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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

Friday, March 14, 2014

Mandatory

The Paternalist Meets His Match

Jayson Lusk, Stephan Marette & Bailey Norwood
Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, March 2014, Pages 61-108

Abstract:
Despite the frequent arguments that findings from behavioral economics experiments justify paternalism, there is scant evidence of how people (the paternalists) make decisions for others or how the recipients of paternalism (the paternalees) respond to decisions made for them. Using data from over 300 people recruited from two cities in the United States and France, we study how choices between a relatively healthy item (apples) and a relatively unhealthy item (cookies) are influenced by one's role as either the paternalist or the paternalee. We find that after being provided information on nutritional content, but not before, paternalists make healthier choices for the paternalees than for themselves. Surprisingly, prior to being provided information, paternalees desire healthier choices than they expect the paternalists to give, a phenomenon that seems to arise from a type of egotism where individuals believe they make healthier choices than everyone else. Results in both locations reveal that more than 75% of paternalees prefer their own choices compared to the ones made for them by the paternalists, and are willing to pay non-trivial amounts to have their own choices. Any intrinsic value people place on the freedom of choice must be weighed against whatever benefits might arise from paternalistic policies, and consequently the scope for paternalism may be narrower than is often purported.

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Does Planning Regulation Protect Independent Retailers?

Raffaella Sadun
NBER Working Paper, January 2014

Abstract:
Regulations aimed at curbing the entry of large retail stores have been introduced in many countries to protect independent retailers. Analyzing a planning reform launched in the United Kingdom in the 1990s, I show that independent retailers were actually harmed by the creation of entry barriers against large stores. Instead of simply reducing the number of new large stores entering a market, the entry barriers created the incentive for large retail chains to invest in smaller and more centrally located formats, which competed more directly with independents and accelerated their decline. Overall, these findings suggest that restricting the entry of large stores does not necessarily lead to a world with fewer stores, but one with different stores, with uncertain competitive effects on independent retailers.

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Risk Aversion and the Desirability of Attenuated Legal Change

Steven Shavell
American Law and Economics Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article develops two points. First, insurance against the risk of legal change is largely unavailable, primarily because of the correlated nature of the losses that legal change generates. Second, given the absence of insurance against legal change, it is generally desirable for legal change to be attenuated. Specifically, in a model of uncertainty about two different types of legal change - in regulatory standards, and in payments for harm caused - it is demonstrated that the optimal new regulatory standard is less than the conventionally efficient standard, and that the optimal new payment for harm is less than the harm.

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Regulatory costs on entrepreneurship and establishment employment size

Peter Calcagno & Russell Sobel
Small Business Economics, March 2014, Pages 541-559

Abstract:
In this article, we examine how the level of regulation affects the size distribution of businesses. To the extent that regulation functions as a fixed cost, it should lead to larger firm size. However, regulations may also lead to smaller establishments with firms outsourcing regulated activities or staying small to take advantage of state exemptions for small businesses from regulations. We empirically examine the relationship between the size distribution of establishments and the level of regulation using state- and industry-level panel data from 1992 to 2004. Our results suggest that regulation decreases the proportion of zero employee and 1-4 employee establishments. The proportion of establishments in the 5-9 employee range generally increases with the level of regulation. Thus, regulation appears to operate as a fixed cost causing establishments to be larger.

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Smart Money? The Effect of Education on Financial Outcomes

Shawn Cole, Anna Paulson & Gauri Kartini Shastry
Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Household financial decisions are important for household welfare, economic growth, and financial stability. Yet our understanding of the determinants of financial decision making is limited. Exploiting exogenous variation in state compulsory schooling laws in both standard and two-sample instrumental variable strategies, we show that education increases financial market participation, measured by investment income and equities ownership, while dramatically reducing the probability that an individual declares bankruptcy, experiences a foreclosure, or is delinquent on a loan. Further results and a simple calibration suggest that the result is driven by changes in savings or investment behavior, rather than simply increased labor earnings.

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Did Robert Bork Understate the Competitive Impact of Mergers? Evidence from Consummated Mergers

Orley Ashenfelter, Daniel Hosken & Matthew Weinberg
NBER Working Paper, February 2014

Abstract:
In The Antitrust Paradox, Robert Bork viewed most mergers as either competitively neutral or efficiency enhancing. In his view, only mergers creating a dominant firm or monopoly were likely to harm consumers. Bork was especially skeptical of oligopoly concerns resulting from mergers. In this paper, we provide a critique of Bork's views on merger policy from The Antitrust Paradox. Many of Bork's recommendations have been implemented over time and have improved merger analysis. Bork's proposed horizontal merger policy, however, was too permissive. In particular, the empirical record shows that mergers in oligopolistic markets can raise consumer prices.

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The Price Effects of the Delta/Northwest Airline Merger

Dan Luo
Review of Industrial Organization, February 2014, Pages 27-48

Abstract:
This paper examines the price effects of the merger between Delta Airlines and Northwest Airlines. Empirical analysis finds that, other things equal, the fares for airport-pairs where Delta and Northwest competed with each other prior to the merger did not increase by much following the merger. This result is consistent with the additional finding that the impact of changes in low-cost carrier competition is large while the effect of changes in competition from legacy carriers is slight. Since both Delta and Northwest Airlines are legacy carriers, the results for other legacies suggest that the merger should not have exerted a dramatic impact on fares.

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Competition and service quality: New evidence from the airline industry

Daniel Greenfield
Economics of Transportation, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous studies examine the relationship between competition and airline service quality by regressing on-time performance on market structure. These studies implicitly assume that market structure is exogenously determined with respect to service quality. To address the likely endogeneity of market structure I employ two distinct instrumental variables. The first is lagged market structure. The second exploits a global airline merger that induced differential variations in market structure across hundreds of airport-pair markets. I find that the effect of competition on airline delays is three times stronger than previous studies suggest.

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Should Consumers be Permitted to Waive Products Liability? Product Safety, Private Contracts, and Adverse Selection

Albert Choi & Kathryn Spier
Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
A potentially dangerous product is supplied by a competitive market. The likelihood of a product-related accident depends on the unobservable precautions taken by the manufacturer and on the risk type of the consumer. Contracts include the price to be paid by the consumer ex ante and stipulated damages to be paid by the firm ex post in the event of an accident. Although the stipulated damage payments are a potential solution to the moral hazard problem, firms have a private incentive to reduce the stipulated damages (and simultaneously lower the up front price) in order to attract the safer consumers who are less costly to serve. The competitive equilibrium - if an equilibrium exists at all - features suboptimally low stipulated damages and correspondingly suboptimal levels of product safety. Imposing some degree of tort liability on firms for uncovered accident losses - and prohibiting private parties from waiving that liability - can improve social welfare.

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Liability versus Regulation for Dangerous Products When Consumers Vary in Their Susceptibility to Harm and May Misperceive Risk

Thomas Miceli & Kathleen Segerson
Review of Law & Economics, December 2013, Pages 341-355

Abstract:
When consumers vary in their susceptibility to product-related harm, safety regulation dominates liability because when consumers bear their own damages, they are induced to self-select in their purchase decisions, with higher-risk consumers refraining from purchase. When consumers also misperceive risk, however, liability may be preferred because the price of the product accurately conveys the risk, thereby eliminating any distortions due to misperception. In comparing the two approaches to risk control, regulation therefore becomes more desirable as consumers perceive risk more accurately.

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Economic Freedom and the Stability of Stock Prices: A Cross-Country Analysis

Benjamin Blau, Tyler Brough & Diana Thomas
Journal of International Money and Finance, March 2014, Pages 182-196

Abstract:
This paper investigates the link between economic freedom and the price stability of individual securities in a unique setting. Using a sample of 327 American Depositary Receipts (ADRs), we find an inverse relation between the economic freedom of a ADRs' home country and the price volatility of the ADR. This negative correlation is driven primarily by certain components of economic freedom, such as property right protection, the soundness of the money, and the level of free trade in the home country. Further, we find evidence that less regulation and less government control of markets in the home country leads to more stable ADR prices.

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Taxing Audit Markets and Reputation: An Examination of the U.S. Tax Shelter Controversy

John Incardona et al.
Journal of International Accounting, Auditing and Taxation, forthcoming

Abstract:
From 2002 to 2007, the nation's largest CPA firms faced allegations of illegal activity related to the sale of tax shelters: EY, KPMG and PwC paid fines; KPMG was investigated by a federal grand jury; and EY faced a criminal inquiry. These shelter events occurred shortly after the 2002 collapse of Arthur Andersen, when policy makers were concerned about audit market concentration. This is the first paper to provide a chronological summary of how the tax shelter controversy started and ended. We investigate the stock market reaction to tax shelter news developments between 2003 and 2005 to make inferences about the market's view of audit competition and CPA firm reputation. Our results are consistent with market concern over large audit firm concentration, evidenced by large negative returns for clients of all audit providers upon the KPMG grand jury investigation announcement. We also find that tax shelter activities impact both the reputation of the accounting profession and the individual CPA firms marketing tax shelter products.

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Moral Hazard, Incentive Contracts and Risk: Evidence from Procurement

Gregory Lewis & Patrick Bajari
Review of Economic Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Deadlines and late penalties are widely used to incentivize effort. Tighter deadlines and higher penalties induce higher effort, but increase the agent's risk. We model how these contract terms affect the work rate and time-to-completion in a procurement setting, characterizing the effcient contract design. Using new micro-level data on Minnesota highway construction contracts that includes day-by-day information on work plans, hours worked and delays, we find evidence of ex-post moral hazard: contractors adjust their effort level during the course of the contract in response to unanticipated productivity shocks, in a way that is consistent with our theoretical predictions. We next build an econometric model that endogenizes the completion time as a function of the contract terms and the productivity shocks, and simulate how commuter welfare and contractor costs vary across different terms and shocks. Accounting for the traffic delays caused by construction, switching to a more effcient contract design would increase welfare by 22.5% of the contract value while increasing the standard deviation of contractor costs - a measure of risk - by less than 1% of the contract value.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Pros and cons

Do Difficult Decisions Motivate Belief in Fate? A Test in the Context of the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Simone Tang, Steven Shepherd & Aaron Kay
Psychological Science, forthcoming

"What types of situations might predictably motivate belief in fate? We suggest that one such situation is decision difficulty...In two studies, we tested this novel hypothesis using a real-world, important, imminent decision: which candidate to vote for in the 2012 U.S. presidential election...Participants were recruited through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk 1 week before the election (N = 202)...As predicted, greater decision difficulty was related to greater belief in fate, r(187) = .19, p = .01...In Study 2, we experimentally investigated the link between decision difficulty and belief in fate by manipulating the ease of distinguishing between two options, a known component of decision difficulty. Participants read real policy statements from the two presidential candidates; the statements were chosen to make the candidates appear either more distinguishable or less distinguishable...Data were collected via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk 2 days before the election (N = 200)...As predicted, participants in the similar-candidates condition reported greater belief in fate (M = 3.45, SD = 1.46) than did those in the different-candidates condition (M = 3.04, SD = 1.44), t(180) = 1.92, p = .057."

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Evil Genius? How Dishonesty Can Lead to Greater Creativity

Francesca Gino & Scott Wiltermuth
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We propose that dishonest and creative behavior have something in common: They both involve breaking rules. Because of this shared feature, creativity may lead to dishonesty (as shown in prior work), and dishonesty may lead to creativity (the hypothesis we tested in this research). In five experiments, participants had the opportunity to behave dishonestly by overreporting their performance on various tasks. They then completed one or more tasks designed to measure creativity. Those who cheated were subsequently more creative than noncheaters, even when we accounted for individual differences in their creative ability (Experiment 1). Using random assignment, we confirmed that acting dishonestly leads to greater creativity in subsequent tasks (Experiments 2 and 3). The link between dishonesty and creativity is explained by a heightened feeling of being unconstrained by rules, as indicated by both mediation (Experiment 4) and moderation (Experiment 5).

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People Claim Objectivity After Knowingly Using Biased Strategies

Katherine Hansen et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
People tend not to recognize bias in their judgments. Such “bias blindness” persists, we show, even when people acknowledge that the judgmental strategies preceding their judgments are biased. In Experiment 1, participants took a test, received failure feedback, and then were led to assess the test’s quality via an explicitly biased strategy (focusing on the test’s weaknesses), an explicitly objective strategy, or a strategy of their choice. In Experiments 2 and 3, participants rated paintings using an explicitly biased or explicitly objective strategy. Across the three experiments, participants who used a biased strategy rated it as relatively biased, provided biased judgments, and then claimed to be relatively objective. Participants in Experiment 3 also assessed how biased they expected to be by their strategy, prior to using it. These pre-ratings revealed that not only did participants’ sense of personal objectivity survive using a biased strategy, it grew stronger.

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Can exposure to prenatal sex hormones (2D:4D) predict cognitive reflection?

Antoni Bosch-Domènech, Pablo Brañas-Garza & Antonio Espín
Psychoneuroendocrinology, May 2014, Pages 1–10

Abstract:
The Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT) is a test introduced by Frederick (2005). The task is designed to measure the tendency to override an intuitive response that is incorrect and to engage in further reflection that leads to the correct response. The consistent sex differences in CRT performance may suggest a role for prenatal sex hormones. A now widely studied putative marker for relative prenatal testosterone is the second-to-fourth digit ratio (2D:4D). This paper tests to what extent 2D:4D, as a proxy for the prenatal ratio of testosterone/estrogens, can predict CRT scores in a sample of 623 students. After controlling for sex, we observe that a lower 2D:4D (reflecting a relative higher exposure to testosterone) is significantly associated with a higher number of correct answers. The result holds for both hands’ 2D:4Ds. In addition, the effect appears to be stronger for females than for males. We also control for patience and math proficiency, which are significantly related to performance in the CRT. But the effect of 2D:4D on performance in CRT is not reduced with these controls, implying that these variables are not mediating the relationship between digit ratio and CRT.

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People with Easier to Pronounce Names Promote Truthiness of Claims

Eryn Newman et al.
PLoS ONE, February 2014

Abstract:
When people make judgments about the truth of a claim, related but nonprobative information rapidly leads them to believe the claim – an effect called “truthiness”. Would the pronounceability of others’ names also influence the truthiness of claims attributed to them? We replicated previous work by asking subjects to evaluate people’s names on a positive dimension, and extended that work by asking subjects to rate those names on negative dimensions. Then we addressed a novel theoretical issue by asking subjects to read that same list of names, and judge the truth of claims attributed to them. Across all experiments, easily pronounced names trumped difficult names. Moreover, the effect of pronounceability produced truthiness for claims attributed to those names. Our findings are a new instantiation of truthiness, and extend research on the truth effect as well as persuasion by showing that subjective, tangential properties such as ease of processing can matter when people evaluate information attributed to a source.

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The Harder the Task, The Higher the Score: Findings of a Difficulty Bias

Hillary Morgan & Kurt Rotthoff
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
Studies have found that going first or last in a sequential order contest leads to a biased outcome, commonly called order bias (or primacy and recency). Studies have also found that judges have a tendency to reward contestants they recognize with additional points, called reference bias. Controlling for known biases, we test for a new type of bias we refer to as “difficulty bias,” which reveals that athletes attempting more difficult routines receive higher execution scores, even when difficulty and execution are judged separately. Despite some identification challenges, we add to the literature by finding strong evidence of a difficulty bias in gymnastics. We also provide generalizations beyond athletics.

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Where could we stand if I had…? How social power impacts counterfactual thinking after failure

Annika Scholl & Kai Sassenberg
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
After failure, individuals often imagine how they could have achieved a better outcome, thereby learning to improve their behavior in the future. The current research investigated how social power affects such self-focused counterfactual thinking. Previous findings indicate that power evokes a sense of personal control. Sensed control in turn guides counterfactual thought, facilitating thoughts about those aspects individuals perceive control over. We thus proposed that compared to the powerful, the powerless sense lower personal control and therefore engage in less self-focused counterfactual thinking after failure. A field study and three experiments indeed demonstrated that being powerless (vs. powerful) diminished self-focused counterfactual thinking by lowering sensed personal control. This mechanism was also supported by experimentally manipulating the mediator and by ruling out an alternative mechanism (i.e., felt responsibility). Additional data indicated that self-focused counterfactuals in turn promoted learning (i.e., behavioral intentions). Extending prior research on power, action, and diminished thought, the results thus show that at times, those low, rather than high, in power think less about their own actions before taking the next step.

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When children are better (or at least more open-minded) learners than adults: Developmental differences in learning the forms of causal relationships

Christopher Lucas et al.
Cognition, May 2014, Pages 284–299

Abstract:
Children learn causal relationships quickly and make far-reaching causal inferences from what they observe. Acquiring abstract causal principles that allow generalization across different causal relationships could support these abilities. We examine children’s ability to acquire abstract knowledge about the forms of causal relationships and show that in some cases they learn better than adults. Adults and 4- and 5-year-old children saw events suggesting that a causal relationship took one of two different forms, and their generalization to a new set of objects was then tested. One form was a more typical disjunctive relationship; the other was a more unusual conjunctive relationship. Participants were asked to both judge the causal efficacy of the objects and to design actions to generate or prevent an effect. Our results show that children can learn the abstract properties of causal relationships using only a handful of events. Moreover, children were more likely than adults to generalize the unusual conjunctive relationship, suggesting that they are less biased by prior assumptions and pay more attention to current evidence. These results are consistent with the predictions of a hierarchical Bayesian model.

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Perceptual symbols of creativity: Coldness elicits referential, warmth elicits relational creativity

Hans IJzerman, Angela Leung & Lay See Ong
Acta Psychologica, May 2014, Pages 136–147

Abstract:
Research in the cognitive and social psychological science has revealed the pervading relation between body and mind. Physical warmth leads people to perceive others as psychological closer to them and to be more generous towards others. More recently, physical warmth has also been implicated in the processing of information, specifically through perceiving relationships (via physical warmth) and contrasting from others (via coldness). In addition, social psychological work has linked social cues (such as mimicry and power cues) to creative performance. The present work integrates these two literatures, by providing an embodied model of creative performance through relational (warm = relational) and referential (cold = distant) processing. The authors predict and find that warm cues lead to greater creativity when 1) creating drawings, 2) categorizing objects, and 3) coming up with gifts for others. In contrast, cold cues lead to greater creativity, when 1) breaking set in a metaphor recognition task, 2) coming up with new pasta names, and 3) being abstract in coming up with gifts. Effects are found across different populations and age groups. The authors report implications for theory and discuss limitations of the present work.

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Analytical reasoning task reveals limits of social learning in networks

Iyad Rahwan et al.
Journal of the Royal Society: Interface, 6 April 2014

Abstract:
Social learning — by observing and copying others — is a highly successful cultural mechanism for adaptation, outperforming individual information acquisition and experience. Here, we investigate social learning in the context of the uniquely human capacity for reflective, analytical reasoning. A hallmark of the human mind is its ability to engage analytical reasoning, and suppress false associative intuitions. Through a set of laboratory-based network experiments, we find that social learning fails to propagate this cognitive strategy. When people make false intuitive conclusions and are exposed to the analytic output of their peers, they recognize and adopt this correct output. But they fail to engage analytical reasoning in similar subsequent tasks. Thus, humans exhibit an ‘unreflective copying bias’, which limits their social learning to the output, rather than the process, of their peers’ reasoning — even when doing so requires minimal effort and no technical skill. In contrast to much recent work on observation-based social learning, which emphasizes the propagation of successful behaviour through copying, our findings identify a limit on the power of social networks in situations that require analytical reasoning.

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Effect of Temporal Spacing between Advertising Exposures: Evidence from Online Field Experiments

Navdeep Sahni
Stanford Working Paper, December 2013

Abstract:
This paper aims to understand the impact of temporal spacing between ad exposures on the likelihood of a consumer purchasing the advertised product. I create an individual-level data set with exogenous variation in the spacing and intensity of ads by running online field experiments. Using this data set, I first show that (1) ads significantly increase the likelihood of the consumers purchasing from the advertiser and (2) this increase carries over to future purchase occasions. Importantly, I find evidence for the spacing effect: the likelihood of a product's purchase increases if the product's past ads are spread apart rather than bunched together, even if the spreading apart of ads involves shifting some ads away from the purchase occasion. Because the traditional models of advertising do not explain the data patterns, I build a new memory-based model of how advertising influences consumer behavior. Using a nested test, I reject the restrictions imposed by the canonical goodwill stock model based on the Nerlove and Arrow [1962] approach, in favor of the more general memory-based model. Counterfactual simulations using the parameter estimates show that not accounting for the features of the memory model might lead to significantly lower profits for the advertisers.

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An Investigation of the Endowment Effect in the Context of a College Housing Lottery

Jane Gradwohl Nash & Robert Rosenthal
Journal of Economic Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The endowment effect was examined in a two-part study in the context of a college housing lottery. Students who were awarded their first choice of residence hall were asked the lowest dollar amount they would be willing to accept (WTA) to give up their first choice hall whereas students who were denied their first choice were asked the highest dollar amount they would be willing to pay (WTP) to obtain their first choice. Results from the Initial Assessment showed the presence of the endowment effect regarding students’ valuation of their first choice residence hall immediately after the housing lottery (i.e., WTA price was significantly higher than WTP price). The Follow-Up surveyed participants from the Initial Assessment who responded when contacted a second time after they had experienced two months of life in the residence hall they were awarded in the lottery. Results from the Follow-Up showed that the endowment effect was still present after experiencing life in the residence hall. Moreover, further analyses revealed that the endowment effect was, in fact, enhanced after the living experience. These findings demonstrate that within the context of a housing lottery, a highly-valued commodity, long-term experiences substantially increase the magnitude of the endowment effect, even when controlling for other factors that have been shown to impact this effect.

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Limited Availability Reduces the Rate of Satiation

Julio Sevilla & Joseph Redden
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Consumers generally enjoy products less with repeated consumption. Unfortunately, there are few known ways to slow such satiation. We show that consumers satiate slower on a product when it is available for consumption only at limited times. Specifically, perceived limited availability made a product more enjoyable, yet this effect largely emerged only after repeated consumption. We attribute this finding to an urge to take advantage of a rare consumption opportunity, which leads people to pay less attention to the quantity consumed and subsequently to experience less satiation. A series of studies establish the effect of perceived limited availability on the rate of satiation, show it influences how much people eat, provide mediation evidence of our proposed theoretical account, and eliminate the effect by making salient the total amount consumed. We conclude with implications of our findings.

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It Tastes As Good As It Looks! The Effect of Food Presentation on Liking for the Flavor of Food

Debra Zellner et al.
Appetite, forthcoming

Abstract:
Diners in a restaurant were served the same meal (composed of a sautéed chicken breast with a fines herbes sauce, brown rice pilaf, and sautéed green beans with toasted almonds served on a round white china plate). The same food was presented in two different arrangements on two different nights. Although the two presentations were judged as equally “neat”, one was judged as more attractive. Subjects reported liking the food on the plate (when all items were judged together) more when it was presented in the more attractive than the less attractive manner. When food items were judged separately, subjects reported liking the chicken and the sauce significantly more when presented in the more attractive manner. Subjects also reported more positive responses to the brown rice pilaf when presented in the more attractive plating style. How attractively food is plated can affect liking for the flavor of the food and could be used to increase acceptance of “healthy” foods.

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Acceleration With Steering: The Synergistic Benefits of Combining Power and Perspective-Taking

Adam Galinsky et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Power is a psychological accelerator, propelling people toward their goals; however, these goals are often egocentrically focused. Perspective-taking is a psychological steering wheel that helps people navigate their social worlds; however, perspective-taking needs a catalyst to be effective. The current research explores whether combining power with perspective-taking can lead to fairer interpersonal treatment and higher quality decisions by increasing other-oriented information sharing, the propensity to communicate and integrate information that recognizes the knowledge and interests of others. Experiments 1 and 2 found that the combining power with perspective-taking or accountability increased interactional justice, the tendency for decision makers to explain their decisions candidly and respectfully. Experiment 3 involved role-based power embedded in a face-to-face dyadic decision-making task; the combination of power and perspective-taking facilitated the sharing of critical information and led to more accurate dyadic decisions. Combining power and perspective-taking had synergistic effects, producing superior outcomes to what each one achieved separately.

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Keeping your gains close but your money closer: The prepayment effect in riskless choices

Guy Hochman, Shahar Ayal & Dan Ariely
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although research on loss aversion now spans more than three decades, researchers are still debating whether (or in which cases) the finding holds true for money. We contribute to this debate by exploring how prepayment affects financial decisions. In one set of experiments, we show that when faced with a tradeoff between post- and prepayment, participants overvalue prepaid money, and sometimes even prefer it over objectively higher gains. Importantly, this effect was more pronounced when prepayment was more distant from its pure representation in dollars and cents (Experiment 1A), as well as when potential losses were directly linked to specific options (Experiment 1B). As far as the processes involved, our results suggest that prepayment leads to increased personal commitment to prepaid options (Experiment 1 C). In a second set of experiments, we show that even when the tradeoff element is eliminated, participants are more motivated and engaged in a task that is prepaid rather than post-paid (Experiments 2A and 2B). Based on our findings, we discuss how firms can use prepayment mechanisms to get more out of their agents, and how individuals can be motivated to better utilize their money.

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Because I (Don't) Deserve it: How Relationship Reminders and Deservingness Influence Consumer Indulgence

Lisa Cavanaugh
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Marketers regularly remind consumers of valued social relationships (e.g. close friends, family, romantic couples) in order to influence choice and consumption. Interestingly, my research shows that such relationship reminders can backfire when consumers do not or no longer have these highlighted relationships. I show that reminding consumers of relationships they lack reduces consumers’ perceptions of deservingness and causes them to restrict indulgent consumption. Five studies establish the effect of relationship reminders on indulgence and provide support for the underlying process by both measuring and manipulating perceptions of deservingness.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tell it to the judge

She’ll Settle It?

Christina Boyd
Journal of Law and Courts, Fall 2013, Pages 193-219

Abstract:
Relying on research that posits that female leaders and managers will be more likely than men to adopt a management style that favors participation, collaboration, and consensus building, I argue that female district court judges, using this style in their case management environments, should be more likely than their male colleagues to successfully foster intracourt case settlements. To test this, I compile data from nearly 18,000 civil rights and tort cases terminated in four federal district courts across 9 years. The regression and duration analyses provide confirmation that the sex of a case’s assigned judge matters, with female judges successfully fostering settlement in their cases more often and more quickly than their male colleagues. In addition to having significance for litigants, these findings have broad implications for female decision makers across different institutions and organizations as well as the future of the judging profession and diversity appointments to the judiciary.

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Do Judges Follow the Law? An Empirical Test of Congressional Control Over Judicial Behavior

Todd Henderson & William Hubbard
University of Chicago Working Paper, January 2014

Abstract:
Do judges follow the law? In a naïve model of judging, Congress writes statutes, which courts know about and then slavishly apply. Although interpretation differences could explain deviation between congressional will and the law as applied, in this model there should be no divergence where the law is unambiguous. Section 21D(c)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act is such a clear law: it requires courts to certify attorneys complied with Rule 11(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which forbids frivolous or unsupported claims, in every case arising under the Act. In this paper, we provide data that rejects the naïve model: courts make the required findings in less than 14 percent of cases in which such findings were required by law. This suggests judges either do not know of the law or, if they do, fail to follow it. We also show that required Rule 11(b) findings about sanctions are made overwhelmingly in cases where sanctions would be least likely – that is, in orders approving settlements – and such findings are extremely rare in cases where sanctions would other be more likely – that is, where motions to dismiss are granted. To explain this seeming paradox, we offer an account that highlights crucial ways in which the incentives of the judge and of the attorneys may interact in complex cases.

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Diversity, Deliberation, and Judicial Opinion Writing

Susan Haire, Laura Moyer & Shawn Treier
Journal of Law and Courts, Fall 2013, Pages 303-330

Abstract:
Underlying scholarly interest in diversity is the premise that a representative body contributes to robust decision-making processes. Using an innovative measure of opinion content, we examine this premise by analyzing deliberative outputs in the US courts of appeals (1997–2002). While the presence of a single female or minority did not affect the attention to issues in the majority opinion, panels composed of a majority of women or minorities produced opinions with significantly more points of law compared to panels with three Caucasian males.

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Detecting Racial Bias in Speed Discounting: Evidence from Speeding Tickets in Boston

Nejat Anbarci & Jungmin Lee
International Review of Law and Economics, June 2014, Pages 11–24

Abstract:
We focus on a particular kind of discretionary behavior on the part of traffic officers when issuing speeding tickets – what we term speed discounting. It is anecdotally said that officers often give motorists a break by reporting a lower speed on their citation than the actual speed that they observe the vehicle doing. Verifying the level of police discretion in the speed discounting behavior and ascertaining the presence of racial bias among police officers are the main objectives of this paper. Using a unique dataset that contains the race of the officer and of the motorist and cited vehicle speed, we apply the rank order test and the difference-in-differences method to detect racial prejudice in the speed discounting behavior.

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How the Supreme Court Alters Opinion Language to Evade Congressional Review

Ryan Owens, Justin Wedeking & Patrick Wohlfarth
Journal of Law and Courts, March 2013, Pages 35-59

Abstract:
We argue that actors can attempt to shield their policy choices from unfavorable review by crafting them in a manner that will increase the costs necessary for supervisory institutions to review them. We apply this theory to the US Supreme Court and demonstrate how justices strategically obfuscate the language of majority opinions in the attempt to circumvent unfavorable review from a politically hostile Congress. The results suggest that Supreme Court justices can and do alter the language of their opinions to raise the costs of legislative review and thereby protect their decisions.

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The Probability of Guilt in Criminal Cases: Are People Aware of Being ‘Beyond Reasonable Doubt’?

Svein Magnussen et al.
Applied Cognitive Psychology, March/April 2014, Pages 196–203

Abstract:
Data from a series of studies presenting video recorded witness statements to laypersons and legal professionals were examined to trace the relationship between judged probability of guilt and the willingness to vote guilty or not guilty in hypothetical trials, in the absence of specific jury instructions. The results show that a majority of jury-eligible young and elderly participants, and police officers, were willing to convict a defendant when the judged probability of guilt exceeded .6. This is considerably below the legally accepted standard of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’, which usually is equated with a very high, around .9 perceived certainty. When jury deliberations were allowed, the threshold for conviction rose, approaching the standard evinced by trial judges under the same conditions. The results suggest that people prefer to vote for guilt according to a balance of probabilities principle, considering only the individual case, and disregarding the implied frequencies of false convictions.

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Reevaluating the Implications of Decision-Making Models: The Role of Summary Decisions in US Supreme Court Analysis

Ali Masood & Donald Songer
Journal of Law and Courts, Fall 2013, Pages 363-389

Abstract:
Most empirical analyses of the US Supreme Court are limited to the Court’s plenary decisions. We contend that summary decisions are an important component of the total decisional output of the Court and, as such, should be included in any overall assessment of the decision making of the Court or its impact on the courts below. We analyze the universe of the Court’s summary decisions from 1995 to 2005. We assess the conventional wisdom that a conservative Court should primarily disturb liberal lower-court decisions and that, in all cases granted certiorari, the policy preferences of the justices should have a major impact on their votes. We find support for neither of these expectations.

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Disgust and biological descriptions bias logical reasoning during legal decision-making

Beatrice Capestany & Lasana Harris
Social Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Legal decisions often require logical reasoning about the mental states of people who perform gruesome behaviors. We use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine how brain regions implicated in logical reasoning are modulated by emotion and social cognition during legal decision-making. Participants read vignettes describing crimes that elicit strong or weak disgust matched on punishment severity using the US Federal Sentencing Guidelines. An extraneous sentence at the end of each vignette described the perpetrator’s personality using traits or biological language, mimicking the increased use of scientific evidence presented in courts. Behavioral results indicate that crimes weak in disgust receive significantly less punishment than the guidelines recommend. Neuroimaging results indicate that brain regions active during logical reasoning respond less to crimes weak in disgust and biological descriptions of personality, demonstrating the impact of emotion and social cognition on logical reasoning mechanisms necessary for legal decision-making.

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Responsive Justice?: Retention Elections, Prosecutors, and Public Opinion

Michael Nelson
Journal of Law and Courts, Spring 2014, Pages 117-152

Abstract:
Do elected judges and prosecutors change their behavior to reflect public opinion after they receive information about constituent preferences? In this article I use a unique measure of public opinion — votes on an initiative to legalize marijuana — to examine the responsiveness of prosecutors and trial court judges to a strong, issue-specific, constituency-level opinion signal. I find that, at least in recent drug cases in Colorado, both prosecutors and judges changed their sentencing behavior after receiving that signal. Prosecutors responded only to local-level opinion, while judges responded to both local and statewide opinion.

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Unbidden confession as an evolved pre-emptive strategy against punishment: A preliminary investigation with prisoners

Todd Shackelford et al.
Personality and Individual Differences, April–May 2014, Pages 86–90

Abstract
Unbidden confession — confession made by a transgressor in the absence of interrogation — presents an evolutionary puzzle because it guarantees social exposure and places the person at risk of punishment. We hypothesize that unbidden confession may be an ancestrally adaptive behavior and is difficult to inhibit under certain social conditions, particularly when one perceives imminent and inevitable social exposure. This serves as a pre-emptive strategy that, in the ancestral past, may have attenuated punishment from retributive in-group members. Using self-report data from a sample of 78 federal inmates, we report analyses supporting this hypothesis. Inmates who made unbidden confessions were more confident that they would be caught by police, and this confession was usually made to someone who had a stake in the transgressors’ genetic interests, most often a family member or friend. These results suggest: (1) a possible role for natural selection in shaping cognitive mechanisms that motivate confession; (2) a potential mismatch in the efficacy of unbidden confession today compared with our ancestral past, given that the law is now administered by strangers rather than in-group members; and (3) new avenues for research on the origins of sophisticated cognitive strategies.

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Trial and Settlement: A Study of High-Low Agreements

J.J. Prescott, Kathryn Spier & Albert Yoon
NBER Working Paper, March 2014

Abstract:
This paper presents the first systematic theoretical and empirical study of high-low agreements in civil litigation. A high-low agreement is a private contract that, if signed by litigants before the conclusion of a trial, constrains any plaintiff recovery to a specified range. Whereas existing work describes litigation as a choice between trial and settlement, our examination of high-low agreements—an increasingly popular phenomenon in civil litigation—introduces partial or incomplete settlements. In our theoretical model, trial is both costly and risky. When litigants have divergent subjective beliefs and are mutually optimistic about their trial prospects, cases may fail to settle. In these cases, high-low agreements can be in litigants’ mutual interest because they limit the risk of outlier awards while still allowing an optimal degree of speculation. Using claims data from a national insurance company, we describe the features of these agreements and empirically investigate the factors that may influence whether litigants discuss or enter into them. Our empirical findings are consistent with the predictions of the theoretical model. We also explore extensions and alternative explanations for high-low agreements, including their use to mitigate excessive, offsetting trial expenditures and the role that negotiation costs might play. Other applications include the use of collars in mergers and acquisitions.

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The use of tactical polygraph with sex offenders

Michael Bourke et al.
Journal of Sexual Aggression, forthcoming

Abstract:
Professionals who work with sexual abusers often are faced with a significant obstacle: offenders' failure to accurately report their histories of undetected offences, particularly hands-on crimes against children. The implications are significant and include poor risk assessment, misguided treatment planning, inadequate sentences, and insufficient supervision conditions. This problem is particularly important with so called child pornographers —offenders whose known criminality is limited to the Internet, and who may be reluctant to admit they have engaged in the hands-on abuse of children. The current study examines an investigative method that we refer to as tactical polygraph and describes its effectiveness in identifying previously undetected sexual offending within this population. In our sample of 127 suspects with no known history of hands-on offending, only 4.7% admitted to sexually abusing at least one child. During polygraph procedures, an additional 52.8% of the study sample provided disclosures about hands-on abuse they perpetrated.

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Blame attribution in sexual victimization

Carin Perilloux, Joshua Duntley & David Buss
Personality and Individual Differences, June 2014, Pages 81–86

Abstract:
The current study explored how victims and third-parties attribute blame and perpetrator motivation for actual sexual victimization experiences. Although we do not assert that victims are responsible for perpetrators’ behavior, we found that some victims do not allocate all blame to their perpetrator. We sought to examine how victims and third-parties allocate blame in instances of actual completed and attempted sexual victimization and how they perceived perpetrator motivations. Victims of completed rape (n = 49) and attempted sexual assault (n = 91), and third-parties who knew a victim of sexual assault (n = 152) allocated blame across multiple targets: perpetrator, self/victim, friends, family, and the situation. Participants also described their perceptions of perpetrator’s motivation for the sexual assault. Victims tended to assign more blame to themselves than third-parties assigned to victims. Furthermore, victims perceived perpetrators as being more sexually-motivated than third-parties did, who viewed perpetrators as more power-motivated. Results suggest that perceptions of rape and sexual assault significantly differ between victims and third-party individuals who have never directly experienced such a trauma.

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Perceptions of Similarity and Responsibility Attributions to an Acquaintance Sexual Assault Victim

Amanda Amacker & Heather Littleton
Violence Against Women, November 2013, Pages 1384-1407

Abstract:
Individuals view similar rape victims as less responsible for the rape than victims perceived as dissimilar. However, it is unclear if individuals hold victims they perceive as similar less responsible for the assault, or if individuals view themselves as more similar to victims they do not view as responsible for the assault. The current study, therefore, examined the temporal relationship between these constructs. A total of 167 college women listened to a date narrative that ended in sexual assault, consensual sex, or no sexual activity (these last two served as controls). Results supported that participants viewed themselves as less similar to the woman in the narrative when the date ended in sexual assault. Only similarity ratings made following learning that the woman was sexually assaulted predicted responsibility attributions suggesting that viewing a victim as responsible for the assault results in decreased perceptions of similarity toward her. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

On sale

The Paradox of Publicity: How Awards Can Negatively Affect the Evaluation of Quality

Balázs Kovács & Amanda Sharkey
Administrative Science Quarterly, March 2014, Pages 1-33

Abstract:
Although increases in status often lead to more favorable inferences about quality in subsequent evaluations, in this paper, we examine a setting in which an increase to an actor’s status results in less favorable quality evaluations, contrary to what much of sociological and management theory would predict. Comparing thousands of reader reviews on Goodreads.com of 64 English-language books that either won or were short-listed for prestigious book awards between 2007 and 2011, we find that prizewinning books tend to attract more readers following the announcement of an award and that readers’ ratings of award-winning books tend to decline more precipitously following the announcement of an award relative to books that were named as finalists but did not win. We explain this surprising result, focusing on two mechanisms whereby signals of quality that tend to promote adoption can subsequently have a negative impact on evaluation. First, we propose that the audience evaluating a high-status actor or object tends to shift as a result of a public status shock, like an award, increasing in number but also in diverse tastes. We outline how this shift might translate into less favorable evaluations of quality. Second, we show that the increase in popularity that tends to follow a status shock is off-putting to some, also resulting in more negative evaluations. We show that our proposed mechanisms together explain the negative effect of status on evaluations in the context of the literary world.

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Digital complements or substitutes? A quasi-field experiment from the Royal National Theatre

Hasan Bakhshi & David Throsby
Journal of Cultural Economics, February 2014, Pages 1-8

Abstract:
Digital broadcast technologies have expanded the virtual capacity of live performing arts venues, but they have also raised concerns about possible cannibalisation of box office revenues. We report the results of a quasi-field experiment involving the Royal National Theatre’s live broadcasts of theatre to digital cinemas in the UK and find that, if anything, live broadcasts generate greater, not fewer, audiences at the theatre.

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Reviews without a Purchase: Low Ratings, Loyal Customers and Deception

Eric Anderson & Duncan Simester
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
We document that approximately 5% of product reviews on the website of a large private label retailer are submitted by customers for which there is no record they have purchased the product they are reviewing. These reviews are significantly more negative than other reviews. They are also less likely to contain expressions describing the fit or feel of the items, but more likely to contain linguistic cues associated with deception. The reviews without confirmed transactions are written by over twelve thousand of the firm's best customers, who on average have each made over 150 purchases from the firm. This makes it very unlikely that the reviews are written by the employees or agents of a competitor, suggesting that deceptive reviews may not be limited to just the strategic actions of firms. Instead, the phenomenon may be far more prevalent, extending to individual customers who have no financial incentive to influence product ratings.

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Softening the Blow: Company Self-Disclosure of Negative Information Lessens Damaging Effects on Consumer Judgment and Decision Making

Bob Fennis & Wolfgang Stroebe
Journal of Business Ethics, March 2014, Pages 109-120

Abstract:
Is self-disclosure of negative information a viable strategy for a company to lessen the damage done to consumer responses? Three experiments assessed whether self-disclosing negative information in itself lessened the damaging impact of this information compared to third-party disclosure of the same information. Results indicated that mere self-disclosure of a negative event positively affected consumers’ choice behavior, perceived company trustworthiness, and company evaluations compared to third-party disclosure. The effectiveness of the self-disclosure strategy was moderated by the initial reputation of a company, such that its impact was only observed for companies that had a poor reputation at the outset. For them, self-disclosure considerably lessened the impact of negative information compared to third-party disclosure. For companies that enjoyed a positive reputation, type of disclosure did not affect consumer responses. Mediation analysis showed that perceptions of company trustworthiness underlie the effects of the self-disclosure strategy on consumer judgment.

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Learning from Peers: Knowledge Transfer and Sales Force Productivity Growth

Tat Chan, Jia Li & Lamar Pierce
Marketing Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study how peers impact worker productivity growth among salespeople in the cosmetics department of a department store. We first exploit a shift assignment policy that creates exogenous variation in salespersons' peers each week to identify and quantify sources of worker learning. We find that peer-based learning is more important than learning-by-doing for individuals, and there is no evidence of forgetting. Working with high-ability peers substantially increases the long-term productivity growth of new salespeople. We then examine possible mechanisms behind peer-based learning by exploiting the multiple colocated firms in our setting that sell products with different task difficulties and compensate their sales forces using either team-based or individual-based compensation systems. The variation in incentives to compete and cooperate within and across firm boundaries, combined with variation in sales difficulty for different product classes, allows us to suggest two mechanisms behind peer-based learning: observing successful sales techniques of peers and direct teaching. Our paper advocates the importance of learning from one another in the workplace and suggests that individual peer-based learning is a foundation of both organizational learning curves and knowledge spillovers across firms.

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When Do Group Incentives for Salespeople Work?

Noah Lim & Hua Chen
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
When should sales managers employ group incentives over individual incentives to motivate their sales force? Using economic experiments, the authors show that two-person group incentives can outperform individual incentives and that its relative efficacy depends on three important factors. First, the strength of social ties among the group members matters. Effort decisions in group-based incentives increase significantly when subjects socialize briefly before committing effort. Second, the design of the group incentive matters. For the group incentive to work better than the individual incentive, the group-based component (i.e., how much the payment scheme weights the contribution of others) in the former cannot be too large. Third, the informational feedback that group members receive matters. When group members who were socialized could observe each other's true effort, rather than just the output alone, effort surprisingly decreases. The authors show that a model that accounts for social preferences and psychological loss from having one's effort underestimated by teammates can explain salesperson behavior in group incentives well.

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Internet Penetration and Capacity Utilization in the US Airline Industry

James Dana & Eugene Orlov
American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Airline capacity utilization increased dramatically between 1993 and 2007, after staying fairly level following deregulation. We argue that consumers' use of the Internet to investigate and purchase airline tickets reduces market frictions and allows airlines to meet demand with less capacity and higher load factors. We find that differences in the rate of change of metropolitan area Internet penetration are positively correlated with differences in the rate of change of airlines' airport-pair load factors. Consistent with our explanation, this correlation is greater on flights in more competitive markets and on flights with fewer total passengers.

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Are low-cost carrier passengers less likely to complain about service quality?

Michael Wittman
Journal of Air Transport Management, March 2014, Pages 64–71

Abstract:
Complaints made by airline passengers to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) are often used in academic research and in the media as a proxy for the quality of commercial air service in the United States. In this paper, we test whether passengers of network carriers are more likely to make a complaint to the DOT about service quality failures than passengers of low-cost carriers. Through a fixed-effects regression, we find that passengers of low-cost carriers like Southwest Airlines are less likely to complain about service quality than passengers of network carriers like United Airlines, given the same levels of service quality and controlling for yearly fixed effects. This behavior could be explained by price-based expectations of service quality, lack of information about how to complain to the DOT, or qualitative differences in front-line customer service between airlines.

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Empirical Analysis of Data Breach Litigation

Sasha Romanosky, David Hoffman & Alessandro Acquisti
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, March 2014, Pages 74–104

Abstract:
In recent years, many lawsuits have been filed by individuals seeking legal redress for harms caused by the loss or theft of their personal information. However, very little is known about the drivers, mechanics, and outcomes of those lawsuits, making it difficult to assess the effectiveness of litigation at balancing organizations' usage of personal data with individual privacy rights. Using a unique and manually collected database, we analyze court dockets for more than 230 federal data breach lawsuits from 2000 to 2010. We investigate two questions: Which data breaches are being litigated? and Which data breach lawsuits are settling? Our results suggest that the odds of a firm being sued are 3.5 times greater when individuals suffer financial harm, but 6 times lower when the firm provides free credit monitoring. Moreover, defendants settle 30 percent more often when plaintiffs allege financial loss, or when faced with a certified class action suit. By providing the first comprehensive empirical analysis of data breach litigation, our findings offer insight into the debate over privacy litigation versus privacy regulation.

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Responses to Entry in Multi-Sided Markets: The Impact of Craigslist on Local Newspapers

Robert Seamans & Feng Zhu
Management Science, February 2014, Pages 476-493

Abstract:
How do firms respond to entry in multi-sided markets? We address this question by studying the impact of Craigslist, a website providing classified-advertising services, on local U.S. newspapers. We exploit temporal and geographical variation in Craigslist's entry to show that newspapers with greater reliance on classified-ad revenue experience a larger drop in classified-ad rates after Craigslist's entry. The impact of Craigslist's entry on the classified-ad side appears to propagate to other sides of the newspapers' market. On the subscriber side, these newspapers experience an increase in subscription prices, a decrease in circulation, and an increase in differentiation from each other. On the display-ad side, affected newspapers experience a decrease in display-ad rates. We also find evidence that affected newspapers are less likely to make their content available online. Finally, we estimate that Craigslist's entry leads to $5.0 billion (year 2000 dollars) in savings to classified-ad buyers during 2000–2007.

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The effect of Internet distribution on brick-and-mortar sales

Andrea Pozzi
RAND Journal of Economics, Fall 2013, Pages 569–583

Abstract:
I examine the introduction of an online shopping service by a large supermarket chain also operating a network of brick-and-mortar stores. The establishment of the Internet channel led to a 13 percent increase in overall revenues, with limited cannibalization of traditional sales. I study the mechanisms underlying this result, focusing on two areas. First, I demonstrate the importance of the reduction of customers' travel costs in the attraction of new business. Second, I provide some evidence that revenues increase more in markets where the chain faces more competitors, suggesting that the online channel can help divert business from rival supermarkets.

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The Importance of the Raw Idea in Innovation: Testing the Sow's Ear Hypothesis

Laura Kornish & Karl Ulrich
Journal of Marketing Research, February 2014, Pages 14-26

Abstract:
How important is the original conception of an idea — the “raw” idea — to an innovation's success? In this article, the authors explore whether raw ideas judged as “better” fare better in the market and also determine the strength of that relationship. The empirical context is Quirky.com, a community-driven product development company for household consumer products. The data include descriptions of the raw ideas as originally proposed, the ultimate product designs that resulted from those ideas, and sales figures. In addition, they contain two measures of idea quality: those from online consumer panelists and those from expert evaluators. The authors note the following findings: First, online consumer panels are a better way to determine a “good” idea than are ratings by experts. Second, predictions with samples as small as 20 consumers are reliable. Third, there is a stronger predictive link between raw ideas and consumers' purchase intent of final product designs than there is between those intentions and market outcomes. Fourth, the commercial importance of the raw idea is large, with ideas one standard deviation better translating to an approximately 50% increase in sales rate.

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When to Sell Your Idea: Theory and Evidence from the Movie Industry

Hong Luo
Harvard Working Paper, December 2013

Abstract:
When to sell a novel idea is a difficult decision for many innovators. Selling early has financial benefits. But a later-stage sale of a more fully developed idea may attract greater buyer interest and allow the innovator to better protect his idea. I study the decision in a model that features a seller with private information and costly buyer participation. The empirical context of the study is the market for original movie ideas. Consistent with the theory, I find that inexperienced writers are excluded from selling early-stage ideas, restricting their choice to developing the idea fully or abandoning it. By contrast, writers who can attract buyers at any stage sell worse ideas earlier and better ideas later. The results have interesting implications not only for the timing of the sale of ideas, but also for the role of intellectual property protection and the value of intermediaries in the market for ideas.

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Cash is surprisingly valuable as a strategic asset

Changhyun Kim & Richard Bettis
Strategic Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Academics, politicians, and journalists are often highly critical of U.S. firms for holding too much cash. Cash holdings are stockpiled free-cash flow and incur substantial opportunity costs from the perspectives of economics. However, behavioral theory highlights the benefits of cash holdings as fungible slack resources facilitating adaptive advantages. We use the countervailing forces embodied in these two theories to hypothesize and test a quadratic functional relationship of returns to cash measured by Tobin's q. We also build and test a related novel hypothesis of scale-dependent returns to cash based on the competitive strategy concept of strategic deterrence. Tests for both of these hypotheses are positive and show that returns to cash continue to increase far beyond transactional needs.

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Product Market Competition and the Value of Corporate Cash: Evidence from Trade Liberalization

Azizjon Alimov
Journal of Corporate Finance, April 2014, Pages 122–139

Abstract:
This paper uses the 1989 Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement as a source of exogenous variation in product markets to establish the impact of increased competition on the market valuation of corporate cash reserves. I find that the trade liberalization leads to a significant increase in the value of cash for firms experiencing a larger shock to their competitive environment. The impact of the trade liberalization is stronger among firms that face greater risk of losing investment opportunities to rivals. I also show that these inferences about the valuation effect of competition apply more broadly to a large sample of firms.

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The Demand for Expert Opinion: Bordeaux Wine

Orley Ashenfelter & Gregory Jones
Journal of Wine Economics, December 2013, Pages 285-293

Abstract:
In this paper, we use unique data from the market for Bordeaux wine to test the hypothesis that consumers are willing to pay for expert opinion because it is accurate. Using proprietary indicators of the quality of the vintage, which are based on both publicly and privately available information, we find that additional publicly available information on the weather improves the expert's predictions of subsequent prices. This establishes that the expert opinions are not efficient, in the sense that they can be easily improved, and that these opinions must be demanded, at least in part, for some purpose other than their accuracy.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, March 10, 2014

Gut check

“Obesity Is a Disease”: Examining the Self-Regulatory Impact of This Public-Health Message

Crystal Hoyt, Jeni Burnette & Lisa Auster-Gussman
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the current work, we examined the impact of the American Medical Association’s recent classification of obesity as a disease on weight-management processes. Across three experimental studies, we highlighted the potential hidden costs associated with labeling obesity as a disease, showing that this message, presented in an actual New York Times article, undermined beneficial weight-loss self-regulatory processes. A disease-based, relative to an information-based, weight-management message weakened the importance placed on health-focused dieting and reduced concerns about weight among obese individuals — the very people whom such public-health messages are targeting. Further, the decreased concern about weight predicted higher-calorie food choices. In addition, the disease message, relative to a message that obesity is not a disease, lowered body-image dissatisfaction, but this too predicted higher-calorie food choices. Thus, although defining obesity as a disease may be beneficial for body image, results from the current work emphasize the negative implications of this message for self-regulation.

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Occupational Characteristics and the Obesity Wage Penalty

Jennifer Bennett Shinall
Vanderbilt University Working Paper, January 2014

Abstract:
This paper demonstrates that accounting for two key occupational characteristics eliminates the unexplained wage gap experienced by the heaviest women in the labor market. Obese women are more likely to work in jobs that emphasize personal interaction, but they are less likely to work in jobs that emphasize physical activity. Although jobs that emphasize personal interaction are higher paying, obese women who work in such jobs receive lower wages than non-obese women, and their wage penalty offsets the premium to working in a job emphasizing personal interaction. Together, these results suggest that taste-based discrimination may be driving occupational sorting among obese women and, as a result, is at least one source of the wage penalty experienced by obese women.

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Racism, Segregation, and Risk of Obesity in the Black Women's Health Study

Yvette Cozier et al.
American Journal of Epidemiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We assessed the relation of experiences of racism to the incidence of obesity and the modifying impact of residential racial segregation in the Black Women's Health Study, a follow-up study of US black women. Racism scores were created from 8 questions asked in 1997 and 2009 about the frequency of “everyday” racism (e.g., “people act as if you are dishonest”) and of “lifetime” racism (e.g., unfair treatment on the job). Residential segregation was measured by linking participant addresses to 2000 and 2010 US Census block group data on the percent of black residents. We used Cox proportional hazard models to estimate incidence rate ratios and 95% confidence intervals. Based on 4,315 incident cases of obesity identified from 1997 through 2009, both everyday racism and lifetime racism were positively associated with increased incidence. The incidence rate ratios for women who were in the highest category of everyday racism or lifetime racism in both 1997 and 2009, relative to those in the lowest category, were 1.69 (95% confidence interval: 1.45, 1.96; Ptrend < 0.01) and 1.38 (95% confidence interval: 1.15, 1.66; Ptrend < 0.01), respectively. These associations were not modified by residential segregation. These results suggest that racism contributes to the higher incidence of obesity among African American women.

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The income body weight gradients in the developing economy of China

Darjusch Tafreschi
Economics & Human Biology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Existing theories predict the income gradient of individual body weight to change sign from positive to negative in process of economic development. However, there are only few empirical studies which test this hypothesis. This paper adds to the literature on that topic by investigating the case of China. Using individual and community data from the 1991-2009 waves of the China Health and Nutrition Survey regression analyses suggest that after controlling for important confounding factors (1) higher income is positively related to future growth of individuals’ BMI in less developed areas (i.e. BMI growth is 0.7-1.5 percentage points higher when comparing the richest with the poorest individuals), but negatively related to BMI growth in more developed areas (i.e. BMI growth is 0.8-1.6 percentage points lower for the richest individuals), and (2) that concentrations of overweight are “trickling down” to lower income ranks as regions become more developed. Moreover, the reversal of the income gradient appears to happen at earlier stages of development for females.

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The Impact of Restaurant Calorie Labels on Food Choice: Results from a Field Experiment

Brenna Ellison, Jayson Lusk & David Davis
Economic Inquiry, April 2014, Pages 666–681

Abstract:
Using field experiment data, we compare the effectiveness of calorie labels to a “fat tax” at reducing calories ordered. Results from a structural model of consumer demand show that numeric labels did not influence food choice, but symbolic traffic light labels caused restaurant patrons to select lower-calorie menu items; thus, adding a traffic light symbol could enhance the effectiveness of the numeric calorie label (as currently proposed by the Food and Drug Administration). Additionally, our model projects that labels can both reduce intake more than a 10% tax on high-calorie items and a 10% subsidy on low-calorie items.

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New Neighborhood Grocery Store Increased Awareness Of Food Access But Did Not Alter Dietary Habits Or Obesity

Steven Cummins, Ellen Flint & Stephen Matthews
Health Affairs, February 2014, Pages 283-291

Abstract:
National and local policies to improve diet in low-income US populations include increasing physical access to grocery stores and supermarkets in underserved neighborhoods. In a pilot study that evaluated the impacts of opening a new supermarket in a Philadelphia community considered a “food desert” — part of the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative — we found that the intervention moderately improved residents’ perceptions of food accessibility. However, it did not lead to changes in reported fruit and vegetable intake or body mass index. The effectiveness of interventions to improve physical access to food and reduce obesity by encouraging supermarkets to locate in underserved areas therefore remains unclear. Nevertheless, the present findings suggest that simply improving a community’s retail food infrastructure may not produce desired changes in food purchasing and consumption patterns. Complementary policy changes and interventions may be needed to help consumers bridge the gap between perception and action. The replication of our findings in other settings and research into the factors that influence community residents’ receptivity to improved food access are urgently required.

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Association of a Television in the Bedroom With Increased Adiposity Gain in a Nationally Representative Sample of Children and Adolescents

Diane Gilbert-Diamond et al.
JAMA Pediatrics, forthcoming

Objective: To assess the prospective association between the presence of a bedroom television and change in body mass index (BMI; calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared), independent of television viewing, in a nationally representative sample of US children and adolescents.

Design, Setting, and Participants: We conducted a random-digit prospective telephone survey that captured children and adolescents from across the United States. Participants included 6522 boys and girls aged 10 to 14 years at baseline who were surveyed via telephone about media risk factors for obesity. Weighted regressions assessed adiposity at 2- and 4-year follow-up, controlling for television and movie viewing, video-game playing, parenting, age, sex, race or ethnicity, household income, and parental educational level.

Results: Distributions for age, sex, race or ethnicity, and socioeconomic status were similar to census estimates for the US population. Sample weighting methods accounted for higher dropout rates among ethnic minorities and those with lower socioeconomic status. Bedroom televisions were reported by 59.1% of participants at baseline, with boys, ethnic minorities, and those of lower socioeconomic status having significantly higher rates. In multivariate analyses, having a bedroom television was associated with an excess BMI of 0.57 (95% CI, 0.31-0.82) and 0.75 (0.38-1.12) at years 2 and 4, respectively, and a BMI gain of 0.24 (0.02-0.45) from years 2 to 4.

Conclusions and Relevance: Having a bedroom television is associated with weight gain beyond the effect of television viewing time. This association could be the result of uncaptured effects of television viewing or of disrupted sleep patterns. With the high prevalence of bedroom televisions, the effect attributable to this risk factor among US children and adolescents is excess weight of 8.7 million kg/y.

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How negative descriptive norms for healthy eating undermine the effects of positive injunctive norms

Mina Staunton et al.
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Healthy eating intentions were assessed as a function of theory of planned behavior variables and manipulated group norm salience. Participants (n = 119) were exposed (or not) to a positive injunctive norm that their fellow students approve of eating healthily, and (or not) to a negative descriptive norm that their fellow students do not eat healthily. A significant interaction emerged. When a negative descriptive norm was made salient, participants exposed to a positive injunctive norm reported significantly lower intentions to eat healthily. When no descriptive norm was given, exposure to a positive injunctive norm had no effect. The results suggest the weakness of manipulated injunctive norm salience in the health domain, and the importance of investigating the interactive effects of referent group norms.

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Healthful Food Decision Making in Response to Traffic Light Color-Coded Nutrition Labeling

Joerg Koenigstorfer, Andrea Groeppel-Klein & Friederike Kamm
Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article investigates whether traffic light color-coded nutrition information helps low- (vs. high-) self-control consumers make more healthful food choices within a given product category. Two in-store lab studies assess the effects of traffic light colors. The colors indicate low (green), medium (amber), and high (red) levels of four negative food nutrients (sugar, fat, saturated fat, and salt). The color-coding was implemented on nutrition labeling schemes shown on the front of actual food packages (pasta meals in Study 1; cereal bars in Study 2). Consumers with low self-control to resist food temptations, but not those with high self-control, make more healthful food choices in response to the color-coded labeling. The behavior is congruent with their long-term goals of controlling their food choices and is evident when traffic light colors vary between both nutrients and products (Study 1) and when traffic light colors vary between nutrients but not products (Study 2). The authors derive theoretical implications and draw conclusions from the perspectives of public policy, retailing, and manufacturers.

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Better Moods for Better Eating?: How Mood Influences Food Choice

Meryl Gardner et al.
Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
How do moods influence one’s preference for foods? By introducing the role of enjoyment- versus health-oriented benefits of foods in the mood and food consumption relationship, this research informs both temporal construal theory and mood management framework by positing that mood influences the choice between healthy versus indulgent foods through its impact on temporal construal, which alters the weights people put on long-term health benefits versus short-term mood management benefits when making choices. The results from four experiments show that a positive mood cues distal, abstract construal and increases the salience of long-term goals such as health, leading to greater preference for healthy foods over indulgent foods. The results also show that a negative mood cues proximal construal and increases the salience of immediate, concrete goals such as mood management, leading to greater preference for indulgent foods over healthy foods.

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Sleep duration and body mass index and waist circumference among US adults

Earl Ford et al.
Obesity, February 2014, Pages 598–607

Objective: To examine the form of the relationship between sleep duration and anthropometric measures and possible differences in these relationships by gender and race or ethnicity.

Design and Methods: Data for 13,742 participants aged ≥20 years from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2010 were used. Sleep duration was categorized as ≤6 (short sleepers), 7-9, and ≥10 hours (long sleepers).

Results: Short sleepers were as much as 1.7 kg/m2 (SE 0.4) heavier and had 3.4 cm (SE 1.0) more girth than long sleepers. Among participants without depression or a diagnosed sleep disorder, sleep duration was significantly associated with body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference in an inverse linear association in the entire sample, men, women, whites, African Americans, and participants aged 20-39 years. No evidence for statistical interaction by gender and race or ethnicity was observed. Regression coefficients were notably stronger among adults aged 20-39 years. Compared to participants who reported sleeping 7-9 hours per night, short sleepers were more likely to be obese and have abdominal obesity.

Conclusions: In this nationally representative sample of US adults, an inverse linear association most consistently characterized the association between sleep duration and BMI and waist circumference.

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Proximity of foods in a competitive food environment influences consumption of a low calorie and a high calorie food

Gregory Privitera & Faris Zuraikat
Appetite, forthcoming

Abstract:
The objective of this study was to test if proximity of a food or preference for a food influences food intake in a competitive food environment in which one low calorie/low fat (apple slices) and one higher calorie/higher fat (buttered popcorn) food was available in the same environment. The proximity of popcorn and apple slices was manipulated and 56 participants were randomly assigned to groups. In Group Apples Near, apple slices were placed near (within arms reach) a participant and popcorn was placed far (2 m away). In Group Popcorn Near, buttered popcorn was placed near and apple slices were placed far. As a control for the absence of a proximity manipulation, Group Both Near had both test foods placed near. Although participants rated the popcorn as more liked than apples, the food that was placed closer to the participant was consumed most in the two experimental groups, regardless of preference (R2 = 0.38). Total energy intake was reduced most when popcorn was placed far from a participant compared to when it was placed near (R2 = 0.24). The effects reported here were not moderated by BMI and did not vary by sex. In all, the results support the hypothesis that making a low calorie food more proximate will reduce total energy intake and increase intake of a low calorie food, even when a higher calorie and more preferred food is also available, but less proximate.

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Association Between Casino Opening or Expansion and Risk of Childhood Overweight and Obesity

Jessica Jones-Smith, William Dow & Kristal Chichlowska
Journal of the American Medical Association, 5 March 2014, Pages 929-936

Importance: Economic resources have been inversely associated with risk of childhood overweight/obesity. Few studies have evaluated whether this association is a direct effect of economic resources or is attributable to unmeasured confounding or reverse causation. American Indian–owned casinos have resulted in increased economic resources for some tribes and provide an opportunity to test whether these resources are associated with overweight/obesity.

Objective: To assess whether openings or expansions of American Indian–owned casinos were associated with childhood overweight/obesity risk.

Design, Setting, and Participants: We used repeated cross-sectional anthropometric measurements from fitness testing of American Indian children (aged 7-18 years) from 117 school districts that encompassed tribal lands in California between 2001 and 2012. Children in school districts encompassing American Indian tribal lands that either gained or expanded a casino were compared with children in districts with tribal lands that did not gain or expand a casino.

Main Outcomes and Measures: Per capita annual income, median annual household income, percentage of population in poverty, total population, child overweight/obesity (body mass index [BMI] ≥85th age- and sex-specific percentile) and BMI z score.

Results: Of the 117 school districts, 57 gained or expanded a casino, 24 had a preexisting casino but did not expand, and 36 never had a casino. The mean slots per capita was 7 (SD, 12) and the median was 3 (interquartile range [IQR], 0.3-8). Among districts where a casino opened or expanded, the mean change in slots per capita was 13 (SD, 19) and the median was 3 (IQR, 1-11). Forty-eight percent of the anthropometric measurements were classified as overweight/obese (11 048/22 863). Every casino slot machine per capita gained was associated with an increase in per capita annual income (β = $541; 95% CI, $245-$836) and a decrease in percentage in poverty (β = −0.6%; 95% CI, −1.1% to −0.20%) among American Indians living on tribal lands. Among American Indian children, every slot machine per capita gained was associated with a decreased probability of overweight/obesity by 0.19 percentage points (95% CI, −0.26 to −0.11 percentage points) and a decrease in BMI z score (β = −0.003; 95% CI, −0.005 to −0.0002).

Conclusions and Relevance: In this study, opening or expanding a casino was associated with increased economic resources and decreased risk of childhood overweight/obesity. Given the limitations of an ecological study, further research is needed to better understand the mechanisms behind this association.

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The association between ownership of common household devices and obesity and diabetes in high, middle and low income countries

Scott Lear et al.
Canadian Medical Association Journal, 4 March 2014, Pages 258-266

Background: Household devices (e.g., television, car, computer) are common in high income countries, and their use has been linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus. We hypothesized that device ownership is associated with obesity and diabetes and that these effects are explained through reduced physical activity, increased sitting time and increased energy intake.

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional analysis using data from the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology study involving 153 996 adults from high, upper-middle, lower-middle and low income countries. We used multilevel regression models to account for clustering at the community and country levels.

Results: Ownership of a household device increased from low to high income countries (4% to 83% for all 3 devices) and was associated with decreased physical activity and increased sitting, dietary energy intake, body mass index and waist circumference. There was an increased odds of obesity and diabetes with the ownership of any 1 household device compared to no device ownership (obesity: odds ratio [OR] 1.43, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.32–1.55; diabetes: OR 1.38, 95% CI 1.28–1.50). Ownership of a second device increased the odds further but ownership of a third device did not. Subsequent adjustment for lifestyle factors modestly attenuated these associations. Of the 3 devices, ownership of a television had the strongest association with obesity (OR 1.39, 95% CI 1.29–1.49) and diabetes (OR 1.33, 95% CI 1.23–1.44). When stratified by country income level, the odds of obesity and diabetes when owning all 3 devices was greatest in low income countries (obesity: OR 3.15, 95% CI 2.33-4.25; diabetes: OR 1.97, 95% CI 1.53–2.53) and decreased through country income levels such that we did not detect an association in high income countries.

Interpretation: The ownership of household devices increased the likelihood of obesity and diabetes, and this was mediated in part by effects on physical activity, sitting time and dietary energy intake. With increasing ownership of household devices in developing countries, societal interventions are needed to mitigate their effects on poor health.

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The relationship between body fat mass percentiles and inflammation in children

Kanakadurga Singer et al.
Obesity, forthcoming

Objective: Obesity has been associated with markers of increased systemic inflammation in both human and animal studies. Increased inflammation is linked to metabolic and cardiovascular disease. The objective of this study was to evaluate the association between percentile body fat and inflammation in a nationally representative sample of US children.

Design and Methods: We studied 6,950 children aged 8 to 18 years of age between 1999-2004. Measurement of body fat percentage was measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry DEXA scan and converted to an age- and sex-adjusted percentile. The main outcome measures were abnormal c-reactive protein (CRP > 1.0 mg/dl) and absolute neutrophil count (ANC > 6000).

Results: Children with higher levels of body fat (≥70th%) had a higher odds of having elevated CRP (OR 2.88-10.69) and elevated ANC (OR 2.14 to 3.24) compared with children with body fat <70th percentile.

Conclusions: The link between inflammation and body fat in children warrants further longitudinal research to understand the temporal relationship between overweight/obesity and inflammation in the pediatric obese population and its implications for chronic disease risk.

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The Economics of Information, Deep Capture, and the Obesity Debate

Trenton Smith & Attila Tasnádi
American Journal of Agricultural Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The economic theory of regulatory capture predicts that industry groups will attempt to influence their regulators (for example, by lobbying for rules that exclude competition). It has been suggested that the same logic applies to any powerful institution with the ability to affect industry profits. When the aim of industry is to alter the public’s perception of its product (for example, by disseminating favorable messages to the news media or via an advertising campaign, or by funding industry-friendly scientific research), the end result has been dubbed deep capture. We develop a formal model of deep capture, in which consumers have imperfect information about product quality, and a dominant producer is able to increase his profits by altering the parameters of the consumer’s search problem. We demonstrate the empirical relevance of the phenomenon with a discussion of the food industry response to the obesity epidemic.

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Legal Largesse or Big, Fat Failure: Do Weight Discrimination Laws Improve Employment Outcomes of the Obese?

Jennifer Bennett Shinall
Vanderbilt University Working Paper, February 2014

Abstract:
Obesity rates have more than doubled in the last two decades, and yet obese individuals continue to experience both wage and employment penalties in the labor market. This paper conducts the first in-depth review of the ten local and state laws protecting obese workers across the United States. After reviewing the legislative history, enforcement procedures, and remedies available under each law, I use empirical methods to assess each law’s efficacy in improving labor market outcomes of the obese. From this analysis, I conclude that the laws in two cities — Madison, Wisconsin and Urbana, Illinois — have been the most effective because they provide discrimination victims with swift, low-cost access to justice.

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Local Food Prices and Their Associations With Children’s Weight and Food Security

Taryn Morrissey, Alison Jacknowitz & Katie Vinopal
Pediatrics, March 2014, Pages 422-430

Objectives: Both obesity and food insecurity are important public health problems facing young children in the United States. A lack of affordable, healthy foods is one of the neighborhood factors presumed to underlie both food insecurity and obesity among children. We examine associations between local food prices and children’s BMI, weight, and food security outcomes.

Methods: We linked data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort, a nationally representative study of children from infancy to age 5, to local food price data from the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) Cost-of-Living Index (n = 11 700 observations). Using ordinary least squares (OLS), linear probability, and within-child fixed effects (FE) models, we exploit the variability in food price data over time and among children who move residences focusing on a subsample of households under 300% of the Federal Poverty Level.

Results: Results from ordinary least squares and FE models indicate that higher-priced fruits and vegetables are associated with higher child BMI, and this relationship is driven by the prices of fresh (versus frozen or canned) fruits and vegetables. In the FE models, higher-priced soft drinks are associated with a lower likelihood of being overweight, and surprisingly, higher fast food prices are associated with a greater likelihood of being overweight.

Conclusions: Policies that reduce the costs of fresh fruits and vegetables may be effective in promoting healthy weight outcomes among young children.

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Home-schooled children are thinner, leaner, and report better diets relative to traditionally schooled children

Michelle Cardel et al.
Obesity, February 2014, Pages 497–503

Objective: To examine and compare the relationships among diet, physical activity, and adiposity between home-schooled children (HSC) and traditionally schooled children (TSC).

Design and Methods: Subjects were HSC (n = 47) and TSC (n = 48) aged 7-12 years old. Dietary intakes were determined via two 24-h recalls and physical activity was assessed with 7 days of accelerometry. Fat mass (FM), trunk fat, and percent body fat (¿) were measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA).

Results: Relative to HSC, TSC demonstrated significantly higher BMI percentiles, FM, trunk fat, and ¿; consumed 120 total kilocalories more per day; and reported increased intakes of trans fats, total sugar, added sugars, calcium, and lower intakes of fiber, fruits, and vegetables (P < 0.05). At lunch, TSC consumed significantly more calories, sugar, sodium, potassium, and calcium compared to HSC (P < 0.05). Physical activity did not differ between groups. Traditional schooling was associated with increased consumption of trans fat, sugar, calcium (P < 0.05); lower intakes of fiber, and fruits and vegetables (P < 0.05); and higher FM, ¿, and trunk fat (P < 0.01), after adjustment for covariates.

Conclusions: These data suggest HSC may consume diets that differ in energy and nutrient density relative to TSC, potentially contributing to differences in weight and adiposity.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Evil incarnate

Power Plays: Expressive Mimicry of Valid Agonistic Cues

Abigail Marsh et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Both transient and stable facial cues have evolved as essential features of social communication in humans. Accumulating research links actual and perceived aggression to a higher ratio between the height and bizygomatic width of a person's face (facial width-to-height ratio [WHR]) and shows that digitally increasing this ratio can alter apparent aggressiveness. We present evidence that facial behaviors associated with anger - the state most closely associated with aggressive intentions - also increase facial WHR, mimicking the facial morphology of aggressive individuals. In Study 1, individuals induced to appear aggressive naturally increased their facial WHR using anger-related facial behaviors. In Study 2, we found that validated anger expressions increased facial WHR and that this change predicts increased attributions of aggressiveness. We also found statistical suggestions that anger-related facial behaviors may serve as cues that overrepresent the expresser's aggressiveness. Our findings suggest that facial behaviors associated with anger may have emerged to facilitate aggressive encounters.

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Cross-sectional associations between violent video and computer game playing and weapon carrying in a national cohort of children

Michele Ybarra et al.
Aggressive Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Data were collected from 9 to 18 year olds surveyed nationally in a three-wave longitudinal survey. The population-average (generalized estimating equation, GEE) odds of carrying a weapon to school in the last month were estimated as a function of past-year exposure to violent content in video, computer, and Internet games, as well as peer aggression and biological sex. The sample included youth who were at risk for both the exposure (i.e., game play) and the outcome (i.e., who attended public or private school). 3,397 observations from 1,489 youth were included in analyses. 1.4% of youth reported carrying a weapon to school in the last month and 69% reported that at least some of the games they played depicted violence. After adjusting for other potentially influential characteristics (e.g., aggressive behavior), playing at least some violent games in the past year was associated with a fourfold increase in odds of also reporting carrying a weapon to school in the last month. Although youth who reported frequent and intense peer victimization in the past year were more likely to report carrying a weapon to school in the last month, this relation was explained by other influential characteristics. Consistent with the predictions of social-cognitive, observational learning theory, this study supports the hypothesis that carrying weapons to school is associated with violent game play. As one of the first studies of its kind, findings should be interpreted cautiously and need to be replicated.

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Trolls just want to have fun

Erin Buckels, Paul Trapnell & Delroy Paulhus
Personality and Individual Differences, forthcoming

Abstract:
In two online studies (total N = 1215), respondents completed personality inventories and a survey of their Internet commenting styles. Overall, strong positive associations emerged among online commenting frequency, trolling enjoyment, and troll identity, pointing to a common construct underlying the measures. Both studies revealed similar patterns of relations between trolling and the Dark Tetrad of personality: trolling correlated positively with sadism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism, using both enjoyment ratings and identity scores. Of all personality measures, sadism showed the most robust associations with trolling and, importantly, the relationship was specific to trolling behavior. Enjoyment of other online activities, such as chatting and debating, was unrelated to sadism. Thus cyber-trolling appears to be an Internet manifestation of everyday sadism.

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Know Thy Avatar: The Unintended Effect of Virtual-Self Representation on Behavior

Gunwoo Yoon & Patrick Vargas
Psychological Science, forthcoming

"Participants were told that they were involved in two separate studies: a test of game usability and a blind tasting test. After signing a consent form, participants were randomly assigned to heroic (Superman), villainous (Voldemort), and neutral geometric-shaped (circle) avatars. They then played a game for 5 min in which they battled enemies as their avatar...Then they were told that the first study was over. Participants were then informed that a blind taste test of food additives would take place...We manipulated good and bad action by asking participants to first taste and then give either chocolate or chili sauce, respectively, to a (fictional) future participant...Participants who played the heroic avatar gave more chocolate than those who played the villainous or neutral avatars. Conversely, participants who played villains poured more chili sauce than did participants who played heroes and neutral avatars...The design of Experiment 2 was the same as that of Experiment 1, except that there was an additional set of conditions to test whether our role-taking manipulation (i.e., playing as a superhero or villain) generated stronger real-world outcomes than common behavioral-priming and perspective-taking manipulations...Indeed, participants who played heroes served significantly less chili sauce than participants who observed heroes, and participants who played villains served more chili sauce than participants who observed villains"

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When the Love Hormone Leads to Violence: Oxytocin Increases Intimate Partner Violence Inclinations Among High Trait Aggressive People

Nathan DeWall et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Does oxytocin influence intimate partner violence (IPV)? Clues from prior research suggest that oxytocin increases prosocial behavior, but this effect is reversed among people with aggressive tendencies or in situations involving defensive aggression. Animal research also indicates that oxytocin plays a central role in defensive maternal aggression (i.e., protecting pups from intruders). Among highly aggressive people, a boost of oxytocin may cause them to use aggression toward close others as a means of maintaining their relationship. Adopting an interactionist approach, we predicted that oxytocin would increase IPV inclinations, but this effect would be limited to people high in trait physical aggression. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, between-subject experiment, participants varying in trait physical aggression received either 24 international unit of oxytocin or a placebo. Following two provocation tasks, participants rated the probability that they would engage in various aggressive behaviors (e.g., slapping, throwing an object that could hurt) toward a romantic partner. Oxytocin increased IPV inclinations, but this effect was limited to participants prone to physical aggression. These data offer the first evidence that IPV inclinations have a biological basis in a combination of oxytocin and trait physical aggressiveness.

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When Justice Surrenders: The Effect of Just-World Beliefs on Aggression Following Ostracism

Kai-Tak Poon & Zhansheng Chen
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, May 2014, Pages 101-112

Abstract:
The present research examined the influence of general just-world beliefs on aggression following ostracism. The findings provided converging support for the hypothesis that people with weak general just-world beliefs, either measured (studies 1 and 4) or primed (studies 2 and 3), would behave more aggressively following ostracism than people with strong general just-world beliefs. Furthermore, perceived deservingness (study 3) or attribution (study 4) mediated the relationship between general just-world beliefs and aggression following ostracism. These findings highlight the significance of general just-world beliefs in understanding the coping responses to negative interpersonal experiences. The implications are discussed.

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The role of attention problems and impulsiveness in media violence effects on aggression

Edward Swing & Craig Anderson
Aggressive Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has established media violence as a causal risk factor for aggressive behavior. Several theoretical mechanisms have been identified to explain this effect. The present study assessed 422 undergraduate students to test the possibility that individual differences in attention problems and impulsiveness can help explain the link between violent media and aggression. Attention problems and impulsiveness proved to be a distinct construct from other processes believed to mediate aggression (aggressive beliefs, aggression related schemata, trait anger, and trait hostility). Attention problems and impulsiveness were uniquely related to both media exposure (total weekly hours and violent content) and aggression. Attention problems and impulsiveness were particularly related to impulsive (as opposed to premeditated) aggression. These results suggest that attention problems and impulsiveness may play an important role in violent media effects on aggression.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Undercover identity

The Effect of Same-Sex Marriage Laws on Different-Sex Marriage: Evidence From the Netherlands

Mircea Trandafir
Demography, February 2014, Pages 317-340

Abstract:
It has long been argued that the legalization of same-sex marriage would have a negative impact on marriage. In this article, I examine how different-sex marriage in the Netherlands was affected by the enactment of two laws: a 1998 law that provided all couples with an institution almost identical to marriage (a “registered partnership”) and a 2001 law that legalized same-sex marriage for the first time in the world. I first construct a synthetic control for the Netherlands using OECD data for the period 1988–2005 and find that neither law had significant effects on either the overall or different-sex marriage rate. I next construct a unique individual-level data set covering the period 1995–2005 by combining the Dutch Labor Force Survey and official municipal records. The estimates from a discrete-time hazard model with unobserved heterogeneity for the first-marriage decision confirm the findings in the aggregate analysis. The effects of the two laws are heterogeneous, with presumably more-liberal individuals (as defined by their residence or ethnicity) marrying less after passage of both laws and potentially more-conservative individuals marrying more after passage of each law.

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Sexual Orientation and Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids in US Adolescent Boys

Aaron Blashill & Steven Safren
Pediatrics, March 2014, Pages 469-475

Objectives: We compared the lifetime prevalence of anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS) misuse among sexual minority versus heterosexual US adolescent boys, and secondarily, sought to explore possible intermediate variables that may explain prevalence differences.

Methods: Participants were 17 250 adolescent boys taken from a pooled data set of the 14 jurisdictions from the 2005 and 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Surveys that assessed sexual orientation. Data were analyzed for overall prevalence of AAS misuse and possible intermediary risk factors.

Results: Sexual minority adolescent boys were at an increased odds of 5.8 (95% confidence interval 4.1–8.2) to report a lifetime prevalence of AAS (21% vs 4%) compared with their heterosexual counterparts, P < .001. Exploratory analyses suggested that increased depressive symptoms/suicidality, victimization, and substance use contributed to this disparity.

Conclusions: This is the first known study to test and find substantial health disparities in the prevalence of AAS misuse as a function of sexual orientation. Prevention and intervention efforts are needed for sexual minority adolescent boys.

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Structural stigma and all-cause mortality in sexual minority populations

Mark Hatzenbuehler et al.
Social Science & Medicine, February 2014, Pages 33–41

Abstract:
Stigma operates at multiple levels, including intrapersonal appraisals (e.g., self-stigma), interpersonal events (e.g., hate crimes), and structural conditions (e.g., community norms, institutional policies). Although prior research has indicated that intrapersonal and interpersonal forms of stigma negatively affect the health of the stigmatized, few studies have addressed the health consequences of exposure to structural forms of stigma. To address this gap, we investigated whether structural stigma — operationalized as living in communities with high levels of anti-gay prejudice — increases risk of premature mortality for sexual minorities. We constructed a measure capturing the average level of anti-gay prejudice at the community level, using data from the General Social Survey, which was then prospectively linked to all-cause mortality data via the National Death Index. Sexual minorities living in communities with high levels of anti-gay prejudice experienced a higher hazard of mortality than those living in low-prejudice communities (Hazard Ratio [HR] = 3.03, 95% Confidence Interval [CI] = 1.50, 6.13), controlling for individual and community-level covariates. This result translates into a shorter life expectancy of approximately 12 years (95% C.I.: 4–20 years) for sexual minorities living in high-prejudice communities. Analysis of specific causes of death revealed that suicide, homicide/violence, and cardiovascular diseases were substantially elevated among sexual minorities in high-prejudice communities. Strikingly, there was an 18-year difference in average age of completed suicide between sexual minorities in the high-prejudice (age 37.5) and low-prejudice (age 55.7) communities. These results highlight the importance of examining structural forms of stigma and prejudice as social determinants of health and longevity among minority populations.

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Changing with the Times: The Spillover Effects of Same-Sex Marriage Ballot Measures on Presidential Elections

Jeremiah Garretson
Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Studies have shown that same-sex marriage (SSM) ballot measures affected voter turnout and primed voters in a manner that aided the Republican Party in 2004. However, if attitude strength plays a role in these spillover effects, then recent increases in the intensity of support for SSM on the left may have eroded — or even reversed — the pro-Republican electoral boost of these measures. Using individual- and county-level data, I demonstrate that more recent votes on SSM have mobilized more pro-Obama SSM supporters than pro-Republican social conservatives. These findings are important for understanding how ballot measures may potentially affect candidate elections.

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Alleviating social avoidance: Effects of single dose testosterone administration on approach-avoidance action

Dorien Enter, Philip Spinhoven & Karin Roelofs
Hormones and Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Testosterone is an important regulator of social-motivational behavior and is known for its dominance-enhancing and social-anxiolytic properties. However, to date no studies have systematically investigated the causal effect of testosterone on actual social approach-avoidance behavior in humans. The present study sets out to test the effects of testosterone administration in healthy female volunteers using an objective implicit measure of social motivational behavior: the social Approach-Avoidance Task, a reaction time task requiring participants to approach or avoid visually presented emotional (happy, angry, and neutral) faces. Participants showed significantly diminished avoidance tendencies to angry faces after testosterone administration. Testosterone did not affect approach-avoidance tendencies to social affiliation (happy) faces. Thus, a single dose testosterone administration reduces automatic social threat avoidance tendencies in healthy females. These findings further the understanding of the neuroendocrine regulation of social motivational behavior and may have direct treatment implications for social anxiety, characterized by persistent social avoidance.

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Physiological stress response to loss of social influence and threats to masculinity

Catherine Taylor
Social Science & Medicine, February 2014, Pages 51–59

Abstract:
Social influence is an important component of contemporary conceptualizations of masculinity in the U.S. Men who fail to achieve masculinity by maintaining social influence in the presence of other men may be at risk of stigmatization. As such, men should be especially likely to exhibit a stress response to loss of social influence in the presence of other men. This study assesses whether men who lose social influence exhibit more of a stress response than men who gain social influence, using data collected in a laboratory setting where participants were randomly assigned into four-person groups of varying sex compositions. The groups were videotaped working on two problem-solving tasks. Independent raters assessed change in social influence using a well-validated measure borrowed from experimental work in the Status Characteristics Theory tradition. Cortisol is used as a measure of stress response because it is known to increase in response to loss of social esteem. Results show that young men who lose social influence while working with other young men exhibit cortisol response. In contrast women do not exhibit cortisol response to loss of social influence, nor do men working with women. Results are consistent with the hypothesis that loss of social influence in men may be associated with a physiological stress response because maintaining social influence is very important to men while in the presence of other men. This physiological response to loss of social influence underscores the importance to men of achieving masculinity through gaining and maintaining social influence, and avoiding the stigma associated with the failure to do so.

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Sexual Orientation and Fear at Night: Gender Differences Among Sexual Minorities and Heterosexuals

Doug Meyer & Eric Anthony Grollman
Journal of Homosexuality, April 2014, Pages 453-470

Abstract:
Using data from the 2000–2010 General Social Survey, a nationally representative sample of 5,086 adults in the United States, the authors examine sexual orientation and gender differences in reports of being afraid to walk alone at night. Results indicate that sexual minorities are significantly more likely to report fear at night than heterosexuals, and women are significantly more likely to report such fear than men. Further, our findings suggest that these sexual orientation and gender differences are due to sexual minority men being more likely than heterosexual men to report fear at night. Thus, the results of this study reveal that three groups — heterosexual women, sexual minority women, and sexual minority men — do not differ from one another in reporting fear, yet these groups are all more likely than heterosexual men to report fear at night. These findings give weight to the importance of investigating the intersection of sexual orientation and gender in individuals’ reports of fear.

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Ontogeny of sexual size dimorphism and environmental quality in Guatemalan children

Dejana Nikitovic & Barry Bogin
American Journal of Human Biology, March/April 2014, Pages 117–123

Objectives: Human growth data from Guatemalan school children were analyzed to test the hypothesis that the degree of sexual size dimorphism (SSD) in height is reduced for people living under more adverse environmental quality.

Methods: The sample consists of 2,560 girls and 3,262 boys, 6–16.99 years of age, from the two major Guatemalan ethnic groups, Maya of very low socioeconomic status (SES) and Ladino of high, middle, and low SES. SES was estimated by questionnaire and ethnographic observation. All data are from the Longitudinal Study of Child Development of the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala. Significance of SSD was tested within each whole year age category (e.g., 6.0–6.9 years) by SES for Ladinos and Maya. Ethnic groups were then compared for each age category to determine whether the SSD values were significantly different between groups.

Results: Statistically significant height SSD was found for 10 of the 11 age categories for the high SES Ladinos, 8 of the 11 age categories for middle SES Ladinos, 3 of the 11 low SES Ladino age categories, and 0 of the 11 very low SES Maya age categories. For all SES and ethnic groups SSD tended to decrease between 6 and 11 years of age and then increase after age 12 years.

Conclusions: A poor quality environment for growth and development, as estimated by SES, was found to reduce or eliminate statistically significant SSD. Patterns of biological maturation before and after puberty also seem to contribute to age changes in SSD.

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Sexual Orientation Disparities in Cancer-Related Risk Behaviors of Tobacco, Alcohol, Sexual Behaviors, and Diet and Physical Activity: Pooled Youth Risk Behavior Surveys

Margaret Rosario et al.
American Journal of Public Health, February 2014, Pages 245-254

Objectives: We examined sexual orientation disparities in cancer-related risk behaviors among adolescents.

Methods: We pooled data from the 2005 and 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Surveys. We classified youths with any same-sex orientation as sexual minority and the remainder as heterosexual. We compared the groups on risk behaviors and stratified by gender, age (< 15 years and > 14 years), and race/ethnicity.

Results: Sexual minorities (7.6% of the sample) reported more risk behaviors than heterosexuals for all 12 behaviors (mean = 5.3 vs 3.8; P < .001) and for each risk behavior: odds ratios (ORs) ranged from 1.3 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.2, 1.4) to 4.0 (95% CI = 3.6, 4.7), except for a diet low in fruit and vegetables (OR = 0.7; 95% CI = 0.5, 0.8). We found sexual orientation disparities in analyses by gender, followed by age, and then race/ethnicity; they persisted in analyses by gender, age, and race/ethnicity, although findings were nuanced.

Conclusions: Data on cancer risk, morbidity, and mortality by sexual orientation are needed to track the potential but unknown burden of cancer among sexual minorities.

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Genetic and environmental influences on testosterone in adolescents: Evidence for sex differences

Paige Harden et al.
Developmental Psychobiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current study investigated genetic and environmental influences on salivary testosterone during adolescence, using data from 49 pairs of monozygotic twins and 68 pairs of dizygotic twins, ages 14–19 years (M = 16.0 years). Analyses tested for sex differences in genetic and environmental influences on testosterone and its relation to pubertal development. Among adolescent males, individual differences in testosterone were heritable (55%) and significantly associated with self-reported pubertal status (controlling for age) via common genetic influences. In contrast, there was minimal heritable variation in testosterone for females, and testosterone in females was not significantly associated with pubertal status after controlling for age. Rather, environmental influences shared by twins raised together accounted for nearly all of the familial similarity in female testosterone. This study adds to a small but growing body of research that investigates genetic influences on individual differences in behaviorally relevant hormones.

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Society matters: The mediational role of social recognition in the relationship between victimization and life satisfaction among gay men

Anne Bachmann & Bernd Simon
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article examines the role of social recognition in the relationship between gay men's victimization and their life satisfaction. Using a comprehensive catalog of victimization, we obtained empirical evidence that strongly suggests that victimization negatively affects gay men's life satisfaction and that this relationship is mainly mediated by a perceived lack of social recognition in society. In addition, although active involvement in the gay community served as a coping mechanism, concealment of one's sexual identity played no role in the victimization–life satisfaction relationship, neither as a coping mechanism nor as a competing mediator. The mediational role of societal recognition underlines the importance of the symbolic meaning of victimization.

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How women's sexual orientation guides accuracy of interpersonal judgements of other women

Mollie Ruben, Krista Hill & Judith Hall
Cognition & Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines how women's sexual orientation guides the accuracy of judgements of other women. One hundred ten judges (67 straight and 43 lesbian women) watched videotapes of 9 targets (4 straight and 5 lesbian) and made judgements about the targets' thoughts, emotions, personality, and sexual orientation. Accuracy scores were created for each judge by comparing judgements to criterion data gathered about targets. Straight judges were significantly more accurate at judging thoughts and marginally more accurate at judging emotions compared to lesbian judges. There were no significant differences in judging personality. Straight targets' thoughts and personality were more easily assessed than lesbian targets' while lesbians' emotions were more easily judged than straight targets'. Lesbian judges were more accurate at judging sexual orientation regardless of their tendency to categorize women as lesbian compared to straight judges. Findings support past research on the accurate perception of sexual orientation and contribute to understanding how sexual orientation guides person perception.

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When Pop Music Meets a Political Issue: Examining How “Born This Way” Influences Attitudes Toward Gays and Gay Rights Policies

Mo Jang & Hoon Lee
Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Winter 2014, Pages 114-130

Abstract:
Although popular music and politics have been linked in various contexts, surprisingly little is known about whether and how popular songs can influence political attitudes. The present study provides initial empirical evidence that popular music affects public opinion by altering the standards for subsequent political judgments. Using an experiment of a national sample, the current study demonstrates that Lady Gaga's highly popularized song, “Born This Way,” primes genetic explanations of homosexuality in citizens' ensuing evaluations of gay rights issues. The findings revealed that vocalized lyrics are the key element of the priming effect among other musical components.

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Do Children with Gender Dysphoria Have Intense/Obsessional Interests?

Doug VanderLaan et al.
Journal of Sex Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examined whether children clinically referred for gender dysphoria (GD) show increased symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Circumscribed preoccupations or intense interests were considered as overlapping symptoms expressed in GD and ASD. In gender-referred children (n = 534; 82.2% male) and their siblings (n = 419; 57.5% male), we examined Items 9 and 66 on the Child Behavior Checklist, which measure obsessions and compulsions, respectively. Non-GD clinic-referred (n = 1,201; 48.5% male) and nonreferred (n = 1,201; 48.5% male) children were also examined. Gender-referred children were elevated compared to all other groups for Item 9, and compared to siblings and nonreferred children for Item 66. A gender-related theme was significantly more common for gender-referred boys than male siblings on Item 9 only. A gender-related theme was not significantly more common for gender-referred girls compared to their female siblings on either item. The findings for Item 9 support the idea that children with GD show an elevation in obsessional interests. For gender-referred boys in particular, gender-related themes constituted more than half of the examples provided by their mothers. Intense/obsessional interests in children with GD may be one of the factors underlying the purported link between GD and ASD.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, March 7, 2014

It turns out

Time Regulations as Electoral Policy

Robert Urbatsch
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Having had more or less sleep changes mood and behavior; for example, more sleep associates with greater productivity and a perception that more time is available. This changes the time cost of voting in ways particularly important for the United States, where the general elections are sometimes but not always held 2 days after a 25-hr day, when people typically have had more time to catch up on sleep. Election returns and surveys confirm that circumstances where the election occurs 2 days after a long day produce higher turnout, suggesting a role for factors that affect sleep in political behavior.

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Dead Newspapers and Citizens' Civic Engagement

Lee Shaker
Political Communication, Winter 2014, Pages 131-148

Abstract:
Using data from the 2008 and 2009 Current Population Survey (CPS) conducted by the United States Census Bureau, this article assesses the year-over-year change in the civic engagement of citizens in America's largest metropolitan areas. Of special interest are Denver and Seattle, where the Rocky Mountain News and Seattle Post-Intelligencer closed during the intervening year. The data from the CPS indicate that civic engagement in Seattle and Denver dropped significantly from 2008 to 2009 - a decline that is not consistently replicated over the same time period in other major American cities that did not lose a newspaper. The analysis suggests that this decline may plausibly be attributed to the newspaper closures in Seattle and Denver. This short-term negative effect is concerning, and whether it lasts warrants future attention.

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Gender Bias in the Media? An Examination of Local Television News Coverage of Male and Female House Candidates

Lesley Lavery
Politics & Policy, December 2013, Pages 877-910

Abstract:
Several decades of scholarship suggest that by covering male and female candidates differently, the news media may influence the success of female candidates for higher office. I employ a content analysis to assess gender differences in the local television news coverage of 172 U.S. House candidates in the nation's top 50 media markets in 2002. The results of the study suggest that female candidates for the U.S. House were covered with the same frequency as male candidates, and received equitable issue-based and personal coverage.

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Ignorance Is Bias: The Effect of Latino Losers on Models of Latino Representation

Eric Gonzalez Juenke
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Nearly every aggregate study of minority legislative representation has observed outcomes of elections (officeholders), rather than the supply of minority candidates. Because of this, scholars have left a large amount of important data, the election losers, out of their models of minority representation. The evidence presented in this article demonstrates that voters in the United States cannot choose minority officeholders because there are rarely minority candidates on the ballot. I use state legislative candidate data from Carsey et al. and Klarner et al. to test models of Latino representation that correct for first-stage selection bias. Once candidate self-selection is taken into account, the probability of electing a Latino increases enormously. I then use data from 2010 to make out-of-sample predictions, which clearly favor the conditional model. Thus, our current understanding of Latino representation is significantly biased by ignoring the first stage of an election, a candidate's decision to run.

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Race, Party, and the Consequences of Restricting Early Voting in Florida in the 2012 General Election

Michael Herron & Daniel Smith
Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
In mid-2011, the Florida legislature reduced the state's early voting period from fourteen days to eight and eliminated the final Sunday of early voting. We compare observed voting patterns in 2012 with those in the 2008 General Election and find that racial/ethnic minorities, registered Democrats, and those without party affiliation had significant early voting participation drops and that voters who cast ballots on the final Sunday in 2008 were disproportionately unlikely to cast a valid ballot in 2012. Florida's decision to truncate early voting may have diminished participation rates of those already least likely to vote.

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Did Hurricane Sandy Influence the 2012 US Presidential Election?

Joshua Hart
Social Science Research, July 2014, Pages 1-8

Abstract:
Despite drawing on a common pool of data, observers of the 2012 presidential campaign came to different conclusions about whether, how, and to what extent "October surprise" Hurricane Sandy influenced the election. The present study used a mixed correlational and experimental design to assess the relation between, and effect of, the salience of Hurricane Sandy on attitudes and voting intentions regarding President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in a large sample of voting-aged adults. Results suggest that immediately following positive news coverage of Obama's handling of the storm's aftermath, Sandy's salience positively influenced attitudes toward Obama, but that by election day, reminders of the hurricane became a drag instead of a boon for the President. In addition to theoretical implications, this study provides an example of how to combine methodological approaches to help answer questions about the impact of unpredictable, large-scale events as they unfold.

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Deception in Third Party Advertising in the 2012 Presidential Campaign

Kenneth Winneg et al.
American Behavioral Scientist, April 2014, Pages 524-535

Abstract:
In this article, we profile the advertising activities and deception levels of the top 2012 spending independent expenditure groups that focused on the presidential contest. From December 1, 2011, through Election Day, November 6, 2012, independent expenditure groups spent more than $360 million on presidential television advertising, according to Kantar Media CMAG. More than a fifth of the dollars spent by the top groups purchased ads containing at least one claim judged as misleading by independent fact checkers. The proportion of dollars that these groups spent on ads containing at least one deception was much greater during the primaries than afterward. During the primaries, the pro-Romney super PAC "Restore Our Future" led the pack both in dollars spent on ads containing at least one deception and in the proportion of its ads found deceptive by the fact checkers. During the general election, in the post-primary period, the pro-Obama super PAC "Priorities USA Action" devoted the most dollars and greatest proportion of its total dollars to ads in which fact checkers found at least one deceptive claim. During some but not all of the 2012 election year, the percentage of third party ads containing at least one deceptive claim was higher among those groups not required to disclose their donors than it was among those required to do so.

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Thinking about Romney: Frame Building in a Battleground State in the 2012 Presidential Election

Sid Bedingfield & Dien Anshari
Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, March 2014, Pages 78-97

Abstract:
Analyzing Ohio newspaper articles (n = 466), this study investigates the framing of Mitt Romney in a key battleground state during the 2012 presidential election. Campaign officials and political journalists contend that attacks launched by President Obama in late spring defined Romney for the remainder of the campaign. Results suggest partial support for this claim by revealing increased use of negative media frames after the attacks began. Specifically, framing of Romney as a "vulture capitalist" increased significantly during the Obama frame-building effort. Findings offer theoretical insights into the concepts of frame building and "content bias" in media coverage of political campaigns.

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Crises, Reforms, and the Voters' Curses

Carlo Prato & Stephane Wolton
Georgetown University Working Paper, February 2014

Abstract:
The inability of the political process to produce welfare improving reforms, especially when they are most needed, is both widespread and puzzling. We analyze a model of elections where successful communication of candidates' platforms during electoral campaigns requires effort from both candidates (senders) and a representative voter (receiver). We show that when the demand for change is either relatively low or relatively high, the electoral process loses its effectiveness as a device to screen competent politicians who implement beneficial reforms, and the voter is hurt. There exists a curse of the apathetic voter and a curse of the engaged voter. Against the so called "crisis hypothesis,'' and in line with empirical findings, our model explains why crises are not a good time for policy changes, and can lead to delayed or botched reforms.

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Diversity in Classrooms: The Relationship between Deliberative and Associative Opportunities in School and Later Electoral Engagement

Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg & Peter Levine
Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has found that attending racially pluralistic high schools is associated with a reduced likelihood of future electoral and civic engagement. Analysis of a national survey of 18-24 year olds after the 2012 election confirms this finding. However, certain school and family practices and extracurricular activities appear to compensate. Discussion of controversial current issues in social studies classes diminishes the negative association between attending a racially pluralistic school and electoral engagement. School-based discussion is particularly important for young people who attend pluralistic schools and who do not participate in political discussion at home. Opportunities to associate with peers who share common interests through issue-oriented groups predict electoral engagement. Considering that strong arguments can be made in favor of racial diversity in schools, it is important to compensate for the lessened electoral engagement in diverse schools by creating policies and teacher preparation resources that promote high-quality discussion of controversial issues in classrooms, and by encouraging students to participate in extracurricular groups that address political issues.

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Collateral Damage: Involvement and the Effects of Negative Super PAC Advertising

David Lynn Painter
American Behavioral Scientist, April 2014, Pages 510-523

Abstract:
Unprecedented numbers of negative political advertisements aired in battleground markets during the 2012 primaries, the first presidential campaign since the 2010 Citizens United decision. Grounded in theories of involvement, this investigation parses the influence of partisanship and political expression on the affective effects of negative Super PAC ads. Based on a pretest-posttest design with two experimental conditions and 585 participants, the results indicate both enduring and situational involvement exerted significant main and interaction effects on viewers' affect toward the general election candidates and the political parties. Driven by Independents who did not engage in political expression, these Super PAC ads evoked significant net decreases in affect toward Mitt Romney and the Republican Party and net increases toward Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. These results suggest enduring and situational involvement moderate the affective effects of negative Super PAC advertising in primary contests.

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The Relationship Between Campaign Negativity, Gender and Campaign Context

Yanna Krupnikov & Nichole Bauer
Political Behavior, March 2014, Pages 167-188

Abstract:
Are female candidates disproportionately punished for relying on negative campaign ads? While scholars agree that sponsoring negativity works against traditional gender stereotypes, it is less clear how relying on negativity affects voter evaluations of female candidates. In this manuscript we reconsider the relationship between candidate gender and negativity. Relying on theories of conditional stereotype use, we argue that negative ads translate to significantly poorer evaluations for the female candidate when two conditions are met: (1) the female candidate is perceived as the instigator of negativity and (2) she is of a different party than the voter. We test our predictions using an experiment and show that female candidates only face a disproportionate punishment for relying on negativity under our two specific conditions. In contrast, voters are much more forgiving when they believe that a female candidate simply followed her opponent's lead in using negative ads or when negativity is used to promote the voter's party. While our research suggests that - compared to their male counterparts - female candidates do face some added constraints, our findings have broader implications. Not only are voters more or less likely to use gender stereotypes under certain conditions, but these conditions are highly dependent on the campaign context.

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The Effects of Gender-Bending on Candidate Evaluations

Monica Schneider
Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, Winter 2014, Pages 55-77

Abstract:
A candidate's gender affects vote choice, but the manner in which candidates can influence the effects of their gender is not well understood. I address candidates' strategies based on gender stereotypes, that is, how voters are influenced by rhetoric that is either consistent (gender-reinforcing) or inconsistent (gender-bending) with gender stereotypes. These strategic choices are particularly important because of women's underrepresentation in American politics. Employing an experimental design, I found that male and female candidates who used gender-bending rhetoric were able to overturn stereotypes by persuading and priming voters. Male candidates were particularly successful. This was contrary to prior findings that consistency - at least in terms of party - is a superior strategy. These results have important implications for understanding how gender stereotypes evolve throughout a campaign to influence voters.

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Watchful eyes: Implicit observability cues and voting

Costas Panagopoulos
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Explicit social pressure has been shown to be a powerful motivator of prosocial behavior like voting in elections. In this study, I replicate and extend the findings of a randomized field experiment designed to study the impact of more subtle, implicit social pressure treatments on voting. The results of the original experiment, conducted in the October 2011 municipal elections in Key West, Florida, demonstrated that even subtle, implicit observability cues, like a pair of stylized eyes facing subjects, effectively mobilized citizens to vote, by about as much as explicit surveillance cues. The replication study, conducted in Lexington, KY during the November 2011 gubernatorial election, corroborates these findings and suggests eyes effect on average do not likely depend on the gender of eyespots used. Taken together, the two field experiments provide strong support for the notion studies that humans are evolutionarily programmed to respond to certain stimuli and that exposure to images that implicitly signal observability is sufficient to stimulate prosocial behavior.

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Decisions among the Undecided: Implicit Attitudes Predict Future Voting Behavior of Undecided Voters

Kristjen Lundberg & Keith Payne
PLoS ONE, January 2014

Abstract:
Implicit attitudes have been suggested as a key to unlock the hidden preferences of undecided voters. Past research, however, offered mixed support for this hypothesis. The present research used a large nationally representative sample and a longitudinal design to examine the predictive utility of implicit and explicit attitude measures in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. In our analyses, explicit attitudes toward candidates predicted voting better for decided than undecided voters, but implicit candidate attitudes were predictive of voting for both decided and undecided voters. Extending our examination to implicit and explicit racial attitudes, we found the same pattern. Taken together, these results provide convergent evidence that implicit attitudes predict voting about as well for undecided as for decided voters. We also assessed a novel explanation for these effects by evaluating whether implicit attitudes may predict the choices of undecided voters, in part, because they are neglected when people introspect about their confidence. Consistent with this idea, we found that the extremity of explicit but not implicit attitudes was associated with greater confidence. These analyses shed new light on the utility of implicit measures in predicting future behavior among individuals who feel undecided. Considering the prior studies together with this new evidence, the data seem to be consistent that implicit attitudes may be successful in predicting the behavior of undecided voters.

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Ideology-Specific Patterns of Moral Indifference Predict Intentions Not to Vote

Kate Johnson et al.
Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Results from a nationally representative survey (N = 1, 341) provide evidence that self-reported nonvoting behavior is associated with lower endorsement of moral concerns and values (Study 1). Across three studies, five large samples (total N = 27,038), and two presidential elections, we replicate this pattern and show that the explicit intention not to vote is associated with lower endorsement of moral concerns and values (Studies 2-4). This pattern was not found for endorsement of nonmoral values. Separate analyses for liberals, conservatives, libertarians, and Tea Party supporters reveal that the intention not to vote is specifically associated with low endorsement of the moral concerns most associated with one's ideological group: Care and Fairness concerns predicted voting intentions for liberals, while Loyalty, Authority, and Sanctity concerns predicted voting intentions for conservatives and members of the Tea Party group FreedomWorks.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Raising expectations

Stress Contagion: Physiological Covariation Between Mothers and Infants

Sara Waters, Tessa West & Wendy Berry Mendes
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Emotions are not simply concepts that live privately in the mind, but rather affective states that emanate from the individual and may influence others. We explored affect contagion in the context of one of the closest dyadic units, mother and infant. We initially separated mothers and infants; randomly assigned the mothers to experience a stressful positive-evaluation task, a stressful negative-evaluation task, or a nonstressful control task; and then reunited the mothers and infants. Three notable findings were obtained: First, infants’ physiological reactivity mirrored mothers’ reactivity engendered by the stress manipulation. Second, infants whose mothers experienced social evaluation showed more avoidance toward strangers compared with infants whose mothers were in the control condition. Third, the negative-evaluation condition, compared with the other conditions, generated greater physiological covariation in the dyads, and this covariation increased over time. These findings suggest that mothers’ stressful experiences are contagious to their infants and that members of close pairs, like mothers and infants, can reciprocally influence each other’s dynamic physiological reactivity.

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The Long-Term Effects of Building Strong Families: A Program for Unmarried Parents

Robert Wood et al.
Journal of Marriage and Family, April 2014, Pages 446–463

Abstract:
The authors present findings from a large-scale, random-assignment evaluation of Building Strong Families (BSF), a program offering group sessions on relationship skills education to low-income, unmarried parents who were expecting or had recently had a baby. Findings based on a 3-year follow-up survey of over 4,000 couples indicate that BSF did not succeed in its central objectives of improving the couple relationship, increasing the quality of coparenting, or enhancing father involvement. In fact, the program had modest negative effects on some of these outcomes. BSF also had little impact on child well-being, with no effect on children's family stability or economic well-being and only a modest positive effect on children's socioemotional development. Impacts varied across the 8 study sites. Although attendance at group sessions was relatively low, there is little evidence of program effects even among couples who attended sessions regularly.

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Housework, Children, and Women’s Wages Across Racial-Ethnic Groups

Heather Parrott
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Motherhood affects women’s household labor and paid employment, but little previous research has explored the extent to which hours of housework may explain per child wage penalties or differences in such penalties across racial-ethnic groups. In this paper, I use longitudinal Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) data to examine how variations in household labor affect the motherhood penalty for White, Black, and Hispanic women. In doing so, I first assess how children affect hours of household labor across these groups and then explore the extent to which this household labor mediates the relationship between children and wages for these women. I find that household labor explains a portion of the motherhood penalty for White women, who experience the most dramatic increases in household labor with additional children. Black and Hispanic women experience slight increases in housework with additional children, but neither children nor housework affects their already low wages.

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Estimating the Effects of Parental Divorce and Death With Fixed Effects Models

Paul Amato & Christopher Anthony
Journal of Marriage and Family, April 2014, Pages 370–386

Abstract:
The authors used child fixed effects models to estimate the effects of parental divorce and death on a variety of outcomes using 2 large national data sets: (a) the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Cohort (kindergarten through the 5th grade) and (b) the National Educational Longitudinal Study (8th grade to the senior year of high school). In both data sets, divorce and death were associated with multiple negative outcomes among children. Although evidence for a causal effect of divorce on children was reasonably strong, effect sizes were small in magnitude. A second analysis revealed a substantial degree of variability in children's outcomes following parental divorce, with some children declining, others improving, and most not changing at all. The estimated effects of divorce appeared to be strongest among children with the highest propensity to experience parental divorce.

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Breastfeeding, Parenting, and Early Cognitive Development

Benjamin Gibbs & Renata Forste
Journal of Pediatrics, March 2014, Pages 487-493

Objective: To explain why breastfeeding is associated with children's cognitive development.

Study design: By using a nationally representative longitudinal survey of early childhood (N = 7500), we examined how breastfeeding practices, the early introduction of solid foods, and putting an infant to bed with a bottle were associated with cognitive development across early childhood. We also explored whether this link can be explained by parenting behaviors and maternal education.

Results: There is a positive relationship between predominant breastfeeding for 3 months or more and child reading skills, but this link is the result of cognitively supportive parenting behaviors and greater levels of education among women who predominantly breastfed. We found little-to-no relationship between infant feeding practices and the cognitive development of children with less-educated mothers. Instead, reading to a child every day and being sensitive to a child's development were significant predictors of math and reading readiness outcomes.

Conclusions: Although breastfeeding has important benefits in other settings, the encouragement of breastfeeding to promote school readiness does not appear to be a key intervention point. Promoting parenting behaviors that improve child cognitive development may be a more effective and direct strategy for practitioners to adopt, especially for disadvantaged children.

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Is Breast Truly Best? Estimating the Effects of Breastfeeding on Long-term Child Health and Wellbeing in the United States Using Sibling Comparisons

Cynthia Colen & David Ramey
Social Science & Medicine, forthcoming

Abstract:
Breastfeeding rates in the U.S. are socially patterned. Previous research has documented startling racial and socioeconomic disparities in infant feeding practices. However, much of the empirical evidence regarding the effects of breastfeeding on long-term child health and wellbeing does not adequately address the high degree of selection into breastfeeding. To address this important shortcoming, we employ sibling comparisons in conjunction with 25 years of panel data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) to approximate a natural experiment and more accurately estimate what a particular child’s outcome would be if he/she had been differently fed during infancy. Results from standard multiple regression models suggest that children aged 4 to 14 who were breast- as opposed to bottle-fed did significantly better on 10 of the 11 outcomes studied. Once we restrict analyses to siblings and incorporate within-family fixed effects, estimates of the association between breastfeeding and all but one indicator of child health and wellbeing dramatically decrease and fail to maintain statistical significance. Our results suggest that much of the beneficial long-term effects typically attributed to breastfeeding, per se, may primarily be due to selection pressures into infant feeding practices along key demographic characteristics such as race and socioeconomic status.

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Breastfeeding and Child Disability: A Comparison of Siblings from the United States

George Wehby
NBER Working Paper, February 2014

Abstract:
Little is known about whether breastfeeding may prevent disabilities throughout childhood. We evaluate the effects of breastfeeding on child disability using data from the National Survey of Family Growth merged to the National Health Interview Survey for a large nationally representative sample of children aged 1 to 18 years from the U.S. including over 3,000 siblings who are discordant on breastfeeding status/duration. We focus on a mother fixed effect model that compares siblings in order to account for family-level unobservable confounders and employ multiple specifications including a dynamic model that accounts for disability status of the prior child. Breastfeeding the child for a longer duration is associated with a lower risk of child disability, by about 0.2 percentage-points per month of breastfeeding. This effect is only observed on the intensive margin among breastfed children, as any breastfeeding has no effect on the extensive margin. We conclude that very short breastfeeding durations are unlikely to have an effect on reducing disability risk.

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Parenthood and Life Satisfaction: Why Don't Children Make People Happy?

Matthias Pollmann-Schult
Journal of Marriage and Family, April 2014, Pages 319–336

Abstract:
Previous research on the association between parenthood and life satisfaction has shown that parents of minor children are not more satisfied with their lives than childless people. This study addressed the question of why children do not enhance their parents' life satisfaction. A major objective of this study was to determine whether and to what extent the costs of raising children act as suppressors of life satisfaction. The empirical analysis applied fixed-effects models and used data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (1994–2010, N = 16,021). The 3 primary findings of this study were that (a) parenthood by itself has substantial and enduring positive effects on life satisfaction; (b) these positive effects are offset by financial and time costs of parenthood; and (c) the impact of these costs varies considerably with family factors, such as the age and number of children, marital status, and the parents' employment arrangements.

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Indiscriminate Behaviors in Previously Institutionalized Young Children

Mary Margaret Gleason et al.
Pediatrics, March 2014, Pages e657-e665

Objective: This study included 54-month-old children with a history of institutional care. Our goal was to: (1) examine differences in indiscriminate social behaviors in children with a history of institutional care compared with home-reared children; (2) test whether foster care reduces indiscriminate social behaviors in a randomized controlled trial; and (3) examine early predictors of indiscriminate behaviors.

Methods: Participants were 58 children with a history of institutional care and 31 never-institutionalized control (NIG) subjects enrolled in a randomized controlled trial of foster care for institutional care, assessed from toddlerhood to 54 months. Indiscriminate social behaviors were measured naturalistically by using the Stranger at the Door procedure.

Results: In the Stranger at the Door procedure, children with a history of institutional care left with a stranger at higher rates than NIG subjects (33% vs 3.5%; P < .001). Children in the care as usual group left more than NIG subjects (41.9% vs 3.6%; P ≤ .001). The differences between the foster care group (24.1%) and the care as usual group and between foster care group and NIG were not significant. In a logistic regression, early disorganized attachment behaviors, baseline developmental quotient, and caregiving quality after randomization contributed to variance at 54 months. In the same analysis using only children with a history of institutional care, only disorganized attachment contributed significantly to 54-month indiscriminate social behaviors (Exp[B] = 1.6 [95% confidence interval: 1.1–2.5]).

Conclusions: Observed socially indiscriminate behaviors at 54 months were associated with prolonged exposure to institutional care. Young children raised in conditions of deprivation who fail to develop organized attachments as toddlers are at increased risk for subsequent indiscriminate behaviors.

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Does Grandparenting Pay Off? The Effect of Child Care on Grandparents' Cognitive Functioning

Bruno Arpino & Valeria Bordone
Journal of Marriage and Family, April 2014, Pages 337–351

Abstract:
The authors examined whether the provision of child care helps older adults maintain better cognitive functioning. Descriptive evidence from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (n = 5,610 women and n = 4,760 men, ages 50–80) shows that intensively engaged grandparents have lower cognitive scores than the others. The authors show that this result is attributable to background characteristics and not to child care per se. Using an instrumental variable approach, they found that providing child care has a positive effect on 1 of the 4 cognitive tests considered: verbal fluency. For the other cognitive tests, no statistically significant effect was found. Given the same level of engagement, they found very similar results for grandmothers and grandfathers. These findings point to the inclusion of grandparenting among other cognitively stimulating social activities and the need to consider such benefits when discussing the implications of this important type of nonmonetary intergenerational transfer.

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The Role of Parenting in Linking Family Socioeconomic Disadvantage to Physical Activity in Adolescence and Young Adulthood

Hedwig Lee
Youth & Society, March 2014, Pages 255-285

Abstract:
Parents play an important role in influencing adolescent health behaviors and parenting practices may be an important pathway through which social disadvantage influences adolescent health behaviors that can persist into adulthood. This analysis uses the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to examine how parenting practices mediate the association between family socioeconomic disadvantage, measured as low parent education and family welfare/poverty status, and physical activity in adolescence and young adulthood for males and females. Results show that levels of parental control do not differ by family disadvantage. However, disadvantaged parents engage in lower levels of activities and communication with their children compared with nondisadvantaged parents. These behaviors serve to mediate the negative association between disadvantage and physical activity in adolescence, and are associated with physical activity in adulthood. Parenting is an important pathway through which disadvantage influences physical activity in adolescence and the transition to adulthood.

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Adverse Childhood Experiences & Disability in US Adults

Sophia Miryam Schüssler-Fiorenza Rose, Dawei Xie & Margaret Stineman
PM&R, forthcoming

Objective: To assess relationships between adverse childhood experiences and self-reported disabilities in adult life.

Design: Cross-sectional random-digit-dialed state-population-based survey (Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)).

Setting: 14 States and the District of Columbia

Participants: Non-institutionalized adults aged ≥ 18 years surveyed in 2009 and/or in 2010 (n = 81,184).

Methods: The BRFSS Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Module asks about abuse (physical, sexual, emotional), family dysfunction (exposures to domestic violence, living with mentally ill, substance abusing, or incarcerated family member(s), and/or parental separation/divorce) occurring before age 18. The ACE Score sums affirmed ACE categories (range 0-8). We controlled for demographic characteristics (age, race, education, income, and marital status) and self-reported physical health conditions (stroke, myocardial infarction, diabetes, coronary heart disease, asthma). Five states asked participants about mental health conditions (anxiety and depression). A subset analysis of participants in these states evaluated the effect of adjusting for these conditions.

Main Outcome Measures: The primary outcome was disability (self-reported activity limitation and/or assistive device use.)

Results: Over half (57%) of participants reported at least one adverse childhood experience category and 23.2% reported disability. The odds ratio (OR [95% confidence interval]) of disability increased in a graded fashion from 1.3 [1.2-1.4] among those experiencing 1 adverse experience to 5.8 [4.6-7.5] among those with 7 to 8 adverse experiences compared to those with no such experiences, adjusting for demographic factors. The relationship between adverse experiences and disability remained strong after adjusting for physical and mental health conditions.

Conclusions: There is a strong graded relationship between childhood exposure to abuse and household dysfunction and self-reported disability in adulthood, even after adjusting for potentially mediating health conditions. Greater clinician, researcher and policymaker awareness of the impact of childhood adversity on disability is crucial to help those affected by childhood adversity lead more functional lives.

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Paid Maternity Leave and Breastfeeding Practice Before and After California's Implementation of the Nation's First Paid Family Leave Program

Rui Huang & Muzhe Yang
Economics & Human Biology, forthcoming

Abstract:
California was the first state in the United States to implement a paid family leave (PFL) program in 2004. We use data from the Infant Feeding Practices Study to examine the changes in breastfeeding practices in California relative to other states before and after the implementation of PFL. We find an increase of 3–5 percentage points for exclusive breastfeeding and an increase of 10–20 percentage points for breastfeeding at several important markers of early infancy. Our study supports the recommendation of the Surgeon General to establish paid leave policies as a strategy for promoting breastfeeding.

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Does Caregiving Cause Psychological Distress? The Case for Familial and Genetic Vulnerabilities in Female Twins

Peter Vitaliano et al.
Annals of Behavioral Medicine, forthcoming

Background: Informal caregiving can be deleterious to mental health, but research results are inconsistent and may reflect an interaction between caregiving and vulnerability to stress.

Methods: We examined psychological distress among 1,228 female caregiving and non-caregiving twins. By examining monozygotic and dizygotic twin pairs discordant for caregiving, we assessed the extent to which distress is directly related to caregiving or confounded by common genes and environmental exposures.

Results: Caregiving was associated with distress as measured by mental health functioning, anxiety, perceived stress, and depression. The overall association between caregiving and distress was confounded by common genes and environment for mental health functioning, anxiety, and depression. Common environment also confounded the association of caregiving and perceived stress.

Conclusions: Vulnerability to distress is a factor in predicting caregivers' psychosocial functioning. Additional research is needed to explicate the mechanisms by which common genes and environment increase the risk of distress among informal caregivers.

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Being a Parent or Having a Parent? The Perceived Employability of Men and Women Who Take Employment Leave

Julie Kmec, Matt Huffman & Andrew Penner
American Behavioral Scientist, March 2014, Pages 453-472

Abstract:
We explore one way family caregiving shapes inequality at work by analyzing the evaluations of men and women who took employment leave to care for a newborn or elderly parents or to recover from a personal injury. Roughly 500 undergraduate students evaluated the employability, qualifications, responsibility, and adherence to leave policies of a fictitious applicant for a professional job. Evaluators rated fathers and male elder caregivers as the most employable. This advantage was not explained by evaluators’ thinking that fathers and male elder caregivers were qualified, responsible, and policy abiding, suggesting the operation of taste discrimination. Likewise, accounting for these factors widens the gap in perceived employability between male and female noncaregivers. We discuss what these findings reveal about the family-work link as well as their methodological and policy implications.

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Does being a mom help or hurt? Workplace incivility as a function of motherhood status

Kathi Miner et al.
Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, January 2014, Pages 60-73

Abstract:
The purpose of the present study was to examine the extent to which motherhood status predicts being a target of workplace incivility and moderates the relationship between incivility and negative outcomes among employed women. Participants included a nationwide sample of law school faculty members (N = 1,234; 48% female, 85% White) who completed measures of workplace incivility, parenting status, job satisfaction, turnover intentions, and depression. Results showed that mothers with 3 children were treated more uncivilly than women with fewer children and that mothering mitigated negative outcomes associated with being the target of incivility. Exploratory analyses examining fatherhood status as a predictor of workplace incivility and moderator of incivility and outcomes showed that fathers reported experiencing more workplace incivility than nonfathers, but being a father did not attenuate the negative outcomes of incivility. In addition, mothers reported more incivility than fathers and childless women reported more incivility than childless men. Childless women were also the most negatively affected by incivility at work. This study advances our understanding of how motherhood status affects women’s experiences at work.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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