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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Team effort

The Sound of Power: Conveying and Detecting Hierarchical Rank Through Voice

Sei Jin Ko, Melody Sadler & Adam Galinsky
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current research examined the relationship between hierarchy and vocal acoustic cues. Using Brunswik’s lens model as a framework, we explored how hierarchical rank influences the acoustic properties of a speaker’s voice and how these hierarchy-based acoustic cues affect perceivers’ inferences of a speaker’s rank. By using objective measurements of speakers’ acoustic cues and controlling for baseline cue levels, we were able to precisely capture the relationship between acoustic cues and hierarchical rank, as well as the covariation among the cues. In Experiment 1, analyses controlling for speakers’ baseline cue levels found that the voices of individuals in the high-rank condition were higher in pitch and loudness variability but lower in pitch variability, compared with the voices of individuals in the low-rank condition. In Experiment 2, perceivers used higher pitch, greater loudness, and greater loudness variability to make accurate inferences of speakers’ hierarchical rank. These experiments demonstrate that acoustic cues are systematically used to reflect and detect hierarchy.

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Shared Identity Is Key to Effective Communication

Katharine Greenaway et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
The ability to communicate with others is one of the most important human social functions, yet communication is not always investigated from a social perspective. This research examined the role that shared social identity plays in communication effectiveness using a minimal group paradigm. In two experiments, participants constructed a model using instructions that were said to be created by an ingroup or an outgroup member. Participants made models of objectively better quality when working from communications ostensibly created by an ingroup member (Experiments 1 and 2). However, this effect was attenuated when participants were made aware of a shared superordinate identity that included both the ingroup and the outgroup (Experiment 2). These findings point to the importance of shared social identity for effective communication and provide novel insights into the social psychology of communication.

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(Dis)Placing Trust: The Long-term Effects of Job Displacement on Generalised Trust over the Adult Lifecourse

James Laurence
Social Science Research, March 2015, Pages 46–59

Abstract:
Increasing rates of job displacement (i.e. involuntary job loss from redundancy, downsizing, restructuring) have been suggested to be a key driver of declining macro-levels of generalised trust. This article undertakes the first test of how job displacement affects individuals’ tendencies to (dis)trust over the adult lifecourse, using two-waves of the Great Britain National Child Development Study cohort data, on a sample of n=6,840 individuals. Applying lagged dependent variable logistic regression models, experiencing job displacement between the ages of 33 and 50 appears to significantly scar individuals’ generalised trust, with depressed trust observable at least nine years after the event occurred. However, this effect appears dependent on the value an individual places on work: the greater the attachment to employment the stronger the negative effect of displacement. A range of mediators, such as physical health, mental well-being, and personal efficacy, do not appear to account for the effect.

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Anchors Weigh More Than Power: Why Absolute Powerlessness Liberates Negotiators to Achieve Better Outcomes

Michael Schaerer, Roderick Swaab & Adam Galinsky
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current research shows that having no power can be better than having a little power. Negotiators prefer having some power (weak negotiation alternatives) to having no power (no alternatives). We challenge this belief that having any alternative is beneficial by demonstrating that weak alternatives create low anchors that reduce the value of first offers. In contrast, having no alternatives is liberating because there is no anchor to weigh down first offers. In our experiments, negotiators with no alternatives felt less powerful but made higher first offers and secured superior outcomes compared with negotiators who had weak alternatives. We established the role of anchoring through mediation by first offers and through moderation by showing that weak alternatives no longer led to worse outcomes when negotiators focused on a countervailing anchor or when negotiators faced an opponent with a strong alternative. These results demonstrate that anchors can have larger effects than feelings of power. Absolute powerlessness can be psychologically liberating.

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Unlocking integrative potential: Expressed emotional ambivalence and negotiation outcomes

Naomi Rothman & Gregory Northcraft
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, January 2015, Pages 65–76

Abstract:
This paper examines how one negotiator’s expressed emotional ambivalence can foster integrative outcomes. Study 1 demonstrated that observing a negotiation partner’s emotional ambivalence leads negotiators to come up with more integrative agreements. Study 2 examined a proposed mechanism: Expressed ambivalence leads to an increased perceived ability to influence the ambivalent negotiator because it suggests submissiveness. Study 3 demonstrated that perceived submissiveness mediates the effects of observed emotional ambivalence on integrative agreements. Implications of these findings for negotiation and emotions research, and directions for future research, are discussed.

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The Leader Ship is Sinking: A Temporal Investigation of Narcissistic Leadership

Chin Wei Ong et al.
Journal of Personality, forthcoming

Objectives: Individuals higher in narcissism have leader emergent tendencies. The characteristics of their personality suggest, however, that their leadership qualities will decrease over time as a function of group acquaintance. We present data from two studies that provide the first empirical support for this theoretical position within a transformational leadership framework.

Methods: In Study 1 (n = 112) we tested narcissistic leadership qualities in groups of unacquainted individuals over a 12-week period. In Study 2 (n = 152) we adopted the same protocol with groups of acquainted individuals.

Results: In Study 1, narcissism was positively associated with peer-rated leadership during initial group formation but not later. In Study 2, narcissism was not significantly associated with peer-rated leadership during initial group formation and was negatively associated with peer-rated leadership later. In Study 1, transformational leadership mediated the relationship between narcissism and leadership initially but not later on. In Study 2, transformational leadership failed to mediate the relationship between narcissism and leadership throughout the study.

Conclusions: Despite enjoying a honeymoon period of leadership, the appeal and attractiveness of the narcissistic leader rapidly wanes. This decline is explained in part by their changing transformational leadership qualities.

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Divide and conquer: When and why leaders undermine the cohesive fabric of their group

Charleen Case & Jon Maner
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, December 2014, Pages 1033-1050

Abstract:
Cohesion, cooperation, and the formation of positive bonds among group members are key processes that facilitate effective group functioning. Consequently, group leaders usually work to enhance the positive social bonds among group members to facilitate cooperation and group cohesion. The present research suggests, however, that leaders sometimes are motivated to generate divisions — not cooperation — among their subordinates. Although such divisions may undermine group functioning, they can also serve as a means of protecting the leader’s own power. Four experiments supported the hypothesis that, when they perceive their power to be threatened, leaders create divisions among their subordinates in order to protect their power and reduce threats posed by potential alliances among those subordinates. Leaders restricted the amount of communication among subordinates (Experiment 1), physically sequestered subordinates (Experiment 2), and prevented subordinates from bonding with one another interpersonally (Experiments 3 and 4). Those behaviors were observed only among dominance-motivated leaders (not prestige-motivated leaders), and were directed only toward highly skilled (and thus highly threatening) subordinates. Consistent with the hypothesis that leaders’ behavior was driven by a desire to protect their power, the tendency to prevent in-group bonding was eliminated when leaders were assured that their power could not be lost (Experiment 4). These results shed light on factors that may undermine positive social processes within groups.

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Lay Personality Theories in Interactive Decisions: Strongly Held, Weakly Supported

Dylan Cooper, Terry Connolly & Tamar Kugler
Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, forthcoming

Abstract:
In interactive decisions, cues to what others will do are important in forming a strategy. Information about others' personalities appears to be potentially valuable for this purpose. We report a series of four studies examining how information about another actor's personality influences people's own choices in interactive decisions. The studies found widespread beliefs that others' personality characteristics are strongly predictive both of broad classes of decision behavior (competition/cooperation, risk-seeking/risk-aversion) (Study 1) and of specific choices (Study 2) in single-agent settings. These beliefs extended to predicting others' choices in interactive decisions (Study 3) and to shaping the predictor's own decisions in interactive play in Chicken and Assurance games (Study 4). Overall, we found extensive evidence that laypeople believe that the personality traits we selected (angry-hostility, anxiety, assertiveness, excitement-seeking, and warmth) have substantial effects on behavior in interactive decisions and they act on those beliefs when making their own decisions. The empirical evidence supporting the predictive validity of these traits was, however, quite weak.

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From body motion to cheers: Speakers’ body movements as predictors of applause

Markus Koppensteiner, Pia Stephan & Johannes Paul Michael Jäschke
Personality and Individual Differences, February 2015, Pages 182–185

Abstract:
Appearance cues and brief displays of behavior are related to people’s personality, to their performance at work and to the outcomes of elections. Thus, people present themselves to others on different communication channels, while their interaction partners form first impressions on the basis of the displayed cues. In the current study we examined whether people are able to read information from politicians’ body motion. For a rating experiment we translated short video clips of politicians giving a speech into animated stick-figures and had these animations rated on trustworthiness, dominance, competence and the Big Five personality dimensions. Afterwards we correlated the ratings with the applause and the hecklings that the speakers received throughout their entire speech. This revealed that speakers whose body movements were perceived as high on dominance, as high on extraversion and as low on agreeableness received more applause. Although the results obtained need support from additional studies they indicate that body motion is an informative cue in real life settings.

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A face for all seasons: Searching for context-specific leadership traits and discovering a general preference for perceived health

Brian Spisak et al.
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, November 2014

Abstract:
Previous research indicates that followers tend to contingently match particular leader qualities to evolutionarily consistent situations requiring collective action (i.e., context-specific cognitive leadership prototypes) and information processing undergoes categorization which ranks certain qualities as first-order context-general and others as second-order context-specific. To further investigate this contingent categorization phenomenon we examined the “attractiveness halo” — a first-order facial cue which significantly biases leadership preferences. While controlling for facial attractiveness, we independently manipulated the underlying facial cues of health and intelligence and then primed participants with four distinct organizational dynamics requiring leadership (i.e., competition vs. cooperation between groups and exploratory change vs. stable exploitation). It was expected that the differing requirements of the four dynamics would contingently select for relatively healthier- or intelligent-looking leaders. We found perceived facial intelligence to be a second-order context-specific trait — for instance, in times requiring a leader to address between-group cooperation — whereas perceived health is significantly preferred across all contexts (i.e., a first-order trait). The results also indicate that facial health positively affects perceived masculinity while facial intelligence negatively affects perceived masculinity, which may partially explain leader choice in some of the environmental contexts. The limitations and a number of implications regarding leadership biases are discussed.

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Insult versus accident: A study of the effect of cultural construals on learning to coordinate

Benjamin Brooks, Karla Hoff & Priyanka Pandey
Princeton Working Paper, November 2013

Abstract:
High-caste and low-caste men in India repeatedly played a coordination game. Compared to low-caste men, high-caste men coordinated far less efficently. They were also 29 percentage points less likely to keep trying for efficient coordination after getting the "loser's payoff" -- the payoff to a player who attempts efficient coordination when his partner does not. We explain both findings in a model of learning where high-caste, but not low-caste men, see the loser's payoff as an insult rather than an accident. These findings provide evidence that cultural construals can impede coordination and society's ability to adapt to change.

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Prosocial lies: When deception breeds trust

Emma Levine & Maurice Schweitzer
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, January 2015, Pages 88–106

Abstract:
Philosophers, psychologists, and economists have long asserted that deception harms trust. We challenge this claim. Across four studies, we demonstrate that deception can increase trust. Specifically, prosocial lies increase the willingness to pass money in the trust game, a behavioral measure of benevolence-based trust. In Studies 1a and 1b, we find that altruistic lies increase trust when deception is directly experienced and when it is merely observed. In Study 2, we demonstrate that mutually beneficial lies also increase trust. In Study 3, we disentangle the effects of intentions and deception; intentions are far more important than deception for building benevolence-based trust. In Study 4, we examine how prosocial lies influence integrity-based trust. We introduce a new economic game, the Rely-or-Verify game, to measure integrity-based trust. Prosocial lies increase benevolence-based trust, but harm integrity-based trust. Our findings expand our understanding of deception and deepen our insight into the mechanics of trust.

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Finance education and social preferences: Experimental evidence

Bryan McCannon
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, December 2014, Pages 57–62

Abstract:
What impact does a finance education have on the social preferences and the resulting behaviors of individuals? Experiments of a free riding game are conducted where a wealth-creating investment decision is made. The contribution benefits the group, but the incentives are such that an individual, lacking social preferences, would rather make no contribution and free ride off others. It is shown that as one’s education in finance increases, less free riding occurs and more wealth is generated. Thus, education provided in finance promotes pro-social choices that generate wealth even when external incentives are absent.

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The joint emergence of group competition and within-group cooperation

Mikael Puurtinen, Stephen Heap & Tapio Mappes
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Between-group conflict and within-group cooperation can be seen as two sides of the same coin, coevolving in a group-structured population. There is strong support for between-group competition facilitating the evolution of human cooperative tendencies, yet our understanding of how competition arises is less clear. We show that groups of randomly assembled individuals spontaneously engage in costly group competition, and that decisions promoting between-group conflict are associated with high levels of within-group cooperation. Remarkably, when groups were given the possibility to compete against other groups, net earnings for individuals were higher than when groups were not allowed to interact. The joint emergence of conflict and cooperation along even weakly defined group boundaries, and the apparent benefits of this strategy, suggest the existence of behavioral biases influencing human social behavior and organization.

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When vigilance prevails: The effect of regulatory focus and accountability on integrative negotiation outcomes

Ann Peng, Jennifer Dunn & Donald Conlon
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, January 2015, Pages 77–87

Abstract:
Negotiators often bargain on behalf of constituents to whom they feel accountable. We argue that prior evidence for the superior outcomes of promotion-focused (vs. prevention-focused) negotiators may not hold when negotiators perceive high accountability to a third party. In two studies, we found that prevention-focused dyads achieved better joint financial outcomes than promotion-focused dyads in situations where high performance was expected and evaluated by a supervisor (i.e., high accountability condition). In Study 2, we found that prevention-focused individuals perceived a better regulatory fit in the high accountability condition and that the regulatory fit of both parties in a dyad was related to more integrative solutions.

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Trust Me (or Not): Regret and Disappointment in Experimental Economic Games

Luis Martinez & Marcel Zeelenberg
Decision, forthcoming

Abstract:
Emotional states exert an influence on trust and the reciprocation of trust. The current research found that regret and disappointment, though both negatively valenced, have distinct effects on trust (and trustworthiness). Three experiments showed that regret decreased trust and trustworthiness, whereas disappointment increased them. Regret elicited both lower initial transfers and returns in a trust game. Conversely, disappointment gave rise to both higher initial transfers and returns in the same game. The implications of our results are discussed. The findings once again demonstrate that emotions play a crucial role on decision-making.

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Intergroup emulation: An improvement strategy for lower status groups

Diana Onu, Joanne Smith & Thomas Kessler
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
The social psychological literature on social change has focused on how groups overcome oppression and inequality. In this paper, we investigate an alternative strategy that groups employ for social change — the emulation of successful outgroups. We propose that lower status group members will be likely to employ a learning strategy when they perceive the status relations as legitimate (i.e., fair system) and unstable (i.e., own position is improvable). In Study 1 (Romanian undergraduate students, N = 31), we manipulated status legitimacy, while in Study 2 (British undergraduate participants, N = 94), we manipulated legitimacy and stability orthogonally. Overall, when they perceived status hierarchies as legitimate and unstable, participants exhibited higher admiration for the higher status outgroup, higher support for learning-related help (e.g., transfer of know-how, training) from the outgroup and had the most positive attitudes toward intergroup help. We propose that social change sometimes occurs gradually, through help and learning from successful models, and this paper offers insight into such gradual social change.

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The Perpetuation of Ritualistic Actions as Revealed by Young Children’s Transmission of Normative Behavior

Mark Nielsen, Rohan Kapitány & Rosemary Elkins
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Children will comprehensively copy others’ actions despite manifest perceptual cues to their causal ineffectiveness. In Experiment 1 we demonstrate that children will overimitate in this way even when the arbitrary actions copied are used as part of a process to achieve an outcome for someone else. We subsequently show in Experiment 2 that children will omit arbitrary actions, but only if the actions are to achieve a clear, functional goal for a naïve adult. These findings highlight how readily children adopt what appear to be conventional behaviors, even when faced with a clear demonstration of their negligible functional value. We show how a child’s strong, early-emerging propensity for overimitation reveals a sensitivity for ritualistic behavior.

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Speaking Truth to Power: The Effect of Candid Feedback on How Individuals With Power Allocate Resources

Burak Oc, Michael Bashshur & Celia Moore
Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Subordinates are often seen as impotent, able to react to but not affect how powerholders treat them. Instead, we conceptualize subordinate feedback as an important trigger of powerholders’ behavioral self-regulation and explore subordinates’ reciprocal influence on how powerholders allocate resources to them over time. In 2 experiments using a multiparty, multiround dictator game paradigm, we found that when subordinates provided candid feedback about whether they found prior allocations to be fair or unfair, powerholders regulated how self-interested their allocations were over time. However, when subordinates provided compliant feedback about powerholders’ prior allocation decisions (offered consistently positive feedback, regardless of the powerholders’ prior allocation), those powerholders made increasingly self-interested allocations over time. In addition, we showed that guilt partially mediates this relationship: powerholders feel more guilty after receiving negative feedback about an allocation, subsequently leading to a less self-interested allocation, whereas they feel less guilty after receiving positive feedback about an allocation, subsequently taking more for themselves. Our findings integrate the literature on upward feedback with theory about moral self-regulation to support the idea that subordinates are an important source of influence over those who hold power over them.

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Brothers in arms: Libyan revolutionaries bond like family

Harvey Whitehouse et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
What motivates ordinary civilians to sacrifice their lives for revolutionary causes? We surveyed 179 Libyan revolutionaries during the 2011 conflict in Libya. These civilians-turned-fighters rejected Gaddafi’s jamahiriyya (state of the masses) and formed highly cohesive fighting units typical of intense conflicts. Fighters reported high levels of “identity fusion” — visceral, family-like bonds between fighters and their battalions. Fusion of revolutionaries with their local battalions and their own families were extremely high, especially relative to Libyans who favored the revolution but did not join battalions. Additionally, frontline combatants were as strongly bonded to their battalion as they were to their own families, but battalion members who provided logistical support were more fused with their families than battalions. Together, these findings help illuminate the social bonds that seem to motivate combatants to risk their lives for the group during wartime.

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When status is grabbed and when status is granted: Getting ahead in dominance and prestige hierarchies

Wendy de Waal-Andrews, Aiden Gregg & Joris Lammers
British Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
What type of behaviour affords status, agentic, or communal? Research to date has yielded inconsistent answers. In particular, the conflict view holds that agentic behaviour permits the imperious to grab status through overt force, whereas the functional view holds that communal behaviour permits the talented to earn status through popular appeal. Here, we synthesize both views by taking into account the moderating role played by group hierarchy. Group hierarchy can range from being dominance based (where status is grabbed) to prestige based (where status is granted). In a field study (Study 1), and a laboratory experiment (Study 2), we demonstrate that in different groups, status can be achieved in different ways. Specifically, agentic behaviour promotes status regardless of hierarchy type, whereas the effect of communal behaviour on status is moderated by hierarchy type: it augments it in more prestige-based hierarchies but diminishes it in more dominance-based hierarchies.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Just do it

If All Your Friends Jumped Off a Bridge: The Effect of Others’ Actions on Engagement in and Recommendation of Risky Behaviors

Sarah Helfinstein, Jeanette Mumford & Russell Poldrack
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
There is a large gap between the types of risky behavior we recommend to others and those we engage in ourselves. In this study, we hypothesized that a source of this gap is greater reliance on information about others’ behavior when deciding whether to take a risk oneself than when deciding whether to recommend it to others. To test this hypothesis, we asked participants either to report their willingness to engage in a series of risky behaviors themselves; their willingness to recommend those behaviors to a loved one; or, how good of an idea it would be for either them or a loved one to engage in the behaviors. We then asked them to evaluate those behaviors on criteria related to the expected utility of the risk (benefits, costs, and likelihood of costs), and on engagement in the activity by people they knew. We found that, after accounting for effects of perceived benefit, cost, and likelihood of cost, perceptions of others’ behavior had a dramatically larger impact on participants’ willingness to engage in a risk than on their willingness to recommend the risk or their prescriptive evaluation of the risk. These findings indicate that the influence of others’ choices on risk-taking behavior is large, direct, cannot be explained by an economic utility model of risky decision-making, and goes against one’s own better judgment.

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Adolescent Time Preferences Predict Lifetime Outcomes

Bart Golsteyn, Hans Grönqvist & Lena Lindahl
Economic Journal, November 2014, Pages F739–F761

Abstract:
This study investigates the relationship between time preferences and lifetime social and economic outcomes. We use a Swedish longitudinal data set that links information from a large survey on children's time preferences at age 13 to administrative registers spanning over five decades. Our results indicate a substantial adverse relationship between high discount rates and school performance, health, labour supply and lifetime income. Males and high-ability children gain significantly more from being future oriented. These discrepancies are largest regarding outcomes later in life. We also show that the relationship between time preferences and long-run outcomes operates through early human capital investments.

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The Mere Presence of a Cell Phone May be Distracting: Implications for Attention and Task Performance

Bill Thornton et al.
Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research consistently demonstrates the active use of cell phones, whether talking or texting, to be distracting and contributes to diminished performance when multitasking (e.g., distracted driving or walking). Recent research also has indicated that simply the presence of a cell phone and what it might represent (i.e., social connections, broader social network, etc.) can be similarly distracting and have negative consequences in a social interaction. Results of two studies reported here provide further evidence that the “mere presence” of a cell phone may be sufficiently distracting to produce diminished attention and deficits in task-performance, especially for tasks with greater attentional and cognitive demands. The implications for such an unintended negative consequence may be quite wide-ranging (e.g., productivity in school and the work place).

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Beauty against tobacco control: Viewing photos of attractive women may induce a mating mindset, leading to reduced self-control over smoking among male smokers

Wen-Bin Chiou, Wen-Hsiung Wu & Ying-Yao Cheng
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Successful smoking cessation or reduction requires smokers to focus on the distal concerns of health and control instead of immediate impulses to smoke. Based on pioneering research demonstrating that cues inducing a mating mindset (i.e., viewing pictures of attractive women) can engender greater temporal discounting in men, we conducted a laboratory experiment to examine whether viewing faces of attractive women rendered male smokers with intentions to quit or reduce smoking more likely to discount the future and give in to the immediate impulse to smoke by sacrificing distal health concerns during a subsequent task. Seventy-six male smokers with intentions to quit or reduce smoking were randomly assigned to view either attractive or unattractive opposite-sex faces. Participants completed a modified Stroop task measuring their mating mindset after the attractiveness manipulation. The dependent variables were temporal discounting and actual cigarette consumption during an ostensible survey. A mating mindset mediated the connection between viewing pictures of attractive women and greater temporal discounting. Male smokers exposed to photographs of attractive compared with unattractive women were less likely to refrain from smoking and smoked more cigarettes in a subsequent survey. Attractive women may act as stimuli that increase a mating mindset among male smokers with intentions to quit or reduce smoking, leading to greater temporal discounting and reduced control over cigarette consumption. The implications for associations among mating motives, temporal discounting, and control over addictive impulses and behaviors are discussed.

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Revisiting the Restorative Effects of Positive Mood: An Expectancy-Based Approach to Self-Control Restoration

Patrick Egan, Joshua Clarkson & Edward Hirt
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present research explored the empirical relation between positive mood and self-control restoration. In line with recent work on the perceptual correlates of self-control exertion, we tested whether positive mood’s restorative effects could be partly attributable to expectancies of mental energy change. Results showed that positive mood elicited a general expectancy of mental energy restoration and that negative mood elicited a general expectancy of mental energy depletion. Furthermore, these expectancies were shown to alter perceptual and cognitive state in manners predictive of downstream self-control performance. Together, these results compliment emerging work on the importance of perceptual processes in the modulation of self-control performance, and warrant future work on the role of expectancies and subjective fatigue in self-regulatory pursuits.

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Eyes Wide Shopped: Shopping Situations Trigger Arousal in Impulsive Buyers

Benjamin Serfas, Oliver Büttner & Arnd Florack
PLoS ONE, December 2014

Abstract:
The present study proposes arousal as an important mechanism driving buying impulsiveness. We examined the effect of buying impulsiveness on arousal in non-shopping and shopping contexts. In an eye-tracking experiment, we measured pupil dilation while participants viewed and rated pictures of shopping scenes and non-shopping scenes. The results demonstrated that buying impulsiveness is closely associated with arousal as response to viewing pictures of shopping scenes. This pertained for hedonic shopping situations as well as for utilitarian shopping situations. Importantly, the effect did not emerge for non-shopping scenes. Furthermore, we demonstrated that arousal of impulsive buyers is independent from cognitive evaluation of scenes in the pictures.

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Driving Under the Influence of Risky Peers: An Experimental Study of Adolescent Risk Taking

Luna Muñoz Centifanti et al.
Journal of Research on Adolescence, forthcoming

Abstract:
Both passive and active social influences may affect adolescents' dangerous driving. In this study, we used an experimental paradigm to delineate these two influences with actual peers. Adolescents completed a simulated driving task, and we measured risk preferences of each member of the peer group. We used hierarchical linear modeling to partition variance in risky decisions. Adolescents experienced many more crashes when they had “passengers” present who reported a strong preference for risk taking and who actively provided decision-making guidance. Although youth in the passive peer condition were also influenced by the riskiness of their peers, this relation was less strong relative to the active condition. We discuss the need for interventions focusing on active and passive peer influence.

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Is it random or impulsive responding? The effect of working memory load on decision-making

Maegan Hatfield-Eldred, Reid Skeel & Mark Reilly
Journal of Cognitive Psychology, Winter 2015, Pages 27-36

Abstract:
Research has suggested individuals with limited working memory (WM) capacity make more impulsive choices than individuals without such limited capacity; however, the specificity of increased impulsivity has been challenged on the grounds that limited WM may lead to an increase in random responding rather than a true increase in impulsivity. Furthermore, whereas some previous research have demonstrated sex differences in decision-making, with males tending to make a higher proportion of impulsive decisions than females, the overall results in this area have been mixed. Thus, the current study specifically controlled for the impact of sex, a potential key issue within this area. In this study, 120 subjects (60 males) were randomly assigned to a WM load or control group and completed a decision-making task requiring rapid decisions. The task utilised three probability of loss conditions. The main findings centred on an interaction between sex and WM load, with males showing increased impulsive decision-making in WM load conditions, whereas females did not show a change in decision-making patterns under WM load. Results of this study support the claim that decreased WM capacity increases impulsive decision-making rather than random responding in men, whereas WM load was unrelated to risk-taking in women.

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Credit scores, cardiovascular disease risk, and human capital

Salomon Israel et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2 December 2014, Pages 17087–17092

Abstract:
Credit scores are the most widely used instruments to assess whether or not a person is a financial risk. Credit scoring has been so successful that it has expanded beyond lending and into our everyday lives, even to inform how insurers evaluate our health. The pervasive application of credit scoring has outpaced knowledge about why credit scores are such useful indicators of individual behavior. Here we test if the same factors that lead to poor credit scores also lead to poor health. Following the Dunedin (New Zealand) Longitudinal Study cohort of 1,037 study members, we examined the association between credit scores and cardiovascular disease risk and the underlying factors that account for this association. We find that credit scores are negatively correlated with cardiovascular disease risk. Variation in household income was not sufficient to account for this association. Rather, individual differences in human capital factors — educational attainment, cognitive ability, and self-control — predicted both credit scores and cardiovascular disease risk and accounted for ∼45% of the correlation between credit scores and cardiovascular disease risk. Tracing human capital factors back to their childhood antecedents revealed that the characteristic attitudes, behaviors, and competencies children develop in their first decade of life account for a significant portion (∼22%) of the link between credit scores and cardiovascular disease risk at midlife. We discuss the implications of these findings for policy debates about data privacy, financial literacy, and early childhood interventions.

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Perils of Compensatory Consumption: Within-Domain Compensation Undermines Subsequent Self-Regulation

Monika Lisjak et al.
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prior research has shown that psychological threat can provoke consumers to desire, seek out, and acquire products that symbolize accomplishment in the domain of the threat. Although such within-domain compensation can serve as a psychological salve to repair the self, the current research suggests that sometimes this form of compensation can have ill effects. Specifically, engaging in within-domain compensation can trigger ruminative thinking about the threat. As a consequence, performance in subsequent tasks that require self-regulation is undermined. In support of this hypothesis, multiple experiments demonstrate that within-domain compensation impairs subsequent self-regulation on behaviors ranging from resisting tempting but unhealthy food to performing cognitively taxing tasks. Evidence that within-domain compensation fosters ruminative thought, as well as documentation of boundary conditions, is provided.

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Information Architecture and Intertemporal Choice: A Randomized Field Experiment in the United States

Yaron Levi
University of California Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
In a randomized field experiment, I show that information architecture significantly affects individuals' spending and savings behavior. I present users of a large online account aggregation provider with a personalized financial index. This index represents the inflation-protected, lifetime monthly cash flow that they can obtain, given their personal financial and demographic information and current market prices. Users receiving this information tool reduce their spending by 10.7% relative to a control group. This effect is sensitive to the description of the index using a consumption frame rather than an investment frame and to the presentation of an explicit comparison between the index and historical spending levels. Further, spending reductions are primarily in large, infrequent transactions. This experiment is the first to directly affect overall spending behavior and to demonstrate the importance of information architecture in that context. It demonstrates the potential of low cost digital information tools to impact financial behavior on a large scale.

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Different Effects of Adding White Noise on Cognitive Performance of Sub-, Normal and Super-Attentive School Children

Suzannah Helps et al.
PLoS ONE, November 2014

Objectives: Noise often has detrimental effects on performance. However, because of the phenomenon of stochastic resonance (SR), auditory white noise (WN) can alter the “signal to noise” ratio and improve performance. The Moderate Brain Arousal (MBA) model postulates different levels of internal “neural noise” in individuals with different attentional capacities. This in turn determines the particular WN level most beneficial in each individual case – with one level of WN facilitating poor attenders but hindering super-attentive children. The objective of the present study is to find out if added WN affects cognitive performance differently in children that differ in attention ability.

Methods: Participants were teacher-rated super- (N = 25); normal- (N = 29) and sub-attentive (N = 36) children (aged 8 to 10 years). Two non-executive function (EF) tasks (a verbal episodic recall task and a delayed verbal recognition task) and two EF tasks (a visuo-spatial working memory test and a Go-NoGo task) were performed under three WN levels. The non-WN condition was only used to control for potential differences in background noise in the group testing situations.

Results: There were different effects of WN on performance in the three groups -- adding moderate WN worsened the performance of super-attentive children for both task types and improved EF performance in sub-attentive children. The normal-attentive children’s performance was unaffected by WN exposure. The shift from moderate to high levels of WN had little further effect on performance in any group.

Significance: The predicted differential effect of WN on performance was confirmed. However, the failure to find evidence for an inverted U function challenges current theories. Alternative explanations are discussed. We propose that WN therapy should be further investigated as a possible non-pharmacological treatment for inattention.

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Bidirectional-Compounding Effects of Rumination and Negative Emotion in Predicting Impulsive Behavior: Implications for Emotional Cascades

Edward Selby et al.
Journal of Personality, forthcoming

Background: Influenced by chaos theory, the Emotional Cascade Model proposes that rumination and negative emotion may promote each other in a self-amplifying cycle that increases over time. Accordingly, exponential-compounding effects may better describe the relationship between rumination and negative emotion when they occur in impulsive persons, and predict impulsive behavior.

Methods: Participants who reported frequent engagement in impulsive behaviors monitored their ruminative thoughts and negative emotion multiple times daily for two weeks using digital recording devices. Hypotheses were tested using cross-lagged mixed model analyses.

Results: Findings indicated that rumination predicted subsequent elevations in rumination that lasted over extended periods of time. Rumination and negative emotion predicted increased levels of each other at subsequent assessments, and exponential functions for these associations were supported. Results also supported a synergistic effect between rumination and negative emotion, predicting larger elevations in subsequent rumination and negative emotion than when one variable alone was elevated. Finally, there were synergistic effects of rumination and negative emotion in predicting number of impulsive behaviors subsequently reported.

Conclusions: These findings are consistent with the Emotional Cascade Model in suggesting that momentary rumination and negative emotion progressively propagate and magnify each other over time in impulsive people, promoting impulsive behavior.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, December 12, 2014

Polar base

The Psychological Advantage of Unfalsifiability: The Appeal of Untestable Religious and Political Ideologies

Justin Friesen, Troy Campbell & Aaron Kay
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We propose that people may gain certain “offensive” and “defensive” advantages for their cherished belief systems (e.g., religious and political views) by including aspects of unfalsifiability in those belief systems, such that some aspects of the beliefs cannot be tested empirically and conclusively refuted. This may seem peculiar, irrational, or at least undesirable to many people because it is assumed that the primary purpose of a belief is to know objective truth. However, past research suggests that accuracy is only one psychological motivation among many, and falsifiability or testability may be less important when the purpose of a belief serves other psychological motives (e.g., to maintain one’s worldviews, serve an identity). In Experiments 1 and 2 we demonstrate the “offensive” function of unfalsifiability: that it allows religious adherents to hold their beliefs with more conviction and political partisans to polarize and criticize their opponents more extremely. Next we demonstrate unfalsifiability’s “defensive” function: When facts threaten their worldviews, religious participants frame specific reasons for their beliefs in more unfalsifiable terms (Experiment 3) and political partisans construe political issues as more unfalsifiable (“moral opinion”) instead of falsifiable (“a matter of facts”; Experiment 4). We conclude by discussing how in a world where beliefs and ideas are becoming more easily testable by data, unfalsifiability might be an attractive aspect to include in one’s belief systems, and how unfalsifiability may contribute to polarization, intractability, and the marginalization of science in public discourse.

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Neuroticism and State Differences in Partisanship in the USA: Emotional Stability, Ideological Orientation, and Republican Preference

Stewart McCann
Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 2014, Pages 242-267

Abstract:
Relations between Neuroticism, Republican-Democrat preference, and conservative-liberal ideological orientation were examined with the states of the USA as units of analysis. State-aggregated Neuroticism scores were based on 1999-2005 responses of 619,397 residents to the 44-item Big Five Inventory. State Republican-Democrat preference was based on the 2002 occupancy of the U.S. Presidency, U.S. House, U.S. Senate, state House, state Senate, and state Governorship, as well as state-aggregated partisanship responses of 110,305 persons to 1998-2002 CBS/New York Times national polls. State conservative-liberal ideological orientation was based on 1998-2002 state-aggregated responses of 103,828 persons to CBS/New York Times national polls. Using correlation, partial correlation, and hierarchical multiple regression, it was determined that lower state resident Neuroticism is associated with Republican preference, and that both conservative-liberal ideological orientation and state resident Neuroticism account independently for variance in Republican-Democrat preference. These relations were found when 1998-2002 state socioeconomic status, white percent, and urban percent were statistically considered and controlled in partial correlation and hierarchical regression analysis. In contrast, corresponding analyses involving the other Big Five showed that only Openness and Conscientiousness showed any relation to partisanship, albeit infrequent and inconsistent. State resident Neuroticism is the primary state-level Big Five predictor of Republican/Democratic Party choice.

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Primary Systems and Candidate Ideology: Evidence From Federal and State Legislative Elections

Jon Rogowski & Stephanie Langella
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
The nomination of ideologically extreme candidates in party primaries has led many scholars and observers to speculate about the role played by different kinds of primary systems. Models of candidate competition that account for the two-stage nature of the electoral process suggest that more restrictive primary systems produce more ideologically extreme candidates. In contrast with previous research that examines the relationship between primaries and legislative ideology, we focus on how primary systems affect the ideological extremity of candidates’ campaign platforms. Using data on more than 85,000 major party candidates for Congress and state legislatures from 1980-2012, we find no evidence that the restrictiveness of primary participation rules is systematically associated with candidate ideology.

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The Ideological Asymmetry of the American Party System

Yphtach Lelkes & Paul Sniderman
British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Most Americans support liberal policies on the social welfare agenda, the dominant policy cleavage in American politics. Yet a striking feature of the US party system is its tendency to equilibrium. How, then, does the Republican Party minimize defection on the social welfare agenda? The results of this study illustrate a deep ideological asymmetry between the parties. Republican identifiers are ideologically aware and oriented to a degree that far exceeds their Democratic counterparts. Our investigation, which utilizes cross-sectional, longitudinal and experimental data, demonstrates the role of ideological awareness and involvement in the Republicans’ ability to maintain the backing of their supporters even on issues on which the position of the Democratic Party is widely popular. It also exposes two mechanisms, party branding and the use of the status quo as a focal point, that Democrats use to retain or rally support for issues on the social welfare agenda on which the Republican Party’s position is widely popular.

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How Impressionable Were the Younger Reagan Cohorts?

Zachary Cook
The Forum, October 2014, Pages 481–497

Abstract:
Younger voters today, defined as under the age of 30 and often labeled the Millennial Generation, have shown high support for Barack Obama and for certain statements about activist government. Are we witnessing some generational effect for a significant percentage of the Millennials, stemming from their growing up during impressionable years under first George W. Bush and then Obama? To study this question with a historical analogy, I use the ANES to compare under-30 cohorts under Jimmy Carter as a benchmark and then Ronald Reagan much more extensively. I find evidence consistent with categories advanced by Sears (1983). The Reagan years disproportionately shifted this age group’s symbolic attitudes, including partisanship, self-reported ideology, and approval of Reagan himself, but not most specific policy opinions. If this finding generalizes, recent events may leave a Democratic imprint on the Millennials, but their current measures of policy liberalism should not be attributed overmuch to Obama’s influence.

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Who Knows Best? Education, Partisanship, and Contested Facts

Mark Joslyn & Donald Haider-Markel
Politics & Policy, December 2014, Pages 919–947

Abstract:
An alert, informed electorate is considered vital to a robust democracy, and the main path to that electorate includes formal education. The educated citizen is politically attentive, knowledgeable, and participatory, and the uneducated citizen is not. However, this fact conceals a less favorable effect of education. Educated citizens possess the cognitive skills to reject facts inconsistent with prior dispositions. And educated citizens are among the most invested partisans. Thus education is indispensable for an ideal democratic citizen, but that same education can create a resistant, insular democratic participant. We examine this duality across several prominent empirical cases where political facts are in dispute and employ goal-oriented information processing theory to generate hypotheses. In each case, we find that the most educated partisans are furthest apart in their factual understanding. Our primary concern resides with the inability of education to overcome powerful partisan motives; education intensifies those motives.

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Political Language in Economics

Zubin Jelveh, Bruce Kogut & Suresh Naidu
NYU Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
Does political ideology influence economic research? We rely upon purely inductive methods in natural language processing and machine learning to examine patterns of implicit political ideology in economic articles. Using observed political behavior of economists and the phrases from their academic articles, we construct a high-dimensional predictor of political ideology by article, economist, school, and journal. In addition to field, journal, and editor ideology, we look at the correlation of author ideology with magnitudes of reported policy relevant elasticities. Overall our results suggest that there is substantial sorting by ideology into fields, departments, and methodologies, and that political ideology influences the results of economic research.

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Incidental Disgust Increases Adherence to Left-Wing Economic Attitudes

Dragos Petrescu & Brian Parkinson
Social Justice Research, December 2014, Pages 464-486

Abstract:
Previous research has suggested that disgust is associated with conservative political attitudes (Cognit Emot, 23:714–725 by Inbar et al. 2009). The present research evaluated whether disgust can also lead to more liberal attitudes, due to its relation to fairness-related violations. Across three studies, we demonstrated that inducing feelings of disgust lead participants to adopt more left-wing political attitudes with regard to economic issues. In Study 1, participants induced to experience disgust by looking at four photographs reported more left-wing economic attitudes than participants who were exposed to sadness-inducing images. In Study 2, the same effect was observed but only for participants who had greater sensitivity to their bodily sensations. Study 3 replicated Studies 1–2 and also showed that besides economic attitudes, participants’ general political orientation was also shifted toward the liberal spectrum by a disgust induction. Taken together, these results provide evidence for a relationship between feelings of disgust and the endorsement of equality-promoting political attitudes. Our results, therefore, provide a different perspectives on disgust and the first evidence that it can also lead people to adopt more liberal attitudes on economic issues.

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Things Aren't Going That Well Over There Either: Party Polarization and Election Law in Comparative Perspective

David Schleicher
University of Chicago Legal Forum, forthcoming

Abstract:
One of, if not the, most important change in American political life over the last 30 or so years has been the rise of extreme party polarization. Our two major parties are increasingly ideological distinct and distant from one another, and increasingly willing to abandon long-standing institutional norms and short-term policy compromise in the name of achieving long-run party goals. Efforts to understand why the parties have changed largely have been parochial, largely looking for explanations in American politics, history, media and institutional arrangements. This focus has a logic to it. Politics in most other advanced democracies does not feature the same type of polarization between parties, and therefore the answers for why American politics has gone in this direction seem to lie inward rather than abroad. But it is still a mistake. This short essay argues that a common shift in voter preferences towards more radical and fundamentalist opinion among even a small slice of the electorate can explain polarization in the United States and changes in politics abroad. In many European countries with proportional representation (PR), we have seen the rise of parties so radical that established parties refuse to form coalitions with them. In “Westminster” systems, which due to their use of first-past-the-post vote counting and single-member districts are supposed to tend towards having two parties, we have seen the rise in third-and fourth party voting. Notably, in most Westminster systems, there is little intra-party democracy, leading groups of voters with more radical opinions without the ability to influence mainstream parties, which makes those with radical opinions more willing to waste votes. A plausible story about American political development is that the same voters and interest groups who would form radical parties in PR systems and support spoilers in Westminster systems use intraparty democracy to influence our two-party system and create polarization. Election laws and institutional design shape the way radicalism influences politics. If this is right, several lessons follow. Any effort to understand why American parties have changed must look at factors that are common across many western democracies. Further, the rise of radical parties in PR systems and spoilers in Westminster systems have created governance problems that are of a type with the problems created by our extreme polarization. We should thus be skeptical that there are institutional design reforms that can make American governance work easily in the face of polarization.

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Partisan sorting in the United States, 1972–2012: New evidence from a dynamic analysis

Corey Lang & Shanna Pearson-Merkowitz
Political Geography, forthcoming

Abstract:
Whether Americans have “sorted” into politically like-minded counties and to what extent is hotly debated by academic and journalists. This paper examines whether or not geographic sorting has occurred and why it has occurred using a novel, dynamic analysis. Our findings indicate that geographic sorting is on the rise, but that it is a very recent phenomenon. In the 1970s and 1980s, counties tended to become more competitive, but by 1996 a pattern of partisan sorting had emerged and continued through the present. Results suggest this pattern is driven by Southern re-alignment and voting behavior in partisan stronghold counties. Lastly, we find evidence that migration can drive partisan sorting, but only accounts for a small portion of the change.

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Not All Education is Equally Liberal: The Effects of Science Education on Political Attitudes

Christine Ma-Kellams et al.
Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 2014, Pages 143-163

Abstract:
Education stands as a potent predictor of political attitudes; however, the underlying mechanisms and moderators of this relationship are not well-understood. We hypothesize that the liberalizing effect of education is moderated by discipline, and that the scientific ethos that serves to guide empirical inquiries facilitates the development of more liberal political attitudes via concerns about fairness and equality. As predicted, being educated in a science-related discipline, as opposed to a non-science discipline, was associated with greater political liberalism; importantly, this effect could not be accounted for by self-selection (Study 1). Furthermore, concerns about fairness and equality, as captured by an individual’s social dominance orientation, mediated the relationship between studying science and political liberalism (Study 2). Study 3 replicated these findings and attest to their generalizability. Study 4 directly assessed the underlying mechanism, endorsement of the scientific ethos, and replicated the mediational model; those who endorsed the scientific ethos more strongly reported more liberal political attitudes, and this was mediated by their lower social dominance orientation.

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Nonpolitical Images Evoke Neural Predictors of Political Ideology

Woo-Young Ahn et al.
Current Biology, 17 November 2014, Pages 2693–2699

Abstract:
Political ideologies summarize dimensions of life that define how a person organizes their public and private behavior, including their attitudes associated with sex, family, education, and personal autonomy. Despite the abstract nature of such sensibilities, fundamental features of political ideology have been found to be deeply connected to basic biological mechanisms that may serve to defend against environmental challenges like contamination and physical threat. These results invite the provocative claim that neural responses to nonpolitical stimuli (like contaminated food or physical threats) should be highly predictive of abstract political opinions (like attitudes toward gun control and abortion). We applied a machine-learning method to fMRI data to test the hypotheses that brain responses to emotionally evocative images predict individual scores on a standard political ideology assay. Disgusting images, especially those related to animal-reminder disgust (e.g., mutilated body), generate neural responses that are highly predictive of political orientation even though these neural predictors do not agree with participants’ conscious rating of the stimuli. Images from other affective categories do not support such predictions. Remarkably, brain responses to a single disgusting stimulus were sufficient to make accurate predictions about an individual subject’s political ideology. These results provide strong support for the idea that fundamental neural processing differences that emerge under the challenge of emotionally evocative stimuli may serve to structure political beliefs in ways formerly unappreciated.

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Education, Intelligence, And Attitude Extremity

Michael Makowsky & Stephen Miller
Public Opinion Quarterly, Winter 2014, Pages 832-858

Abstract:
Education and general intelligence both serve to inform opinions, but do they lead to greater attitude extremity? The potential civic returns to education include not only the sophistication of citizen opinions, but also their moderation. We use questions on economic policy, social issues, and environmental issues from the General Social Survey to test the impact of education on attitude extremity, as measured by deviation from centrist or neutral positions, while controlling for intelligence. We use quantile regression modeling to identify effects on both the most extreme beliefs as well as the most ambivalent. We find that intelligence is a moderating force across the entire distribution in economic, social, and environmental policy beliefs. Completing high school strongly correlates to reduced extremity, particularly in the upper quantiles. College education increases attitude extremity in the lower tail, while postgraduate education increases extremity in the upper tail. Results are discussed in the context of enlightenment and motivated-reasoning theories of beliefs and education. The relevance to political party core and swing voters is briefly discussed.

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Revoking a leader's “license to fail”: Downgrading evaluations of prototypical in-group leaders following an intergroup failure

David Rast et al.
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Drawing on the social identity theory of leadership, we examined how leadership as an identity function alters perceptions and evaluations of in- and out-group political leaders over time. Participants responded to two online questionnaires, before and after the 2012 U.S. Presidential election between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney. We assessed respondents' strength of party identification, perceptions of each candidate's prototypicality, and evaluations of each candidate. Results supported the hypothesis: after his loss, Romney was presumably perceived as less prototypical of the Republican Party among strong identifiers, who symbolically revoked Romney's “license to fail.” Weakly identified Republicans were unaffected by his defeat, granting him a “license to fail.” Unexpectedly, Democrats and Republicans following his electoral success evaluated Obama more harshly.

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Parenting and Politics: Exploring Early Moral Bases of Political Orientation

Ronnie Janoff-Bulman, Nate Carnes & Sana Sheikh
Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 2014, Pages 43-60

Abstract:
Based on Lakoff’s (2002) Strict Father and Nurturant Parent metaphors for political conservatism and liberalism respectively, two studies explored parenting styles, political ideology, and the moral orientations that might link the two. Restrictive parenting (by both mother and father) predicted political conservatism, and this path was mediated by a strong Social Order orientation (Study 1) reflecting, more broadly, an inhibition-based proscriptive morality (Study 2). Political liberalism was associated with a Social Justice orientation, but was not predicted by nurturant parenting in either study. Study 1 included mothers’ reports of their own parenting, and these were correlated with the students’ responses. Findings support a restrictive moral underpinning for conservatism, but raise questions about the assumed unique association between parental nurturance and political liberalism, which is addressed in the discussion.

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How Party Affiliation Conditions the Experience of Dissonance and Explains Polarization and Selective Exposure

Emily Vraga
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objectives: Dissonance theory has been widely studied in the social sciences, especially given its implications for polarization and selective exposure. This study expands previous research by investigating how this process may differ when a foundational political identity such as party affiliation is at stake.

Methods: This study adapts a classic dissonance paradigm — writing a counterattitudinal essay under conditions of high versus low choice — to a political context by manipulating the topic of the essay to advocating membership in the opposing political party.

Results: In this context, party affiliation conditions response to writing a counterattitudinal essay: only Republican respondents demonstrate heightened dissonance, selective exposure, and polarization as a result of this task, particularly when the essay is political.

Conclusions: Dissonance may not be a universal response to potentially arousing tasks, but if only some groups experience dissonance and polarization after enumerating the benefits of an opposing party, it may bias democratic functioning.

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Stability and Change in Political Conservatism Following the Global Financial Crisis

Petar Milojev et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, January 2015, Pages 127-139

Abstract:
The current study analyzes data from a national probability panel sample of New Zealanders (N = 5,091) to examine stability and change in political orientation over four consecutive yearly assessments (2009-2012) following the 2007/2008 global financial crisis. Bayesian Latent Growth Modeling identified systematic variation in the growth trajectory of conservatism that was predicted by age and socio-economic status. Younger people (ages 25-45) did not change in their political orientation. Older people, however, became more conservative over time. Likewise, people with lower socio-economic status showed a marked increase in political conservatism. In addition, tests of rank-order stability showed that age had a cubic relationship with the stability of political orientation over our four annual assessments. Our findings provide strong support for System Justification Theory by showing that increases in conservatism in the wake of the recent global financial crisis occurred primarily among the poorest and most disadvantaged.

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A four-party view of US environmental concern

Lawrence Hamilton & Kei Saito
Environmental Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research on US public concern about environmental issues finds ideology or political party are the most consistent background predictors. Party is commonly defined by three groups: Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. Here, using statewide New Hampshire survey data, we elaborate this approach to distinguish a fourth group: respondents who say they support the Tea Party movement. On 8 out of 12 science- or environment-related questions, Tea Party supporters differ significantly from non–Tea Party Republicans. Tea Party supporters are less likely than non–Tea Party Republicans to trust scientists for information about environmental issues, accept human evolution, believe either the physical reality or the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change, or recognise trends in Arctic ice, glaciers, or CO2. Despite factual gaps, Tea Party supporters express greater confidence in their own understanding of climate change. Independents, on the other hand, differ less from non–Tea Party Republicans on most of these questions — although Independents do more often accept the scientific consensus on climate change. On many science and environmental questions, Republicans and Tea Party supporters stand farther apart than Republicans and Independents.

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Homophily, Group Size, and the Diffusion of Political Information in Social Networks: Evidence from Twitter

Yosh Halberstam & Brian Knight
NBER Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
In this paper, we investigate political communications in social networks characterized both by homophily–a tendency to associate with similar individuals–and group size. To generate testable hypotheses, we develop a simple theory of information diffusion in social networks with homophily and two groups: conservatives and liberals. The model predicts that, with homophily, members of the majority group have more network connections and are exposed to more information than the minority group. We also use the model to show that, with homophily and a tendency to produce like-minded information, groups are disproportionately exposed to like-minded information and the information reaches like-minded individuals more quickly than it reaches individuals of opposing ideologies. To test the hypotheses of our model, we analyze nearly 500,000 communications during the 2012 US elections in a social network of 2.2 million politically-engaged Twitter users. Consistent with the model, we find that members of the majority group in each state-level network have more connections and are exposed to more tweets than members of the minority group. Likewise, we find that groups are disproportionately exposed to like-minded information and that information reaches like-minded users more quickly than users of the opposing ideology.

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Social Context and Information Seeking: Examining the Effects of Network Attitudinal Composition on Engagement with Political Information

Lindsey Levitan & Julie Wronski
Political Behavior, December 2014, Pages 793-816

Abstract:
The people we associate with everyday have an important influence on our exposure and reactions to political stimuli. Social network members in particular can have a dramatic impact on our political views and behavior. Prior research suggests that these attitudinal differences may reflect the information available in a social network: attitudinally congruent networks expose individuals to supporting positions, bolstering their views, while heterogeneous networks provide information on both sides of an issue, generating doubt and ambivalence. In contrast, the current studies examine the effects of individuals’ networks in motivating them to find and engage with new political information on their own. Using ANES panel data, a laboratory-based information board session that examines behavior in detail, and an experimental design that manipulates network composition, we find that individuals in attitudinally heterogeneous social networks are more likely to seek out and attend to political information. They spend more time looking for political information, and then (having found it) spend more time reviewing that new information compared to those whose network members are more like-minded. An experimental study further demonstrates that network composition causally determines these information-seeking preferences. Implications for democratic citizenship in light of these findings are discussed.

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The Surprised Loser: The Role of Electoral Expectations and News Media Exposure in Satisfaction with Democracy

Barry Hollander
Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, December 2014, Pages 651-668

Abstract:
People tend to predict their preferred political candidate will win an election. The resulting “surprised losers” are examined as playing a role in the established gap between electoral winners and losers on such important outcomes as trust in government and satisfaction with the electoral process and democracy. Exposure to Fox News programming can increase wishful thinking among Republican candidate supporters, but among surprised losers, it does not increase negative attitudes.

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Different relational models underlie prototypical left and right positions on social issues

Ain Simpson & Simon Laham
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Social issues are important dividing lines in the “culture wars” between the political left and right. Despite much research into social issue stance and ideology, little research has explored these with Relational Models Theory (RMT). RMT proposes four distinct models that people use to construe social relations, each entailing distinct moral considerations. In two studies, participants read summaries of the models, rated how relevant each was to their positions on several social issues (e.g., capital punishment), and expressed issue positions. In Study 1, Communal Sharing and Equality Matching construals predicted prototypical liberal positions across a range of issues; Authority Ranking and Market Pricing construals predicted prototypical conservative positions. By using multilevel modelling in Study 2, individual differences in average Communal Sharing and Authority Ranking construals predicted prototypical liberal and conservative positions, respectively, independent of several factors known to predict social issue stance. In issue-specific analyses (e.g., focusing on euthanasia), all models showed effects independent of self-reported ideology, while for certain issues (same-sex marriage, animal testing, gun control, and flag burning), issue construal using different models predicted opposing positions, implicating relational models in moral disagreement. This paper provides novel tests of Relationship Regulation Theory and suggests that RMT is relevant in understanding political ideology, social issue stance, and moral judgement.

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The tree to the left, the forest to the right: Political attitude and perceptual bias

Serge Caparos et al.
Cognition, January 2015, Pages 155–164

Abstract:
A prominent model suggests that individuals to the right of the political spectrum are more cognitively rigid and less tolerant of ambiguity than individuals to the left. On the basis of this model, we predicted that a psychological mechanism linked to the resolution of visual ambiguity – perceptual bias – would be linked to political attitude. Perceptual bias causes western individuals to favour a global interpretation when scrutinizing ambiguous hierarchical displays (e.g., alignment of trees) that can be perceived either in terms of their local elements (e.g., several trees) or in terms of their global structure (e.g., a forest). Using three tasks (based on Navon-like hierarchical figures or on the Ebbinghaus illusion), we demonstrate (1) that right-oriented Westerners present a stronger bias towards global perception than left-oriented Westerners and (2) that this stronger bias is linked to higher cognitive rigidity. This study establishes for the first time that political ideology, a high-level construct, is directly reflected in low-level perception. Right- and left-oriented individuals actually see the world differently.

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Losing Hurts: Partisan Happiness in the 2012 Presidential Election

Lamar Pierce, Todd Rogers & Jason Snyder
Harvard Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
Partisan identity shapes social, mental, economic, and physical life. Using a novel dataset, we study the consequences of partisan identity by examining the immediate impact of electoral loss and victory on happiness and sadness. Employing a quasi-experimental regression discontinuity model we present two primary findings. First, elections strongly affect the happiness/sadness of partisan losers (for about a week), but minimally impact partisan winners. This is consistent with psychological research on the good-bad hedonic asymmetry. Second, the happiness consequences to partisan losers are intense. To illustrate, we show that partisans are affected two times more intensely by their party losing the U.S. Presidential Election than both respondents with children were to the Newtown Shootings and respondents living in Boston were to the Boston Marathon Bombings. We discuss implications regarding the centrality of partisan identity to the self and its well-being.

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Are Leftists More Emotion-Driven Than Rightists? The Interactive Influence of Ideology and Emotions on Support for Policies

Ruthie Pliskin et al,.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, December 2014, Pages 1681-1697

Abstract:
Although emotions and ideology are important factors guiding policy support in conflict, their interactive influence remains unclear. Based on prior findings that ideological leftists’ beliefs are more susceptible to change than rightists’ beliefs, we tested a somewhat counterintuitive extension that leftists would be more susceptible to influence by their emotional reactions than rightists. In three laboratory studies, inducing positive and negative emotions affected Jewish–Israeli leftists’, but not rightists’, support for conciliatory policies toward an adversarial (Studies 1 and 3) and a non-adversarial (Study 2) outgroup. Three additional field studies showed that positive and negative emotions were related to leftists’, but not rightists’, policy support in positive as well as highly negative conflict-related contexts, among both Jewish (Studies 4 and 5) and Palestinian (Study 6) citizens of Israel. Across different conflicts, emotions, conflict-related contexts, and even populations, leftists’ policy support changed in accordance with emotional reactions more than rightists’ policy support.

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Associations between parental ideology and neural sensitivity to cognitive conflict in children

Tracy Dennis, David Amodio & Laura O’Toole
Social Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Processes through which parental ideology is transmitted to children — especially at a young age prior to the formation of political beliefs — remain poorly understood. Given recent evidence that political ideology is associated with neural responses to cognitive conflict in adults, we tested the exploratory hypothesis that children’s neurocognitive responses to conflict may also differ depending on their parents’ ideology. We assessed relations between parental political ideology and children’s neurocognitive responses to conflict, as measured by the N2 component of the event-related potential. Children aged 5–7 completed an age-appropriate flanker task while electroencephalography was recorded, and the N2 was scored to incongruent versus congruent flankers to index conflict processing. Because previous research documents heightened liberal–conservative differences in threat-relevant contexts, each trial of the task was preceded by an angry face (threat-relevant) or comparison face (happy or neutral). An effect of parental ideology on the conflict-related N2 emerged in the threat condition, such that the N2 was larger among children of liberals compared with children of moderates and conservatives. These findings suggest that individual differences in neurocognitive responses to conflict, heightened in the context of threat, may reflect a more general pattern of individual differences that, in adults, relates to political ideology.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Get a clue

Experts and laymen grossly underestimate the benefits of argumentation for reasoning

Hugo Mercier et al.
Thinking & Reasoning, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many fields of study have shown that group discussion generally improves reasoning performance for a wide range of tasks. This article shows that most of the population, including specialists, does not expect group discussion to be as beneficial as it is. Six studies asked participants to solve a standard reasoning problem — the Wason selection task — and to estimate the performance of individuals working alone and in groups. We tested samples of U.S., Indian, and Japanese participants, European managers, and psychologists of reasoning. Every sample underestimated the improvement yielded by group discussion. They did so even after they had been explained the correct answer, or after they had had to solve the problem in groups. These mistaken intuitions could prevent individuals from making the best of institutions that rely on group discussion, from collaborative learning and work teams to deliberative assemblies.

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Deserve and Diverge: Feeling Entitled Makes People More Creative

Emily Zitek & Lynne Vincent
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, January 2015, Pages 242–248

Abstract:
Four studies demonstrated that making people feel more entitled leads them to be more creative. In Study 1, entitlement was manipulated through a writing prompt task, and entitled participants generated more creative uses for a common household object and drew more creative pictures than participants in the control condition did. In Study 2, the same manipulation was used, and entitled participants performed better than control participants on a task measuring creative performance but not on a task measuring non-creative performance. In Studies 3a and 3b, entitlement was manipulated through a sentence unscramble task, and entitled participants again were more creative than control participants. In Studies 2, 3a, and 3b, a need for uniqueness mediated the relationship between entitlement and creativity.

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“Soft” Versus “Hard” Psychological Science: Biased Evaluations of Scientific Evidence That Threatens or Supports a Strongly Held Political Identity

Geoffrey Munro & Cynthia Munro
Basic and Applied Social Psychology, November/December 2014, Pages 533-543

Abstract:
Perceptions of the quality of two kinds of psychological methods — brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and cognitive testing — were assessed in response to a scenario in which an expert's opinion rendered a politician incompetent to continue in his elected position. Participants evaluated the quality of MRI evidence more favorably than cognitive testing evidence, an effect that was particularly pronounced among participants motivated to disbelieve the evidence (strong partisans of the same party as the politician). This study is among the first to underscore the potential real-world implications of layperson's perceptions of psychological methods and to highlight that evaluations of “softer” methods may be more malleable than the “harder” ones.

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Stumbling in Their Shoes: Disability Simulations Reduce Judged Capabilities of Disabled People

Arielle Silverman, Jason Gwinn & Leaf Van Boven
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Simulating other people’s difficulties often improves attitudes toward those people. In the case of physical disabilities, however, such experience simulations can backfire. By highlighting the initial challenges of becoming disabled, experience simulations decrease the perceived adaptability of being disabled and reduce the judged capabilities of disabled people. In two experiments, participants engaged in a challenging blindness simulation and afterward judged blind people as less capable of work and independent living than did participants after simulating a different impairment (Experiment 1), no impairment (Experiments 1 and 2), or after merely watching someone else simulate blindness (Experiment 2). Blindness simulators forecast that they would be less capable themselves if blind and that they would adapt to blindness more slowly (Experiment 2), highlighting the self-centered nature of judged capabilities of disabled people. The findings demonstrate that experience simulation can sometimes harm rather than help attitudes toward other people’s difficulties.

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Power Modulates Over-Reliance on False Cardiac Arousal When Judging Target Attractiveness: The Powerful Are More Centered on Their Own False Arousal Than the Powerless

Stéphane Jouffre
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, January 2015, Pages 116-126

Abstract:
Individuals attempting to label their emotions look for a plausible source of their physiological arousal. Co-occurrence of plausible sources can lead to the misattribution of real (or bogus) physiological arousal, resulting in physically attractive individuals being perceived as more attractive than they actually are. In two experiments, female participants heard bogus heart rate feedback while viewing photos of attractive male models. Compared with low-power and control participants, high-power participants rated reinforced photos (increased heart rate) more attractive than non-reinforced photos (stable heart rate) to a greater extent when they heard their own bogus heart rate feedback (Experiments 1 and 2) and to a lesser extent when they heard a recording of another participant’s heart rate (Experiment 2). These findings, which suggest that power increases the tendency to misattribute one’s physiological arousal to physically attractive individuals, are discussed with reference to theories linking power and social perception.

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The Influence of Instructions to Correct for Bias on Social Judgments

Saera Khan, Tzipporah Dang & Andrea Mack
Basic and Applied Social Psychology, November/December 2014, Pages 553-562

Abstract:
We examined how instructions to correct for bias influenced judgments of a male target person whose behavior towards a female was either negative or ambiguous. Half of the female participants with egalitarian or traditional views about gender were instructed to correct for bias prior to reading the vignette. All participants rated his negative behavior unfavorably. In the non-instructed condition, participants with a traditional bias rated the ambiguous male behavior more favorably than participants with an egalitarian bias. However, in the instructed condition, this pattern was reversed. Results demonstrate that the evaluative implications of behavior can impact correction effects.

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This Number Just Feels Right: The Impact of Roundedness of Price Numbers on Product Evaluations

Monica Wadhwa & Kuangjie Zhang
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research proposes that because rounded numbers are more fluently processed, rounded prices (e.g., $200.00) encourage reliance on feelings. In contrast, because nonrounded numbers are disfluently processed, nonrounded prices (e.g., $198.76) encourage reliance on cognition. Thus, rounded (nonrounded) prices lead to a subjective experience of “feeling right” when the purchase decision is driven by feelings (cognition). Further, this sense of feeling right resulting from the fit between the roundedness of the price number and the nature of decision context can make positive reactions toward the target product more positive and negative reactions more negative, a phenomenon referred to as the rounded price effect in the current research. Results from five studies provide converging evidence for the rounded price effect. Findings from the current research further show that merely priming participants with rounded (nonrounded) numbers in an unrelated context could also lead to the rounded price effect. Finally, this research provides process support by showing that the rounded price effect is mediated by a sense of feeling right. This is the first research examining the differential impact of roundedness of prices on product purchase decisions, based on whether the purchase decision is driven by feelings versus cognition.

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Supine Body Posture Decreases Rationalizations: Testing the Action-Based Model of Dissonance

Eddie Harmon-Jones, Tom Price & Cindy Harmon-Jones
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, January 2015, Pages 228–234

Abstract:
The action-based model of dissonance theorizes that when individuals have conflicting cognitions with action implications, they experience dissonance. This dissonance motivates the individual to value one action tendency over the other, thereby facilitating effective action. Thus, a decrease in the motivation to act (decreased approach motivation) should decrease this tendency to value one action tendency over the other (dissonance reduction). The present research tested this prediction by using an embodied manipulation, a supine posture, to decrease approach motivation. In Experiment 1, relative to an upright posture, a supine posture decreased dissonance reduction in an effort justification paradigm. In Experiment 2, a supine posture decreased the spreading of alternatives following a difficult decision. These results suggest that embodied manipulations that reduce approach motivation decrease dissonance reduction. The findings support the action-based model of dissonance, and suggest that embodied manipulations of reduced approach motivation reduce the rationalization of behavior.

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Gender differences in the endowment effect: Women pay less, but won’t accept less

Alice Wieland et al.
Judgment and Decision Making, November 2014, Pages 558–571

Abstract:
We explore different contexts and mechanisms that might promote or alleviate the gender effect in risk aversion. Our main result is that we do not find gender differences in risk aversion when the choice is framed as a willingness-to-accept (WTA) task. When the choice is framed as a willingness-to-pay (WTP) task, men are willing to pay more and thus exhibit lower risk aversion. However, when the choice is framed as a willingness to accept task, women will not accept less than men. These findings imply gender differences in the endowment effect. We also find that the effect size of the gender difference in risk aversion is reduced or eliminated as the context changes from tasks framed as gambles to other domains; and that attitudes toward gambling mediate the gender effect in gambling framed tasks.

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Creativity Under Fire: The Effects of Competition on Innovation and the Creative Process

Daniel Gross
University of California Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
Creativity is fundamental to innovation and pervasive in everyday life, yet the creative process has received only limited attention in economics and can in practice be difficult to model and measure. In this paper, I study the effect of competition on individuals' incentives for creative experimentation in the production of commercial art. Using a sample of logo design contests, and a novel, content-based measure of designs' originality, I find that competition has an inverted-U shaped effect on individuals' propensity for innovation: some competition is necessary to induce players to experiment with novel, untested ideas, but heavy competition can drive them to abandon the tournament altogether, such that experimentation is maximized by the presence of one high-quality competitor. The evidence is consistent with a generalized model of agents' choice between risky, radical innovation; more reliable, incremental innovation; and exit from a creative tournament where agents are risk-averse or face decreasing returns to improvement due to a concave success function. These results reconcile conflicting evidence from an extensive literature on the effects of competition on innovation and have direct implications for R&D policy, competition policy, and the management of organizations in creative or research industries.

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Older Adults Are Highly Responsive to Recent Events During Decision-Making

Darrell Worthy et al.
Decision, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent work suggests that older adults’ decision-making behavior is highly affected by recent events. In the present work, younger and older adults performed a 2-choice task where 1 option provided a larger average reward, but there was a large amount of noise around the mean reward for each option, which led to sharp improvements or declines in rewards over trials. Older adults showed greater responsiveness to recent events than younger adults as evidenced by fits of Reinforcement Learning (RL) models. Older adults were particularly sensitive to recent negative events, which was evidenced by a strong tendency for older adults to switch to the other option following steep declines in reward. This tendency led to superior performance for older adults in 1 condition where heightened sensitivity to recent negative events was advantageous. These results extend prior work that has found an older adult bias toward negative feedback and suggest that older adults engage in more abrupt switching in response to negative outcomes than younger adults.

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Regulatory Focus Affects Predictions of the Future

Tieyuan Guo & Roy Spina
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research investigated how regulatory focus might influence trend-reversal predictions. We hypothesized that compared with promotion focus, prevention focus hinders sense of control, which in turn predicts more trend-reversal developments. Studies 1 and 3 revealed that participants expected trend-reversal developments to be more likely to occur when they focused on prevention than when they focused on promotion. Study 2 extended the findings by including a control condition, and revealed that participants expected trend-reversal developments to be more likely to occur in the prevention condition than in the promotion and control conditions. Studies 4 and 5 revealed that participants’ chronic prevention focus predicted a low sense of control (Study 4), and that promotion focus predicted a high sense of control (Studies 4 and 5). Furthermore, participants with a high sense of control expected trend-reversal developments to be less likely to occur. Thus, the results provided converging evidence for the hypothesis.

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Bang for the Buck: Gain-Loss Ratio as a Driver of Judgment and Choice

Bart de Langhe & Stefano Puntoni
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prominent decision-making theories propose that individuals (should) evaluate alternatives by combining gains and losses in an additive way. Instead, we suggest that individuals seek to maximize the rate of exchange between positive and negative outcomes and thus combine gains and losses in a multiplicative way. Sensitivity to gain-loss ratio provides an alternative account for several existing findings and implies a number of novel predictions. It implies greater sensitivity to losses and risk aversion when expected value is positive, but greater sensitivity to gains and risk seeking when expected value is negative. It also implies more extreme preferences when expected value is positive than when expected value is negative. These predictions are independent of decreasing marginal sensitivity, loss aversion, and probability weighting—three key properties of prospect theory. Five new experiments and reanalyses of two recently published studies support these predictions.

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How to Make Loss Aversion Disappear and Reverse: Tests of the Decision by Sampling Origin of Loss Aversion

Lukasz Walasek & Neil Stewart
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
One of the most robust empirical findings in the behavioral sciences is loss aversion — the finding that losses loom larger than gains. We offer a new psychological explanation of the origins of loss aversion in which loss aversion emerges from differences in the distribution of gains and losses people experience. In 4 experiments, we tested this proposition by manipulating the range of gains and losses that individuals saw during the process of eliciting their loss aversion. We were able to find loss aversion, loss neutrality, and even the reverse of loss aversion.

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Better Know When (Not) to Think Twice: How Social Power Impacts Prefactual Thought

Annika Scholl & Kai Sassenberg
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Before approaching situations, individuals frequently imagine “what would happen, if . . . .” Such prefactual thought can promote confidence and facilitate behavior preparation when the upcoming situation can benefit from forethought, but it also delays action. The present research tested how social power predicts prefactual thought when its benefits are clear versus ambiguous. Power enhances flexible behavior adaptation and action tendencies — presumably without much forethought. We therefore proposed that power diminishes prefactual thought, unless the situation suggests that such thought is adaptive (i.e., could benefit performance). Power-holders indeed generated less prefactuals than the powerless (Experiments 1 and 2), but only if benefits for performance were ambiguous rather than clear (Experiment 3). These findings indicate that social context factors related to confidence affect prefactual thought, and that power-holders’ flexible adaptation to the situation sometimes elicits inaction (i.e., prefactual thought) rather than spontaneous action.

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Does the Better-Than-Average Effect Show That People Are Overconfident?: Two Experiments

Jean-Pierre Benoît, Juan Dubra & Don Moore
Journal of the European Economic Association, forthcoming

Abstract:
We conduct two experimental tests of the claim that people are overconfident, using new tests of overplacement that are based on a formal Bayesian model. Our two experiments, on easy quizzes, find that people overplace themselves. More precisely, we find apparently overconfident data that cannot be accounted for by a rational population of expected utility maximizers who care only about money. The finding represents new evidence of overconfidence that is robust to the Bayesian critique offered by Benoît and Dubra (Jean-Pierre Benoît and Juan Dubra (2011). “Apparent Overconfidence.” Econometrica, 79, 1591–1625). We discuss possible limitations of our results.

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Do markets mitigate misperceptions of feedback?

Christian Erik Kampmann & John Sterman
System Dynamics Review, July/September 2014, Pages 123–160

Abstract:
Experimental studies of dynamic decision making generally show poor performance. Most, however, lack market mechanisms, specifically price setting, while economic theory suggests markets should mitigate individual decision errors. We develop experimental markets to explore whether different price institutions improve performance in dynamic decision tasks. We find: (i) dynamic complexity degrades performance substantially relative to optimal despite the inclusion of different pricing mechanisms; and (ii) markets improve performance, though it remains significantly below optimal. We estimate decision rules for each actor; results reject the hypothesis of rationality at the individual level but support behavioral decision rules consistent with bounded rationality. Simulations using the estimated decision rules reproduce key features of market dynamics. Decision timing data and verbal protocols show that greater task complexity leads subjects to ignore important aspects of the environment, particularly strategic interactions among participants. Markets moderate but do not eliminate misperceptions of feedback.

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Uncertainty and Denial: A Resource-Rational Model of the Value of Information

Emma Pierson & Noah Goodman
PLoS ONE, November 2014

Abstract:
Classical decision theory predicts that people should be indifferent to information that is not useful for making decisions, but this model often fails to describe human behavior. Here we investigate one such scenario, where people desire information about whether an event (the gain/loss of money) will occur even though there is no obvious decision to be made on the basis of this information. We find a curious dual trend: if information is costless, as the probability of the event increases people want the information more; if information is not costless, people's desire for the information peaks at an intermediate probability. People also want information more as the importance of the event increases, and less as the cost of the information increases. We propose a model that explains these results, based on the assumption that people have limited cognitive resources and obtain information about which events will occur so they can determine whether to expend effort planning for them.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Take a deep breath

On the Attribution of a Single Event to Climate Change

Gerrit Hansen, Maximilian Auffhammer & Andrew Solow
Journal of Climate, November 2014, Pages 8297–8301

Abstract:
There is growing interest in assessing the role of climate change in observed extreme weather events. Recent work in this area has focused on estimating a measure called attributable risk. A statistical formulation of this problem is described and used to construct a confidence interval for attributable risk. The resulting confidence is shown to be surprisingly wide even in the case where the event of interest is unprecedented in the historical record.

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Projected increase in lightning strikes in the United States due to global warming

David Romps et al.
Science, 14 November 2014, Pages 851-854

Abstract:
Lightning plays an important role in atmospheric chemistry and in the initiation of wildfires, but the impact of global warming on lightning rates is poorly constrained. Here we propose that the lightning flash rate is proportional to the convective available potential energy (CAPE) times the precipitation rate. Using observations, the product of CAPE and precipitation explains 77% of the variance in the time series of total cloud-to-ground lightning flashes over the contiguous United States (CONUS). Storms convert CAPE times precipitated water mass to discharged lightning energy with an efficiency of 1%. When this proxy is applied to 11 climate models, CONUS lightning strikes are predicted to increase 12 ± 5% per degree Celsius of global warming and about 50% over this century.

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Rising air and stream-water temperatures in Chesapeake Bay region, USA

Karen Rice & John Jastram
Climatic Change, forthcoming

Abstract:
Monthly mean air temperature (AT) at 85 sites and instantaneous stream-water temperature (WT) at 129 sites for 1960–2010 are examined for the mid-Atlantic region, USA. Temperature anomalies for two periods, 1961–1985 and 1985–2010, relative to the climate normal period of 1971–2000, indicate that the latter period was statistically significantly warmer than the former for both mean AT and WT. Statistically significant temporal trends across the region of 0.023 °C per year for AT and 0.028 °C per year for WT are detected using simple linear regression. Sensitivity analyses show that the irregularly sampled WT data are appropriate for trend analyses, resulting in conservative estimates of trend magnitude. Relations between 190 landscape factors and significant trends in AT-WT relations are examined using principal components analysis. Measures of major dams and deciduous forest are correlated with WT increasing slower than AT, whereas agriculture in the absence of major dams is correlated with WT increasing faster than AT. Increasing WT trends are detected despite increasing trends in streamflow in the northern part of the study area. Continued warming of contributing streams to Chesapeake Bay likely will result in shifts in distributions of aquatic biota and contribute to worsened eutrophic conditions in the bay and its estuaries.

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A sustainable “building block”?: The paradoxical effects of thermal efficiency on U.S. power plants’ CO2 emissions

Don Grant et al.
Energy Policy, December 2014, Pages 398–402

Abstract:
Under its recently proposed Clean Power Plan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gives states several “building blocks” to choose from to reduce their power plants’ CO2 emissions, including improving plants’ heat rate efficiency. However, skeptics suggest that precisely because efficiency enhances electrical output, it may reduce power plants’ emission rates but increase their emission levels. Using the EPA’s new Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP) data, this paper conducts the first analysis of the effect of thermal efficiency on the rate and level at which individual power plants emit carbon dioxide. Consistent with the arguments of skeptics, we find that while efficiency lowers CO2 emission rates, it actually increases CO2 emission levels. In suggesting to states that improving efficiency is one of the best systems of emission reductions, therefore, the EPA needs to consider whether more efficient plants are subject to such “rebound effects.”

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Rapid increase in the risk of extreme summer heat in Eastern China

Ying Sun et al.
Nature Climate Change, December 2014, Pages 1082–1085

Abstract:
The summer of 2013 was the hottest on record in Eastern China. Severe extended heatwaves affected the most populous and economically developed part of China and caused substantial economic and societal impacts. The estimated direct economic losses from the accompanying drought alone total 59 billion RMB. Summer (June–August) mean temperature in the region has increased by 0.82 °C since reliable observations were established in the 1950s, with the five hottest summers all occurring in the twenty-first century. It is challenging to attribute extreme events to causes. Nevertheless, quantifying the causes of such extreme summer heat and projecting its future likelihood is necessary to develop climate adaptation strategies. We estimate that anthropogenic influence has caused a more than 60-fold increase in the likelihood of the extreme warm 2013 summer since the early 1950s, and project that similarly hot summers will become even more frequent in the future, with fully 50% of summers being hotter than the 2013 summer in two decades even under the moderate RCP4.5 emissions scenario. Without adaptation to reduce vulnerability to the effects of extreme heat, this would imply a rapid increase in risks from extreme summer heat to Eastern China.

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How unusual is the 2012-2014 California drought?

Daniel Griffin & Kevin Anchukaitis
Geophysical Research Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
For the past three years (2012-2014), California has experienced the most severe drought conditions in its last century. But how unusual is this event? Here we use two paleoclimate reconstructions of drought and precipitation for Central and Southern California to place this current event in the context of the last millennium. We demonstrate that while 3-year periods of persistent below-average soil moisture are not uncommon, the current event is the most severe drought in the last 1200 years, with single year (2014) and accumulated moisture deficits worse than any previous continuous span of dry years. Tree-ring chronologies extended through the 2014 growing season reveal that precipitation during the drought has been anomalously low but not outside the range of natural variability. The current California drought is exceptionally severe in the context of at least the last millennium and is driven by reduced though not unprecedented precipitation and record high temperatures.

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Towards climate justice: How do the most vulnerable weigh environment-economy trade-offs?

Katrina Running
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
The world’s poor are especially vulnerable to environmental disasters, including the adverse consequences of climate change. This creates a challenge for climate justice advocates who seek to ensure that those least responsible for causing climate change do not bear unwanted burdens of mitigation. One way to promote climate justice could be to pay particular attention to the environmental policy preferences of citizens from poorer, lower-emitting countries. This paper examines opinions on environment-economy trade-offs and willingness to make personal financial contributions to protect the environment among residents of 42 developed and developing countries using data from the 2005-2008 World Values Survey, the 2010 Climate Risk Index, and World Bank development indicators. Results reveal that individuals in developing countries are less likely to support policies to prioritize environmental protection over economic growth but are more willing to donate personal income for pro-environmental efforts compared to citizens of more developed nations.

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Time of emergence for regional sea-level change

Kewei Lyu et al.
Nature Climate Change, November 2014, Pages 1006–1010

Abstract:
Determining the time when the climate change signal from increasing greenhouse gases exceeds and thus emerges from natural climate variability (referred to as the time of emergence, ToE) is an important climate change issue. Previous ToE studies were mainly focused on atmospheric variables. Here, based on three regional sea-level projection products available to 2100, which have increasing complexity in terms of included processes, we estimate the ToE for sea-level changes relative to the reference period 1986–2005. The dynamic sea level derived from ocean density and circulation changes alone leads to emergence over only limited regions. By adding the global-ocean thermal expansion effect, 50% of the ocean area will show emergence with rising sea level by the early-to-middle 2040s. Including additional contributions from land ice mass loss, land water storage change and glacial isostatic adjustment generally enhances the signal of regional sea-level rise (except in some regions with decreasing total sea levels), which leads to emergence over more than 50% of the ocean area by 2020. The ToE for total sea level is substantially earlier than that for surface air temperature and exhibits little dependence on the emission scenarios, which means that our society will face detectable sea-level change and its potential impacts earlier than surface air warming.

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Tropical and extratropical cyclone damages under climate change

Matthew Ranson et al.
Climatic Change, November 2014, Pages 227-241

Abstract:
This paper provides the first quantitative synthesis of the rapidly growing literature on future tropical and extratropical cyclone damages under climate change. We estimate a probability distribution for the predicted impact of changes in global surface air temperatures on future storm damages, using an ensemble of 478 estimates of the temperature-damage relationship from nineteen studies. Our analysis produces three main empirical results. First, we find strong but not conclusive support for the hypothesis that climate change will cause damages from tropical cyclones and wind storms to increase, with most models predicting higher future storm damages due to climate change. Second, there is substantial variation in projected changes in losses across regions. Potential changes in damages are greatest in the North Atlantic basin, where the multi-model average predicts that a 2.5 °C increase in global surface air temperature would cause hurricane damages to increase by 63 %. The ensemble predictions for Western North Pacific tropical cyclones and European wind storms (extratropical cyclones) are +28 % and +23 %, respectively. Finally, our analysis shows that existing models of storm damages under climate change generate a wide range of predictions, ranging from moderate decreases to very large increases in losses.

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Maximum warming occurs about one decade after a carbon dioxide emission

Katharine Ricke & Ken Caldeira
Environmental Research Letters, December 2014

Abstract:
It is known that carbon dioxide emissions cause the Earth to warm, but no previous study has focused on examining how long it takes to reach maximum warming following a particular CO2 emission. Using conjoined results of carbon-cycle and physical-climate model intercomparison projects (Taylor et al 2012, Joos et al 2013), we find the median time between an emission and maximum warming is 10.1 years, with a 90% probability range of 6.6–30.7 years. We evaluate uncertainties in timing and amount of warming, partitioning them into three contributing factors: carbon cycle, climate sensitivity and ocean thermal inertia. If uncertainty in any one factor is reduced to zero without reducing uncertainty in the other factors, the majority of overall uncertainty remains. Thus, narrowing uncertainty in century-scale warming depends on narrowing uncertainty in all contributing factors. Our results indicate that benefit from avoided climate damage from avoided CO2 emissions will be manifested within the lifetimes of people who acted to avoid that emission. While such avoidance could be expected to benefit future generations, there is potential for emissions avoidance to provide substantial benefit to current generations.

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Inaction and climate stabilization uncertainties lead to severe economic risks

Martha Butler et al.
Climatic Change, December 2014, Pages 463-474

Abstract:
Climate stabilization efforts must integrate the actions of many socio-economic sectors to be successful in meeting climate stabilization goals, such as limiting atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration to be less than double the pre-industrial levels. Estimates of the costs and benefits of stabilization policies are often informed by Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) of the climate and the economy. These IAMs are highly non-linear with many parameters that abstract globally integrated characteristics of environmental and socio-economic systems. Diagnostic analyses of IAMs can aid in identifying the interdependencies and parametric controls of modeled stabilization policies. Here we report a comprehensive variance-based sensitivity analysis of a doubled-CO2 stabilization policy scenario generated by the globally-aggregated Dynamic Integrated model of Climate and the Economy (DICE). We find that neglecting uncertainties considerably underestimates damage and mitigation costs associated with a doubled-CO2 stabilization goal. More than ninety percent of the states-of-the-world (SOWs) sampled in our analysis exceed the damages and abatement costs calculated for the reference case neglecting uncertainties (1.2 trillion 2005 USD, with worst case costs exceeding $60 trillion). We attribute the variance in these costs to uncertainties in the model parameters relating to climate sensitivity, global participation in abatement, and the cost of lower emission energy sources.

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The jobs impact of GHG reduction strategies in the USA

Roger Bezdek & Robert Wendling
International Journal of Global Warming, Fall 2014, Pages 380-401

Abstract:
This paper estimates the economic and jobs impact of the USA displacing 1.2 billion tons of carbon emissions annually by 2030 using energy efficiency and renewable energy. We assess the technologies deployed, their costs, and the necessary time frames. We then estimate the job impacts of the policy and find that it will generate more than 4.5 million net jobs. We disaggregate the jobs created by industry, occupation, skill, and salary, and discuss the policy implications of these findings. Our major conclusion is that climate mitigation initiatives can be a major net job creator for the USA.

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Counteracting the climate effects of volcanic eruptions using short-lived greenhouse gases

Jan Fuglestvedt, Bjørn Samset & Keith Shine
Geophysical Research Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
A large volcanic eruption might constitute a climate emergency, significantly altering global temperature and precipitation for several years. Major future eruptions will occur, but their size or timing cannot be predicted. We show, for the first time, that it may be possible to counteract these climate effects through deliberate emissions of short-lived greenhouse gases, dampening the abrupt impact of an eruption. We estimate an emission pathway countering a hypothetical eruption 3 times the size of Mount Pinatubo in 1991. We use a global climate model to evaluate global and regional responses to the eruption, with and without counteremissions. We then raise practical, financial, and ethical questions related to such a strategy. Unlike the more commonly discussed geoengineering to mitigate warming from long-lived greenhouse gases, designed emissions to counter temporary cooling would not have the disadvantage of needing to be sustained over long periods. Nevertheless, implementation would still face significant challenges.

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Sensitivity of climate to cumulative carbon emissions due to compensation of ocean heat and carbon uptake

Philip Goodwin, Richard Williams & Andy Ridgwell
Nature Geoscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Climate model experiments reveal that transient global warming is nearly proportional to cumulative carbon emissions on multi-decadal to centennial timescales. However, it is not quantitatively understood how this near-linear dependence between warming and cumulative carbon emissions arises in transient climate simulations. Here, we present a theoretically derived equation of the dependence of global warming on cumulative carbon emissions over time. For an atmosphere–ocean system, our analysis identifies a surface warming response to cumulative carbon emissions of 1.5 ± 0.7 K for every 1,000 Pg of carbon emitted. This surface warming response is reduced by typically 10–20% by the end of the century and beyond. The climate response remains nearly constant on multi-decadal to centennial timescales as a result of partially opposing effects of oceanic uptake of heat and carbon. The resulting warming then becomes proportional to cumulative carbon emissions after many centuries, as noted earlier. When we incorporate estimates of terrestrial carbon uptake, the surface warming response is reduced to 1.1 ± 0.5 K for every 1,000 Pg of carbon emitted, but this modification is unlikely to significantly affect how the climate response changes over time. We suggest that our theoretical framework may be used to diagnose the global warming response in climate models and mechanistically understand the differences between their projections.

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Changing climate extremes in the Northeast United States: Observations and projections from CMIP5

Jeanne Thibeault & Anji Seth
Climatic Change, November 2014, Pages 273-287

Abstract:
Climate extremes indices are evaluated for the northeast United States and adjacent Canada (Northeast) using gridded observations and twenty-three CMIP5 coupled models. Previous results have demonstrated observed increases in warm and wet extremes and decreases in cold extremes, consistent with changes expected in a warming world. Here, a significant shift is found in the distribution of observed total annual precipitation over 1981-2010. In addition, significant positive trends are seen in all observed wet precipitation indices over 1951-2010. For the Northeast region, CMIP5 models project significant shifts in the distributions of most temperature and precipitation indices by 2041-2070. By the late century, the coldest (driest) future extremes are projected to be warmer (wetter) than the warmest (wettest) extremes at present. The multimodel interquartile range compares well with observations, providing a measure of confidence in the projections in this region. Spatial analysis suggests that the largest increases in heavy precipitation extremes are projected for northern, coastal, and mountainous areas. Results suggest that the projected increase in total annual precipitation is strongly influenced by increases in winter wet extremes. The largest decreases in cold extremes are projected for northern and interior portions of the Northeast, while the largest increases in summer warm extremes are projected for densely populated southern, central, and coastal areas. This study provides a regional analysis and verification of the latest generation of CMIP global models specifically for the Northeast, useful to stakeholders focused on understanding and adapting to climate change and its impacts in the region.

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Delays in reducing waterborne and water-related infectious diseases in China under climate change

Maggie Hodges et al.
Nature Climate Change, December 2014, Pages 1109–1115

Abstract:
Despite China’s rapid progress in improving water, sanitation and hygiene (WSH) access, in 2011, 471 million people lacked access to improved sanitation and 401 million to household piped water. As certain infectious diseases are sensitive to changes in both climate and WSH conditions, we projected impacts of climate change on WSH-attributable diseases in China in 2020 and 2030 by coupling estimates of the temperature sensitivity of diarrhoeal diseases and three vector-borne diseases, temperature projections from global climate models, WSH-infrastructure development scenarios, and projected demographic changes. By 2030, climate change is projected to delay China’s rapid progress towards reducing WSH-attributable infectious disease burden by 8–85 months. This development delay summarizes the adverse impact of climate change on WSH-attributable infectious diseases in China, and can be used in other settings where a significant health burden may accompany future changes in climate even as the total burden of disease falls owing to non-climate reasons.

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Tropical Cyclone Simulation and Response to CO2 Doubling in the GFDL CM2.5 High-Resolution Coupled Climate Model

Hyeong-Seog Kim et al.
Journal of Climate, November 2014, Pages 8034–8054

Abstract:
Global tropical cyclone (TC) activity is simulated by the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) Climate Model, version 2.5 (CM2.5), which is a fully coupled global climate model with a horizontal resolution of about 50 km for the atmosphere and 25 km for the ocean. The present climate simulation shows a fairly realistic global TC frequency, seasonal cycle, and geographical distribution. The model has some notable biases in regional TC activity, including simulating too few TCs in the North Atlantic. The regional biases in TC activity are associated with simulation biases in the large-scale environment such as sea surface temperature, vertical wind shear, and vertical velocity. Despite these biases, the model simulates the large-scale variations of TC activity induced by El Niño–Southern Oscillation fairly realistically. The response of TC activity in the model to global warming is investigated by comparing the present climate with a CO2 doubling experiment. Globally, TC frequency decreases (−19%) while the intensity increases (+2.7%) in response to CO2 doubling, consistent with previous studies. The average TC lifetime decreases by −4.6%, while the TC size and rainfall increase by about 3% and 12%, respectively. These changes are generally reproduced across the different basins in terms of the sign of the change, although the percent changes vary from basin to basin and within individual basins. For the Atlantic basin, although there is an overall reduction in frequency from CO2 doubling, the warmed climate exhibits increased interannual hurricane frequency variability so that the simulated Atlantic TC activity is enhanced more during unusually warm years in the CO2-warmed climate relative to that in unusually warm years in the control climate.

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Dynamical Simulations of North Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Activity Using Observed Low-Frequency SST Oscillation Imposed on CMIP5 Model RCP4.5 SST Projections

Timothy LaRow, Lydia Stefanova & Chana Seitz
Journal of Climate, November 2014, Pages 8055–8069

Abstract:
The effects on early and late twenty-first-century North Atlantic tropical cyclone statistics resulting from imposing the patterns of maximum/minimum phases of the observed Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO) onto projected sea surface temperatures (SSTs) from two climate models from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) are examined using a 100-km resolution global atmospheric model. By imposing the observed maximum positive and negative phases of the AMO onto two CMIP5 SST projections from the representative concentration pathway (RCP) 4.5 scenario, this study places bounds on future North Atlantic tropical cyclone activity during the early (2020–39) and late (2080–99) twenty-first century. Averaging over both time periods and both AMO phases, the mean named tropical cyclones (NTCs) count increases by 35% when compared to simulations using observed SSTs from 1982 to 2009. The positive AMO simulations produce approximately a 68% increase in mean NTC count, while the negative AMO simulations are statistically indistinguishable from the mean NTC count determined from the 1995–2009 simulations — a period of observed positive AMO phase. Examination of the tropical cyclone track densities shows a statistically significant increase in the tracks along the East Coast of the United States in the future simulations compared to the models’ 1982–2009 climate simulations. The increase occurs regardless of AMO phase, although the negative phase produces higher track densities. The maximum wind speeds increase by 6%, in agreement with other climate change studies. Finally, the NTC-related precipitation is found to increase (approximately by 13%) compared to the 1982–2009 simulations.

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The impacts of temperature anomalies and political orientation on perceived winter warming

Aaron McCright, Riley Dunlap & Chenyang Xiao
Nature Climate Change, December 2014, Pages 1077–1081

Abstract:
Although perceptions of common weather phenomena moderately align with instrumental measurements of such phenomena, the evidence that weather or climatic conditions influence beliefs about anthropogenic climate change is mixed. This study addresses both foci, which are important to scholars who investigate human–environment interactions and observers who expect greater exposure to weather or climate extremes to translate into stronger support for climate change adaptive measures and mitigative policies. We analyse the extent to which state-level winter temperature anomalies influence the likelihood of perceiving local winter temperatures to be warmer than usual and attributing these warmer temperatures mainly to global warming. We show that actual temperature anomalies influence perceived warming but not attribution of such warmer-than-usual winter temperatures to global warming. Rather, the latter is influenced more by perceived scientific agreement; beliefs about the current onset, human cause, threat and seriousness of global warming; and political orientation. This is not surprising given the politicization of climate science and political polarization on climate change beliefs in recent years. These results suggest that personal experience with weather or climate variability may help cultivate support for adaptive measures, but it may not increase support for mitigation policies.

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Land-use protection for climate change mitigation

Alexander Popp et al.
Nature Climate Change, December 2014, Pages 1095–1098

Abstract:
Land-use change, mainly the conversion of tropical forests to agricultural land, is a massive source of carbon emissions and contributes substantially to global warming. Therefore, mechanisms that aim to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation are widely discussed. A central challenge is the avoidance of international carbon leakage if forest conservation is not implemented globally. Here, we show that forest conservation schemes, even if implemented globally, could lead to another type of carbon leakage by driving cropland expansion in non-forested areas that are not subject to forest conservation schemes (non-forest leakage). These areas have a smaller, but still considerable potential to store carbon. We show that a global forest policy could reduce carbon emissions by 77 Gt CO2, but would still allow for decreases in carbon stocks of non-forest land by 96 Gt CO2 until 2100 due to non-forest leakage effects. Furthermore, abandonment of agricultural land and associated carbon uptake through vegetation regrowth is hampered. Effective mitigation measures thus require financing structures and conservation investments that cover the full range of carbon-rich ecosystems. However, our analysis indicates that greater agricultural productivity increases would be needed to compensate for such restrictions on agricultural expansion.

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An Evaluation of the Treatment of Risk and Uncertainties in the IPCC Reports on Climate Change

Terje Aven & Ortwin Renn
Risk Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
Few global threats rival global climate change in scale and potential consequence. The principal international authority assessing climate risk is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Through repeated assessments the IPCC has devoted considerable effort and interdisciplinary competence to articulating a common characterization of climate risk and uncertainties. We have reviewed the assessment and its foundation for the Fifth Assessment Reports published in 2013 and 2014, in particular the guidance note for lead authors of the fifth IPCC assessment report on consistent treatment of uncertainties. Our analysis shows that the work carried out by the ICPP is short of providing a theoretically and conceptually convincing foundation on the treatment of risk and uncertainties. The main reasons for our assessment are: (i) the concept of risk is given a too narrow definition (a function of consequences and probability/likelihood); and (ii) the reports lack precision in delineating their concepts and methods. The goal of this article is to contribute to improving the handling of uncertainty and risk in future IPCC studies, thereby obtaining a more theoretically substantiated characterization as well as enhanced scientific quality for risk analysis in this area. Several suggestions for how to improve the risk and uncertainty treatment are provided.

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Direct measurements of methane emissions from abandoned oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania

Mary Kang et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Abandoned oil and gas wells provide a potential pathway for subsurface migration and emissions of methane and other fluids to the atmosphere. Little is known about methane fluxes from the millions of abandoned wells that exist in the United States. Here, we report direct measurements of methane fluxes from abandoned oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania, using static flux chambers. A total of 42 and 52 direct measurements were made at wells and at locations near the wells (“controls”) in forested, wetland, grassland, and river areas in July, August, October 2013 and January 2014, respectively. The mean methane flow rates at these well locations were 0.27 kg/d/well, and the mean methane flow rate at the control locations was 4.5 × 10−6 kg/d/location. Three out of the 19 measured wells were high emitters that had methane flow rates that were three orders of magnitude larger than the median flow rate of 1.3 × 10−3 kg/d/well. Assuming the mean flow rate found here is representative of all abandoned wells in Pennsylvania, we scaled the methane emissions to be 4–7% of estimated total anthropogenic methane emissions in Pennsylvania. The presence of ethane, propane, and n-butane, along with the methane isotopic composition, indicate that the emitted methane is predominantly of thermogenic origin. These measurements show that methane emissions from abandoned oil and gas wells can be significant. The research required to quantify these emissions nationally should be undertaken so they can be accurately described and included in greenhouse gas emissions inventories.

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A complete Holocene record of trematode–bivalve infection and implications for the response of parasitism to climate change

John Warren Huntley et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Increasing global temperature and sea-level rise have led to concern about expansions in the distribution and prevalence of complex-lifecycle parasites (CLPs). Indeed, numerous environmental variables can influence the infectivity and reproductive output of many pathogens. Digenean trematodes are CLPs with intermediate invertebrate and definitive vertebrate hosts. Global warming and sea level rise may affect these hosts to varying degrees, and the effect of increasing temperature on parasite prevalence has proven to be nonlinear and difficult to predict. Projecting the response of parasites to anthropogenic climate change is vital for human health, and a longer term perspective (104 y) offered by the subfossil record is necessary to complement the experimental and historical approaches of shorter temporal duration (10−1 to 103 y). We demonstrate, using a high-resolution 9,600-y record of trematode parasite traces in bivalve hosts from the Holocene Pearl River Delta, that prevalence was significantly higher during the earliest stages of sea level rise, significantly lower during the maximum transgression, and statistically indistinguishable in the other stages of sea-level rise and delta progradation. This stratigraphic paleobiological pattern represents the only long-term high-resolution record of pathogen response to global change, is consistent with fossil and recent data from other marine basins, and is instructive regarding the future of disease. We predict an increase in trematode prevalence concurrent with anthropogenic warming and marine transgression, with negative implications for estuarine macrobenthos, marine fisheries, and human health.

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Disentangling the effects of CO2 and short-lived climate forcer mitigation

Joeri Rogelj et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 18 November 2014, Pages 16325–16330

Abstract:
Anthropogenic global warming is driven by emissions of a wide variety of radiative forcers ranging from very short-lived climate forcers (SLCFs), like black carbon, to very long-lived, like CO2. These species are often released from common sources and are therefore intricately linked. However, for reasons of simplification, this CO2–SLCF linkage was often disregarded in long-term projections of earlier studies. Here we explicitly account for CO2–SLCF linkages and show that the short- and long-term climate effects of many SLCF measures consistently become smaller in scenarios that keep warming to below 2 °C relative to preindustrial levels. Although long-term mitigation of methane and hydrofluorocarbons are integral parts of 2 °C scenarios, early action on these species mainly influences near-term temperatures and brings small benefits for limiting maximum warming relative to comparable reductions taking place later. Furthermore, we find that maximum 21st-century warming in 2 °C-consistent scenarios is largely unaffected by additional black-carbon-related measures because key emission sources are already phased-out through CO2 mitigation. Our study demonstrates the importance of coherently considering CO2–SLCF coevolutions. Failing to do so leads to strongly and consistently overestimating the effect of SLCF measures in climate stabilization scenarios. Our results reinforce that SLCF measures are to be considered complementary rather than a substitute for early and stringent CO2 mitigation. Near-term SLCF measures do not allow for more time for CO2 mitigation. We disentangle and resolve the distinct benefits across different species and therewith facilitate an integrated strategy for mitigating both short and long-term climate change.

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Quantifying underestimates of long-term upper-ocean warming

Paul Durack et al.
Nature Climate Change, November 2014, Pages 999–1005

Abstract:
The global ocean stores more than 90% of the heat associated with observed greenhouse-gas-attributed global warming. Using satellite altimetry observations and a large suite of climate models, we conclude that observed estimates of 0–700 dbar global ocean warming since 1970 are likely biased low. This underestimation is attributed to poor sampling of the Southern Hemisphere, and limitations of the analysis methods that conservatively estimate temperature changes in data-sparse regions. We find that the partitioning of northern and southern hemispheric simulated sea surface height changes are consistent with precise altimeter observations, whereas the hemispheric partitioning of simulated upper-ocean warming is inconsistent with observed in-situ-based ocean heat content estimates. Relying on the close correspondence between hemispheric-scale ocean heat content and steric changes, we adjust the poorly constrained Southern Hemisphere observed warming estimates so that hemispheric ratios are consistent with the broad range of modelled results. These adjustments yield large increases (2.2–7.1 × 10^22 J 35 yr−1) to current global upper-ocean heat content change estimates, and have important implications for sea level, the planetary energy budget and climate sensitivity assessments.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Shapely

How do I look? Focusing attention on the outside body reduces responsiveness to internal signals in food intake

Evelien van de Veer, Erica van Herpen & Hans van Trijp
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, January 2015, Pages 207–213

Abstract:
The current study investigates the relationship between focusing on body appearance and the ability to adjust food consumption according to feelings of satiety. Based on a resource perspective, we propose that focusing on outward appearance negatively affects people’s ability to respond to satiety signals. Specifically, we argue that focusing on appearance takes up attentional resources required for sensing and relying on physiological satiety cues in food consumption. The findings of two experiments support this and show that focusing on appearance through a short mirror exposure (Experiment 1) or by looking at advertisements of models (Experiment 2) interferes with people’s ability to compensate for previous consumption (Experiment 1) and leads them to rely less on satiety signals in their eating behavior (Experiment 2). These findings suggest that an emphasis on outer body appearance reduces people’s reliance on satiety cues.

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Body Size, Skills, and Income: Evidence From 150,000 Teenage Siblings

Petter Lundborg, Paul Nystedt & Dan-Olof Rooth
Demography, October 2014, Pages 1573-1596

Abstract:
We provide new evidence on the long-run labor market penalty of teenage overweight and obesity using unique and large-scale data on 150,000 male siblings from the Swedish military enlistment. Our empirical analysis provides four important results. First, we provide the first evidence of a large adult male labor market penalty for being overweight or obese as a teenager. Second, we replicate this result using data from the United States and the United Kingdom. Third, we note a strikingly strong within-family relationship between body size and cognitive skills/noncognitive skills. Fourth, a large part of the estimated body-size penalty reflects lower skill acquisition among overweight and obese teenagers. Taken together, these results reinforce the importance of policy combating early-life obesity in order to reduce healthcare expenditures as well as poverty and inequalities later in life.

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Effects of Low-Carbohydrate and Low-Fat Diets: A Randomized Trial

Lydia Bazzano et al.
Annals of Internal Medicine, 2 September 2014, Pages 309-318

Objective: To examine the effects of a low-carbohydrate diet compared with a low-fat diet on body weight and cardiovascular risk factors.

Participants: 148 men and women without clinical cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Intervention: A low-carbohydrate (<40 g/d) or low-fat (<30% of daily energy intake from total fat [<7% saturated fat]) diet. Both groups received dietary counseling at regular intervals throughout the trial.

Results: Sixty participants (82%) in the low-fat group and 59 (79%) in the low-carbohydrate group completed the intervention. At 12 months, participants on the low-carbohydrate diet had greater decreases in weight (mean difference in change, −3.5 kg [95% CI, −5.6 to −1.4 kg]; P = 0.002), fat mass (mean difference in change, −1.5% [CI, −2.6% to −0.4%]; P = 0.011), ratio of total–high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (mean difference in change, −0.44 [CI, −0.71 to −0.16]; P = 0.002), and triglyceride level (mean difference in change, −0.16 mmol/L [−14.1 mg/dL] [CI, −0.31 to −0.01 mmol/L {−27.4 to −0.8 mg/dL}]; P = 0.038) and greater increases in HDL cholesterol level (mean difference in change, 0.18 mmol/L [7.0 mg/dL] [CI, 0.08 to 0.28 mmol/L {3.0 to 11.0 mg/dL}]; P < 0.001) than those on the low-fat diet.

Conclusion: The low-carbohydrate diet was more effective for weight loss and cardiovascular risk factor reduction than the low-fat diet. Restricting carbohydrate may be an option for persons seeking to lose weight and reduce cardiovascular risk factors.

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Soda and Cell Aging: Associations Between Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption and Leukocyte Telomere Length in Healthy Adults From the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys

Cindy Leung et al.
American Journal of Public Health, December 2014, Pages 2425-2431

Objectives: We tested whether leukocyte telomere length maintenance, which underlies healthy cellular aging, provides a link between sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption and the risk of cardiometabolic disease.

Methods: We examined cross-sectional associations between the consumption of SSBs, diet soda, and fruit juice and telomere length in a nationally representative sample of healthy adults. The study population included 5309 US adults, aged 20 to 65 years, with no history of diabetes or cardiovascular disease, from the 1999 to 2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Leukocyte telomere length was assayed from DNA specimens. Diet was assessed using 24-hour dietary recalls. Associations were examined using multivariate linear regression for the outcome of log-transformed telomere length.

Results: After adjustment for sociodemographic and health-related characteristics, sugar-sweetened soda consumption was associated with shorter telomeres (b = –0.010; 95% confidence interval [CI] = −0.020, −0.001; P = .04). Consumption of 100% fruit juice was marginally associated with longer telomeres (b = 0.016; 95% CI = −0.000, 0.033; P = .05). No significant associations were observed between consumption of diet sodas or noncarbonated SSBs and telomere length.

Conclusions: Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened sodas might influence metabolic disease development through accelerated cell aging.

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The Impact of Obesity on Consumer Bankruptcy

Mouhcine Guettabi & Abdul Munasib
Economics & Human Biology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Over the last two decades, both bankruptcy and obesity rates in the U.S. have seen a steady rise. As obesity is one of the leading causes of medical and morbidity related economic costs, its influence on personal bankruptcy is analyzed in this study. Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, we employ a duration model to investigate the relative importance of obesity on the timing of bankruptcy. Even after accounting for possible endogeneity of BMI and controlling for a wide variety of individual and aggregate-level confounding factors, being obese puts one at a greater risk of filing for bankruptcy.

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Snack Purchasing Is Healthier When the Cognitive Demands of Choice Are Reduced: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Julia Allan, Marie Johnston & Neil Campbell
Health Psychology, forthcoming

Objective: Individuals with inefficient executive (higher level cognitive) function have a reduced ability to resist dietary temptation. The present study aimed to design and test a theory-based point-of-purchase intervention for coffee shops that reduced the calorie content of customers’ purchases by reducing the need for executive function (EF) at the moment of choice.

Methods: Key facets of EF were identified by a multidisciplinary group and used to develop a point-of-purchase intervention (signage). This intervention was evaluated in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) in a public coffee shop on consumer purchases of >20,000 snacks and drinks over 12 weeks. A sample of customers (n = 128) was recruited to complete an embedded cross-sectional study measuring EF strength, dietary intentions, typical purchases, and purchases made after exposure to the intervention.

Results: The proportion of snack purchases that were high in calorie reduced significantly (t(10) = 2.34, p = .04) in intervention weeks relative to control. High calorie drink purchases were also lower in intervention than control weeks, however, this difference was not significant (t(10) = 1.56, p = .15). On average, customers purchased items containing 66 calories < usual after exposure to the intervention. The magnitude of the intervention’s positive effect on customer behavior increased as EF strength decreased (β = .24, p = .03).

Conclusions: The calorie content of cafe purchases can be lowered by reducing the cognitive demands of healthy food choice at the moment of purchase, especially in those with poor EF. Environmental changes like these have the potential to help achieve population weight control.

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'Globesity'? The Effects of Globalization on Obesity and Caloric Intake

Joan Costa-Font & Núria Mas
London School of Economics Working Paper, September 2014

Abstract:
This study considers the effects of globalization, in its economic and social dimensions, on obesity and caloric intake. In assessing these effects using longitudinal analysis, this study adopts an extensive list of controls to account for compositional changes and effects, as well as different specifications. The results suggest a robust association between globalization and both obesity and caloric intake. A one standard deviation increase in globalization is associated with a 20 percent increase in obese population and a 4 percent rise in calorie intake. The effect remains statistically significant even with an instrument variable strategy, a lagged structure, and corrections for panel standard errors. The primary driver is social globalization, and specifically the effects of changes in information flows and social proximity. A one standard deviation increase in social globalization increased the percentage of obese population by 14.5 percent and the consumption of calories by 2.8 percent, respectively.

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Community socio economic deprivation and obesity trajectories in children using electronic health records

Claudia Nau et al.
Obesity, forthcoming

Objectives: Longitudinal studies of the role of community context in childhood obesity are lacking. The objective of this study was to examine associations of community socio economic deprivation (CSD) with trajectories of change in body mass index (BMI) in childhood and adolescence.

Methods: Data came from electronic health records on 163,473 children aged 3-18 residing in 1,288 communities in Pennsylvania whose weight and height were measured longitudinally. CSD at the year of birth was measured using six US Census variables and modeled in quartiles. Trajectories of BMI within CSD quartiles were estimated using random effects growth-curve models accounting for differences by age, sex, and race/ethnicity as well as correcting for non-constant residual variance across age groups.

Results: CSD was associated with higher BMI at average age (10.7 years) and with more rapid growth of BMI over time. Children born in communities with greater CSD had steeper increases of BMI at younger ages. Those born into the poorest communities displayed sustained accelerated BMI growth. CSD remained associated with BMI trajectories after adjustment for a measure of household socio economic deprivation.

Conclusions: Higher CSD may be associated with more obesogenic growth trajectories in early life. Findings suggest that individual-level interventions that ignore the effect of community context on obesity-related behaviors may be less efficient.

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When zero is greater than one: Consumer misinterpretations of nutrition labels

Dan Graham & Gina Mohr
Health Psychology, December 2014, Pages 1579-1587

Objective: Front-of-package (FOP) nutrition labels are increasingly used by food manufacturers. A call to regulate the content and format of these labels resulted in recommendations by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) for standardized FOP labels that clearly communicate packaged foods’ healthfulness. It is currently unclear how consumers would interpret and use these proposed labels. This research addresses psychological factors affecting the efficacy of FOP label use. It was hypothesized that IOM’s proposed 0- to 3-point rating scale would produce the zero-comparison effect, leading to more favorable evaluations than are warranted for the least healthful products (i.e., those earning zero nutritional points).

Methods: In two studies (Study 1, n = 68; Study 2, n = 101), participants evaluated products containing FOP labels on the basis of IOM recommendations. Primary outcomes were perceived product healthfulness and purchase intentions.

Results: Study 1 demonstrated that less-healthful products were rated by study participants to be equally healthful as more-healthful products. The relationship between FOP rating and purchase intentions was mediated by perceived healthfulness. Biases in product healthfulness ratings were exacerbated for consumers with higher (vs. lower) health concern. Study 2 demonstrated that by changing the rating scale from 0–3 to 1–4, consumers avoid the zero-comparison effect and accurately evaluate products’ healthfulness.

Conclusions: This research has implications for theory and policy in the domains of nutrition labeling and consumer health. Specifically, FOP labels can help consumers identify healthful options, but products receiving zero nutritional points may be misidentified as healthful; a simple label modification can prevent this confusion.

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An Apple a Day Brings More Apples Your Way: Healthy Samples Prime Healthier Choices

Aner Tal & Brian Wansink
Psychology & Marketing, forthcoming

Abstract:
Samples may guide consumer choice towards consistent products, resulting in a shopping basket that has a greater proportion of products similar to the sample. Specifically, healthy (unhealthy) samples in a grocery setting may lead to healthier (less healthy) shopping baskets. We demonstrate this in lab (study 1) and field (studies 2) settings. The effect of sample occurs for both related healthy products (study 1) and healthy/unhealthy choices that are less closely related (study 2). These findings suggest consumers may display consistent shopping behavior even with product choices that are situationally determined rather than being their own, such that even externally imposed product “choices,” rather than just observation of one’s own choice, can lead to consistent subsequent choices. 

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Benefits of adding small financial incentives or optional group meetings to a web-based statewide obesity initiative

Tricia Leahey et al.
Obesity, forthcoming

Objective: To examine whether adding either small, variable financial incentives or optional group sessions improves weight losses in a community-based, Internet behavioral program.

Methods: Participants (N = 268) from Shape Up Rhode Island 2012, a 3-month Web-based community wellness initiative, were randomized to: Shape Up+Internet behavioral program (SI), Shape Up+Internet program+incentives (SII), or Shape Up+Internet program+group sessions (SIG).

Results: At the end of the 3-month program, SII achieved significantly greater weight losses than SI (SII: 6.4% [5.1-7.7]; SI: 4.2% [3.0-5.6]; P = 0.03); weight losses in SIG were not significantly different from the other two conditions (SIG: 5.8% [4.5-7.1], P's ≥ 0.10). However, at the 12-month no-treatment follow-up visit, both SII and SIG had greater weight losses than SI (SII: 3.1% [1.8-4.4]; SIG: 4.5% [3.2-5.8]; SI: 1.2% [−0.1-2.6]; P's ≤ 0.05). SII was the most cost-effective approach at both 3 (SII: $34/kg; SI: $34/kg; SIG: $87/kg) and 12 months (SII: $64/kg; SI: $140/kg; SIG: $113/kg).

Conclusions: Modest financial incentives enhance weight losses during a community campaign, and both incentives and optional group meetings improved overall weight loss outcomes during the follow-up period. However, the use of the financial incentives is the most cost-effective approach.

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Persistence in Body Mass Index in a Recent Cohort of US Children

Daniel Millimet & Rusty Tchernis
Economics & Human Biology, forthcoming

Abstract:
While childhood obesity has become a significant public health concern over the last few decades, and underweight children continue to be a concern, knowledge pertaining to the origins of or persistence in childhood anthropometric measures is incomplete. Here, we utilize several nonparametric metrics to assess the evolution of weight and body mass index (BMI) across the entire distribution during early childhood. We find that movements within the distribution of weight – both upward and downward – are quite high prior to primary school and then decline noticeably. For BMI, we find that movements within the distribution – both upward and downward – are highest at the start of kindergarten and at the start of middle school. However, there are important sources of heterogeneity, including race, gender, and age that should prove insightful to researchers and policymakers. For instance, comparing males versus females who are initially in the bottom quartile of the distribution of BMI, we find that males have a higher probability of moving up at least ten percentile points between kindergarten and eighth grade (53% versus 50%). Comparisons among racial groups indicate that whites who are initially in the top quartile of the distribution of BMI have a higher probability of moving down at least ten percentile points between kindergarten and eighth grade than blacks and Hispanics (46% versus 37% and 40%, respectively).

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Ecological Momentary Assessment of Urban Adolescents’ Technology Use and Cravings for Unhealthy Snacks and Drinks: Differences by Ethnicity and Sex

Nicholas Borgogna et al.
Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, forthcoming

Objective: We examined whether momentary associations between four technology types (ie, television, video games, computer messaging, and phone messaging) and cravings for unhealthy snack foods and sweetened drinks were moderated by youths’ sex, ethnicity, body mass index, and age.

Methods: Urban adolescents (N=158) aged 14 to 17 years provided momentary information about their technology use and food cravings during the course of 1 week and completed survey reports of their personal characteristics. We used multilevel modeling to determine momentary associations and interactions.

Results: Non-Hispanic adolescents showed stronger associations between television exposure and cravings for sweet snacks, salty snacks, and sweetened drinks. Being Hispanic was associated with stronger associations between phone messaging and cravings for sweet snacks, salty snacks, and sweetened drinks. Males showed stronger associations between video game use and salty snack cravings.

Conclusions: As the public health field continues to monitor the effects of technology use on adolescents’ eating and overall health, it will be important to determine the extent to which these groups are differentially affected by different forms of technology.

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Awareness of social influence on food intake. An analysis of two experimental studies

Eric Robinson & Matt Field
Appetite, forthcoming

Abstract:
There is consistent evidence that the amount of food we consume can be influenced by the eating behaviour of other people. Some previous experimental studies reported that consumers are unaware of this influence on their behaviour. The present research tested whether people may be more aware of social influence on their eating than previously assumed. In two studies, participants (total n = 160) were exposed to information about the amount of snack food other people had been eating shortly before being served the same snack food and eating as much as they liked. After this, participants responded to questions regarding whether they thought their food intake had been socially influenced, and reported the reasons why they believed they had or had not been influenced. Of the 160 participants, 34% reported that they had been influenced, 10% were unsure and 56% reported they had not been influenced. Crucially, participants' reports of social influence appeared to be accurate; the food intake of participants reporting social influence was significantly affected by the amount of food other people had been eating, whereas the food intake of participants denying social influence was unaffected. Individuals may be more aware of the effect that social influence has on their eating behaviour than previously assumed. Further work is needed to identify the factors which determine whether people are susceptible to social influence on eating behaviour.

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Quality and Cost of Student Lunches Brought From Home

Michelle Caruso & Karen Cullen
JAMA Pediatrics, forthcoming

Objectives: To examine the quality and cost of lunches brought from home by elementary and intermediate school students.

Design, Setting, and Participants: An observational study was conducted in 12 schools (8 elementary and 4 intermediate) in one Houston, Texas, area school district from October 6, 2011, to December 5, 2011. Participants included 242 elementary and 95 intermediate school students who brought lunches from home.

Main Outcomes and Measures: Foods brought and amounts eaten were recorded along with student grade level and sex. Nutrient and food group content were calculated and compared with current National School Lunch Program (NSLP) guidelines. Per-serving prices for each item were collected from 3 grocery stores in the study area and averaged.

Results: Compared with the NSLP guidelines, lunches brought from home contained more sodium (1110 vs ≤640 mg for elementary and 1003 vs ≤710 mg for intermediate students) and fewer servings of fruits (0.33 cup for elementary and 0.29 cup for intermediate students vs 0.50 cup per the NSLP guidelines), vegetables (0.07 cup for elementary and 0.11 cup for intermediate students vs 0.75 cup per the NSLP guidelines), whole grains (0.22-oz equivalent for elementary and 0.31-oz equivalent for intermediate students vs 0.50-oz minimum per the NLSP guidelines), and fluid milk (0.08 cup for elementary and 0.02 cup for intermediate students vs 1 cup per the NSLP guidelines). About 90% of lunches from home contained desserts, snack chips, and sweetened beverages, which are not permitted in reimbursable school meals. The cost of lunches from home averaged $1.93 for elementary and $1.76 for intermediate students. Students from lower-income intermediate schools brought significantly higher-priced ($1.94) lunches than did students from middle-income schools ($1.63).

Conclusions and Relevance: Lunches brought from home compared unfavorably with current NSLP guidelines. Strategies are needed to improve the nutritional quality of lunches brought from home.

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An Evaluation of Government and Industry Proposed Restrictions on Television Advertising of Breakfast Cereals to Children

Joshua Berning, Rui Huang & Adam Rabinowitz
Journal of Consumer Policy, December 2014, Pages 507-525

Abstract:
In the United States, both industry and the federal government have worked to establish voluntary guidelines for how firms market food to children and to establish a threshold for the nutritional quality of foods marketed to children. The authors evaluate three US guidelines that deal with television advertising of breakfast cereals, which is both heavily advertised and a common meal item for children. They find that the majority of cereals advertised primarily to children from 2006 to 2008 do not meet any of the current and proposed self-regulatory nutrition guidelines, and that this is generally due to excessive sugar content. Further, children and adolescents are exposed to more advertising for products that do not meet the nutritional guidelines. We evaluate the extent to which each of the guidelines impacts advertising of cereals that are most viewed by children and purchased by households with children. The results provide insight for policy makers concerned with limiting the extent to which children see television advertising and ultimately consume unhealthy breakfast cereals.

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Blue lighting decreases the amount of food consumed in men, but not in women

Sungeun Cho et al.
Appetite, February 2015, Pages 111–117

Abstract:
Previous research has demonstrated that colors of lighting can modulate participants' motivation to consume the food placed under the lighting. This study was designed to determine whether the colors of lighting can affect the amount of food consumed, in addition to sensory perception of the food. The influence of lighting color was also compared between men and women. One-hundred twelve participants (62 men and 50 women) were asked to consume a breakfast meal (omelets and mini-pancakes) under one of three different lighting colors: white, yellow, and blue. During the test, hedonic impression of the food's appearance, willingness to eat, overall flavor intensity and overall impression of the food, and meal size (i.e., the amount of food consumed) were measured. Blue lighting decreased the hedonic impression of the food's appearance, but not the willingness to eat, compared to yellow and white lighting conditions. The blue lighting significantly decreased the amount consumed in men, but not in women, compared to yellow and white lighting conditions. Overall flavor intensity and overall impression of the food were not significantly different among the three lighting colors. In conclusion, this study provides empirical evidence that the color of lighting can modulate the meal size. In particular, blue lighting can decrease the amount of food eaten in men without reducing their acceptability of the food.

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Experiencing Weight Bias in an Unjust World: Impact on Exercise and Internalization

Rebecca Pearl & John Dovidio
Health Psychology, forthcoming

Objective: This research explores the effects of belief in a just world on exercise and psychological well-being among individuals who have experienced weight bias.

Methods: In Study 1, 804 participants in an online study reported belief in a just world; exercise intentions, motivation, self-efficacy, and behavior; experiences with weight bias; and height/weight and self-perceived weight status. In Study 2, 237 participants with overweight and obesity were randomly assigned to read 1 of 2 passages (online) describing weight bias and discrimination as rare versus pervasive, and rated their perceptions of pervasiveness. Participants then read 1 of 3 randomly assigned vignettes that confirmed, challenged, or did not attempt to influence belief in a just world, and completed measures of exercise intentions and motivation, body dissatisfaction, weight bias internalization, and experiences with weight bias.

Results: Study 1 revealed that weaker belief in a just world was associated with lower ratings on all exercise variables among participants who reported experiencing weight bias. In Study 2, regression analyses revealed an interaction between ratings of perceived pervasiveness of weight discrimination and the Challenge condition for all outcome measures. The Challenge condition led to lower ratings of exercise intentions and motivation, and higher reports of body dissatisfaction and weight bias internalization, when weight bias was perceived to be more pervasive.

Conclusion: Threats to belief in a just world may lead to negative outcomes for health behaviors and psychological well-being among individuals who have experienced weight bias and perceive it to be pervasive.

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Toward a quantitative theory of food consumption choices and body weight

Sebastien Buttet & Veronika Dolar
Economics & Human Biology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We propose a calibrated dynamic model of food consumption choices and body weight to study changes in daily caloric intake, weight, and the away-from-home share of calories consumed by adult men and women in the U.S. during the period between 1971 and 2006. Calibration reveals substantial preference heterogeneity between men and women. For example, utility losses stemming from weight gains are ten times greater for women compared to men. Counterfactual experiments show that changes in food prices and household income account for half of the increase in weight of adult men, but only a small fraction of women's weight. We argue that quantitative models of food consumption choices and body weight have a unique role to play in future research in the economics of obesity.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, December 8, 2014

Schooling

How Does Peer Pressure Affect Educational Investments?

Leonardo Bursztyn & Robert Jensen
NBER Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
When effort is observable to peers, students may act to avoid social penalties by conforming to prevailing norms. To test for such behavior, we conducted an experiment in which 11th grade students were offered complimentary access to an online SAT preparatory course. Signup sheets differed randomly across students (within classrooms) only in the extent to which they emphasized that the decision to enroll would be kept private from classmates. In non-honors classes, the signup rate was 11 percentage points lower when decisions to enroll were public rather than private. Sign up in honors classes was unaffected. To further isolate the role of peer pressure we examine students taking the same number of honors classes. The timing of our visits to each school will find some of these students in one of their honors classes and others in one of their non-honors classes; which they happen to be sitting in when we arrive to conduct our experiment should be (and, empirically, is) uncorrelated with student characteristics. When offered the course in a non-honors class, these students were 25 percentage points less likely to sign up if the decision was public rather than private. But if they were offered the course in one of their honors classes, they were 25 percentage points more likely to sign up when the decision was public. Thus, students are highly responsive to who their peers are and what the prevailing norm is when they make decisions.

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The Demand for Effective Charter Schools

Christopher Walters
NBER Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
This paper uses a structural model of school choice and academic achievement to study the demand for charter schools in Boston, Massachusetts, with an emphasis on comparative advantage in school choice. I combine an optimal portfolio choice model of charter school application and attendance decisions with a selection correction approach that links students' school choices to the achievement gains generated by charter attendance. To estimate the model, I use instrumental variables derived from randomized entrance lotteries, together with a second set of instruments based on distance to charter schools. The estimates show that charter schools reduce achievement gaps between high- and low-achieving groups, so disadvantaged students and low-achievers have a comparative advantage in the charter sector. Higher-income students and students with high prior achievement have the strongest demand for charter schools, however, which implies that preferences for charters are inversely related to potential achievement gains. The structural estimates show a similar pattern of selection on unobservables. These findings imply that students do not sort into charter schools on the basis of comparative advantage in academic achievement; instead, disadvantaged students are less likely to apply to charter schools despite larger potential achievement gains. I use simulations of an equilibrium school choice model to quantify the consequences of this demand-side pattern for the effects of charter school expansion. The results suggest that in the absence of significant behavioral or institutional changes, the effects of charter expansion may be limited as much by demand as by supply.

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Unequal returns to academic credentials as a hidden dimension of race and class inequality in American college enrollments

Tina Wildhagen
Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, December 2014, Pages 18–31

Abstract:
This study asks whether growing access to academic credentials for students from disadvantaged groups will lead to a decrease in the value of those credentials for these groups in college enrollments. Drawing on credentialing theory and the concept of adaptive social closure, I argue that as certain academic credentials become democratized (i.e., more accessible to disadvantaged students), their value decreases for students from disadvantaged race and class groups at the same time as it increases for students from privileged race and class groups. To test this idea, I use data from two cohorts of American high school graduates to estimate changes in the educational payoff of participation in the Advanced Placement (AP) program for students across racial and social class groups. The results show that at the same time as students from disadvantaged groups gained wider access to the AP program, its effect on their rates of college enrollment declined. During the same time period, the AP effect on the rates of college enrollment for students from privileged groups increased. I conclude that unequal returns to academic credentials for privileged and disadvantaged students represent a hidden dimension of race and class inequality in American college enrollments. Moreover, the results demonstrate the possibility that as access to an academic credential democratizes, as is the case with the AP program, privileged groups are better able to insulate themselves from the negative effects of credential inflation.

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Suspending Progress: Collateral Consequences of Exclusionary Punishment in Public Schools

Brea Perry & Edward Morris
American Sociological Review, December 2014, Pages 1067-1087

Abstract:
An influential literature in criminology has identified indirect “collateral consequences” of mass imprisonment. We extend this criminological perspective to the context of the U.S. education system, conceptualizing exclusionary discipline practices (i.e., out-of-school suspension) as a manifestation of intensified social control in schools. Similar to patterns of family and community decline associated with mass incarceration, we theorize that exclusionary discipline policies have indirect adverse effects on non-suspended students in punitive schools. Using a large hierarchical and longitudinal dataset consisting of student and school records, we examine the effect of suspension on reading and math achievement. Our findings suggest that higher levels of exclusionary discipline within schools over time generate collateral damage, negatively affecting the academic achievement of non-suspended students in punitive contexts. This effect is strongest in schools with high levels of exclusionary discipline and schools with low levels of violence, although the adverse effect of exclusionary discipline is evident in even the most disorganized and hostile school environments. Our results level a strong argument against excessively punitive school policies and suggest the need for alternative means of establishing a disciplined environment through social integration.

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Missing the (Student Achievement) Forest for All the (Political) Trees: Empiricism and the Mexican American Studies Controversy in Tucson

Nolan Cabrera et al.
American Educational Research Journal, December 2014, Pages 1084-1118

Abstract:
The Arizona legislature passed HB 2281, which eliminated Tucson Unified School District’s (TUSD’s) Mexican American Studies (MAS) program, arguing the curriculum was too political. This program has been at the center of contentious debates, but a central question has not been thoroughly examined: Do the classes raise student achievement? The current analyses use administrative data from TUSD (2008–2011), running logistic regression models to assess the relationship between taking MAS classes and passing AIMS (Arizona state standardized tests) and high school graduation. Results indicate that MAS participation was significantly related to an increased likelihood of both outcomes occurring. The authors discuss these results in terms of educational policy and critical pedagogy as well as the role academics can play in policy formation.

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Strategic Disclosure: The Case of Business School Rankings

Michael Luca & Jonathan Smith
Harvard Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
We empirically analyze disclosure decisions made by 240 MBA programs about which rankings to display on their websites. We present three main findings. First, consistent with theories of countersignaling, top schools are least likely to disclose their rankings, whereas mid-ranked schools are most likely to disclose. Second, schools that do poorly in the U.S. News rankings are more likely to disclose their Princeton Review certification, suggesting that schools treat different certifications as substitutes. Third, conditional on displaying a ranking, the majority of schools coarsen information to make it seem more favorable. The stark patterns in the data help to provide empirical evidence on the strategic elements of voluntary disclosure and marketing decisions.

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The Medium-Term Labor Market Returns to Community College Awards: Evidence From North Carolina

Vivian Liu, Clive Belfield & Madeline Trimble
Economics of Education Review, February 2015, Pages 42–55

Abstract:
This paper examines the relative labor market gains for first-time college students who entered the North Carolina Community College System in 2002–03. We compare the returns to diplomas, certificates, and degrees to the returns to some college credits. The authors also investigate the returns to subject field, transfer, and the early trajectories of wages. The analysis is based on student-level administrative records from college transcripts, Unemployment Insurance wage data, and the National Student Clearinghouse data across 830,000 students between 2001 and 2010. Findings from this study confirm those from earlier work: The returns to certificates and diplomas were weak, but associate and bachelor's degrees yielded very strong returns; even small accumulations of credits had labor market value; and the health sector credentials had extremely high returns. Returns were higher for female than for male students. Despite the Great Recession, the returns to college remain strong over the late 2000s.

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Medical Adaptation to Academic Pressure: Schooling, Stimulant Use, and Socioeconomic Status

Marissa King, Jennifer Jennings & Jason Fletcher
American Sociological Review, December 2014, Pages 1039-1066

Abstract:
Despite the rise of medical interventions to address behavioral issues in childhood, the social determinants of their use remain poorly understood. By analyzing a dataset that includes the majority of prescriptions written for stimulants in the United States, we find a substantial effect of schooling on stimulant use. In middle and high school, adolescents are roughly 30 percent more likely to have a stimulant prescription filled during the school year than during the summer. Socioeconomically advantaged children are more likely than their less advantaged peers to selectively use stimulants only during the academic year. These differences persist when we compare higher and lower socioeconomic status children seeing the same doctors. We link these responses to academic pressure by exploiting variation between states in educational accountability system stringency. We find the largest differences in school year versus summer stimulant use in states with more accountability pressure. School-based selective stimulant use is most common among economically advantaged children living in states with strict accountability policies. Our study uncovers a new pathway through which medical interventions may act as a resource for higher socioeconomic status families to transmit educational advantages to their children, either intentionally or unwittingly.

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Property Left Behind: An Unintended Consequence of a No Child Left Behind “Failing” School Designation

Alexander Bogin & Phuong Nguyen-Hoang
Journal of Regional Science, November 2014, Pages 788–805

Abstract:
Under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), schools receiving Title I funding that fail to meet adequate academic performance targets for two consecutive years are deemed “failing.” This broadly defined, but often misunderstood designation has exerted a negative and unintended effect on low-income neighborhoods — the same neighborhoods NCLB was originally intended to help. Specifically, we find that “failing” designations significantly decrease home prices. This property value response is observed even after controlling for a myriad of traditional test score measures and school-level student demographics. Additional analyses suggest that this home price effect is largely due to strong perceptions of poor school quality or social stigma surrounding a “failing” designation.

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Sick of our loans: Student borrowing and the mental health of young adults in the United States

Katrina Walsemann, Gilbert Gee & Danielle Gentile
Social Science & Medicine, January 2015, Pages 85–93

Abstract:
Student loans are increasingly important and commonplace, especially among recent cohorts of young adults in the United States. These loans facilitate the acquisition of human capital in the form of education, but may also lead to stress and worries related to repayment. This study investigated two questions: 1) what is the association between the cumulative amount of student loans borrowed over the course of schooling and psychological functioning when individuals are 25–31 years old; and 2) what is the association between annual student loan borrowing and psychological functioning among currently enrolled college students? We also examined whether these relationships varied by parental wealth, college enrollment history (e.g. 2-year versus 4-year college), and educational attainment (for cumulative student loans only). We analyzed data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97), a nationally representative sample of young adults in the United States. Analyses employed multivariate linear regression and within-person fixed-effects models. Student loans were associated with poorer psychological functioning, adjusting for covariates, in both the multivariate linear regression and the within-person fixed effects models. This association varied by level of parental wealth in the multivariate linear regression models only, and did not vary by college enrollment history or educational attainment. The present findings raise novel questions for further research regarding student loan debt and the possible spillover effects on other life circumstances, such as occupational trajectories and health inequities. The study of student loans is even more timely and significant given the ongoing rise in the costs of higher education.

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How learning a musical instrument affects the development of skills

Adrian Hille & Jürgen Schupp
Economics of Education Review, February 2015, Pages 56–82

Abstract:
Despite numerous studies on skill development, we know little about the effects of extracurricular music activities on cognitive and non-cognitive skills. This study examines how music training during childhood and youth affects the development of cognitive skills, school grades, personality, time use and ambition using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). Our findings suggest that adolescents with music training have better school grades, are more conscientious, open and ambitious. These effects are stronger among adolescents from lower socio-economic status. In order to address the non-random selection into playing music, we take into account detailed information on the child and its parents, which may determine both the decision to pursue music lessons and educational outcomes. While lacking truly exogenous variations in music activities, our results are robust to a large range of sensitivity tests. We thereby approach causality better than previous observational studies.

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Longitudinal Effects of Group Music Instruction on Literacy Skills in Low-Income Children

Jessica Slater et al.
PLoS ONE, November 2014

Abstract:
Children from low-socioeconomic backgrounds tend to fall progressively further behind their higher-income peers over the course of their academic careers. Music training has been associated with enhanced language and learning skills, suggesting that music programs could play a role in helping low-income children to stay on track academically. Using a controlled, longitudinal design, the impact of group music instruction on English reading ability was assessed in 42 low-income Spanish-English bilingual children aged 6–9 years in Los Angeles. After one year, children who received music training retained their age-normed level of reading performance while a matched control group's performance deteriorated, consistent with expected declines in this population. While the extent of change is modest, outcomes nonetheless provide evidence that music programs may have value in helping to counteract the negative effects of low-socioeconomic status on child literacy development.

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The Long Run Human Capital and Economic Consequences of High-Stakes Examinations

Victor Lavy, Avraham Ebenstein & Sefi Roth
NBER Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
Cognitive performance during high-stakes exams can be affected by random disturbances that, even if transitory, may have permanent consequences for long-term schooling attainment and labor market outcomes. We evaluate this hypothesis among Israeli high school students who took a series of high stakes matriculation exams between 2000 and 2002. As a source of random (transitory) shocks to high- stakes matriculation test scores, we use exposure to ambient air pollution during the day of the exam. First, we document a significant and negative relationship between average PM2.5 exposure during exams and student composite scores, post-secondary educational attainment, and earnings during adulthood. Second, using PM2.5 as an instrument, we estimate a large economic return to each point on the exam and each additional year of post-secondary education. Third, we examine the return to exam scores and schooling across sub-populations, and find the largest effects among boys, better students, and children from higher socio-economic backgrounds. The results suggest that random disturbances during high-stakes examinations can have long-term consequences for schooling and labor market outcomes, while also highlighting the drawbacks of using high-stakes examinations in university admissions.

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The impact of college football on academic achievement

Rey Hernández-Julián & Kurt Rotthoff
Economics of Education Review, December 2014, Pages 141–147

Abstract:
We revisit a recent study by Lindo et al. (2012), who found a negative relationship between the success of the University of Oregon football team and the academic performance of students as measured by grades. Using data from Clemson University, we also find that the football team's winning percentage is negatively related to academic performance. Although Lindo et al. (2012) found that the academic performance of male students was more sensitive to changes in the winning percentage than the academic performance of female students, we find evidence of the opposite phenomenon in the Clemson data. Moreover, the negative relationship between wins and academic performance at Clemson appears to persist into the spring semester.

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The Evolution of Charter School Quality

Patrick Baude et al.
NBER Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
Studies of the charter school sector typically focus on head-to-head comparisons of charter and traditional schools at a point in time, but the expansion of parental choice and relaxation of constraints on school operations is unlikely to raise school quality overnight. Rather, the success of the reform depends in large part on whether parental choices induce improvements in the charter sector. We study quality changes among Texas charter schools between 2001 and 2011. Our results suggest that the charter sector was initially characterized by schools whose quality was highly variable and, on average, less effective than traditional public schools. However, exits from the sector, improvement of existing charter schools, and positive selection of charter management organizations that open additional schools raised average charter school effectiveness over time relative to traditional public schools. Moreover, the evidence is consistent with the belief that a reduction in student turnover as the sector matures, expansion of the share of charters that adhere to a No Excuses philosophy, and increasingly positive student selection at the times of both entry and reenrollment all contribute to the improvement of the charter sector.

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The Labor Market Returns to a For-Profit College Education

Stephanie Riegg Cellini & Latika Chaudhary
Economics of Education Review, December 2014, Pages 125–140

Abstract:
A lengthy literature estimating the returns to education has largely ignored the for-profit sector. In this paper, we estimate the earnings gains to for-profit college attendance using restricted-access data from the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY97). Using an individual fixed effects estimation strategy that allows us to control for time-invariant unobservable characteristics of students, we find that students who enroll in associate's degree programs in for-profit colleges experience earnings gains of about 10 percent relative to high school graduates with no college degree, conditional on employment. Since associate's degree students attend for an average of 2.6 years, this translates to a 4 percent return per year of education in a for-profit college, slightly lower than estimates of returns for other sectors found in the literature.

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Teacher Pay Reform and Productivity: Panel Data Evidence from Adoptions of Q-Comp in Minnesota

Aaron Sojourner, Elton Mykerezi & Kristine West
Journal of Human Resources, Fall 2014, Pages 945-981

Abstract:
This paper studies the impacts of teacher pay-for-performance (P4P) reforms adopted with complementary human resource management (HRM) practices on student achievement and workforce flows. Since 2005, dozens of Minnesota school districts in cooperation with teachers’ unions implemented P4P as part of the state’s Quality Compensation program. Exploiting district variation in participation status and timing, we find evidence that P4P-centered HRM reform raises students’ achievement by 0.03 standard deviations. Falsification tests suggest that gains are causal. They appear to be driven especially by productivity increases among less-experienced teachers.

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Screening Mechanisms and Student Responses in the College Market

Jonathan Smith, Michael Hurwitz & Jessica Howell
Economics of Education Review, February 2015, Pages 17–28

Abstract:
In light of the sizeable financial and time investments associated with obtaining a postsecondary degree, the choice of where to apply and enroll should be a deliberate and thoughtful process. In this paper we exploit changes in application fees and admissions essay requirements, to demonstrate that students strongly respond to small costs in the college application process. Using a new method to identify major competitors of each college, we find that these small screening mechanisms negatively impact application volume and divert student applications to colleges to which they otherwise would not have applied. There is limited evidence that measures of enrollment and retention are affected.

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Estimating Impacts of a Breakfast in the Classroom Program on School Outcomes

Stephanie Anzman-Frasca et al.
JAMA Pediatrics, forthcoming

Objective: To estimate the impact of a Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) program on School Breakfast Program participation, school attendance, and academic achievement.

Design, Setting, and Participants: This quasi-experimental study included a sample of 446 public elementary schools from a large, urban US school district that served predominantly low-income, racial/ethnic minority students.

Interventions: A total of 257 schools (57.6%) implemented a BIC program during the 2012-2013 academic year, whereas 189 (42.4%) did not.

Main Outcomes and Measures: School- and grade-level data from 2012-2013 and grade-level achievement data from the prior year were collected from school district records across the elementary schools. Hypotheses that a BIC program would improve school breakfast participation at the school level, school attendance at the grade level (kindergarten through sixth grade), and academic achievement at the grade level (second through sixth grades) were tested using propensity score weights to adjust for demographic differences between the BIC and non-BIC schools.

Results: The BIC program was linked with increased breakfast participation during the academic year (F10,414 = 136.90, P < .001), with mean participation rates of 73.7% in the BIC group vs 42.9% in the non-BIC group. The BIC program was also linked with greater overall school attendance rates (95.5% vs 95.3% in the non-BIC group; F1,2772 = 8.40, P = .004). When performing attendance analyses in the subset of grade levels for which achievement data were available, results were mostly consistent, although there was a group × time interaction (F10,1891 = 1.94, P = .04) such that differences between least squares means in the BIC vs non-BIC groups did not reach statistical significance at every month. There were no group differences in standardized test performance in math (57.9% in the BIC group vs 57.4% in the non-BIC group; F1,1890 = 0.41, P = .52) or reading (44.9% in the BIC group vs 44.7% in the non-BIC group; F1,1890 = 0.15, P = .70).

Conclusions and Relevance: Findings add to the evidence that BIC can increase school breakfast participation substantially and suggest that it has the potential to improve overall school attendance rates. Additional research is needed to explore the generalizability of these findings and the potential impacts on achievement for longer periods and on additional outcomes, such as weight status.

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Does Management Matter in Schools

Nicholas Bloom et al.
NBER Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
We collect data on operations, targets and human resources management practices in over 1,800 schools educating 15-year-olds in eight countries. Overall, we show that higher management quality is strongly associated with better educational outcomes. The UK, Sweden, Canada and the US obtain the highest management scores closely followed by Germany, with a gap to Italy, Brazil and then finally India. We also show that autonomous government schools (i.e. government funded but with substantial independence like UK academies and US charters) have significantly higher management scores than regular government schools and private schools. Almost half of the difference between the management scores of autonomous government schools and regular government schools is accounted for by differences in leadership of the principal and better governance.

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Accountability Incentives and Academic Achievement: Distributional Impacts of Accountability When Standards Are Set Low

J.T. Richardson
Economics of Education Review, February 2015, Pages 1–16

Abstract:
This paper examines the effects of a compositional shift in a school's testing population brought about by the elimination of special education testing exemptions. The policy change forced schools to add varying levels of generally low-achieving students to their testing pools, altering accountability incentives. I provide evidence that the elimination of exemptions caused significant test score increases for initially low-achieving students and narrowed the black-white test gap. I show that the measured effects were not caused by changes in classroom composition. Rather, benefits flowed to low-achieving students because Texas’ accountability standard was low relative to the skills of its students.

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It Makes a Village: Residential Relocation after Charter School Admission

Bartley Danielsen, David Harrison & Jing Zhao
Real Estate Economics, Winter 2014, Pages 1008–1041

Abstract:
Although numerous studies investigate how student achievement is impacted by educational vouchers and charter schools, there appears to be no research on how these programs impact the surrounding environment. This study examines residential relocation of families whose children attend a charter school. We develop a conceptual model that predicts where relocating families are likely to move, given ex ante distance and direction to the school. The model is parameterized using data from student mailing address changes. We find that families are almost twice as likely to relocate toward the school as would be expected if the school did not exert any attraction. Moreover, although families are not required to live near the school, the child's school exerts a significantly stronger attraction than parent workplaces. This result may have important implications for mitigating urban sprawl, fostering urban renewal and promoting sustainable real estate development.

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“Teaching to the Test” in the NCLB Era: How Test Predictability Affects Our Understanding of Student Performance

Jennifer Jennings & Jonathan Marc Bearak
Educational Researcher, November 2014, Pages 381-389

Abstract:
What is “teaching to the test,” and can one detect evidence of this practice in state test scores? This paper unpacks this concept and empirically investigates one variant of it by analyzing test item–level data from three states’ mathematics and reading tests. We show that NCLB-era state tests predictably emphasized some state standards while consistently excluding others; a small number of standards typically accounted for a substantial fraction of test points. We find that students performed better on items testing frequently assessed standards — those that composed a larger fraction of the state test in prior years — which suggests that teachers targeted their instruction towards these predictably tested skills. We conclude by describing general principles that should guide high-stakes test construction if a policy goal is to ensure that test score gains accurately represent gains in student learning.

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Does Reading During the Summer Build Reading Skills? Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in 463 Classrooms

Jonathan Guryan, James Kim & David Quinn
NBER Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
There are large gaps in reading skills by family income among school-aged children in the United States. Correlational evidence suggests that reading skills are strongly related to the amount of reading students do outside of school. Experimental evidence testing whether this relationship is causal is lacking. We report the results from a randomized evaluation of a summer reading program called Project READS, which induces students to read more during the summer by mailing ten books to them, one per week. Simple intent-to-treat estimates show that the program increased reading during the summer, and show significant effects on reading comprehension test scores in the fall for third grade girls but not for third grade boys or second graders of either gender. Analyses that take advantage of within-classroom random assignment and cross-classroom variation in treatment effects show evidence that reading more books generates increases in reading comprehension skills, particularly when students read carefully enough to be able to answer basic questions about the books they read, and particularly for girls.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Maker's mark

Hominids adapted to metabolize ethanol long before human-directed fermentation

Matthew Carrigan et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Paleogenetics is an emerging field that resurrects ancestral proteins from now-extinct organisms to test, in the laboratory, models of protein function based on natural history and Darwinian evolution. Here, we resurrect digestive alcohol dehydrogenases (ADH4) from our primate ancestors to explore the history of primate–ethanol interactions. The evolving catalytic properties of these resurrected enzymes show that our ape ancestors gained a digestive dehydrogenase enzyme capable of metabolizing ethanol near the time that they began using the forest floor, about 10 million y ago. The ADH4 enzyme in our more ancient and arboreal ancestors did not efficiently oxidize ethanol. This change suggests that exposure to dietary sources of ethanol increased in hominids during the early stages of our adaptation to a terrestrial lifestyle. Because fruit collected from the forest floor is expected to contain higher concentrations of fermenting yeast and ethanol than similar fruits hanging on trees, this transition may also be the first time our ancestors were exposed to (and adapted to) substantial amounts of dietary ethanol.

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Evolutionary and Developmental Changes in the Lateral Frontoparietal Network: A Little Goes a Long Way for Higher-Level Cognition

Michael Vendetti & Silvia Bunge
Neuron, 3 December 2014, Pages 906–917

Abstract:
Relational thinking, or the ability to represent the relations between items, is widespread in the animal kingdom. However, humans are unparalleled in their ability to engage in the higher-order relational thinking required for reasoning and other forms of abstract thought. Here we propose that the versatile reasoning skills observed in humans can be traced back to developmental and evolutionary changes in the lateral frontoparietal network (LFPN). We first identify the regions within the LFPN that are most strongly linked to relational thinking, and show that stronger communication between these regions over the course of development supports improvements in relational reasoning. We then explore differences in the LFPN between humans and other primate species that could explain species differences in the capacity for relational reasoning. We conclude that fairly small neuroanatomical changes in specific regions of the LFPN and their connections have led to big ontogenetic and phylogenetic changes in cognition.

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Probabilistic cognition in two indigenous Mayan groups

Laura Fontanari et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2 December 2014, Pages 17075–17080

Abstract:
Is there a sense of chance shared by all individuals, regardless of their schooling or culture? To test whether the ability to make correct probabilistic evaluations depends on educational and cultural guidance, we investigated probabilistic cognition in preliterate and prenumerate Kaqchikel and K’iche’, two indigenous Mayan groups, living in remote areas of Guatemala. Although the tested individuals had no formal education, they performed correctly in tasks in which they had to consider prior and posterior information, proportions and combinations of possibilities. Their performance was indistinguishable from that of Mayan school children and Western controls. Our results provide evidence for the universal nature of probabilistic cognition.

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Genomic structure in Europeans dating back at least 36,200 years

Andaine Seguin-Orlando et al.
Science, 28 November 2014, Pages 1113-1118

Abstract:
The origin of contemporary Europeans remains contentious. We obtain a genome sequence from Kostenki 14 in European Russia dating to 38,700 to 36,200 years ago, one of the oldest fossils of Anatomically Modern Humans from Europe. We find that K14 shares a close ancestry with the 24,000-year-old Mal’ta boy from central Siberia, European Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, some contemporary western Siberians, and many Europeans, but not eastern Asians. Additionally, the Kostenki 14 genome shows evidence of shared ancestry with a population basal to all Eurasians that also relates to later European Neolithic farmers. We find that Kostenki 14 contains more Neandertal DNA that is contained in longer tracts than present Europeans. Our findings reveal the timing of divergence of western Eurasians and East Asians to be more than 36,200 years ago and that European genomic structure today dates back to the Upper Paleolithic and derives from a meta-population that at times stretched from Europe to central Asia.

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Genome sequence of a 45,000-year-old modern human from western Siberia

Qiaomei Fu et al.
Nature, 23 October 2014, Pages 445–449

Abstract:
We present the high-quality genome sequence of a ~45,000-year-old modern human male from Siberia. This individual derives from a population that lived before — or simultaneously with — the separation of the populations in western and eastern Eurasia and carries a similar amount of Neanderthal ancestry as present-day Eurasians. However, the genomic segments of Neanderthal ancestry are substantially longer than those observed in present-day individuals, indicating that Neanderthal gene flow into the ancestors of this individual occurred 7,000–13,000 years before he lived. We estimate an autosomal mutation rate of 0.4 × 10−9 to 0.6 × 10−9 per site per year, a Y chromosomal mutation rate of 0.7 × 10−9 to 0.9 × 10−9 per site per year based on the additional substitutions that have occurred in present-day non-Africans compared to this genome, and a mitochondrial mutation rate of 1.8 × 10−8 to 3.2 × 10−8 per site per year based on the age of the bone.

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Homo erectus at Trinil on Java used shells for tool production and engraving

Josephine Joordens et al.
Nature, forthcoming

Abstract:
The manufacture of geometric engravings is generally interpreted as indicative of modern cognition and behaviour. Key questions in the debate on the origin of such behaviour are whether this innovation is restricted to Homo sapiens, and whether it has a uniquely African origin. Here we report on a fossil freshwater shell assemblage from the Hauptknochenschicht (‘main bone layer’) of Trinil (Java, Indonesia), the type locality of Homo erectus discovered by Eugène Dubois in 1891. In the Dubois collection (in the Naturalis museum, Leiden, The Netherlands) we found evidence for freshwater shellfish consumption by hominins, one unambiguous shell tool, and a shell with a geometric engraving. We dated sediment contained in the shells with 40Ar/39Ar and luminescence dating methods, obtaining a maximum age of 0.54 ± 0.10 million years and a minimum age of 0.43 ± 0.05 million years. This implies that the Trinil Hauptknochenschicht is younger than previously estimated. Together, our data indicate that the engraving was made by Homo erectus, and that it is considerably older than the oldest geometric engravings described so far. Although it is at present not possible to assess the function or meaning of the engraved shell, this discovery suggests that engraving abstract patterns was in the realm of Asian Homo erectus cognition and neuromotor control.

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Khoisan hunter-gatherers have been the largest population throughout most of modern-human demographic history

Hie Lim Kim et al.
Nature Communications, December 2014

Abstract:
The Khoisan people from Southern Africa maintained ancient lifestyles as hunter-gatherers or pastoralists up to modern times, though little else is known about their early history. Here we infer early demographic histories of modern humans using whole-genome sequences of five Khoisan individuals and one Bantu speaker. Comparison with a 420 K SNP data set from worldwide individuals demonstrates that two of the Khoisan genomes from the Ju/’hoansi population contain exclusive Khoisan ancestry. Coalescent analysis shows that the Khoisan and their ancestors have been the largest populations since their split with the non-Khoisan population ~100–150 kyr ago. In contrast, the ancestors of the non-Khoisan groups, including Bantu-speakers and non-Africans, experienced population declines after the split and lost more than half of their genetic diversity. Paleoclimate records indicate that the precipitation in southern Africa increased ~80–100 kyr ago while west-central Africa became drier. We hypothesize that these climate differences might be related to the divergent-ancient histories among human populations.

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Right for the Wrong Reasons: Reflections on Modern Human Origins in the Post-Neanderthal Genome Era

Trenton Holliday, Joanna Gautney & Lukáš Friedl
Current Anthropology, December 2014, Pages 696-724

Abstract:
The sequencing of the Neanderthal genome answered once and for all the question of whether these hominins played a role in the origins of modern humans — they did, and a majority of humans alive today retain a small portion of Neanderthal genes. This finding rejects the strictest versions of the Recent African Origin model and has been celebrated by supporters of Multiregional Evolution (MRE). However, we argue that MRE can also be rejected and that other, intermediate, models of modern human origins better represent the means by which modern humans became the only extant human species. We argue this because we reject one of the major tenets of MRE: global gene flow that prevents cladogenesis from occurring. First, using reconstructions of Pleistocene hominin census size, we maintain that populations were neither large nor dense enough to result in such high levels of gene flow across the Old World. Second, we use mammalian divergence and hybridization data to show that the emergence of Homo is recent enough that member species of this genus were unlikely to have been reproductively isolated from each other, even in the absence of the high levels of global gene flow postulated by MRE supporters.

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Rapid climate change did not cause population collapse at the end of the European Bronze Age

Ian Armit et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2 December 2014, Pages 17045–17049

Abstract:
The impact of rapid climate change on contemporary human populations is of global concern. To contextualize our understanding of human responses to rapid climate change it is necessary to examine the archeological record during past climate transitions. One episode of abrupt climate change has been correlated with societal collapse at the end of the northwestern European Bronze Age. We apply new methods to interrogate archeological and paleoclimate data for this transition in Ireland at a higher level of precision than has previously been possible. We analyze archeological 14C dates to demonstrate dramatic population collapse and present high-precision proxy climate data, analyzed through Bayesian methods, to provide evidence for a rapid climatic transition at ca. 750 calibrated years B.C. Our results demonstrate that this climatic downturn did not initiate population collapse and highlight the nondeterministic nature of human responses to past climate change.

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Agriculture facilitated permanent human occupation of the Tibetan Plateau after 3600 BP

F.H. Chen et al.
Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Our understanding of when and how humans adapted to living at altitudes above 2000 to 3000 meters of the Tibetan Plateau has been constrained by a paucity of archaeological data. Here we report data sets from the northeastern Tibetan Plateau indicating that the first villages were established only by 5200 years ago. Since 3600 calendar years before the present, a novel agropastoral economy facilitated year-round living at higher altitudes. This successful subsistence strategy facilitated the adaptation of farmers-herders to the challenges of global temperature decline during the late Holocene.

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A Selective Sweep on a Deleterious Mutation in CPT1A in Arctic Populations

Florian Clemente et al.
American Journal of Human Genetics, 6 November 2014, Pages 584–589

Abstract:
Arctic populations live in an environment characterized by extreme cold and the absence of plant foods for much of the year and are likely to have undergone genetic adaptations to these environmental conditions in the time they have been living there. Genome-wide selection scans based on genotype data from native Siberians have previously highlighted a 3 Mb chromosome 11 region containing 79 protein-coding genes as the strongest candidates for positive selection in Northeast Siberians. However, it was not possible to determine which of the genes might be driving the selection signal. Here, using whole-genome high-coverage sequence data, we identified the most likely causative variant as a nonsynonymous G>A transition (rs80356779; c.1436C>T [p.Pro479Leu] on the reverse strand) in CPT1A, a key regulator of mitochondrial long-chain fatty-acid oxidation. Remarkably, the derived allele is associated with hypoketotic hypoglycemia and high infant mortality yet occurs at high frequency in Canadian and Greenland Inuits and was also found at 68% frequency in our Northeast Siberian sample. We provide evidence of one of the strongest selective sweeps reported in humans; this sweep has driven this variant to high frequency in circum-Arctic populations within the last 6–23 ka despite associated deleterious consequences, possibly as a result of the selective advantage it originally provided to either a high-fat diet or a cold environment.

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Genome flux and stasis in a five millennium transect of European prehistory

Cristina Gamba et al.
Nature Communications, October 2014

Abstract:
The Great Hungarian Plain was a crossroads of cultural transformations that have shaped European prehistory. Here we analyse a 5,000-year transect of human genomes, sampled from petrous bones giving consistently excellent endogenous DNA yields, from 13 Hungarian Neolithic, Copper, Bronze and Iron Age burials including two to high (~22 × ) and seven to ~1 × coverage, to investigate the impact of these on Europe’s genetic landscape. These data suggest genomic shifts with the advent of the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages, with interleaved periods of genome stability. The earliest Neolithic context genome shows a European hunter-gatherer genetic signature and a restricted ancestral population size, suggesting direct contact between cultures after the arrival of the first farmers into Europe. The latest, Iron Age, sample reveals an eastern genomic influence concordant with introduced Steppe burial rites. We observe transition towards lighter pigmentation and surprisingly, no Neolithic presence of lactase persistence.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Hands up

Does Media Violence Predict Societal Violence? It Depends on What You Look at and When

Christopher Ferguson
Journal of Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article presents 2 studies of the association of media violence rates with societal violence rates. In the first study, movie violence and homicide rates are examined across the 20th century and into the 21st (1920–2005). Throughout the mid-20th century small-to-moderate correlational relationships can be observed between movie violence and homicide rates in the United States. This trend reversed in the early and latter 20th century, with movie violence rates inversely related to homicide rates. In the second study, videogame violence consumption is examined against youth violence rates in the previous 2 decades. Videogame consumption is associated with a decline in youth violence rates. Results suggest that societal consumption of media violence is not predictive of increased societal violence rates.

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Everyday sadism predicts violent video game preferences

Tobias Greitemeyer
Personality and Individual Differences, March 2015, Pages 19–23

Abstract:
Playing violent video games has become an integral part of the lives of many people, although some people more than others may be predisposed to enjoy violent video games. Two cross-sectional studies examined the extent to which everyday sadism predicts the amount of violent video game play. Past research has shown that everyday sadists obtain pleasure from cruel behaviors. Hence, I reasoned that everyday sadists are drawn to violent video games because killing game characters might be an opportunity to satisfy their need for cruelty. In fact, results revealed a positive link between everyday sadism and the amount of violent video game exposure. Moreover, this relation statistically held when controlling for the impact of trait aggression, the Big 5, narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy.

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Popularity Through Online Harm: The Longitudinal Associations Between Cyberbullying and Sociometric Status in Early Adolescence

Denis Wegge et al.
Journal of Early Adolescence, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present study examines the reciprocal associations between cyberbullying behavior and young adolescents’ social status. For this purpose, a two-wave panel study with an 8-month time interval was conducted among an entire grade of 154 secondary school pupils (age 12-14). The survey featured items on traditional bullying and cyberbullying as well as peer-nomination questions on sociometric and perceived popularity. Cyberbullying was related to subsequent increases in perceived popularity of the perpetrators. In contrast, traditional bullying perpetration was not longitudinally associated with social status during the studied period. Although perceived popularity was also expected to precede cyberbullying behavior, this was not observed. Taken together, the results suggest that electronic forms of bullying, rather than traditional forms, can provide a means to acquire additional perceived popularity in early adolescence. The findings warrant future research on the factors that moderate the association between cyberbullying and social status.

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Play fighting to curb self-reported aggression in young adolescents

Attilio Carraro, Erica Gobbi & Angelica Moè
Journal of Adolescence, December 2014, Pages 1303–1307

Abstract:
This study investigated the effects of play fighting on aggressive behaviors. It was hypothesized that the teaching of play fighting during physical education lessons could reduce self-reported aggression in a group of adolescents to a greater extent than playing volleyball (a low physical contact activity). Participants were 210 young adolescents (mean age = 13.27, SD = 0.48 years) from 10 classrooms that were randomly assigned to an 8-lesson play fighting session or to traditional volleyball lessons. They filled in the 12-item short version of the Aggression Questionnaire (AQ-12) pre- and post-interventions. The play fighting group showed a significant reduction in all the four subscales of the AQ-12 (Cohen d ranging from 0.61 to 0.67), while participants in the volleyball group did not. Results suggest that play fighting might provide useful contents in a physical education curriculum, with possible reduction in aggressive behavior.

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From Bullied to Deviant: The Victim–Offender Overlap Among Bullying Victims

Whitney DeCamp & Brian Newby
Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, January 2015, Pages 3-17

Abstract:
Although much research has explored bullies and bullying victims, little has been done to explore the long-term effects on those who have been bullied. Separately, a growing body of evidence suggests that there is a victim–offender overlap, in which many victims are or become offenders themselves. Taken together, this suggests that bullying victims may themselves be at elevated risk of involvement in deviance or crime. The present study uses data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 to explore this issue, utilizing propensity score matching to control for the shared predictors of offending and victimization. Given that bullying experiences can vary dramatically by gender, gender-specific analyses are performed. Results indicate that controlling for the propensity to be bullied reduces, but does not eliminate, the effect on later criminality.

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Fight the power: Lanchester’s laws of combat in human evolution

Dominic Johnson & Niall MacKay
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Lanchester’s “Laws of Combat” are mathematical principles that have long been used to model military conflict. More recently, they have been applied to conflict among animals, including ants, birds, lions, and chimpanzees. Lanchester’s Linear Law states that, where combat between two groups is a series of one-on-one duels, fighting strength is proportional to group size, as one would expect. However, Lanchester’s Square Law states that, where combat is all-against-all, fighting strength is proportional to the square of group size. If conflict has been important in our evolutionary history, we might expect humans to have evolved assessment mechanisms that take Lanchester’s Laws of Combat into account. Those that did would have reaped great dividends; those that did not would have made a quick exit from the gene pool. We hypothesize that: (1) the dominant and most lethal form of combat in human evolutionary history (as well as among chimpanzees and some social carnivores) has been asymmetric raids in which multiple individuals gang up on a few opponents, approximating Square Law combat; and (2) this would have favored the natural selection of an evolved “Square Law heuristic” that correlated fighting strength not with raw group size but with group size squared. We discuss the implications for primate evolution, human evolution, coalitionary psychology, and contemporary war.

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Sexually Coercive Male Chimpanzees Sire More Offspring

Joseph Feldblum et al.
Current Biology, 1 December 2014, Pages 2855–2860

Abstract:
In sexually reproducing animals, male and female reproductive strategies often conflict. In some species, males use aggression to overcome female choice, but debate persists over the extent to which this strategy is successful. Previous studies of male aggression toward females among wild chimpanzees have yielded contradictory results about the relationship between aggression and mating behavior. Critically, however, copulation frequency in primates is not always predictive of reproductive success. We analyzed a 17-year sample of behavioral and genetic data from the Kasekela chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) community in Gombe National Park, Tanzania, to test the hypothesis that male aggression toward females increases male reproductive success. We examined the effect of male aggression toward females during ovarian cycling, including periods when the females were sexually receptive (swollen) and periods when they were not. We found that, after controlling for confounding factors, male aggression during a female’s swollen periods was positively correlated with copulation frequency. However, aggression toward swollen females was not predictive of paternity. Instead, aggression by high-ranking males toward females during their nonswollen periods was positively associated with likelihood of paternity. This indicates that long-term patterns of intimidation allow high-ranking males to increase their reproductive success, supporting the sexual coercion hypothesis. To our knowledge, this is the first study to present genetic evidence of sexual coercion as an adaptive strategy in a social mammal.

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The effect of neighborhood disadvantage, social ties, and genetic variation on the antisocial behavior of African American women: A multilevel analysis

Man-Kit Lei et al.
Development and Psychopathology, November 2014, Pages 1113-1128

Abstract:
Social disorganization theory posits that individuals who live in disadvantaged neighborhoods are more likely to engage in antisocial behavior than are those who live in advantaged neighborhoods and that neighborhood disadvantage asserts this effect through its disruptive impact on social ties. Past research on this framework has been limited in two respects. First, most studies have concentrated on adolescent males. In contrast, the present study focused on a sample of adult African American females. Second, past research has largely ignored individual-level factors that might explain why people who grow up in disadvantaged neighborhoods often do not engage in antisocial behavior. We investigated the extent to which genetic variation contributes to heterogeneity of response to neighborhood conditions. We found that the impact of neighborhood disadvantage on antisocial behavior was mediated by neighborhood social ties. Further, the analysis indicated that the effects of neighborhood disadvantage and social ties on antisocial behavior were moderated by genetic polymorphisms. Examination of these moderating effects provided support for the differential susceptibility model of Gene × Environment. The effect of Gene × Neighborhood Disadvantage on antisocial behavior was mediated by the effect of Gene × Neighborhood Social Ties, providing support for an expanded view of social disorganization theory.

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Stranger Danger: The Role of Perpetrator and Context in Moderating Reactions to Sexual Harassment

Megan McCarty, Nicole Iannone & Janice Kelly
Sexuality & Culture, December 2014, Pages 739-758

Abstract:
The majority of research on sexual harassment focuses on achievement contexts where the perpetrator of the harassment is known to the victim. More recent work has begun to explore sexual harassment perpetrated by strangers in public places. The current work sought to bridge the gap between research on sexual harassment in achievement contexts and stranger harassment. In doing so, the current work manipulated factors related to three important distinctions between these topics: the relationship between the perpetrator and victim, the location, and the type of sexually harassing behavior. The current study provides evidence that stranger harassment elicits more negative reactions than harassment from a coworker. Additionally, harasser type interacted with harassment type, with situations involving strangers making physical contact eliciting the most negative reactions. Thus, the current work suggests a need for more research on stranger harassment, as well as on additional factors that may operate differently depending on harasser type.

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Sexual Harassment Victimization and Perpetration Among High School Students

Emily Clear et al.
Violence Against Women, October 2014, Pages 1203-1219

Abstract:
This large, population-based study is one of the few to examine prevalence rates of sexual harassment occurring during the past 12 months by victimization and perpetration among adolescents. In this large, cross-sectional survey of students attending 26 high schools, sexual harassment was defined using three questions from the Sexual Experiences Questionnaire. Among 18,090 students completing the survey, 30% disclosed sexual harassment victimization (37% of females, 21% of males) and 8.5% reported perpetration (5% of females, 12% of males). Sexual harassment perpetration was highly correlated with male sex, minority race/ethnicity, same-sex attraction, bullying, alcohol binge drinking, and intraparental partner violence.

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Nonviolent physical risk-taking enhances the envisioned bodily formidability of women

Daniel Fessler et al.
Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, December 2014, Pages 67-80

Abstract:
Men are more prone than women to both commit physical violence and engage in nonviolent activities entailing the risk of injury or death. The Crazy Bastard Hypothesis (Fessler et al. 2014a) addresses this conjunction, arguing that nonviolent physical risk-taking communicates information about the actor’s agonistic formidability, as individuals who are indifferent to the possibility of harm are more likely to enter conflicts, and more difficult to repel, than those who are more sensitive to harm. Reflecting the use of bodily size in representations that summarize formidability, previous work demonstrates that risk-prone men are envisioned to be larger than are risk-averse men. Though less violent than men, particularly in highly competitive environments, women too sometimes benefit from engaging in violence. Correspondingly, observers should draw similar inferences regarding formidability when assessing physically risk-prone women. Results from both a large online experiment in the U.S. and a follow-up study using a modified dependent measure designed to reduce demand characteristics reveal that a woman described as risk-prone is envisioned to be larger — and thus more formidable — than is a woman described as risk-averse. Nonviolent physical risk-taking is thus available to women as an avenue for communicating formidability when it is advantageous to do so.

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Narcissism, Low Self-Control, and Violence Among a Nationally Representative Sample

Matthew Larson et al.
Criminal Justice and Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
A growing body of evidence has highlighted the relationship between narcissism and violence. Importantly, however, the predominance of this evidence comes from experimental tests or small-scale samples that most often overlook the contribution of low self-control to explicating the relationship. The present study refers to the National Epidemiological Study of Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) to assess narcissism, low self-control, and violence among a nationally representative sample. Using Latent Class Analyses (LCA), four classes of individuals are identified, and multinomial regression models indicate that narcissism and low self-control are associated with a range of violent acts among these groups. Most importantly, results show that the class of individuals that is high in narcissism and deficient in self-control is far and away the most prone to violence. Together, these findings lend important nationally representative support to recent experimental and meta-analytical conclusions suggesting that the co-occurrence of narcissism and low self-control has significant implications for our understanding of violence. Limitations of this study and avenues for future research are discussed.

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Ethnicity and Cultural Values as Predictors of the Occurrence and Impact of Experienced Workplace Incivility

Jennifer Welbourne, Ashwini Gangadharan & Ana Sariol
Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Workplace incivility is a subtle type of deviant work behavior that is low in intensity and violates workplace norms of respect. Past research demonstrates the harmful impact of incivility on work attitudes and employee wellbeing; however, little is known about how incivility is experienced by individuals of different ethnicities and cultural orientations. In the current study, we compared the amount and impact of workplace incivility that was experienced by Hispanic and white, non-Hispanic employees. Further, we examined whether cultural dimensions of vertical and horizontal individualism and collectivism moderated the relationships between workplace incivility and work and health outcomes. A sample of 262 university employees (50% Hispanic; 63% female) provided self-reports of experienced incivility, burnout, job satisfaction, and cultural values. Although male Hispanic employees experienced more incivility, female Hispanic employees experienced less incivility than non-Hispanic employees of the same gender. Hispanic employees displayed greater resilience against the impact of incivility on job satisfaction and burnout, compared with non-Hispanic employees. Additionally, employees with strong horizontal collectivism values (emphasizing sociability) were more resilient against the impact of incivility on burnout, whereas employees with strong horizontal individualism values (emphasizing self-reliance) were more susceptible to burnout and dissatisfaction when faced with incivility. These findings suggest that employees’ ethnicity and cultural values may increase or decrease their vulnerability to the impact of incivility at work.

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Gender, Friendship Networks, and Delinquency: A Dynamic Network Approach

Dana Haynie, Nathan Doogan & Brian Soller
Criminology, November 2014, Pages 688–722

Abstract:
Researchers have examined selection and influence processes in shaping delinquency similarity among friends, but little is known about the role of gender in moderating these relationships. Our objective is to examine differences between adolescent boys and girls regarding delinquency-based selection and influence processes. Using longitudinal network data from adolescents attending two large schools in AddHealth (N = 1,857) and stochastic actor-oriented models, we evaluate whether girls are influenced to a greater degree by friends’ violence or delinquency than boys (influence hypothesis) and whether girls are more likely to select friends based on violent or delinquent behavior than boys (selection hypothesis). The results indicate that girls are more likely than boys to be influenced by their friends’ involvement in violence. Although a similar pattern emerges for nonviolent delinquency, the gender differences are not significant. Some evidence shows that boys are influenced toward increasing their violence or delinquency when exposed to more delinquent or violent friends but are immune to reducing their violence or delinquency when associating with less violent or delinquent friends. In terms of selection dynamics, although both boys and girls have a tendency to select friends based on friends’ behavior, girls have a stronger tendency to do so, suggesting that among girls, friends’ involvement in violence or delinquency is an especially decisive factor for determining friendship ties.

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The Implicit Rules of Combat

Gorge Romero, Michael Pham & Aaron Goetz
Human Nature, December 2014, Pages 496-516

Abstract:
Conspecific violence has been pervasive throughout evolutionary history. The current research tested the hypotheses that individuals implicitly categorize combative contexts (i.e., play fighting, status contests, warfare, and anti-exploitative violence) and use the associated contextual information to guide expectations of combative tactics. Using U.S. and non-U.S. samples, Study 1 demonstrated consistent classification of combative contexts from scenarios for which little information was given and predictable shifts in the acceptability of combative tactics across contexts. Whereas severe tactics (e.g., eye-gouging) were acceptable in warfare and anti-exploitative violence, they were unacceptable in status contests and play fights. These results suggest the existence of implicit rules governing the contexts of combat. In Study 2, we explored the reputational consequences of violating these implicit rules. Results suggest that rule violators (e.g., those who use severe tactics in a status contest) are given less respect. These are the first studies to implicate specialized mechanisms for aggression that use contextual cues of violence to guide expectations and behavior.

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The role of feared possible selves in the relationship between peer influence and delinquency

Jennifer Pierce, Carissa Schmidt & Sarah Stoddard
Journal of Adolescence, January 2015, Pages 17–26

Abstract:
This study explores the impact of a feared delinquent possible self on the relationship between exposure to negative peer behaviors and violent and non-violent self-reported delinquency. Previous research strongly supports that deviant peers influence adolescents' delinquent behavior. Yet, few studies have explored intrapersonal factors that may moderate this influence. Possible selves include what one hopes, expects and fears becoming and are believed to motivate behavior. Thus, it was hypothesized that adolescents who were exposed to deviant peers and also feared engaging in delinquency would be more likely to self-report delinquency. Seventh grade students (n = 176) identified feared possible selves in the future, their exposure to negative peer behavior and self-reported violent and non-violent delinquent behavior. Findings suggest that exposure to negative peer behavior is associated with self-reported delinquent behavior. For violent behavior, possessing a feared delinquent possible self moderates this relationship. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, December 5, 2014

Inside track

The Hidden American Immigration Consensus: A Conjoint Analysis of Attitudes toward Immigrants

Jens Hainmueller & Daniel Hopkins
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many studies have examined Americans' immigration attitudes. Yet prior research frequently confounds multiple questions, including which immigrants to admit and how many to admit. To isolate attitudes on the former question, we use a conjoint experiment that simultaneously tests the influence of nine immigrant attributes in generating support for admission. Drawing on a two-wave, population-based survey, we demonstrate that Americans view educated immigrants in high-status jobs favorably, whereas they view those who lack plans to work, entered without authorization, are Iraqi, or do not speak English unfavorably. Strikingly, Americans' preferences vary little with their own education, partisanship, labor market position, ethnocentrism, or other attributes. Beneath partisan divisions over immigration lies a broad consensus about who should be admitted to the country. The results are consistent with norms-based and sociotropic explanations of immigration attitudes. This consensus points to limits in both theories emphasizing economic and cultural threats, and sheds new light on an ongoing policy debate.

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The Long-Run Effect of 9/11: Terrorism, Backlash, and the Assimilation of Muslim Immigrants in the West

Eric Gould & Esteban Klor
Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper investigates whether the 9/11 attacks affected the assimilation rate of Muslims in the United States. Terror attacks by Islamic groups are likely to induce a backlash against Muslims, thereby raising their costs of assimilation. We find that Muslim immigrants living in states with the sharpest increase in hate crimes also exhibit: (i) greater chances of marrying within their own ethnic group; (ii) higher fertility; (iii) lower female labour force participation; and (iv) lower English proficiency. These findings shed light on the increasing use of terror and concurrent rise in social tensions surrounding Muslim immigrants in the West.

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The Effect of High-Skilled Immigration on Patenting and Employment: Evidence from H-1B Visa Lotteries

Kirk Doran, Alexander Gelber & Adam Isen
NBER Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
We study the effect of winning an additional H-1B visa on a firm's patenting and employment outcomes. We compare firms randomly allocated H-1Bs in the Fiscal Year 2006 and 2007 H-1B visa lotteries to other firms randomly not allocated H-1Bs in these lotteries. We use Department of Homeland Security administrative data on the winners and losers in these lotteries matched to administrative data on the universe of approved U.S. patents, and matched to IRS administrative data on the universe of U.S. employment. Winning an H-1B visa has an insignificant average effect on patenting, with confidence intervals that rule out moderate-sized effects and that are even more precise in many cases. Employment data generally show that on average H-1B workers at least partially replace other workers in the same firm, with estimates typically indicating substantial crowdout of other workers.

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Evidence of political moderation over time: Utah’s immigration debate online

Brian Harris, Charlie Morgan & Benjamin Gibbs
New Media & Society, December 2014, Pages 1309-1331

Abstract:
Is public debate on the Internet polarizing? Some scholars warn that the Internet is an ‘anti-commons’ where political positions are extreme, while others view the Internet as a moderating influence on political polarization. We examine polarization trends in a regional, Utah-based news website, with a random sample of 1768 comments over a two-year period. Focusing on the most contentious issue during this time — immigration — we find that extreme anti-immigrant sentiment decreases over time despite key political and religious events. We argue that emerging public spheres, like newspaper discussion forums, might reveal a general public inclination towards moderation during heated national and regional debate.

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How Much is a Green Card Worth? Evidence from Mexican Men Who Marry Women Born in the U.S.

Miao Chi & Scott Drewianka
Labour Economics, December 2014, Pages 103–116

Abstract:
Many countries impose restrictions on some immigrants’ job mobility, likely reducing their wages. We quantify such effects for Mexican-born men in the U.S. by recognizing that immigrants who marry U.S. natives receive expedited “green cards” (Permanent Residency). Robust IV estimates indicate intermarried Mexicans earn a 40 percent wage premium, and larger for the most mobile subgroups. Analogous premiums are statistically insignificant for men from Puerto Rico, who acquire no new rights because they are already U.S. citizens. Attributing the approximately 30 percent difference to green cards, we estimate eliminating wait times would increase Mexicans’ mean earnings $120,000-$150,000 in present value.

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Lunatics, Idiots, Paupers, and Negro Seamen — Immigration Federalism and the Early American State

Anna Law
Studies in American Political Development, October 2014, Pages 107-128

Abstract:
Why did it take the U.S. national government until 1882 to gain control over migration policies from the states, and what does this situation say about the strength of the early American State? This phenomenon is especially curious, since the control of entry into and across a nation is so fundamental to the very definition of a State. I argue that the delay of the national government takeover was not due to a lack of administrative capacity. Instead, there were regionally specific reasons that the states preferred to retain control of migration policy. The national government did not take over migration policy because of the strong nineteenth-century political-cultural understanding that many migration policies were properly within the province of local control. This article explains the timing and sequencing of state and federal controls over nineteenth-century migration policy and what this timing meant for the freedom of movement of many politically vulnerable classes of people.

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Fertility Responses of High-Skilled Native Women to Immigrant Inflows

Delia Furtado
University of Connecticut Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
While there is debate regarding the magnitude of the impact, immigrant inflows are generally understood to depress wages and increase employment in immigrant-intensive sectors. In light of the over-representation of the foreign-born in the childcare industry, this paper examines whether college-educated native women respond to immigrant-induced lower cost and potentially more convenient childcare options with increased fertility. An analysis of U.S. Census data between 1980 and 2000 suggests that immigrant inflows are indeed associated with increased likelihoods of having a baby, and responses are strongest among women who are most likely to consider childcare costs when making fertility decisions – namely, married women with a graduate degree. Given that woman also respond to immigrant inflows by working long hours, the paper ends with an analysis of the types of women who have stronger fertility relative to labor supply responses to immigrant-induced changes in childcare options.

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Substance Use Differences Among U.S.- Versus Foreign-Born Adolescents: Testing Pathways Through Family and Peer Influences

Gabriela Barajas-Gonzalez & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn Hispanic
Journal of Behavioral Sciences, November 2014, Pages 506-521

Abstract:
The influence of perceived family conflict, family support, and peer substance use on adolescent substance use was examined in a community sample of 669 (331 female, 338 male) Latino youth, who were assessed twice over the span of 2½ years. We found greater substance use among U.S.-born Latino youth in comparison to foreign-born Latino youth at both time points. Levels of family conflict were higher, and levels of family support were lower, in families with U.S.-born versus foreign-born adolescents. Results suggest that higher family conflict, but not lower family support, may partially explain higher substance use rates among U.S.-born versus foreign-born Latino adolescents.

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Mexican American Mobility: Early Life Processes and Adult Wealth Ownership

Lisa Keister, Jody Agius Vallejo & Paige Borelli
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Mexican Americans are a large group whose mobility patterns can provide important insight into immigrant assimilation processes. It is well known that Mexicans have not attained economic parity with whites, but there is considerable debate about the degree to which Mexican immigrants and their American-born children experience mobility over their lives. We contribute to this literature by studying Mexican American wealth ownership, focusing on three interrelated processes. First, we examine childhood poverty and inheritances to establish financial starting points and to identify the degree to which resources from prior generations affect wealth ownership. Second, we study impediments to mobility in young adulthood to understand how childhood conditions create early adult obstacles to well-being. Third, we study midlife net worth and homeownership to better understand whether childhood and young adult impediments necessarily reduce adult wealth ownership. We find high levels of early life disadvantage among Mexican Americans, but these disadvantages are least pronounced in the second and third generations compared to the first generation. Consistent with prior research, we also find high levels of young adult impediments to mobility for Mexican Americans. However, we find that these early roadblocks do not necessarily translate into lower adult wealth: we show that Mexican Americans have less total wealth than whites but more than African Americans, even when early life impediments are controlled. Our results suggest that Mexican Americans are establishing a solid financial foundation that is likely to lead to long-term class stability.

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House of Green Cards: Statistical or Preference-Based Inequality in the Employment of Foreign Nationals

Ben Rissing & Emilio Castilla
American Sociological Review, December 2014, Pages 1226-1255

Abstract:
This study contributes to the labor market inequality and organizations literature by investigating the role that government agents play in shaping the employment of immigrants. Using unique data on applications for immigrant permanent labor certification evaluated by U.S. Department of Labor agents, we assess to what extent immigrants of select citizenship groups experience disparities in the labor certification process — one critical stage of the work authorization system leading to the granting of most employment-based green cards. Despite current U.S. laws that forbid discrimination on the basis of nationality, we find that labor certification approvals differ significantly depending on immigrants’ foreign citizenship, even after controlling for key factors. Additionally, because of the U.S. government’s unique process of auditing applications, we are in a rare position to empirically distinguish between statistical and preference-based accounts of labor market discrimination in the labor certification process. In support of the statistical account, we find that certification approvals are equally likely for immigrant workers from the vast majority of citizenship groups when agents review audited applications with detailed employment information. This article concludes by discussing the implications of our results for addressing disparities in the employment of foreign nationals.

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Legal Status and the Criminal Activity of Immigrants

Giovanni Mastrobuoni & Paolo Pinotti
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We exploit exogenous variation in legal status following the January 2007 European Union enlargement to estimate its effect on immigrant crime. We difference out unobserved time-varying factors by i) comparing recidivism rates of immigrants from the "new" and "candidate" member countries; and ii) using arrest data on foreign detainees released upon a mass clemency that occurred in Italy in August 2006. The timing of the two events allows us to setup a difference-in-differences strategy. Legal status leads to a 50 percent reduction in recidivism, and explains one-half to two-thirds of the observed differences in crime rates between legal and illegal immigrants.

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The Openness-Equality Trade-Off in Global Redistribution

Glen Weyl
University of Chicago Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
Vickrey (1945)’s veil-of-ignorance argument for redistributive taxation makes no mention of national borders, yet his model of optimal taxation has been almost exclusively applied within sovereign states. Because the majority of welfare-relevant inequality is across rather than within such states, a global perspective on optimal redistribution yields radically different conclusions. Taxes should be significantly higher than typical estimates and most transfers should flow across national borders. If such transfers are infeasible, migration becomes a natural substitute. Yet much migration, by the global middle class to well-off countries, actually exacerbates inequality. Countries very open to inequality-reducing migration are staggeringly unequal internally; a leading case is the Gulf Cooperation Council monarchies. Such examples suggest a philosophically disturbing trade-off between openness to global inequality-reducing migration and internal equality. For example, social prejudices based on national origin or authoritarian regimes that support a caste system could be Pareto-improving.

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State-Based Visas: A Federalist Approach to Reforming U.S. Immigration Policy

Brandon Fuller & Sean Rust
Cato Institute Working Paper, April 2014

Abstract:
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) recently proposed a regional visa program that would allow immigrants to live and work exclusively in Detroit or other cities in the United States. A regional immigration option through a state-based visa program would create a temporary work permit that would allow participating states to manage the flow and regulate the quantity of temporary migrants who want to live and work within their borders. Ideally, law-abiding visa holders would be eligible for renewal and free to apply for permanent residency during their stay in the United States. Although overseen by the federal government, a state-based visa program would allow state governments to craft a better-functioning work-visa program that is more adaptable to their local economic conditions than the present system run by the federal government — perhaps even supplying lessons for future federal work-visa programs. A state-based visa program would direct immigration to the states that want it without forcing much additional immigration on those that do not. Unlike existing employment-based visas that tie foreign workers to one firm, state-based visa holders would be free to move between employers in the state — leading to thicker, more equitable, and more efficient local labor markets. A state-based visa would increase prosperity by allowing additional migration to portions of the country and economy that demand them. Successful international experiences with regional visas in Australia and Canada provide some valuable policy lessons and hint at the major economic benefits of such a policy in the United States.

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Primary Resources, Secondary Labor: Resource Booms and Immigration Policy in the Era of Trade Liberalization

Adrian Shin
University of Michigan Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
Are trade and immigration policies substitutes or complements? Using the two-sector model in the Dutch disease literature, the paper argues that the degree of a resource boom changes labor-intensive firms’ preferences over immigration policy and how they respond to trade liberalization. As trade liberalizes, firms in the tradable sector move into the resource industry or into the non-tradable sector during a resource boom, leading to a decline in support for pro-immigration policy. Without such exit options in resource-poor economies, firms seek to remain viable by supporting pro-immigration policy under trade liberalization. Trade and immigration policies are substitutes during a resource boom but are complements otherwise. Rigorous empirical analyses with new data on immigration policy show that changing firm preferences translate directly into policy outcomes. The variation in immigration policy across multiple labor-scarce economies cannot be fully understood without accounting for trade liberalization and resource booms. The paper poses a serious challenge against the conventional wisdom that trade and immigration policies have always been substitutes. An important implication of the paper is that open economies under growing resource booms will restrict immigration even further.

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Hispanic Brokers and Borrowers: The Effect of Language Affinity on the Price of Home Mortgages

Chau Do & Arturo Gonzalez
Regional Science and Urban Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Our study focuses on whether mortgage prices for Hispanic borrowers in areas of limited English fluency depend on the broker’s ethnicity. While we find that Hispanic borrowers in areas where the majority of Hispanics are not fluent in English pay higher prices overall, mortgage prices are lower if the loans are originated by Hispanic brokers relative to non-Hispanic white brokers. This effect is found only in fixed-rate mortgage loans and for low/no-documentation loans. Nevertheless, our results cannot be easily explained by different levels of market competition or borrower characteristics. Our results are consistent with other empirical studies that find language barriers carry additional costs. We caveat, however, our conclusions with our proxy measurements of English and Spanish fluency, which may affect our interpretations and results.

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The Fiscal Effects of Immigration to the UK

Christian Dustmann & Tommaso Frattini
Economic Journal, November 2014, Pages F593–F643

Abstract:
We investigate the fiscal impact of immigration on the UK economy, with a focus on the period since 1995. Our findings indicate that, when considering the resident immigrant population in each year from 1995 to 2011, immigrants from the European Economic Area (EEA) have made a positive fiscal contribution, even during periods when the UK was running budget deficits, while Non-EEA immigrants, not dissimilar to natives, have made a negative contribution. For immigrants that arrived since 2000, contributions have been positive throughout, and particularly so for immigrants from EEA countries. Notable is the strong positive contribution made by immigrants from countries that joined the EU in 2004.

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Latino Confidence in the Police: The Role of Immigration Enforcement, Assimilation, and Immigration Status

Kelle Barrick
Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, Fall 2014, Pages 289-307

Abstract:
Police departments rely on residents to report crime in order to help keep communities safe. Research suggests that attitudes toward the police are influenced by race and ethnicity; however, research on Latinos is underdeveloped. Confidence in the police among Latinos is complicated by local law enforcement's role in immigration enforcement, which potentially discourages cooperation with the police. The current study examines whether Latino confidence in the police varies by experiences with immigration enforcement, level of assimilation, or immigration status. Study findings suggest that Hispanics who have been questioned about their immigration status have less confidence in the police than those who have not. The results provide some evidence that experiences with immigration enforcement may degrade confidence in the police among Latinos.

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Changes in health selection of obesity among Mexican immigrants: A binational examination

Annie Ro & Nancy Fleischer
Social Science & Medicine, December 2014, Pages 114–124

Abstract:
Health selection is often measured by comparing the health of more recent immigrants to the native born of their new host country. However, this comparison fails to take into account two important factors: (1) that changes in the health profile of sending countries may impact the health of immigrants over time, and (2) that the best comparison group for health selection would be people who remain in the country of origin. Obesity represents an important health outcome that may be best understood by taking into account these two factors. Using nationally-representative datasets from Mexico and the US, we examined differences in obesity-related health selection, by gender, in 2000 and 2012. We calculated prevalence ratios from log-binomial models to compare the risk of obesity among recent immigrants to the US to Mexican nationals with varying likelihood of migration, in order to determine changes in health selection over time. Among men in 2000, we found little difference in obesity status between recent immigrants to the US and Mexican non-migrants. However, in 2012, Mexican men who were the least likely to migrate had higher obesity prevalence than recent immigrants, which may reflect emerging health selection. The trends for women, however, indicated differences in obesity status between recent Mexican immigrants and non-migrants at both time points. In both 2000 and 2012, Mexican national women had significantly higher obesity prevalence than recent immigrant women, with the biggest difference between recent immigrants and Mexican women who were least likely to migrate. There was also indication that selection increased with time for women, as the differences between Mexican nationals and recent immigrants to the US grew from 2000 and 2012. Our study is among the first to use a binational dataset to examine the impact of health selectivity, over time, on obesity.

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Immigrants, Labour Market Performance and Social Insurance

Bernt Bratsberg, Oddbjørn Raaum & Knut Røed
Economic Journal, November 2014, Pages F644–F683

Abstract:
Using longitudinal data from the date of arrival, we study long-term labour market and social insurance outcomes for all major immigrant cohorts to Norway since 1970. Immigrants from high-income countries performed as natives, while labour migrants from low-income source countries had declining employment rates and increasing disability programme participation over the lifecycle. Refugees and family migrants assimilated during the initial period upon arrival but labour market convergence halted after a decade and was accompanied by rising social insurance rates. For the children of labour migrants of the 1970s, we uncover evidence of intergenerational assimilation in education, earnings and fertility.

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Black Immigrants and School Engagement: Perceptions of Discrimination, Ethnic Identity, and American Identity

Maria Teresa Coutinho & Daphne Koinis-Mitchell
Journal of Black Psychology, December 2014, Pages 520-538

Abstract:
School engagement is an important contributor to students’ academic success; however, the available literature on the school engagement of Black immigrants is limited. This study examined the associations between school engagement, perceived ethnic discrimination, ethnic identity, and American identity in a sample of first- and second-generation immigrants of African descent. A total of 125 Cape Verdean high school students (aged 13-19 years) participated in the study. Results indicate that American identity moderated the association between perceived ethnic discrimination and school engagement. American identity buffered the effect of perceived ethnic discrimination on engagement in school. The findings highlight the need to consider Black immigrant students’ identification with American culture in developing interventions aimed at enhancing school engagement.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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