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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Get a good lawyer

Judges on Trial: A Reexamination of Judicial Race and Gender Effects Across Modes of Conviction

Brian Johnson
Criminal Justice Policy Review, March 2014, Pages 159-184

Abstract:
Extant research on the effects of judicial background characteristics suggests minimal influence from the race or gender of the sentencing judge in criminal cases. This raises at least two possibilities: (1) the combined influence of judicial recruitment, indoctrination, and socialization into the judgeship results in a homogenous body of criminal court judges; or (2) current approaches to identifying judge effects in criminal sentencing have methodological and conceptual flaws that limit their ability to detect important influences from judicial background characteristics. The current article examines this issue with data from the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing that is augmented to include information on sentencing judges and criminal court contexts. It argues that the mode of conviction shapes the locus of sentencing discretion in ways that systematically underestimate judge effects for pooled estimates of incarceration and sentence length. The empirical results support this interpretation, especially for incarceration in trial cases, where older, female, and minority judges are substantially less likely to sentence offenders to jail or prison terms. The article concludes with a discussion of future research directions and policy implications for judge effects and disparity in sentencing.

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The Color of Juvenile Justice: Racial Disparities in Dispositional Decisions

Jamie Fader, Megan Kurlychek & Kirstin Morgan
Social Science Research, March 2014, Pages 126–140

Abstract:
Existing research on dispositional decisions typically models the outcome as merely placed or not placed. However, this does not accurately reflect the wide variation in residential options available to juvenile court actors. In this research, we combine data from ProDES, which tracks adjudicated youth in Philadelphia, with data from the Program Design Inventory, which describes over 100 intervention programs, to further examine the factors that influence court actors’ decision making in selecting an appropriate program for a juvenile offender. We find that even after controlling for legal and needs-based factors, race continues to exert a significant influence, with decision makers being significantly more likely to commit minority youth to facilities using physical regimen as their primary modality and reserving smaller, therapeutic facilities for their white counterparts. Using focal concerns theory as an explanatory lens, we suggest that court actors in this jurisdiction employ a racialized perceptual shorthand of youthful offenders that attributes both higher levels of blame and lower evaluations of reformability to minority youth.

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The Relationship Between Skin Tone and School Suspension for African Americans

Lance Hannon, Robert DeFina & Sarah Bruch
Race and Social Problems, December 2013, Pages 281-295

Abstract:
This study contributes to the research literature on colorism – discrimination based on skin tone — by examining whether skin darkness affects the likelihood that African Americans will experience school suspension. Using data from The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, logistic regression analyses indicated that darker skin tone significantly increased the odds of suspension for African American adolescents. Closer inspection of the data revealed that this overall result was disproportionately driven by the experiences of African American females. The odds of suspension were about 3 times greater for young African American women with the darkest skin tone compared to those with the lightest skin. This finding was robust to the inclusion of controls for parental SES, delinquent behavior, academic performance, and several other variables. Furthermore, this finding was replicated using similar measures in a different sample of African Americans from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The results suggest that discrimination in school discipline goes beyond broad categories of race to include additional distinctions in skin tone.

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A Winner's Curse?: Promotions from the Lower Federal Courts

Stephen Choi, Mitu Gulati & Eric Posner
University of Chicago Working Paper, December 2013

Abstract:
The standard model of judicial behavior suggests that judges primarily care about deciding cases in ways that further their political ideologies. But judicial behavior seems much more complex. Politicians who nominate people for judgeships do not typically tout their ideology (except sometimes using vague code words), but they always claim that the nominees will be competent judges. Moreover, it stands to reason that voters would support politicians who appoint competent as well as ideologically compatible judges. We test this hypothesis using a dataset consisting of promotions to the federal circuit courts. We find, using a set of objective measures of judicial performance, that competence seems to matter in promotions in that the least competent judges do not get elevated. But the judges who score the highest on our competence measures also do not get elevated. So, while there is no loser’s reward, there may be something of a winner’s curse, where those with the highest levels of competence hurt their chances of elevation.

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Mandatory Sentencing and Racial Disparity: Assessing the Role of Prosecutors and the Effects of Booker

Sonja Starr & Marit Rehavi
Yale Law Journal, October 2013, Pages 2-80

Abstract:
This Article presents new empirical evidence concerning the effects of United States v. Booker, which loosened the formerly mandatory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, on racial disparities in federal criminal cases. Two serious limitations pervade existing empirical literature on sentencing disparities. First, studies focus on sentencing in isolation, controlling for the “presumptive sentence” or similar measures that themselves result from discretionary charging, plea-bargaining, and fact-finding processes. Any disparities in these earlier processes are excluded from the resulting sentence-disparity estimates. Our research has shown that this exclusion matters: pre-sentencing decision-making can have substantial sentence-disparity consequences. Second, existing studies have used loose causal inference methods that fail to disentangle the effects of sentencing-law changes, such as Booker, from surrounding events and trends. In contrast, we use a dataset that traces cases from arrest to sentencing, allowing us to assess Booker’s effects on disparities in charging, plea-bargaining, and fact-finding, as well as sentencing. We disentangle background trends by using a rigorous regression discontinuity-style design. Contrary to other studies (and in particular, the dramatic recent claims of the U.S. Sentencing Commission), we find no evidence that racial disparity has increased since Booker, much less because of Booker. Unexplained racial disparity remains persistent, but does not appear to have increased following the expansion of judicial discretion.

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Gender and Voting Decisions in the US Court of Appeals: Testing Critical Mass Theory

Katherine Felix Scheurer
Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, Winter 2014, Pages 31-54

Abstract:
Although a wide body of research examines whether gender influences judicial decisions, past studies do not analyze whether a critical mass of female judges affects the voting behavior of the US court of appeals. To address this gap in the existing literature, I examine whether a critical mass of female judges influences the voting decisions of court of appeals judges in civil rights and economic activity cases. Providing support for critical mass theory, I find that female judges are more likely to vote liberally in civil rights and economic activity cases when there is a critical mass of female judges.

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Gender and Sentencing in the Federal Courts: Are Women Treated More Leniently?

Jill Doerner & Stephen Demuth
Criminal Justice Policy Review, March 2014, Pages 242-269

Abstract:
Using data from the United States Sentencing Commission (2001-2003), we examine the role of gender in the sentencing of defendants in federal courts. We address two questions: First, can we explain the gender gap in sentencing by taking into account differences in legal and extralegal factors? And second, do legal and extralegal factors have the same impact for male and female defendants? Overall, we find that female defendants receive more lenient sentence outcomes than their male counterparts. Legal factors account for a large portion of the gender differences, but even after controlling for legal characteristics a substantial gap in sentencing outcomes remains. Also, despite their influence on sentencing outcomes in some instances, extralegal characteristics do not help to close the gender gap. Finally, when male and female defendants are examined separately, we find that not all legal and extralegal factors weigh equally for male and female defendants.

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Bankrupt Apologies

Jennifer Robbennolt & Robert Lawless
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, December 2013, Pages 771–796

Abstract:
Apologies result in better outcomes for wrongdoers in a variety of legal contexts. Previous research, however, has primarily addressed settings in which a clear victim receives the apology. This research uses experimental methods to examine the influence of apologies on a different kind of legal decision — the decision of a bankruptcy judge to confirm or not to confirm a proposed repayment plan. This article expands examination of apologies to a legal setting in which there is no clear “victim” and to decisions of a neutral (nonvictim) decisionmaker. We find that judges' assessments of debtors were influenced by apologies. These assessments, in turn, affected judges' confirmation decisions.

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Trial and Error: Decision Reversal and Panel Size in State Courts

Yosh Halberstam
University of Toronto Working Paper, November 2013

Abstract:
Using data on appeals to state courts, I show that lower court decisions are reversed more frequently by high courts on which justices sit in larger, rather than smaller, panels. I do not find evidence that appeal selection effects are driving this result. As a possible mechanism, I propose a theory that highlights the effect of free riding on reversals as a function of the number of justices reviewing an appeal. My findings suggest that the predictability of judicial decisions decreases in panel size.

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Is the Modern American Death Penalty a Fatal Lottery? Texas as a Conservative Test

Scott Phillips & Alena Simon
Laws, Winter 2014, Pages 85-105

Abstract:
In Furman v. Georgia (1972), the Supreme Court was presented with data indicating that 15% to 20% of death-eligible defendants were actually sentenced to death. Based on such a negligible death sentence rate, some Justices concluded that the imposition of death was random and capricious — a fatal lottery. Later, the Court assumed in Gregg v. Georgia (1976) that guided discretion statutes would eliminate the constitutional infirmities identified in Furman: If state legislatures narrowed the pool of death-eligible defendants to the “worst of the worst” then most would be sentenced to death, eliminating numerical arbitrariness. However, recent research suggests that numerical arbitrariness remains, as the death sentence rate falls below the Furman threshold in California (11%), Connecticut (4%), and Colorado (less than 1%). The current research estimates the death sentence rate in Texas. Interestingly, Texas provides a conservative test. In contrast to most states, the Texas statute does not include broad aggravators that substantially enlarge the pool of death-eligible defendants and therefore depress the death sentence rate. Nonetheless, the death sentence rate in Texas during the period from 2006 to 2010 ranges from 3% to 6% (depending on assumptions made about the data). The same pattern holds true in the key counties that send the largest number of defendants to death row: Harris (Houston), Dallas (Dallas), Tarrant (Fort Worth and Arlington), and Bexar (San Antonio). Thus, the data suggest that Texas can be added to the list of states in which capital punishment is unconstitutional as administered. If the death sentence rate in Texas runs afoul of the Furman principle then the prognosis for other states is not encouraging.

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The animal in you: Animalistic descriptions of a violent crime increase punishment of perpetrator

Eduardo Vasquez et al.
Aggressive Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Criminal acts are sometimes described using animal metaphors. What is the impact of a violent crime being described in an animalistic versus a non-animalistic way on the subsequent retribution toward the perpetrator? In two studies, we experimentally varied animalistic descriptions of a violent crime and examined its effect on the severity of the punishment for the act. In Study 1, we showed that compared to non-animalistic descriptions, animalistic descriptions resulted in significantly harsher punishment for the perpetrator. In Study 2, we replicated this effect and further demonstrated that this harsher sentencing is explained by an increase in perceived risk of recidivism. Our findings suggest that animalistic descriptions of crimes lead to more retaliation against the perpetrator by inducing the perception that he is likely to continue engaging in violence.

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Does it matter how you deny it?: The role of demeanour in evaluations of criminal suspects

Amy Bradfield Douglass et al.
Legal and Criminological Psychology, forthcoming

Purpose: In some cases of wrongful convictions, demeanour seen as inappropriate can trigger suspicions of guilt. Two experiments systematically manipulated the demeanour of criminal suspects in interrogations to test its impact on guilt ratings.

Methods: In Experiment 1 (N = 60), participants saw a videotaped interrogation in which the suspect displayed flat demeanour or emotional demeanour. Before viewing the interrogation, participants were told that normal reactions to trauma consisted of either flat or emotional demeanour. In Experiment 2 (N = 147), the presence of the suspect's coerced confession and demeanour evidence were both manipulated.

Results: In Experiment 1, a suspect who displayed flat demeanour during the interrogation produced higher ratings of guilt than did a suspect who displayed emotional demeanour, especially when participants were told to expect emotional demeanour. In Experiment 2, without a confession, flat demeanour inflated guilt ratings, whereas emotional demeanour slightly (but non-significantly) decreased guilt ratings compared with a no demeanour information condition. When a confession was introduced, guilt ratings increased for all groups, with the highest ratings in the emotional demeanour condition.

Conclusions: Flat demeanour biases judgments against defendants. On its own, emotional demeanour is neutral (or potentially exonerating), but when paired with a confession, it becomes just as incriminating as flat demeanour. Recommendations for educating police professionals on the wide range of appropriate reactions to trauma are described.

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Detecting Deception in Non-Native English Speakers

Jacqueline Evans & Stephen Michael
Applied Cognitive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The ability to accurately assess credibility is important in countless situations, including many in which individuals being assessed are not speaking their native language. There is reason to believe that native and non-native speakers may behave differently when lying and that detectors may have a bias to believe non-native speakers are lying. However, very little is known about detecting deception in non-native speakers, and the few existing studies have not resulted in consistent findings. The current research compared the ability to detect lies and truths in native speakers with that in non-native speakers and looked at differences in the cues displayed via the Psychologically Based Credibility Assessment Tool. Results from two samples with different demographic characteristics and backgrounds indicated that there was a bias to believe that non-native speakers were lying. These results may have implications regarding the use of interpreters in settings where credibility is being assessed.

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Misdemeanor Justice: Control without Conviction

Issa Kohler-Hausmann
American Journal of Sociology, September 2013, Pages 351-393

Abstract:
Current scholarship has explored how the carceral state governs and regulates populations. This literature has focused on prison and on the wide-reaching collateral consequences of a felony conviction. Despite the obvious importance of these findings, they capture only a portion of the criminal justice system’s operations. In most jurisdictions, misdemeanors, not felonies, constitute the bulk of criminal cases, and the number of such arrests is rising. This article explores a puzzling fact about New York City’s pioneering experiment in mass misdemeanor arrests: the preponderance result in no finding of guilt and no assignment of formal punishment. Drawing on two years of fieldwork, this article explores how the criminal justice system functions to regulate significant populations without conviction or sentencing. The author details the operation of penal power through the techniques of marking through criminal justice record keeping, the procedural hassle of case processing, and mandated performance evaluated by court actors to show the social control capacity of the criminal justice system.

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Judicial Selection and Death Penalty Decisions

Brandice Canes-Wrone, Tom Clark & Jason Kelly
American Political Science Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Most U.S. state supreme court justices face elections or reappointment by elected officials, and research suggests that judicial campaigns have come to resemble those for other offices. We develop predictions on how selection systems should affect judicial decisions and test these predictions on an extensive dataset of death penalty decisions by state courts of last resort. Specifically, the data include over 12,000 decisions on over 2000 capital punishment cases decided between 1980 and 2006 in systems with partisan, nonpartisan, or retention elections or with reappointment. As predicted, the findings suggest that judges face the greatest pressure to uphold capital sentences in systems with nonpartisan ballots. Also as predicted, judges respond similarly to public opinion in systems with partisan elections or reappointment. Finally, the results indicate that the plebiscitary influences on judicial behavior emerge only after interest groups began achieving success at targeting justices for their decisions.

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The Costs and Benefits of American Policy-Making Venues

Aaron Ley
Law & Society Review, March 2014, Pages 91–126

Abstract:
Many law and policy scholars consider judges inimical to good public policymaking, and the criticisms they level on the judiciary implicitly reflect some of the concerns raised by Alexander Bickel and other critics. Despite the charge by critics that judges are institutionally ill equipped to participate in the policy-making process and that legal processes are costly, there are reasons to believe otherwise. This article uses field interviews and three case studies of an environmental dispute in the Pacific Northwest to show that the judiciary can be an institutional venue that enhances public input, can be more inclusive than other venues, and produces positive-sum outcomes when other venues cannot. The findings also suggest that legislative and agency policymaking are just as contentious and costly as judicial policy-making processes.

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An Economic Theory of Supreme Court News

Richard Vining & Phil Marcin
Political Communication, Winter 2014, Pages 94-111

Abstract:
In this article, we develop and test an economic theory of Supreme Court news. We hypothesize that information about the Third Branch is newsworthy when it has lower production costs and qualities attractive to the audiences and advertisers desired by news organizations. We examine Supreme Court news in elite newspapers, television news broadcasts, and online news sources during the October 2008 and 2010 terms. The results of our quantitative analyses indicate that all three types of news outlets are more likely to provide content about Supreme Court decisions with substantive importance but vary in their responses to costs and qualities appealing to the lay audience. We conclude by discussing the similarities and differences among news outlets with regard to their selection of Supreme Court information as news content.

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Death Row Confessions and the Last Meal Test of Innocence

Kevin Kniffin & Brian Wansink
Laws, March 2014, Pages 1-11

Abstract:
Post hoc analyses of Rector v. Arkansas have regularly highlighted that the defendant requested that part of his last meal be saved so that he could it eat later. While the observation is typically raised as part of arguments that Rector was incompetent and unfit for execution, the more basic fact is that commentators have drawn important inferences about Rector’s mental state from how he treated his last meal. In this essay, we draw upon multiple disciplines in order to apply the same inferential logic to a much broader sample and explore the question of whether traditionally customized last meals might offer signals of defendants’ guilt or innocence. To investigate this, the content of last-meal requests and last words reported for people executed in the United States during a recent five-year period were examined. Consistent with the idea that declination of the last meal is equivalent to a signal of (self-perceived) innocence, those who denied guilt were 2.7 times as likely to decline a last meal than people who admitted guilt (29% versus 8%). Consistent with the complementary theory that people who admit guilt are relatively more “at peace” with their sentence, these individuals requested 34% more calories of food than the rest of the sample (2786 versus 2085 calories). A third finding is that those who denied guilt also tended to eat significantly fewer brand-name food items. Previous discussions of last meals have often lacked quantitative measurements; however, this systematic analysis shows that last meal requests offer windows into self-perceived or self-proclaimed innocence. Knowing one’s last meal request and one’s last words can provide valuable new variables for retrospectively assessing the processes that led to past executions.

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Do Confessions Taint Perceptions of Handwriting Evidence? An Empirical Test of the Forensic Confirmation Bias

Jeff Kukucka & Saul Kassin
Law and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Citing classic psychological research and a smattering of recent studies, Kassin, Dror, and Kukucka (2013) proposed the operation of a forensic confirmation bias, whereby preexisting expectations guide the evaluation of forensic evidence in a self-verifying manner. In a series of studies, we tested the hypothesis that knowing that a defendant had confessed would taint people’s evaluations of handwriting evidence relative to those not so informed. In Study 1, participants who read a case summary in which the defendant had previously confessed were more likely to erroneously conclude that handwriting samples from the defendant and perpetrator were authored by the same person, and were more likely to judge the defendant guilty, compared with those in a no-confession control group. Study 2 replicated and extended these findings using a within-subjects design in which participants rated the same samples both before and after reading a case summary. These findings underscore recent critiques of the forensic sciences as subject to bias, and suggest the value of insulating forensic examiners from contextual information.

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Unfounding Sexual Assault: Examining the Decision to Unfound and Identifying False Reports

Cassia Spohn, Clair White & Katharine Tellis
Law & Society Review, March 2014, Pages 161–192

Abstract:
One of the most controversial — and least understood — issues in the area of sexual violence is the prevalence of false reports of rape. Estimates of the rate of false reports vary widely, which reflects differences in way false reports are defined and in the methods that researchers use to identify them. We address this issue using a mixed methods approach that incorporates quantitative and qualitative data on sexual assault cases that were reported to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) in 2008 and qualitative data from interviews with LAPD detectives assigned to investigate reports of sexual assault. We found that the LAPD was clearing cases as unfounded appropriately most, but not all, of the time and we estimated that the rate of false reports among cases reported to the LAPD was 4.5 percent. We also found that although complainant recantation was the strongest predictor of the unfounding decision, other factors indicative of the seriousness of the incident and the credibility of the victim also played a role. We interpret these findings using an integrated theoretical perspective that incorporates both Black's sociological theory of law and Steffensmeier, Ulmer, and Kramer's focal concerns perspective.

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The effect of the election of prosecutors on criminal trials

Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay & Bryan McCannon
Public Choice, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine whether elections of public prosecutors influence the mix of cases taken to trial versus plea bargained. A theoretical model is constructed wherein voters use outcomes of the criminal justice system as a signal of prosecutors’ quality, leading to a distortion in the mix of cases taken to trial. Using data from North Carolina we test whether reelection pressures lead to (a) an increase in the number and proportion of convictions from jury trials and (b) a decrease in the average sanction obtained in both jury trials and pleas. Our empirical findings are consistent with our theoretical predictions.

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The Impact of Neuroimages in the Sentencing Phase of Capital Trials

Michael Saks et al.
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, March 2014, Pages 105–131

Abstract:
Although recent research has found that neurological expert testimony is more persuasive than other kinds of expert and nonexpert evidence, no impact has been found for neuroimages beyond that of neurological evidence sans images. Those findings hold true in the context of a mens rea defense and various forms of insanity defenses. The present studies test whether neuroimages afford heightened impact in the penalty phase of capital murder trials. Two mock jury experiments (n = 825 and n = 882) were conducted online using nationally representative samples of persons who were jury eligible and death qualified. Participants were randomly assigned to experimental conditions varying the defendant's diagnosis (psychopathy, schizophrenia, normal), type of expert evidence supporting the diagnosis (clinical, genetic, neurological sans images, neurological with images), evidence of future dangerousness (high, low), and whether the proponent of the expert evidence was the prosecution (arguing aggravation) or the defense (arguing mitigation). For defendants diagnosed as psychopathic, neuroimages reduced judgments of responsibility and sentences of death. For defendants diagnosed as schizophrenic, neuroimages increased judgments of responsibility; nonimage neurological evidence decreased death sentences and judgments of responsibility and dangerousness. All else equal, psychopaths were more likely to be sentenced to death than schizophrenics. When experts opined that the defendant was dangerous, sentences of death increased. A backfire effect was found such that the offering party produced the opposite result than that being argued for when the expert evidence was clinical, genetic, or nonimage neurological, but when the expert evidence included neuroimages, jurors moved in the direction argued by counsel.

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The Verifiability Approach: Countermeasures Facilitate its Ability to Discriminate Between Truths and Lies

Galit Nahari, Aldert Vrij & Ronald Fisher
Applied Cognitive Psychology, January/February 2014, Pages 122–128

Abstract:
According to the verifiability approach, liars tend to provide details that cannot be checked by the investigator and awareness of this increases the investigator's ability to detect lies. In the present experiment, we replicated previous findings in a more realistic paradigm and examined the vulnerability of the verifiability approach to countermeasures. For this purpose, we collected written statements from 44 mock criminals (liars) and 43 innocents (truth tellers), whereas half of them were told before writing the statements that the verifiability of their statements will be checked. Results showed that ‘informing’ encouraged truth tellers but not liars to provide more verifiable details and increased the ability to detect lies. These findings suggest that verifiability approach is less vulnerable to countermeasures than other lie detection tools. On the contrary, in the current experiment, notifying interviewees about the mechanism of the approach benefited lie detection.

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The (Dis)Advantage of Certainty: The Importance of Certainty in Language

Pamela Corley & Justin Wedeking
Law & Society Review, March 2014, Pages 35–62

Abstract:
How can legal decision makers increase the likelihood of a favorable response from other legal and social actors? To answer this, we propose a novel theory based on the certainty expressed in language that is applicable to many different legal contexts. The theory is grounded in psychology and legal advocacy and suggests that expressing certainty enhances the persuasiveness of a message. We apply this theory to the principal–agent framework to examine the treatment of Supreme Court precedent by the Federal Courts of Appeal. We find that as the level of certainty in the Supreme Court's opinion increases, the lower courts are more likely to positively treat the Court's decision. We then discuss the implications of our findings for using certainty in a broader context.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Think it over

Evolutionary Origins of the Endowment Effect: Evidence from Hunter-Gatherers

Coren Apicella et al.
American Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
The endowment effect, the tendency to value possessions more than non-possessions, is a well known departure from rational choice and has been replicated in numerous settings. We investigate the universality of the endowment effect, its evolutionary significance, and its dependence on environmental factors. We experimentally test for the endowment effect in an isolated and evolutionarily relevant population of hunter-gatherers, the Hadza Bushmen of Northern Tanzania. We find that Hadza living in isolated regions do not display the endowment effect, while Hadza living in a geographic region with increased exposure to modern society and markets do display the endowment effect.

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Exposure to Media Information About a Disease Can Cause Doctors to Misdiagnose Similar-Looking Clinical Cases

Henk Schmidt et al.
Academic Medicine, February 2014, Pages 285–291

Purpose: Anecdotal evidence indicates that exposure to media-distributed disease information, such as news about an outbreak, can lead physicians to errors; influenced by an availability bias, they misdiagnose patients with similar-looking but different diseases. The authors investigated whether exposure to media-provided disease information causes diagnostic errors and whether reflection (systematic review of findings) counteracts bias.

Method: In 2010, 38 internal medicine residents first read the Wikipedia entry about one or another of two diseases (Phase 1). Six hours later, in a seemingly unrelated study, they diagnosed eight clinical cases (Phase 2). Two cases superficially resembled the disease in the Wikipedia entry they had read (bias expected), two cases resembled the other disease they had not read about (bias not expected), and four were filler cases. In Phase 3, they diagnosed the bias-expected cases again, using reflective reasoning.

Results: Mean diagnostic accuracy scores (Phase 2; range: 0-1) were significantly lower on bias-expected cases than on bias-not-expected cases (0.56 versus 0.70, P = .016) because participants misdiagnosed cases that looked similar to a Wikipedia description of a disease more often when they had read the Wikipedia description (mean = 0.61) than when they had not (mean = 0.29). Deliberate reflection (Phase 3) restored performance on bias-expected cases to pre-bias levels (mean = 0.71).

Conclusions: Availability bias may arise simply from exposure to media-provided information about a disease, causing diagnostic errors. The bias's effect can be substantial. It is apparently associated with nonanalytical reasoning and can be counteracted by reflection.

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How Childhood Advertising Exposure Can Create Biased Product Evaluations That Persist into Adulthood

Paul Connell, Merrie Brucks & Jesper Nielsen
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has found that children incrementally learn how to cope with advertising as they age. The current research investigates whether these developmental constraints in advertising knowledge at time of exposure have enduring consequences. Results from four experimental studies show that childhood exposure to advertisements can lead to resilient biased product evaluations that persist into adulthood. Study 1 demonstrates that positive affect toward ad-related stimuli encountered in childhood mediates the relationship between childhood advertising exposure and biased evaluations for products associated with childhood (but not adulthood) advertising. Study 2 demonstrates stronger biases when participants are exposed to childhood advertising cues relative to childhood consumption cues. Studies 3 and 4 show that even when ability and motivation to correct bias are high, lingering positive affect toward childhood ad-related stimuli is a motivational deterrent to correct biased product evaluations. Study 4 also shows that biased product evaluations can transfer to line extensions.

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Smart People Ask for (My) Advice: Seeking Advice Boosts Perceptions of Competence

Alison Wood Brooks, Francesca Gino & Maurice E. Schweitzer
Harvard Working Paper, July 2013

Abstract:
Although individuals can derive substantial benefits from exchanging information and ideas, many individuals are reluctant to seek advice from others. We find that people are reticent to seek advice for fear of appearing incompetent. This fear, however, is misplaced. We demonstrate that individuals perceive those who seek advice as more competent than those who do not. This effect is moderated by task difficulty and advisor ego. Individuals perceive those who seek advice as more competent when the task is difficult than when it is easy, and when people seek advice from them personally than when they seek advice from others.

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From Van Gogh to Lady Gaga: Artist eccentricity increases perceived artistic skill and art appreciation

Wijnand Adriaan Pieter Van Tilburg & Eric Raymond Igou
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examined the impact of eccentricity on the evaluation of artistic skills and the quality of artworks. Based on the notion that artists are typically perceived as eccentric, creative and skilled, we tested the hypothesis that eccentricity increases perceptions of artistic quality. In Study 1, Van Gogh's Sunflowers painting was evaluated more positively when he was said to have cut off his left ear lobe than when this information was not presented. In Study 2, participants liked art more when the artist was eccentric. In Study 3, the evaluation of fictitious art increased because of the artist's eccentric appearance. Study 4 established that the eccentricity effect was specific to unconventional as opposed to conventional art. In Study 5, Lady Gaga's music was more appreciated when she was displayed as highly eccentric; however, the eccentricity effect emerged only when the display seemed authentic. These novel findings indicate that art evaluations are partly rooted in perceptions of artists' eccentricity and evidence the importance of perceived authenticity and skills for these attributions.

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What makes an art expert? Emotion and evaluation in art appreciation

Helmut Leder et al.
Cognition & Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why do some people like negative, or even disgusting and provocative artworks? Art expertise, believed to influence the interplay among cognitive and emotional processing underlying aesthetic experience, could be the answer. We studied how art expertise modulates the effect of positive-and negative-valenced artworks on aesthetic and emotional responses, measured with self-reports and facial electromyography (EMG). Unsurprisingly, emotionally-valenced art evoked coherent valence as well as corrugator supercilii and zygamoticus major activations. However, compared to non-experts, experts showed attenuated reactions, with less extreme valence ratings and corrugator supercilii activations and they liked negative art more. This pattern was also observed for a control set of International Affective Picture System (IAPS) pictures suggesting that art experts show general processing differences for visual stimuli. Thus, much in line with the Kantian notion that an aesthetic stance is emotionally distanced, art experts exhibited a distinct pattern of attenuated emotional responses.

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The Trophy Effect

Christoph Bühren & Marco Pleßner
Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, forthcoming

Abstract:
By extending a typical endowment effect experiment with the possibility of winning the endowment in a real effort contest, we found two reinforcing effects that led to a complete market failure. Subjects who won the item in the effortful competition had a very high willingness to accept (trophy winner effect). By contrast, subjects who were not successful had an extremely low willingness to pay for the same item (trophy loser effect). We disentangle different components of these effects and investigate the underlying emotional responses. Further, we analyze the duration of the effects and discuss economic implications.

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Name-Letter and Birthday-Number Implicit Egotism Effects in Pricing

Keith Coulter & Dhruv Grewal
Journal of Marketing, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines how the implicit egotism resulting from consumers' positive self-associations affects their evaluations of product prices. The effects can occur when the product's price and the consumer share either name letters (name-letter/price effect), or birthday numbers (birthday-number/price effect).Through a series of studies, we demonstrate that the positive affect linked to name-letters and birthday-numbers transfers directly to consumers' price predilections, and ultimately affects their purchase intentions. More specifically, consumers like prices (e.g., “fifty-five dollars”) that contain digits beginning with the same first letter (e.g., “F”) as their own name (e.g., “Fred” or “Mr. Frank”) more than prices that do not. Similarly, prices containing cents digits (e.g., $49.15) that correspond to a consumer's date of birth (e.g., April 26) also enhance pricing liking and purchase intentions. Across groups of consumers, our findings demonstrate that implicit egotism effects can result in greater purchase intentions for a higher priced product compared to a lower-priced product.

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Paying More When Paying for Others: Consumer Elective Pricing with Pay-It-Forward Framing

Minah Jung et al.
University of California Working Paper, December 2013

Abstract:
In a series of field and lab experiments we compare how people behave under two forms of consumer elective pricing: “pay-what-you-want” pricing, in which a customer chooses how much to pay the seller (including zero) for a product or a service, and “pay-it-forward” pricing, which is financially identical, but is framed as paying for others, and others are paying for the customer. We predict that this reframing will change the social nature of the exchange and increase payments. Four field experiments confirmed our prediction; people paid more under pay-it-forward than pay-what-you-want in both non-profit and for-profit settings (Studies 1-4). Four subsequent lab studies consider whether affective intensity explains the increased payments (Study 5), whether people pay more out of a need to justify (Study 6), or whether implicit social preferences are influenced by the manipulation (Studies 7 and 8). Results indicate that when descriptive norms, in the form of other’s payment amount, are explicit, participants conform to them and pay just about the same amount. However, when descriptive norms are implicit, people overestimate the kindness of others and bring their own behavior in line with their misperception.

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Why Blame?

Mehmet Gurdal, Joshua Miller & Aldo Rustichini
Journal of Political Economy, December 2013, Pages 1205-1247

Abstract:
We provide experimental evidence that subjects blame others on the basis of events they are not responsible for. In our experiment an agent chooses between a lottery and a safe asset; payment from the chosen option goes to a principal, who then decides how much to allocate between the agent and a third party. We observe widespread blame: regardless of their choice, agents are blamed by principals for the outcome of the lottery, an event they are not responsible for. We provide an explanation of this apparently irrational behavior with a delegated-expertise principal-agent model, the subjects’ salient perturbation of the environment.

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Killing Hope with Good Intentions: The Effects of Consolation Prizes on Preference for Lottery Promotions

Dengfeng Yan & A.V. Muthukrishnan
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present research examines how the inclusion of consolation or token prizes influences consumers' valuation of a promotional lottery. Results from four experiments show that consolation prizes lower consumers' expectations of winning the big prize, their valuations of, and their intentions to participate in the lottery. Because of the high likelihood of attaining the consolation prizes, consumers shift their focus from the value of a big prize to the probability of attaining it. This shift increases the weight given to the probability dimension and results in lowered valuations of the lottery. The first two experiments demonstrated the effect in hypothetical and real choices. In experiment 3, we proposed and showed a boundary condition for the effect. In experiment 4, we conducted an exploratory test of the process.

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Reducing and Exaggerating Escalation of Commitment by Option Partitioning

Jessica Kwong & Kin Fai Ellick Wong
Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Options under escalation situations can be presented as a general class (e.g., investing in electronic products) or be partitioned into disjunctive suboptions within that class (e.g., investing in MP3 players, portable TV game consoles, and other electronic products). Drawing from the theoretical bases of partition priming and mental accounting, this research found support from 4 experiments that (a) a decision maker’s commitment to a failing course of action is exaggerated when the escalation options are partitioned into multiple suboptions, whereas such commitment is reduced when the alternative options are portioned into suboptions, and (b) these partitioning effects are mediated by the subjective utility, including subjective values and probability, of the escalation option.

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Handedness differences in information framing

John Jasper, Candice Fournier & Stephen Christman
Brain and Cognition, February 2014, Pages 85–89

Abstract:
Previous research has shown that strength of handedness predicts differences in sensory illusions, Stroop interference, episodic memory, and beliefs about body image. Recent evidence also suggests handedness differences in the susceptibility to common decision biases such as anchoring and sunk cost. The present paper extends this line of work to attribute framing effects. Sixty-three undergraduates were asked to advise a friend concerning the use of a safe allergy medication during pregnancy. A third of the participants received negatively-framed information concerning the fetal risk of the drug (1–3% chance of having a malformed child); another third received positively-framed information (97–99% chance of having a normal child); and the final third received no counseling information and served as the control. Results indicated that, as predicted, inconsistent (mixed)-handers were more responsive than consistent (strong)-handers to information changes and readily update their beliefs. Although not significant, the data also suggested that only inconsistent handers were affected by information framing. Theoretical implications as well as ongoing work in holistic versus analytic processing, contextual sensitivity, and brain asymmetry will be discussed.

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Belief in Conspiracy Theories and Susceptibility to the Conjunction Fallacy

Robert Brotherton & Christopher French
Applied Cognitive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
People who believe in the paranormal have been found to be particularly susceptible to the conjunction fallacy. The present research examines whether the same is true of people who endorse conspiracy theories. Two studies examined the association between conspiracist ideation and the number of conjunction violations made in a variety of contexts (neutral, paranormal and conspiracy). Study 1 found that participants who endorsed a range of popular conspiracy theories more strongly also made more conjunction errors than participants with weaker conspiracism, regardless of the contextual framing of the conjunction. Study 2, using an independent sample and a generic measure of conspiracist ideation, replicated the finding that conspiracy belief is associated with domain-general susceptibility to the conjunction fallacy. The findings are discussed in relation to the association between conspiracism and other anomalous beliefs, the representativeness heuristic and the tendency to infer underlying causal relationships connecting ostensibly unrelated events.

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Far-Out Thinking: Generating Solutions to Distant Analogies Promotes Relational Thinking

Michael Vendetti, Aaron Wu & Keith Holyoak
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Is it possible to induce a mind-set that will affect relational thinking in a subsequent reasoning task involving unrelated materials? We investigated whether evaluating the validity of verbal analogies (Experiment 1a) or generating solutions for them (Experiment 1b) could induce a relational mind-set that would transfer to an unrelated picture-mapping task. The verbal analogies were based on either near or far semantic relations. We found that generating (but not evaluating) solutions for semantically distant analogies increased the proportion of relational mappings on the transfer task, even after we controlled for fluid intelligence and response time. Solving near analogies did not produce transfer. Generation of solutions to far analogies appears to provide a potent method for triggering a mind-set that can enhance relational thinking in a different task.

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Retrieving Autobiographical Memories Influences Judgments About Others: The Role of Metacognitive Experiences

Karl-Andrew Woltin, Olivier Corneille & Vincent Yzerbyt
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research investigates whether metacognitive experiences accompanying the retrieval of autobiographical memories influence judgments about others. Based on social projection research, we tested the hypothesis that ease-of-retrieval, affecting how the self is perceived, affects first impressions. In line with this prediction, Experiment 1 showed that participants asked to recall a few personal instances of assertive behavior (easy retrieval) judged an unknown person to be more assertive than participants recalling many instances (difficult retrieval). Experiment 2, targeting creativity, provided evidence for the retrieval-ease mechanism: The effect disappeared when ease-of-retrieval was discredited as informational source in a misattribution paradigm. Finally, Experiments 3 and 4 replicated this pattern for the same personality traits and demonstrated two boundary conditions: Participants’ ease of autobiographical recalls affected judgments of in- but not outgroup members (Experiment 3), and judgments of unknown others were affected after autobiographical recall but not after recalling behaviors of someone else (Experiment 4).

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Pluralistic Ignorance in Virtually Assembled Peers: The Case of World of Warcraft

Margaret de Larios & John Lang
Games and Culture, March 2014, Pages 102-121

Abstract:
This article presents a study of pluralistic ignorance situated within the virtual community of guilds in World of Warcraft (WoW). Pluralistic ignorance is a mistaken perception of social norms that overwhelms personal attitudes and leads to behavior contrary to an actor’s attitude, and it has never been studied in the context of a virtual world. We analyze the presence of pluralistic ignorance in WoW guilds with the use of a sample of 195 players who responded to an Internet-based survey and 15 focus group participants. Findings show that pluralistic ignorance has a demonstrably lower presence in that community of WoW players than in a physical world equivalent, suggesting a higher tendency in that community toward consistency between private attitudes and public behavior. Factors uncovered that explain this difference include anonymity, safety of the Internet as social medium, and a hypersalience of identity in the WoW player community.

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Gamers against science: The case of the violent video games debate

Peter Nauroth et al.
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article explores the notion that scientific research programs and empirical findings are fundamentally devalued when they threaten a perceiver's social identity. Findings from three studies show the following: (1) identification with the group of “gamers” (i.e., people who play video games on a regular basis) influences the extent to which perceivers devalue research suggesting that playing violent video games has negative consequences; (2) this effect is mediated by the feeling that the group of gamers is being stigmatized by such research (Studies 1 and 2) as well as by anger about this research (Study 2); (3) the effect of in-group identification on negative research evaluations cannot be explained by attitude or behavioral preference inconsistency (Studies 1 and 3); and (4) strongly identified gamers not only devalue a specific scientific study but also generalize their negative evaluations to the entire field of violent video games research (Study 3). The findings suggest that the influence of social identity processes on the evaluation of research is larger than it has previously been recognized. Implications of these findings for science communication are discussed.

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Stuck in the moment: Cognitive inflexibility in preschoolers following an extended time period

Carolina Garcia & Anthony Steven Dick
Frontiers in Psychology, December 2013

Abstract:
Preschoolers display surprising inflexibility in problem solving, but seem to approach new challenges with a fresh slate. We provide evidence that while the former is true the latter is not. Here, we examined whether brief exposure to stimuli can influence children’s problem solving following several weeks after first exposure to the stimuli. We administered a common executive function task, the Dimensional Change Card Sort, which requires children to sort picture cards by one dimension (e.g., color) and then switch to sort the same cards by a conflicting dimension (e.g., shape). After a week or after a month delay, we administered the second rule again. We found that 70% of preschoolers continued to sort by the initial sorting rule, even after a month delay, and even though they are explicitly told what to do. We discuss implications for theories of executive function development, and for classroom learning.

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But consider the alternative: The influence of positive affect on overconfidence

Kyle Emich
Cognition & Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Three studies find evidence that positive affect reduces comparative overconfidence (overplacement). This occurs because positive affect attenuates focalism via decreasing people's tendency to overweight information regarding themselves in the light of information concerning others. Specifically, Study 1 provides evidence that positive affect leads to more realistic estimates of comparative ability and that other-focus partially mediates this effect. Then, Study 2 provides causal evidence that positive affect independently influences other-focus and that other-focus, in turn, influences overplacement. Additionally, Study 2 uses an indirect measure of focalism to better capture this attentional process. Finally, Study 3 explores the influence of negative affect on overplacement. In addition, each study finds that positive affect does not influence overconfidence regarding participant's raw performances (overestimation) as this type of overconfidence is not dependent on self-other comparisons.

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The Etiology of Diagnostic Errors: A Controlled Trial of System 1 Versus System 2 Reasoning

Geoffrey Norman et al.
Academic Medicine, February 2014, Pages 277–284

Purpose: Diagnostic errors are thought to arise from cognitive biases associated with System 1 reasoning, which is rapid and unconscious. The primary hypothesis of this study was that the instruction to be slow and thorough will have no advantage in diagnostic accuracy over the instruction to proceed rapidly.

Method: Participants were second-year residents who volunteered after they had taken the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) Qualifying Examination Part II. Participants were tested at three Canadian medical schools (McMaster, Ottawa, and McGill) in 2010 (n = 96) and 2011 (n = 108). The intervention consisted of 20 computer-based internal medicine cases, with instructions either (1) to be as quick as possible but not make mistakes (the Speed cohort, 2010), or (2) to be careful, thorough, and reflective (the Reflect cohort, 2011). The authors examined accuracy scores on the 20 cases, time taken to diagnose cases, and MCC examination performance.

Results: Overall accuracy in the Speed condition was 44.5%, and in the Reflect condition was 45.0%; this was not significant. The Speed cohort took an average of 69 seconds per case versus 89 seconds for the Reflect cohort (P < .001). In both cohorts, cases diagnosed incorrectly took an average of 17 seconds longer than cases diagnosed correctly. Diagnostic accuracy was moderately correlated with performance on both written and problem-solving components of the MCC licensure examination and inversely correlated with time.

Conclusions: The study demonstrates that simply encouraging slowing down and increasing attention to analytical thinking is insufficient to increase diagnostic accuracy.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, February 3, 2014

Passion of the parties

The Punctuated Origins of Senate Polarization

Adam Bonica
Legislative Studies Quarterly, February 2014, Pages 5–26

Abstract:
This article uses a new dynamic ideal-point estimation method that incorporates smoothing techniques to construct a more detailed account of Senate polarization. The results reveal that the Senate polarized in two distinct phases. Member replacement accounts for nearly all of the increase from the early 1970s through the mid-1990s after which ideological adaptation emerges as the dominant force behind polarization. In addition, I find that a few brief periods of intensified partisanship account for most of the increase in polarization since the mid-1990s, suggesting that these episodes have had significant and lasting effects.

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Long-term effect of September 11 on the political behavior of victims’ families and neighbors

Eitan Hersh
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 24 December 2013, Pages 20959–20963

Abstract:
This article investigates the long-term effect of September 11, 2001 on the political behaviors of victims’ families and neighbors. Relative to comparable individuals, family members and residential neighbors of victims have become — and have stayed — significantly more active in politics in the last 12 years, and they have become more Republican on account of the terrorist attacks. The method used to demonstrate these findings leverages the random nature of the terrorist attack to estimate a causal effect and exploits new techniques to link multiple, individual-level, governmental databases to measure behavioral change without relying on surveys or aggregate analysis.

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Does “humanization” of the preborn explain why conservatives (vs. liberals) oppose abortion?

Cara MacInnis, Mary MacLean & Gordon Hodson
Personality and Individual Differences, March 2014, Pages 77–82

Abstract:
Those on the political right (vs. left) generally oppose abortion, with preborn humanness frequently cited as the reason. We test whether differences in preborn humanness perceptions actually underpin left–right differences in abortion support. We examine two types of right-wing ideology in student and community samples, asking whether perceptions of preborn humanness (a) explain conservative (vs. liberal) opposition to abortion; or (b) exert a greater impact on abortion opposition among conservatives (vs. liberals). Without exception, perceptions of preborn humanness explained very little of right–left differences in abortion support, and the association between preborn humanness perceptions and abortion opposition was no stronger for those on the political right (vs. left). These findings suggest that left–right differences on this critical, election-relevant social attitude are not explained by beliefs about “humanness”, contrary to popular belief.

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“If He Wins, I'm Moving to Canada”: Ideological Migration Threats Following the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Matt Motyl
Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Every four years, partisan Americans threaten to migrate to Canada (or some other country) if their preferred candidate loses the Presidential election. This phenomenon has yet to undergo an empirical test. In the present experiment, 308 Obama voters and 142 Romney voters following the 2012 election responded to one of two writing prompts that led them to think about how the United States was becoming more liberal or conservative. Regardless of the writing prompt condition, Romney voters endorsed migration expressions more than Obama voters. Furthermore, Romney voters, compared to Obama voters, expressed a reduced sense of belonging in the United States. The relationship between voting for Romney and migration expressions was fully mediated by sense of belonging. Together, these findings support the ideological migration hypothesis and suggest that threatening to move to Canada following an undesirable election outcome may be driven by voters’ belonging needs.

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Measuring Partisan Bias in Single-Member District Electoral Systems

Eric McGhee
Legislative Studies Quarterly, February 2014, Pages 55–85

Abstract:
In recent decades, the literature has coalesced around either symmetry or responsiveness as measures of partisan bias in single-member district systems. I argue neither accurately captures the traditional idea of an “efficient” gerrymander, where one party claims more seats without more votes. I suggest a better measure of efficiency and then use this new measure to reconsider a classic study of partisan gerrymandering. Contrary to the original study findings, I show that the effects of party control on bias are small and decay rapidly, suggesting that redistricting is at best a blunt tool for promoting partisan interests.

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Partisan Agenda Control and the Dimensionality of Congress

Keith Dougherty, Michael Lynch & Anthony Madonna
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent studies have questioned the familiar characterization of Congress as unidimensional. We argue that agenda control, orchestrated through the House Rules Committee and other techniques, can make multidimensional congresses appear more unidimensional. We evaluate this argument by examining the relationship between measures of unidimensionality and various measures of party control for the House of Representatives from 1875 to 1997, at both the roll-call level and congress level. Our findings contribute to an expanding literature explaining why a single dimension could explain most of the variance in voting data, even if latent ideology is multidimensional.

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Preliminary Support for a Generalized Arousal Model of Political Conservatism

Shona Tritt, Michael Inzlicht & Jordan Peterson
PLoS ONE, December 2013

Abstract:
It is widely held that negative emotions such as threat, anxiety, and disgust represent the core psychological factors that enhance conservative political beliefs. We put forward an alternative hypothesis: that conservatism is fundamentally motivated by arousal, and that, in this context, the effect of negative emotion is due to engaging intensely arousing states. Here we show that study participants agreed more with right but not left-wing political speeches after being exposed to positive as well as negative emotion-inducing film-clips. No such effect emerged for neutral-content videos. A follow-up study replicated and extended this effect. These results are consistent with the idea that emotional arousal, in general, and not negative valence, specifically, may underlie political conservatism.

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We the People: Intergroup Interdependence Breeds Liberalism

Jojanneke van der Toorn, Jaime Napier & John Dovidio
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Whereas much social psychological research has focused on the conditions that lead to political conservatism, the current research suggests that instilling a sense of intergroup interdependence can increase political liberalism and, in turn, foster concern for universal welfare. Using both correlational (Study 1) and experimental (Study 2) methodologies, we find convergent support for the novel hypothesis that perceived interdependence between groups in society increases people’s support for human rights because it increases liberalism. In addition to establishing the hypothesized effect, we empirically distinguished the effect of intergroup interdependence from that of intragroup (or “interpersonal”) interdependence, which was related to conservatism. This research presents a novel demonstration of the effect of intergroup interdependence on political attitudes and fills a gap in the literature on the conditions that lead to liberalism.

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The Policy Consequences of Motivated Information Processing Among the Partisan Elite

Sarah Anderson & Laurel Harbridge
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
An analysis of U.S. budgetary changes shows that, among subaccounts that are cut, Democrats make more large cuts when they control more lawmaking institutions. This surprising finding is consistent with legislators who are subject to motivated reasoning. In an information-rich world, they disproportionately respond to information in line with their bias unless they must make a large accuracy correction. This article tests, for the first time, motivated information processing among legislators. It finds evidence that Democrats engage in motivated information processing and that the effects of it are felt more on social spending and in off-election years.

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Ideology, Deliberation and Persuasion within Small Groups: A Randomized Field Experiment on Fiscal Policy

Kevin Esterling, Archon Fung & Taeku Lee
Harvard Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
This paper evaluates the dynamics of small group persuasion within a large scale randomized deliberative experiment, in particular whether persuasion in this context is driven by the ideological composition of small groups, to which participants were randomly assigned. In these discussions focusing on U.S. fiscal policy, ideological persuasion occurs but does not tend to be polarizing, a result that is inconsistent with the "law'' of group polarization identified in small group research. In addition, the results demonstrate the presence of persuasion that is net of ideological considerations, a residual form of preference change that we label "deliberative persuasion.'' The direction and magnitude of deliberative persuasion are each associated with participants' perceptions of the informativeness of the discussion, but not with the civility or the enjoyableness of the discussion. In addition, informativeness is most closely associated with deliberative persuasion for liberals who come to agree with conservative policies, for conservatives who come to agree with liberal policies, and equally associated for both liberals and conservatives on items that are orthogonal to ideology. The results show that small group dynamics depend heavily on the context in which discussion occurs; that much of the small group experimental work pays little to no attention to this context; and that deliberative institutions are likely to ameliorate many of the pathologies that are often attributed to small group discussion.

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Political Attitudes Bias the Mental Representation of a Presidential Candidate’s Face

Alison Young, Kyle Ratner & Russell Fazio
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using a technique known as reverse correlation image classification, we demonstrate that the physical face of Mitt Romney represented in people’s minds varies as a function of their attitudes toward Mitt Romney. This provides evidence that attitudes bias how we see something as concrete and well-learned as the face of a political candidate during an election. Practically, this implies that citizens may not merely interpret political information about a candidate to fit their opinion, but that they may construct a political world where they literally see candidates differently.

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The Politics of the Face-in-the-Crowd

Mark Mills et al.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent work indicates that the more conservative one is, the faster one is to fixate on negative stimuli, whereas the less conservative one is, the faster one is to fixate on positive stimuli. The present series of experiments used the face-in-the-crowd paradigm to examine whether variability in the efficiency with which positive and negative stimuli are detected underlies such speed differences. Participants searched for a discrepant facial expression (happy or angry) amid a varying number of neutral distractors (Experiments 1 and 4). A combination of response time and eye movement analyses indicated that variability in search efficiency explained speed differences for happy expressions, whereas variability in post-selectional processes explained speed differences for angry expressions. These results appear to be emotionally mediated as search performance did not vary with political temperament when displays were inverted (Experiment 2) or when controlled processing was required for successful task performance (Experiment 3). Taken together, the present results suggest political temperament is at least partially instantiated by attentional biases for emotional material.

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The influence of political ideology on trust in science

Aaron McCright et al.
Environmental Research Letters, November 2013

Abstract:
In recent years, some scholars, journalists, and science advocates have promoted broad claims that 'conservatives distrust science' or 'conservatives oppose science'. We argue that such claims may oversimplify in ways that lead to empirical inaccuracies. The Anti-Reflexivity Thesis suggests a more nuanced examination of how political ideology influences views about science. The Anti-Reflexivity Thesis hypothesizes that some sectors of society mobilize to defend the industrial capitalist order from the claims of environmentalists and some environmental scientists that the current economic system causes serious ecological and public health problems. The Anti-Reflexivity Thesis expects that conservatives will report significantly less trust in, and support for, science that identifies environmental and public health impacts of economic production (i.e., impact science) than liberals. It also expects that conservatives will report a similar or greater level of trust in, and support for, science that provides new inventions or innovations for economic production (i.e., production science) than liberals. Analyzing data from a recent survey experiment with 798 adults recruited from the US general public, our results confirm the expectations of the Anti-Reflexivity Thesis. Conservatives report less trust in impact scientists but greater trust in production scientists than their liberal counterparts. We argue that further work that increases the accuracy and depth of our understanding of the relationship between political ideology and views about science is likely crucial for addressing the politicized science-based issues of our age.

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Visual Political Knowledge: A Different Road to Competence?

Markus Prior
Journal of Politics, January 2014, Pages 41-57

Abstract:
Even though visual images and television are ubiquitous in politics, surveys rarely use visuals to assess what people know about politics. I measure visual political knowledge in a series of experiments that ask otherwise identical questions using either relevant visual elements or words only. These experiments were embedded in two representative surveys of U.S. residents conducted in 2003 and 2008. Adding a visual to an otherwise identical knowledge question causes, on average, a small but significant increase in correct answers. Treatment effects are larger for a subset of the population: women, older people, the less educated, and people with a visual cognitive style all perform disproportionately better on visual knowledge questions. Validation shows that visual knowledge is as indicative of civic competence as verbal knowledge. Hence, traditional verbal-only questions miss a significant amount of political knowledge. Several population segments previously deemed ill-informed in fact store some political information visually.

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Support for radical left ideologies in Europe

Mark Visser et al.
European Journal of Political Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article examines support for radical left ideologies in 32 European countries. It thus extends the relatively scant empirical research available in this field. The hypotheses tested are derived mainly from group-interest theory. Data are deployed from the 2002–2010 European Social Surveys (N = 174,868), supplemented by characteristics at the country level. The results show that, also in the new millennium, unemployed people and those with a lower income are more likely to support a radical left ideology. This is only partly explained by their stronger opinion that governments should take measures to reduce income differences. In contrast to expectations, the findings show that greater income inequality within a country is associated with reduced likelihood of an individual supporting a radical left ideology. Furthermore, cross-national differences in the likelihood of supporting the radical left are strongly associated with whether a country has a legacy of an authoritarian regime.

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Nativist but not alienated: A comparative perspective on the radical right vote in Western Europe

Kirill Zhirkov
Party Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the present study I use large-scale survey data to compare radical right voting to other forms of electoral behavior in Western Europe. The chosen method, multilevel multinomial logistic regression, allows, first, distinguishing among voting for several party families as well as abstention and, second, controlling for differences between countries and survey rounds. I find that the radical right electorate is not characterized by social alienation or anti-modern values; these characteristics are more likely to be encountered among people who abstain from elections. Radical right voting is most strongly motivated by political attitudes, namely by negative perception of immigration, political mistrust, opposition to income redistribution, and – rather unexpectedly – political satisfaction. My analysis also shows that radical right parties in different West European countries attract voters with similar ideological orientations which remain relatively stable over time. In the conclusion I discuss the implications of my findings for comparative research on the radical right party family.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Drive

The contract year syndrome in the NBA and MLB: A classic undermining pattern

Mark White & Kennon Sheldon
Motivation and Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
We assembled National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball player performance data from recent years, tracking 3 year periods in players’ careers: pre-contract year (baseline), contract year (CY; salient external incentive present), and post-contract year (salient external incentive removed). In both sports, we examined both individual scoring statistics (points scored, batting average) and non-scoring statistics (e.g. blocked shots, fielding percentage) over the 3 years. Using extrinsic motivation theories, we predicted and found a boost in some scoring statistics during the CY (relative to the pre-CY), but no change in non-scoring statistics. Using intrinsic motivation theories, we predicted and found an undermining of many statistics in the post-CY, relative to both the CY and the pre-CY baseline. Boosted CY scoring performance predicted post-CY salary raises in both sports, but salary raises were largely unrelated to post-CY performance. The CY performance boost is real, but team managers should know that it might be followed by a performance crash — the CY “syndrome.”

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The Hot Hand Fallacy: Cognitive Mistakes or Equilibrium Adjustments? Evidence from Baseball

Brett Green & Jeffrey Zwiebel
Stanford Working Paper, November 2013

Abstract:
We test for a 'hot hand' (i.e., short-term streakiness in performance) in Major League Baseball using panel data. We find strong evidence for its existence in all ten statistical categories we consider. The magnitudes are significant; being 'hot' corresponds to roughly a one quartile increase in the distribution. Our results are in notable contrast to the majority of the hot hand literature, which has found little to no evidence for a hot hand in sports, often employing basketball shooting data. We argue that this difference is attributable to endogenous defensive responses: basketball presents sufficient opportunity for defensive responses to equate shooting probabilities across players whereas baseball does not. As such, prior evidence on the absence of a hot hand (despite widespread belief in its presence) should not be interpreted as a cognitive mistake -- as it typically is in the literature -- but rather as an efficient equilibrium adjustment. We provide a heuristic manner for identifying a priori which sports are likely to permit an equating endogenous response response and discuss potential implications for identifying the hot hand effect in other settings.

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Within-series momentum in hockey: No returns for running up the score

Kevin Kniffin & Vince Mihalek
Economics Letters, March 2014, Pages 400–402

Abstract:
Drawing on data from 916 Division 1 men’s college hockey games played during a recent six-year period in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA), we find evidence that positive momentum within 458 two-game series does not exist when controlling for team quality. We find that neither victory nor the margin of victory in Game 1 of a two-game series is predictive of the outcome of Game 2. We suggest that loss aversion should be considered in relation to questions of momentum.

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The dark side of consecutive high performance goals: Linking goal setting, depletion, and unethical behavior

David Welsh & Lisa Ordóñez
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, March 2014, Pages 79–89

Abstract:
Over 40 years of research on the effects of goal setting has demonstrated that high goals can increase performance by motivating people, directing their attention to a target, and increasing their persistence (Locke & Latham, 2002). However, recent research has introduced a dark side of goal setting by linking high performance goals to unethical behavior (e.g., Schweitzer, Ordóñez, & Douma, 2004). In this paper, we integrate self-regulatory resource theories with behavioral ethics research exploring the dark side of goal setting to suggest that the very mechanisms through which goals are theorized to increase performance can lead to unethical behavior by depleting self-regulatory resources across consecutive goal periods. Results of a laboratory experiment utilizing high, low, increasing, decreasing, and “do your best” goal structures across multiple rounds provide evidence that depletion mediates the relationship between goal structures and unethical behavior, and that this effect is moderated by the number of consecutive goals assigned.

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Staying the Course: The Option of Doing Nothing and Its Impact on Postchoice Persistence

Rom Schrift & Jeffrey Parker
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Individuals regularly face adversity in the pursuit of goals that require ongoing commitment. Whether or not individuals persist in the face of adversity greatly affects the likelihood that they will achieve their goals. We argue that a seemingly minor change in the individual’s original choice set — specifically, the addition of a no-choice option — will increase persistence along the chosen path. Drawing on self-perception theory, we propose that choosing from a set that includes a no-choice (do nothing) option informs individuals that they both prefer the chosen path to other paths and that they consider this path alone to be worth pursuing, an inference that cannot be made in the absence of a no-choice option. This unique information strengthens individuals’ commitment to, and increases their persistence on, their chosen path. Three studies employing incentive-compatible designs supported our predictions and ruled out several rival accounts.

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The Control Premium: A Preference for Payoff Autonomy

David Owens, Zachary Grossman & Ryan Fackler
American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We document individuals' willingness to pay to control their own payoff. Experiment participants choose whether to bet on themselves or on a partner answering a quiz question correctly. Given participants' beliefs, which we elicit separately, expected-money maximizers would bet on themselves in 56.4 percent of the decisions. However, participants actually bet on themselves in 64.9 percent of their opportunities, reflecting an aggregate control premium. The average participant is willing to sacrifice 8 percent to 15 percent of expected asset-earnings to retain control. Thus, agents may incur costs to avoid delegating and studies inferring beliefs from choices may overestimate their results on overconfidence.

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On The Relative Efficiency Of Performance Pay and Noncontingent Incentives

Uri Gneezy & Pedro Rey-Biel
Journal of the European Economic Association, February 2014, Pages 62–72

Abstract:
We report evidence from a large field experiment that compares the effectiveness of contingent and noncontingent incentives in eliciting costly effort for a large range of payment levels. The company with which we worked sent 7,250 letters asking customers to complete a survey. Some letters promised to pay amounts ranging from $1 to $30 upon compliance (contingent incentives), whereas others already contained the money in the request envelopes (noncontingent incentives). Compared to no payment, very small contingent payments lower the response rate while small noncontingent payments raise the response rate. As expected, response rates rise with the size of the incentive offered. The response rate in the noncontingent incentives rises more rapidly for low amounts of incentive, but then flattens out and reaches lower levels than under contingent payments. We discuss how the optimal policy regarding the use of each size and type of incentives crucially depends on firms’ objectives.

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Approaching Novel Thoughts: Understanding Why Elation and Boredom Promote Associative Thought More Than Distress and Relaxation

Karen Gasper & Brianna Middlewood
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, May 2014, Pages 50–57

Abstract:
Research indicates that an affective state’s valence (positive/negative), orientation (approach/avoidance), and activation level (activated/deactivated) can influence people’s ability to make creative associations. Unfortunately, how these features influence associative thought has not been fully tested because researchers typically do not examine deactivated states. In three studies, respondents in either elated (positive, approach, activated), relaxed (positive, avoidance, deactivated), bored (negative, approach, deactivated), or distressed (negative, avoidance, activated) states completed measures of associative thought. Consistent with the orientation hypothesis, respondents in approach-oriented states (elated/bored) performed better on two measures of associative thought than those in avoidance-oriented states (distressed/relaxed). These effects stemmed from the approach states promoting a desire for new experiences, as sensation seeking mediated these results (Study 3). The data indicate that not only can deactivated states alter thought, but their effect depends on whether they are associated with approaching or avoiding new experiences.

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Asking “why” helps action control by goals but not plans

Frank Wieber, Lisa Sezer & Peter Gollwitzer
Motivation and Emotion, February 2014, Pages 65-78

Abstract:
The present research investigated whether asking “why” concerning the pursuit of one goal can affect the subsequent pursuit of a previously chosen goal. Asking “why” should activate cognitive procedures involving deliberation over the pros and cons of a goal (why-mindset). This mode of thinking should spill over to subsequently pursued goals, with different consequences for goal striving guided by goal intentions and for goal striving guided by implementation intentions (if-then plans). As goal intentions guide behavior by effortful top-down action control processes motivated by the expected value of the desired outcomes, being in a why-mindset should induce defensive postdecisional deliberation and thereby promote goal pursuit. In contrast, implementation intentions guide behavior by automatic bottom-up action control processes triggered by the specified situational cues; in this case, being in a why-mindset should eliminate the effects implementation intentions have on goal pursuit. Performance on a handgrip self-control task (Study 1) as well as on a dual-task (simultaneous go/no-go task and tracking tasks; Study 2) supported these predictions: why-mindsets reinforced goal intention effects and impaired implementation intention effects on handgrip and dual-task performance. Implications for effective goal striving are discussed.

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The message matters: The role of implicit beliefs about giftedness and failure experiences in academic self-handicapping

Kate Snyder et al.
Journal of Educational Psychology, February 2014, Pages 230-241

Abstract:
Insight into causal mechanisms underlying underachievement among gifted students has remained elusive. Based on the premise of self-worth theory and implicit beliefs about intelligence, it was hypothesized that entity-focused messages about giftedness would lead to maladaptive academic coping behaviors when gifted status was threatened. Therefore, the current research examined the interactive effect of messages about giftedness as fixed or malleable and success or failure experiences on both behavioral and claimed self-handicapping among a sample of 108 undergraduates attending an elite university. Following a failure experience, participants who had heard an entity message about giftedness engaged in behavioral self-handicapping to a greater degree than those who heard an incremental message about giftedness. Female participants who received an entity message engaged in more claimed self-handicapping after experiencing failure and less claimed self-handicapping after experiencing success. There were no differences in claimed self-handicapping after success and failure for female participants who received an incremental message. This pattern is in line with an impression management strategy. In contrast, implicit messages did not influence male participants’ claimed self-handicapping. Implications for motivational theory and educational practice are discussed.

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Different perceptions of self-handicapping across college and work contexts

Sun Park & Christina Brown
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigated the effectiveness of self-handicapping as an impression management strategy in college and work contexts. In contrast to past research in which college students are both targets and perceivers, we tested whether target status and perceiver status moderate perceptions of self-handicappers. To this end, we manipulated whether the target was a college student or an adult worker, and we recruited as perceivers both college students (Study 1) and adult workers (Study 2). We additionally manipulated the target's behavior (self-handicapping vs. control) and outcome (success vs. failure). The results revealed that self-handicapping protected a student target (but not a worker) from negative evaluations (e.g., ability attributions) in the eyes of college students, particularly males. However, adult workers consistently judged self-handicapping negatively.

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Dopamine Function and the Efficiency of Human Movement

Sergei Gepshtein et al.
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, March 2014, Pages 645-657

Abstract:
To sustain successful behavior in dynamic environments, active organisms must be able to learn from the consequences of their actions and predict action outcomes. One of the most important discoveries in systems neuroscience over the last 15 years has been about the key role of the neurotransmitter dopamine in mediating such active behavior. Dopamine cell firing was found to encode differences between the expected and obtained outcomes of actions. Although activity of dopamine cells does not specify movements themselves, a recent study in humans has suggested that tonic levels of dopamine in the dorsal striatum may in part enable normal movement by encoding sensitivity to the energy cost of a movement, providing an implicit “motor motivational” signal for movement. We investigated the motivational hypothesis of dopamine by studying motor performance of patients with Parkinson disease who have marked dopamine depletion in the dorsal striatum and compared their performance with that of elderly healthy adults. All participants performed rapid sequential movements to visual targets associated with different risk and different energy costs, countered or assisted by gravity. In conditions of low energy cost, patients performed surprisingly well, similar to prescriptions of an ideal planner and healthy participants. As energy costs increased, however, performance of patients with Parkinson disease dropped markedly below the prescriptions for action by an ideal planner and below performance of healthy elderly participants. The results indicate that the ability for efficient planning depends on the energy cost of action and that the effect of energy cost on action is mediated by dopamine.

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Implicit theories and motivational focus: Desired future versus present reality

Timur Sevincer, Lena Kluge & Gabriele Oettingen
Motivation and Emotion, February 2014, Pages 36-46

Abstract:
People’s beliefs concerning their abilities differ. Incremental theorists believe their abilities (e.g., intelligence) are malleable; entity theorists believe their abilities are fixed (Dweck in Mindset: the new psychology of success. Random House, New York, 2007). On the basis that incremental theorists should emphasize improving their abilities for the future, whereas entity theorists should emphasize demonstrating their abilities in the present reality, we predicted that, when thinking about their wishes, compared to entity theorists, incremental theorists focus more toward the desired future than the present reality. We assessed participants’ motivational focus using a paradigm that differentiated how much they chose to imagine the desired future versus the present reality regarding an important wish (Kappes et al. in Emotion 11: 1206–1222, 2011). We found the predicted effect by manipulating (Study 1) and measuring implicit theories (Study 2), in the academic (Study 1) and in the sport domain (Study 2).

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Mindful

Interactive Effects of the COMT Gene and Training on Individual Differences in Supervisory Control of Unmanned Vehicles

Raja Parasuraman et al.
Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, forthcoming

Objective: We examined whether a gene known to influence dopamine availability in the prefrontal cortex is associated with individual differences in learning a supervisory control task.

Background: Methods are needed for selection and training of human operators who can effectively supervise multiple unmanned vehicles (UVs). Compared to the valine (Val) allele, the methionine (Met) allele of the COMT gene has been linked to superior executive function, but it is not known whether it is associated with training-related effects in multi-UV supervisory control performance.

Method: Ninety-nine healthy adults were genotyped for the COMT Val158Met single nucleotide polymorphism (rs4680) and divided into Met/Met, Val/Met, and Val/Val groups. Participants supervised six UVs in an air defense mission requiring them to attack incoming enemy aircraft and protect a no-fly zone from intruders in conditions of low and high task load (numbers of enemy aircraft). Training effects were examined across four blocks of trials in each task load condition.

Results: Compared to the Val/Met and Val/Val groups, Met/Met individuals exhibited a greater increase in enemy targets destroyed and greater reduction in enemy red zone incursions across training blocks.

Conclusion: Individuals with the COMT Met/Met genotype can acquire skill in executive function tasks, such as multi-UV supervisory control, to a higher level and/or faster than other genotype groups.

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After Being Challenged by a Video Game Problem, Sleep Increases the Chance to Solve It

Felipe Beijamini et al.
PLoS ONE, January 2014

Abstract:
In the past years many studies have demonstrated the role of sleep on memory consolidation. It is known that sleeping after learning a declarative or non-declarative task, is better than remaining awake. Furthermore, there are reports of a possible role for dreams in consolidation of declarative memories. Other studies have reported the effect of naps on memory consolidation. With similar protocols, another set of studies indicated that sleep has a role in creativity and problem-solving. Here we hypothesised that sleep can increase the likelihood of solving problems. After struggling to solve a video game problem, subjects who took a nap (n = 14) were almost twice as likely to solve it when compared to the wake control group (n = 15). It is interesting to note that, in the nap group 9 out 14 subjects engaged in slow-wave sleep (SWS) and all solved the problem. Surprisingly, we did not find a significant involvement of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep in this task. Slow-wave sleep is believed to be crucial for the transfer of memory-related information to the neocortex and implement intentions. Sleep can benefit problem-solving through the generalisation of newly encoded information and abstraction of the gist. In conclusion, our results indicate that sleep, even a nap, can potentiate the solution of problems that involve logical reasoning. Thus, sleep's function seems to go beyond memory consolidation to include managing of everyday-life events.

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Singing can facilitate foreign language learning

Karen Ludke, Fernanda Ferreira & Katie Overy
Memory & Cognition, January 2014, Pages 41-52

Abstract:
This study presents the first experimental evidence that singing can facilitate short-term paired-associate phrase learning in an unfamiliar language (Hungarian). Sixty adult participants were randomly assigned to one of three "listen-and-repeat" learning conditions: speaking, rhythmic speaking, or singing. Participants in the singing condition showed superior overall performance on a collection of Hungarian language tests after a 15-min learning period, as compared with participants in the speaking and rhythmic speaking conditions. This superior performance was statistically significant (p < .05) for the two tests that required participants to recall and produce spoken Hungarian phrases. The differences in performance were not explained by potentially influencing factors such as age, gender, mood, phonological working memory ability, or musical ability and training. These results suggest that a "listen-and-sing" learning method can facilitate verbatim memory for spoken foreign language phrases.

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Role of Expectations and Explanations in Learning by Teaching

Logan Fiorella & Richard Mayer
Contemporary Educational Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present study examined the role of preparing to teach (i.e., teaching expectancy) and actually teaching (i.e., explaining to others) on immediate and long-term learning. In Experiment 1, participants studied a base version or an enhanced version of a paper-based lesson on how the Doppler Effect works with the expectation of taking a test on the material or with the expectation of teaching the material by providing a video-recorded lecture. Results indicated that those who prepared to teach (without actually teaching) outperformed those who prepared for a test on an immediate comprehension test (i.e., a teaching expectancy effect; d = .55), regardless of the format of the lesson. In Experiment 2, participants studied while expecting to be tested or expecting to teach the material; some then actually did teach the material by providing a video-recorded lecture, whereas others received additional study time. Results indicated that those who actually taught the material outperformed those who did not teach on a delayed comprehension test (i.e., a teaching effect; d = .56), though this effect was strongest for those who also prepared to teach. Overall, these findings are consistent with the idea that preparing to teach results in short-term learning gains, whereas the act of teaching (i.e., by explaining the material to others) coupled with preparing to teach is important for long-term learning.

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Placebo Sleep Affects Cognitive Functioning

Christina Draganich & Kristi Erdal
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, forthcoming

Abstract:
The placebo effect is any outcome that is not attributed to a specific treatment but rather to an individual's mindset (Benson & Friedman, 1996). This phenomenon can extend beyond its typical use in pharmaceutical drugs to involve aspects of everyday life, such as the effect of sleep on cognitive functioning. In 2 studies examining whether perceived sleep quality affects cognitive functioning, 164 participants reported their previous night's sleep quality. They were then randomly assigned to 1 of 2 sleep quality conditions or 2 control conditions. Those in the "above average" sleep quality condition were informed that they had spent 28.7% of their total sleep time in REM, whereas those in the "below average" sleep quality condition were informed that they had only spent 16.2% of their time in REM sleep. Assigned sleep quality but not self-reported sleep quality significantly predicted participants' scores on the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test and Controlled Oral Word Association Task. Assigned sleep quality did not predict participants' scores on the Digit Span task, as expected, nor did it predict scores on the Symbol Digit Modalities Test, which was unexpected. The control conditions showed that the findings were not due to demand characteristics from the experimental protocol. These findings supported the hypothesis that mindset can influence cognitive states in both positive and negative directions, suggesting a means of controlling one's health and cognition.

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Short- and Long-Term Effects of a Novel on Connectivity in the Brain

Gregory Berns et al.
Brain Connectivity, November/December 2013, Pages 590-600

Abstract:
We sought to determine whether reading a novel causes measurable changes in resting-state connectivity of the brain and how long these changes persist. Incorporating a within-subjects design, participants received resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging scans on 19 consecutive days. First, baseline resting state data for a "washin" period were taken for each participant for 5 days. For the next 9 days, participants read 1/9th of a novel during the evening and resting-state data were taken the next morning. Finally, resting-state data for a "wash-out" period were taken for 5 days after the conclusion of the novel. On the days after the reading, significant increases in connectivity were centered on hubs in the left angular/supramarginal gyri and right posterior temporal gyri. These hubs corresponded to regions previously associated with perspective taking and story comprehension, and the changes exhibited a timecourse that decayed rapidly after the completion of the novel. Long-term changes in connectivity, which persisted for several days after the reading, were observed in bilateral somatosensory cortex, suggesting a potential mechanism for "embodied semantics."

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When Do Painters Make Their Best Work?

P.H. Franses
Creativity Research Journal, Fall 2013, Pages 457-462

Abstract:
This Research Note proposes that modern art painters make their best works at the optimal moment in their lives, a moment that could then be associated with the Divine proportion (the Fibonacci phi). An analysis of 189 highest-priced works by as many modern art painters, comparing the moment of creation with their life span of these artists, yielded the remarkable result that the estimated fraction is 0.6198, which indeed is only 0.0018 away from the divine fraction.

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Strong Genetic Influence on a UK Nationwide Test of Educational Achievement at the End of Compulsory Education at Age 16

Nicholas Shakeshaft et al.
PLoS ONE, December 2013

Abstract:
We have previously shown that individual differences in educational achievement are highly heritable in the early and middle school years in the UK. The objective of the present study was to investigate whether similarly high heritability is found at the end of compulsory education (age 16) for the UK-wide examination, called the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE). In a national twin sample of 11,117 16-year-olds, heritability was substantial for overall GCSE performance for compulsory core subjects (58%) as well as for each of them individually: English (52%), mathematics (55%) and science (58%). In contrast, the overall effects of shared environment, which includes all family and school influences shared by members of twin pairs growing up in the same family and attending the same school, accounts for about 36% of the variance of mean GCSE scores. The significance of these findings is that individual differences in educational achievement at the end of compulsory education are not primarily an index of the quality of teachers or schools: much more of the variance of GCSE scores can be attributed to genetics than to school or family environment. We suggest a model of education that recognizes the important role of genetics. Rather than a passive model of schooling as instruction (instruere, 'to build in'), we propose an active model of education (educare, 'to bring out') in which children create their own educational experiences in part on the basis of their genetic propensities, which supports the trend towards personalized learning.

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Improving Drivers' Knowledge of Road Rules Using Digital Games

Qing Li & Richard Tay
Accident Analysis & Prevention, April 2014, Pages 8-10

Abstract:
Although a proficient knowledge of the road rules is important to safedriving, many drivers do not retain the knowledge acquired after they have obtained their licenses. Hence, more innovative and appealing methods are needed to improve drivers' knowledge of the road rules. This study examines the effect of game based learning on drivers' knowledge acquisition and retention. We find that playing an entertaining game that is designed to impart knowledge of the road rules not only improves players' knowledge but also helps them retain such knowledge. Hence, learning by gaming appears to be a promising learning approach for driver education.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, January 31, 2014

World of warcraft

Talking Peace, Making Weapons: IAEA Technical Cooperation and Nuclear Proliferation

Robert Brown & Jeffrey Kaplow
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
A growing literature suggests that nuclear assistance from other countries is an important determinant of whether states pursue nuclear weapons. Existing work does not consider, however, the most widely available source of assistance — the Technical Cooperation (TC) program administered by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). IAEA assistance is an important piece of the nonproliferation regime’s central bargain: member states enjoy nuclear assistance in exchange for agreeing not to seek nuclear weapons. Using a data set of TC projects since 1972, we examine whether international nuclear assistance is associated with the pursuit of nuclear weapons. We hypothesize that some TC assistance reduces the cost of pursuing nuclear weapons, making weapons programs more likely. We find that receiving TC related to the nuclear fuel cycle is a statistically and substantively significant factor in state decisions since 1972 to seek nuclear weapons, with important implications for existing theories of nuclear proliferation.

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Deterrence in the Gulf War: Evaluating New Evidence

Avner Golov
Nonproliferation Review, Fall 2013, Pages 453-472

Abstract:
A recently published collection of captured Iraqi records offers an opportunity to better understand Saddam Hussein's perception of US and Israeli deterrence signals, affording innovative insights into the reasons behind Iraq's restraint from using weapons of mass destruction against Israeli targets during the 1991 Gulf War. This article tests a wide range of suggested hypotheses, and suggests that US and Israeli deterrence played only a minimal role in dissuading Iraqi use of WMD. The article concludes with some thoughts on the practical implications, particularly on the effectiveness of a “no-first-use” nuclear policy.

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The CIA's TPBEDAMN Operation and the 1953 Coup in Iran

Mark Gasiorowski
Journal of Cold War Studies, Fall 2013, Pages 4-24

Abstract:
This article gives an overview of TPBEDAMN, a large covert operation the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) carried out in Iran for several years in the early 1950s. TPBEDAMN was a psychological warfare operation intended to undermine the influence of the Soviet Union and its Iranian ally, the Communist Tudeh Party, through covert propaganda and political action activities. When U.S. officials decided in early 1953 to overthrow Iran's prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddeq, they relied heavily on TPBEDAMN's large network of Iranian agents and subagents to plan and implement a coup d'état. The overview of TPBEDAMN presented here helps to clarify both the nature of the organizational apparatus the CIA used against Mosaddeq and the broader context within which the coup occurred, especially the intense Cold War climate that prevailed and the prevalence of psychological warfare in this era.

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Early warning signals for war in the news

Thomas Chadefaux
Journal of Peace Research, January 2014, Pages 5-18

Abstract:
There have been more than 200 wars since the start of the 20th century, leading to about 35 million battle deaths. However, efforts at forecasting conflicts have so far performed poorly for lack of fine-grained and comprehensive measures of geopolitical tensions. In this article, a weekly risk index is derived by analyzing a comprehensive dataset of historical newspaper articles over the past century. News reports have the advantage of conveying information about contemporaries’ interpretation of events and not having to rely on meaning inferred a posteriori with the benefit of hindsight. I applied this new index to a dataset of all wars within and between countries recorded since 1900, and found that the number of conflict-related news items increases dramatically prior to the onset of conflict. Using only information available at the time, the onset of a war within the next few months could be predicted with up to 85% confidence and predictions significantly improved upon existing methods both in terms of binary predictions (as measured by the area under the curve) and calibration (measured by the Brier score). Predictions also extend well before the onset of war – more than one year prior to interstate wars, and six months prior to civil wars – giving policymakers significant additional warning time.

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Known Unknowns: Power Shifts, Uncertainty, and War

Alexandre Debs & Nuno Monteiro
International Organization, January 2014, Pages 1-31

Abstract:
Large and rapid power shifts resulting from exogenous economic growth are considered sufficient to cause preventive wars. Yet most large and rapid shifts result from endogenous military investments. We show that when the investment decision is perfectly transparent, peace prevails. Large and rapid power shifts are deterred through the threat of a preventive war. When investments remain undetected, however, states may be tempted to introduce power shifts as a fait accompli. Knowing this, their adversaries may strike preventively even without conclusive evidence of militarization. In fact, the more effective preventive wars are, the more likely they will be launched against states that are not militarizing. Our argument emphasizes the role of imperfect information as a cause of war. It also explains why powerful states may attack weaker targets even with ambiguous evidence of their militarization. We illustrate our theory through an account of the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.

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Social Network Analysis: A case study of the Islamist terrorist network

Richard Medina
Security Journal, February 2014, Pages 97–121

Abstract:
Social Network Analysis is a compilation of methods used to identify and analyze patterns in social network systems. This article serves as a primer on foundational social network concepts and analyses and builds a case study on the global Islamist terrorist network to illustrate the use and usefulness of these methods. The Islamist terrorist network is a system composed of multiple terrorist organizations that are socially connected and work toward the same goals. This research utilizes traditional social network, as well as small-world, and scale-free analyses to characterize this system on individual, network and systemic levels. Leaders in the network are identified based on their positions in the social network and the network structure is categorized. Finally, two vital nodes in the network are removed and this version of the network is compared with the previous version to make implications of strengths, weaknesses and vulnerabilities. The Islamist terrorist network structure is found to be a resilient and efficient structure, even with important social nodes removed. Implications for counterterrorism are given from the results of each analysis.

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Voting Rules in International Organizations

Eric Posner & Alan Sykes
University of Chicago Working Paper, January 2014

Abstract:
International organizations use a bewildering variety of voting rules — with different thresholds, weighting systems, veto points, and other rules that distribute influence unequally among participants. We provide a brief survey of the major voting systems, and show that all are controversial and unsatisfactory in various ways. While it is tempting to blame great powers or the weakness of international law for these problems, we argue that the root source is intellectual rather than political — the difficulty of designing a voting system that both allows efficient collective decisions and protects the legitimate interests of members. We show how a new type of voting system — quadratic voting — could in theory resolve these problems, and while it may be too new or unusual to implement any time soon, it provides insights into the defects of the existing systems.

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Delegating Death: Military Intervention and Government Killing

Jacqueline DeMeritt
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
Does military intervention affect civilian death tolls? Existing research has focused on international actors’ ability to limit ongoing slaughter but has not examined their ability to prevent the emergence or escalation of such killing. I develop a theory of government killing that accounts not only for the government’s decision to kill civilians but also for the transference of the killing order from leader to perpetrator, and for the perpetrator’s implementation of that order. Focusing on the principal–agent relationship produces new expectations about the effects of military intervention on government killing. I find that international actors are well equipped to limit civilian slaughter: intervention supporting the government decreases the likelihood that a government orders civilians killed. Intervention against the government leads to a decrease in death tolls when killing occurs. Ultimately, supportive intervention is a useful means of preventing government killing, while oppositional intervention limits its escalation once it begins.

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Why Target the “Good Guys”? The Determinants of Terrorism against NGOs

Amanda Murdie & Craig Stapley
International Interactions, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why would a terrorist group target non-governmental organizations (NGOs)? We theorize that certain types of NGOs, namely those using mainly non-violent pressure to advocate for changes in government human rights practices, influence the behaviors of potential terrorist group supporters in ways not liked by terrorist organizations. These advocacy-based human rights NGOs make terrorism attacks against the whole NGO sector more likely by changing the dynamics of terrorist-domestic audience relations in ways that threaten to limit audience support of terrorist groups. Other types of NGOs, especially those that do not have an advocacy focus, are less likely to directly challenge the terrorist organization or the state and can provide resources utilized by terrorist groups and potential sympathizers, making their presence not increase the likelihood of any NGO-targeted terrorist attacks. A global test of these dynamics supports our basic hypotheses.

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Opium for the Masses? Conflict-Induced Narcotics Production in Afghanistan

Jo Thori Lind, Karl Ove Moene & Fredrik Willumsen
Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
To explain the rise in Afghan opium production we explore how rising conflicts change the incentives of farmers. Conflicts make illegal opportunities more profitable as they increase the perceived lawlessness and destroy infrastructure crucial to alternative crops. Exploiting a unique data set, we show that Western hostile casualties, our proxy for conflict, have a strong impact on subsequent local opium production. Using the period after the planting season as a placebo test, we show that conflict has a strong effects before and no effect after planting, indicating causality.

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Drugs and Violence in Afghanistan: A Panel VAR With Unobserved Common Factor Analysis

Vincenzo Bove & Leandro Elia
Defence and Peace Economics, November/December 2013, Pages 535-554

Abstract:
This paper addresses the relationship between the level of violence and the opium market in Afghanistan’s provinces. We first provide an overview of the nature and extent of the Afghan drug trafficking. This is followed by a vector autoregressive analysis of the nexus opium-insurgency activities using monthly time-series data on opium prices and the number of security incidents for 15 Afghan provinces over the period 2004–2009. We use a multifactor error structure, the common correlated effect, to include unobservable common factors; Impulse Response functions to describe the time path of the dependent variables in response to shocks; and the mean group estimator to summarize our results across the provinces. Results suggest a conflict-induced reduction in opium prices, while the reverse opium-violence mechanism is mostly negligible. Moreover, unobservable common factors are the main drivers of opium prices and violence.

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British Intelligence and the ‘Fifth’ Occupying Power: The Secret Struggle to Prevent Jewish Illegal Immigration to Palestine

Steven Wagner
Intelligence and National Security, forthcoming

Abstract:
At the end of the Second World War, British intelligence struggled to enforce strict limits imposed on Jewish immigration to Palestine. Holocaust survivors and Jews wishing to escape communism in Eastern Europe flooded the western Zones of occupation in Germany and Austria, while the Zionist movement worked to bring them to Palestine. Illegal immigration to Palestine was the key policy dispute between Britain and the Zionist movement, and a focus for British intelligence. Britain sought both overt and covert means to prevent the boarding of ships at European ports which were destined for Palestine, and even to prevent the entry of Jewish refugees into the American zones. This article highlights Britain's secret intelligence-gathering efforts as well as its covert action aimed to prevent this movement. It highlights a peculiar episode in the ‘special relationship’ between Britain and the United States, during which cooperation and partnership was lacking. British intelligence promoted a rumour that Soviet agents were using Jewish escape lines to penetrate Western Europe and the Middle East in order to persuade American authorities to prevent the movement of Jewish refugees. Instead, this article argues, American intelligence secretly cooperated with the Zionist organizers of the escape routes so to expose Soviet agents. Britain's attempt at deception backfired, and provided effective cover for the movement of hundreds of thousands of Jews during a critical period. Meanwhile its intelligence had dramatically improved, but policymakers failed to reassess Britain's ability to sustain immigration restrictions and the indefinite detention of tens of thousands of illegal migrants.

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Mass Casualty Potential of Qassam Rockets

Lian Zucker & Edward Kaplan
Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, forthcoming

Abstract:
In spite of the bombardment of southern Israel by thousands of Qassam rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, comparatively few people have been injured or killed. This has led some observers to dismiss Qassams as more of a symbolic than lethal threat. However, southern Israeli towns feature robust civil defense systems that include safe rooms, bomb shelters, early detection alarms, and missile defense. How many casualties would occur were such systems not in place? This paper applies shrapnel-casualty and spatial allocation models to the population of the southern Israeli town of Sderot to estimate casualties per randomly-aimed rocket fired into the unprepared town, that is, in the absence of civil defense (technical details appear in the Appendix). Assuming an injury radius of only 5 meters from impact, the modeled expected casualties per rocket are between three (best-case) and nine (worst-case) times higher than Sderot's observed casualties-to-rocket ratio, suggesting that Qassam-like terror attacks on unprotected urban locations could prove much more serious than what one would expect based solely upon the observed number of casualties in Sderot.

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Unresolved World War II Animosity Dampens Empathy Toward 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami

Ying Yang et al.
Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, February 2014, Pages 171-191

Abstract:
The 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami evoked widespread empathy and sympathy. We examine how historical representations of WWII among Chinese and Americans affect their empathy toward the Japanese disaster. In three online surveys conducted 8 days, 4 weeks, and 10 months after the Japanese earthquake, we recruited over 900 participants from diverse age groups and geographic locations in China and the United States. We consistently found that the Chinese participants showed less empathy toward the Japanese disaster (but not toward the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami) than did Americans, and these cross-national differences were partially mediated by Chinese participants’ tendency to attribute the disaster to retribution or associate Japan as an aggressor in WWII. We also manipulated participants’ identity (national vs. global identity) and found it had an interaction effect with patriotism on empathy toward the Japanese. We discuss how these findings shed light on identity, patriotism, shared historical representations, and lingering international conflicts.

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Security Guarantees and Allied Nuclear Proliferation

Philipp Bleek & Eric Lorber
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
As Iran continues its apparent pursuit of a nuclear weapons breakout capability and North Korea resists efforts to roll back its proliferation, policy makers in Washington eager to prevent further proliferation in both regions regard security guarantees to allies as crucial tools. But recent scholarship calls into question whether security guarantees ameliorate proliferation risks. Relying on a combination of large-N quantitative analysis and a case study of South Korea from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s, this article argues that, consistent with policy makers’ conventional wisdom, security guarantees significantly reduce proliferation proclivity among their recipients.

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Can you trust a dictator: A strategic model of authoritarian regimes’ signing and compliance with international treaties

Olga Chyzh
Conflict Management and Peace Science, February 2014, Pages 3-27

Abstract:
Building on recent studies that focus on institutional variation among authoritarian regimes, this paper asks whether this variation leads to meaningful differences in the tendencies to reach and comply with international agreements. The results suggest that previous evidence regarding the democratic credibility advantage over autocracies may have been driven by a lack of a more refined authoritarian regime typology. Employing such a typology, I find that the institutional constraints that generate credibility and compliance may not be unique to democracies. In fact, the only authoritarian regime that seems to lack such features is bossism, a personalist party-based regime. Bosses are more likely than democracies to enter into international agreements, but are less likely than democracies to comply with the agreements they sign. This result is remarkably robust. Results associated with other types of autocracies suggest minor or no differences between autocracies and democracies, relating to reaching and complying with international treaties. Finally, I find evidence of strategic behavior, as all regime types are more likely to sign agreements and less likely to comply when the other negotiating party is a boss, compared with a democracy.

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The Greek Civil War (1944–1949) and the International Communist System

Nikos Marantzidis
Journal of Cold War Studies, Fall 2013, Pages 25-54

Abstract:
The involvement of the Soviet bloc in the Greek Civil War, especially the weapons and other aid provided by the Communist states to the Greek Communist Party (KKE), could not be studied in any serious way until very recently. Only a small number of historians addressed this question prior to the collapse of the Communist regimes in Europe and the opening of East European archives. The newly available documentary evidence shows that throughout the conflict the KKE acted in close cooperation with the Soviet bloc, particularly through permanent representatives who were responsible for coordinating the aid supplied to the KKE and ensuring maximal use of it. The Democratic Army of Greece (DAG) was completely dependent on weaponry, equipment, and training from the Soviet bloc. The insurgency in Greece would have been impossible without the external support of the Communist states.

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The Impact of Human Rights INGO Shaming on Humanitarian Interventions

Amanda Murdie & Dursun Peksen
Journal of Politics, January 2014, Pages 215-228

Abstract:
Do transnational human rights organizations (HROs) influence foreign military intervention onset? We argue that the greater international exposure of human suffering through HRO “naming and shaming” activities starts a process of mobilization and opinion change in the international community that ultimately increases the likelihood of humanitarian military intervention. This is a special corollary to the supposed “CNN Effect” in foreign policy; we argue that information from HROs can influence foreign policy decisions. We test the empirical implication of the argument on a sample of all non-Western countries from 1990 to 2005. The results suggest that HRO shaming makes humanitarian intervention more likely even after controlling for several other covariates of intervention decisions. HRO activities appear to have a significant impact on the likelihood of military missions by IGOs as well as interventions led by third-party states.

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Nationalism, Patriotism and Foreign Policy Attitudes among Chinese University Students

Elina Sinkkonen
China Quarterly, December 2013, Pages 1045-1063

Abstract:
Does empirical evidence support treating “nationalism” and “patriotism” as separate concepts in China and is there a relationship between strong nationalist/patriotic attitudes and foreign policy preferences? To analyse the construction of Chinese national identity, Chinese university students (N = 1346) took part in a survey in Beijing in spring 2007. The data supported the assumption of a conceptual separation between nationalism and patriotism. CCP members and students from rural backgrounds were more nationalistic than non-members and students with urban upbringings. Moreover, nationalism had a stronger link to foreign policy preferences than patriotism, and respondents with a greater degree of nationalism were less likely to favour international cooperation and more likely to prefer protectionist policies. The associations of nationalism and patriotism with foreign policy attitudes, and the contribution of other potential explanatory factors to the relationship between nationalism, patriotism and policy attitudes were explored with linear regression models.

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The determinants of election to the United Nations Security Council

Axel Dreher et al.
Public Choice, January 2014, Pages 51-83

Abstract:
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is the foremost international body responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security. Members vote on issues of global importance and consequently receive perks — election to the UNSC predicts, for instance, World Bank and IMF loans. But who gets elected to the UNSC? Addressing this question empirically is not straightforward as it requires a model that allows for discrete choices at the regional and international levels; the former nominates candidates while the latter ratifies them. Using an original multiple discrete choice model to analyze a dataset of 180 elections from 1970 to 2005, we find that UNSC election appears to derive from a compromise between the demands of populous countries to win election more frequently and a norm of giving each country its turn. We also find evidence that richer countries from the developing world win election more often, while involvement in warfare lowers election probability. By contrast, development aid does not predict election.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Exclusive

Historical Trends in the Marital Intentions of One-Time and Serial Cohabitors

Jonathan Vespa
Journal of Marriage and Family, February 2014, Pages 207-217

Abstract:
This study explored whether cohabitors' marital intentions have changed over time and whether they are sensitive to a person's cohabitation history, that is, the number of cohabitations individuals have experienced. Using a sample of ever-cohabited women, 16-28 years old, from the 2002 and 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth (N = 6,023), the author found that the prevalence of serial cohabitation continues to increase among younger birth cohorts. Furthermore, the share of female cohabitors with plans to marry has been declining across time, net of demographic controls and cohabitation history. Serial cohabitation has strong negative associations with marital intentions, a pattern that was not present among the oldest birth cohort but has emerged among more recent cohorts. These findings extend prior work by showing that the downward trend in cohabitors' marital intentions is continuing among the youngest cohort of women and, importantly, is not explained by serial cohabitation.

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Turning back the ticking clock: The effect of increased affordability of assisted reproductive technology on women's marriage timing

Joelle Abramowitz
Journal of Population Economics, April 2014, Pages 603-633

Abstract:
This paper exploits variation in the mandated insurance coverage of assisted reproductive technology (ART) across US states and over time to examine the connection between increased access to ART and female marriage timing. Since ART increases the probability of pregnancy for older women of reproductive age, greater access to ART will make marriage delay less costly for younger single women of reproductive age. Linear probability models are estimated to investigate the effects of ART state insurance mandates on changes in marital status of women in different age groups using the 1977-2010 Current Population Survey. Results show that greater access to ART is associated with marital delay for white (but not for black) women: white women in states with an ART insurance mandate are significantly less likely to marry between the 20-24, 25-29, and 30-34 age ranges, but significantly more likely to marry between the 30-34 and 35-39 age ranges.

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Personal Traits, Cohabitation, and Marriage

Michael French et al.
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examines how personal traits affect the likelihood of entering into a cohabitating or marital relationship using a competing risk survival model with cohabitation and marriage as competing outcomes. The data are from Waves 1, 3, and 4 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a rich dataset with a large sample of young adults (N=9,835). A personal traits index is constructed from interviewer-assessed scores on the respondents' physical attractiveness, personality, and grooming. Having a higher score on the personal traits index is associated with a greater hazard of entering into a marital relationship for men and women, but the score does not have a significant influence on entering into a cohabitating relationship. Numerous sensitivity tests support the core findings.

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Sowing wild oats: Valuable experience or a field full of weeds?

Dean Busby, Brian Willoughby & Jason Carroll
Personal Relationships, December 2013, Pages 706-718

Abstract:
In this study, the association was explored between the number of sexual partners individuals had in their lifetimes and marital outcomes. The research objective was to test whether the number of sexual partners was associated with sexual quality, communication, relationship satisfaction, and relationship stability, while controlling for relationship length, education, race, income, age, and religiosity, using the two competing theories of sexual compatibility and sexual restraint. The results, with a sample of 2,654 married individuals, indicated that the number of sexual partners was associated with lower levels of sexual quality, communication, and relationship stability, providing support for the sexual restraint theory. Gender was not significantly associated with the patterns in the model but age cohorts did have different patterns.

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Partnering and Parenting in Poverty: A Qualitative Analysis of a Relationship Skills Program for Low-Income, Unmarried Families

Jennifer Randles
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
Since the mid-1990s, the federal government has funded numerous relationship skills programs, including some specifically targeting low-income, unmarried parents, in an effort to strengthen couples' relationships and increase family stability. The previous research on the effectiveness of these interventions has revealed mixed results about whether such programs can improve the relationships of lower income couples who tend to experience lower relationship quality, lower marriage rates, and higher rates of relationship dissolution. This article draws on in-depth qualitative data collected during an 18-month ethnographic study of one federally funded relationship skills program for unmarried, low-income couples expecting a new baby. Overall, though parents found the financial management lessons included in the classes only minimally useful, if at all, they found other aspects of the program particularly useful for three main reasons: (1) classes allowed parents to focus exclusively on their couple relationships in ways they rarely did otherwise; (2) program incentives helped parents make financial ends meet that month; and (3) parents learned that the challenges they personally experienced were often endemic to the romantic and co-parenting relationships of unmarried parents who have few resources and experience more challenges that tend to undermine relationship quality, such as financial stress and relational ambiguity. Engaging with other couples around shared challenges normalized couples' relationship problems and lessened the resentment and animosity that typically characterized their partner interactions. These findings have important implications for healthy marriage and relationship policy. Program developers should avoid lessons that imply low-income, unmarried parents' spending habits and family-formation decisions are deficient. Interventions should instead encourage couples to discuss their shared challenges and minimize their tendency to individualize relational and financial strain.

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What a difference a term makes: The effect of educational attainment on marital outcomes in the UK

Dan Anderberg & Yu Zhu
Journal of Population Economics, April 2014, Pages 387-419

Abstract:
In the past, students in England and Wales born within the first 5 months of the academic year could leave school one term earlier than those born later in the year. Focusing on women, those who were required to stay on an extra term more frequently hold some academic qualification. Using having been required to stay on as an exogenous factor affecting academic attainment, we find that holding a low-level academic qualification has no effect on the probability of being currently married for women aged 25 or above, but increases the probability of the husband holding some academic qualification and being economically active.

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How partners' temptation leads to their heightened commitment: The interpersonal regulation of infidelity threats

Angela Neal & Edward Lemay
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, forthcoming

Abstract:
A model of extradyadic temptation and mate guarding was tested in the present dyadic daily report study. Results indicated that participants (perceivers) perceived their partner's (targets) daily extradyadic temptation and that these perceptions predicted perceivers' daily mate-guarding behaviors. Perceivers' chronic jealousy moderated these relationships. These results suggest that perceivers, especially chronically jealous perceivers, are sensitive to their partners' temptation for extradyadic relations and respond to this temptation with relationship-protective behaviors. Furthermore, perceivers' mate-guarding behaviors predicted increases in targets' subsequent daily commitment, suggesting that perceivers' mate guarding works to deter targets from future infidelity by increasing targets' commitment to the relationship. These findings suggest an interpersonal process in which people detect and then regulate their partners' extradyadic temptation.

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Computer-Based Prevention of Intimate Partner Violence in Marriage

Scott Braithwaite & Frank Fincham
Behaviour Research and Therapy, March 2014, Pages 12-21

Objective: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a common, costly societal problem. Interventions designed to reduce IPV recidivism have had limited success but primary prevention efforts are likely to be more effective in reducing the occurrence of IPV. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of a computer-based preventive intervention (ePREP) on IPV in a sample of married, community couples.

Method: We employed a randomized clinical trial design comparing ePREP to an active placebo control group. Using a community sample of 52 married couples (21% Black, 3% Asian, 65% White, 7% Latino, 4% Mixed/biracial) who had been married, on average, 4.3 years, we examined the impact ePREP on IPV as measured by self and partner reports of the Revised Conflict Tactics Scale. We assessed couples at baseline, six-weeks post-baseline, and one-year post-baseline. We used the Actor Partner Interdependence Model with treatment effects to analyze the obtained dyadic data.

Results: We found that ePREP reduced physical and psychological aggression among married couples (on average across informants, a 90% reduction in expected counts of physical aggression, and a .18 standard deviation reduction in psychological aggression) and that these gains were maintained at a 1-year follow-up assessment.

Conclusions: Interventions that can be delivered widely and at a low-cost will increase the likelihood of reaching those who will benefit most from receiving them. Implications for implementing flexible interventions and changing our approach to treatment delivery are discussed.

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When You Think Your Partner Is Holding Back: The Costs of Perceived Partner Suppression During Relationship Sacrifice

Emily Impett et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Do people benefit when they think their partner has made a sacrifice for the relationship? In a multimethod study of 80 couples, we examined whether people can detect when their partner suppresses their emotions and if perceived partner suppression is costly for the recipient of sacrifice. When people listened to their partner recall an important sacrifice in the lab and when people thought their partner sacrificed in daily life, they thought that their partner was less authentic the more they perceived them to have suppressed their emotions. In turn, perceived partner inauthenticity during sacrifice was associated with poorer personal well-being and relationship quality. These effects persisted over time with perceived partner suppression predicting poorer relationship quality 3 months later. The results were independent from the influence of an actor's projection of their own suppression and their partner's actual suppression. Implications for research on emotion regulation and close relationships are discussed.

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Evidence for a Role of the Oxytocin System, Indexed by Genetic Variation in CD38, in the Social Bonding Effects of Expressed Gratitude

Sara Algoe & Baldwin Way
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Oxytocin is thought to play a central role in promoting close social bonds via influence on social interactions. The current investigation targeted interactions involving expressed gratitude between members of romantic relationships because recent evidence suggests gratitude and its expression provide behavioral and psychological "glue" to bind individuals closer together (Algoe, 2012). Specifically, we took a genetic approach to test the hypothesis that social interactions involving expressed gratitude would be associated with variation in a gene, CD38, which has been shown to affect oxytocin secretion. A polymorphism (rs6449182) that affects CD38 expression was significantly associated with global relationship satisfaction, perceived partner responsiveness and positive emotions (particularly love) after lab-based interactions, observed behavioral expression of gratitude toward a romantic partner in the lab, and frequency of expressed gratitude in daily life. A separate polymorphism in CD38 (rs3796863) previously associated with plasma oxytocin levels and social engagement was also associated with perceived responsiveness in the benefactor after an expression of gratitude. The combined influence of the two polymorphisms was associated with a broad range of gratitude-related behaviors and feelings. The consistent pattern of findings suggests that the oxytocin system is associated with solidifying the glue that binds adults into meaningful and important relationships.

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Couples' Time Together: Complementarities in Production Versus Complementarities in Consumption

Hani Mansour & Terra McKinnish
University of Colorado Working Paper, January 2014

Abstract:
Economists have previously suggested that gains from marriage can be generated by complementarities in production (gains from specialization and exchange) or by complementarities in consumption (gains from joint consumption of household public goods and joint time consumption). This paper uses the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) from 2003-2011 to test whether couples that engage in less specialization (are more similar in hours of market work) spend more time together. We find that among married couples without young children, those with a greater difference in weekly hours of work between husband and wife spend less time together on non-working weekend days. Importantly, we find that this relationship is quite symmetric between couples in which the husband works greater hours and couples in which the wife works greater hours. We do not find evidence of a relationship between specialization and couple time together among couples with young children.

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Sanctity of marriage and marital quality

Laura Stafford, Prabu David & Sterling McPherson
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, February 2014, Pages 54-70

Abstract:
Mahoney and colleagues' theorizing about the potential role of sanctity as a central feature of religion/spirituality is invoked to examine the relationships among sanctity of marriage, (un)forgiveness, sacrifice, and both positive and negative marital satisfaction. The study examined the perspectives of both members of 342 marital dyads using an Actor-Partner Interdependence Model and a multilevel path modeling. The results indicate that sanctity is related positively to marital satisfaction and negatively to martial dissatisfaction. Sanctity emerged as a strong predictor of marital quality even after accounting for forgiveness, unforgiveness, and sacrifice. Though sanctity is directly linked to positive marital satisfaction, the mediation effects via (un)forgiveness were not significant; however, a mediation effect via sacrifice was significant, which was related to negative marital quality.

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Double Time: Is Health Affected by a Spouse's Time at Work?

Sibyl Kleiner & Eliza Pavalko
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
The amount of time families spend at work increased substantially over the course of the 20th century, but the health implications of these shifts remain poorly understood. Using the NLSY79, we examine potential consequences of men's and women's work time on the health of their spouse. We also investigate three mechanisms through which spousal hours might affect health: resources from the job, stress, and time for physical activity and exercise. Husbands' long (50+) hours predict better health for wives, due in part to greater resources. Wives' moderately long (41-49) hours of work predict worse health for husbands, due in part to husbands' reduced exercise time. Our gendered findings highlight persistent inequities in work and family life that constrain the family health-promoting benefits of women's labor.

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Risky business: Willingness to be caught in an extra-pair relationship, relationship experience, and the Dark Triad

Heather Adams, Victor Luevano & Peter Jonason
Personality and Individual Differences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Little research into the relationship correlates of narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism (i.e., the Dark Triad) has examined experience within various types of relationships nor has research examined risk-tolerance in extra-pair relationships. In a MTurk sample (N = 210), psychopathy and narcissism were positively correlated with low-commitment relationship experience, both overall and as extra-pair relationships. Machiavellianism was negatively correlated with overall experience in booty-call relationships, friends-with-benefits relationships, and serious-romantic relationships. Those who would not engage in extra-pair low-commitment relationships, even without chance of detection, were lower in psychopathy and narcissism than those indicating some acceptable chance of detection. Additionally, the amount of detection risk accepted was positively associated with narcissism for one-night-stands and friends-with-benefits relationships, and negatively associated with Machiavellianism for booty-call relationships. These findings further our understanding of the mating strategies of those high in the Dark Triad.

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Permissiveness Toward Divorce: The Influence of Divorce Experiences in Three Social Contexts

Inge Sieben & Ellen Verbakel
European Sociological Review, December 2013, Pages 1175-1188

Abstract:
In this study, we assess whether divorce experiences in three social contexts shape individual's permissiveness toward divorce. Using European Values Study data from 44 countries, we find that - net of personal divorce experience - parental divorce before the age of 18 (socialization context); parental divorce after the age of 18, divorce of child, and divorce of relatives (context in adult life); and country's divorce rate (national context) are related to more permissiveness toward divorce. Value climates in these three contexts clearly mediate the relationships between experiences and attitudes, but parental divorce before the age of 18, divorce of child, and divorce of relatives still are independently and positively related to permissiveness toward divorce. These findings suggest that divorce experiences affect pro-divorce attitudes on top of prevailing value climates in social contexts that are relatively close to the individual. Finally, robustness tests show that personal divorce is not only an important determinant of pro-divorce attitudes, the role played by divorce experiences in the three contexts also depends on being divorced or not. Moreover, singles are more strongly affected by their surrounding contexts than people with a stable relationship.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

People's money

Mini West Virginias

Lauren Cohen, Joshua Coval & Christopher Malloy
Harvard Working Paper, November 2013

Abstract:
Much like states that rely on government spending, certain firms rely on the government for a substantial share of their revenues. Exploiting the statutory requirement that forces firms to list the identities of their major customers, we identify and examine the set of firms whose major customers are listed as government entities. We employ an identification strategy that exploits government contract bid protests in order to identify the causal impact of government sales on future firm outcomes, and find that government-linked firms invest less in physical and intellectual capital, and have lower future sales growth.

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Why Has U.S. Policy Uncertainty Risen Since 1960?

Scott Baker et al.
NBER Working Paper, January 2014

Abstract:
There appears to be a strong upward drift in policy-related economic uncertainty after 1960. We consider two classes of explanations for this rise. The first stresses growth in government spending, taxes, and regulation. A second stresses increased political polarization and its implications for the policy-making process and policy choices. While the evidence is inconclusive, it suggests that both factors play a role in driving the secular increase in policy uncertainty over the last half century.

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Eliciting Taxpayer Preferences Increases Tax Compliance

Cait Poynor Lamberton, Jan-Emmanuel De Neve & Michael Norton
Harvard Working Paper, December 2013

Abstract:
Two experiments show that eliciting taxpayer preferences on government spending -- providing tax agency -- increases tax compliance. We first create an income and taxation environment in a laboratory setting to test for compliance with a "lab tax.'' Allowing a treatment group to express non-binding preferences over tax spending priorities leads to a 16% increase in tax compliance. A follow-up online study tests this treatment with a simulation of paying US federal taxes. Allowing taxpayers to signal their preferences on the distribution of government spending results in a 15% reduction in the stated take-up rate of a questionable tax loophole. Providing tax agency recouples tax payments with the public services obtained in return, reduces general anti-tax sentiment, and holds satisfaction with tax payment stable despite increased compliance with tax dues. With tax noncompliance costing the US government $385 billion annually, providing tax agency could have meaningful economic impact. At the same time, giving taxpayers a voice may act as a two-way "nudge," transforming tax payment from a passive experience to a channel of communication between taxpayers and government.

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Do Local Government Fiscal Spillovers Exist? Evidence from Counties, Municipalities, and School Districts

Adam Isen
Journal of Public Economics, February 2014, Pages 57–73

Abstract:
Numerous theories posit that the fiscal decisions of one jurisdiction influence the fiscal decisions of its neighbors. The main contribution of this paper is to address empirical difficulties in testing for spillovers using a regression discontinuity design on a newly collected dataset. I utilize close elections from this large dataset of local referenda in Ohio to isolate the effect of exogenous increases in taxation and spending of one jurisdiction on neighbors’ fiscal decisions. For all jurisdictional types and referenda revenue sources (bonds, income, property, and sales tax), there is no evidence of spillovers, and relatively small effects can be ruled out.

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Surfacing the Submerged State with Operational Transparency in Government Services

Ryan Buell & Michael Norton
Harvard Working Paper, November 2013

Abstract:
As Americans' trust in government nears historic lows, frustration with government performance approaches record highs. One explanation for this trend is that citizens may be unaware of both the services provided by government and the impact of those services on their lives. In an experiment, Boston-area residents interacted with a website that visualizes both service requests submitted by the public (e.g., potholes and broken streetlamps) and efforts by the City of Boston to address them. Some participants observed a count of new, open, and recently closed service requests, while others viewed these requests visualized on an interactive map that included details and images of the work being performed. Residents who experienced this "operational transparency" in government services – seeing the work that government is doing – expressed more positive attitudes toward government and greater support for maintaining or expanding the scale of government programs. The effect of transparency on support for government programs was equivalent to a roughly 20% decline in conservatism on a political ideology scale. We further demonstrate that positive attitudes about government partially mediate the relationship between operational transparency and support for maintaining and expanding government programs. While transparency is customarily trained on elected officials as a means of ethical oversight, our research documents the benefits of increased transparency into the delivery of government services.

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The Output and Welfare Effects of Fiscal Shocks over the Business Cycle

Eric Sims & Jonathan Wolff
NBER Working Paper, December 2013

Abstract:
How does the magnitude of the output response to a change in government spending vary over the business cycle? What are the welfare effects of fiscal shocks? This paper studies the state-dependence of the output and welfare effects of shocks to government purchases in a DSGE model with real and nominal frictions and a rich fiscal financing structure. Both the output multiplier (the change in output for a one dollar change in government spending) and the welfare multiplier (the consumption equivalent change in welfare for the same change in spending) move significantly across states, though movements in the welfare multiplier are quantitatively much larger than for the output multiplier. The output multiplier is high in bad states of the world resulting from negative "supply" shocks and low when bad states result from "demand" shocks. The welfare multiplier displays the opposite pattern -- it tends to be high in demand-driven recessions and low in supply-driven downturns. In an historical simulation based on estimation of the model parameters, the output multiplier is found to be countercyclical and strongly negatively correlated with the welfare multiplier.

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Destination Taxation and Evasion: Evidence from U.S. Inter-State Commodity Flows

William Fox, LeAnn Luna & Georg Schaur
Journal of Accounting and Economics, February 2014, Pages 43–57

Abstract:
Tax evasion has been an important issue in the accounting literature for several decades, but the focus has been on corporate income taxes. We develop a new way to examine tax evasion that focuses on corporate transactions, rather than corporate profits. Specifically, we examine how commodity flows respond to destination sales taxes, allowing for tax evasion as a function of distance between trade partners. After accounting for transportation costs, we find that the effect of taxes decreases as distance increases. This is consistent with the notion that longer distances between trade partners hinder government oversight and increase the likelihood of successful tax evasion. Our results are robust with respect to outliers, strategic neighbor effects, information sharing agreements and other re-specifications. These results are important to policymakers because they evidence the difficulty of enforcing destination taxation in open economies such as U.S. states and the European Union.

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Tax Code Knowledge and Behavioral Responses among EITC Recipients: Policy Insights from Qualitative Data

Rebecca Maynard, Laura Tach & Sarah Halpern-Meekin
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
We build on the robust quantitative literature on behavioral responses to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) by using in-depth qualitative interviews with 115 EITC recipients to examine how they understand and respond to its incentive structures regarding earnings, marriage, and childbearing. We find that respondents consider their tax refund as a whole, without differentiating the portion from the EITC; as a result, they cannot predict how their EITC refund would change if they altered their labor supply or marital status. Incentives for childbearing are better understood, but are not specific to the EITC; rather, parents respond to a combination of tax deductions and credits as a whole. Respondents would like to maximize their refunds, but most cannot or would not alter their behavior due to structural constraints they face in the labor and marriage markets. Rather than adjust work hours, defer marriage, or have additional children, respondents exhibit a different type of behavioral response to the incentive structure of the EITC: They alter their tax filing status in order to maximize their refunds. They routinely claim zero exemptions and deductions on their W-4s, file their tax returns as head of household rather than as married, and divide children among the tax returns of multiple caregivers. Although some of these behaviors qualify as tax noncompliance, they emerge because the intricacies of the tax code conflict with the complexity and fluidity of finances and family life in low-income households.

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Property Taxes and Their Limits: Evidence from New York City

Andrew Hayashi
Stanford Law & Policy Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
I report evidence from New York City that property assessment caps on small residential properties represent a significant tax benefit that accrues to the most valuable properties and the wealthiest neighborhoods. Moreover, rather than benefiting the long-time homeowners on fixed incomes who are their putative targets, the largest benefits go to the properties that are most likely to have been recently sold and to be located in neighborhoods where cash incomes have increased the most.

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The Fiscal Stress Arising from State and Local Retiree Health Obligations

Byron Lutz & Louise Sheiner
NBER Working Paper, January 2014

Abstract:
A major factor weighing down the long-term finances of state and local governments is the obligation to fund retiree benefits. While state and local government pension obligations have been analyzed in great detail, much less attention has been paid to the costs of the other major retiree benefit provided by these governments: retiree health insurance. The first portion of the paper uses the information contained in the annual actuarial reports for public retiree health plans to reverse engineer the cash flows underlying the liabilities given in the report. Obtaining the cash flows allows us to construct liability estimates which are consistent across governments in terms of the discount rate, actuarial method and assumptions concerning medical cost inflation and mortality. We find that the total unfunded accrued liability of state and local governments for the provision of retiree health care exceeds $1 trillion, or about ⅓ of total state and local government revenue. Relative to pension obligations discounted at the same rate, we find that unfunded retiree health care liabilities are ½ the size of unfunded pension obligations. We also find that using assumptions concerning the growth in health care costs that are arguably more realistic than those employed by most states actually reduces the size of the liability in most cases. Pushing in the opposite direction, we find that using plausibly more realistic mortality assumptions increases the size of liability. The second portion of the paper places retiree health care obligations into context by examining the budget pressures associated with retiree health on a continuing, largely pay-as-you go basis. We find that much of the projected increase in retiree health obligations as a share of revenue is the result of health care cost growth. On average, states could put their retiree health obligations into long-run fiscal balance by contributing an additional ¾ percent of total revenue toward the benefit each year. There is, however, wide variation across the states, with the majority of states requiring little in the way of additional financing, but some states requiring a significantly larger increase.

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WIC Contract Spillover Effects

Rui Huang & Jeffrey Perloff
Review of Industrial Organization, February 2014, Pages 49-71

Abstract:
Under the U.S. Special Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, the three major infant formula manufacturers compete for WIC supply contracts, state by state. Policy makers have been puzzled by the question of why the contracted WIC price is substantially lower than the retail (non-WIC) price. Our explanation is that winning the WIC contract is extremely valuable to a manufacturer because of a spillover effect: The increased retail shelf-space that is dedicated to the WIC brand and the WIC logo increases non-WIC sales. We identify this effect by showing the variations in market shares of winning and losing firms that follow WIC contract changes. Immediately after the contract change, there is an immediate increase in the market share of the WIC contract winner and an equal drop in the loser’s share because of new WIC purchases. Then, over an extended period, the spillover effect increases the winner’s share and decreases the loser’s share as retailers shift shelf space from the loser to the winner.

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Alleged Tax Competition: The Mysterious Death of Bequest Taxes in Switzerland

Marius Brülhart & Raphaël Parchet
Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Interjurisdictional competition over mobile tax bases is an easily understood mechanism, but actual tax-base elasticities are difficult to estimate. Political pressure for reducing tax rates could therefore be based on erroneous estimates of the mobility of tax bases. We show that tax competition provided the most prominent argument in the policy debates leading to a succession of reforms of bequest taxation by Swiss cantons. Yet, canton-level panel data spanning multiple bequest tax reforms over a 36-year period suggest the relevant tax base, high-income retirees, to be relatively inelastic with respect to tax rates. The alleged pressures of tax competition did not seem in reality to exist.

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Simulating the Elimination of the U.S. Corporate Income Tax

Hans Fehr et al.
NBER Working Paper, December 2013

Abstract:
We simulate corporate tax reform in a single good, five-region (U.S., Europe, Japan, China, India) model, featuring skilled and unskilled labor, detailed region-specific demographics and fiscal policies. Eliminating the model’s U.S. corporate income tax produces rapid and dramatic increases in the model’s level of U.S. investment, output, and real wages, making the tax cut self-financing to a significant extent. Somewhat smaller gains arise from revenue-neutral base broadening, specifically cutting the corporate tax rate to 9 percent and eliminating tax loop-holes.

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Nice Guys Finish Last: Do Honest Taxpayers Face Higher Tax Rates?

Philipp Doerrenberg et al.
Kyklos, February 2014, Pages 29–53

Abstract:
This paper examines the relationship between ‘tax morale’ and tax policy. Using a unique cross-country data set based on the World Values Survey and the World Tax Indicators, we find that income groups with high tax morale face higher average and marginal tax rates. We propose three possible mechanisms which could help to explain our results: i) an inverse elasticity argument where governments seek to minimize distortions, ii) a political economy argument where governments take voting behavior into account, and iii) an administrative costs argument where taxing high morale groups is more cost efficient.

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Tax Evasion and Swiss Bank Deposits

Niels Johannesen
Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Bank deposits in offshore financial centers may be used to evade taxes on interest income. A recent EU reform limits the scope for this type of tax evasion by introducing a withholding tax on interest income earned by EU households in Switzerland and several other offshore centers. This paper estimates the impact of the withholding tax on Swiss bank deposits held by EU residents while using non-EU residents who were not subject to the tax as a comparison group. We present evidence that Swiss bank deposits owned by EU residents declined by 30-40% relative to other Swiss bank deposits in two quarters immediately before and after the tax was introduced. We also present evidence suggesting that the drop in Swiss bank deposits was driven by behavioral responses aiming to escape the tax - such as the transfer of funds to bank accounts in other offshore centers and the transfer of formal ownership of Swiss bank accounts to offshore holding companies - rather than repatriation of funds.

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Disentangling Financial Constraints, Precautionary Savings, and Myopia: Household Behavior Surrounding Federal Tax Returns

Brian Baugh, Itzhak Ben-David & Hoonsuk Park
NBER Working Paper, January 2014

Abstract:
We explore household consumption surrounding federal tax returns filings and refunds receipt to test various theories of consumption. Because uncertainty regarding the refund is resolved at filing, precautionary savings theory predicts an increase in consumption at this date. Contrary to this prediction, we find that households generally do not increase consumption at filing. Following the receipt of the refunds, consumption of both durables and nondurables increases dramatically and then decays quickly. Our results show that households, on average, are financially constrained, exhibit myopic behavior, and do not respond to precautionary savings motives.

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The Impact of Sales Tax on Internet and Catalog Sales: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

Yu Jeffrey Hu & Zhulei Tang
International Journal of Industrial Organization, January 2014, Pages 84–90

Abstract:
This paper studies the effect of sales tax changes on internet and catalog sales. We collect sales data from a retailer that sells its products through its internet and catalog channels. We analyze the retailer’s sales before and after a major tax cut in one of the largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. This natural experiment allows us to separate the effect of the tax cut from the effect of other confounding factors. The results from our panel data analyses indicate that remote sales have decreased by about 15 percent in response to a four percentage point decrease in sales tax. Our results are statistically significant and highly robust. Interestingly, we also find that the effect of the tax cut varies across different types of consumers, products, and channels. These findings have important managerial and public policy implications.

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Rearmament to the Rescue? New Estimates of the Impact of “Keynesian” Policies in 1930s' Britain

Nicholas Crafts & Terence Mills
Journal of Economic History, December 2013, Pages 1077-1104

Abstract:
We report estimates of the fiscal multiplier for interwar Britain based on quarterly data, time-series econometrics, and “defense news.” We find that the government expenditure multiplier was in the range 0.3 to 0.8, much lower than previous estimates. The scope for a Keynesian solution to recession was less than is generally supposed. We find that rearmament gave a smaller boost to real GDP than previously claimed. Rearmament may, however, have had a larger impact than a temporary public works program of similar magnitude if private investment anticipated the need to add capacity to cope with future defense spending.

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The Effect of Government Corruption on the Efficiency of U.S. Commercial Airports

Jia Yan & Tae Hoon Oum
Journal of Urban Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this paper, we argue that the cost of providing public goods is affected by local government corruption because bureaucrats have no strong incentives to pursue mandated tasks under a corrupt environment. Commercial airports in the United States are chosen to demonstrate such impacts of corruption. We first develop a theory which predicts the impacts of corruption on productivity and variable input allocation of airports. We then test the predictions by estimating a stochastic variable cost frontier model which incorporates both technical and allocative efficiency of airports. The empirical evidence confirms the theoretical predictions by revealing the following: 1) airports are less productive in more corrupt environments; and 2) airports tend to use more contracting-out to replace in-house labor in more corrupt environments. The findings can be applied to the context of other public goods and have important policy implications for reforming governance structure of public good provision.

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Flip the Switch: The Spatial Impact of the Rural Electrification Administration 1935-1940

Carl Kitchens & Price Fishback
NBER Working Paper, December 2013

Abstract:
To isolate the impact of access to electricity on local economies, we examine the impact of the Rural Electrification Administration low-interest loans in the 1930s. The REA provided loans to cooperatives to lay distribution lines to farms and aid in wiring homes. Consequently, the number of rural farm homes electrified doubled in the United States within 5 years. We develop a panel data set for the 1930s and use changes within counties over time to identify the effect of the REA loans on a wide range of socio-economic measures. The REA loans contributed significantly to increases in crop output and crop productivity and helped stave off declines in overall farm output, productivity, and land values, but had much smaller effects on nonagricultural parts of the economy. The ex-ante subsidy from the low interest loans was large, but after the program was completed, nearly all of the loans were fully repaid, and the ultimate cost to the taxpayer was relatively low.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Group dynamics

Higher Moral Obligations of Tolerance Toward Other Minorities: An Extra Burden on Stigmatized Groups

Saulo Fernández et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
In four experiments, we tested whether members of stigmatized groups are expected to be more tolerant toward other minorities than members of non-stigmatized groups and assessed the consequences of disconfirming those expectancies. Experiments 1 and 2 showed that majority group members expected members of a stigmatized group to be more tolerant toward immigrants, particularly when the stigmatized minority was perceived as having overcome the negative consequences of its victimization. When this tolerance expectation was disconfirmed, stigmatized group members were judged more immoral than members of a non-stigmatized group that held the same intolerant attitudes. Experiments 3 and 4 showed that these effects were driven by the belief that stigmatized groups should derive benefits from their suffering. These findings suggest that stigmatized groups are judged according to stricter moral standards than non-stigmatized groups because majority group members need to make meaning of the undeserved suffering experienced by victims of social stigma.

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Social exclusion and xenophobia: Intolerant attitudes toward ethnic and religious minorities

Nilüfer Aydin et al.
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present research investigates the effects of social exclusion on attitudes toward ethnic and religious minorities. Native-born German participants who were socially excluded rather than included reported greater approval for stricter legislation regarding the naturalization of immigrants (Study 1), reported greater prejudice against openly observant Muslims (Studies 2 and 3), and stronger agreement with the view that immigrants are financial burdens to the state (Study 4). Social exclusion threatens the sense of personal control, which in turn leads to stronger rejection of stigmatized outgroups (Study 3). When perceived control was experimentally enhanced, the social exclusion effect disappeared (Study 4). The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

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Hidden Costs of Hiding Stigma: Ironic Interpersonal Consequences of Concealing a Stigmatized Identity in Social Interactions

Anna-Kaisa Newheiser & Manuela Barreto
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, May 2014, Pages 58–70

Abstract:
People who possess a concealable stigmatized identity (e.g., minority sexual orientation; history of mental illness) often hide this identity from others in order to avoid bias. Despite the possible benefits of this identity management strategy, we propose that instead of increasing acceptance, hiding a stigmatized identity can result in a lowered sense of belonging and even actual social rejection. Across four studies, we show that although individuals living with concealable stigmatized identities report a preference for hiding (vs. revealing) the identity during social interactions, hiding in fact reduces feelings of belonging — an effect that is mediated by felt inauthenticity and reduced general self-disclosure (i.e., disclosure of self-relevant information not limited to the stigmatized identity). Furthermore, the detrimental interpersonal effects of hiding (vs. revealing) a stigmatized identity are detected by external observers and non-stigmatized interaction partners. Implications for understanding the predicament of people living with stigmatized social identities are discussed.

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Racial Progress as Threat to the Status Hierarchy: Implications for Perceptions of Anti-White Bias

Clara Wilkins & Cheryl Kaiser
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In three studies, we examined how racial progress affects Whites’ perceptions of anti-White bias. When racial progress was chronically (Study 1) and experimentally (Study 2) salient, Whites who believed the current U.S. status hierarchy was legitimate were more likely to report that Whites were victims of racial discrimination. In contrast, Whites who perceived the current status system as illegitimate were unaffected by the salience of racial progress. The results of Study 3 point to the role of threat in explaining these divergent reactions to racial progress. When self-affirmed, Whites who perceived the status hierarchy as legitimate no longer showed increased perceptions of anti-White bias when confronted with evidence of racial progress. Implications for policies designed to remedy social inequality are discussed.

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When an “Educated” Black Man Becomes Lighter in the Mind’s Eye

Avi Ben-Zeev et al.
SAGE Open, January 2014

Abstract:
We offer novel evidence that a Black man appears lighter in the mind’s eye following a counter-stereotypic prime, a phenomenon we refer to as skin tone memory bias. In Experiment 1, participants were primed subliminally with the counter-stereotypic word educated or with the stereotypic word ignorant, followed by the target stimulus of a Black man’s face. A recognition memory task for the target’s face and six lures (skin tone variations of ±25%, ±37%, and ±50%) revealed that participants primed with “educated” exhibited more memory errors with respect to lighter lures — misidentifying even the lightest lure as the target more often than counterparts primed with “ignorant.” This skin tone memory bias was replicated in Experiment 2. We situate these findings in theorizing on the mind’s striving for cognitive consistency. Black individuals who defy social stereotypes might not challenge social norms sufficiently but rather may be remembered as lighter, perpetuating status quo beliefs.

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The Impact of Hispanic and White Group Cues on Attitudes Towards the Violation of Generic Norms

Mirjam Cranmer & Skyler Cranmer
PLoS ONE, December 2013

Abstract:
While much work in political science has examined the impact of racial cues on individual perceptions, we know little about how individuals evaluate members of minority outgroups on issues that are not linked to stereotypes. We measure the impacts of Hispanic and White cues on individual assessments related to a stereotype-independent norm violation: alcoholism. We test three competing theories – cognition, intergroup emotions, and social identity – using a population-based vignette experiment included in the General Social Survey. Our results contradict much of the literature, but keep with social identity theory's predictions. Hispanic alcoholics, when Hispanics constitute the outgroup, are assessed less negatively than White alcoholics in the ingroup, the latter experiencing what is called the black sheep effect. The black sheep effect occurs when ingroup members are more punitive towards members of the ingroup than the outgroup. However, the black sheep effect does not extend to measures that are more consistent with outgroup stereotypes, such as violence or money mismanagement; Hispanic alcoholics are evaluated more negatively than Whites on these measures. The implication is that the effect of racial cues depends strongly on issue linkages to group stereotypes.

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Group membership alters the threshold for mind perception: The role of social identity, collective identification, and intergroup threat

Leor Hackel, Christine Looser & Jay Van Bavel
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, May 2014, Pages 15–23

Abstract:
Human faces are used as cues to the presence of social agents, and the ability to detect minds and mental states in others occupies a central role in social interaction. In the current research, we present evidence that the human propensity for mind perception is bound by social group membership. Specifically, we show how identification with different social groups influences the threshold for mind perception. In three experiments, participants assessed a continuum of face morphs that ranged from human to doll faces. These faces were described as in-group or out-group members. Participants had higher (i.e., more stringent) thresholds for perceiving minds behind out-group faces, both in minimal (Experiment 1) and real-world groups (Experiment 2). In other words, out-group members required more humanness than in-group members to be perceived as having minds. This intergroup bias in mind perception was moderated by collective identification, such that highly identified group members had the highest threshold for perceiving minds behind out-group relative to in-group faces. In contrast, Democrats and Republicans who perceived the other party as threatening had lower thresholds for perceiving minds behind out-group faces (Experiment 3). These experiments suggest that mind perception is a dynamic process in which relevant contextual information such as social identity and out-group threat change the interpretation of physical features that signal the presence of another mind. Implications for mind perception, dehumanization, and intergroup relations are discussed.

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When do negative response expectancies undermine interracial relations? The role of the Protestant work ethic

David Butz, Kathleen Klik & Ashby Plant
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although accumulating research indicates that negative expectations about interracial interactions undermine the quality of such interactions, little research has examined the factors that moderate the influence of negative expectations on responses to interracial interactions. We propose that individuals who endorse work-related ideologies such as the Protestant work ethic (PWE) expect that outcomes in interracial interactions should be contingent upon individual effort. As a result, such individuals are hypothesized to respond in a negative manner when they believe that regardless of their effort in an interracial interaction, interaction partners will respond negatively to them (termed negative response expectancies). Consistent with this hypothesis, negative response expectancies led to an increased desire to avoid interracial interactions (Studies 1a and 1b) and more antisocial behavior directed at an interracial interaction partner among individuals who strongly endorsed the PWE (Study 2). Across the studies, effects of negative response expectancies were relatively weaker or non-significant among individuals lower in the PWE. The implications of these findings for understanding the interplay between the PWE and expectancies in interracial interactions are discussed.

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Playing with fire? The impact of the hidden curriculum in school genetics on essentialist conceptions of race

Brian Donovan
Journal of Research in Science Teaching, forthcoming

Abstract:
Race has been a longstanding topic in the biology textbook curriculum. Yet, there appears to be no research investigating whether the treatment of race in modern biology textbooks impacts how students conceptualize race. In the present study, a double-blind field experiment employing mixed-methods is used to investigate the impact of textbook-based genetics learning on essentialist conceptions of race amongst adolescents. The study was carried out in an eighth grade classroom in a California Bay Area School. Students recruited for the study (N = 43) read either a racialized or a non-racialized textbook passage on human genetic diseases and completed a reading comprehension assessment. After a short distracting task they responded to items in two different race conception instruments. Controlling for race, gender, age, prior race-conceptions, and reading comprehension, statistically significant effects were observed on both race conception instruments by treatment. Students in the racialized condition exhibited stronger essentialist conceptions of race than students in the non-racialized condition. Additionally, an exploratory analysis indicated that an understanding of Mendelian heredity moderated the observed treatment effects. The findings of the present study tentatively suggest that textbook-based instruction in school biology can inadvertently reinforce essentialist conceptions of race that underlie racial bias. Implications for teaching and research are discussed.

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Permission to be prejudiced: Legitimacy credits in the evaluation of advertisements

Beomjoon Choi, Chris Crandall & Suna La
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigated discrimination in the context of evaluating advertisements, based on the suppression model (justification-suppression model [JSM]) of prejudice expression. Previous research has demonstrated that when people are given an opportunity to give a high rating to an ad featuring a Black model, a sense of nonprejudice is created, which, in turn, provides an opportunity to discriminate subsequently without feeling prejudiced. We extended the JSM by investigating whether the acquisition of legitimacy credits (a moral authority earned by demonstrating nonprejudice) is a sufficient condition to release the expression of prejudice. We found that subjects who first evaluated a high-quality ad featuring a Black model felt eligible to use legitimacy credits in subsequent evaluations. But in a subsequent study, participants who acquired these credits evaluated Black model ads more negatively than White model ads only when these ads were of low quality. The implications for evaluating the subtle way that prejudice affects rating of models of color in advertisements are discussed.

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Racial Bias in Neural Empathic Responses to Pain

Luis Sebastian Contreras-Huerta et al.
PLoS ONE, December 2013

Abstract:
Recent studies have shown that perceiving the pain of others activates brain regions in the observer associated with both somatosensory and affective-motivational aspects of pain, principally involving regions of the anterior cingulate and anterior insula cortex. The degree of these empathic neural responses is modulated by racial bias, such that stronger neural activation is elicited by observing pain in people of the same racial group compared with people of another racial group. The aim of the present study was to examine whether a more general social group category, other than race, could similarly modulate neural empathic responses and perhaps account for the apparent racial bias reported in previous studies. Using a minimal group paradigm, we assigned participants to one of two mixed-race teams. We use the term race to refer to the Chinese or Caucasian appearance of faces and whether the ethnic group represented was the same or different from the appearance of the participant' own face. Using fMRI, we measured neural empathic responses as participants observed members of their own group or other group, and members of their own race or other race, receiving either painful or non-painful touch. Participants showed clear group biases, with no significant effect of race, on behavioral measures of implicit (affective priming) and explicit group identification. Neural responses to observed pain in the anterior cingulate cortex, insula cortex, and somatosensory areas showed significantly greater activation when observing pain in own-race compared with other-race individuals, with no significant effect of minimal groups. These results suggest that racial bias in neural empathic responses is not influenced by minimal forms of group categorization, despite the clear association participants showed with in-group more than out-group members. We suggest that race may be an automatic and unconscious mechanism that drives the initial neural responses to observed pain in others.

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Racial bias in pain perception and response: Experimental examination of automatic and deliberate processes

Vani Mathur et al.
Journal of Pain, forthcoming

Abstract:
Racial disparities in pain treatment pose a significant public health and scientific problem. Prior studies demonstrate clinicians and non-clinicians are less perceptive, and suggest less treatment for, the pain of African Americans, relative to European Americans. Here we investigate the effects of explicit/implicit patient race presentation, patient race, and perceiver race on pain perception and response. African American and European American participants rated pain perception, empathy, helping motivation, and treatment suggestion in response to vignettes about patients’ pain. Vignettes were accompanied by a rapid (implicit), or static (explicit) presentation of an African or European American patient’s face. Participants perceived and responded more to European American patients in the implicit prime condition, when the effect of patient race was below the level of conscious regulation. This effect was reversed when patient race was presented explicitly. Additionally, female participants perceived and responded more to the pain of all patients, relative to male participants, and in the implicit prime condition, African American participants were more perceptive and responsive than European Americans to the pain of all patients. Taken together, these results suggest that known disparities in pain treatment may be largely due to automatic (below the level of conscious regulation), rather than deliberate (subject to conscious regulation) biases. These biases were not associated with traditional implicit measures of racial attitudes, suggesting that biases in pain perception and response may be independent of general prejudice.

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More than music! A longitudinal test of German–Polish music encounters

Dieta Kuchenbrandt et al.
International Journal of Intercultural Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines music encounters as a hitherto unexplored type of intergroup contact intervention. We tested the short- and mid-term effects of German–Polish music encounters that either took place in Germany or in Poland, respectively, on German's attitudes toward Poles. Ninety-nine German participants completed a questionnaire one week before the encounter (t0), directly thereafter (t1), and four weeks later (t2). The control group (N = 67) did not take part in any music encounter and completed the measures twice (t0 and t2). Results revealed that attitudes toward the Polish out-group improved sustainably, but only when the encounter took place in Poland. In contrast, for encounters realized in Germany, no attitude change occurred. Implications of these findings are discussed.

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Neighborhood Ethnic Diversity and Trust: The Role of Intergroup Contact and Perceived Threat

Katharina Schmid, Ananthi Al Ramiah & Miles Hewstone
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research reported here speaks to a contentious debate concerning the potential negative consequences of diversity for trust. We tested the relationship between neighborhood diversity and out-group, in-group, and neighborhood trust, taking into consideration previously untested indirect effects via intergroup contact and perceived intergroup threat. A large-scale national survey in England sampled White British majority (N = 868) and ethnic minority (N = 798) respondents from neighborhoods of varying degrees of diversity. Multilevel path analyses showed some negative direct effects of diversity for the majority group but also confirmed predictions that diversity was associated indirectly with increased trust via positive contact and lower threat. These indirect effects had positive implications for total effects of diversity, cancelling out most negative direct effects. Our findings have relevance for a growing body of research seeking to disentangle effects of diversity on trust that has so far largely ignored the key role of intergroup contact.

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The (In)compatibility of Diversity and Sense of Community

Zachary Neal & Jennifer Watling Neal
American Journal of Community Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Community psychologists are interested in creating contexts that promote both respect for diversity and sense of community. However, recent theoretical and empirical work has uncovered a community-diversity dialectic wherein the contextual conditions that foster respect for diversity often run in opposition to those that foster sense of community. More specifically, within neighborhoods, residential integration provides opportunities for intergroup contact that are necessary to promote respect for diversity but may prevent the formation of dense interpersonal networks that are necessary to promote sense of community. Using agent-based modeling to simulate neighborhoods and neighborhood social network formation, we explore whether the community-diversity dialectic emerges from two principles of relationship formation: homophily and proximity. The model suggests that when people form relationships with similar and nearby others, the contexts that offer opportunities to develop a respect for diversity are different from the contexts that foster a sense of community. Based on these results, we conclude with a discussion of whether it is possible to create neighborhoods that simultaneously foster respect for diversity and sense of community.

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Changing prejudiced attitudes by thinking about persuasive messages: Implications for resistance

Miguel Cárdaba et al.
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research showed that changing attitudes toward stigmatized groups can result from both the simple processes that require little thinking and the traditional elaborative forms of persuasion that require high thinking processes. Importantly, even when the obtained attitude change was equivalent for situations in which there was high and low message elaboration, the changes produced in high thinking conditions were found to be more resistant to further attacks than equivalent changes produced by less thoughtful mechanisms. Not only were those attitudes more resistant as measured objectively (Study 1) but participants also perceived their attitudes to be subjectively more resistant (Study 2). These studies suggest that examining the processes by which prejudice is changed can be important for understanding the consequences and long-term implications of treatments and campaigns oriented to changing attitudes toward stigmatized groups.

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Does Inter-group Deliberation Foster Inter-group Appreciation? Evidence from Two Experiments in Belgium

Didier Caluwaerts & Min Reuchamps
Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Deliberative democrats assume that political deliberation is capable of transforming citizens’ opinions and attitudes. This article takes this assumption as a starting point and tries to test it empirically by determining whether deliberation in an inter-group setting induces more positive out-group attitudes. Based on data from two deliberative experiments in Belgium, we argue that the overall effect of deliberative quality on attitude change is limited. The most important determinant of changes in out-group attitudes is the group composition. Citizens who are confronted with the out-group are more likely to hold more positive out-group attitudes afterwards.

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Perspective-Taking Increases Willingness to Engage in Intergroup Contact

Cynthia Wang et al.
PLoS ONE, January 2014

Abstract:
The current research explored whether perspective-taking increases willingness to engage in contact with stereotyped outgroup members. Across three studies, we find that perspective-taking increases willingness to engage in contact with negatively-stereotyped targets. In Study 1, perspective-takers sat closer to, whereas stereotype suppressors sat further from, a hooligan compared to control participants. In Study 2, individual differences in perspective-taking tendencies predicted individuals' willingness to engage in contact with a hooligan, having effects above and beyond those of empathic concern. Finally, Study 3 demonstrated that perspective-taking's effects on intergroup contact extend to the target's group (i.e., another homeless man), but not to other outgroups (i.e., a man of African descent). Consistent with other perspective-taking research, our findings show that perspective-taking facilitates the creation of social bonds by increasing contact with stereotyped outgroup members.

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Good education for all? Student race and identity development in the multicultural classroom

Daniela Martin
International Journal of Intercultural Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examined the role of ethnic identity in students’ responses to a multicultural curriculum. Specifically, it tested group differences in the key premise of multicultural education, which is that learning about other groups affects students’ identity formation and that this learning translates into skills critical to academic success, intergroup harmony, and promotion of democratic values. The results provided partial support of the hypothesis. Participating in a curriculum focusing on race and ethnicity yielded more benefits to White than non-White students, suggesting that Whites may be uniquely positioned to benefit from multiculturalism. Possible mechanisms underlying the different outcomes of multicultural education for various groups of students are discussed.

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Face Recognition and Own-Ethnicity Bias in Black, East/Southeast Asian, Hispanic, and White Children

Thomas Gross
Asian American Journal of Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Individuals tend to recognize persons of their own ethnicity better than those of another, a phenomenon known as own-ethnicity bias. One explanation of this bias is the contact hypothesis, that is, face recognition is better for ethnic faces that are seen more often. Own ethnicity bias in children, specifically Hispanic children, has received little attention and this study examined own-ethnicity bias in Black (n = 53), East/Southeast Asian (n = 54), Hispanic (n = 96), and White (n = 247) children 5–7, 9–11, 13–16 years of age from southern California. With the majority of individuals in southern California being Hispanic or White, the contact hypothesis predicts that children should recognize own-ethnicity faces better than other-ethnicity faces and other-ethnicity Hispanic and White faces better than Asian or Black faces. Children were shown 32 adult and child, men and women Asian, Black, Hispanic, and White faces. They were then asked to recognize previously seen faces from a set of old and new faces. Own-ethnicity bias was found for Hispanic and White participants. Some support was found for the contact hypothesis, that is, Hispanic and White children recognized Hispanic and White faces better than Black faces, and for White children, better than Asian faces. Contrary to expectations, Hispanic children recognized Asian faces better than Black faces; and, Asian and Black children exhibited no significant bias. An alternative explanation of face recognition biases focused on children’s attitudes toward ethnic groups.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, January 27, 2014

Frozen

What Scientists Know Is Not a Function of What Scientists Know

P.D. Magnus
Philosophy of Science, December 2013, Pages 840-849

Abstract:
There are two senses of ‘what scientists know’: An individual sense (the separate opinions of individual scientists) and a collective sense (the state of the discipline). The latter is what matters for policy and planning, but it is not something that can be directly observed or reported. A function can be defined to map individual judgments onto an aggregate judgment. I argue that such a function cannot effectively capture community opinion, especially in cases that matter to us.

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Special Interests and the Media: Theory and an Application to Climate Change

Jesse Shapiro
NBER Working Paper, January 2014

Abstract:
I present a model in which competing special interests seek policy influence through the news media. In the model a journalist reports on expert opinion to a voter. Two competing interested parties can invest to acquire credentialed advocates to represent their positions in the press. Because advocates are easier to obtain when expert opinion is divided, the activities of special interests can reveal useful information to the voter. However, competition among special interests can also reduce the amount of information communicated to the voter, especially on issues with large economic stakes and a high likelihood of a scientific consensus. The model provides an account of persistent voter ignorance on climate change and other high-stakes scientific topics.

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Sensitivity of collective action to uncertainty about climate tipping points

Scott Barrett & Astrid Dannenberg
Nature Climate Change, January 2014, Pages 36–39

Abstract:
Despite more than two decades of diplomatic effort, concentrations of greenhouse gases continue to trend upwards, creating the risk that we may someday cross a threshold for ‘dangerous’ climate change. Although climate thresholds are very uncertain, new research is trying to devise ‘early warning signals’ of an approaching tipping point. This research offers a tantalizing promise: whereas collective action fails when threshold uncertainty is large, reductions in this uncertainty may bring about the behavioural change needed to avert a climate ‘catastrophe’. Here we present the results of an experiment, rooted in a game-theoretic model, showing that behaviour differs markedly either side of a dividing line for threshold uncertainty. On one side of the dividing line, where threshold uncertainty is relatively large, free riding proves irresistible and trust illusive, making it virtually inevitable that the tipping point will be crossed. On the other side, where threshold uncertainty is small, the incentive to coordinate is strong and trust more robust, often leading the players to avoid crossing the tipping point. Our results show that uncertainty must be reduced to this ‘good’ side of the dividing line to stimulate the behavioural shift needed to avoid ‘dangerous’ climate change.

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Long-term climate policy implications of phasing out fossil fuel subsidies

Valeria Jana Schwanitz et al.
Energy Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
It is often argued that fossil fuel subsidies hamper the transition towards a sustainable energy supply as they incentivize wasteful consumption. We assess implications of a subsidy phase-out for the mitigation of climate change and the low-carbon transformation of the energy system, using the global energy–economy model REMIND. We compare our results with those obtained by the International Energy Agency (based on the World Energy Model) and by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD-Model ENV-Linkages), providing the long-term perspective of an intertemporal optimization model. The results are analyzed in the two dimensions of subsidy phase-out and climate policy scenarios. We confirm short-term benefits of phasing-out fossil fuel subsidies as found in prior studies. However, these benefits are only sustained to a small extent in the long term, if dedicated climate policies are weak or nonexistent. Most remarkably we find that a removal of fossil fuel subsidies, if not complemented by other policies, can slow down a global transition towards a renewable based energy system. The reason is that world market prices for fossil fuels may drop due to a removal of subsidies. Thus, low carbon alternatives would encounter comparative disadvantages.

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The Cost of Carbon Dioxide Abatement from State Renewable Portfolio Standards

Erik Johnson
Resource and Energy Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPSs) have become a popular tool for state governments to promote renewable electricity generation and to decrease carbon dioxide emissions within a state or region. Renewable portfolio standards are a policy tool likely to persist for many decades due to the long term goals of many state RPSs and the likely creation of a federal RPS alongside any comprehensive climate change bill. Even though RPSs have become a popular policy tool, there is little empirical evidence about their costs. Using the temporal and regional variation in RPS requirements, I estimate the long-run price elasticity of supply of renewable electricity generation to be 2.67 (95% CI of 1.74, 3.60). Using my preferred elasticity estimate, I calculate the marginal cost of abatement from RPSs is at least $11 per ton of CO2 compared to a marginal cost of abatement of $3 per ton in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

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Engaging with energy reduction: Does a climate change frame have the potential for achieving broader sustainable behaviour?

A. Spence et al.
Journal of Environmental Psychology, June 2014, Pages 17–28

Abstract:
Reducing energy use is key in meeting ambitious climate change targets being set around the world. This research considers the psychological impact, and potential for behavioural spillover, resulting from receiving energy information framed in terms of financial costs or the environment. We utilised an online tool in order to present undergraduate participants with an energy display simulation of their own energy use and presented energy use in terms of kilowatt-hours, carbon dioxide (CO2), or costs. Study 1 found increased motivations to save energy for climate change reasons and some indications that environmental behaviour might increase after participants received CO2 information compared to alternatives. Study 2 found that CO2 information increased climate change salience, which mediated effects observed on environmental behaviour intentions. Data suggest that highlighting climate change in relation to energy savings may be useful for promoting broader environmental behaviour.

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Increasing frequency of extreme El Niño events due to greenhouse warming

Wenju Cai et al.
Nature Climate Change, forthcoming

Abstract:
El Niño events are a prominent feature of climate variability with global climatic impacts. The 1997/98 episode, often referred to as ‘the climate event of the twentieth century’, and the 1982/83 extreme El Niño, featured a pronounced eastward extension of the west Pacific warm pool and development of atmospheric convection, and hence a huge rainfall increase, in the usually cold and dry equatorial eastern Pacific. Such a massive reorganization of atmospheric convection, which we define as an extreme El Niño, severely disrupted global weather patterns, affecting ecosystems, agriculture, tropical cyclones, drought, bushfires, floods and other extreme weather events worldwide. Potential future changes in such extreme El Niño occurrences could have profound socio-economic consequences. Here we present climate modelling evidence for a doubling in the occurrences in the future in response to greenhouse warming. We estimate the change by aggregating results from climate models in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phases 3 (CMIP3) and 5 (CMIP5) multi-model databases, and a perturbed physics ensemble. The increased frequency arises from a projected surface warming over the eastern equatorial Pacific that occurs faster than in the surrounding ocean waters, facilitating more occurrences of atmospheric convection in the eastern equatorial region.

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Quantifying and Valuing Potential Climate Change Impacts on Coral Reefs in the United States: Comparison of Two Scenarios

Diana Lane et al.
PLoS ONE, December 2013

Abstract:
The biological and economic values of coral reefs are highly vulnerable to increasing atmospheric and ocean carbon dioxide concentrations. We applied the COMBO simulation model (COral Mortality and Bleaching Output) to three major U.S. locations for shallow water reefs: South Florida, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. We compared estimates of future coral cover from 2000 to 2100 for a “business as usual” (BAU) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions scenario with a GHG mitigation policy scenario involving full international participation in reducing GHG emissions. We also calculated the economic value of changes in coral cover using a benefit transfer approach based on published studies of consumers' recreational values for snorkeling and diving on coral reefs as well as existence values for coral reefs. Our results suggest that a reduced emissions scenario would provide a large benefit to shallow water reefs in Hawaii by delaying or avoiding potential future bleaching events. For Hawaii, reducing emissions is projected to result in an estimated “avoided loss” from 2000 to 2100 of approximately $10.6 billion in recreational use values compared to a BAU scenario. However, reducing emissions is projected to provide only a minor economic benefit in Puerto Rico and South Florida, where sea-surface temperatures are already close to bleaching thresholds and coral cover is projected to drop well below 5% cover under both scenarios by 2050, and below 1% cover under both scenarios by 2100.

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A comparison of projected future precipitation in Wisconsin using global and downscaled climate model simulations: Implications for public health

Stephen Vavrus & Ruben Behnke
International Journal of Climatology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Motivated by the documented linkage between water-borne disease outbreaks and heavy rainfall, we compare simulations of precipitation in Wisconsin from two different downscaling procedures (statistical and dynamical) and global climate models (GCMs) for the late 20th and middle 21st centuries (SRES A2 greenhouse emissions scenario). In the inter-model mean, all the three methods produce reasonably accurate simulations of seasonal and annual precipitation amounts during the historical period of 1971–2000 (yearly biases <5%), but the GCMs severely underestimate extreme precipitation compared with downscaled output and observations. The modelling methodologies agree that Wisconsin should experience a modestly wetter future climate (annual increase <10%) by the middle 21st century (2041–2070), comprised of more precipitation during winter, spring, and autumn but an equivocal summertime signal. The future simulations also exhibit robust increases in the frequency and intensity of extreme daily precipitation, consisting of larger relative changes in the return periods of heavy events (up to −50%) than in the accumulations (<30%). Although the modelling procedures vary substantially in their projected absolute differences in future precipitation, they agree surprisingly well on the simulated relative differences (percent change) of both mean and extreme precipitation. Unfortunately, there is little consistency in the simulated spatial patterns of future precipitation change across Wisconsin, complicating societal adaptation measures to enhanced extremes. Nevertheless, the composite projections presented here suggest that impending hydrological changes in Wisconsin represent a public health threat, by virtue of increasingly extreme precipitation promoting water-borne disease outbreaks.

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Less Reliable Water Availability in the 21st Century Climate Projections

Sanjiv Kumar et al.
Earth's Future, forthcoming

Abstract:
The temporal variability of river and soil water affects society at time scales ranging from hourly to decadal. The available water (AW), i.e. precipitation minus evapotranspiration, represents the total water available for runoff, soil water storage change and ground water recharge. The reliability of AW is defined as the annual range of AW between local wet and dry seasons. A smaller annual range represents greater reliability and a larger range denotes less reliability. Here we assess the reliability of AW in the 21st century climate projections by 20 climate models from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project (CMIP5). The multi-model consensus suggests less reliable AW in the 21st century than the 20th century with generally decreasing AW in local dry seasons and increasing AW in local wet seasons. In addition to the canonical perspective from climate models that wet regions will get wetter, this study suggests greater dryness during dry seasons even in regions where the mean climate becomes wetter. Lower emission scenarios show significant advantages in terms of minimizing impacts on AW, but do not eliminate these impacts altogether.

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Differences among OECD countries’ GHG emissions: Causes and policy implications

K.S. Calbick & Thomas Gunton
Energy Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article assesses the reasons for observed differences in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions among high-income OECD countries. Nine factors were tested: climate, population pressure (measured as both growth and density), economic output per capita, technological development, industrial structure, energy prices, environmental governance, pollution abatement and control expenditures, and environmental pricing. Based on a series of regression analyses, three factors – energy prices, economic output per capita, and environmental governance – were identified as the most important factors for explaining differences in OECD per capita GHG emissions. Combined, these three factors explain about 81% of the variation observed in OECD per capita GHG emissions. Individually, energy prices explains about 55% of the variation in per capita GHG emissions, while economic output per capita explains about 19%, and environmental governance about 7%. These findings show that behavioural choices based on existing technologies, rather than exogenous factors such as climate, determine differences in GHG emissions and, therefore, policy options to change behaviour such as increasing energy prices and other regulatory changes have the potential to significantly reduce GHG emissions.

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Historical trends in greenhouse gas emissions of the Alberta oil sands (1970–2010)

Jacob Englander, Sharad Bharadwaj & Adam Brandt
Environmental Research Letters, November 2013

Abstract:
There has been increased scrutiny of the Alberta oil sands due to their high carbon intensity (CI) relative to conventional crude oil. Relying entirely on public and peer-reviewed data sources, we examine historical trends in the CI of oil sands extraction, upgrading, and refining. Monthly data were collected and interpolated from 1970 to 2010 (inclusive) for each oil sands project. Results show a reduction in oil sands CI over time, with industry-average full-fuel cycle (well-to-wheels, WTW) CI declining from 165 gCO2e MJ−1 higher heating value (HHV) of reformulated gasoline (RFG) to 105 (−12, +9) gCO2e MJ−1 HHV RFG. 2010 averages by production pathways are 102 gCO2e MJ−1 for Mining and 111 gCO2e MJ−1 for in situ. The CI of mining-based projects has declined due to upgrader efficiency improvements and a shift away from coke to natural gas as a process fuel. In situ projects have benefitted from substantial reductions in fugitive emissions from bitumen batteries. Both mining and in situ projects have benefitted from improved refining efficiencies. However, despite these improvements, the CI of oil sands production (on a pathway-average basis) ranges from 12 to 24% higher than CI values from conventional oil production. Due to growing output, total emissions from the oil sands continue to increase despite improved efficiency: total upstream emissions were roughly 65 MtCO2e in 2010, or 9% of Canada's emissions.

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Reduced Emissions of CO2, NOx and SO2 from U.S. Power Plants Due to the Switch from Coal to Natural Gas with Combined Cycle Technology

J.A. de Gouw et al.
Earth's Future, forthcoming

Abstract:
Since 1997, an increasing fraction of electric power in the U.S. has been generated from natural gas. Here, we use data from continuous emissions monitoring systems (CEMS), which measure emissions at the stack of most U.S. electric power generation units, to investigate how this switch affected the emissions of CO2, NOx and SO2. Per unit of energy produced, natural gas power plants equipped with combined cycle technology emit on average 44% of the CO2 compared with coal power plants. As a result of the increased use of natural gas, CO2 emissions from U.S. fossil-fuel power plants were 23% lower in 2012 than they would have been, if coal had continued to provide the same fraction of electric power as in 1997. In addition, natural gas power plants with combined cycle technology emit less NOx and far less SO2 per unit energy produced than coal power plants. The increased use of natural gas has therefore led to emissions reductions of NOx (40%) and SO2 (44%), in addition to those obtained from the implementation of emissions control systems on coal power plants. These benefits to air quality and climate should be weighed against the increase in emissions of methane, volatile organic compounds and other trace gases that are associated with the production, processing, storage and transport of natural gas.

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Small influence of solar variability on climate over the past millennium

Andrew Schurer, Simon Tett & Gabriele Hegerl
Nature Geoscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
The climate of the past millennium was marked by substantial decadal and centennial scale variability in the Northern Hemisphere. Low solar activity has been linked to cooling during the Little Ice Age (AD 1450–1850) and there may have been solar forcing of regional warmth during the Medieval Climate Anomaly (AD 950–1250). The amplitude of the associated changes is, however, poorly constrained, with estimates of solar forcing spanning almost an order of magnitude. Numerical simulations tentatively indicate that a small amplitude best agrees with available temperature reconstructions. Here we compare the climatic fingerprints of high and low solar forcing derived from model simulations with an ensemble of surface air temperature reconstructions for the past millennium. Our methodology also accounts for internal climate variability and other external drivers such as volcanic eruptions, as well as uncertainties in the proxy reconstructions and model output. We find that neither a high magnitude of solar forcing nor a strong climate effect of that forcing agree with the temperature reconstructions. We instead conclude that solar forcing probably had a minor effect on Northern Hemisphere climate over the past 1,000 years, while, volcanic eruptions and changes in greenhouse gas concentrations seem to be the most important influence over this period.

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Future Arctic Climate Changes: Adaptation and Mitigation Timescales

James Overland et al.
Earth's Future, forthcoming

Abstract:
The climate in the Arctic is changing faster than in mid-latitudes. This is shown by increased temperatures, loss of summer sea ice, earlier snow melt, impacts on ecosystems, and increased economic access. Arctic sea ice volume has decreased by 75 % since the 1980s. Long-lasting global anthropogenic forcing from CO2 has increased over the previous decades and is anticipated to increase over the next decades. Temperature increases in response to greenhouse gases are amplified in the Arctic through feedback processes associated with shifts in albedo, ocean and land heat storage, and near-surface longwave radiation fluxes. Thus for the next few decades out to 2040, continuing environmental changes in the Arctic are very likely, and the appropriate response is to plan for adaptation to these changes. For example, it is very likely that the Arctic Ocean will become nearly seasonally sea ice free before 2050 and possibly within a decade or two, which in turn will further increase Arctic temperatures, economic access, and ecological shifts. Mitigation becomes an important option to reduce potential Arctic impacts in the second half of the 21st century. Using the most recent set of climate model projections (CMIP5), multi-model mean temperature projections show an Arctic-wide end of century increase of +13 ° C in late fall and +5 ° C in late spring for a business as usual emission scenario (RCP8.5) in contrast to +7 ° C in late fall and + 3° C in late spring if civilization follows a mitigation scenario (RCP4.5). Such temperature increases demonstrate the heightened sensitivity of the Arctic to greenhouse gas forcing.

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Weakened tropical circulation and reduced precipitation in response to geoengineering

Angus Ferraro, Eleanor Highwood & Andrew Charlton-Perez
Environmental Research Letters, January 2014

Abstract:
Geoengineering by injection of reflective aerosols into the stratosphere has been proposed as a way to counteract the warming effect of greenhouse gases by reducing the intensity of solar radiation reaching the surface. Here, climate model simulations are used to examine the effect of geoengineering on the tropical overturning circulation. The strength of the circulation is related to the atmospheric static stability and has implications for tropical rainfall. The tropical circulation is projected to weaken under anthropogenic global warming. Geoengineering with stratospheric sulfate aerosol does not mitigate this weakening of the circulation. This response is due to a fast adjustment of the troposphere to radiative heating from the aerosol layer. This effect is not captured when geoengineering is modelled as a reduction in total solar irradiance, suggesting caution is required when interpreting model results from solar dimming experiments as analogues for stratospheric aerosol geoengineering.

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Changes in Seasonal Predictability due to Global Warming

Timothy DelSole et al.
Journal of Climate, January 2014, Pages 300–311

Abstract:
The change in predictability of monthly mean temperature in a future climate is quantified based on the Community Climate System Model, version 4. According to this model, the North Atlantic overtakes the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) as the dominant area of seasonal predictability by 2095. This change arises partly because ENSO becomes less variable and partly because the ENSO teleconnection pattern expands into the Atlantic. Over land, the largest change in temperature predictability occurs in the tropics and is predominantly due to a decrease in ENSO variability. The southern peninsula of Africa and northeast South America are predicted to experience significant drying in a future climate, which decreases the effective heat capacity and memory, and hence increases variance independently of ENSO changes. Extratropical land areas experience enhanced precipitation in a future climate, which decreases temperature variance by the same mechanism. Finally, the model predicts that surface temperatures near the poles will become more predictable and less variable in a future climate, primarily because melting sea ice exposes the underlying sea surface temperature, which is more predictable owing to its longer time scale. Some of these results, especially the change in ENSO variance, are known to be model dependent. This paper also advances the use of information theory to quantify predictability, including 1) deriving a quantitative relation between predictability of the first and second kinds; 2) showing how differences in predictability can be decomposed in two dramatically different ways, facilitating physical interpretation; and 3) proposing a sample estimate of mutual information whose significance can be tested using standard techniques.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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