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Saturday, March 5, 2016

Friendly

Country roads, take me home… to my friends: How intelligence, population density, and friendship affect modern happiness

Norman Li & Satoshi Kanazawa

British Journal of Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We propose the savanna theory of happiness, which suggests that it is not only the current consequences of a given situation but also its ancestral consequences that affect individuals’ life satisfaction and explains why such influences of ancestral consequences might interact with intelligence. We choose two varied factors that characterize basic differences between ancestral and modern life – population density and frequency of socialization with friends – as empirical test cases. As predicted by the theory, population density is negatively, and frequency of socialization with friends is positively, associated with life satisfaction. More importantly, the main associations of life satisfaction with population density and socialization with friends significantly interact with intelligence, and, in the latter case, the main association is reversed among the extremely intelligent. More intelligent individuals experience lower life satisfaction with more frequent socialization with friends. This study highlights the utility of incorporating evolutionary perspectives in the study of subjective well-being.

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Intermediate Peer Contexts and Educational Outcomes: Do The Friends of Students’ Friends Matter?

William Carbonaro & Joseph Workman

Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Sociologists of education have long been interested in the effects of peer relations on educational outcomes. Recent theory and research on adolescence suggest that peers on the boundaries of students’ friendship networks may play an important role in shaping behaviors and educational outcomes. In this study, we examine the importance of a key “intermediate peer context” for students’ outcomes: the friends of a student’s friends. Our findings indicate both friends’ and friends’ friends’ characteristics independently predict students’ college expectations and their risk of dropping out of high school (although only friends’ characteristics predict GPA). Our models suggest the magnitude of students’ friends-of-friends’ characteristics are at least as large their friends’ characteristics. Together, the association between the peer context and students outcomes is considerably larger when accounting for both the characteristics of students’ friends and the friends of their friends.

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Just you and I: The role of social exclusion in the formation of interpersonal relationships

Natalie Wyer & Kimberley Schenke

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2016, Pages 20–25

Abstract:
Social exclusion, or ostracism, has been investigated primarily for its (typically negative) consequences for those subjected to it. Although the negative effects of exclusion on its recipients are undisputed, we suggest that it may have unrecognized benefits for those who perpetuate it. The present research investigated the possibility that social exclusion acts as a signal to others – either within or outside of an exclusive interaction – that a selected relationship is particularly cohesive. Participants interacted in triads in which one individual was or was not singled out for exclusion. Perpetrators of exclusion were perceived (by themselves and by the excluded person) as closer and more similar to each other, and were more likely to be subject to source memory confusions. These findings suggest that social exclusion has not only harmful consequences for its targets, but may have relational benefits for those who enact it.

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Generalizing disposability: Residential mobility and the willingness to dissolve social ties

Omri Gillath & Lucas Keefer

Personal Relationships, forthcoming

Abstract:
Four studies examined whether residential mobility (RM) leads people to view objects as disposable and, in turn, view social ties as disposable. Study 1 showed that tendencies to dispose of objects and social ties are related. Study 2 demonstrated that a history of RM increases the willingness to dispose of objects and, through that, dispose of social ties. Study 3 showed that increasing the sense of RM increases the willingness to dispose of objects and, through this, dispose of social ties. Study 4 showed that the relational aspect of RM is crucial in affecting relational disposability. Our findings extend research on RM and support Lewin's (1936) conceptualization of mobility being associated with ease of disposing social ties.

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Facebook and people's state self-esteem: The impact of the number of other users' Facebook friends

Tobias Greitemeyer

Computers in Human Behavior, June 2016, Pages 182–186

Abstract:
The present two experimental studies examined the extent to which upward and downward comparison processes on Facebook influence people's state self-esteem. Participants were exposed to mock-up Facebook profiles of female and male targets with many or few Facebook friends. Participant sex was also included in the experimental design. In Study 1, a 2 (number of Facebook friends) × 2 (profile owner sex) × 2 (participant sex) experimental design was employed. Unexpectedly, the manipulation had no significant impact on people's state self-esteem. In Study 2, it was examined whether there would be a curvilinear relationship between the number of other's Facebook friends and participant's self-esteem, in that exposure to others with many or few Facebook friends increases self-esteem compared to others with a moderate number of Facebook friends. Hence, Study 2 employed a 3 (number of Facebook friends) × 2 (profile owner sex) × 2 (participant sex) between-participants experimental design. However, there was neither a linear nor a curvilinear impact of the number of other's Facebook friends on participant's level of state self-esteem. Both studies also revealed that the effects were not more pronounced when participants were exposed to same-sex rather than other-sex Facebook profiles.

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Companion Versus Comparison: Examining Seeking Social Companionship or Social Comparison as Characteristics That Differentiate Happy and Unhappy People

Jinhyung Kim et al.

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, March 2016, Pages 311-322

Abstract:
Which friend do you want to spend time with — a happy friend who performs better than you or an unhappy friend who performs worse than you? The present research demonstrates that in such conflicting situations, when the desires for companionship and comparison are pitted against each other, one’s level of happiness plays an important role in one’s choice. Using hypothetical scenarios, we found that compared with unhappy people, happy people expected that spending time with a happy, superior friend would be more pleasant than spending time with an unhappy, inferior friend (Studies 1B through 2) and were more willing to socialize with a happy, superior friend than with an unhappy, inferior friend (Studies 1B through 2). Moreover, this pattern was not explained by self-esteem (Study 2) or the similarity-attraction hypothesis (Study 3). The present findings suggest that happy people place more value on companionship than on comparison.

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Does Being Empathic Pay Off? — Associations Between Performance-Based Measures of Empathy and Social Adjustment in Younger and Older Women

Elisabeth Blanke, Antje Rauers & Michaela Riediger

Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Cognitive empathy (the ability to infer another person’s thoughts and feelings) and emotional empathy (the ability to emotionally resonate with another person’s feelings) have been associated with social adjustment. Traditionally, these skills are assessed with self-report measures. However, these may not adequately reflect people’s actual empathic abilities. There is only little and inconsistent empirical evidence on associations between performance-based empathy and positive social adjustment. In the study presented here, we gathered further evidence for such an association. Using a realistic interaction task in which unfamiliar women were paired into dyads and talked about positive and negative events in their lives, we assessed empathic accuracy (an indicator of cognitive empathy) and emotional congruence (an indicator of emotional empathy). Additionally, we obtained 2 indicators of social adjustment: participants’ self-rated satisfaction regarding the communication with their partner in the interaction task, and their self-rated satisfaction with social relationships in general. We furthermore explored the role of potential moderators, which may help to explain discrepant past findings. To test for contextual and interindividual differences, we distinguished between positive and negative emotional valence in the empathy task and investigated 2 adult age groups (102 younger women: 20–31 years; 106 older: 69–80 years). For almost all analyses, only empathic skills for positive (not for negative) affect were predictive of social adjustment, and the associations were comparable for younger and older women. These results underline the role of valence in associations between empathic skills and social adjustment across the life span.

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Cortisol and testosterone associations with social network dynamics

Olga Kornienko et al.

Hormones and Behavior, April 2016, Pages 92–102

Abstract:
This study integrates behavioral endocrinology and network science to explore links between hormones and social network dynamics. Specifically, we examine how cortisol (C) and testosterone (T) are associated with creation of new friendships and maintenance of existing friendships. A collegiate marching band was used as a model system of a mixed-sex social organization. Participants (n = 193; 53% female; M age = 19.4 years, 62.1% European-American) provided friendship nominations at time 1 and two months later at time 2. At time 1, participants donated saliva before and after rehearsal (later assayed for C and T). Stochastic actor-based models revealed that individuals with higher C levels were less likely to maintain their social relationships and more likely to create new friendships. In contrast, individuals with higher T levels were more likely to maintain friendships and less likely to create new relationships. Findings suggest that individual differences in C and T are associated with the initiation and maintenance of friendships and have several noteworthy theoretical implications.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, March 4, 2016

Enforcement

The Reverse Racism Effect: Are Cops More Hesitant to Shoot Black Than White Suspects?

Lois James, Stephen James & Bryan Vila

Criminology & Public Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Race-related debates often assume that implicit racial bias will result in racially biased decisions to shoot. Previous research has examined racial bias in police decisions by pressing “shoot” or “don't-shoot” buttons in response to pictures of armed and unarmed suspects. As a result of its lack of external validity, however, this methodology provides limited insight into officer behavior in the field. In response, we conducted the first series of experimental research studies that tested police officers and civilians in strikingly realistic deadly force simulators. This article reports the results of our most recent experiment, which tested 80 police patrol officers by applying this leading edge method. We found that, despite clear evidence of implicit bias against Black suspects, officers were slower to shoot armed Black suspects than armed White suspects, and they were less likely to shoot unarmed Black suspects than unarmed White suspects. These findings challenge the assumption that implicit racial bias affects police behavior in deadly encounters with Black suspects.

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Can Rational Choice Be Considered a General Theory of Crime? Evidence from Individual-Level Panel Data

Thomas Loughran et al.

Criminology, February 2016, Pages 86–112

Abstract:
In the last few decades, rational choice theory has emerged as a bedrock theory in the fields of economics, sociology, psychology, and political science. Although rational choice theory has been available to criminologists for many years now, the field has not embraced it as other disciplines have. Moreover, rational choice scholars have fueled this skepticism of the theory's generality by modeling offender decision making that is one-sided — large on the costs of crime (sanction threats), short on the benefits of crime. In this article, we directly assess the generality of rational choice theory by examining a fully specified model in a population that is often presumed to be less rational — adolescents from lower socioeconomic families who commit both instrumental (property) and expressive crimes (violence/drugs). By using a panel of N = 1,354 individuals, we find that offending behavior is consistent with rational responses to changes in the perceived costs and benefits of crime even after eliminating fixed unobserved heterogeneity and other time-varying confounders, and these results are robust across different subgroups. The findings support our argument that rational choice theory is a general theory of crime.

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Was there a Ferguson Effect on crime rates in large U.S. cities?

David Pyrooz et al.

Journal of Criminal Justice, September 2016, Pages 1–8

Purpose: There has been widespread speculation that the events surrounding the shooting death of an unarmed young black man by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri — and a string of similar incidents across the country — have led to increases in crime in the United States. This study tested for the “Ferguson Effect” on crime rates in large U.S. cities.

Methods: Aggregate and disaggregate monthly Part I criminal offense data were gathered 12 months before and after August 2014 from police department data requests and websites in 81 large U.S. cities. The exogenous shock of Ferguson was examined using a discontinuous growth model to determine if there was a redirection in seasonality-adjusted crime trends in the months following the Ferguson shooting.

Results: No evidence was found to support a systematic post-Ferguson change in overall, violent, and property crime trends; however, the disaggregated analyses revealed that robbery rates, declining before Ferguson, increased in the months after Ferguson. Also, there was much greater variation in crime trends in the post-Ferguson era, and select cities did experience increases in homicide. Overall, any Ferguson Effect is constrained largely to cities with historically high levels of violence, a large composition of black residents, and socioeconomic disadvantages.

Conclusions: The national discourse surrounding the “Ferguson Effect” is long on anecdotes and short on data, leaving criminologists largely on the sidelines of a conversation concerning one of the most prominent contemporary issues in criminal justice. Our findings are largely consistent with longstanding criminological knowledge that changes in crime trends are slow and rarely a product of random shocks.

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Race Making in a Penal Institution

Michael Walker

American Journal of Sociology, January 2016, Pages 1051-1078

Abstract:
This article provides a ground-level investigation into the lives of penal inmates, linking the literature on race making and penal management to provide an understanding of racial formation processes in a modern penal institution. Drawing on 135 days of ethnographic data collected as an inmate in a Southern California county jail system, the author argues that inmates are subjected to two mutually constitutive racial projects — one institutional and the other microinteractional. Operating in symbiosis within a narrative of risk management, these racial projects increase (rather than decrease) incidents of intraracial violence and the potential for interracial violence. These findings have implications for understanding the process of racialization and evaluating the effectiveness of penal management strategies.

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Protecting Whiteness: White Phenotypic Racial Stereotypicality Reduces Police Use of Force

Kimberly Barsamian Kahn et al.

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Focusing on intergroup anti-non-White bias in the criminal justice system, little attention is given to how Whites may additionally be protected from negative police treatment. This study examines intragroup bias via perceived suspect phenotypic racial stereotypicality (e.g., how strongly members possess physical features typical of their racial group) on severity of police use of force. It is hypothesized that the Whiter one appears, the more the suspect will be protected from police force. Internal use of force case files from a large police department were coded for severity of police force, and suspects’ booking photographs were scored for phenotypic racial stereotypicality. Regression analyses confirmed that police used less force with highly stereotypical Whites, and this protective effect was stronger than the effect for non-Whites. Results suggest that intragroup bias is a protective factor for Whites, but not for non-Whites, providing an additional route through which racial disparities in policing operate.

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The relationship between stand-your-ground laws and crime: A state-level analysis

Mark Gius

Social Science Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
There have been numerous incidents over the past several years involving justifiable homicides and stand-your-ground (SYG) laws. Many of these incidents involved unarmed alleged criminals being shot by armed citizens who claimed a right of self-defense due to perceived threatening behaviors on the part of the alleged criminal. In order to better understand the role that self-defense laws, and in particular stand-your-ground laws, has on these types of shootings, the present study will attempt to determine the relationship between SYG laws and crime. A fixed effects model that controls for both state-level and year fixed effects and a two stage fixed effects model are estimated. Results of the present study indicate that the relationships between SYG laws and crime rates are mixed. For some crimes and for certain time periods, SYG laws are positively related to crime. For other crimes, there is no significant relationship between the two. It is important to note, however, that none of the results of the present study suggest that SYG laws reduce crime.

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Incarceration and Crime: Evidence from California’s Public Safety Realignment Reform

Magnus Lofstrom & Steven Raphael

ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, March 2016, Pages 196-220

Abstract:
Recent reforms in California caused a sharp and permanent reduction in the state’s incarceration rate. We evaluate the effects of that incarceration decline on local crime rates. Our analysis exploits the large variation across California counties in the effect of this reform on county-specific prison incarceration rates. We find very little evidence that the large reduction in California incarceration had an effect on violent crime, and modest evidence of effects on property crime, auto theft in particular. These effects are considerably smaller than existing estimates based on panel data for periods of time when the U.S. incarceration rate was considerably lower. We corroborate these cross-county results with a synthetic-cohort analysis of state crime rates in California. The statewide analysis confirms our findings from the county-level analysis. In line with previous research, the results from this study support the hypothesis of a crime-prison effect that diminishes with increased reliance on incarceration.

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Targeted for Diffusion? How the Use and Acceptance of Stereotypes Shape the Diffusion of Criminal Justice Policy Innovations in the American States

Graeme Boushey

American Political Science Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article explores the diffusion of criminal justice policy in the American states. Drawing on policy design theory, I code newspaper coverage of 44 criminal justice policies adopted across state governments from 1960–2008, identifying the image and power of target populations — the group singled out for special treatment under law. I test whether electoral pressure leads governments to disproportionally emulate innovations that reinforce popular stereotypes regarding who is entitled to policy benefits or deserving of policy burdens. I find strong support for this theory: State governments are more likely to adopt innovations that extend benefits to strong, popular, and powerful target populations or that impose burdens on weak and politically marginalized groups. This bias can be explained by pressures for responsive policy making, as my findings indicate that it is the national salience of the crime problem — but not the competitiveness or timing of state elections — that influences state adoption of popular “law and order” policy innovations.

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The Effect of Degree Attainment on Arrests: Evidence from a Randomized Social Experiment

Vikesh Amin et al.

Economics of Education Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine the effect of educational attainment on criminal behavior using random assignment into Job Corps (JC) — the United States’ largest education and vocational training program for disadvantaged youth — as a source of exogenous variability in educational attainment. We allow such random assignment to violate the exclusion restriction when used as an instrument by employing nonparametric bounds. The attainment of a degree is estimated to reduce arrest rates by at most 11.8 percentage points (about 32.6%). We also find suggestive evidence that the effects may be larger for males relative to females, and larger for black males relative to white males. Remarkably, our 95 percent confidence intervals on the causal effect of education on arrests are very similar to those from studies exploiting changes in compulsory schooling laws as an instrumental variable (e.g., Lochner, L. and Moretti, E. (2004). “The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests and Self-reports”, American Economic Review, 94 (1): 155-189.), despite our use of a different source of exogenous variation, methodology, and sample.

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Blended Sentencing Laws and the Punitive Turn in Juvenile Justice

Shelly Schaefer & Christopher Uggen

Law & Social Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
In many states, young people today can receive a “blended” combination of both a juvenile sanction and an adult criminal sentence. We ask what accounts for the rise of blended sentencing in juvenile justice and whether this trend parallels crime control developments in the adult criminal justice system. We use event history analysis to model state adoption of blended sentencing laws from 1985 to 2008, examining the relative influence of social, political, administrative, and economic factors. We find that states with high unemployment, greater prosecutorial discretion, and disproportionate rates of African American incarceration are most likely to pass blended sentencing provisions. This suggests that the turn toward blended sentencing largely parallels the punitive turn in adult sentencing and corrections — and that theory and research on adult punishment productively extends to developments in juvenile justice.

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Black and Hispanic Men Perceived to Be Large Are at Increased Risk for Police Frisk, Search, and Force

Adrienne Milner, Brandon George & David Allison

PLoS ONE, January 2016

Abstract:
Social justice issues remain some of the most pressing problems in the United States. One aspect of social justice involves the differential treatment of demographic groups in the criminal justice system. While data consistently show that Blacks and Hispanics are often treated differently than Whites, one understudied aspect of these disparities is how police officers' assessments of suspects' size affects their decisions. Using over 3 million cases from the New York Police Department (NYPD) Stop, Question, and Frisk (SQF) Database, 2006–2013, this study is the first to explore suspects' race, perceived size, and police treatment. Results indicate that tall and heavy black and Hispanic men are at the greatest risk for frisk or search. Tall and heavy suspects are at increased risk for experiencing police force, with black and Hispanic men being more likely to experience force than white men across size categories.

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Blue on Black: An Empirical Assessment of Police Shootings

Nirej Sekhon

Georgia State University Working Paper, January 2016

Abstract:
Michael Brown’s 2014 death in Ferguson, Missouri thrust police-officer-involved homicides into the popular consciousness. A series of subsequent officer-involved homicides has kept the issue politically and legally salient. Despite this, official data sources are thin and unreliable. This article presents original analysis of 259 police shooting incidents that occurred in Chicago between 2006 and 2014. The study, based upon publicly available information, suggests a more complex relationship between race, policing, and violence than one might expect from high-profile, officer-involved shootings. As in other large cities, shooting victims are overwhelmingly minorities, with Black persons constituting over 80% of victims. Contrary to intuition, many of the officer shooters are minorities as well. The analysis here suggests that neither racist malevolence nor unconscious bias afford complete explanations for why officer-involved shootings occur. Both of these explanatory frameworks focus too intensively upon individual officers’ decision-making at the expense of institutional and situational dynamics. Scholars and policy makers should focus far more intensively on regulating bad practices, rather than just on disciplining bad officers following egregious incidents. Shifting focus in this way will help identify connections between everyday policing tactics in minority neighborhoods – such as plainclothes policing and aggressive stop and frisk – and officer-involved shootings. The article also concludes that evidentiary challenges mar post hoc review of officer-involved shootings, whether it is in the form of judicial or civilian review. This also underscores the importance of preventive regulation.

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Is Crime Bad for Business? Crime and Commercial Property Values in New York City

Michael Lens & Rachel Meltzer

Journal of Regional Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
To test how crime affects economic activity, we use point-specific data on crime, commercial property sales and assessed values from New York City, relying on an instrumental variables strategy. We find that crime reduces commercial property values, and the magnitude of the effect depends on the type and geography of crime. Elasticities range from −0.1 to −0.5. We find stronger evidence for negative violent crime effects in neighborhoods with lower incomes and higher shares of minority residents. Thus, disadvantaged neighborhoods are doubly harmed by crime — they have higher crime rates and those crimes have stronger effects on economic activity.

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The Effect of High School Shootings on Schools and Student Performance

Louis-Philippe Beland & Dongwoo Kim

Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, March 2016, Pages 113-126

Abstract:
We analyze how fatal shootings in high schools affect schools and students using data from shooting databases, school report cards, and the Common Core of Data. We examine schools’ test scores, enrollment, number of teachers, graduation, attendance, and suspension rates at schools that experienced a shooting, employing a difference-in-differences strategy that uses other high schools in the same district as the comparison group. Our findings suggest that homicidal shootings significantly decrease the enrollment of students in Grade 9 and test scores in math and English standardized tests. Using student-level data from California, we confirm that shootings lower test results for students who remain enrolled.

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Partners in Crime: Schools, Neighborhoods and the Formation of Criminal Networks

Stephen Billings, David Deming & Stephen Ross

NBER Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
Why do crime rates differ greatly across neighborhoods and schools? Comparing youth who were assigned to opposite sides of newly drawn school boundaries, we show that concentrating disadvantaged youth together in the same schools and neighborhoods increases total crime. We then show that these youth are more likely to be arrested for committing crimes together – to be “partners in crime”. Our results suggest that direct peer interaction is a key mechanism for social multipliers in criminal behavior. As a result, policies that increase residential and school segregation will – all else equal – increase crime through the formation of denser criminal networks.

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State Firearm Sales and Criminal Activity: Evidence from Firearm Background Checks

Matthew Lang

Southern Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
The FBI has reported the number of monthly firearm background checks in every state since November 1998. This article uses data on background checks at the state level to explore the relationship between guns and crime. The background checks capture an individual's intention to purchase a firearm and explain 96% of the variation in gun manufacturing at a national level. Fixed effect negative binomial regressions show a positive, but insignificant, relationship between background checks and violent crimes. Property crimes are negatively related to background checks and statistically significant at the 10% level. The results suggest that gun control policies should be coupled with other initiatives if policy makers intend to reduce gun-related crime.

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Incarceration of a family member during childhood is associated with later heart attack: Findings from two large, population-based studies

Bradley White, Lydia Cordie-Garcia & Esme Fuller-Thomson

Journal of Criminal Justice, March 2016, Pages 89–98

Purpose: We examined the relationship between exposure to family member incarceration during childhood (FMIC) and myocardial infarction, controlling for traditional cardiovascular risk and social risk factors.

Methods: Gender-specific analyses were conducted in two, independent large population-based data sets of respondents aged 50 and over. Data were obtained from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). We first analyzed the 2012 BRFSS sample (n = 5721 men, 9240 women), and then replicated the analyses using the 2011 BRFSS sample (n = 9393 men, 13,147 women). Both samples excluded respondents reporting childhood physical or sexual abuse.

Results: After adjustment for 17 factors, in men, the odds of heart attack among those with FMIC was significantly higher in both the 2012 and 2011 analyses (OR = 1.77, 95% CI = 1.20, 2.61; OR = 2.32, 95% CI = 1.60, 3.37, respectively). Among women, FMIC was not associated with heart attack in either fully adjusted analysis (OR = 1.14, 95% CI = 0.59, 2.18; OR = 1.23, 95% CI = 0.66, 2.29, respectively).

Conclusions: Findings suggest that FMIC is associated with myocardial infarction in men, even after adjusting for a wide range of traditional risk factors (e.g., socio-demographics, substance abuse, smoking physical activity, body mass, lifetime diabetes, and depression). Future research should explore plausible mechanisms and why the observed gender differences exist.

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Race-of-interviewer effects and survey questions about police violence

Brenda Savage

Sociological Spectrum, May/June 2016, Pages 142-157

Abstract:
This research uses binary logistic regression to test for a connection between the race of interviewer and race of respondent on five questions in the General Social Survey about the use of physical force by the police. Results indicate two instances of race-of-interviewer effect: (1) black respondents were more likely to voice disapproval about whether the police can strike a citizen trying to escape when speaking to a black interviewer, and (2) white respondents were less likely to voice approval of police striking an adult male citizen in the presence of a black interviewer. Secondary findings indicate that education is consistently significant regardless of race of respondent and the survey question, while social class, sex, age, and region are significant in only limited scenarios.

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Forecasting Domestic Violence: A Machine Learning Approach to Help Inform Arraignment Decisions

Richard Berk, Susan Sorenson & Geoffrey Barnes

Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, March 2016, Pages 94–115

Abstract:
Arguably the most important decision at an arraignment is whether to release an offender until the date of his or her next scheduled court appearance. Under the Bail Reform Act of 1984, threats to public safety can be a key factor in that decision. Implicitly, a forecast of “future dangerousness” is required. In this article, we consider in particular whether usefully accurate forecasts of domestic violence can be obtained. We apply machine learning to data on over 28,000 arraignment cases from a major metropolitan area in which an offender faces domestic violence charges. One of three possible post-arraignment outcomes is forecasted within two years: (1) a domestic violence arrest associated with a physical injury, (2) a domestic violence arrest not associated with a physical injury, and (3) no arrests for domestic violence. We incorporate asymmetric costs for different kinds of forecasting errors so that very strong statistical evidence is required before an offender is forecasted to be a good risk. When an out-of-sample forecast of no post-arraignment domestic violence arrests within two years is made, it is correct about 90 percent of the time. Under current practice within the jurisdiction studied, approximately 20 percent of those released after an arraignment for domestic violence are arrested within two years for a new domestic violence offense. If magistrates used the methods we have developed and released only offenders forecasted not to be arrested for domestic violence within two years after an arraignment, as few as 10 percent might be arrested. The failure rate could be cut nearly in half. Over a typical 24-month period in the jurisdiction studied, well over 2,000 post-arraignment arrests for domestic violence perhaps could be averted.

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The Spillover Effect of Race on Police Expenditures: An Alternative Test of the Minority Threat Hypothesis

Olugbenga Ajilore

Review of Black Political Economy, March 2016, Pages 21-34

Abstract:
This paper implements a novel application of spatial econometrics to test the minority threat hypothesis by estimating the relationship and potential spillovers between race and police expenditures. This paper uses a strategic interaction framework to describe the mechanism that may drive expenditure spillovers as well as demographic spillovers. Estimating a Spatial Durbin Model (SDM), the findings of this study show counties with more residential segregation and are more conservative exhibit positive spillovers on neighboring county police expenditures. This paper makes a contribution by showing the effects of greater minority threat is not limited within geographic boundaries.

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How the U.S. Prison Boom Has Changed the Age Distribution of the Prison Population

Lauren Porter et al.

Criminology, February 2016, Pages 30–55

Abstract:
This article provides a demographic exposition of the changes in the U.S prison population during the period of mass incarceration that began in the late twentieth century. By drawing on data from the Survey of Inmates in State Correctional Facilities (1974–2004) for inmates 17–72 years of age (N= 336), we show that the age distribution shifted upward dramatically: Only 16 percent of the state prison population was 40 years old or older in 1974; by 2004, this percentage had doubled to 33 percent with the median age of prisoners rising from 27 to 34 years old. By using an estimable function approach, we find that the change in the age distribution of the prison population is primarily a cohort effect that is driven by the “enhanced” penal careers of the cohorts who hit young adulthood — the prime age of both crime and incarceration — when substance use was at its peak. Period-specific factors (e.g., proclivity for punishment and incidence of offense) do matter, but they seem to play out more across the life cycles of persons most affected in young adulthood (cohort effects) than across all age groups at one point in time (period effects).

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Microaggressions, Injustices, and Racial Identity: An Empirical Assessment of the Theory of African American Offending

Deena Isom

Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, February 2016, Pages 27-59

Abstract:
Inspired by the recent theory of African American offending and the lack of race-centered concepts in criminological literature, I aim to answer four general research questions: (a) Do criminal justice injustices impact African Americans differently than other forms of racism? (b) Do different emotional states increase African Americans’ likelihood of offending? (c) Does having a positive racial identity buffer against the negative effects of racial discrimination? and (d) Do the effects of racial discrimination and racial identity vary between African American males and females? Using a subsample of African American youth and young adults from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods data, I find microaggressions and criminal justice injustices independently predict serious and violent offending. Anger and depression likewise serve as independent predictors, though anger suppresses the effects of depression when considered simultaneously. Racial identity also moderately buffers the negative effects of overall discrimination. The present analysis, however, finds no significant gender differences in the above processes. This study provides a firm empirical foundation for the theory of African American offending and other race-based approaches to understanding crime. Implications for future investigations are discussed.

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Using Space–Time Analysis to Evaluate Criminal Justice Programs: An Application to Stop-Question-Frisk Practices

Alese Wooditch & David Weisburd

Journal of Quantitative Criminology, forthcoming

Objectives: Effects of place-based criminal justice interventions extend across both space and time, yet methodological approaches for evaluating these programs often do not accommodate the spatiotemporal dimension of the data. This paper presents an example of a bivariate spatiotemporal Ripley’s K-function, which is increasingly employed in the field of epidemiology to analyze spatiotemporal event data. Advantages of this technique over the adapted Knox test are discussed.

Methods: The study relies on x–y coordinates of the exact locations of stop-question-frisk (SQF) and crime incident events in New York City to assess the deterrent effect of SQFs on crime across space at a daily level.

Results: The findings suggest that SQFs produce a modest reduction in crime, which extends over a three-day period. Diffusion of benefits is observed within 300 feet from the location of the SQF, but these effects decay as distance from the SQF increases.

Conclusions: A bivariate spatiotemporal Ripley’s K-function is a promising approach to evaluating place-based crime prevention interventions, and may serve as a useful tool to guide program development and implementation in criminology.

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Monitoring high-risk sex offenders with GPS

Stephen Gies, Randy Gainey & Eoin Healy

Criminal Justice Studies, Winter 2016, Pages 1-20

Abstract:
In response to media attention and public demand, legislation increasingly mandates more stringent surveillance for sex offenders. This trend towards greater supervision resulted in the lifetime GPS monitoring of high-risk sex offenders (HRSO) in California. This study assesses the impact of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s GPS program for HRSOs by employing a quasi-experimental design. The treatment group was drawn from all HRSO who were released from prison and placed on GPS monitoring in California. To identify comparison individuals likely to have pretreatment risk characteristics similar to those in the treatment group, a propensity score matching procedure was performed. The final sample included 516 subjects equally divided between the treatment and control groups. Data was assessed using Cox proportional hazards survival analysis clustering participants by parole district. Results showed the GPS condition was associated with significantly fewer parole registration and arrest violations, arrests, and convictions. These results are discussed in relation to other electronic monitoring research, the policy implications for the increasing use of this technology, and its effectiveness in reducing crime, prison populations, and ensuring public safety.

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Do Nighttime Driving Restrictions Reduce Criminal Participation Among Teenagers? Evidence From Graduated Driver Licensing

Monica Deza & Daniel Litwok

Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
To date, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have a three-stage Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system that phases in driving privileges for teenagers. GDL laws effectively impose a statutory driving curfew and a limitation on the number of passengers in motor vehicles. Both the timing of motor vehicle access and a limitation on the peer influences available in a motor vehicle could significantly affect the production of criminal behavior. Using the Uniform Crime Reports 1995 to 2011 and a triple-differences approach, we find that the implementation of GDL decreased criminal participation by 6 percent among teenagers ages 16 and 17, as measured by arrests. These effects are larger in magnitude in states where the nighttime driving curfew is required for a longer period of time. We also show that GDL plays an important role in reducing crime in periods of low gasoline prices, a time when teen driver prevalence would otherwise have been high. These results suggest that there is another benefit to states for adopting GDL laws and provide insight into the production of teenage crime.

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Chilling Effects: Diminished Political Participation among Partners of Formerly Incarcerated Men

Naomi Sugie

Social Problems, Fall 2015, Pages 550-571

Abstract:
Over the past four decades, the criminal justice system has emerged as a key institution structuring social, economic, and political inequalities in the United States. Among individuals with felony records, the lack of political participation resulting from legal and non-legal barriers has likely altered election outcomes and has critical implications for our democratic principles. However, the focus on individuals may underestimate the reverberating consequences of diminished political participation. In this article, I propose that criminal justice contact, and specifically incarceration, diminishes political behavior among not only formerly incarcerated individuals but also their romantic partners. Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing survey, I find that partner incarceration is associated with reduced political participation that is not explained by socioeconomic characteristics and is robust to different modeling approaches. Diminished participation is not due to a partner’s influence or a lack of financial resources. It is also not one aspect of broad withdrawal from civic and religious domains. Rather, reduced political participation is a specific retreat from government. I suggest that these findings align with political socialization, where lessons about government are learned through interactions and experiences with the criminal justice system.

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Structural Disadvantage and Latino Violent Offending: Assessing the Latino Paradox in Context of Established Versus Emerging Latino Destinations

Noah Painter-Davis & Casey Harris

Race and Justice, forthcoming

Abstract:
A long-standing finding in criminology is that structural disadvantage is a robust predictor of violence. Aligned with this finding is the racial invariance thesis, which states that the causes of violence are similar across racial/ethnic groups and that, in particular, disadvantage should be associated with higher rates of violence for all groups. Yet, a growing body of research on the Latino paradox challenges this assumption in finding that disadvantage has muted effects on Latino violence compared to other groups, while related literature qualifies this by suggesting that Latino experiences with violence qualitatively differ depending on the destination types in which Latinos settle. As such, the goal of this study is to reassess the Latino paradox in context of new patterns of Latino settlement. Highlighting differences in “contexts of reception,” we evaluate whether the relationship between disadvantage and Latino violence varies between established and emerging Latino destinations. Using 2001–2004 arrest data from a multistate database, we find that structural disadvantage is positively associated with Latino homicide and that this relationship is consistent across both emerging and established locales. Additionally, we find the relationship between disadvantage and homicide to be invariant across racial/ethnic groups regardless of the context of reception.

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Acquisitive Crime and Inflation in the United States: 1960–2012

Richard Rosenfeld & Aaron Levin

Journal of Quantitative Criminology, forthcoming

Objectives: Inflation is conspicuous by its absence from recent research on crime and the economy. We argue that price inflation increases the rate of crimes committed for monetary gain by fueling demand for cheap stolen goods.

Methods: The study includes inflation along with indicators of unemployment, GDP, income, consumer sentiment, and controls in error correction models of acquisitive crime covering the period from 1960 to 2012. Both short- and long-run effects of the predictors are estimated.

Results: Among the economic indicators, only inflation has consistent and robust short- and long-run effects on year-over-year change in the offense types under consideration. Low inflation helps to explain why acquisitive crime did not increase during the 2008–2009 recession. Imprisonment rates also have robust long-run effects on change in acquisitive crime rates.

Conclusions: Incorporating inflation into studies of crime and the economy can help to reduce the theoretical and empirical uncertainty that has long characterized this important research area in criminology.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Babies are us

An Adaptive Significance of Morning Sickness? Trivers-Willard and Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Douglas Almond et al.

Economics & Human Biology, May 2016, Pages 167–171

Abstract:
Nausea during pregnancy, with or without vomiting, is a common early indication of pregnancy in humans. The severe form, hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), can be fatal. The etiology of HG is unknown. We propose that HG may be a proximate mechanism for the Trivers-Willard (T-W) evolutionary hypothesis that mothers in poor condition should favor daughters. Using Swedish linked registry data, 1987-2005, we analyze all pregnancies that resulted in an HG admission and/or a live birth, 1.65 million pregnancies in all. Consistent with the T-W hypothesis, we find that: (i) HG is associated with poor maternal condition as proxied by low education; (ii) HG in the first two months of pregnancy is associated with a 7 percentage point increase in live girl births; and (iii) HG affected pregnancies have a 34-percent average rate of inferred pregnancy loss, higher among less educated women.

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The Effects of State-Mandated Abstinence-Based Sex Education on Teen Health Outcomes

Jillian Carr & Analisa Packham

Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
In 2011, the USA had the second highest teen birth rate of any developed nation, according to the World Bank. In an effort to lower teen pregnancy rates, several states have enacted policies requiring abstinence-based sex education. In this study, we utilize a difference-in-differences research design to analyze the causal effects of state-level sex education policies from 2000–2011 on various teen sexual health outcomes. We find that state-level abstinence education mandates have no effect on teen birth rates or abortion rates, although we find that state-level policies may affect teen sexually transmitted disease rates in some states.

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How Does Access to Health Care Affect Teen Fertility and High School Dropout Rates? Evidence from School-based Health Centers

Michael Lovenheim, Randall Reback & Leigh Wedenoja

NBER Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
Children from low-income families face persistent barriers to accessing high-quality health care services. Previous research studies have examined the importance of expanding children's health insurance coverage, but there is little prior evidence concerning the impacts of directly expanding primary health care access to this population. We address this gap in the literature by exploring whether teenagers' access to primary health care influences their fertility and educational attainment. We study how the significant expansion of school-based health centers (SBHCs) in the United States since the early 1990's has affected teen fertility and high school dropout rates. Our results indicate that school-based health centers have a negative effect on teen birth rates: adding services equivalent to the average SBHC reduces the 15-18 year old birth rate by 5%. The effects are largest among younger teens and among African Americans and Hispanics. However, primary care health services do not reduce high school dropout rates by very much despite the sizable reductions in teen birth rates.

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Effect of Removal of Planned Parenthood from the Texas Women’s Health Program

Amanda Stevenson et al.

New England Journal of Medicine, 3 March 2016, Pages 853-860

Background: Texas is one of several states that have barred Planned Parenthood affiliates from providing health care services with the use of public funds. After the federal government refused to allow (and courts blocked) the exclusion of Planned Parenthood affiliates from the Texas Medicaid fee-for-service family-planning program, Texas excluded them from a state-funded replacement program, effective January 1, 2013. We assessed rates of contraceptive-method provision, method continuation through the program, and childbirth covered by Medicaid before and after the Planned Parenthood exclusion.

Methods: We used all program claims from 2011 through 2014 to examine changes in the number of claims for contraceptives according to method for 2 years before and 2 years after the exclusion. Among women using injectable contraceptives at baseline, we observed rates of contraceptive continuation through the program and of childbirth covered by Medicaid. We used the difference-in-differences method to compare outcomes in counties with Planned Parenthood affiliates with outcomes in those without such affiliates.

Results: After the Planned Parenthood exclusion, there were estimated reductions in the number of claims from 1042 to 672 (relative reduction, 35.5%) for long-acting, reversible contraceptives and from 6832 to 4708 (relative reduction, 31.1%) for injectable contraceptives (P<0.001 for both comparisons). There was no significant change in the number of claims for short-acting hormonal contraceptive methods during this period. Among women using injectable contraceptives, the percentage of women who returned for a subsequent on-time contraceptive injection decreased from 56.9% among those whose subsequent injections were due before the exclusion to 37.7% among those whose subsequent injections were due after the exclusion in the counties with Planned Parenthood affiliates but increased from 54.9% to 58.5% in the counties without such affiliates (estimated difference in differences in counties with affiliates as compared with those without affiliates, −22.9 percentage points; P<0.001). During this period in counties with Planned Parenthood affiliates, the rate of childbirth covered by Medicaid increased by 1.9 percentage points (a relative increase of 27.1% from baseline) within 18 months after the claim (P=0.01).

Conclusions: The exclusion of Planned Parenthood affiliates from a state-funded replacement for a Medicaid fee-for-service program in Texas was associated with adverse changes in the provision of contraception. For women using injectable contraceptives, there was a reduction in the rate of contraceptive continuation and an increase in the rate of childbirth covered by Medicaid.

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The Implications of Unintended Pregnancies for Mental Health in Later Life

Pamela Herd et al.

American Journal of Public Health, March 2016, Pages 421-429

Abstract:
Despite decades of research on unintended pregnancies, we know little about the health implications for the women who experience them. Moreover, no study has examined the implications for women whose pregnancies occurred before Roe v. Wade was decided — nor whether the mental health consequences of these unintended pregnancies continue into later life. Using the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, a 60-year ongoing survey, we examined associations between unwanted and mistimed pregnancies and mental health in later life, controlling for factors such as early life socioeconomic conditions, adolescent IQ, and personality. We found that in this cohort of mostly married and White women, who completed their pregnancies before the legalization of abortion, unwanted pregnancies were strongly associated with poorer mental health outcomes in later life.

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Booms, Busts, and Fertility: Testing the Becker Model Using Gender-Specific Labor Demand

Jessamyn Schaller

Journal of Human Resources, Winter 2016, Pages 1-29

Abstract:
In this paper, I present estimates of the effect of local labor demand shocks on birth rates. To identify exogenous variation in male and female labor demand, I create indices that exploit cross-sectional variation in industry composition, changes in gender-education composition within industries, and growth in national industry employment. Consistent with economic theory, I find that improvements in men’s labor market conditions are associated with increases in fertility while improvements in women’s labor market conditions have smaller negative effects. I separately find that increases in unemployment rates are associated with small decreases in birth rates at the state level.

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Impact of Parental Notification on Illinois Minors Seeking Abortion

Shanthi Ramesh, Lindsay Zimmerman & Ashlesha Patel

Journal of Adolescent Health, March 2016, Pages 290–294

Purpose: To describe the impact of the Illinois Parental Notification of Abortion Act on minors presenting for first-trimester abortion at an urban clinic in Chicago, Illinois.

Methods: Descriptive, retrospective review looked at minors obtaining a first-trimester abortion at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital Reproductive Health Services during the 12 months prior (August 15, 2012–August 14, 2013) and after (August 15, 2013–August 14, 2014) the Illinois Parental Notification Act was in effect. Young women, ages 18–21 years, unaffected by the law, served as the control group.

Results: Before the law, 320 minors of a total of 5,505 patients (5.8%) obtained a first-trimester abortion and after the law went into effect, 311 minors of a total of 6,311 patients (4.9%) obtained an abortion. This constituted a 2.8% decrease in procedures among minors before and after the law went into effect (p = .003). However, this decrease was not significant when compared to an 8.8% growth in procedures among the control group, ages 18–21 years (p = .079). Among minors, there was no difference in race/ethnicity, age, and mean gestational age at the time of abortion before and after the law (p = .189, p = .116, and p = .961). There was a trend toward a larger decline in the youngest minors, aged 12–15 years and in those with at least one prior abortion.

Conclusions: The impact of a parental notification law on minors at an urban, public clinic is unclear. The 3% decrease warrants further study of both teen pregnancy rates and legislative barriers to minors' abortion access.

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Projecting the Unmet Need and Costs for Contraception Services After the Affordable Care Act

Euna August et al.

American Journal of Public Health, February 2016, Pages 334-341

Objectives: We estimated the number of women of reproductive age in need who would gain coverage for contraceptive services after implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the extent to which there would remain a need for publicly funded programs that provide contraceptive services, and how that need would vary on the basis of state Medicaid expansion decisions.

Methods: We used nationally representative American Community Survey data (2009), to estimate the insurance status for women in Massachusetts and derived the numbers of adult women at or below 250% of the federal poverty level and adolescents in need of confidential services. We extrapolated findings to simulate the impact of the Affordable Care Act nationally and by state, adjusting for current Medicaid expansion and state Medicaid Family Planning Expansion Programs.

Results: The number of low-income women at risk for unintended pregnancy is expected to decrease from 5.2 million in 2009 to 2.5 million in 2016, based on states’ current Medicaid expansion plans.

Conclusions: The Affordable Care Act increases women’s insurance coverage and improves access to contraceptive services. However, for women who remain uninsured, publicly funded family planning programs may still be needed.

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Maternal stress before and during pregnancy and subsequent infertility in daughters: A nationwide population-based cohort study

O. Plana-Ripoll et al.

Human Reproduction, February 2016, Pages 454-462

Study question: Is maternal stress following the death of a close relative before or during pregnancy associated with the risk of infertility in daughters?

What is known already: Animal studies have shown that prenatal maternal stress results in reduced offspring fertility. In humans, there is evidence that girls who have been prenatally exposed to stress have a more masculine behaviour and a slight delay in having their first child.

Study design, size and duration: This population-based cohort study, included 660 099 females born in Denmark between 1 January 1973 and 31 December 1993 to mothers of Danish origin and with at least one living relative in the exposure window, and followed the women through 31 December 2011.

Participants/materials, setting, methods: Overall, 13 334 women (2.0%) were considered prenatally exposed to stress because their mother had lost a spouse/partner, a child, a parent, or a sibling during pregnancy or in the year before conception. Infertility was defined as any record of infertility treatment or diagnosis of female infertility. We considered the date of onset as the date of the first appearance of any such record. The association between exposure and outcome was examined using hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI).

Main results and the role of chance: Based on our definition, 40 052 (6.5%) women were infertile in the follow-up period (median age at the end of follow-up: 26.7 years, maximum age: 39 years). Overall, prenatal exposure to maternal stress was not associated with risk of infertility (adjusted HR = 1.04 [CI: 0.95–1.14]). However, women prenatally exposed during the first trimester had a higher estimated risk (adjusted HR = 1.40 [CI: 1.05–1.86]). These findings were consistent in subgroups defined by the relationship of the mother to the deceased and in several sensitivity analyses, including a sibling-matched analysis, and in analyses restricted to women who were married or cohabitating with a man, or to women born at term.

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Prevalence of High-Risk Sexual Behaviors Among Monoracial and Multiracial Groups from a National Sample: Are Multiracial Young Adults at Greater Risk?

Antoinette Landor & Carolyn Tucker Halpern

Archives of Sexual Behavior, February 2016, Pages 467-475

Abstract:
The present study compared the prevalence and variation in high-risk sexual behaviors among four monoracial (i.e., White, African American, Asian, Native American) and four multiracial (i.e., White/African American, White/Asian, White/Native American, African American/Native American) young adults using Wave IV data (2008–2009) from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (N = 9724). Findings indicated differences in the sexual behavior of monoracial and multiracial young adults, but directions of differences varied depending on the monoracial group used as the referent and gender. Among males, White/African Americans had higher risk than Whites; White/Native Americans had higher risk than Native Americans. Otherwise, multiracial groups had lower risk or did not differ from the single-race groups. Among females, White/Native Americans had higher risk than Whites; White/African Americans had higher risk than African Americans. Other comparisons showed no differences or had lower risk among multiracial groups. Variations in high-risk sexual behaviors underscore the need for health research to disaggregate multiracial groups to better understand health behaviors and outcomes in the context of experiences associated with a multiracial background, and to improve prevention strategies.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Warm feelings

Communicating the Scientific Consensus on Human-Caused Climate Change is an Effective and Depolarizing Public Engagement Strategy: Experimental Evidence from a Large National Replication Study

Sander van der Linden, Anthony Leiserowitz & Edward Maibach

Princeton University Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
This experimental study evaluated whether communicating the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change is likely to be effective with the American public. Drawing on a large national sample (N = 6,301), we set out to replicate and extend the findings of van der Linden et al. (2015). Consistent with the original study, we find robust and replicated evidence that communicating the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change leads to significant and substantial changes in perceived scientific agreement among conservatives, moderates, and liberals alike. These findings prove robust, even among those predisposed to receive counter-attitudinal information (e.g., Fox-news watchers, global warming skeptics). Further, among conservatives, we find the greatest change in perceived consensus among the subset whose own friends and family are least likely to believe in human-caused global warming. In short, we find little evidence of identity-protective cognition and no evidence of belief polarization across these groups. We further find that communicating the scientific consensus has (positive) direct effects (across the political spectrum) on belief that climate change is happening, human-caused, and a serious threat that requires societal action. We also find that these direct effects are mediated by changes in perceived scientific consensus. In other words, public perception of the scientific consensus is an important gateway cognition. Results also show that belief in the scientific consensus is more influential in driving public engagement than perceived consensus among other groups (e.g., Americans). Lastly, although public understanding of the scientific consensus is low, we find that conservatives and moderates are significantly less aware of the scientific consensus than liberals.

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Can Journalistic “False Balance” Distort Public Perception of Consensus in Expert Opinion?

Derek Koehler

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, forthcoming

Abstract:
Media critics have expressed concern that journalistic “false balance” can distort the public’s perceptions of what ought to be noncontroversial subjects (e.g., climate change). I report several experiments testing the influence of presenting conflicting comments from 2 experts who disagree on an issue (balance condition) in addition to a complete count of the number of experts on a panel who favor either side. Compared with a control condition, who received only the complete count, participants in the balance condition gave ratings of the perceived agreement among the experts that did not discriminate as clearly between issues with and without strong expert consensus. Participants in the balance condition also perceived less agreement among the experts in general, and were less likely to think that there was enough agreement among experts on the high-consensus issues to guide government policy. Evidently, “false balance” can distort perceptions of expert opinion even when participants would seem to have all the information needed to correct for its influence.

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Rare disaster information can increase risk-taking

Ben Newell et al.

Nature Climate Change, February 2016, Pages 158–161

Abstract:
The recent increase in the frequency and impact of natural disasters highlights the need to provide the public with accurate information concerning disaster prevalence. Most approaches to this problem assume that providing summaries of the nature and scale of disasters will lead people to reduce their exposure to risk. Here we present experimental evidence that such ex post ‘news reports’ of disaster occurrences can increase the tolerance for risk-taking (which implies that rare events are underweighted). This result is robust across several hundred rounds of choices in a simulated microworld, persists even when the long-run expected value of risky choices is substantially lower than safe choices, and is contingent on providing risk information about disasters that have been (personally) experienced and those that have been avoided (‘forgone’ outcomes). The results suggest that augmenting personal experience with information summaries of the number of adverse events (for example, storms, floods) in different regions may, paradoxically, increase the appeal of a disaster-prone region. This finding implies a need to communicate long-term trends in severe climatic events, thereby reinforcing the accumulation of events, and the increase in their associated risks, across time.

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Help or hindrance? The travel, energy and carbon impacts of highly automated vehicles

Zia Wadud, Don MacKenzie & Paul Leiby

Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, April 2016, Pages 1–18

Abstract:
Experts predict that new automobiles will be capable of driving themselves under limited conditions within 5–10 years, and under most conditions within 10–20 years. Automation may affect road vehicle energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in a host of ways, positive and negative, by causing changes in travel demand, vehicle design, vehicle operating profiles, and choices of fuels. In this paper, we identify specific mechanisms through which automation may affect travel and energy demand and resulting GHG emissions and bring them together using a coherent energy decomposition framework. We review the literature for estimates of the energy impacts of each mechanism and, where the literature is lacking, develop our own estimates using engineering and economic analysis. We consider how widely applicable each mechanism is, and quantify the potential impact of each mechanism on a common basis: the percentage change it is expected to cause in total GHG emissions from light-duty or heavy-duty vehicles in the U.S. Our primary focus is travel related energy consumption and emissions, since potential lifecycle impacts are generally smaller in magnitude. We explore the net effects of automation on emissions through several illustrative scenarios, finding that automation might plausibly reduce road transport GHG emissions and energy use by nearly half – or nearly double them – depending on which effects come to dominate. We also find that many potential energy-reduction benefits may be realized through partial automation, while the major energy/emission downside risks appear more likely at full automation. We close by presenting some implications for policymakers and identifying priority areas for further research.

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Climate and health impacts of US emissions reductions consistent with 2 °C

Drew Shindell, Yunha Lee & Greg Faluvegi

Nature Climate Change, forthcoming

Abstract:
An emissions trajectory for the US consistent with 2 °C warming would require marked societal changes, making it crucial to understand the associated benefits. Previous studies have examined technological potentials and implementation costs and public health benefits have been quantified for less-aggressive potential emissions-reduction policies, but researchers have not yet fully explored the multiple benefits of reductions consistent with 2 °C. We examine the impacts of such highly ambitious scenarios for clean energy and vehicles. US transportation emissions reductions avoid ~0.03 °C global warming in 2030 (0.15 °C in 2100), whereas energy emissions reductions avoid ~0.05–0.07 °C 2030 warming (~0.25 °C in 2100). Nationally, however, clean energy policies produce climate disbenefits including warmer summers (although these would be eliminated by the remote effects of similar policies if they were undertaken elsewhere). The policies also greatly reduce damaging ambient particulate matter and ozone. By 2030, clean energy policies could prevent ~175,000 premature deaths, with ~22,000 (11,000–96,000; 95% confidence) fewer annually thereafter, whereas clean transportation could prevent ~120,000 premature deaths and ~14,000 (9,000–52,000) annually thereafter. Near-term national benefits are valued at ~US$250 billion (140 billion to 1,050 billion) per year, which is likely to exceed implementation costs. Including longer-term, worldwide climate impacts, benefits roughly quintuple, becoming ~5–10 times larger than estimated implementation costs. Achieving the benefits, however, would require both larger and broader emissions reductions than those in current legislation or regulations.

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Future temperature in southwest Asia projected to exceed a threshold for human adaptability

Jeremy Pal & Elfatih Eltahir

Nature Climate Change, February 2016, Pages 197–200

Abstract:
A human body may be able to adapt to extremes of dry-bulb temperature (commonly referred to as simply temperature) through perspiration and associated evaporative cooling provided that the wet-bulb temperature (a combined measure of temperature and humidity or degree of ‘mugginess’) remains below a threshold of 35 °C. This threshold defines a limit of survivability for a fit human under well-ventilated outdoor conditions and is lower for most people. We project using an ensemble of high-resolution regional climate model simulations that extremes of wet-bulb temperature in the region around the Arabian Gulf are likely to approach and exceed this critical threshold under the business-as-usual scenario of future greenhouse gas concentrations. Our results expose a specific regional hotspot where climate change, in the absence of significant mitigation, is likely to severely impact human habitability in the future.

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A decade of sea level rise slowed by climate-driven hydrology

J.T. Reager et al.

Science, 12 February 2016, Pages 699-703

Abstract:
Climate-driven changes in land water storage and their contributions to sea level rise have been absent from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change sea level budgets owing to observational challenges. Recent advances in satellite measurement of time-variable gravity combined with reconciled global glacier loss estimates enable a disaggregation of continental land mass changes and a quantification of this term. We found that between 2002 and 2014, climate variability resulted in an additional 3200 ± 900 gigatons of water being stored on land. This gain partially offset water losses from ice sheets, glaciers, and groundwater pumping, slowing the rate of sea level rise by 0.71 ± 0.20 millimeters per year. These findings highlight the importance of climate-driven changes in hydrology when assigning attribution to decadal changes in sea level.

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Temperature-driven global sea-level variability in the Common Era

Robert Kopp et al.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
We assess the relationship between temperature and global sea-level (GSL) variability over the Common Era through a statistical metaanalysis of proxy relative sea-level reconstructions and tide-gauge data. GSL rose at 0.1 ± 0.1 mm/y (2σ) over 0–700 CE. A GSL fall of 0.2 ± 0.2 mm/y over 1000–1400 CE is associated with ∼0.2 °C global mean cooling. A significant GSL acceleration began in the 19th century and yielded a 20th century rise that is extremely likely (probability P ≥ 0.95) faster than during any of the previous 27 centuries. A semiempirical model calibrated against the GSL reconstruction indicates that, in the absence of anthropogenic climate change, it is extremely likely (P = 0.95) that 20th century GSL would have risen by less than 51% of the observed 13.8 ± 1.5 cm. The new semiempirical model largely reconciles previous differences between semiempirical 21st century GSL projections and the process model-based projections summarized in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report.

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European summer temperatures since Roman times

J. Luterbacher et al.

Environmental Research Letters, February 2016

Abstract:
The spatial context is critical when assessing present-day climate anomalies, attributing them to potential forcings and making statements regarding their frequency and severity in a long-term perspective. Recent international initiatives have expanded the number of high-quality proxy-records and developed new statistical reconstruction methods. These advances allow more rigorous regional past temperature reconstructions and, in turn, the possibility of evaluating climate models on policy-relevant, spatio-temporal scales. Here we provide a new proxy-based, annually-resolved, spatial reconstruction of the European summer (June–August) temperature fields back to 755 CE based on Bayesian hierarchical modelling (BHM), together with estimates of the European mean temperature variation since 138 BCE based on BHM and composite-plus-scaling (CPS). Our reconstructions compare well with independent instrumental and proxy-based temperature estimates, but suggest a larger amplitude in summer temperature variability than previously reported. Both CPS and BHM reconstructions indicate that the mean 20th century European summer temperature was not significantly different from some earlier centuries, including the 1st, 2nd, 8th and 10th centuries CE. The 1st century (in BHM also the 10th century) may even have been slightly warmer than the 20th century, but the difference is not statistically significant. Comparing each 50 yr period with the 1951–2000 period reveals a similar pattern. Recent summers, however, have been unusually warm in the context of the last two millennia and there are no 30 yr periods in either reconstruction that exceed the mean average European summer temperature of the last 3 decades (1986–2015 CE). A comparison with an ensemble of climate model simulations suggests that the reconstructed European summer temperature variability over the period 850–2000 CE reflects changes in both internal variability and external forcing on multi-decadal time-scales. For pan-European temperatures we find slightly better agreement between the reconstruction and the model simulations with high-end estimates for total solar irradiance. Temperature differences between the medieval period, the recent period and the Little Ice Age are larger in the reconstructions than the simulations. This may indicate inflated variability of the reconstructions, a lack of sensitivity and processes to changes in external forcing on the simulated European climate and/or an underestimation of internal variability on centennial and longer time scales.

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Accelerated dryland expansion under climate change

Jianping Huang et al.

Nature Climate Change, February 2016, Pages 166–171

Abstract:
Drylands are home to more than 38% of the total global population and are one of the most sensitive areas to climate change and human activities. Projecting the areal change in drylands is essential for taking early action to prevent the aggravation of global desertification. However, dryland expansion has been underestimated in the Fifth Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) simulations considering the past 58 years (1948–2005). Here, using historical data to bias-correct CMIP5 projections, we show an increase in dryland expansion rate resulting in the drylands covering half of the global land surface by the end of this century. Dryland area, projected under representative concentration pathways (RCPs) RCP8.5 and RCP4.5, will increase by 23% and 11%, respectively, relative to 1961–1990 baseline, equalling 56% and 50%, respectively, of total land surface. Such an expansion of drylands would lead to reduced carbon sequestration and enhanced regional warming, resulting in warming trends over the present drylands that are double those over humid regions. The increasing aridity, enhanced warming and rapidly growing human population will exacerbate the risk of land degradation and desertification in the near future in the drylands of developing countries, where 78% of dryland expansion and 50% of the population growth will occur under RCP8.5.

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Dark Warming

Melissa Burt, David Randall & Mark Branson

Journal of Climate, January 2016, Pages 705–719

Abstract:
As the Arctic sea ice thins and ultimately disappears in a warming climate, its insulating power decreases. This causes the surface air temperature to approach the temperature of the relatively warm ocean water below the ice. The resulting increases in air temperature, water vapor, and cloudiness lead to an increase in the surface downwelling longwave radiation (DLR), which enables a further thinning of the ice. This positive ice–insulation feedback operates mainly in the autumn and winter. A climate change simulation with the Community Earth System Model shows that, averaged over the year, the increase in Arctic DLR is 3 times stronger than the increase in Arctic absorbed solar radiation at the surface. The warming of the surface air over the Arctic Ocean during fall and winter creates a strong thermal contrast with the colder surrounding continents. Sea level pressure falls over the Arctic Ocean, and the high-latitude circulation reorganizes into a shallow “winter monsoon.” The resulting increase in surface wind speed promotes stronger surface evaporation and higher humidity over portions of the Arctic Ocean, thus reinforcing the ice–insulation feedback.

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Climate Mechanism for Stronger Typhoons in a Warmer World

Nam-Young Kang & James Elsner

Journal of Climate, February 2016, Pages 1051–1057

Abstract:
Violent typhoons continue to have catastrophic impacts on economies and welfare, but how they are responding to global warming has yet to be fully understood. Here, an empirical framework is used to explain physically why observations support a tight connection between increasing ocean warmth and the increasing intensity of supertyphoons in the western North Pacific. It is shown that the energy needed for deep convection is on the rise with greater heat and moisture in the lower tropical troposphere but that this energy remains untapped when air pressure is high. Accordingly, tropical cyclone formation is becoming less common, but those that do form are likely to reach extreme intensities from the discharge of stored energy. These thermodynamic changes to the environment most significantly influence the upper portion of extreme typhoon intensities, indicating that supertyphoons are likely to be stronger at the expense of overall tropical cyclone occurrences in the western North Pacific.

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Future ocean hypercapnia driven by anthropogenic amplification of the natural CO2 cycle

Ben McNeil & Tristan Sasse

Nature, 21 January 2016, Pages 383–386

Abstract:
High carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in sea-water (ocean hypercapnia) can induce neurological, physiological and behavioural deficiencies in marine animals. Prediction of the onset and evolution of hypercapnia in the ocean requires a good understanding of annual variations in oceanic CO2 concentration, but there is a lack of relevant global observational data. Here we identify global ocean patterns of monthly variability in carbon concentration using observations that allow us to examine the evolution of surface-ocean CO2 levels over the entire annual cycle under increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations. We predict that the present-day amplitude of the natural oscillations in oceanic CO2 concentration will be amplified by up to tenfold in some regions by 2100, if atmospheric CO2 concentrations continue to rise throughout this century (according to the RCP8.5 scenario of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). The findings from our data are broadly consistent with projections from Earth system climate models. Our predicted amplification of the annual CO2 cycle displays distinct global patterns that may expose major fisheries in the Southern, Pacific and North Atlantic oceans to hypercapnia many decades earlier than is expected from average atmospheric CO2 concentrations. We suggest that these ocean ‘CO2 hotspots’ evolve as a combination of the strong seasonal dynamics of CO2 concentration and the long-term effective storage of anthropogenic CO2 in the oceans that lowers the buffer capacity in these regions, causing a nonlinear amplification of CO2 concentration over the annual cycle. The onset of ocean hypercapnia (when the partial pressure of CO2 in sea-water exceeds 1,000 micro-atmospheres) is forecast for atmospheric CO2 concentrations that exceed 650 parts per million, with hypercapnia expected in up to half the surface ocean by 2100, assuming a high-emissions scenario (RCP8.5). Such extensive ocean hypercapnia has detrimental implications for fisheries during the twenty-first century.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Significant others

Women Selectively Guard Their (Desirable) Mates From Ovulating Women

Jaimie Arona Krems et al.

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
For women, forming close, cooperative relationships with other women at once poses important opportunities and possible threats - including to mate retention. To maximize the benefits and minimize the costs of same-sex social relationships, we propose that women's mate guarding is functionally flexible and that women are sensitive to both interpersonal and contextual cues indicating whether other women might be likely and effective mate poachers. Here, we assess one such cue: other women's fertility. Because ovulating (i.e., high-fertility) women are both more attractive to men and also more attracted to (desirable) men, ovulating women may be perceived to pose heightened threats to other women's romantic relationships. Across 4 experiments, partnered women were exposed to photographs of other women taken during either their ovulatory or nonovulatory menstrual-cycle phases, and consistently reported intentions to socially avoid ovulating (but not nonovulating) women - but only when their own partners were highly desirable. Exposure to ovulating women also increased women's sexual desires for their (highly desirable) partners. These findings suggest that women can be sensitive to subtle cues of other women's fertility and respond (e.g., via social exclusion, enhanced sexual attention to own mate) in ways that may facilitate their mate retention goals while not thwarting their affiliative goals.

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Great Expectations? Working- and Middle-Class Cohabitors' Expected and Actual Divisions of Housework

Amanda Miller & Daniel Carlson

Journal of Marriage and Family, forthcoming

Abstract:
Young adults often express preferences for egalitarianism but often find themselves in conventional household arrangements. Using interview data from 122 working-class and middle-class cohabitors, the authors applied Komter's (1989) concepts of manifest, latent, and hidden power to examine the ways that contemporary young adults reinforce and modify gender norms surrounding the division of housework. Cohabiting women more often expect equal housework arrangements than men, regardless of class, yet middle-class women achieve equal divisions more often because they are better able to exercise manifest power than their working-class counterparts and because middle-class men appear more willing to cede to their partners' demands. In contrast, working-class women's desires to achieve equality are frequently rebuffed as they face greater resistance or defer to their partners' competing wishes. Although the exercise of manifest power is central to arranging housework, the hidden power of gender conventions pervades across class, leading many couples toward traditional arrangements.

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An evolutionary account of the prevalence of personality traits that impair intimate relationships

Menelaos Apostolou

Personality and Individual Differences, May 2016, Pages 140-148

Abstract:
Personality traits such as low emotional stability and low empathy have a considerable negative impact on an individual's mating success. This impact is more severe in cases where such traits reach extreme levels and are classified as personality disorders. Several evolutionary models have been proposed to account for the relative high prevalence of these apparently maladaptive traits. The present paper contributes to the explanatory power of these models by putting forward the hypothesis that in ancestral human societies selection pressures on personality traits that predict success in intimate relationships had been weak. The reason why is that mate choice had been controlled by parents, mainly fathers, who did not place considerable weight on these traits in a prospective son- and daughter-in-law, and who were willing to impose substantial costs on their children in order to benefit themselves from a marriage alliance.

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Internalizing sexism within close relationships: Perceptions of intimate partners' benevolent sexism promote women's endorsement of benevolent sexism

Matthew Hammond, Nickola Overall & Emily Cross

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, February 2016, Pages 214-238

Abstract:
The current research demonstrated that women's adoption of benevolent sexism is influenced by their perceptions of their intimate partners' agreement with benevolent sexism. In 2 dyadic longitudinal studies, committed heterosexual couples reported on their own sexism and perceptions of their partner's sexism twice across 9 months (Study 1) and 5 times across 1 year (Study 2). Women who perceived that their male partner more strongly endorsed benevolent sexism held greater and more stable benevolent sexism across time, whereas lower perceptions of partners' benevolent sexism predicted declines in women's benevolent sexism across time. Changes in men's endorsement of sexism were unrelated to perceptions of their partner's sexist attitudes. The naturalistic change in sexist attitudes shown in Studies 1 and 2 was supported by experimental evidence in Studies 3 and 4: Manipulations designed to increase perceptions of partner's benevolent sexism led women (but not men) to report greater benevolent sexism. Studies 3 and 4 also provided evidence that perceptions of partner's benevolent sexism fosters perceived regard and relationship security in women, but not men, and these relationship factors enhance attitude alignment. Discriminant analyses demonstrated that these effects were specific to women's perceptions of partner's, rather than societal, levels of sexism. In sum, these studies illustrate that women endorse benevolent sexism when they perceive that the reverence and security that benevolent sexism promises women are accessible in their relationships.

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Absent but Not Gone: Interdependence in Couples' Quality of Life Persists After a Partner's Death

Kyle Bourassa et al.

Psychological Science, February 2016, Pages 270-281

Abstract:
Spouses influence each other's psychological functioning and quality of life. To explore whether this interdependence continues after a person becomes widowed, we tested whether deceased spouses' characteristics were associated with their widowed partners' later quality of life using couples drawn from a multinational sample of aging adults. Independent subsamples (ns = 221 and 325) were assessed before and after a spouse's death. Regressions revealed that deceased partners' quality of life prior to their death positively predicted their spouses' quality of life after the partners' death, even when we controlled for spouses' prior quality of life to account for environmental factors shared within couples. Further, widowed participants' quality of life was lower than nonwidowed couples' 2 years before and after their partners' death, but was equivalent 4 years prior. Finally, the strength of the association between partners' earlier quality of life and participants' later quality of life did not differ between widowed and nonwidowed participants. These findings suggest that interdependence in quality of life continues after one's partner has passed away.

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Does Sex Really Matter? Examining the Connections Between Spouses' Nonsexual Behaviors, Sexual Frequency, Sexual Satisfaction, and Marital Satisfaction

Elizabeth Schoenfeld et al.

Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examined the interplay between husbands' and wives' positive and negative nonsexual interpersonal behaviors, frequency of sexual intercourse, sexual satisfaction, and feelings of marital satisfaction. To do this, we conducted an in-depth face-to-face interview and completed a series of telephone diaries with 105 couples during their second, third, and fourteenth years of marriage. Consistent with the argument that women's sexual response is tied to intimacy (Basson, 2000), multilevel analyses revealed that husbands' positive interpersonal behaviors directed toward their wives - but not wives' positivity nor spouses' negative behaviors (regardless of gender) - predicted the frequency with which couples engaged in intercourse. The frequency of sexual intercourse and interpersonal negativity predicted both husbands' and wives' sexual satisfaction; wives' positive behaviors were also tied to husbands' sexual satisfaction. When spouses' interpersonal behaviors, frequency of sexual intercourse, and sexual satisfaction were considered in tandem, all but the frequency of sexual intercourse were associated with marital satisfaction. When it comes to feelings of marital satisfaction, therefore, a satisfying sex life and a warm interpersonal climate appear to matter more than does a greater frequency of sexual intercourse. Collectively, these findings shed much-needed light on the interplay between the nonsexual interpersonal climate of marriage and spouses' sexual relationships.

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Family matters: Directionality of turning bias while kissing is modulated by context

Jennifer Sedgewick & Lorin Elias

Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition, forthcoming

Abstract:
When leaning forward to kiss to a romantic partner, individuals tend to direct their kiss to the right more often than the left. Studies have consistently demonstrated this kissing asymmetry, although other factors known to influence lateral biases, such as sex or situational context, had yet to be explored. The primary purpose of our study was to investigate if turning direction was consistent between a romantic (parent-parent) and parental (parent-child) kissing context, and secondly, to examine if sex differences influenced turning bias between parent-child kissing partners. An archival analysis coded the direction of turning bias for 161 images of romantic kissing (mothers kissing fathers) and 529 images of parental kissing (mothers or fathers kissing sons or daughters). The results indicated that the direction of turning bias differed between kissing contexts. As expected, a right-turn bias was observed for romantic kissing; however, a left-turn bias was exhibited for parental kissing. There was no significant difference of turning bias between any parent-child kissing partners. Interpretations for the left-turn bias discuss parental kissing as a learned lateral behaviour.

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The Progression of Sexual Relationships

Sharon Sassler, Katherine Michelmore & Jennifer Holland

Journal of Marriage and Family, forthcoming

Abstract:
The authors examine factors associated with the advancement or dissolution of newly formed sexual relationships. Data from the 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) was used to examine women and men aged 18-39 (n = 2,774) whose most recent sexual relationship began within the 12 months before their interview. Results indicate that newly formed sexual relationships are often transitory. By 12 months, only 23% of respondents remained in nonresidential sexual relationships, another 27% were cohabiting with that partner, and half had ended their relationships. Sexual relationships formed before age 25 are significantly more likely to break up than to transition into cohabitation. Indicators of social class disadvantage, such as living with a stepparent, expedited cohabitation, whereas measures of advantage, such as having a college-educated mother, deterred transitions into shared living. Racial differences also emerge: Blacks were less likely than Whites to transition rapidly into shared living.

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Reassuring sex: Can sexual desire and intimacy reduce relationship-specific attachment insecurities?

Moran Mizrahi et al.

European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Past research has shown that attachment orientations shape sexual processes within relationships. Yet, little has been done to explore the opposite direction. In the present research, we examined whether sexual desire and emotional intimacy reduce attachment insecurities over time in emerging relationships. In an 8-month longitudinal study, we followed 62 newly dating couples across three measurement waves. At Time 1, romantic partners discussed sexual aspects of their relationship and judges coded their displays of sexual desire and intimacy. Participants also completed measures of relationship-specific attachment anxiety and avoidance in each wave. The results indicated that men's displays of desire predicted a decline in their own and their partner's relationship-specific insecurities. Conversely, women's displays of desire inhibited the decline in their partner's relationship-specific insecurities, whereas women's displays of intimacy predicted a decline in their partner's relationship-specific insecurities. These findings suggest that different sex-related processes underlie attachment formation in men and women.

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Sexualized, objectified, but not satisfied: Enjoying sexualization relates to lower relationship satisfaction through perceived partner-objectification

Laura Ramsey, Justin Marotta & Tiffany Hoyt

Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although the objectification of women is pervasive, it has not been studied extensively in the context of romantic relationships. This is a curious oversight, given that physical appearance is considered a prominent factor in romantic attraction and conceptualizations of objectification tend to involve an exaggerated emphasis on physical appearance. Thus, objectification theory may have interesting implications for romantic relationships. Women who enjoy sexualization may be more likely to have a partner who objectifies them, which could have negative implications for the relationship, as objectification research has generally found that the experience of objectification has negative consequences for women. Across three studies of heterosexual women in relationships (N = 114, N = 196, and N = 208), results showed that those who enjoyed sexualization tended to feel more objectified by their partner, which in turn related to lowered relationship satisfaction. These findings persisted even when controlling for perceptions of partner's sexual desire, self-objectification, and objectification from strangers. Furthermore, Study 3 provides preliminary evidence that self-objectification may be a precursor to this mediation in that self-objectification was associated with higher enjoyment of sexualization, which was associated with higher partner-objectification, which in turn was associated with lower relationship satisfaction. This research sheds light on how the objectification of women operates within the context of a heterosexual romantic relationship.

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The price of not putting a price on love

Peter McGraw et al.

Judgment and Decision Making, January 2016, Pages 40-47

Abstract:
We examine financial challenges of purchasing items that are readily-available yet symbolic of loving relationships. Using weddings and funerals as case studies, we find that people indirectly pay to avoid taboo monetary trade-offs. When purchasing items symbolic of love, respondents chose higher price, higher quality items over equally appealing lower price, lower quality items (Study 1), searched less for lower priced items (Study 2) and were less willing to negotiate prices (Study 3). The effect was present for experienced consumers (Study 1), affectively positive and negative events (Study 2), and more routine purchase events (Study 3). Trade-off avoidance, however, was limited to monetary trade-offs associated with loved ones. When either money or love was omitted from the decision context, people were more likely to engage in trade-off reasoning. By abandoning cost-benefit reasoning in order to avoid painful monetary trade-offs, people spend more money than if they engaged in trade-off based behaviors, such as seeking lower cost options or requesting lower prices.

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Genetic and neural correlates of romantic relationship satisfaction

Siyang Luo, Dian Yu & Shihui Han

Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, February 2016, Pages 337-348

Abstract:
Romantic relationship satisfaction (RRS) is important for mental/physical health but varies greatly across individuals. To date, we have known little about the biological (genetic and neural) correlates of RRS. We tested the hypothesis that the serotonin transporter promoter polymorphism (5-HTTLPR), the promoter region of the gene SLC6A4 that codes for the serotonin transporter protein, is associated with individuals' RRS. Moreover, we investigated neural activity that mediates 5-HTTLPR association with RRS by scanning short-short (s/s) and long-long (l/l) homozygotes of 5-HTTLPR, using functional MRI, during a Cyberball game that resulted in social exclusion. l/l compared with s/s allele carriers reported higher RRS but lower social interaction anxiety. l/l compared with s/s carriers showed stronger activity in the right ventral prefrontal cortex (RVPFC) and stronger functional connectivity between the dorsal and rostral ACC when being excluded from the Cyberball game. Moreover, the 5-HTTLPR association with RRS was mediated by the RVPFC activity and the 5-HTTLPR association with social interaction anxiety was mediated by both the dorsal-rostral ACC connectivity and RVPFC activity. Our findings suggest that 5-HTTLPR is associated with satisfaction of one's own romantic relationships and this association is mediated by the neural activity in the brain region related to emotion regulation.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, February 29, 2016

Cornered office

Large Market Declines and Securities Litigation: Implications for Disclosing Adverse Earnings News

Dain Donelson & Justin Hopkins

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study finds that large marketwide declines in stock prices are associated with higher litigation incidence and settlements even though marketwide events are legally irrelevant. The probability of litigation nearly doubles (from 0.29% to 0.55%) and the amount of settlements also doubles (from $5.0 million to $10.1 million) when earnings disclosures occur during a large market decline, even after controlling for the firm’s market-adjusted return. Furthermore, judges with (without) specialized experience in securities litigation are more (less) likely to dismiss cases triggered by disclosures during large market declines. This pattern is consistent with experienced judges recognizing and dismissing weaker cases. Finally, managers are less likely to disclose adverse news at the end of trading days with large market declines. Although we cannot definitively identify the motive behind this pattern, it is consistent with managers recognizing increased litigation risk during large market declines.

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SEC Investigations and Securities Class Actions: An Empirical Comparison

Stephen Choi & A.C. Pritchard

Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, March 2016, Pages 27–49

Abstract:
Using actions with both an SEC investigation and a class action as our baseline, we compare the targeting of SEC-only investigations with class-action-only lawsuits. Looking at measures of information asymmetry, we find that investors in the market perceive greater information asymmetry following the public announcement of the underlying violation for class-action-only lawsuits compared with SEC-only investigations. Turning to sanctions, we find that the incidence of top officer resignation is greater for class-action-only lawsuits relative to SEC-only investigations. Our findings are consistent with the private enforcement targeting disclosure violations at least as precisely as (if not more so than) SEC enforcement.

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Executive Compensation and Misconduct: Environmental Harm

Dylan Minor

Harvard Working Paper, January 2016

Abstract:
We explore the relationship between managerial incentives and misconduct using the setting of environmental harm. We find that high powered executive compensation can increase the odds of environmental law-breaking by 40-60% and the magnitude of environmental harm by over 100%. We document similar results for the setting of executive compensation and illegal financial accounting. Finally, we outline some managerial and policy implications to blunt these adverse incentive effects.

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How Do Accounting Practices Spread? An Examination of Law Firm Networks and Stock Option Backdating

Patricia Dechow & Samuel Tan

University of California Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
We hypothesize that one way accounting practices spread is through law firm connections. We investigate this prediction by examining companies that avoided reporting compensation expense by engaging in stock option backdating. We hypothesize that executives engaged in backdating because they were desensitized to its inappropriateness when they learned through their legal counsel that other companies were engaging in this practice. Using network analysis we find that backdating companies are highly connected to one another via shared law firms. In addition, we find that backdating spread first to the more highly connected companies and then to less well connected companies. Further, the likelihood that a company backdates is 1.4 to 3.3 times higher when its law firm has had another backdating company as a client. We find that sharing a law firm is incremental to and more economically significant than the impact of board interlocks and geographical location for explaining backdating. Our evidence is consistent with law firms acting as “observers” or “system supporters” in enabling executives to engage in backdating.

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Shareholder Perceptions of the Changing Impact of CEOs: Market Reactions to Unexpected CEO Deaths, 1950–2009

Timothy Quigley, Craig Crossland & Robert Campbell

Strategic Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite a number of studies highlighting the important impact CEOs have on firms, several theoretical and methodological questions cloud existing findings. This study takes an alternative approach by examining how shareholders’ perceptions of CEO significance have changed over time. Using an event study methodology and a sample of 240 sudden and unexpected CEO deaths, we show that absolute (unsigned) market reactions to these events in U.S. public firms have increased markedly between 1950 and 2009. Our results indicate that shareholders act in ways consistent with the belief that CEOs have become increasingly more influential in recent decades.

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Executive Overconfidence and Compensation Structure

Mark Humphery-Jenner et al.

Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine the impact of overconfidence on compensation structure. Our findings support the exploitation hypothesis: firms offer incentive-heavy compensation contracts to overconfident Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) to exploit their positively biased views of firm prospects. Overconfident CEOs receive more option-intensive compensation and this relation increases with CEO bargaining power. Exogenous shocks (Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) and Financial Accounting Standard (FAS) 123R) provide additional support for the findings. Overconfident non-CEO executives also receive more incentive-based pay, independent of CEO overconfidence, buttressing the notion that firms tailor compensation contracts to individual behavioral traits such as overconfidence.

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Conglomerate Investment, Skewness, and the CEO Long-Shot Bias

Christoph Schneider & Oliver Spalt

Journal of Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
Do behavioral biases of executives matter for corporate investment decisions? Using segment-level capital allocation in multi-segment firms (“conglomerates”) as a laboratory, we show that capital expenditure is increasing in the expected skewness of segment returns. Conglomerates invest more in high-skewness segments than matched standalone firms, and trade at a discount, which indicates overinvestment that is detrimental to shareholder wealth. Using geographical variation in gambling norms, we find that the skewness-investment relation is particularly pronounced when CEOs are likely to find long shots attractive. Our findings suggest that CEOs allocate capital with a long-shot bias.

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The causal effect of option pay on corporate risk management

Tor-Erik Bakke et al.

Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study provides strong evidence of a causal effect of risk-taking incentives provided by option compensation on corporate risk management. We utilize the passage of Financial Accounting Standard (FAS) 123R, which required firms to expense options, to investigate how chief executive officer option compensation affects the hedging behavior of oil and gas firms. Firms that did not expense options before FAS 123R significantly reduced option pay, which resulted in a large increase in their hedging intensity compared with firms that did not use options or expensed their options voluntarily prior to FAS 123R.

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The cost of financial flexibility: Evidence from share repurchases

Alice Bonaimé, Kristine Hankins & Bradford Jordan

Journal of Corporate Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
Over the last two decades, share repurchases have emerged as the dominant payout channel, offering a more flexible means of returning excess cash to investors. However, little is known about the costs associated with payout-related financial flexibility. Using a unique identification strategy, we document a significant cost. We find that actual repurchase investments underperform hypothetical investments that mechanically smooth repurchase dollars through time by approximately two percentage points per year on average. This cost of financial flexibility is correlated with earnings management, managerial entrenchment, and less institutional monitoring.

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Does PCAOB inspection access improve audit quality? An examination of foreign firms listed in the United States

Phillip Lamoreaux

Journal of Accounting and Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
To gain insight into the impact of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s (PCAOB) auditor inspection program, I examine the association between the PCAOB’s access to inspect auditors of foreign SEC registrants and audit quality. Although the PCAOB is mandated to inspect all auditors of SEC registrants, certain foreign governments prohibit PCAOB inspections of their domestic auditors, providing variation in PCAOB inspection access that is not available when studying a sample of US companies. I find that auditors subject to PCAOB inspection access provide higher quality audits as measured by more going concern opinions, more reported material weaknesses, and less earnings management, relative to auditors not subject to PCAOB inspection access. There is no observable difference between the two sets of auditors prior to the PCAOB inspection regime. The positive effect of PCAOB inspection access on audit quality is observed in jurisdictions with, and without, a local audit regulator. Overall, the results are consistent with PCAOB inspection access being positively associated with audit quality.

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The Role of Activist Hedge Funds in Financially Distressed Firms

Jongha Lim

Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, December 2015, Pages 1321-1351

Abstract:
In this paper I investigate the role of activist hedge funds in the restructuring of a sample of 469 firms that attempted to resolve distress either out of court, in conventional Chapter 11, or via prepackaged restructuring. Activist hedge funds strategically gain a position of influence in the restructuring of economically viable firms with contracting problems that prevent efficient restructuring without outside intervention. I find that hedge fund involvement is associated with a higher probability of completing prepackaged restructurings, faster restructurings, and greater debt reduction. Overall, the evidence in this article suggests that activist hedge funds can create value by enabling more efficient contracting.

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Geography and the Market for CEOs

Scott Yonker

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
I examine the role of geography in the market for CEOs and find that firms hire locally five times more often than expected if geography were irrelevant to the matching process. This local matching bias is widespread and exists even among the largest U.S. firms. Tests reveal that both labor supply and demand influence local matching. Compensation and unforced turnover are lower for local than for nonlocal CEOs, and the compensation of local CEOs depends on local labor market factors, unlike that of nonlocal CEOs. These findings suggest the presence of market segmentation and contrast with much of the prior literature, which explicitly or implicitly assumes a single national market.

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Industry Expertise of Independent Directors and Board Monitoring

Cong Wang, Fei Xie & Min Zhu

Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, October 2015, Pages 929-962

Abstract:
We examine whether the industry expertise of independent directors affects board monitoring effectiveness. We find that the presence of independent directors with industry experience on a firm’s audit committee significantly curtails firms’ earnings management. In addition, a greater representation of independent directors with industry expertise on a firm’s compensation committee reduces chief executive officer (CEO) excess compensation, and a greater presence of such directors on the full board increases the CEO turnover-performance sensitivity and improves acquirer returns from diversifying acquisitions. Overall, the evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that having relevant industry expertise enhances independent directors’ ability to perform their monitoring function.

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The effect of internal control weakness on firm valuation: Evidence from SOX Section 404 disclosures

Yingqi Li et al.

Finance Research Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
We find that firms reporting internal control material weakness (ICW) under Section 404 of Sarbanes–Oxley Act (SOX) have 13% lower valuation than non-ICW firms based on Tobin's q. This valuation difference is mainly driven by stock underperformance of more than 13% during the year before ICW disclosure. The ICW firms that remedy the internal control weakness in the subsequent year have much better stock performance compared to those firms that fail to remedy existing ICW problems. We further show a better stock performance in the year before disclosure if a SOX 404 ICW firm has prior SOX 302 ICW disclosure more than one year earlier. All these results are consistent with the hypothesis that the equity market has incorporated the negative information associated with SOX 404 ICW reports before the actual disclosures are made.

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Managerial Entrenchment and Firm Value: A Dynamic Perspective

Xin Chang & Hong Feng Zhang

Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, October 2015, Pages 1083-1103

Abstract:
We examine the impact of managerial entrenchment on firm value using a dynamic model with firm fixed effects. To estimate the model, we employ the long-difference technique, which is shown by our simulation to deliver the least biased estimates. Based on a large sample of U.S. companies, we document a significantly negative and causal effect of managerial entrenchment on firm value after taking into account omitted variables, reverse causality, and highly persistent endogenous variables. Additional analysis suggests that the causality running from managerial entrenchment to firm value is more pronounced than that for reverse causality.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, February 28, 2016

You noticed

Economic Insecurity Increases Physical Pain

Eileen Chou, Bidhan Parmar & Adam Galinsky

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The past decade has seen a rise in both economic insecurity and frequency of physical pain. The current research reveals a causal connection between these two growing and consequential social trends. In five studies, we found that economic insecurity produced physical pain and reduced pain tolerance. In a sixth study, with data from 33,720 geographically diverse households across the United States, economic insecurity predicted consumption of over-the-counter painkillers. The link between economic insecurity and physical pain emerged when people experienced the insecurity personally (unemployment), when they were in an insecure context (they were informed that their state had a relatively high level of unemployment), and when they contemplated past and future economic insecurity. Using both experimental-causal-chain and measurement-of-mediation approaches, we also established that the psychological experience of lacking control helped generate the causal link from economic insecurity to physical pain. Meta-analyses including all of our studies testing the link from economic insecurity to physical pain revealed that this link is reliable. Overall, the findings show that it physically hurts to be economically insecure.

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Core disgust is attenuated by ingroup relations

Stephen Reicher et al.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
We present the first experimental evidence to our knowledge that ingroup relations attenuate core disgust and that this helps explain the ability of groups to coact. In study 1, 45 student participants smelled a sweaty t-shirt bearing the logo of another university, with either their student identity (ingroup condition), their specific university identity (outgroup condition), or their personal identity (interpersonal condition) made salient. Self-reported disgust was lower in the ingroup condition than in the other conditions, and disgust mediated the relationship between condition and willingness to interact with target. In study 2, 90 student participants smelled a sweaty target t-shirt bearing either the logo of their own university, another university, or no logo, with either their student identity or their specific university identity made salient. Walking time to wash hands and pumps of soap indicated that disgust was lower where the relationship between participant and target was ingroup rather than outgroup or ambivalent (no logo).

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Logic Brightens My Day: Evidence for Implicit Sensitivity to Logical Validity

Dries Trippas et al.

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, forthcoming

Abstract:
A key assumption of dual process theory is that reasoning is an explicit, effortful, deliberative process. The present study offers evidence for an implicit, possibly intuitive component of reasoning. Participants were shown sentences embedded in logically valid or invalid arguments. Participants were not asked to reason but instead rated the sentences for liking (Experiment 1) and physical brightness (Experiments 2–3). Sentences that followed logically from preceding sentences were judged to be more likable and brighter. Two other factors thought to be linked to implicit processing — sentence believability and facial expression — had similar effects on liking and brightness ratings. The authors conclude that sensitivity to logical structure was implicit, occurring potentially automatically and outside of awareness. They discuss the results within a fluency misattribution framework and make reference to the literature on discourse comprehension.

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Unconscious arithmetic processing: A direct replication

Andrew Karpinski, Miriam Yale & Jessie Briggs

European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Across two experiments involving four conditions, Sklar et al. (2012) found that complex subtraction equations can be solved without awareness of the equations. These findings challenge the current position that consciousness is necessary for performing abstract, rule-following tasks. Given the important implications of their work, we directly replicate Sklar's findings using a larger sample (n = 94) from a different population. Using Continuous Flash Suppression, we investigated if people were able to solve an equation after subliminal (1300 ms) exposure to it. We found evidence for unconscious addition but not subtraction. The effect of unconscious addition was eliminated when participants reported subjective awareness of the primes. Critical review of our results and implications for further research are discussed.

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Effects of disfluency in writing

Srdan Medimorec & Evan Risko

British Journal of Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
While much previous research has suggested that decreased transcription fluency has a detrimental effect on writing, there is recent evidence that decreased fluency can actually benefit cognitive processing. Across a series of experiments, we manipulated transcription fluency of ostensibly skilled typewriters by asking them to type essays in two conditions: both-handed and one-handed typewriting. We used the Coh-Metrix text analyser to investigate the effects of decreased transcription fluency on various aspects of essay writing, such as lexical sophistication, sentence complexity, and cohesion of essays (important indicators of successful writing). We demonstrate that decreased fluency can benefit certain aspects of writing and discuss potential mechanisms underlying disfluency effects in essay writing.

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Silent Disco: Dancing in synchrony leads to elevated pain thresholds and social closeness

Bronwyn Tarr, Jacques Launay & R.I.M. Dunbar

Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Moving in synchrony leads to cooperative behaviour and feelings of social closeness, and dance (involving synchronisation to others and music) may cause social bonding, possibly as a consequence of released endorphins. This study uses an experimental paradigm to determine which aspects of synchrony in dance are associated with changes in pain threshold (a proxy for endorphin release) and social bonding between strangers. Those who danced in synchrony experienced elevated pain thresholds, whereas those in the partial and asynchrony conditions experienced no analgesic effects. Similarly, those in the synchrony condition reported being more socially bonded, although they did not perform more cooperatively in an economic game. This experiment suggests that dance encourages social bonding amongst co-actors by stimulating the production of endorphins, but may not make people more altruistic. We conclude that dance may have been an important human behaviour evolved to encourage social closeness between strangers.

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An Attentional Bias for LEGO® People Using a Change Detection Task: Are LEGO® People Animate?

Mitchell LaPointe et al.

Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Animate objects have been shown to elicit attentional priority in a change detection task. This benefit has been seen for both human and nonhuman animals compared with inanimate objects. One explanation for these results has been based on the importance animate objects have served over the course of our species’ history. In the present set of experiments, we present stimuli, which could be perceived as animate, but with which our distant ancestors would have had no experience, and natural selection could have no direct pressure on their prioritization. In the first experiment, we compared LEGO® “people” with LEGO “nonpeople” in a change detection task. In a second experiment, we attempt to control the heterogeneity of the nonanimate objects by using LEGO blocks, matched in size and colour to LEGO people. In the third experiment, we occlude the faces of the LEGO people to control for facial pattern recognition. In the final 2 experiments, we attempt to obscure high-level categorical information processing of the stimuli by inverting and blurring the scenes.

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Endogenous Rhythms Influence Interpersonal Synchrony

Anna Zamm, Chelsea Wellman & Caroline Palmer

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, forthcoming

Abstract:
Interpersonal synchrony, the temporal coordination of actions between individuals, is fundamental to social behaviors from conversational speech to dance and music-making. Animal models indicate constraints on synchrony that arise from endogenous rhythms: Intrinsic periodic behaviors or processes that continue in the absence of change in external stimulus conditions. We report evidence for a direct causal link between endogenous rhythms and interpersonal synchrony in a music performance task, which places high demands on temporal coordination. We first establish that endogenous rhythms, measured by spontaneous rates of individual performance, are stable within individuals across stimulus materials, limb movements, and time points. We then test a causal link between endogenous rhythms and interpersonal synchrony by pairing each musician with a partner who is either matched or mismatched in spontaneous rate and by measuring their joint behavior up to 1 year later. Partners performed melodies together, using either the same or different hands. Partners who were matched for spontaneous rate showed greater interpersonal synchrony in joint performance than mismatched partners, regardless of hand used. Endogenous rhythms offer potential to predict optimal group membership in joint behaviors that require temporal coordination.

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Truths About Beauty and Goodness: Disgust Affects Moral but Not Aesthetic Judgments

Nathaniel Rabb et al.

Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, forthcoming

Abstract:
Aesthetic judgments typically involve assessments of one’s own responses and thus are partly or largely subjective. Moral judgments may seem otherwise, but their susceptibility to influence by factors extrinsic to the object of judgment — notably, by irrelevant sensations of disgust — has led some to argue that moral and aesthetic judgments are functionally alike, a view consistent with philosophical arguments and neuropsychological evidence. We examined the behavioral consequences of this view by adapting Eskine, Kacinik, and Prinz’s (2011) procedure for studying the effect of disgust on moral judgments. In Study 1, participants drank bitter, sweet, or neutral liquids and rated liking and quality of abstract paintings. To rule out a possible asymmetry in the effect of disgust on negative rather than positive stimuli, we had participants in Study 2 drink bitter or neutral drinks and rate the ugliness and badness of aesthetic violations — Komar and Melamid’s abstract paintings using undesirable art elements. Participants also rated the moral wrongness of harm and purity violations, allowing for direct comparison of moral and aesthetic judgments. To rule out concerns that participants failed to engage with abstract artworks, Study 3 used representational paintings with disturbing subject matter. Across all studies, disgust had no effect on aesthetic judgments but reliably increased the severity of moral judgments. Thus we replicate Eskine et al. (2011) while uncovering an important functional distinction between aesthetic and moral judgments, a difference that may reflect a “disinterestedness” in aesthetic evaluations not seen in moral evaluations because of the latter’s comparatively practical and action-guiding consequences.

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Counterintuitive effects of negative social feedback on attention

Brian Anderson

Cognition and Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Which stimuli we pay attention to is strongly influenced by learning. Stimuli previously associated with reward outcomes, such as money and food, and stimuli previously associated with aversive outcomes, such as monetary loss and electric shock, automatically capture attention. Social reward (happy expressions) can bias attention towards associated stimuli, but the role of negative social feedback in biasing attentional selection remains unexplored. On the one hand, negative social feedback often serves to discourage particular behaviours. If attentional selection can be curbed much like any other behavioural preference, we might expect stimuli associated with negative social feedback to be more readily ignored. On the other hand, if negative social feedback influences attention in the same way that other aversive outcomes do, such feedback might ironically bias attention towards the stimuli it is intended to discourage selection of. In the present study, participants first completed a training phase in which colour targets were associated with negative social feedback. Then, in a subsequent test phase, these same colour stimuli served as task-irrelevant distractors during a visual search task. The results strongly support the latter interpretation in that stimuli previously associated with negative social feedback impaired search performance.

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Adaptive Attention: How Preference for Animacy Impacts Change Detection

Meaghan Altman et al.

Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
The selective nature of visual attention prioritizes objects in a scene that are most perceptually salient, those relevant to personal goals, and animate objects. Here we present data from two intentional change detection studies designed to determine the extent to which animals in a scene distract from other changes. Our stimuli depicted camouflaged animals in their natural habitats. We compared participants’ responses to changing animals and inanimate objects selected from the same pictures, thus improving on other methodologies studying this effect. Experiment 1 results suggest that animals are noticed rapidly and accurately, even when they share bottom-up features with the rest of the scene. Additionally, the unchanging presence of camouflaged animals distract from detecting inanimate changes. Experiment 2 employed Signal Detection Theory (SDT) to measure the sensitivity (d’) and response bias (β) related to changing animate versus inanimate stimuli. Experiment 2 outcomes indicate that participants tend to adopt a liberal response bias and are most sensitive to animate changes. Presence of an animal in a scene also influences sensitivity (d’) when participants had to attend to and notice inanimate changes. Our findings are interpreted as additional support for the animate-monitoring hypothesis which suggests that early detection of animacy may have endowed our hunter-gather ancestors with survival advantages.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, February 27, 2016

He or she

Fat Chance! Experiences and Expectations of Antifat Bias in the Gay Male Community

Olivia Foster-Gimbel & Renee Engeln

Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although popular culture suggests that weight-based prejudice is especially common among gay men, no studies have examined this issue empirically. In Study 1, we explored experiences of antifat bias among gay men and the body image correlates of these experiences. Participants (215 gay men, ranging in age from 18 to 78) completed measures of antifat bias, body image disturbance, and open-ended questions about their experience with antifat bias. Over one third of gay men (many of whom were not overweight using common body mass index [BMI] guidelines) reported directly experiencing antifat bias. The most common type of antifat bias reported was rejection by potential romantic partners on the basis of weight. Both experiencing and witnessing antifat bias was associated with several types of body image disturbance. As a follow-up to Study 1, Study 2 compared gay and heterosexual college men’s expectations of antifat bias from a potential romantic partner. Participants rated how likely certain outcomes would be if they saw an overweight man hit on an attractive target (a man for gay participants or a woman for heterosexual participants). Gay men reported greater likelihood that the overweight man would be blatantly ignored, treated rudely, or mocked behind his back if he approached an attractive potential romantic partner. These studies suggest that antifat bias is a challenge for many members of the gay community, even those who are not technically overweight. Additionally, gay men expect other gay men to show these antifat biases when looking for a romantic partner.

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The Political Divide Over Same-Sex Marriage: Mating Strategies in Conflict?

David Pinsof & Martie Haselton

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although support for same-sex marriage has grown dramatically over the past decade, public opinion remains markedly divided. Here, we propose that the political divide over same-sex marriage represents a deeper divide between conflicting mating strategies. Specifically, we propose that opposition to same-sex marriage can be explained in terms of (a) individual differences in short-term mating orientation and (b) mental associations between homosexuality and sexual promiscuity. We created a novel Implicit Association Test to measure mental associations between homosexuality and promiscuity. We found that mental associations between homosexuality and promiscuity, at both the implicit and the explicit levels, interacted with short-term mating orientation to predict opposition to same-sex marriage. Our model accounted for 42.3% of the variation in attitudes toward same-sex marriage, and all predictors remained robust when we controlled for potential confounds. Our results reveal the centrality of mating psychology in attitudes toward same-sex marriage.

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Prenatal androgen exposure alters girls' responses to information indicating gender-appropriate behavior

Melissa Hines et al.

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 19 February 2016

Abstract:
Individual variability in human gender-related behaviour is influenced by many factors, including androgen exposure prenatally, as well as self-socialization and socialization by others postnatally. Many studies have looked at these types of influences in isolation, but little is known about how they work together. Here, we report that girls exposed to high concentrations of androgens prenatally, because they have the genetic condition congenital adrenal hyperplasia, show changes in processes related to self-socialization of gender-related behaviour. Specifically, they are less responsive than other girls to information that particular objects are for girls and they show reduced imitation of female models choosing particular objects. These findings suggest that prenatal androgen exposure may influence subsequent gender-related behaviours, including object (toy) choices, in part by changing processes involved in the self-socialization of gendered behaviour, rather than only by inducing permanent changes in the brain during early development. In addition, the findings suggest that some of the behavioural effects of prenatal androgen exposure might be subject to alteration by postnatal socialization processes. The findings also suggest a previously unknown influence of early androgen exposure on later processes involved in self-socialization of gender-related behaviour, and thus expand understanding of the developmental systems regulating human gender development.

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Gender Role Discrepancy Stress, High-Risk Sexual Behavior, and Sexually Transmitted Disease

Dennis Reidy et al.

Archives of Sexual Behavior, February 2016, Pages 459-465

Abstract:
Nearly 20 million new sexually transmitted infections occur every year in the United States. Traditionally, men have demonstrated much greater risk for contraction of and mortality from STDs perhaps because they tend to engage in a number of risky sexual activities. Research on masculinity suggests that gender roles influence males’ sexual health by encouraging risk-taking behavior, discouraging access to health services, and narrowly defining their roles as partners. However, despite the propensity of highly masculine men to engage in high-risk sexual behavior, there is reason to suspect that men at the other end of the continuum may still be driven to engage in similar high-risk behaviors as a consequence of gender socialization. Discrepancy stress is a form of gender role stress that occurs when men fail to live up to the ideal manhood derived from societal prescriptions (i.e., Gender Role Discrepancy). In the present study, we surveyed a national sample of 600 men via Amazon Mechanical Turk to assess perceived gender role discrepancy, experience of discrepancy stress, and the associations with risky sexual behavior and potential contraction of STDs. Results indicated that men who believe they are less masculine than the typical man (i.e., gender role discrepancy) and experience distress stemming from this discrepancy (i.e., discrepancy stress) engage in high-risk sexual behavior and are subsequently diagnosed with more STDs. Findings are discussed in relation to implications for primary prevention strategies.

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Sexual orientation and sexual assault victimization among US college students

Lee Michael Johnson, Todd Matthews & Sarah Napper Social

Science Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Sexual victimization continues to be a problem on college campuses across the United States. Research on risk focuses on victimization of heterosexual women while that of sexual minority students is under-studied. The current study uses National College Health Assessment data to examine the relationship between sexual identity and four measures of self-reported sexual victimization. Several victimization correlates identified in prior research are included in analyses. Logistic regression results show that gay men and bisexual men and women were more likely compared to heterosexuals to report all four victimization types, and unsure students are more likely to report three types. However, lesbian students are no more likely than heterosexual students to report any sexual victimization. Also, transgendered students were more likely compared to female students to report three victimization types.

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Johnny Depp, Reconsidered: How Category-Relative Processing Fluency Determines the Appeal of Gender Ambiguity

Helen Owen et al.

PLoS ONE, February 2016

Abstract:
Individuals that combine features of both genders – gender blends – are sometimes appealing and sometimes not. Heretofore, this difference was explained entirely in terms of sexual selection. In contrast, we propose that part of individuals’ preference for gender blends is due to the cognitive effort required to classify them, and that such effort depends on the context in which a blend is judged. In two studies, participants judged the attractiveness of male-female morphs. Participants did so after classifying each face in terms of its gender, which was selectively more effortful for gender blends, or classifying faces on a gender-irrelevant dimension, which was equally effortful for gender blends. In both studies, gender blends were disliked when, and only when, the faces were first classified by gender, despite an overall preference for feminine features in all conditions. Critically, the preferences were mediated by the effort of stimulus classification. The results suggest that the variation in attractiveness of gender-ambiguous faces may derive from context-dependent requirements to determine gender membership. More generally, the results show that the difficulty of resolving social category membership – not just attitudes toward a social category – feed into perceivers’ overall evaluations toward category members.

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Establishing a link between sex-related differences in the structural connectome and behavior

Birkan Tunç et al.

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 19 February 2016

Abstract:
Recent years have witnessed an increased attention to studies of sex differences, partly because such differences offer important considerations for personalized medicine. While the presence of sex differences in human behaviour is well documented, our knowledge of their anatomical foundations in the brain is still relatively limited. As a natural gateway to fathom the human mind and behaviour, studies concentrating on the human brain network constitute an important segment of the research effort to investigate sex differences. Using a large sample of healthy young individuals, each assessed with diffusion MRI and a computerized neurocognitive battery, we conducted a comprehensive set of experiments examining sex-related differences in the meso-scale structures of the human connectome and elucidated how these differences may relate to sex differences at the level of behaviour. Our results suggest that behavioural sex differences, which indicate complementarity of males and females, are accompanied by related differences in brain structure across development. When using subnetworks that are defined over functional and behavioural domains, we observed increased structural connectivity related to the motor, sensory and executive function subnetworks in males. In females, subnetworks associated with social motivation, attention and memory tasks had higher connectivity. Males showed higher modularity compared to females, with females having higher inter-modular connectivity. Applying multivariate analysis, we showed an increasing separation between males and females in the course of development, not only in behavioural patterns but also in brain structure. We also showed that these behavioural and structural patterns correlate with each other, establishing a reliable link between brain and behaviour.

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Are All the Nice Guys Gay? The Impact of Sociability and Competence on the Social Perception of Male Sexual Orientation

Dirk Kranz, Katharina Pröbstle & Alkis Evidis

Psychology of Men & Masculinity, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using a person perception paradigm, two studies explored the interplay between target males’ sociability and competence (the “big two” personality dimensions), gender role, and sexual orientation. Study 1 (N = 180) showed that sociable men were considered more likely to be gay than were competent men, which was mediated by the attribution of lower masculinity. In Study 2 (N = 120), target sexual orientation was considered as an independent variable. In the stereotype-congruent condition (gay/sociable vs. heterosexual/competent), gay men were rated more feminine and less masculine than were heterosexual men, whereas in the stereotype-incongruent condition (gay/competent vs. heterosexual/sociable), gay targets were rated less feminine but only equally masculine. Across both studies, the apparent stereotype of the “nice gay guy” was uncorrelated with participants’ attitudes toward or contact with gay men. Results are discussed with regard to the gender-inversion hypothesis, the distinction between (anti)gay stereotypes and prejudice, and the stereotype content model.

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Moderate Effects of Same-Sex Legislation on Dependent Employer-Based Insurance Coverage Among Sexual Minorities

Linda Diem Tran

Medical Care Research and Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
A difference-in-difference approach was used to compare the effects of same-sex domestic partnership, civil union, and marriage policies on same- and different-sex partners who could have benefitted from their partners’ employer-based insurance (EBI) coverage. Same-sex partners had 78% lower odds (Marginal Effect = −21%) of having EBI compared with different-sex partners, adjusting for socioeconomic and health-related factors. Same-sex partners living in states that recognized same-sex marriage or domestic partnership had 89% greater odds of having EBI compared with those in states that did not recognize same-sex unions (ME = 5%). The impact of same-sex legislation on increasing take-up of dependent EBI coverage among lesbians, gay men, and bisexual individuals was modest, and domestic partnership legislation was equally as effective as same-sex marriage in increasing same-sex partner EBI coverage. Extending dependent EBI coverage to same-sex partners can mitigate gaps in coverage for a segment of the lesbians, gay men, and bisexual population but will not eliminate them.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, February 26, 2016

Precedent setting

Judicial Retirements and the Staying Power of U.S. Supreme Court Decisions

Stuart Minor Benjamin & Georg Vanberg

Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, March 2016, Pages 5–26

Abstract:
The influence of U.S. Supreme Court majority opinions depends critically on how these opinions are received and treated by lower courts, which decide the vast majority of legal disputes. We argue that the retirement of justices on the Supreme Court serves as a simple heuristic device for lower court judges in deciding how much deference to show to Supreme Court precedent. Using a unique data set of the treatment of all Supreme Court majority opinions in the courts of appeals from 1953 to 2012, we find that negative treatments of Supreme Court opinions increase, and positive treatments decrease, as the justices who supported a decision retire from the Court. Importantly, this effect exists over and above the impact of retirements on the ideological makeup of the Supreme Court.

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Hypothetical Sentencing Decisions Are Associated With Actual Capital Punishment Outcomes: The Role of Facial Trustworthiness

John Paul Wilson & Nicholas Rule

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent research has highlighted a relationship between perceptions of trustworthiness from faces and capital sentencing outcomes. Here, we extended those findings by replicating the relationship between trustworthiness and the death penalty among a new sample of targets convicted of capital murder in Arkansas and by demonstrating that facial trustworthiness guides naive sentencing decisions. First, trustworthiness differentiated convicted murderers sentenced to life from those sentenced to death using a novel stimulus population. Next, we found experimental evidence that people used inferences of trustworthiness from faces when making hypothetical capital sentencing judgments for noncriminal targets presented as murderers. Finally, naive participants viewing photographs of actual convicted criminals without any additional information allocated hypothetical sentences that matched those that were actually received in court. Facial trustworthiness, but not other inferences (i.e., Afrocentricity, attractiveness, and maturity), accounted for this relationship. These data therefore suggest that perceptions of trustworthiness guide individuals’ decisions about legal punishment.

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Does the Chief Justice Make Partisan Appointments to Special Courts and Panels?

Maxwell Palmer

Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, March 2016, Pages 153–177

Abstract:
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has the exclusive and independent power to appoint federal judges to various special courts and panels, including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), the court that oversees all domestic surveillance for national security, including domestic data collection by the National Security Agency (NSA). This article examines the propensity of Chief Justices to appoint co-partisan judges to these panels. Such appointments may serve to produce decisions and policies that align with the Chief Justice's preferences. I use computational simulations to model the appointment decisions made by Chief Justices. I find that there is less than a 1 percent chance that a neutral Chief Justice would appoint as many Republicans to the FISC as have been appointed in the last 36 years. I further show that the Chief Justice is not selecting appointees on other observable judicial characteristics, such as age, experience, gender, senior status, or caseload. These results have important implications for the creation of judicial institutions, the internal politics of the judiciary, legislative delegation, and the powers and oversight of the national security state.

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Keep It Secret, Keep It Safe: An Empirical Analysis of the State Secrets Doctrine

Daniel Cassman

Stanford Law Review, May 2015, Pages 1173- 1217

Abstract:
The state secrets doctrine provides both an evidentiary privilege and a categorical bar against litigation that implicates national security concerns. The U.S. government has invoked the state secrets doctrine to insulate certain programs, including rendition and surveillance operations, from oversight by the courts. Despite a surge of interest in the state secrets doctrine after September 11, 2001, few scholars have used statistical analysis to evaluate courts’ treatment of the issue. This Note employs a dataset containing over 300 state secrets cases — larger and more complete than in any previous statistical study — to explore state secrets jurisprudence. I find that the state secrets doctrine has been asserted much more frequently after September 11 than it was before. However, in cases to which the government is a party, courts tend to uphold and deny those assertions at roughly the same rate. In litigation between private parties, courts have mostly avoided ruling on state secrets issues since September 11, a dramatic change from the pre-September 11 era. I also identify and analyze two other important trends: First, courts appear to be more skeptical of state secrets claims in Fourth Amendment cases than in most other types of cases. Second, criminal defendants have particular difficulty in overcoming state secrets privilege claims, especially after September 11. Through case analysis, I conclude that the data alone reveal no obvious abuse of the state secrets doctrine by either the executive or the judiciary. Nonetheless, the frequency with which courts uphold the government’s invocation of the state secrets privilege, and the circumstances under which they do so, suggest that the state secrets doctrine often conflicts with some of our most fundamental democratic principles.

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Judges, Juveniles and In-group Bias

Briggs Depew, Ozkan Eren & Naci Mocan

NBER Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
We investigate the existence of in-group bias (preferential treatment of one’s own group) in court decisions. Using the universe of juvenile court cases in a U.S. state between 1996 and 2012 and exploiting random assignment of juvenile defendants to judges, we find evidence for negative racial in-group bias in judicial decisions. All else the same, black (white) juveniles who are randomly assigned to black (white) judges are more likely to get incarcerated (as opposed to being placed on probation), and they receive longer sentences. Although observed in experimental settings, this is the first empirical evidence of negative in-group bias, based on a randomization design outside of the lab. Explanations for this finding are provided.

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A Critical Examination of “Being Black” in the Juvenile Justice System

Jennifer Peck & Wesley Jennings

Law and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current study examined the role of race in juvenile court outcomes across 3 decision-making stages. This analysis was conducted with a random sample of all delinquent referrals in a Northeast state from January 2000 through December 2010 (N = 68,188). In addition to traditional logistic regression analysis, a propensity score matching (PSM) approach was utilized to create comparable samples of Black and White youth and provide a more rigorous methodological test of the relationship between race and juvenile court processing. Results indicated that even after the use of PSM techniques, race was still found to influence the likelihood of intake (OR = 1.54; 95% C.I. = 1.48–1.62, p < .001), adjudication (OR = 0.80; 95% C.I. = 0.76–0.84, p < .001), and disposition (OR = 1.64; 95% C.I. = 1.54–1.76, p < .001) outcomes. The findings show that Black youth received disadvantaged court outcomes at 2 of the 3 stages, even after balancing both groups on a number of confounders. Black youth were treated harsher at intake and judicial disposition, but received leniency at adjudication compared with similarly situated Whites. These relationships were the most evident at the stage of judicial disposition. The findings impact both researchers’ and policymakers’ strategies to more fully understand the complex relationship between race and social control. They also reaffirm the noticeable role that selection bias can play in the research surrounding race differences in juvenile court outcomes, and highlight the importance of utilizing a more stringent statistical model to control for selection bias.

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The Intersection of Crime Seriousness, Discretion, and Race: A Test of the Liberation Hypothesis

William Hauser & Jennifer Peck

Justice Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Spohn and Cederblom’s interpretation of the liberation hypothesis asserts that with trivial crimes, judges are “liberated” to consider extra-legal attributes such as race when making sentencing decisions. The current study posits that this perspective may be too theoretically simplistic because it fails to distinguish between the concepts of discretion and uncertainty. In light of this argument, we examine the sentencing decisions of felony cases in the Florida circuit courts. Results indicate that blacks and Hispanics are more likely to be imprisoned than whites, and males more so than females. Contrary to expectations, this disparity increases with crime seriousness. Consistent with the imprisonment model, blacks and males receive longer sentences and the effect increases with case seriousness. We found no evidence that the effect of offender extra-legal attributes depends upon the characteristics of the judges handling the cases. Suggestions for future research and implications for the liberation hypothesis are discussed.

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Why are There So Few Conservatives and Libertarians in Legal Academia? An Empirical Exploration of Three Hypotheses

James Phillips

Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Winter 2016, Pages 153-207

Abstract:
There are few conservatives and libertarians in legal academia. Why? Three explanations are usually provided: the Brainpower, Interest, and Greed Hypotheses. Alternatively, it could be because of Discrimination. This paper explores these possibilities by looking at citation and publication rates by law professors at the 16 highest-ranked law schools in the country. Using regression analysis, propensity score matching, propensity score reweighting, nearest neighbor matching, and coarsened exact matching, this paper finds that after taking into account traditional correlates of scholarly ability, conservative and libertarian law professors are cited more and publish more than their peers. The paper also finds that they tend to have more of the traditional qualifications required of law professors than their peers, with a few exceptions. This paper indicates that, at least in the schools sampled, conservative and libertarian law professors are not few in number because of a lack of scholarly ability or professional qualifications. Further, the patterns do not prove, but are consistent with, a story of discrimination. The downsides to having so few conservatives and libertarians in the legal academy are also briefly explored.

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An Evaluation of the Federal Legal Services Program: Evidence from Crime Rates and Property Values

Jamein Cunningham

Journal of Urban Economics, March 2016, Pages 76–90

Abstract:
This paper uses the city-level roll-out of legal service grants to evaluate their effects on crime. Using Uniform Crime Reports from 1960 to 1985, the results show that there is a short-run increase of 7 percent in crimes reported and a 16 percent increase in crimes cleared by arrest. Results show an increase in the staffing of police officers in cities that received legal services. These cities are also associated with having higher median property values 10 years later. This supports the narrative that legal services changed police behavior through litigation or threats of litigation.

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Nuclear Fallout: Investigating the Effect of Senate Procedural Reform on Judicial Nominations

Christina Boyd, Michael Lynch & Anthony Madonna

The Forum, December 2015, Pages 623–641

Abstract:
On November 21, 2013, U.S. Senate Democrats utilized the long threatened “nuclear option,” thereby allowing a simple-majority of the chamber to end debate on lower federal court judicial nominations. Formal theory predicts that this change should permit the president to nominate more ideologically extreme nominees. By comparing President Obama’s nominees before and after the Senate’s change to the confirmation process, we are able to provide the first comprehensive examination of how the nuclear option is likely to impact the ideological makeup of the lower federal courts. We additionally examine the impact of the nuclear option on time to confirmation and nominee success. Our results indicate, while post-nuclear option nominees are not significantly more liberal, they are being confirmed more often and more quickly, allowing Obama and Senate Democrats to more efficiently fill the federal judiciary with Democratic-leaning judges.

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Is the Expert Admissibility Game Fixed?: Judicial Gatekeeping of Fire and Arson Evidence

Rachel Dioso-Villa

Law & Policy, January 2016, Pages 54–80

Abstract:
Anecdotal evidence claims that in criminal cases, trial judges admit the prosecution's expert witnesses more readily than the defendants', and in civil cases the reverse is true; judges exclude plaintiffs' experts more often than civil defendants' experts. This occurs despite the fact that, with few exceptions, the same rules of admissibility apply to all parties and, in most jurisdictions, across criminal and civil cases. This article empirically tests this differential by reviewing judicial decisions to admit or exclude evidence holding the type of expert testimony constant, fire and arson evidence, across criminal and civil cases in the United States. The study examines the admissibility of fire and arson investigation experts in criminal and civil cases across all legal parties in fifty-seven federal and state opinions in the United States. The findings offer empirical support of a bias in criminal cases and in civil cases which present expert witnesses at trial, and is less pronounced, but still evident, on appeal. Specifically, the role of the party that offers the evidence has a profound effect on whether arson evidence is admitted, even when factors around the judge's political affiliation, attorney experience, expert qualifications, and rules of evidence are taken into account.

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Who Wins in the Supreme Court? An Examination of Attorney and Law Firm Influence

Adam Feldman

University of Southern California Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
Who are the most successful attorneys in the Supreme Court? A novel way to answer this question is by looking at attorneys' relative influence on the course of the law. This article performs macro and micro-level analyses of the most successful Supreme Court litigators by examining the amount of language shared between nearly 9,500 Supreme Court merits briefs and their respective Supreme Court opinions from 1946 through 2013. The article also includes analyses of the most successful law firms according to the same metric.

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The influence of pretrial exposure to community outrage and victim hardship on guilt judgments

David Zimmerman et al.

Psychology, Crime & Law. forthcoming

Abstract:
Although the courts have explicitly expressed concerns about the effects of public sentiment on juries in highly publicized cases, no research has isolated the degree to which jurors’ exposure to community outrage and/or prospective social interactions in the community independently influence judgments of guilt. In the current research, jury eligible undergraduates were randomly assigned to conditions in a 2 (negative defendant facts pretrial publicity (PTP): present vs. absent) × 2 (community outrage PTP: present vs. absent) × 2 (anticipated social interaction: present vs. absent) between subjects factorial design. In an online session, participants read articles containing PTP (or not), and two days later they arrived at the lab to serve as mock jurors in a murder case – before the trial they were instructed (or not) that they would interact with people from the community in which the case was taking place. Neither PTP containing extra-evidentiary facts about the defendant nor prospective interaction with the community had main or interactive effects on guilt measures; however, mock jurors rated the defendant as more likely to be guilty when they read information about community outrage and hardships on victims. These findings suggest future avenues of PTP research focusing on community outrage and victim impacts.

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Sentencing discretion and burdens of proof

Alexander Lundberg

International Review of Law and Economics, June 2016, Pages 34–42

Abstract:
In the US, judges typically retain sentencing discretion in criminal cases, but in some states this discretion is given to juries. One criticism of jury sentencing is that jurors will be tempted to issue “compromise verdicts,” where they return a guilty verdict but a light sentence when they are uncertain about the facts of a case. A simple expected utility model shows that any fact finder with sentencing discretion should engage in behavior that is observationally equivalent to a compromise verdict. Intuitively, the fact finder chooses a more lenient sentence than the punishment that fits the crime because he wants to mitigate the potential cost of a wrongful conviction; in turn, a lower cost of a wrongful conviction leads him to reduce his standard of proof. Although critics of jury sentencing intuit the risk of compromise, a bench trial poses the same risk for a judge. Alternatively, the jury trial format (jury verdict, judge sentence) can lessen the risk of compromise if juries are denied punishment information.

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Measuring Precedent in a Judicial Hierarchy

Matthew Hitt

Law & Society Review, March 2016, Pages 57–81

Abstract:
Identifying the U.S. Supreme Court's most influential precedents is integral to understanding its impact on society. To make these identifications, scholars often analyze the network of citations in Supreme Court opinions. I contend that the broader jurisprudential significance of precedent can be better captured by considering how frequently a precedent is followed across the federal judicial hierarchy. In support of this contention, I present an analysis of original data on the treatment of every Court precedent 1946–2010 in all three levels of the federal judicial hierarchy. I show that a class of complex and ambiguous precedents are followed significantly less at all levels of the hierarchy. Yet these same fractious precedents exhibit high citation rates in Supreme Court opinions. The results show that different methodological choices capture strikingly different theoretical concepts, ones that are easily conflated in the study of legal precedent.

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The Influence of Defendant Immigration Status, Country of Origin, and Ethnicity on Juror Decisions: An Aversive Racism Explanation for Juror Bias

Laura Minero & Russ Espinoza

Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, February 2016, Pages 55-74

Abstract:
This study examined prejudicial attitudes toward immigrant defendants who vary on legal status, country of origin, and ethnicity. Three hundred twenty mock juror participants read a trial transcript that varied defendants’ immigration status (documented or undocumented), defendant country of origin (Canada or Mexico), and defendant race/ethnicity (Caucasian or Latino). Dependent measures included verdict, sentencing, culpability ratings, and trait assessments. European American mock jurors found undocumented, Latino immigrants from Mexico guilty significantly more often, more culpable, and rated this defendant more negatively on various trait measures in comparison with all other conditions. Latino mock jurors did not demonstrate ingroup favoritism or outgroup bias. This study examines aversive racism as a factor of this bias. Limitations and future directions are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, February 25, 2016

For good or evil

Moral Heroes Look Up and to the Right

Jeremy Frimer & Lisa Sinclair

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, March 2016, Pages 400-410

Abstract:
Portraits of moral heroes often portray the hero gazing up and to the viewer’s right in part because ideologically minded followers select and propagate these images of their leaders. Study 1 found that the gaze direction of portraits of moral heroes (e.g., Martin Luther King, Jr.) tend to show the hero looking up-and-right more often than chance would predict, and more often than portraits of celebrities (e.g., Elvis Presley) do. In Studies 2 and 3, we asked participants to play the role of an ideologically motivated follower, and select an image of their leader to promote the cause. Participants preferentially selected the up-and-right version. In Study 4, we found that conceptual metaphors linking directionality to personal virtues of warmth, pride, and future-mindedness helped explain why the up-and-right posture looks most heroic. Followers play an active role in advancing social causes by portraying their leaders as moral heroes.

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Winning a competition predicts dishonest behavior

Amos Schurr & Ilana Ritov

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 16 February 2016, Pages 1754–1759

Abstract:
Winning a competition engenders subsequent unrelated unethical behavior. Five studies reveal that after a competition has taken place winners behave more dishonestly than competition losers. Studies 1 and 2 demonstrate that winning a competition increases the likelihood of winners to steal money from their counterparts in a subsequent unrelated task. Studies 3a and 3b demonstrate that the effect holds only when winning means performing better than others (i.e., determined in reference to others) but not when success is determined by chance or in reference to a personal goal. Finally, study 4 demonstrates that a possible mechanism underlying the effect is an enhanced sense of entitlement among competition winners.

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Suffering and Compassion: The Links Among Adverse Life Experiences, Empathy, Compassion, and Prosocial Behavior

Daniel Lim & David DeSteno

Emotion, March 2016, Pages 175-182

Abstract:
Experiencing past adversity traditionally has been linked to negative life outcomes. However, emerging evidence suggests that heterogeneity exists with respect to links between adversity and resilience, with adversity often enhancing cooperation in the face of joint suffering. Here, the authors present 2 studies designed to examine if the severity of past adversity is associated with an enduring propensity for empathy-mediated compassion, and, if so, whether the resulting compassion directly is, in turn, linked to behavior meant to relieve the suffering of others. Using both MTurk and laboratory-based paradigms, the authors find that increasing severity of past adversity predicts increased empathy, which in turn, is linked to a stable tendency to feel compassion for others in need. In addition, they demonstrate that the resulting individual differences in compassion appear to engender behavioral responses meant to assist others (i.e., charitable giving, helping a stranger).

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When are Do-Gooders Treated Badly? Legitimate Power, Role Expectations, and Reactions to Moral Objection in Organizations

Ned Wellman et al.

Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Organization members who engage in “moral objection” by taking a principled stand against ethically questionable activities help to prevent such activities from persisting. Unfortunately, research suggests that they also may be perceived as less warm (i.e., pleasant, nice) than members who comply with ethically questionable procedures. In this article, we draw on role theory to explore how legitimate power influences observers’ responses to moral objection. We argue that individuals expect those high in legitimate power to engage in moral objection, but expect those low in legitimate power to comply with ethically questionable practices. We further propose that these contrasting role expectations influence the extent to which moral objectors are perceived as warm and subjected to social sanctions (i.e., insults, pressure, unfriendly behavior). We test our predictions with 3 experiments. Study 1, which draws on participants’ prior workplace experiences, supports the first section of our mediated moderation model in which the negative association between an actor’s moral objection (vs. compliance) and observers’ warmth perceptions is weaker when the actor is high rather than low in legitimate power and this effect is mediated by observers’ met role expectations. Study 2, an online experiment featuring a biased hiring task, reveals that the warmth perceptions fostered by the Behavior × Legitimate Power interaction influence observers’ social sanctioning intentions. Finally, Study 3, a laboratory experiment which exposes participants to unethical behavior in a virtual team task, replicates Study 2’s findings and extends the results to actual as well as intended social sanctions.

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When Ethical Leader Behavior Breaks Bad: How Ethical Leader Behavior Can Turn Abusive via Ego Depletion and Moral Licensing

Szu-Han (Joanna) Lin, Jingjing Ma & Russell Johnson

Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The literature to date has predominantly focused on the benefits of ethical leader behaviors for recipients (e.g., employees and teams). Adopting an actor-centric perspective, in this study we examined whether exhibiting ethical leader behaviors may come at some cost to leaders. Drawing from ego depletion and moral licensing theories, we explored the potential challenges of ethical leader behavior for actors. Across 2 studies which employed multiwave designs that tracked behaviors over consecutive days, we found that leaders’ displays of ethical behavior were positively associated with increases in abusive behavior the following day. This association was mediated by increases in depletion and moral credits owing to their earlier displays of ethical behavior. These results suggest that attention is needed to balance the benefits of ethical leader behaviors for recipients against the challenges that such behaviors pose for actors, which include feelings of mental fatigue and psychological license and ultimately abusive interpersonal behaviors.

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No Compromise: Political Consequences of Moralized Attitudes

Timothy Ryan

American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Evolutionary, neuroscientific, and cognitive perspectives in psychology have converged on the idea that some attitudes are moralized — a distinctive characteristic. Moralized attitudes reorient behavior from maximizing gains to adhering to rules. Here, I examine a political consequence of this tendency. In three studies, I measure attitude moralization and examine how it relates to approval of political compromise. I find that moralized attitudes lead citizens to oppose compromises, punish compromising politicians, and forsake material gains. These patterns emerge on economic and noneconomic issues alike and identify a psychological phenomenon that contributes to intractable political disputes.

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On the misguided pursuit of happiness and ethical decision making: The roles of focalism and the impact bias in unethical and selfish behavior

Laura Noval

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, March 2016, Pages 1–16

Abstract:
An important body of research in the field of behavioral ethics argues that individuals behave unethically and selfishly because they want to obtain desired outcomes, such as career advancement and monetary rewards. Concurrently, a large body of literature in social psychology has shown that the subjective value of an outcome is determined by its anticipated emotional impact. Such impact has been consistently found to be overestimated both in its intensity and in its duration (i.e. impact bias) due to focalism (i.e. excessive focus on the desired outcome). Across four empirical studies, this investigation demonstrates that reducing focalism and thereby attenuating the impact bias in regards to desired outcomes decreases people’s tendency to engage in both unethical and selfish behavior to obtain those outcomes.

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From Good Soldiers to Psychologically Entitled: Examining When and Why Citizenship Behavior Leads to Deviance

Kai Chi Yam et al.

Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research has consistently demonstrated that organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) produce a wide array of positive outcomes for employees and organizations. Recent work, however, suggests that employees often engage in OCBs not because they want to but because they feel they have to, and it is not clear if OCBs performed for external motives have the same positive effects on individuals and organizational functioning as do traditional OCBs. In this paper, we draw from self-determination and moral licensing theories to suggest a potential negative consequence of OCB. Specifically, we argue that when employees feel compelled to engage in OCB by external forces, they will subsequently feel psychologically entitled for having gone above and beyond the call of duty. Furthermore, these feelings of entitlement can act as moral credentials that psychologically free employees to engage in both interpersonal and organizational deviance. Data from two multi-source field studies and an online experiment provide support for these hypotheses. In addition, we demonstrate that OCB-generated feelings of entitlement transcend organizational boundaries and lead to deviance outside of the organization.

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Careful what you wish for: Fantasizing about revenge increases justice dissatisfaction in the chronically powerless

Meredith Lillie & Peter Strelan

Personality and Individual Differences, May 2016, Pages 290–294

Abstract:
Victims grappling with transgressions where justice has not been done sometimes resort to fantasizing about revenge. This may particularly be the case among people who are chronically powerless since, by definition, they are often not in a position to get justice when transgressed against. In an experimental design in which all participants (N = 84) recalled a highly hurtful and as yet unresolved transgression, participants wrote down a revenge fantasy (or not). As hypothesised, chronically powerless victims who described a revenge fantasy expressed greater dissatisfaction with the extent to which they had got justice for their transgression. The results suggest that, while people might like the idea of revenge, fantasizing about it can be deleterious for the chronically powerless.

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If I am free, you can’t own me: Autonomy makes entities less ownable

Christina Starmans & Ori Friedman

Cognition, March 2016, Pages 145–153

Abstract:
Although people own myriad objects, land, and even ideas, it is currently illegal to own other humans. This reluctance to view people as property raises interesting questions about our conceptions of people and about our conceptions of ownership. We suggest that one factor contributing to this reluctance is that humans are normally considered to be autonomous, and autonomy is incompatible with being owned by someone else. To investigate whether autonomy impacts judgments of ownership, participants recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk read vignettes where a person paid for an entity (Experiments 1 and 3) or created it (Experiment 2). Participants were less likely to judge that the entity was owned when it was described as autonomous compared with when it was described as non-autonomous, and this pattern held regardless of whether the entity was a human or an alien (Experiments 1 and 3), a robot (Experiments 2 and 3), or a human-like biological creation (Experiment 2). The effect of autonomy was specific to judgments of whether entities were owned, and it did not influence judgments of the moral acceptability of paying for and keeping entities (Experiment 3). These experiments also found that judgments of ownership were separately impacted by ontological type, with participants less likely to judge that humans are owned compared with other kinds of entities. A fourth experiment tested a further prediction of the autonomy account, and showed that participants are more likely to view a person as owned if he willingly sells himself. Together these findings show that attributions of autonomy constrain judgments of what can be owned.

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Morality in Context: A Multilevel Analysis of the Relationship between Religion and Values in Europe

Ingrid Storm

Politics and Religion, forthcoming

Abstract:
The exact relationship between religiosity and moral values is understudied, and it is unclear what the process of secularization means for the morality of Europeans. Previous research shows that religion is associated with low levels of political and economic development. A potential explanation is that religion provides an alternative moral authority to the authority of the state. Using data from four waves of the European Values Study 1981–2008, I analyze attitudes to personal autonomy (vs tradition) and self-interest (vs social norms) in a multilevel model of 48 European countries. The results show that religious decline has been accompanied by an increase in autonomy values, but not self-interest, that the relationship between religion and morality is stronger in more religious countries, and that it has declined since the 1980s. We also show that religiosity is more negatively associated with self-interest among people with low confidence in state authorities.

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Effects of “literariness” on emotions and on empathy and reflection after reading

Eva Maria (Emy) Koopman

Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, February 2016, Pages 82-98

Abstract:
This study investigated the effects of foregrounding on affective responses (i.e., emotions) during reading, and on empathy and reflection after reading, using both quantitative and qualitative measures. In addition, the influence of personal factors (trait empathy, personal experience, exposure to literature) on empathy and reflection was explored. Participants (N = 142) were randomly assigned to read 1 of 3 versions of an excerpt from a literary novel about the loss of a child. Versions differed in the level of foregrounded textual features: the “original” version possessed a high level of semantic, phonetic, and grammatical foregrounding; semantic foregrounding was removed in the manipulated version “without imagery”; and semantic, phonetic and grammatical foregrounding were removed in the manipulated version “without foregrounding.” Results showed that readers who had read the “original” version scored higher on empathy after reading than those who had read the version “without foregrounding.” A quantitative analysis of qualitative data showed that participants reading the original version experienced significantly more ambivalent emotions than those in the version without foregrounding. Reflection did not seem to be influenced by foregrounding. Results suggest that personal factors may be more important in evoking reflection.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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