In Studies 2 and 3, two-person groups either worked on a task or chatted informally in a get-to-know-you session. Study 4 was a naturalistic study of incoming and outgoing e-mail of 9 participants who provided information on their correspondents’ relative status. The last study examined 40 letters written by soldiers in the regime of Saddam Hussein. Computerized text analyses across the five studies found that people with higher status consistently used fewer first-person singular, and more first-person plural and second-person singular pronouns. Natural language use during group interaction suggests that status is associated with attentional biases, such that higher rank is linked with other-focus whereas lower rank is linked with self-focus.

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An experimental demonstration of the effect of group size on cultural accumulation

Marius Kempe & Alex Mesoudi
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Cumulative culture is thought to have played a major role in hominin evolution, and so an understanding of the factors that affect cultural accumulation is important for understanding human evolution. Population size may be one such factor, with larger populations thought to be able to support more complex cultural traits. This hypothesis has been suggested by mathematical models and empirical studies of small-scale societies. However, to date there have been few experimental demonstrations of an effect of population size on cultural accumulation. Here we provide such a demonstration using a novel task, solving jigsaw puzzles. 80 participants divided into ten transmission chains solved puzzles in one of two conditions: one in which participants had access to one semi-completed puzzle from the previous generation, and the other in which participants simultaneously saw three semi-completed puzzles from the previous generation. As predicted, the mean number of pieces solved increased over time in the three-puzzle-per-generation condition, but not in the one-puzzle-per-generation condition. Thus, our experiment provides support for a hypothesized relationship between population size and cultural accumulation. In particular, our results suggest that the ability to simultaneously learn from multiple cultural models, and combine the knowledge of those multiple models, is most likely to allow larger groups to support more complex culture.

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Distinguishing the Role of Authority “In” and Authority “To”

Dan Silverman, Joel Slemrod & Neslihan Uler
Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Authority, and the behavioral response to authority, is central to many important questions in public economics, but has received insufficient attention from economists. In particular, research has not differentiated between legitimate power and the presumption of expert knowledge, what we call authority “to” and authority “in.” In this paper we report on the results of a series of lab experiments designed to distinguish the effects of the two sources of authority on contributions to a public project. The results suggest that authority “to” and authority “in” interact in ways not heretofore understood. Penalizing non-social behavior without expert explanation does not increase voluntary contributions, nor does expert explanation without the threat of penalty, but together they induce more contributions than any other combination of policies. We interpret these findings to indicate that the reaction to an authority depends on whether that authority is perceived to be legitimate.

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Inferring Character From Faces: A Developmental Study

Emily Cogsdill et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Human adults attribute character traits to faces readily and with high consensus. In two experiments investigating the development of face-to-trait inference, adults and children ages 3 through 10 attributed trustworthiness, dominance, and competence to pairs of faces. In Experiment 1, the attributions of 3- to 4-year-olds converged with those of adults, and 5- to 6-year-olds’ attributions were at adult levels of consistency. Children ages 3 and above consistently attributed the basic mean/nice evaluation not only to faces varying in trustworthiness (Experiment 1) but also to faces varying in dominance and competence (Experiment 2). This research suggests that the predisposition to judge others using scant facial information appears in adultlike forms early in childhood and does not require prolonged social experience.

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The Echo Effect: The Power of Verbal Mimicry to Influence Prosocial Behavior

Wojciech Kulesza et al.
Journal of Language and Social Psychology, March 2014, Pages 183-201

Abstract:
Research on the chameleon effect has demonstrated that social benefits, such as liking, safety, rapport, affiliation, and cohesion can be evoked through nonverbal imitation (e.g., body language and mannerisms). Herein, we introduce the echo effect, a less researched phenomenon of verbal mimicry, in a real-world setting. Study participants, 330 currency exchange office customers, were assigned into one of three experimental and two control conditions. Careful attention to research design produced results that address issues raised in the mimicry literature and more clearly define the boundaries of verbal mimicry. The results demonstrate that while repetition of words is important in increasing an individual’s tendency to perform prosocial behaviors, the order in which they are repeated back is not; verbal mimicry is more powerful mechanism than dialogue; and, for nonmimicry control conditions, no response produces the same result as a brief response.

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Friend or Foe? Early Social Evaluation of Human Interactions

Marine Buon et al.
PLoS ONE, February 2014

Abstract:
We report evidence that 29-month-old toddlers and 10-month-old preverbal infants discriminate between two agents: a pro-social agent, who performs a positive (comforting) action on a human patient and a negative (harmful) action on an inanimate object, and an anti-social agent, who does the converse. The evidence shows that they prefer the former to the latter even though the agents perform the same bodily movements. Given that humans can cause physical harm to their conspecifics, we discuss this finding in light of the likely adaptive value of the ability to detect harmful human agents.

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Incentives and group identity

Paolo Masella, Stephan Meier & Philipp Zahn
Games and Economic Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper investigates in a principal-agent environment whether and how group membership influences the effectiveness of incentives and when incentives can have “hidden costs”, i.e., a detrimental effect. We show experimentally that in all interactions control mechanisms can have hidden costs for reasons specific to group membership. In within-group interactions control has detrimental effects because the agent does not expect to be controlled and reacts negatively when being controlled. In between-group interactions, agents perceive control more hostile once we condition on their beliefs about principals' behavior. Our finding contributes to the micro-foundation of psychological effects of incentives.

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The direct perception hypothesis: Perceiving the intention of another’s action hinders its precise imitation

Tom Froese & David Leavens
Frontiers in Psychology, February 2014

Abstract:
We argue that imitation is a learning response to unintelligible actions, especially to social conventions. Various strands of evidence are converging on this conclusion, but further progress has been hampered by an outdated theory of perceptual experience. Comparative psychology continues to be premised on the doctrine that humans and non-human primates only perceive others’ physical “surface behavior,” while mental states are perceptually inaccessible. However, a growing consensus in social cognition research accepts the direct perception hypothesis: primarily we see what others aim to do; we do not infer it from their motions. Indeed, physical details are overlooked – unless the action is unintelligible. On this basis we hypothesize that apes’ propensity to copy the goal of an action, rather than its precise means, is largely dependent on its perceived intelligibility. Conversely, children copy means more often than adults and apes because, uniquely, much adult human behavior is completely unintelligible to unenculturated observers due to the pervasiveness of arbitrary social conventions, as exemplified by customs, rituals, and languages. We expect the propensity to imitate to be inversely correlated with the familiarity of cultural practices, as indexed by age and/or socio-cultural competence. The direct perception hypothesis thereby helps to parsimoniously explain the most important findings of imitation research, including children’s over-imitation and other species-typical and age-related variations.

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Empathy for social exclusion involves the sensory-discriminative component of pain: A within-subject fMRI study

G. Novembre, M. Zanon & G. Silani
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent research has shown that experiencing events that represent a significant threat to social bonds activates a network of brain areas associated with the sensory-discriminative aspects of pain (Kross et al., 2011). In the present study we investigated whether the same brain areas are involved when witnessing social exclusion threats experienced by others. Using a within-subject design, we show that an ecologically valid experience of social exclusion recruits areas coding the somatosensory components of physical pain (posterior insular cortex, and secondary somatosensory cortex). Furthermore, we show that this pattern of activation not only holds for directly experienced social pain, but also during empathy for social pain. Finally, we report that subgenual cingulate cortex is the only brain area conjointly active during empathy for physical and social pain. This supports recent theories that affective processing and homeostatic regulation are at the core of empathic responses.

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Generalized Trust and Intelligence in the United States

Noah Carl & Francesco Billari
PLoS ONE, March 2014

Abstract:
Generalized trust refers to trust in other members of society; it may be distinguished from particularized trust, which corresponds to trust in the family and close friends. An extensive empirical literature has established that generalized trust is an important aspect of civic culture. It has been linked to a variety of positive outcomes at the individual level, such as entrepreneurship, volunteering, self-rated health, and happiness. However, two recent studies have found that it is highly correlated with intelligence, which raises the possibility that the other relationships in which it has been implicated may be spurious. Here we replicate the association between intelligence and generalized trust in a large, nationally representative sample of U.S. adults. We also show that, after adjusting for intelligence, generalized trust continues to be strongly associated with both self-rated health and happiness. In the context of substantial variation across countries, these results bolster the view that generalized trust is a valuable social resource, not only for the individual but for the wider society as well.

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The Role of Subsidies in Coordination Games with Interconnected Risk

Min Gong et al.
Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, forthcoming

Abstract:
Can subsidies promote Pareto-optimum coordination? We found that partially subsidizing the cooperative actions for two out of six players in a laboratory coordination game usually produced better coordination and higher total social welfare with both deterministic and stochastic payoffs. Not only were the subsidized players more likely to cooperate (choose the Pareto-optimum action), but the unsubsidized players increased their expectations on how likely others would cooperate, and they cooperated more frequently themselves. After removal of the subsidy, high levels of coordination continued in most groups with stochastic payoffs but declined in deterministic ones. This carry-over disparity between the deterministic and stochastic settings was consistent with the economic theories that agents were more likely to keep the status quo option under uncertainty than without uncertainty. Hence, players with stochastic payoffs were more likely to keep the high coordination level (status quo) brought by the subsidy in the previous subsidy session. A post-game survey also indicated that with stochastic payoffs, players focused on risk reduction. Temporary subsidies promoted lasting coordination because even after subsidy was removed, players still assumed that others players would prefer reduced risks from cooperation. With deterministic payoffs, however, the subsidy might crowd out other rationales for coordination, with many players indicating that the subsidy was the only reason for anyone to cooperate. Hence, the coordination level dropped when the subsidy was removed.

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Strategic Regulation of Mimicry Effects by Implementation Intentions

Frank Wieber, Peter Gollwitzer & Paschal Sheeran
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2014, Pages 31–39

Abstract:
Although mimicry generally facilitates social interaction, sometimes mimicry effects can hamper pursuit of focal goals. Two studies tested whether the self-regulation strategy of forming implementation intentions (i.e., planning in advance the when, where, and how of one’s goal striving) can be used to regulate mimicry effects. In Study 1, implementation intentions to be non-prejudiced ensured that mimicking increased attraction even for an unlikable person. In Study 2, implementation intentions to be thrifty reduced participants’ susceptibility to the persuasive effects of being mimicked. Mere goal intentions to be non-prejudiced and to be thrifty did not suffice to regulate mimicry effects. We conclude that the strategic automaticity accomplished by implementation intentions allows people to intentionally strengthen (Study 1) and weaken (Study 2) mimicry effects in line with their goals. Implications for the effective self-regulation of mimicry effects are discussed.

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Gender and Cooperation in Children: Experiments in Colombia and Sweden

Juan-Camilo Cárdenas et al.
PLoS ONE, March 2014

Abstract:
In this article we compare cooperation among Colombian and Swedish children aged 9–12. We illustrate the dynamics of the prisoner's dilemma in a new task that is easily understood by children and performed during a physical education class. We find no robust evidence of a difference in cooperation between Colombia and Sweden overall. However, Colombian girls cooperate less than Swedish girls. We also find indications that girls in Colombia are less cooperative than boys. Finally, there is also a tendency for children to be more cooperative with boys than with girls on average.

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Solidarity among the poor

Angela de Oliveira, Catherine Eckel & Rachel Croson
Economics Letters, May 2014, Pages 144–148

Abstract:
We conduct a field experiment with low-income subjects in Dallas, Texas. We examine voluntary, informal risk sharing using a visual representation of the solidarity game developed for low-literacy populations. We find substantially more ‘fixed gift to loser’ behavior and less ‘egotistical’ behavior than in previous studies. Individuals who display ‘egotistical’ behavior are more risk tolerant. The amount of the conditional gifts is positively related to age, income, and connection to the community. However, trust and empathy, which are commonly discussed as drivers for solidarity, are not significantly related to the amount given.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Sensitive

The Mind in the Machine: Anthropomorphism Increases Trust in an Autonomous Vehicle

Adam Waytz, Joy Heafner & Nicholas Epley
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, May 2014, Pages 113-117

Abstract:
Sophisticated technology is increasingly replacing human minds to perform complicated tasks in domains ranging from medicine to education to transportation. We investigated an important theoretical determinant of people's willingness to trust such technology to perform competently - the extent to which a nonhuman agent is anthropomorphized with a humanlike mind - in a domain of practical importance, autonomous driving. Participants using a driving simulator drove either a normal car, an autonomous vehicle able to control steering and speed, or a comparable autonomous vehicle augmented with additional anthropomorphic features - name, gender, and voice. Behavioral, physiological, and self-report measures revealed that participants trusted that the vehicle would perform more competently as it acquired more anthropomorphic features. Technology appears better able to perform its intended design when it seems to have a humanlike mind. These results suggest meaningful consequences of humanizing technology, and also offer insights into the inverse process of objectifying humans.

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Being there: A brief visit to a neighbourhood induces the social attitudes of that neighbourhood

Daniel Nettle et al.
PeerJ, January 2014

Abstract:
There are differences between human groups in social behaviours and the attitudes that underlie them, such as trust. However, the psychological mechanisms that produce and reproduce this variation are not well understood. In particular, it is not clear whether assimilation to the social culture of a group requires lengthy socialization within that group, or can be more rapidly and reversibly evoked by exposure to the group's environment and the behaviour of its members. Here, we report the results of a two-part study in two neighbourhoods of a British city, one economically deprived with relatively high crime, and the other affluent and lower in crime. In the first part of the study, we surveyed residents and found that the residents of the deprived neighbourhood had lower levels of social trust and higher levels of paranoia than the residents of the affluent neighbourhood. In the second part, we experimentally transported student volunteers who resided in neither neighbourhood to one or the other, and had them walk around delivering questionnaires to houses. We surveyed their trust and paranoia, and found significant differences according to which neighbourhood they had been sent to. The differences in the visitors mirrored the differences seen in the residents, with visitors to the deprived neighbourhood reporting lower social trust and higher paranoia than visitors to the affluent one. The magnitudes of the neighbourhood differences in the visitors, who only spent up to 45 min in the locations, were nearly as great as the magnitudes of those amongst the residents. We discuss the relevance of our findings to differential psychology, neighbourhood effects on social outcomes, and models of cultural evolution.

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Physical contact influences how much people pay at celebrity auctions

George Newman & Paul Bloom
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 11 March 2014, Pages 3705-3708

Abstract:
Contagion is a form of magical thinking in which people believe that a person's immaterial qualities or essence can be transferred to an object through physical contact. Here we investigate how a belief in contagion influences the sale of celebrity memorabilia. Using data from three high-profile estate auctions, we find that people's expectations about the amount of physical contact between the object and the celebrity positively predicts the final bids for items that belonged to well-liked individuals (e.g., John F. Kennedy) and negatively predicts final bids for items that belonged to disliked individuals (e.g., Bernard Madoff). A follow-up experiment further suggests that these effects are driven by contagion beliefs: when asked to bid on a sweater owned by a well-liked celebrity, participants report that they would pay substantially less if it was sterilized before they received it. However, sterilization increases the amount they would pay for a sweater owned by a disliked celebrity. These studies suggest that magical thinking may still have effects in contemporary Western societies and they provide some unique demonstrations of contagion effects on real-world purchase decisions.

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How Perceptions of Temporal Distance Influence Satiation

Jeff Galak et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, May 2014, Pages 118-123

Abstract:
Although people recover from satiation with the natural passage of time, we examine whether it is possible to influence the recovery process merely by changing the perceived temporal distance from past consumption. Experiment 1, a field experiment, demonstrates that influencing the perceived temporal distance from dinner-goers' last meal affects the caloric value of the meal purchased (more recent leads to smaller food purchase). In a lab environment controlling for objective temporal distance and initial satiation, Experiment 2 demonstrates that these changes in perceived temporal distance also affect the actual enjoyment of an experience (listening to a favored song). Beyond these reconstructed temporal judgments, Experiment 3 directly manipulates the perceived length of the intervening period since last consumption using an altered time clock, and replicates these effects on satiation. Our findings illustrate that simple manipulations of subjective time perception can influence consumption, even in the presence of very real physiological inputs, and provide further insight into how satiation is constructed.

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The Influence of Social Power on Weight Perception

Eun Hee Lee & Simone Schnall
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
Three studies explored whether social power affects the perception of physical properties of objects, testing the hypothesis that the powerless find objects to be heavier than the powerful do. Correlational findings from Study 1 revealed that people with a low personal sense of power perceived loaded boxes to be heavier than people with a high personal sense of power perceived them to be. In Study 2, experimentally manipulated power indicated that participants in the powerless condition judged the boxes to be heavier than did participants in the powerful condition. Study 3 further indicated that lacking power actively influences weight perception relative to a neutral control condition, whereas having power does not. Although much research on embodied perception has shown that various physiological and psychosocial resources influence visual perception of the physical environment, this is the first demonstration suggesting that power, a psychosocial construct that relates to the control of resources, changes the perception of physical properties of objects.

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A Sense of Embodiment Is Reflected in People's Signature Size

Adhip Rawal et al.
PLoS ONE, February 2014

Background: The size of a person's signature may reveal implicit information about how the self is perceived although this has not been closely examined.

Methods/Results: We conducted three experiments to test whether increases in signature size can be induced. Specifically, the aim of these experiments was to test whether changes in signature size reflect a person's current implicit sense of embodiment. Experiment 1 showed that an implicit affect task (positive subliminal evaluative conditioning) led to increases in signature size relative to an affectively neutral task, showing that implicit affective cues alter signature size. Experiments 2 and 3 demonstrated increases in signature size following experiential self-focus on sensory and affective stimuli relative to both conceptual self-focus and external (non-self-focus) in both healthy participants and patients with anorexia nervosa, a disorder associated with self-evaluation and a sense of disembodiment. In all three experiments, increases in signature size were unrelated to changes in self-reported mood and larger than manipulation unrelated variations.

Conclusions: Together, these findings suggest that a person's sense of embodiment is reflected in their signature size.

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The experience of mathematical beauty and its neural correlates

Semir Zeki et al.
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, February 2014

Abstract:
Many have written of the experience of mathematical beauty as being comparable to that derived from the greatest art. This makes it interesting to learn whether the experience of beauty derived from such a highly intellectual and abstract source as mathematics correlates with activity in the same part of the emotional brain as that derived from more sensory, perceptually based, sources. To determine this, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to image the activity in the brains of 15 mathematicians when they viewed mathematical formulae which they had individually rated as beautiful, indifferent or ugly. Results showed that the experience of mathematical beauty correlates parametrically with activity in the same part of the emotional brain, namely field A1 of the medial orbito-frontal cortex (mOFC), as the experience of beauty derived from other sources.

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Adding odor: Less distress and enhanced attention for 6-month-olds

Caroline Coffield et al.
Infant Behavior and Development, May 2014, Pages 155-161

Abstract:
The effect of odor on cognitive and emotional processes has been studied in adults and children, but less so in infants. In this study twenty-seven six-month-olds were presented with a video while in either an odor (pine or baby-powder) or a no odor control condition. The video was a 92-s audiovisual presentation of a woman expressing happiness and sadness, with the order of emotion counterbalanced. Infant attention (looking time) and emotional expression (smiling, crying, mouthing) were coded. Infants looked longer in the presence of odor and expressed less crying and mouthing but more smiling behavior. Presence of odor markedly reduced infant emotional distress and increased attention, suggesting that the olfactory sensory system provides cues to infants that support mood regulation and maintain attention. These results have implications for optimizing infant environments for emotional health and cognitive development.

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Prime time news: The influence of primed positive and negative emotion on susceptibility to false memories

Stephen Porter et al.
Cognition & Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examined the relation between emotion and susceptibility to misinformation using a novel paradigm, the ambiguous stimuli affective priming (ASAP) paradigm. Participants (N = 88) viewed ambiguous neutral images primed either at encoding or retrieval to be interpreted as either highly positive or negative (or neutral/not primed). After viewing the images, they either were asked misleading or non-leading questions. Following a delay, memory accuracy for the original images was assessed. Results indicated that any emotional priming at encoding led to a higher susceptibility to misinformation relative to priming at recall. In particular, inducing a negative interpretation of the image at encoding led to an increased susceptibility of false memories for major misinformation (an entire object not actually present in the scene). In contrast, this pattern was reversed when priming was used at recall; a negative reinterpretation of the image decreased memory distortion relative to unprimed images. These findings suggest that, with precise experimental control, the experience of emotion at event encoding, in particular, is implicated in false memory susceptibility.

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Brief, pre-learning stress reduces false memory production and enhances true memory selectively in females

Phillip Zoladz et al.
Physiology & Behavior, 10 April 2014, Pages 270-276

Abstract:
Some of the previous research on stress-memory interactions has suggested that stress increases the production of false memories. However, as accumulating work has shown that the effects of stress on learning and memory depend critically on the timing of the stressor, we hypothesized that brief stress administered immediately before learning would reduce, rather than increase, false memory production. In the present study, participants submerged their dominant hand in a bath of ice cold water (stress) or sat quietly (no stress) for 3 min. Then, participants completed a short-term memory task, the Deese-Roediger-McDermott paradigm, in which they were presented with 10 different lists of semantically related words (e.g., candy, sour, sugar) and, after each list, were tested for their memory of presented words (e.g., candy), non-presented unrelated "distractor" words (e.g., hat), and non-presented semantically related "critical lure" words (e.g., sweet). Stress, overall, significantly reduced the number of critical lures recalled (i.e., false memory) by participants. In addition, stress enhanced memory for the presented words (i.e., true memory) in female, but not male, participants. These findings reveal that stress does not unequivocally enhance false memory production and that the timing of the stressor is an important variable that could mediate such effects. Such results could have important implications for understanding the dependability of eyewitness accounting for events that are observed following stress.

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Achilles' Ear? Inferior Human Short-Term and Recognition Memory in the Auditory Modality

James Bigelow & Amy Poremba
PLoS ONE, February 2014

Abstract:
Studies of the memory capabilities of nonhuman primates have consistently revealed a relative weakness for auditory compared to visual or tactile stimuli: extensive training is required to learn auditory memory tasks, and subjects are only capable of retaining acoustic information for a brief period of time. Whether a parallel deficit exists in human auditory memory remains an outstanding question. In the current study, a short-term memory paradigm was used to test human subjects' retention of simple auditory, visual, and tactile stimuli that were carefully equated in terms of discriminability, stimulus exposure time, and temporal dynamics. Mean accuracy did not differ significantly among sensory modalities at very short retention intervals (1-4 s). However, at longer retention intervals (8-32 s), accuracy for auditory stimuli fell substantially below that observed for visual and tactile stimuli. In the interest of extending the ecological validity of these findings, a second experiment tested recognition memory for complex, naturalistic stimuli that would likely be encountered in everyday life. Subjects were able to identify all stimuli when retention was not required, however, recognition accuracy following a delay period was again inferior for auditory compared to visual and tactile stimuli. Thus, the outcomes of both experiments provide a human parallel to the pattern of results observed in nonhuman primates. The results are interpreted in light of neuropsychological data from nonhuman primates, which suggest a difference in the degree to which auditory, visual, and tactile memory are mediated by the perirhinal and entorhinal cortices.

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(The Feeling of) Meaning-as-Information

Samantha Heintzelman & Laura King
Personality and Social Psychology Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
The desire for meaning is recognized as a central human motive. Yet, knowing that people want meaning does not explain its function. What adaptive problem does this experience solve? Drawing on the feelings-as-information hypothesis, we propose that the feeling of meaning provides information about the presence of reliable patterns and coherence in the environment, information that is not provided by affect. We review research demonstrating that manipulations of stimulus coherence influence subjective reports of meaning in life but not affect. We demonstrate that manipulations that foster an associative mindset enhance meaning. The meaning-as-information perspective embeds meaning in a network of foundational functions including associative learning, perception, cognition, and neural processing. This approach challenges assumptions about meaning, including its motivational appeal, the roles of expectancies and novelty in this experience, and the notion that meaning is inherently constructed. Implications for constructed meaning and existential meanings are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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