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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Don't be too hasty

Methylphenidate Blocks Effort-Induced Depletion of Regulatory Control in Healthy Volunteers

Chandra Sripada, Daniel Kessler & John Jonides
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
A recent wave of studies — more than 100 conducted over the last decade — has shown that exerting effort at controlling impulses or behavioral tendencies leaves a person depleted and less able to engage in subsequent rounds of regulation. Regulatory depletion is thought to play an important role in everyday problems (e.g., excessive spending, overeating) as well as psychiatric conditions, but its neurophysiological basis is poorly understood. Using a placebo-controlled, double-blind design, we demonstrated that the psychostimulant methylphenidate (commonly known as Ritalin), a catecholamine reuptake blocker that increases dopamine and norepinephrine at the synaptic cleft, fully blocks effort-induced depletion of regulatory control. Spectral analysis of trial-by-trial reaction times revealed specificity of methylphenidate effects on regulatory depletion in the slow-4 frequency band. This band is associated with the operation of resting-state brain networks that produce mind wandering, which raises potential connections between our results and recent brain-network-based models of control over attention.

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Gender Differences in Optimism and Asset Allocation

Ben Jacobsen et al.
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate two alternative explanations why men may hold more stocks than women do. Apart from the traditional explanation of a gender difference in risk aversion, gender differences in either optimism or in perceived risk of financial markets might cause men to hold riskier assets. Our results show that men tend to be significantly more optimistic than women regarding a broad range of issues, including the economy and financial markets. After we take differences in optimism into account, systematic gender differences in asset allocations disappear.

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The evolution of self-control

Evan MacLean et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Cognition presents evolutionary research with one of its greatest challenges. Cognitive evolution has been explained at the proximate level by shifts in absolute and relative brain volume and at the ultimate level by differences in social and dietary complexity. However, no study has integrated the experimental and phylogenetic approach at the scale required to rigorously test these explanations. Instead, previous research has largely relied on various measures of brain size as proxies for cognitive abilities. We experimentally evaluated these major evolutionary explanations by quantitatively comparing the cognitive performance of 567 individuals representing 36 species on two problem-solving tasks measuring self-control. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that absolute brain volume best predicted performance across species and accounted for considerably more variance than brain volume controlling for body mass. This result corroborates recent advances in evolutionary neurobiology and illustrates the cognitive consequences of cortical reorganization through increases in brain volume. Within primates, dietary breadth but not social group size was a strong predictor of species differences in self-control. Our results implicate robust evolutionary relationships between dietary breadth, absolute brain volume, and self-control. These findings provide a significant first step toward quantifying the primate cognitive phenome and explaining the process of cognitive evolution.

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Happiness as a Driver of Risk-avoiding Behaviour: Theory and an Empirical Study of Seatbelt Wearing and Automobile Accidents

Robert Goudie et al.
Economica, forthcoming

Abstract:
Governments try to discourage risky health behaviours, yet such behaviours are bewilderingly persistent. We suggest a new conceptual approach to this puzzle. We show that expected utility theory predicts that unhappy people will be attracted to risk-taking. Using US seatbelt data, we document evidence strongly consistent with that prediction. We exploit various methodological approaches, including Bayesian model selection and instrumental variable estimation. Using road accident data, we find strongly corroborative longitudinal evidence. Government policy may thus have to change. It may need to improve the underlying happiness of individuals instead of, or in addition to, its traditional concern with society's risk-taking symptoms.

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The Effect of Friendly Touch on Delay-of-Gratification in Preschool Children

Julia Leonard, Talia Berkowitz & Anna Shusterman
Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Physical touch has many documented benefits, but past research has paid little attention to the effects of touch on children's development. Here, we tested the effect of touch on children's compliance behavior in a modified delay-of-gratification task. Forty children (M = 59 months) were randomly assigned to a Touch or No Touch group. Children in the intervention condition received a friendly touch on the back while being told that they should wait for permission to eat a candy. Results showed that children in the Touch condition waited an average of two minutes longer to eat the candy than children in the No Touch condition. This finding has implications for the potential of using touch to promote positive behaviors in children.

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Gratitude: A Tool for Reducing Economic Impatience

David DeSteno et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The human mind tends to excessively discount the value of delayed rewards relative to immediate ones, with “hot” affective processes believed to drive desires for short-term gratification. Supporting this view, recent findings demonstrate that sadness exacerbates financial impatience even when the sadness is unrelated to the economic decision at hand (Lerner, Li, & Weber, 2012). Such findings might reinforce the view that emotions must always be suppressed to combat impatience. But if emotions serve adaptive functions, then certain emotions might be capable of reducing excessive impatience for delayed rewards. We find evidence supporting this alternative view. Specifically, we find that (1) the emotion gratitude reduces impatience even with real money at stake, and (2) the effects of gratitude are differentiable from those of the more general positive state of happiness. These findings challenge the view that individuals must tamp down affective responses through effortful self-regulation to reach more patient and adaptive economic decisions.

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Credit Card Borrowing and the Monoamine Oxidase A (MAOA) Gene

Jan-Emmanuel De Neve & James Fowler
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using a discovery and replication sample from a U.S. representative data set, we show that a functional polymorphism on the MAOA gene is associated with credit card borrowing behavior. For the combined sample of approximately 12,000 individuals we find that having one or both MAOA alleles of the less transcriptionally efficient type raises the average likelihood of reporting credit card debt by about 4%. These results suggest that behavioral models benefit from integrating genetic variation and that economists should consider the welfare consequences of possible discrimination by lenders on the basis of genotype.

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Staying ahead and getting even: Risk attitudes of experienced poker players

David Eil & Jaimie Lien
Games and Economic Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Frequent online poker players with extensive experience calculating probabilities and expected values might be expected to behave as Expected Utility maximizers, in that small shocks to their wealth would not affect risk preferences (Rabin, 2000). By contrast, reference-dependent loss aversion (as in Prospect Theory) (Koszegi and Rabin, 2006; Kahneman and Tversky, 1979) predicts that risk aversion decreases as wealth moves away from the reference point in either direction. In terms of continuing to play, as well as a more aggressive playing style, we find strong evidence for the break-even effect, the increased pursuit of risk as a player is losing within a session. Players' behavior also appears consistent with existing evidence on reference-dependent labor supply, in their tendency to reduce effort and risk-taking in response to being ahead. Our findings provide evidence for reference-dependent behavior in a flexible, high-skilled setting, under conditions of well-understood monetary risk.

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Fear, excitement, and financial risk-taking

Chan Jean Lee & Eduardo Andrade
Cognition & Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Can fear trigger risk-taking? In this paper, we assess whether fear can be reinterpreted as a state of excitement as a result of contextual cues and promote, rather than discourage, risk-taking. In a laboratory experiment, the participants' emotional states were induced (fear vs. control), followed by a purportedly unrelated financial task. The task was framed as either a stock market investment or an exciting casino game. Our results showed that incidental fear (vs. control) induced risk-averse behaviour when the task was framed as a stock investment decision. However, fear encouraged risk-taking when the very same task was framed as an exciting casino game. The impact of fear on risk-taking was partially mediated by the excitement felt during the financial task.

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Higher Crash and Near-Crash Rates in Teenaged Drivers With Lower Cortisol Response: An 18-Month Longitudinal, Naturalistic Study

Marie Claude Ouimet et al.
JAMA Pediatrics, forthcoming

Objective: To examine the relationship between cortisol, a neurobiological marker of stress regulation linked to risky behavior, and driving risk.

Design, Setting, and Participants: The Naturalistic Teenage Driving Study was designed to continuously monitor the driving behavior of teenagers by instrumenting vehicles with kinematic sensors, cameras, and a global positioning system. During 2006-2008, a community sample of 42 newly licensed 16-year-old volunteer participants in the United States was recruited and driving behavior monitored. It was hypothesized in teenagers that higher cortisol response to stress is associated with (1) lower crash and near-crash (CNC) rates during their first 18 months of licensure and (2) faster reduction in CNC rates over time.

Main Outcomes and Measures: Participants’ cortisol response during a stress-inducing task was assessed at baseline, followed by measurement of their involvement in CNCs and driving exposure during their first 18 months of licensure. Mixed-effect Poisson longitudinal regression models were used to examine the association between baseline cortisol response and CNC rates during the follow-up period.

Results: Participants with a higher baseline cortisol response had lower CNC rates during the follow-up period (exponential of the regression coefficient, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.88-0.98) and faster decrease in CNC rates over time (exponential of the regression coefficient, 0.98; 95%, CI, 0.96-0.99).

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Theoretically motivated interventions for reducing sexual risk taking in adolescence: A randomized controlled experiment applying fuzzy-trace theory

Valerie Reyna & Britain Mills
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
Fuzzy-trace theory is a theory of memory, judgment, and decision making, and their development. We applied advances in this theory to increase the efficacy and durability of a multicomponent intervention to promote risk reduction and avoidance of premature pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Seven hundred and thirty-four adolescents from high schools and youth programs in 3 states (Arizona, Texas, and New York) were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 curriculum groups: RTR (Reducing the Risk), RTR+ (a modified version of RTR using fuzzy-trace theory), and a control group. We report effects of curriculum on self-reported behaviors and behavioral intentions plus psychosocial mediators of those effects: namely, attitudes and norms, motives to have sex or get pregnant, self-efficacy and behavioral control, and gist/verbatim constructs. Among 26 outcomes, 19 showed an effect of at least 1 curriculum relative to the control group: RTR+ produced improvements for 17 outcomes and RTR produced improvements for 12 outcomes. For RTR+, 2 differences (for perceived parental norms and global benefit perception) were confined to age, gender, or racial/ethnic subgroups. Effects of RTR+ on sexual initiation emerged 6 months after the intervention, when many adolescents became sexually active. Effects of RTR+ were greater than RTR for 9 outcomes, and remained significantly greater than controls at 1-year follow-up for 12 outcomes. Consistent with fuzzy-trace theory, results suggest that by emphasizing gist representations, which are preserved over long periods and are key memories used in decision making, the enhanced intervention produced larger and more sustained effects on behavioral outcomes and psychosocial mediators of adolescent risk taking.

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Night owl women are similar to men in their relationship orientation, risk-taking propensities, and cortisol levels: Implications for the adaptive significance and evolution of eveningness

Dario Maestripieri
Evolutionary Psychology, Winter 2014, Pages 130-147

Abstract:
Individual differences in morningness/eveningness are relatively stable over time and, in part, genetically based. The night-owl pattern is more prevalent in men than in women, particularly after puberty and before women reach menopause. It has been suggested that eveningness evolved relatively recently in human evolutionary history and that this trait may be advantageous to individuals pursuing short-term mating strategies. Consistent with this hypothesis, eveningness is associated with extraversion, novelty-seeking, and in males, with a higher number of sexual partners. In this study, I investigated whether eveningness is associated with short-term relationship orientation, higher risk-taking, and higher testosterone or cortisol. Both female and male night-owls were more likely to be single than in long-term relationships than early morning individuals. Eveningness was associated with higher risk-taking in women but not in men; this association was not testosterone-dependent but mediated by cortisol. Female night-owls had average cortisol profiles and risk-taking tendencies more similar to those of males than to those of early-morning females. Taken together, these findings provide some support to the hypothesis that eveningness is associated with psychological and behavioral traits that are instrumental in short-term mating strategies, with the evidence being stronger for women than for men.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, May 2, 2014

You be the judge

The Semiconstrained Court: Public Opinion, the Separation of Powers, and the U.S. Supreme Court's Fear of Nonimplementation

Matthew Hall
American Journal of Political Science, April 2014, Pages 352–366

Abstract:
Numerous studies have found that elite and popular preferences influence decision making on the U.S. Supreme Court; yet, uncertainty remains about when, how, and why the Court is constrained by external pressure. I argue the justices are constrained, at least in part, because they fear nonimplementation of their decisions. I test this theory by utilizing a recent study of judicial power, which finds the Court enjoys greater implementation power in “vertical” cases (those involving criminal and civil liability) than in “lateral” cases (all others; e.g., those involving schools or government agencies). I find that Court constraint is strongest in important lateral cases — those cases in which implementation depends on support from nonjudicial actors. My findings suggest that Supreme Court constraint is driven by the justices' fear of nonimplementation and is, therefore, dependent on institutional context.

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Murder or Not? Cold Temperature Makes Criminals Appear to Be Cold-Blooded and Warm Temperature to Be Hot-Headed

Christine Gockel, Peter Kolb & Lioba Werth
PLoS ONE, April 2014

Abstract:
Temperature-related words such as cold-blooded and hot-headed can be used to describe criminal behavior. Words associated with coldness describe premeditated behavior and words associated with heat describe impulsive behavior. Building on recent research about the close interplay between physical and interpersonal coldness and warmth, we examined in a lab experiment how ambient temperature within a comfort zone influences judgments of criminals. Participants in rooms with low temperature regarded criminals to be more cold-blooded than participants in rooms with high temperature. Specifically, they were more likely to attribute premeditated crimes, ascribed crimes resulting in higher degrees of penalty, and attributed more murders to criminals. Likewise, participants in rooms with high temperature regarded criminals to be more hot-headed than participants in rooms with low temperature: They were more likely to attribute impulsive crimes. Results imply that cognitive representations of temperature are closely related to representations of criminal behavior and attributions of intent.

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Explaining the (Non)Occurrence of Equal Divisions on the U.S. Supreme Court

Ryan Black & Amanda Bryan
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
When the U.S. Supreme Court sits with an even number of justices participating, there is a risk that the Court will be deadlocked in a tied vote. While this outcome awards the individual respondent with a victory, it also preserves circuit splits and other ambiguities in the law. In this article, we examine the conditions under which an even-membered Supreme Court actually results in a tie vote. We argue that the Court recognizes the potentially damaging consequences of 4-4 rulings and seeks to avoid them when those consequences would be most severe. Consistent with that conjecture, we find that ties are less likely when a decision is necessary to resolve a dispute in the lower courts and when cases are important to the executive branch.

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Unwarranted Disparity in Federal Sentencing: Noncitizen Crime as a Social/Group Threat

Jawjeong Wu & Jill D’Angelo
Criminal Justice Review, March 2014, Pages 58-80

Abstract:
Research has recently shown a renewed interest in the effect of citizenship status on sentencing outcomes. This line of investigation, however, is limited to the individual-level analysis. In addition, research on the threat hypothesis has overwhelmingly focused on racial and ethnic threat. This study extends prior research by testing the social/group threat hypothesis in terms of citizenship and examines two primary variables of interest — the size of the noncitizen population and offender citizenship status. This study seeks to find how the size of the noncitizen population as a macro-level factor and offender citizenship status as a micro-level factor independently and jointly affect federal sentencing. The independent effects of other macro-level factors in the context of courts and areas on sentencing decisions, as well as their interactions with offender citizenship status, are also examined. With all offenses considered together, the cross-level finding provides support for social threat posed by noncitizen offenders, revealing that judges in districts with a large noncitizen population impose longer sentences on noncitizen offenders than those in districts with a small noncitizen population.

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Testing the Packer Theorem: The Efficiency of Florida’s Criminal Circuit Courts

Joseph Ferrandino
American Journal of Criminal Justice, June 2014, Pages 375-393

Abstract:
Herbert Packer’s models of the criminal process are criminal justice theorems, often the foundation of student introduction to the field in introductory textbooks. To date, there is little empirical analysis of the conceptual foundations of the process-based models, namely that courts are more efficient through the utilization of plea bargains, while an increase in trials necessarily decreases efficiency. The present results reveal wide variability in Florida circuit criminal court efficiency within and between circuits from 2004/05 to 2010/11. Regression analysis revealed that the year over year difference in both plea bargain (β = .14) and trial percentage (β = .13) significantly predicted (p < .05) year over year changes in efficiency, but explained a small amount of the variance (R 2 = .026) controlling for other factors (total model R 2 = .58–.62). These results show there is more capacity for trials within the Florida courts, and an increase in trials does not negatively impact court efficiency as expected but that other factors are far more relevant in explaining changes in efficiency outcomes. Furthermore, the Packer “assembly line” analogy, a basic tenet of the criminal process, is not found: plea bargains do not strongly predict or explain court efficiency, with structures playing a greater role in court outcomes than the processes conceptualized by Packer. The application to courts and impact on criminal justice education are discussed.

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Terrorist Suspect Religious Identity and Public Support for Harsh Interrogation and Detention Practices

James Piazza
Political Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Does the U.S. public's support for the use of harsh interrogation and detention practices against terrorism suspects depend upon the religious identity of the alleged perpetrators? Some scholarly research indicates greater public acceptance for abridging the rights of Muslims after 9/11. This is consistent with literature suggesting that heightened perception of threat decreases popular tolerance for racial, ethnic, and religious outgroups. This study executes a survey experiment and finds respondents to be more permissive of the use of extraordinary detention practices, such as indefinite detention and denying suspects access to legal counsel and civilian criminal courts, against terror suspects identified as Muslims. Furthermore, the study reveals that respondents are significantly less likely to treat domestic, right-wing terrorist suspects with extraordinary detention, suggesting ingroup leniency.

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Out of Place: Racial Stereotypes and the Ecology of Frisks and Searches Following Traffic Stops

Leo Carroll & Lilliana Gonzalez
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, forthcoming

Objectives: Test hypotheses drawn from Smith and Alpert’s social conditioning theory that explains biased policing as the result of implicit racial stereotypes. Distinguishing between frisks and searches, we hypothesize that (1) Black drivers are more likely than White drivers to be frisked and searched; (2) racial disparity is greater in frisks than searches; (3) racial disparity in frisks, but not searches, is conditional upon the racial composition of the community; and (4) that drivers’ race is not related to the productivity of searches.

Methods: Data are all traffic stops made by the Rhode Island State Police in 2006, exclusive of those in which a search was mandatory. Multinomial and binary logistic regressions are employed to estimate models of frisks, searches, search productivity, and to test the conditional effect of community context.

Results: Each of the four hypotheses is supported.

Conclusion: Biased policing is largely the product of implicit stereotypes that are activated in contexts in which Black drivers appear out of place and in police actions that require quick decisions providing little time to monitor cognitions. This insight has important implications for police training. Because of limitations in this study, additional research that distinguishes frisks and searches is needed.

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Innocent until Primed: Mock Jurors' Racially Biased Response to the Presumption of Innocence

Danielle Young, Justin Levinson & Scott Sinnett
PLoS ONE, March 2014

Background: Research has shown that crime concepts can activate attentional bias to Black faces. This study investigates the possibility that some legal concepts hold similar implicit racial cues. Presumption of innocence instructions, a core legal principle specifically designed to eliminate bias, may instead serve as an implicit racial cue resulting in attentional bias.

Methodology/Principal findings: The experiment was conducted in a courtroom with participants seated in the jury box. Participants first watched a video of a federal judge reading jury instructions that contained presumption of innocence instructions, or matched length alternative instructions. Immediately following this video a dot-probe task was administered to assess the priming effect of the jury instructions. Presumption of innocence instructions, but not the alternative instructions, led to significantly faster response times to Black faces when compared with White faces.

Conclusions/Significance: These findings suggest that the core principle designed to ensure fairness in the legal system actually primes attention for Black faces, indicating that this supposedly fundamental protection could trigger racial stereotypes.

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A signal detection theory analysis of racial and ethnic disproportionality in the referral and substantiation processes of the U.S. child welfare services system

Jeryl Mumpower & Gary McClelland
Judgment and Decision Making, March 2014, Pages 114–128

Abstract:
Signal detection theory (SDT) was developed to analyze the behavior of a single judge but also can be used to analyze decisions made by organizations or other social systems. SDT quantifies the ability to distinguish between signal and noise by separating accuracy of the detection system from response bias — the propensity to over-warn (too many false positives) or under-warn (too many misses). We apply SDT techniques to national and state-level data sets to analyze the ability of the child welfare services systems to detect instances of child maltreatment. Blacks have higher rates of referral and the system is less accurate for them than for Whites or Hispanics. The incidence of false positives — referrals leading to unsubstantiated findings — is higher for Blacks than for other groups, as is the incidence of false negatives — children for whom no referral was made but who are in fact neglected or abused. The rate of true positives — children for whom a referral was made and for whom the allegation was substantiated — is higher for Blacks. Values of d′ (signal strength) are roughly the same for Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics but there are pronounced group differences in C (a measure of the location of the decision threshold). Analyses show that the child welfare services system treats Blacks differently from Hispanics and Whites in ways that cannot be justified readily in terms of objective measures of group differences. This study illustrates the potential for JDM techniques such as SDT to contribute to understanding of system-level decision making processes.

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Effect of criminal defendant's history of childhood sexual abuse and personality disorder diagnosis on juror decision making

Ebony Butler & Kristine Jacquin
Personality and Mental Health, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study investigated whether a defendant's history of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and/or personality disorder (PD) diagnosis affected juror decision making in a child sexual abuse trial. The PDs in the study were borderline PD and antisocial PD. Participants were 385 college students, 121 men and 264 women, who read a summary of a mock criminal trial and then made various juror decisions. Trial summaries were prepared by the principal investigator and were all uniform in content, length and detail. For the trial, both the defendant's gender and victim's gender were specified. The defendant was male, and the alleged victim was female. When the verdict was assessed, the results yielded that when the defendant's CSA history was presented, juror guilt ratings were higher than when there was no history of CSA. Similarly, when the defendant had a PD diagnosis, there were higher guilt ratings than when there was no PD diagnosis. CSA history and PD diagnosis were significant predictors of guilt ratings, suggesting that jurors perceive defendants more negatively if they have either been sexually abused as a child or have borderline or antisocial PD.

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Is the U.S. Supreme Court's Legitimacy Grounded in Performance Satisfaction and Ideology?

James Gibson & Michael Nelson
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Bartels and Johnston have recently presented evidence suggesting that the legitimacy of the U.S. Supreme Court is grounded in the ideological preferences and perceptions of the American people. In addition, they offer experimental data purporting to show that dissatisfaction with a single Court decision substantially diminishes the institution's legitimacy. These findings strongly break with earlier research on the Court's institutional support, as the authors recognize. The theoretical implications of their findings are profound. If the authors are correct that legitimacy is strongly dependent upon satisfying the policy preferences and ideological predilections of the American people, the essence of legitimacy is fundamentally transformed. Consequently, we reinvestigate the relationships among ideology, performance satisfaction, and Court legitimacy, unearthing empirical findings that diverge markedly from theirs. We conclude with some thoughts about how the Court's “countermajoritarian dilemma” can be reconceptualized and recalculated, once more drawing conclusions sharply at odds with those of Bartels and Johnston.

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A Model of Cause Lawyering

Scott Baker & Gary Biglaiser
Journal of Legal Studies, January 2014, Pages 37-63

Abstract:
This paper is an economic analysis of cause lawyering, in which lawyers seek social change through the courts. The lawyer’s litigation strategy consists of deciding how many steps in the law to ask the court to move at a single moment. We find that more intense advocates prefer to ask for a series of small steps to move the law. We also investigate how the Supreme Court’s doctrine responds to advocacy in lower courts. We find that when facing intense advocates, a Supreme Court is more likely to issue constraining doctrine. We link the findings from the model to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s litigation strategy for eradicating the doctrine of separate but equal.

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The truth-justice tradeoff: Perceptions of decisional accuracy and procedural justice in adversarial and inquisitorial legal systems

Justin Sevier
Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, May 2014, Pages 212-224

Abstract:
Two studies provide empirical support for Thibaut and Walker’s (1978) theory that inquisitorial and adversarial dispute resolution systems are associated with different psychological values: the pursuit of truth and the pursuit of justice. Study 1 suggests that, in civil and criminal disputes, the adversarial system is perceived to produce less truth than it does justice, and less truth than does the inquisitorial system. Conversely, the inquisitorial system is perceived to produce less justice than it does truth, and less justice than does the adversarial system. Study 2 examines how legal outcomes moderate litigants’ perceptions of the truth and justice produced by these dispute resolution systems. Study 2 suggests that perceptions of the truth and justice provided by the adversarial system are highly sensitive to the outcome of the dispute, whereas perceptions of the truth and justice provided by the inquisitorial system are not affected by dispute outcomes. Implications for Thibaut and Walker’s theory are discussed.

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Skilled Observation and Change Blindness: A Comparison of Law Enforcement and Student Samples

Shannon Smart, Melissa Berry & Dario Rodriguez
Applied Cognitive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Some evidence suggests that expertise and observational skills training can reduce attentional errors, such as change blindness. Laypeople typically assume that law enforcement officers possess acute observational skills, but no research to date has compared law enforcement and lay samples on their susceptibility to change blindness. In the present study, student and law enforcement samples completed a change blindness task and attempted to identify the target(s) from four line-ups. Law enforcement officers and students were equally susceptible to change blindness regarding the switch in the target's identity, but students were more likely than officers to detect changes in the target's clothing. Students also performed better on the line-up task, overall, than officers. Additionally, whereas students' confidence was positively correlated with identification accuracy under some circumstances, officers' confidence was either uncorrelated or negatively correlated with accuracy. We discuss the implications of these findings and suggest some factors accounting for law enforcement officers' relatively poor performance on these tasks.

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Judicial Deference and Executive Control Over Administrative Agencies

Gbemende Johnson
State Politics & Policy Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Do judges defer to executives with increased institutional control over the executive branch? Administrative agencies play a key role in the policy implementation process. Executives could view aggressive judicial review of executive branch activity as a threat to executive power and negatively respond to perceived judicial intrusions. Governors across the country possess varying amounts of institutional authority over the agencies that comprise their states’ executive branches. For example, in many states, executive branch officials are elected by the public or appointed by someone other than the governor. Increased fragmentation increases the difficulty of centralized management and decreases gubernatorial influence over the executive branch. I examine whether state supreme courts defer more to agencies in states where governors have more formal control over the executive branch. I find that state supreme courts are more likely to rule in favor of state administrative agencies in states where the governor has increased appointment power and increased power to review agency rulemaking.

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Prison Inmates’ Right to Hunger Strike: Its Use and Its Limits Under the U.S. Constitution

Naoki Kanaboshi
Criminal Justice Review, June 2014, Pages 121-139

Abstract:
Hunger strikes have long been used as a means of protest, as a last resort, especially by those in prison. Recently, government officials have responded to hunger strikes with force-feeding, an approach that has generated considerable international attention. The purpose of this article is to analyze the nature and the scope of the right to hunger strike in prisons in the United States under both the First Amendment and the Due Process Clause, and to provide a policy recommendation for prison administrators based on a review of case law. This article stresses the nature of hunger strikes as symbolic speech protected by the First Amendment, an analysis that has yet to be extensively discussed by either criminal justice or law scholars. This article argues that retaliatory force-feeding or punishment of hunger strikers generally violates the First Amendment, regardless of the prison officials’ professed justification. This article further argues that, given the inherently peaceful nature of hunger strikes, force-feeding for the supposed purpose of prison safety may lack a reasonable basis and therefore may well violate the inmates’ right to refuse medical treatment. Hunger strike policy recommendations are also provided.

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The relationship between mock jurors’ religious characteristics and their verdicts and sentencing decisions

Monica Miller et al.
Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, forthcoming

Abstract:
Two mock jury studies investigated whether jurors’ religious characteristics relate to verdicts and sentencing decisions. In Study 1, adding religious characteristics to a model with only demographics and authoritarianism increased the model’s explanatory power. Scoring high on devotionalism was significantly related to not guilty verdicts; scoring high on fundamentalism was significantly related to guilty verdicts. In both studies, being on a religious quest was significantly related to prodefendant legal decisions. Lawyers can use this information in jury selection. Further, authoritarianism was a mediator of the relationship between some religious variables and legal decisions, helping explain the underlying reasons for such relationships.

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How Awareness of Possible Evidence Induces Forthcoming Counter-Interrogation Strategies

Timothy Luke et al.
Applied Cognitive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We propose that suspects' counter-interrogation strategies vary as a function of their perception of the interrogator's knowledge about the events in question. The present study investigates the verbal behavior of guilty and innocent suspects when they are aware that there may be incriminating evidence against them. Participants (N = 143) took part in either a simulated act of terrorism or a benign task. They were then interviewed about their activities. Participants were randomly assigned to receive no additional information or to be informed that an investigative team may have collected evidence from surveillance cameras. Results suggest that when alerted to possible evidence against them, guilty suspects adopt either extremely withholding or extremely forthcoming verbal strategies. Theoretical implications of these results are discussed.

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Why Federal Prosecutors Charge: A Comparison of Federal and New York State Arson and Robbery Filings, 2006-2010

Susan Klein et al.
University of Texas Working Paper, February 2014

Abstract:
Academic, judges, lobbyists, special interest groups, and the defense bar all love to complain about the undue discretion held by federal prosecutors. Criticism has intensified over the last few decades, as the federal criminal code has grown to more than 4,500 prohibitions, a fair number of which replicate nearly identical state offenses. Little empirical evidence, however, attempts to discern what, if anything, is distinctive about the cases charged in federal rather than state court, and what might be motivating federal prosecutors to make their charging decisions. Our study aims to shed some light on this subject. In Part II, we describe our efforts to collect data on the characteristics of cases prosecuted under arson and robbery statutes from three sources: (1) the United States Sentencing Commission (“USSC”); (2) the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (“DCJS”); and (3) Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports. In Part III, we explain how we combined the USSC and New York State DCJS data before proceeding to our empirical analysis. First, we conduct a simple, bivariate analysis comparing the frequency with which our independent variables are observed in federal versus state arson and robbery cases. We note where we believe the observed, bivariate relationship is likely explained by confounding variables. Second, we proceed to utilize a more sophisticated logistic regression model to simultaneously examine the effect of our independent variables on the choice between federal versus state prosecution for arson and robbery. We find statistically significant evidence that cases prosecuted under federal arson and robbery statutes are more likely to include circumstances such as a conspiracy, a minor victim, use of a weapon, and serious recidivism. In Part IV, we conclude by discussing the higher plea rates and longer sentences imposed under federal as opposed to state criminal justice systems. We argue that where crimes involve the above-noted more egregious circumstances, federal prosecutors are more likely motived to prosecute the crime in expectation of a likely guilty plea and longer sentence. Our study provides much needed empirical evidence to support this rational view of federal prosecutorial discretion.

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Should Law Keep Pace with Society?

Daria Roithmayr, Alexander Isakov & David Rand
Yale Working Paper, March 2014

Abstract:
Most modern societies have adopted centralized rules of legal punishment to promote collaborative behavior. Among other advantages, a centralized institutional punisher can unilaterally decide the rate at which legal rules evolve relative to the social behavior being regulated. Legal and political theorists disagree over whether or not law should evolve more slowly than social behavior. Some scholars argue that slower evolution promotes the stability of tradition. Others argue that more frequent adaptation permits law to remain relevant to contemporary decision-making. We investigate this question by modeling the co-evolution of law and social norms in a public goods game with centralized punishment. We vary the relative update rate of legal rules -- the rate at which the State updates the legal punishment strategy relative to citizens' updating of their contribution strategy -- to observe the effect of such variance on citizen cooperation. We find that when States have unlimited resources, legal rules that evolve more slowly will maximize citizen cooperation: slower relative updating forces citizens to adapt to the State's legal punishment rules. When States depend on citizens to finance their punishment activities, however, we find a Goldilocks effect. Citizen cooperation is maximized when legal rules evolve at a critical evolutionary rate that is slow enough to allow citizens to adapt, but fast enough to enable States to quickly respond to outbreaks of citizen lawlessness.

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Language style matching and police interrogation outcomes

Beth Richardson et al.
Law and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examined the coordination of interrogator and suspects’ verbal behavior in interrogations. Sixty-four police interrogations were examined at the aggregate and utterance level using a measure of verbal mimicry known as Language Style Matching. Analyses revealed an interaction between confession and the direction of language matching. Interrogations containing a confession were characterized by higher rates of the suspect matching the interrogators’ language style than interrogations without a confession. A sequence analysis of utterance-level Language Style Matching revealed a divergence in the type of matching that occurred across outcome. There was a linear increase in interrogator-led matching for interrogations containing a confession and an increase in suspect-led matching for nonconfession interrogations. These findings suggest that police interrogations play out, in part, at the basic level of language coordination.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Relationship status

Social network sites, marriage well-being and divorce: Survey and state-level evidence from the United States

Sebastián Valenzuela, Daniel Halpern & James Katz
Computers in Human Behavior, July 2014, Pages 94–101

Abstract:
This study explores the relationship between using social networks sites (SNS), marriage satisfaction and divorce rates using survey data of married individuals and state-level data from the United States. Results show that using SNS is negatively correlated with marriage quality and happiness, and positively correlated with experiencing a troubled relationship and thinking about divorce. These correlations hold after a variety of economic, demographic, and psychological variables related to marriage well-being are taken into account. Further, the findings of this individual-level analysis are consistent with a state-level analysis of the most popular SNS to date: across the U.S., the diffusion of Facebook between 2008 and 2010 is positively correlated with increasing divorce rates during the same time period after controlling for all time-invariant factors of each state (fixed effects), and continues to hold when time-varying economic and socio-demographic factors that might affect divorce rates are also controlled. Possible explanations for these associations are discussed, particularly in the context of pro- and anti-social perspectives towards SNS and Facebook in particular.

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More than a dalliance? Pornography consumption and extramarital sex attitudes among married U.S. adults

Paul Wright, Robert Tokunaga & Soyoung Bae
Psychology of Popular Media Culture, April 2014, Pages 97-109

Abstract:
Extramarital sex is one of the most commonly cited reasons for divorce. U.S. adults who have more positive extramarital sex attitudes are more likely to engage in extramarital sex. Given pornography’s positive portrayal of extramarital sex, several recent studies have explored whether people who consume pornography have a more positive attitude toward extramarital sex. Consistent correlations have been found, but limitations to inference are posed by the sampling of adolescents and college students and the cross-sectional designs used. This brief report used national panel data gathered from two separate samples of married U.S. adults. Data were gathered from the first sample in 2006 and in 2008 (N = 282). Data were gathered from the second sample in 2008 and in 2010 (N = 269). Consistent with a social learning perspective on media, prior pornography consumption was correlated with more positive subsequent extramarital sex attitudes in both samples, even after controlling for earlier extramarital sex attitudes and nine additional potential confounds. Contrary to a selective exposure perspective on media, prior extramarital sex attitudes were unrelated to subsequent pornography consumption in both samples.

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Marriage or Carriage? Trends in Union Context and Birth Type by Education

Christina Gibson-Davis & Heather Rackin
Journal of Marriage and Family, June 2014, Pages 506–519

Abstract:
Using data from 8,951 first-time mothers in the National Survey of Family Growth, the authors analyzed trends in union contexts during the transition to motherhood by social class (proxied by maternal education). Conventional classifications of union contexts as married or cohabiting were extended by classifying births relative to union status at conception. The most conventional married birth type, in which the mother was married at conception and at birth, declined sharply, but only among low- and moderately educated women. Women with lower levels of education were instead more likely to have a birth in the context of a cohabiting union formed prior to conception. In 2005–2010, the adjusted probability of a low-educated mother having a conventional married birth was 11.5%, versus 78.4% for highly educated mothers. The growing disparity in union type at first birth by social class may have implications for social and economic inequality.

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The costs of being put on a pedestal: Effects of feeling over-idealized

Jennifer Tomlinson et al.
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, May 2014, Pages 384-409

Abstract:
This research explored the possibility of feeling over-idealized, or “put on a pedestal” by a partner, examining whether there is an optimal level of perceived idealization, such that too little or too much is detrimental. Perceived over-idealization was manipulated experimentally with 99 dating couples (Study 1), and in surveys of 89 married (Study 2) and 156 dating couples (Study 3). Study 1 found that participants physically distanced themselves from their partners following a perceived over-idealization manipulation. Study 2 found curvilinear associations (i.e., positive up to a point, then negative) of satisfaction with perceived idealization of traits and abilities. Study 3 found a similar curvilinear association of perceived idealization of abilities with satisfaction, which appeared to be mediated by reduced accommodation and possibly also by threat to self, as suggested by theory.

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A Reconsideration of Sex Differences in Response to Sexual and Emotional Infidelity

Tsukasa Kato
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous studies have found that males are more upset over sexual infidelity than females whereas females are more upset over emotional infidelity than males. We hypothesized that such sex differences are explained by explicit sexual imagery by males. The hypothesis was tested in a laboratory using vivid infidelity scenarios and photographs to induce detailed and sexually oriented imagery of a partner’s infidelity. In the main experiment, participants included 64 males and 64 females who were currently in committed relationships. The results showed that participants became more upset when they imagined sexual infidelity vividly and realistically than when they did not and there were no significant sex differences in jealousy found when sexual infidelity was imagined in this matter. Overall, our findings suggested that the sex differences in jealousy resulted from males’ tendency to imagine sexual infidelity more vividly than females.

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Changes in Sleep Time and Sleep Quality across the Ovulatory Cycle as a Function of Fertility and Partner Attractiveness

Brooke Gentle, Elizabeth Pillsworth & Aaron Goetz
PLoS ONE, April 2014

Abstract:
Research suggests that near ovulation women tend to consume fewer calories and engage in more physical activity; they are judged to be more attractive, express greater preferences for masculine and symmetrical men, and experience increases in sexual desire for men other than their primary partners. Some of these cycle phase shifts are moderated by partner attractiveness and interpreted as strategic responses to women's current reproductive context. The present study investigated changes in sleep across the ovulatory cycle, based on the hypothesis that changes in sleep may reflect ancestral strategic shifts of time and energy toward reproductive activities. Participants completed a 32-day daily diary in which they recorded their sleep time and quality for each day, yielding over 1,000 observations of sleep time and quality. Results indicated that, when the probability of conception was high, women partnered with less attractive men slept more, while women with more attractive partners slept less.

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Framing love: When it hurts to think we were made for each other

Spike Lee & Norbert Schwarz
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Love can be metaphorically framed as perfect unity between two halves made for each other or as a journey with ups and downs. Given their differential interpretations of romantic relationship, these frames have the power to change the evaluative impact of relational conflicts. We find that thinking about conflicts with one’s partner hurts more with the unity (vs. journey) frame in mind, whether the frames are activated within the relational context using linguistic expressions (Study 1) or in an unrelated context using physical cues (Studies 2a & 2b). The frames only influence relationship evaluation after thinking about conflicts (but not celebrations) and require applicability to the target. These patterns support the logic of metaphorical framing as distinct from metaphorical transfer. They shed new light on how to think about love, how it matters for relationship evaluation, and fundamentally, how frames influence judgments.

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Cohabitation, Post-Conception Unions, and the Rise in Nonmarital Fertility

Daniel Lichter, Sharon Sassler & Richard Turner
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
The majority of U.S. nonmarital births today are to cohabiting couples. This study focuses on transitions to cohabitation or marriage among pregnant unmarried women during the period between conception and birth. Results using the newly-released 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth show that nonmarital pregnancy is a significant precursor to cohabitation before childbirth (18 percent), exceeding transitions to marriage (5 percent) by factor of over three. For pregnant women, the boundaries between singlehood, cohabitation, and marriage are highly fluid. The results also reveal substantial variation in post-conception cohabiting and marital unions; e.g., disproportionately low percentages of black single and cohabiting women transitioned into marriage, even when conventional social and economic risk factors are controlled. The multivariate analyses also point to persistent class differences in patterns of family formation, including patterns of cohabitation and marriage following conception. Poorly educated women, in particular, are much more likely to become pregnant as singles living alone or as partners in cohabiting unions. But compared with college-educated women, pregnancies are less likely to lead to either cohabitation or marriage. This paper highlights the conceptual and technical challenges involved in making unambiguous interpretations of nonmarital fertility during a period of rising nonmarital cohabitation.

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Gender, added-worker effects, and the 2007–2009 recession: Looking within the household

Martha Starr
Review of Economics of the Household, June 2014, Pages 209-235

Abstract:
The U.S. recession of 2007–2009 saw unemployment rates for men rise by significantly more than those for women, resulting in the downturn’s characterization as a ‘mancession’. This paper uses data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reexamine gender-related dimensions of the 2007–2009 recession. Unlike most previous work, we analyze data that connects men’s and women’s employment status to that of their spouses. A difference-in-difference framework is used to characterize how labor-market outcomes for one spouse varied according to outcomes for the other. Results show that that employment rates of women whose husbands were non-employed rose significantly in the recession, while those for people in other situations held steady or fell — consistent with the view that women took on additional bread-winning responsibilities to make up for lost income. However, probabilities of non-participation did not rise by more for men with working wives than they did for other men, casting doubt on ideas that men in this situation made weaker efforts to return to work because they could count on their wives’ paychecks to support the household.

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Exposure to Perceived Male Rivals Raises Men’s Testosterone on Fertile relative to Nonfertile Days of their Partner’s Ovulatory Cycle

Melissa Fales, Kelly Gildersleeve & Martie Haselton
Hormones and Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
The challenge hypothesis posits that male testosterone levels increase in the presence of fertile females to facilitate mating and increase further in the presence of male rivals to facilitate male-male competition. This hypothesis has been supported in a number of nonhuman animal species. We conducted an experiment to test the challenge hypothesis in men. Thirty-four men were randomly assigned to view high-competitive or low-competitive male rivals at high and low fertility within their partner’s ovulatory cycle (confirmed by luteinizing hormone tests). Testosterone was measured upon arrival to the lab and before and after the manipulation. Based on the challenge hypothesis, we predicted that a) men’s baseline testosterone would be higher at high relative to low fertility within their partner’s cycle, and b) men’s testosterone would be higher in response to high-competitive rivals, but not in response to low-competitive rivals, at high relative to low fertility within their partner’s cycle. Contrary to the first prediction, men’s baseline testosterone levels did not differ across high and low fertility. However, consistent with the second prediction, men exposed to high-competitive rivals showed significantly higher post-test testosterone levels at high relative to low fertility, controlling for pre-test testosterone levels. Men exposed to low-competitive rivals showed no such pattern (though the fertility by competition condition interaction fell short of statistical significance). This preliminary support for the challenge hypothesis in men builds on a growing empirical literature suggesting that men possess mating adaptations sensitive to fertility cues emitted by their female partners.

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Effects of Administered Alcohol on Intimate Partner Interactions in a Conflict Resolution Paradigm

Maria Testa et al.
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, March 2014, Pages 249-258

Objective: Although couples' alcohol use has been associated with intimate partner aggression and poorer marital functioning, few studies have examined the proximal effects of alcohol on couple interactions. The current experimental study examined the effects of alcohol, administered independently to male and female intimate partners, on positive and negative interaction behaviors within a naturalistic conflict resolution paradigm.

Method: Married and cohabiting couples (n = 152) were recruited from the community and each partner randomly assigned to receive either alcohol (target dose: .08 mg/kg) or no alcohol. They engaged in two 15-minute interactions regarding current disagreements in their relationship, one before and one after beverage administration. Videotaped interactions were coded by trained observers using the Rapid Marital Interaction Coding System, and positive and negative interaction behaviors were analyzed using the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model.

Results: Participants displayed decreased negativity and increased positivity following alcohol consumption when their partners were sober but no differences in negativity or positivity when their partners also consumed alcohol. There were no gender differences. Although participants with a history of perpetrating intimate partner aggression displayed more negativity, prior aggression did not interact with beverage condition.

Conclusions: The immediate effects of alcohol consumption on couple interaction behaviors appeared more positive than negative. Contrary to hypotheses, congruent partner drinking had neither particularly positive nor particularly negative effects. These unique findings represent a rare glimpse into the immediate consequences of alcohol consumption on couple interaction and stand in contrast to its delayed or long-term effects.

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Partnership Transitions and Antisocial Behavior in Young Adulthood: A Within-person, Multi-Cohort Analysis

Sonja Siennick et al.
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, forthcoming

Objectives: This study examines the effects of young adult transitions into marriage and cohabitation on criminal offending and substance use, and whether those effects changed since the 1970s, as marriage rates declined and cohabitation rates rose dramatically. It also examines whether any beneficial effects of cohabitation depend on marriage intentions.

Methods: Using multi-cohort national panel data from the Monitoring the Future (N = 15,875) study, the authors estimated fixed effects models relating within-person changes in marriage and cohabitation to changes in criminal offending and substance use.

Results: Marriage predicts lower levels of criminal offending and substance use, but the effects of cohabitation are limited to substance use outcomes and to engaged cohabiters. There are no cohort differences in the associations of marriage and cohabitation with criminal offending, and no consistent cohort differences in their associations with substance use. There is little evidence of differences in effects by gender or parenthood.

Conclusions: Young adults are increasingly likely to enter romantic partnership statuses that do not appear as effective in reducing antisocial behavior. Although cohabitation itself does not reduce antisocial behavior, engagement might. Future research should examine the mechanisms behind these effects, and why nonmarital partnerships reduce substance use and not crime.

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Older opposite-sex romantic partners, sexual risk, and victimization in adolescence

Barbara Oudekerk, Lucy Guarnera & Dickon Reppucci
Child Abuse & Neglect, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examined how age gaps among opposite-sex romantic partners related to sexual risk-taking and victimization by partners among 201 at-risk adolescents (60.2% female). We examined three questions: (a) is younger partner age, age gap between partners, or a combination of these two factors most strongly related to negative outcomes; (b) do age gaps relate to negative outcomes differently for male versus female adolescents; and (c) why do age gaps relate to negative outcomes? Results revealed that the wider the age gap between partners, the more likely adolescents were to engage in sex and the less likely they were to use protection against pregnancy and STIs. Wider age gaps were also associated with more frequent emotional and physical victimization and higher odds of unwanted sexual behavior. Findings did not differ significantly by gender or younger partner age. Analyses revealed that the wider the age gap, the more likely both partners were to engage in risky lifestyles (i.e., substance use and delinquency), and risky lifestyles – rather than poor negotiation or decision-making equality – helped to explain associations between age gaps and engagement in sexual intercourse and victimization experiences. Results suggest that relationships with age gaps tend to involve two partners who are engaging in deviant lifestyles overall, further corroborating the need to identify and provide services to these youth. Results also support movements toward considering partner age gaps rather than relying on a set age of consent when determining adolescents’ legal competency to consent to sex.

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Generous or Greedy Marriage? A Longitudinal Study of Volunteering and Charitable Giving

Christopher Einolf & Deborah Philbrick
Journal of Marriage and Family, June 2014, Pages 573–586

Abstract:
Recent scholarship has explored whether marriage encourages individuals to contribute to or withdraw from society. The authors examined how marriage affects volunteering and charitable giving, using longitudinal data from the 2001 to 2009 waves of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. Newly married men, but not women, were significantly more likely to give money to charity in the first survey wave after marriage and gave larger amounts of money. Newly married women, but not men, were significantly less likely to volunteer after marriage and volunteered fewer hours. Marriage had a stronger effect on religious giving than overall giving among men and had a significant and positive effect on religious giving among women. Marriage had a stronger positive effect on men's giving in the second wave after marriage than after the first.

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The Effect of Relationship Status on Health with Dynamic Health and Persistent Relationships

Jennifer Kohn & Susan Averett
Journal of Health Economics, July 2014, Pages 69–83

Abstract:
The dynamic evolution of health and persistent relationship status pose econometric challenges to disentangling the causal effect of relationships on health from the selection effect of health on relationship choice. Using a new econometric strategy we find that marriage is not universally better for health. Rather, cohabitation benefits the health of men and women over 45, being never married is no worse for health, and only divorce marginally harms the health of younger men. We find strong evidence that unobservable health-related factors can confound estimates. Our method can be applied to other research questions with dynamic dependent and multivariate endogenous variables.

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Fluctuation in Relationship Quality Over Time and Individual Well-Being: Main, Mediated, and Moderated Effects

Sarah Whitton, Galena Rhoades & Mark Whisman
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examined how the degree of within-person variation (or temporal fluctuation) in relationship quality over time was associated with well-being (psychological distress and life satisfaction). A national sample of 18- to 34-year-old men and women in unmarried, opposite-sex relationships completed six waves of surveys every 4 months (N = 748). Controlling for initial levels of and linear changes in relationship quality, greater temporal fluctuation in relationship quality over time was associated with increasing psychological distress and decreasing life satisfaction over time. Decreased confidence in one’s relationship partially mediated these associations. Moderation analyses revealed that the association between fluctuations in relationship quality and change in life satisfaction was stronger for women, participants cohabiting with their partners, and those with greater anxious attachment, whereas the association between fluctuations in relationship quality and change in psychological distress was stronger for people with greater avoidant attachment.

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Dyadic Associations Between Testosterone and Relationship Quality in Couples

Robin Edelstein et al.
Hormones and Behavior, April 2014, Pages 401–407

Abstract:
Testosterone is thought to be positively associated with “mating effort”, or the initiation and establishment of sexual relationships (Wingfield et al., 1990). Yet, because testosterone is negatively associated with nurturance (van Anders et al., 2011), high levels of testosterone may be incompatible with relationship maintenance. For instance, partnered men with high testosterone report lower relationship quality compared to partnered men with low testosterone (e.g., Booth and Dabbs, 1993). Findings for women are inconsistent, however, and even less is known about potential dyadic associations between testosterone and relationship quality in couples. In the current report, we assessed relationship satisfaction, commitment, and investment in heterosexual couples and tested the hypothesis that these aspects of relationship quality would be negatively associated with an individual’s own and his/her partner’s testosterone levels. We found that testosterone was in fact negatively associated with relationship satisfaction and commitment in both men and women. There was also evidence for dyadic associations: Participants’ satisfaction and commitment were negatively related to their partners’ levels of testosterone, and these associations were larger for women’s than men’s testosterone. Our findings are consistent with the idea that high testosterone may be incompatible with the maintenance of nurturant relationships. The current findings also provide some of the first evidence for dyadic associations between testosterone and relationship quality in couples, highlighting the interdependent nature of close relationship processes and the importance of considering this interdependence in social neuroendocrine research.

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Genetic Associations With Intimate Partner Violence in a Sample of Hazardous Drinking Men in Batterer Intervention Programs

Gregory Stuart et al.
Violence Against Women, April 2014, Pages 385-400

Abstract:
The etiology of intimate partner violence (IPV) is multifactorial. However, etiological theories of IPV have rarely included potential genetic factors. The purpose of the present study was to examine whether a cumulative genetic score (CGS) containing the monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) and the human serotonin transporter gene linked polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) was associated with IPV perpetration after accounting for the effects of alcohol problems, drug problems, age, and length of relationship. We obtained DNA from 97 men in batterer intervention programs in the state of Rhode Island. In the full sample, the CGS was significantly associated with physical and psychological aggression and injuries caused to one’s partner, even after controlling for the effects of alcohol problems, drug problems, age, and length of relationship. Two of the men in the sample likely had Klinefelter’s syndrome, and analyses were repeated excluding these two individuals, leading to similar results. The implications of the genetic findings for the etiology and treatment of IPV among men in batterer intervention programs are briefly discussed.

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Marriage Duration and Divorce: The Seven-Year Itch or a Lifelong Itch?

Hill Kulu
Demography, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous studies have shown that the risk of divorce is low during the first months of marriage; it then increases, reaches a maximum, and thereafter begins to decline. Some researchers consider this pattern consistent with the notion of a “seven-year itch,” while others argue that the rising-falling pattern of divorce risk is a consequence of misspecification of longitudinal models because of omitted covariates or unobserved heterogeneity. The aim of this study is to investigate the causes of the rising-falling pattern of divorce risk. Using register data from Finland and applying multilevel hazard models, the analysis supports the rising-falling pattern of divorce by marriage duration: the risk of marital dissolution increases, reaches its peak, and then gradually declines. This pattern persists when I control for the sociodemographic characteristics of women and their partners. The inclusion of unobserved heterogeneity in the model leads to some changes in the shape of the baseline risk; however, the rising-falling pattern of the divorce risk persists.

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Are People Healthier If Their Partners Are More Optimistic? The Dyadic Effect of Optimism On Health Among Older Adults

Eric Kim, William Chopik & Jacqui Smith
Journal of Psychosomatic Research, forthcoming

Objective: Optimism has been linked with an array of positive health outcomes at the individual level. However, researchers have not examined how a spouse’s optimism might impact an individual’s health. We hypothesized that being optimistic (and having an optimistic spouse) would both be associated with better health.

Methods: Participants were 3,940 adults (1,970 couples) from the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative panel study of American adults over the age of 50. Participants were tracked for four years and outcomes included: physical functioning, self-rated health, and number of chronic illnesses. We analyzed the dyadic data using the actor partner interdependence model.

Results: After controlling for several psychological and demographic factors, a person’s own optimism and their spouse’s optimism predicted better self-rated health and physical functioning (b’s = .08-.25, p’s < .01). More optimistic people also reported better physical functioning (b = -.11, p < .01) and fewer chronic illnesses (b = -.01, p < .05) over time. Further, having an optimistic spouse uniquely predicted better physical functioning (b = -.09, p < .01) and fewer chronic illnesses (b = -.01, p < .05) over time. The strength of the relationship between optimism and health did not diminish over time.

Conclusions: Being optimistic and having an optimistic spouse were both associated with better health. Examining partner effects is important because such analyses reveal the unique role that spouses play in promoting health. These findings may have important implications for future health interventions.

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Touch increases autonomic coupling between romantic partners

Jonas Chatel-Goldman et al.
Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, March 2014

Abstract:
Interpersonal touch is of paramount importance in human social bonding and close relationships, allowing a unique channel for affect communication. So far the effect of touch on human physiology has been studied at an individual level. The present study aims at extending the study of affective touch from isolated individuals to truly interacting dyads. We have designed an ecological paradigm where romantic partners interact only via touch and we manipulate their empathic states. Simultaneously, we collected their autonomic activity (skin conductance, pulse, respiration). Fourteen couples participated to the experiment. We found that interpersonal touch increased coupling of electrodermal activity between the interacting partners, regardless of the intensity and valence of the emotion felt. In addition, physical touch induced strong and reliable changes in physiological states within individuals. These results support an instrumental role of interpersonal touch for affective support in close relationships. Furthermore, they suggest that touch alone allows the emergence of a somatovisceral resonance between interacting individuals, which in turn is likely to form the prerequisites for emotional contagion and empathy.

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Coregulation of respiratory sinus arrhythmia in adult romantic partners

Jonathan Helm, David Sbarra & Emilio Ferrer
Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Questions surrounding physiological interdependence in romantic relationships are gaining increased attention in the research literature. One specific form of interdependence, coregulation, can be defined as the bidirectional linkage of oscillating signals within optimal bounds. Conceptual and theoretical work suggests that physiological coregulation should be instantiated in romantic couples. Although these ideas are appealing, the central tenets of most coregulatory models await empirical evaluation. In the current study, we evaluate the covariation of respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) in 32 romantic couples during a series of laboratory tasks using a cross-lagged panel model. During the tasks, men’s and women’s RSA were associated with their partners’ previous RSA responses, and this pattern was stronger for those couples with higher relationship satisfaction. The findings are discussed in terms of their implications for attachment theory, as well as the association between relationships and health.

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Interactions of Sexual Activity, Gender, and Depression with Immunity

Tierney Lorenz & Sari van Anders
Journal of Sexual Medicine, April 2014, Pages 966–979

Introduction: Depression can suppress immune function, leading to lower resistance against infection and longer healing times in depressed individuals. Sexuality may also influence immune function, with evidence that sexual activity is associated with lowered immune function in women and mixed results in men. Immune mediators like immunoglobulin A (IgA) are immediately relevant to sexual health, since they are the first line of defense against pathogens at mucous membranes like the vagina.

Aim: This study aims to determine if and how depression, sexual activity, and their interaction impact salivary IgA (SIgA) in men and women.

Methods: In Study 1, a community-based sample of 84 women and 88 men provided saliva samples and completed questionnaires on their demographic background, level of depression, and frequency of partnered and solitary sexual activity. Study 2, conducted separately in an undergraduate student sample of 54 women and 52 men, had similar methods.

Results: Across studies, higher levels of partnered sexual activity were associated with lower SIgA for women with high depression scores, but not for women with low depression scores. In contrast, higher levels of partnered sexual activity were associated with higher SIgA for men with high depression scores, but not for men with low depression scores.

Conclusion: Our results show that partnered sexual activity is a risk factor for lowered immunity in women with depressive symptoms but a possible resilience factor for men with depressive symptoms. This suggests a role for sexual activity in determining the impact of depression on physical health parameters.

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Social benefits of humility: Initiating and maintaining romantic relationships

Daryl Van Tongeren, Don Davis & Joshua Hook
Journal of Positive Psychology, July/August 2014, Pages 313-321

Abstract:
Previous research has highlighted the social nature of humility. In three studies, we provide evidence that humility facilitates the initiation and maintenance of romantic relationships. In Study 1, very humble potential dating partners, relative to less humble partners, were rated more favorably and were more likely to elicit intentions to initiate a romantic relationship. Study 2 was a conceptual replication of Study 1 that provided evidence that participants find humble potential dating partners more attractive than arrogant dating partners. In Study 3, we examined perceptions of humility in participants in proximal or long-distance relationships. We found that humility buffers against unforgiveness in long-distant relationships. Although long-distance relationships were associated with greater unforgiveness, this effect was only present when partners were viewed as having low humility. Together, these findings highlight the social benefits of humility in initiating and maintaining romantic relationships.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Light the way

Behavioral Responses to Daylight Savings Time

Alison Sexton & Timothy Beatty
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Daylight Savings Time (DST) is promoted as a tool to conserve energy. However, ex post reduced form estimates of the effects of DST find no evidence of energy savings and find some evidence of a small increase in energy use. This paper investigates this disconnect using detailed individual time use data to look at the behavioral effects of DST. We study how individuals change their time use in response to the abrupt shift in daylight associated with DST. We leverage two natural experiments to identify the effect of DST on behavior. First, we study periods around the annual shift in daylight induced by moving into and out of DST. Second, we compare activities by time interval before and after the change in DST start dates that occurred in 2007. We find cautious evidence that individuals are shifting potentially energy intensive activities earlier in the day, which is consistent with earlier findings of increased energy usage.

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Particulate Pollution and the Productivity of Pear Packers

Tom Chang et al.
NBER Working Paper, February 2014

Abstract:
We study the effect of outdoor air pollution on the productivity of indoor workers at a pear-packing factory. We focus on fine particulate matter (PM2.5), a harmful pollutant that easily penetrates indoor settings. We find that an increase in PM2.5 outdoors leads to a statistically and economically significant decrease in packing speeds inside the factory, with effects arising at levels well below current air quality standards. In contrast, we find little effect of PM2.5 on hours worked or the decision to work, and little effect of pollutants that do not travel indoors, such as ozone. This effect of outdoor pollution on the productivity of indoor workers suggests a thus far overlooked consequence of pollution. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that nationwide reductions in PM2.5 from 1999 to 2008 generated $19.5 billion in labor cost savings, which is roughly one-third of the total welfare benefits associated with this change.

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The Federalism of Fracking: How the Locus of Policy-Making Authority Affects Civic Engagement

Gwen Arnold & Robert Holahan
Publius, Spring 2014, Pages 344-368

Abstract:
In 1961, V. Ostrom, Tiebout, and Warren (OTW) argued that small political jurisdictions foster more civic engagement than large jurisdictions. Empirical tests of this claim have produced mixed results. Drawing on E. Ostrom's theorizing, we contend that these mixed findings may result from scholars ignoring differences in the policy-making capacity of seemingly comparable jurisdictions. We nuance OTW's hypothesis by examining how the size of the jurisdiction with authority to shape policy affects civic engagement surrounding hydraulic fracturing in New York and Pennsylvania. Empirical analysis supports the nuanced OTW hypothesis: Citizens in New York, where meaningful fracking policy-making authority rests with small local jurisdictions, evidence more civic engagement than citizens in Pennsylvania, where the locus for fracking policy-making authority is a large, commonwealth-wide jurisdiction.

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Environmental Sustainability and National Personality

Jacob Hirsh
Journal of Environmental Psychology, June 2014, Pages 233-240

Abstract:
Previous research has linked higher levels of the personality traits Agreeableness and Openness with greater concern about environmental issues. While these traits are important predictors of environmental attitudes among individuals, a growing literature has begun examining the broader consequences of population differences in personality characteristics. The present study examines whether nationally-aggregated personality traits can be significant predictors of a country's environmental sustainability. National personality scores were derived from an existing database of 12,156 respondents across 51 countries and examined in relation to each country's scores on the Environmental Performance Index, a benchmark of the sustainability of a country's environmental policies. Just as Agreeableness and Openness predict environmental concern at the individual level, countries with higher population levels of Agreeableness and Openness had significantly better performance on the sustainability index. These results remained when controlling for national differences in wealth, education, and population size and were unique to these two traits.

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Focusing Events and Public Opinion: Evidence from the Deepwater Horizon Disaster

Bradford Bishop
Political Behavior, March 2014, Pages 1-22

Abstract:
Scholarly research has found a weak and inconsistent role for self-interest in public opinion, and mixed evidence for a relationship between local pollution risks and support for environmental protection. In this study, I argue that focusing events can induce self-interested responses from people living in communities whose economies are implicated by the event. I leverage a unique 12-wave panel survey administered between 2008 and 2010 to analyze public opinion toward offshore oil drilling before and after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. I find that residence in counties highly dependent upon the offshore drilling industry was predictive of pro-drilling attitudes following the spill, though not prior to the spill. In addition, there is no significant evidence that residence in a county afflicted by the spill influenced opinion. This study concludes that local support for drilling often arises only after focusing events make the issue salient.

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Speculation in the Oil Market

Luciana Juvenal & Ivan Petrella
Journal of Applied Econometrics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The run-up in oil prices since 2004 coincided with growing investment in commodity markets and increased price co-movement among different commodities. We assess whether speculation in the oil market played a role in driving this salient empirical pattern. We identify oil shocks from a large dataset using a dynamic factor model. This method is motivated by the fact that a small-scale vector autoregression is not informationally sufficient to identify the shocks. The main results are as follows. (i) While global demand shocks account for the largest share of oil price fluctuations, speculative shocks are the second most important driver. (ii) The increase in oil prices over the last decade is mainly driven by the strength of global demand. However, speculation played a significant role in the oil price increase between 2004 and 2008 and its subsequent collapse. (iii) The co-movement between oil prices and the prices of other commodities is mainly explained by global demand shocks. Our results support the view that the recent oil price increase is mainly driven by the strength of global demand but that the financialization process of commodity markets also played a role.

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How Frames Can Undermine Support for Scientific Adaptations: Politicization and the Status-Quo Bias

Toby Bolsen, James Druckman & Fay Lomax Cook
Public Opinion Quarterly, Spring 2014, Pages 1-26

Abstract:
The politicization of science is a phenomenon that has sparked a great deal of attention in recent years. Nonetheless, few studies directly explore how frames that highlight politicization affect public support for scientific adaptations. We study how frames that highlight politicization affect support for using nuclear power, and test our hypotheses with two experiments. We find, in one study, that politicizing science reduces support for nuclear power and renders arguments about the environmental benefits of nuclear energy invalid, regardless of whether there is a reference to consensus scientific evidence. We find, in a second study, that reference to the potential health risks associated with using nuclear power also decreases support in the presence of additional frames that highlight either science's progress or its politicization. In the end, our findings suggest that a status-quo bias prevails that, under some circumstances, can serve as a significant impediment to generating public support for scientific innovations.

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Stories that Count: Influence of News Narratives on Issue Attitudes

Fuyuan Shen, Lee Ahern & Michelle Baker
Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, March 2014, Pages 98-117

Abstract:
This paper examines the impact of using narratives to frame a political issue on individuals' attitudes. In an experiment, we asked participants to read either narrative or informational news articles that emphasized the potential economic benefits or environmental consequences associated with shale gas drilling. Results indicated both news formats (narrative vs. informational) and frames (environmental vs. economic) had significant immediate effects on issue attitudes and other responses; narrative environmental news had a significantly greater impact than informational environmental news. Cognitive responses and empathy were significant partial mediators of narrative impact. Environmental narratives also had a more significant impact on individuals' delayed issue attitudes.

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Radiation dose rates now and in the future for residents neighboring restricted areas of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

Kouji Harada et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 11 March 2014, Pages E914-E923

Abstract:
Radiation dose rates were evaluated in three areas neighboring a restricted area within a 20- to 50-km radius of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in August-September 2012 and projected to 2022 and 2062. Study participants wore personal dosimeters measuring external dose equivalents, almost entirely from deposited radionuclides (groundshine). External dose rate equivalents owing to the accident averaged 1.03, 2.75, and 1.66 mSv/y in the village of Kawauchi, the Tamano area of Soma, and the Haramachi area of Minamisoma, respectively. Internal dose rates estimated from dietary intake of radiocesium averaged 0.0058, 0.019, and 0.0088 mSv/y in Kawauchi, Tamano, and Haramachi, respectively. Dose rates from inhalation of resuspended radiocesium were lower than 0.001 mSv/y. In 2012, the average annual doses from radiocesium were close to the average background radiation exposure (2 mSv/y) in Japan. Accounting only for the physical decay of radiocesium, mean annual dose rates in 2022 were estimated as 0.31, 0.87, and 0.53 mSv/y in Kawauchi, Tamano, and Haramachi, respectively. The simple and conservative estimates are comparable with variations in the background dose, and unlikely to exceed the ordinary permissible dose rate (1 mSv/y) for the majority of the Fukushima population. Health risk assessment indicates that post-2012 doses will increase lifetime solid cancer, leukemia, and breast cancer incidences by 1.06%, 0.03% and 0.28% respectively, in Tamano. This assessment was derived from short-term observation with uncertainties and did not evaluate the first-year dose and radioiodine exposure. Nevertheless, this estimate provides perspective on the long-term radiation exposure levels in the three regions.

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Should we build more large dams? The actual costs of hydropower megaproject development

Atif Ansar et al.
Energy Policy, June 2014, Pages 43-56

Abstract:
A brisk building boom of hydropower mega-dams is underway from China to Brazil. Whether benefits of new dams will outweigh costs remains unresolved despite contentious debates. We investigate this question with the "outside view" or "reference class forecasting" based on literature on decision-making under uncertainty in psychology. We find overwhelming evidence that budgets are systematically biased below actual costs of large hydropower dams - excluding inflation, substantial debt servicing, environmental, and social costs. Using the largest and most reliable reference data of its kind and multilevel statistical techniques applied to large dams for the first time, we were successful in fitting parsimonious models to predict cost and schedule overruns. The outside view suggests that in most countries large hydropower dams will be too costly in absolute terms and take too long to build to deliver a positive risk-adjusted return unless suitable risk management measures outlined in this paper can be affordably provided. Policymakers, particularly in developing countries, are advised to prefer agile energy alternatives that can be built over shorter time horizons to energy megaprojects.

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Energy Policy with Externalities and Internalities

Hunt Allcott, Sendhil Mullainathan & Dmitry Taubinsky
Journal of Public Economics, April 2014, Pages 72-88

Abstract:
We analyze optimal policy when consumers of energy-using durables undervalue energy costs relative to their private optima. First, there is an Internality Dividend from Externality Taxes: aside from reducing externalities, they also offset distortions from underinvestment in energy efficiency. Discrete choice simulations of the auto market suggest that the Internality Dividend could more than double the social welfare gains from a carbon tax at marginal damages. Second, we develop the Internality Targeting Principle: the optimal combination of multiple instruments depends on the average internality of the consumers marginal to each instrument. Because consumers who undervalue energy costs are mechanically less responsive to energy taxes, the optimal policy will tend to involve an energy tax below marginal damages coupled with a larger subsidy for energy efficient products. Third, although the exact optimal policy depends on joint distributions of unobservables which would be difficult to estimate, we develop formulas to closely approximate optimal policy and welfare effects based on reduced form "sufficient statistics" that can be estimated using field experiments or quasi-experimental variation in product prices and energy costs.

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Towards Understanding the Role of Price in Residential Electricity Choices: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

Katrina Jessoe, David Rapson & Jeremy Smith
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine a choice setting in which residential electricity consumers may respond to non-financial incentives in addition to prices. Using data from a natural field experiment that exposed some households to a change in their electricity rates, we find that households reduced electricity usage in response to a contemporaneous decrease in electricity prices. This provides clear evidence that other factors - potentially encompassing non-monetary and dynamic considerations - can influence consumer choice, and even dominate the static price response in some cases. A comprehensive understanding of household behavior in energy markets is essential for the effective implementation of market-based energy and environmental policies. The documentation of our result and others like it is a necessary step in achieving such an understanding.

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Distribution of income and toxic emissions in Maine, United States: Inequality in two dimensions

Rachel Bouvier
Ecological Economics, June 2014, Pages 39-47

Abstract:
Ecological distribution refers to inequalities in the use of environmental sinks and sources. This article explores one such dimension of ecological distribution - that of toxic air emissions. Using data from the Risk-Screening Environmental Indicators model and the United States Census Bureau, I analyze the distribution of both environmental risk and income at the block-group level in the state of Maine. The state of Maine was chosen for its historical dependence upon natural resources as well as its economic and spatial heterogeneity. Results clearly indicate that the toxic air emissions are distributed much more unequally than is income, and that those inequalities are reinforcing. While not in itself an indication of environmental injustice, such analyses may help us to rethink the assumption that there is a tradeoff between income and pollution.

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Are State Renewable Portfolio Standards Contagious?

Oguzhan Dincer, James Payne & Kristi Simkins
American Journal of Economics and Sociology, April 2014, Pages 325-340

Abstract:
This study examines whether the target levels of a state's renewable portfolio standard (RPS) are influenced by target levels in neighboring states, controlling for state-specific characteristics. Contrary to previous studies, target levels in neighboring states have a positive and statistically significant impact. In addition, the renewable energy potential and transmission capacity within a state, as well as in neighboring states, all have a positive and statistically significant impact. Both a state's unemployment rate and its educational attainment have a positive impact. Furthermore, states with Democratic governors have higher RPS target levels. The results also indicate significant regional variation in RPS target levels.

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An Ethanol Blend Wall Shift is Prone to Increase Petroleum Gasoline Demand

Cheng Qiu, Gregory Colson & Michael Wetzstein
Energy Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
In 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a waiver allowing an increase in the fuel-ethanol blend limit (the "blend wall") from 10% (E10) to 15% (E15). Justifications for the waiver are reduced vehicle-fuel prices and less consumption of petroleum gasoline, leading to greater energy security. Empirical investigations of this waiver using Monte Carlo simulations reveal an anomaly where a relaxation of this blend wall elicits a demand response. Under a wide range of elasticities, this demand response can actually increase the consumption of petroleum gasoline and thus lead to greater energy insecurity. The economics supporting this result and associated policy implications are developed and discussed.

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The social symbolism of water-conserving landscaping

Rebecca Neel et al.
Journal of Environmental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Three studies examined the symbolic and self-presentational meaning of low-water-use residential landscaping in a desert city in the southwestern United States. We hypothesized that owners' water-intensive or water-conserving landscape choices would be seen to convey very different characteristics. Data indicated that these two types of residential landscapes led to substantially different attributions about homeowners and also that potential homeowners could use landscapes to convey an array of characteristics to a social audience. In general, water-intensive landscapes led to more positive attributions than did water-conserving landscapes. The results support the idea that landscaping choice may be guided by self-presentational considerations, and that such considerations might influence the adoption of high- or low-water-use landscapes.

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To shut down or to shift: Multinationals and environmental regulation

Helen Naughton
Ecological Economics, June 2014, Pages 113-117

Abstract:
According to the pollution haven effect mobile capital responds to environmental regulation by moving from countries with high regulation to countries with low regulation. Previous tests of the pollution haven effect focus on host country regulation effect. This study also examines the effect of home country regulation on foreign direct investment (FDI). Using a panel of 28 OECD countries for 1990-2000 to estimate host and home country environmental regulations' effect on FDI, this study finds that host regulation decreases FDI. In contrast, home environmental regulation increases FDI at low levels of home regulation and decreases FDI at high levels of home regulation.

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Global Benefits of Marine Protected Areas

James Rising & Geoffrey Heal
NBER Working Paper, March 2014

Abstract:
Case studies suggest that Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) can be effective tools for fishery management. This study uses global datasets of MPAs and stock assessments to estimate the strength and robustness of their benefits. We apply multiple models, including a treatment-control pairing, a logistic model estimated with fixed-effects, and a regression tree to identify key characteristics. We find that regions with significant MPA designations increased their yearly yield by 17e3 MT/yr while those without experienced a loss of 20e3 MT/yr. On average, a 1% increase in protected area results in an increase in the growth rate of fish populations by about 1%. Considering only IUCN classified protected areas, and only marine portions of MPAs, growth rates increase 2% per percent area protected. MPA size is a key parameter which determines their per-area effectiveness. Using these results, we produce an estimate of the economic benefits of protected areas, relative to their costs. About 60% of country regions currently have insufficient protected areas to generate economic benefits, where the average break-even point for economic benefits of MPAs is at 8.5% of marine area.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

International relating

The Dopamine D4 Receptor Gene (DRD4) Moderates Cultural Difference in Independent Versus Interdependent Social Orientation

Shinobu Kitayama et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prior research suggests that cultural groups vary on an overarching dimension of independent versus interdependent social orientation, with European Americans being more independent, or less interdependent, than Asians. Drawing on recent evidence suggesting that the dopamine D4 receptor gene (DRD4) plays a role in modulating cultural learning, we predicted that carriers of DRD4 polymorphisms linked to increased dopamine signaling (7- or 2-repeat alleles) would show higher levels of culturally dominant social orientations, compared with noncarriers. European Americans and Asian-born Asians (total N = 398) reported their social orientation on multiple scales. They were also genotyped for DRD4. As in earlier work, European Americans were more independent, and Asian-born Asians more interdependent. This cultural difference was significantly more pronounced for carriers of the 7- or 2-repeat alleles than for noncarriers. Indeed, no cultural difference was apparent among the noncarriers. Implications for potential coevolution of genes and culture are discussed.

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Cross-Cultural Comparison of Nonverbal Cues in Emoticons on Twitter: Evidence from Big Data Analysis

Jaram Park, Young Min Baek & Meeyoung Cha
Journal of Communication, April 2014, Pages 333–354

Abstract:
Relying on Gudykunst's cultural variability in communication (CVC) framework and culture-specific facial expressions of emotion, we examined how people's use of emoticons varies cross-culturally. By merging emoticon usage patterns on Twitter with Hofstede's national culture scores and national indicators across 78 countries, this study found that people within individualistic cultures favor horizontal and mouth-oriented emoticons like :), while those within collectivistic cultures favor vertical and eye-oriented emoticons like ^_^. Our study serves to demonstrate how recent big data-driven approaches can be used to test research hypotheses in cross-cultural communication effectively from the methodological triangulation perspective. Implications and limitations regarding the findings of this study are also discussed.

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Individualism and the Extended-Self: Cross-Cultural Differences in the Valuation of Authentic Objects

Nathalia Gjersoe et al.
PLoS ONE, March 2014

Abstract:
The current studies examine how valuation of authentic items varies as a function of culture. We find that U.S. respondents value authentic items associated with individual persons (a sweater or an artwork) more than Indian respondents, but that both cultures value authentic objects not associated with persons (a dinosaur bone or a moon rock) equally. These differences cannot be attributed to more general cultural differences in the value assigned to authenticity. Rather, the results support the hypothesis that individualistic cultures place a greater value on objects associated with unique persons and in so doing, offer the first evidence for how valuation of certain authentic items may vary cross-culturally.

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Gun Culture: Mapping a Peculiar Preference for Firearms in the Commission of Suicide

Ryan Brown, Mikiko Imura & Lindsey Osterman
Basic and Applied Social Psychology, March/April 2014, Pages 164-175

Abstract:
Research has shown how honor cultures promote aggression against others (e.g., homicide) and the self (e.g., suicide). Two studies examine the connection between honor and a predilection for guns in the commission of suicide. Study 1 shows that Whites living in honor states are especially likely to use guns to commit suicide, controlling for gun accessibility. Study 2 reveals that a “gun access gap” in honor states — a positive difference between the proportion of all suicides that involve a gun and the gun ownership rate — predicts outcomes linked previously to honor cultures: homicides and accidental deaths.

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How People React to Social-Psychological Accounts of Wrongdoing: The Moderating Effects of Culture

Ying Tang, Leonard Newman & Lihui Huang
Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
While social-psychological research has afforded much insight into the causes of human behavior, its emphasis on “the power of the situation” has been met with resistance from laypeople. Previous research found that American participants, when provided with different accounts of wrongdoing, were comfortable endorsing dispositional explanations of the behavior, but suspected that psychologists were exonerating wrongdoers when they were provided with situational explanations. The current study extends this research by examining the moderating effect of culture on laypeople’s perceptions of different explanations of wrongdoing. Chinese and American participants read about two hypothetical studies about wrongdoing and learned that either situational factors or personality variables seemed to account for the behavior. They then made responsibility attributions for the wrongdoer from both their own perspective and from what they perceived was the psychologists’ perspective. When given dispositional explanations, both Chinese and Americans reported consistency between their own and what they perceived to be the psychologists’ perspectives. However, when given situational explanations, although Chinese participants again reported consistency between their own and the psychologists’ perspectives, American participants thought the psychologists were exonerating the wrongdoer. These findings shed light on why social-psychological research sometimes faces skepticism and on cross-cultural variations in how people explain human behaviors. Practical implications of the study include a reminder that when social psychologists package their messages, they should take into account the biases of different targeted audiences.

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Characterizing the Time-Perspective of Nations with Search Engine Query Data

Takao Noguchi et al.
PLoS ONE, April 2014

Abstract:
Vast quantities of data on human behavior are being created by our everyday internet usage. Building upon a recent study by Preis, Moat, Stanley, and Bishop (2012), we used search engine query data to construct measures of the time-perspective of nations, and tested these measures against per-capita gross domestic product (GDP). The results indicate that nations with higher per-capita GDP are more focused on the future and less on the past, and that when these nations do focus on the past, it is more likely to be the distant past. These results demonstrate the viability of using nation-level data to build psychological constructs.

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Cultural differences in hedonic emotion regulation after a negative event

Yuri Miyamoto, Xiaoming Ma & Amelia Petermann
Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Beliefs about emotions can influence how people regulate their emotions. The present research examined whether Eastern dialectical beliefs about negative emotions lead to cultural differences in how people regulate their emotions after experiencing a negative event. We hypothesized that, because of dialectical beliefs about negative emotions prevalent in Eastern culture, Easterners are less motivated than Westerners to engage in hedonic emotion regulation — up-regulation of positive emotions and down-regulation of negative emotions. By assessing online reactions to a recent negative event, Study 1 found that European Americans are more motivated to engage in hedonic emotion regulation. Furthermore, consistent with the reported motivation to regulate emotion hedonically, European Americans show a steeper decline in negative emotions 1 day later than do Asians. By examining retrospective memory of reactions to a past negative event, Study 2 further showed that cultural differences in hedonic emotion regulation are mediated by cultural differences in dialectical beliefs about motivational and cognitive utility of negative emotions, but not by personal deservingness or self-efficacy beliefs. These findings demonstrate the role of cultural beliefs in shaping emotion regulation and emotional experiences.

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Imagined intergroup contact facilitates intercultural communication for college students on academic exchange programs

Loris Vezzali et al.
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
Imagined intergroup contact (Crisp & Turner, 2009) is a new cognitive intervention designed to improve intergroup relations. In two studies, we examined whether it could also facilitate intercultural communication among international students and host country natives engaged in a college exchange program. In Study 1, international students who had recently arrived in Italy and participated in an imagined contact session displayed increased self-disclosure toward, and improved evaluation of, host country natives. In Study 2, Italian students mentally simulated positive contact with an unknown native from the host country prior to leaving for the exchange. Results from an online questionnaire administered on their return (on average, more than 7 months after the imagery task) revealed that participants who imagined contact reported spending more time with natives during the stay and enhanced outgroup evaluation, via reduced intergroup anxiety. Implications for enhancing the quality and effectiveness of college student exchange programs are discussed.

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A Macro-Sociological Study into the Changes in the Popularity of Domestic, European, and American Pop Music in Western Countries

Hidde Bekhuis, Marcel Lubbers & Wout Ultee
European Sociological Review, April 2014, Pages 180-193

Abstract:
Relying on the top 100 pop songs from year-end charts, we coded more than 30,000 chart positions based on the country of origin of the artist and the language of performance, in nine Western countries. We estimated cross-national differences and trends since 1973, testing expectations on globalization as has been reviewed in the literature, where Americanization/Westernization, diversification, nationalization, and glocalization have been distinguished. Since the late 1980s, there has been an upward trend in the popularity of domestic artists, both when they perform in English or in their native language. Levels of globalization turn out to be positively related to the popularity of domestic artists singing in English. We also found evidence that when public opinion shows more pride in the nation, the chart success of artists performing in the domestic language is greater.

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Social Trust Fosters an Ability to Help Those in Need: Jewish Refugees in the Nazi Era

Christian Bjørnskov
Political Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
An ignored aspect of efforts to save Jewish citizens in occupied Europe during the Second World War is that large-scale rescue arguably constitutes a collective action problem. Due to Nazi occupation, no formal institutions contributed to solving this problem. Exploring the differences in rescue rates across all 30 occupied countries shows that the informal institution of social trust contributed to solving the collective action problem and strongly affected rescue rates.

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How good is “very good”? Translation effect in the racial/ethnic variation in self-rated health status

Sukyong Seo, Sukyung Chung & Martha Shumway
Quality of Life Research, March 2014, Pages 593-600

Purpose: To examine the influence of translation when measuring and comparing self-rated health (SRH) measured with five response categories (excellent, very good, good, fair, and poor), across racial/ethnic groups.

Methods: Using data from the California Health Interview Survey, which were administered in five languages, we analyzed variations in the five-category SRH across five racial/ethnic groups: non-Hispanic white, Latino, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean. Logistic regression was used to estimate independent effects of race/ethnicity, culture, and translation on SRH, after controlling for risk factors and other measures of health status.

Results: Latinos, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Koreans were less likely than non-Hispanic whites to rate their health as excellent or very good and more likely to rate it as good, fair, or poor. This racial/ethnic difference diminished when adjusting for acculturation. Independently of race/ethnicity, respondents using non-English surveys were less likely to answer excellent (OR = 0.24–0.55) and very good (OR = 0.30–0.34) and were more likely to answer fair (OR = 2.48–4.10) or poor (OR = 2.87–3.51), even after controlling for other measures of SRH.

Conclusions: Responses to the five-category SRH question depend on interview language. When responding in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, or Vietnamese, respondents are more likely to choose a lower level SRH category, “fair” in particular. If each SRH category measured in different languages is treated as equivalent, racial/ethnic disparities in SRH among Latinos and Asian subgroups, as compared to non-Hispanic whites, may be exaggerated.

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Cultural Differences in Victory Signals of Triumph

Hyisung Hwang & David Matsumoto
Cross-Cultural Research, May 2014, Pages 177-191

Abstract:
A recent study reported that winners in agonistic competition displayed a victory signal that might be related to power and dominance, but losers did not. We explored cultural differences in this victory expression by reanalyzing data from that study on the country level, examining the association between country means in Olympic judo players’ first expressions at the moment of winning or losing a medal and Hofstede’s Power Distance (PD) dimension. Country-level PD was correlated with winners’ victory signals but not with those of losers, even when country-level Individualism-Collectivism was controlled. These findings indicated that hierarchical and dominant cultures may endorse more expressivity of triumph in competitive contexts.

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Emotional fit with culture: A predictor of individual differences in relational well-being

Jozefien De Leersnyder et al.
Emotion, April 2014, Pages 241-245

Abstract:
There is increasing evidence for emotional fit in couples and groups, but also within cultures. In the current research, we investigated the consequences of emotional fit at the cultural level. Given that emotions reflect people’s view on the world, and that shared views are associated with good social relationships, we expected that an individual’s fit to the average cultural patterns of emotion would be associated with relational well-being. Using an implicit measure of cultural fit of emotions, we found across 3 different cultural contexts (United States, Belgium, and Korea) that (1) individuals’ emotional fit is associated with their level of relational well-being, and that (2) the link between emotional fit and relational well-being is particularly strong when emotional fit is measured for situations pertaining to relationships (rather than for situations that are self-focused). Together, the current studies suggest that people may benefit from emotionally “fitting in” to their culture.

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Marriage, education and assortative mating in Latin America

Ina Ganguli, Ricardo Hausmann & Martina Viarengo
Applied Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this article, we establish facts related to marriage and education in Latin American countries. Using census data from IPUMS International, we show how marriage and assortative mating patterns have changed from 1980 to 2000 and how the patterns in Latin America compare to the United States. We find that in Latin American countries, highly educated individuals are less likely to be married than the less educated, and the pattern is stronger for women. We also show that while it has been increasing over time, there is less positive assortative mating in Latin America than in the United States.

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Living in the north is not necessarily favorable: Different metaphoric associations between cardinal direction and valence in Hong Kong and in the United States

Yanli Huang, Chi-Shing Tse & Kit Cho
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The Conceptual Metaphor Theory (e.g., Lakoff & Johnson) suggests that people represent abstract concepts in terms of concrete concepts via metaphoric association. Participants in the United States (US) showed that cardinal direction (north/south) is metaphorically associated with valence (positive/negative), as reflected by their estimate for where a person with high or low socioeconomic status (SES) lives in a fictional city or their own living preference (Meier, Moller, Chen, & Riemer-Peltz). The present study tested whether the cardinal direction–valence metaphoric association could be moderated by cultural differences. Although US participants believed that high-SES and low-SES individuals were more likely to live in the northern and southern part of the city, respectively, the reverse was so for Hong Kong (HK) participants (Study 1). When asked where they themselves would like to live, HK participants preferred to live in a southern area, whereas US participants showed no preference (Studies 2 and 3). These findings demonstrate cultural differences in metaphoric associations between cardinal direction and valence for HK and US participants.

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Speaking of Corporate Social Responsibility

Hao Liang et al.
Harvard Working Paper, March 2014

Abstract:
We argue that the language spoken by corporate decision makers influences their firms’ social responsibility and sustainability practices. Linguists suggest that obligatory future-time-reference (FTR) in a language reduces the psychological importance of the future. Prior research has shown that speakers of strong FTR languages (such as English, French, and Spanish) exhibit less future-oriented behavior (Chen, 2013). Yet, research has not established how this mechanism may affect the future-oriented activities of corporations. We theorize that companies with strong-FTR languages as their official/working language would have less of a future orientation and so perform worse in future-oriented activities such as corporate social responsibility (CSR) compared to those in weak-FTR language environments. Examining thousands of global companies across 59 countries from 1999-2011, we find support for our theory, and further that the negative association between FTR and CSR performance is weaker for firms that have greater exposure to diverse global languages as a result of (a) being headquartered in countries with higher degree of globalization, (b) having a higher degree of internationalization, and (c) having a CEO with more international experience. Our results suggest that language use by corporations is a key cultural variable that is a strong predictor of CSR and sustainability.

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Connecting Societal Change to Value Differences Across Generations: Adolescents, Mothers, and Grandmothers in a Maya Community in Southern Mexico

Adriana Manago
Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study tests the hypothesis that societal change from subsistence agriculture to a market economy with higher levels of formal schooling leads to an increase in individualistic values that guide human development. Values relating to adolescent development and the transition to adulthood were compared across three generations of women in 18 families in the Maya community of Zinacantán in southern Mexico. Grandmothers grew up in Zinacantán when it was a farming community; mothers grew up during the introduction of commerce in the late 1970s and 1980s; daughters are now experiencing adolescence with an opportunity to attend high school in their community. Comparisons were also conducted between 40 female and male adolescents in high school and a matched sample of 40 adolescents who discontinued school after elementary. Values were measured using eight ethnographically derived social dilemmas about adolescent relationships with parents and peers, work and family gender roles, and sexuality and partnering. One character in the dilemmas advocates for interdependent values; a second character advocates for independent values. High school adolescents were more likely to endorse characters articulating independent values than non–high school adolescents, mothers, and grandmothers. Involvement in a market economy was also associated with higher levels of independent value endorsement in the mother and grandmother generations. Results suggest that the introduction of commerce drove value changes between grandmother and mother generations, and now schooling drives change. Qualitative examples of participants’ responses also illustrate how families negotiate shifting values.

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Does individualism bring happiness? Negative effects of individualism on interpersonal relationships and happiness

Yuji Ogihara & Yukiko Uchida
Frontiers in Psychology, March 2014

Abstract:
We examined the negative effects of individualism in an East Asian culture. Although individualistic systems decrease interpersonal relationships through competition, individualistic values have prevailed in European American cultures. One reason is because individuals could overcome negativity by actively constructing interpersonal relationships. In contrast, people in East Asian cultures do not have such strategies to overcome the negative impact of individualistic systems, leading to decreased well-being. To test this hypothesis, we investigated the relationship between individualistic values, number of close friends, and subjective well-being (SWB). Study 1 indicated that individualistic values were negatively related with the number of close friends and SWB for Japanese college students but not for American college students. Moreover, Study 2 showed that even in an individualistic workplace in Japan, individualistic values were negatively related with the number of close friends and SWB. We discuss how cultural change toward increasing individualism might affect interpersonal relationships and well-being.

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Evaluating Group Member Behaviour Under Individualist and Collectivist Norms: A Cross-Cultural Comparison

Martin Hagger, Panagiotis Rentzelas & Severine Koch
Small Group Research, April 2014, Pages 217-228

Abstract:
Research has shown that people in group contexts prefer group members who display collectivist as opposed to individualist behavior, but that preference is attenuated when the prevailing group norm prescribes individualism. The present study investigated this effect in people from a predominantly individualist or collectivist cultural background. Due to their greater sensitivity to contextual social cues, individuals from a collectivist background were expected to give more polarized evaluations of group members than individuals from an individualist background. Group member evaluations were gathered in samples from a collectivist and an individualist background, manipulating the prevailing group norm (individualist or collectivist) and the behavior of a hypothetical group member (individualist or collectivist). The previously observed attenuation effect in which people provided more positive evaluations of individualist behavior under an individualist, as opposed to a collectivist, group norm was found only in participants from a collectivist cultural background. Implications of our findings and the absence of an attenuation effect in the individualist sample are discussed.

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Cross-cultural management of money: The roles of ethnicity, religious affiliation, and income levels in asset allocation

Rosalie Tung, Chris Baumann & Hamin Hamin
International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, April 2014, Pages 85-104

Abstract:
This study examines the interplay between ethnicity, religious affiliation, and income levels to understand differences in managing money. Asset allocation decisions among 730 Caucasian and ethnic Chinese were examined. Respondents in Australia, Canada, and China revealed their monetary decisions in an online survey. Multivariate analysis of variance was used to examine differences and interaction effects between ethnic, religious, and income groups. The study found that for the higher-income respondents, asset allocation decisions converged despite differences in ethnic and religious background. In the lower-income segment, asset allocation decisions varied along ethnic lines. These differences were further compounded by their religious background. The implications of this study of management are twofold: the high-income group can be treated as one segment, for example, from the international marketing segmentation perspective. On the other hand, respondents in the low-income bracket diverged in their investment strategies on the basis of ethnicity and religion. As such, they ought to be treated separately according to their values.

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Hollywood in the world market – evidence from Australia in the mid-1930s

John Sedgwick, Michael Pokorny & Peter Miskell
Business History, forthcoming

Abstract:
By the mid-1930s the major Hollywood studios had developed extensive networks of distribution subsidiaries across five continents. This article focuses on the operation of American film distributors in Australia – one of Hollywood's largest foreign markets. Drawing on two unique primary datasets, the article compares and investigates film distribution in Sydney's first-run and suburban-run markets. It finds that the subsidiaries of US film companies faced a greater liability of foreignness in the city centre market than in the suburban one. Our data supports the argument that film audiences in local or suburban cinema markets were more receptive to Hollywood entertainment than those in metropolitan centres.

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Language Universals Engage Broca's Area

Iris Berent et al.
PLoS ONE, April 2014

Abstract:
It is well known that natural languages share certain aspects of their design. For example, across languages, syllables like blif are preferred to lbif. But whether language universals are myths or mentally active constraints — linguistic or otherwise — remains controversial. To address this question, we used fMRI to investigate brain response to four syllable types, arrayed on their linguistic well-formedness (e.g., blif≻bnif≻bdif≻lbif, where ≻ indicates preference). Results showed that syllable structure monotonically modulated hemodynamic response in Broca's area, and its pattern mirrored participants' behavioral preferences. In contrast, ill-formed syllables did not systematically tax sensorimotor regions — while such syllables engaged primary auditory cortex, they tended to deactivate (rather than engage) articulatory motor regions. The convergence between the cross-linguistic preferences and English participants' hemodynamic and behavioral responses is remarkable given that most of these syllables are unattested in their language. We conclude that human brains encode broad restrictions on syllable structure.

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“I think I can”: Achievement-oriented themes in storybooks from Indonesia, Japan, and the United States

Maria Suprawati, Florencia Anggoro & Danuta Bukatko
Frontiers in Psychology, March 2014

Abstract:
The focus of the present study is on the ways in which storybooks communicate cultural ideals about achievement orientation, and in particular, the role of effort, perseverance, and hard work in fostering successful outcomes. Sixty preschool children's books from Indonesia, Japan, and the United States (20 from each country) were examined for the presence of achievement-oriented themes. These countries were chosen due to previously documented cultural differences in models of learning and individualist/collectivist tendencies that could have some bearing on achievement outcomes. Texts were assessed for (1) the frequency with which “challenge events” appeared in the narratives, (2) whether these events derived from sources internal or external to the main character, and (3) whether solutions relied on the main character individually or included the assistance of others. Results show that Japanese storybooks contained significantly more challenge events than Indonesian storybooks. Compared with Japanese storybooks, American storybooks tended to include a greater proportion of challenges derived from internal qualities of the main character as opposed to external factors. Compared with American storybooks, Japanese storybooks contained a significantly greater proportion of challenges that were solved with individual efforts as opposed to efforts involving the assistance of others. Findings from this study contribute to our understanding of how storybook contexts can provide a rich source of information for young children learning about culturally valued qualities and behaviors related to achievement.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, April 28, 2014

Apprehension

Surveillance and System Avoidance: Criminal Justice Contact and Institutional Attachment

Sarah Brayne
American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
The degree and scope of criminal justice surveillance increased dramatically in the United States over the past four decades. Recent qualitative research suggests the rise in surveillance may be met with a concomitant increase in efforts to evade it. To date, however, there has been no quantitative empirical test of this theory. In this article, I introduce the concept of “system avoidance,” whereby individuals who have had contact with the criminal justice system avoid surveilling institutions that keep formal records. Using data from Add Health (n = 15,170) and the NLSY97 (n = 8,894), I find that individuals who have been stopped by police, arrested, convicted, or incarcerated are less likely to interact with surveilling institutions, including medical, financial, labor market, and educational institutions, than their counterparts who have not had criminal justice contact. By contrast, individuals with criminal justice contact are no less likely to participate in civic or religious institutions. Because criminal justice contact is disproportionately distributed, this study suggests system avoidance is a potential mechanism through which the criminal justice system contributes to social stratification: it severs an already marginalized subpopulation from institutions that are pivotal to desistance from crime and their own integration into broader society.

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Less Cash, Less Crime: Evidence from the Electronic Benefit Transfer Program

Richard Wright et al.
NBER Working Paper, March 2014

Abstract:
It has been long recognized that cash plays a critical role in fueling street crime due to its liquidity and transactional anonymity. In poor neighborhoods where street offenses are concentrated, a significant source of circulating cash stems from public assistance or welfare payments. In the 1990s, the Federal government mandated individual states to convert the delivery of their welfare benefits from paper checks to an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system, whereby recipients received and expended their funds through debit cards. In this paper, we examine whether the reduction in the circulation of cash on the streets associated with EBT implementation had an effect on crime. To address this question, we exploit the variation in the timing of the EBT implementation across Missouri counties. Our results indicate that the EBT program had a negative and significant effect on the overall crime rate as well as burglary, assault, and larceny. According to our point estimates, the overall crime rate decreased by 9.8 percent in response to the EBT program. We also find a negative effect on arrests, especially those associated with non-drug offenses. EBT implementation had no effect on rape, a crime that is unlikely to be motivated by the acquisition of cash. Interestingly, the significant drop in crime in the United States over several decades has coincided with a period of steady decline in the proportion of financial transactions involving cash. In that sense, our findings serve as a fresh contribution to the important debate surrounding the factors underpinning the great American crime decline.

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Reevaluating Foreclosure Effects on Crime During the “Great Recession”

Kevin Wolff, Joshua Cochran & Eric Baumer
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, February 2014, Pages 41-69

Abstract:
High rates of foreclosures during the “Great Recession” raised concerns about the potential harmful effects of the housing crisis not just on the economy, but also on levels of crime. Grounded primarily in theories of social disorganization and incivility, a growing body of empirical research has been directed at exploring whether the foreclosure crisis stimulated higher crime rates in America than would otherwise have been experienced. Many studies have now reported a significant association between rates of foreclosure and crime during the recession, but we are skeptical of whether this represents a causal effect because it is unclear whether the traditional regression approaches applied in most of the extent research account sufficiently for preexisting differences present in areas that experienced varying levels of foreclosure. We advance the literature on foreclosure and crime by employing a propensity score matching (PSM) technique to better account for such differences, evaluating whether U.S. counties that received larger “doses” of foreclosure during the recent recession experienced higher levels of property crime than comparable counties in which rates of foreclosure remained relatively low. Our analysis shows that, once prerecession differences between counties with high versus medium-to-low foreclosure rates are removed, there is no evidence of a significant association between rates of foreclosure and crime.

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Bring a gun to a gunfight: Armed Adversaries and Violence across Nations

Richard Felson, Mark Berg & Meghan Rogers
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
We use homicide data and the International Crime Victimization Survey to examine the role of firearms in explaining cross-national variation in violence. We suggest that while gun violence begets gun violence, it inhibits the tendency to engage in violence without guns. We attribute the patterns to adversary effects — i.e., the tendency of offenders to take into account the threat posed by their adversaries. Multi-level analyses of victimization data support the hypothesis that living in countries with high rates of gun violence lowers an individual’s risk of an unarmed assault and assaults with less lethal weapons. Analyses of aggregate data show that homicide rates and gun violence rates load on a separate underlying factor than other types of violence. The results suggest that a country’s homicide rate reflects, to a large extent, the tendency of its offenders to use firearms.

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Effects of the Repeal of Missouri’s Handgun Purchaser Licensing Law on Homicides

Daniel Webster, Cassandra Kercher Crifasi & Jon Vernick
Journal of Urban Health, April 2014, Pages 293-302

Abstract:
In the USA, homicide is a leading cause of death for young males and a major cause of racial disparities in life expectancy for men. There are intense debate and little rigorous research on the effects of firearm sales regulation on homicides. This study estimates the impact of Missouri’s 2007 repeal of its permit-to-purchase (PTP) handgun law on states’ homicide rates and controls for changes in poverty, unemployment, crime, incarceration, policing levels, and other policies that could potentially affect homicides. Using death certificate data available through 2010, the repeal of Missouri’s PTP law was associated with an increase in annual firearm homicides rates of 1.09 per 100,000 (+23 %) but was unrelated to changes in non-firearm homicide rates. Using Uniform Crime Reporting data from police through 2012, the law’s repeal was associated with increased annual murders rates of 0.93 per 100,000 (+16 %). These estimated effects translate to increases of between 55 and 63 homicides per year in Missouri.

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The Transformation of Prison Regimes in Late Capitalist Societies

John Sutton
American Journal of Sociology, November 2013, Pages 715-746

Abstract:
Recent studies argue that cultural and political-economic shifts have led to a sea change in penal regimes among modern Western societies, resulting in more punitive social policies in general and a trend toward higher incarceration rates in particular. This is a special case of a wider argument that globalization has led to a decline in state autonomy and convergence on a market-based model of economic and social policy. This thesis has been challenged by the empirical literature on welfare states, which finds persistent cross-national diversity in institutional structures, policies, and patterns of inequality. Focusing on incarceration rates as the outcome of interest, this study evaluates these arguments by applying a Bayesian change-point model to four decades of data from 15 countries. Results show that a regime shift did occur but that incarceration rates increased mainly among countries with unregulated labor markets, decentralized polities, or weak labor unions. Profound institutional differences persist and are fateful for incarceration trajectories.

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Coercion, Control, and Cooperation in a Prostitution Ring

Carlo Morselli & Isa Savoie-Gargiso
ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, May 2014, Pages 247-265

Abstract:
Coercion and control are key components of the dominant narrative on sex trafficking, but the power and exchange relations between some of the key players in trafficking have not been carefully examined. This study is based on electronic surveillance data from a two-year police investigation of a prostitution network in Montreal. All of the prostitutes in the network had initially been recruited when they were minors. Whereas most of the writing on sex trafficking portrays pimps as being involved in highly exploitative and coercive relationships with prostitutes, we found that control was not always the sole purview of the pimps, that prostitutes often held key positions and privileged roles within the network, and that pimps’ and prostitutes’ relationships involved complex exchanges of network resources.

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How often and how consistently do symptoms directly precede criminal behavior among offenders with mental illness?

Jillian Peterson et al.
Law and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although offenders with mental illness are overrepresented in the criminal justice system, psychiatric symptoms relate weakly to criminal behavior at the group level. In this study of 143 offenders with mental illness, we use data from intensive interviews and record reviews to examine how often and how consistently symptoms lead directly to criminal behavior. First, crimes rarely were directly motivated by symptoms, particularly when the definition of symptoms excluded externalizing features that are not unique to Axis I illness. Specifically, of the 429 crimes coded, 4% related directly to psychosis, 3% related directly to depression, and 10% related directly to bipolar disorder (including impulsivity). Second, within offenders, crimes varied in the degree to which they were directly motivated by symptoms. These findings suggest that programs will be most effective in reducing recidivism if they expand beyond psychiatric symptoms to address strong variable risk factors for crime like antisocial traits.

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Does Self-Defense Training Prevent Sexual Violence Against Women?

Jocelyn Hollander
Violence Against Women, March 2014, Pages 252-269

Abstract:
Self-defense classes are offered across the nation as a strategy for reducing women’s vulnerability to sexual assault. Yet there has been little systematic research assessing the effectiveness of these classes. In this article, I use data from a mixed methods study of a 10-week, university-based, feminist self-defense class to examine the effectiveness of self-defense training over a 1-year follow-up period. My analyses indicate that women who participate in self-defense training are less likely to experience sexual assault and are more confident in their ability to effectively resist assault than similar women who have not taken such a class.

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Resisting Rape: The Effects of Victim Self-Protection on Rape Completion and Injury

Jongyeon Tark & Gary Kleck
Violence Against Women, March 2014, Pages 270-292

Abstract:
The impact of victim resistance on rape completion and injury was examined utilizing a large probability sample of sexual assault incidents, derived from the National Crime Victimization Survey (1992-2002), and taking into account whether harm to the victim followed or preceded self-protection (SP) actions. Additional injuries besides rape, particularly serious injuries, following victim resistance are rare. Results indicate that most SP actions, both forceful and nonforceful, reduce the risk of rape completion, and do not significantly affect the risk of additional injury.

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Violence and Economic Conditions in the United States, 1973-2011: Gender, Race, and Ethnicity Patterns in the National Crime Victimization Survey

Janet Lauritsen, Maribeth Rezey & Karen Heimer
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, February 2014, Pages 7-28

Abstract:
To more fully understand how economic conditions and the latest economic downturn might be associated with rates of violence, this research examines a variety of economic indicators and their relationships to subgroup rates of violence overall and by victim–offender relationship. We find that the recent recession of 2007 to 2009 has not produced significant increases in victimization for any of the groups or violence types analyzed here. We also find that several economic indicators are associated with violence during the 1973 to 2000 period, yet these same factors fail to be significantly correlated with the trends from 2001 to 2011. This suggests that historical conditions unique to the more recent period are moderating the relationships between trends in the macroeconomy and violence, and that future research should focus on developing and modeling indicators of various potential moderating influences. We also caution, however, that this recent change in the association between the economy and the violence is based on the data from a relatively few number of years and may not continue into the future.

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“Take My License n’ All That Jive, I Can’t See … 35”: Little Hope for the Future Encourages Offending Over time

Alex Piquero
Justice Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
A very small number of studies has observed that persons who perceive an early age-at-death report a higher risk of offending. This literature, however, is limited by the use of general population samples, cross-sectional data, and the failure to consider both the determinants of perceived age-at-death, as well as some of the mediating processes associated with the relationship between perceived age-at-death and offending. Using data for a large sample of serious youthful offenders from two urban cities and who were followed for seven years, the current study attends to these concerns. Results show that gender, race/ethnicity, and adverse neighborhood conditions influence the perceived age-at-death; this perception distinguishes between distinct trajectories of offending, and such perceptions also influence both perceived risks and perceived rewards as well as one’s impulse control.

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Forfeiture of Illegal Gains, Attempts, and Implied Risk Preferences

Murat Mungan & Jonathan Klick
Journal of Legal Studies, January 2014, Pages 137-153

Abstract:
In the law enforcement literature there is a presumption — supported by some experimental and econometric evidence — that criminals are more responsive to increases in the certainty than the severity of punishment. Under a general set of assumptions, this implies that criminals are risk seeking. We show that this implication is no longer valid when forfeiture of illegal gains and the possibility of unsuccessful attempts are considered. Therefore, when drawing inferences concerning offenders’ attitudes toward risk based on their responses to various punishment schemes, special attention must be paid to whether and to what extent offenders’ illegal gains can be forfeited and whether increases in the probability of punishment affect the probability of attempts being successful. We discuss policy implications related to our observations.

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The law & economics of private prosecutions in industrial revolution England

Mark Koyama
Public Choice, April 2014, Pages 277-298

Abstract:
Can the market provide law enforcement? This paper addresses this question by analyzing an historical case study: the system of private prosecutions that prevailed in England prior to the introduction of the police. I examine why this system came under strain during the Industrial Revolution, and how private clubs emerged to internalize the externalities that caused the private system to generate too little deterrence. The historical evidence suggests that these private order institutions were partially successful in ameliorating the problem of crime in a period when public choice considerations precluded the introduction of a professional police force.

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High-fidelity specialty mental health probation improves officer practices, treatment access, and rule compliance

Sarah Manchak et al.
Law and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many probation agencies in the United States assign offenders with mental illness to relatively small specialty caseloads supervised by officers with relevant training, rather than to large general caseloads. Specialty caseloads are designed to improve the process and outcomes of probation, largely by linking these probationers with psychiatric treatment and avoiding unnecessary violations. In this multimethod, longitudinal matched trial, we tested whether a prototypical specialty agency (n = 183) differed from a traditional agency (n = 176) in officers’ practices, probationers’ treatment access, and probationers’ rule violations. The specialty agency yielded significantly (a) better officer practices (e.g., problem solving rather than sanction threats; higher quality relationships with probationers; more boundary spanning), (b) greater rates of treatment involvement, and (c) lower rates of violation reports than the traditional agency. Additionally, officers’ use of sanctions and threats increased probationers’ risk of incurring a probation violation, whereas high-quality officer−probationer relationships protected against this outcome. When implemented with fidelity, specialty mental health caseloads improved the supervision process for this high-need group.

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The impact of skills in probation work: A reconviction study

Peter Raynor, Pamela Ugwudike & Maurice Vanstone
Criminology and Criminal Justice, April 2014, Pages 235-249

Abstract:
This article reports on the results of a quasi-experimental study of practitioners’ skills in probation work. Videotaped interviews were produced by a group of probation officers and analysed by researchers using a checklist designed to identify the range of skills used in one-to-one supervision. Reconviction rates were found to be significantly lower among those whose supervisors were assessed as using a wider range of skills. The article also reviews the recent history of research on practitioners’ skills in probation, and considers the implications of positive findings from this and other studies.

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Long-Term Consequences of Adolescent Gang Membership for Adult Functioning

Amanda Gilman, Karl Hill & David Hawkins
American Journal of Public Health, May 2014, Pages 938-945

Objectives: We examined the possible public health consequences of adolescent gang membership for adult functioning.

Methods: Data were drawn from the Seattle Social Development Project, a longitudinal study focusing on the development of positive and problem outcomes. Using propensity score matching and logistic regression analyses, we assessed the effects of adolescent gang membership on illegal behavior, educational and occupational attainment, and physical and mental health at the ages of 27, 30, and 33 years.

Results: In comparison with their nongang peers, who had been matched on 23 confounding risk variables known to be related to selection into gang membership, those who had joined a gang in adolescence had poorer outcomes in multiple areas of adult functioning, including higher rates of self-reported crime, receipt of illegal income, incarceration, drug abuse or dependence, poor general health, and welfare receipt and lower rates of high school graduation.

Conclusions: The finding that adolescent gang membership has significant consequences in adulthood beyond criminal behavior indicates the public health importance of the development of effective gang prevention programs.

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The Relationship between Incarceration and Premature Adult Mortality: Gender Specific Evidence

Michael Massoglia et al.
Social Science Research, July 2014, Pages 142–154

Abstract:
We examine the relationship between incarceration and premature mortality for men and women. Analyses using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79) reveal strong gender differences. Using two different analytic procedures the results show that women with a history of incarceration are more likely to die than women without such a history, even after controlling for health status and criminal behavior prior to incarceration, the availability of health insurance, and other socio-demographic factors. In contrast, there is no relationship between incarceration and mortality for men after accounting for these factors. The results point to the importance of examining gender differences in the collateral consequences of incarceration. The results also contribute to a rapidly emerging literature linking incarceration to various health hazards. Although men constitute the bulk of inmates, future research should not neglect the special circumstances of female former inmates and their rapidly growing numbers.

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Neighborhood Disinvestment, Abandonment, and Crime Dynamics

Erica Raleigh & George Galster
Journal of Urban Affairs, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article develops a conceptual framework of neighborhood crime dynamics based on a synthesis of criminology and neighborhood change literatures which suggests that neighborhood decline can produce a nonlinear response in crime rates. The authors probe this relationship using a rich Detroit data set containing detailed, block-level information about housing, land, abandonment, population, schools, liquor outlets, and crime reports of various categories. Negative binomial models reveal that several neighborhood attributes are consistently associated with all types of crime (renter occupancy, population density, establishments with liquor licenses) while other attributes are only associated with particular types of crime. A simulation using estimated parameters suggests that processes of disinvestment and abandonment can generate a nonlinear pattern in the rate of growth in neighborhood crimes that vary in intensity by crime type. The authors explore the implications of their findings for anticrime strategies focusing on demolishing abandoned housing, “right-sizing” urban footprints, and regulating liquor-selling establishments.

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Criminogenic Facilities and Crime across Street Segments in Philadelphia: Uncovering Evidence about the Spatial Extent of Facility Influence

Elizabeth Groff & Brian Lockwood
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, May 2014, Pages 277-314

Objectives: Test whether the exposure of street segments to five different potentially criminogenic facilities is positively related to violent, property, or disorder crime counts controlling for sociodemographic context. The geographic extent of the relationship is also explored.

Method: Facility exposure is operationalized as total inverse distance from each street segment in Philadelphia, PA, to surrounding facilities within three threshold distances of 400, 800, and 1,200 feet. All distances are measured using shortest path street distance. Census block group data representing ethnic heterogeneity, concentrated disadvantage, and stability are proportionally allocated to each street block. Negative binomial regression is used to model the relationships.

Results: Exposure to bars and subway stations was positively associated with violent, property, and disorder crime at all distance thresholds from street segments. Schools were associated with disorder offenses at all distance thresholds. The effects of exposure to halfway houses and drug treatment centers varied by distance and by crime type.

Conclusions: Facilities have a significant effect on crime at nearby places even controlling for sociodemographic variables. The geographic extent of a facility’s criminogenic influence varies by type of facility and type of crime. Future research should examine additional types of facilities and include information about place management.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Downer

Not always the best medicine: Why frequent smiling can reduce wellbeing

Aparna Labroo, Anirban Mukhopadhyay & Ping Dong
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2014, Pages 156–162

Abstract:
Conventional wisdom (and existing research) suggests that the more people smile, the happier they will be, and happiness is known to enhance wellbeing. Across three studies, instead, we show more frequent smiling does not always increase happiness, and as a consequence, wellbeing. Frequent smiling results in more wellbeing than infrequent smiling only among people who interpret smiling as reactive or reflecting happiness. Among people who interpret smiling as proactive and causing happiness, frequent smiling results in less wellbeing than infrequent smiling. Here, frequent smiling backfires, evoking less happiness than infrequent smiling, which in turn reduces wellbeing. Thus, smiling by itself does not increase happiness, or wellbeing. Instead, the belief that one must already be happy when one smiles is what increases happiness, and as a result, wellbeing.

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Does the level of wealth inequality within an area influence the prevalence of depression amongst older people?

Alan Marshall et al.
Health & Place, May 2014, Pages 194–204

Abstract:
This paper considers whether the extent of inequality in house prices within neighbourhoods of England is associated with depressive symptoms in the older population using the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. We consider two competing hypotheses: first, the wealth inequality hypothesis which proposes that neighbourhood inequality is harmful to health and, second, the mixed neighbourhood hypothesis which suggests that socially mixed neighbourhoods are beneficial for health outcomes. Our results are supportive of the mixed neighbourhood hypothesis, we find a significant association between neighbourhood inequality and depression with lower levels of depression amongst older people in neighbourhoods with greater house price inequality after controlling for individual socio-economic and area correlates of depression. The association between area inequality and depression is strongest for the poorest individuals, but also holds among the most affluent. Our results are in line with research that suggests there are social and health benefits associated with economically mixed communities.

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Asians demonstrate reduced sensitivity to unpredictable threat: A preliminary startle investigation using genetic ancestry in a multiethnic sample

Brady Nelson et al.
Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research has indicated that individuals of Asian descent, relative to other racial groups, demonstrate reduced emotional responding and lower prevalence rates of several anxiety disorders. It is unclear though whether these group differences extend to biomarkers of anxiety disorders and whether genetic differences play a role. This study compared self-identified Caucasian, Latino, and Asian persons (total N = 174) on startle response during a baseline period and while anticipating unpredictable threat — a putative biomarker for certain anxiety disorders — as well as predictable threat. In addition, the association between genetic ancestry and startle response was examined within each racial group to determine potential genetic influences on responding. For the baseline period, Asian participants exhibited a smaller startle response relative to Caucasian and Latino participants, who did not differ. Within each racial group, genetic ancestry was associated with baseline startle. Furthermore, genetic ancestry mediated racial group differences in baseline startle. For the threat conditions, a Race × Condition interaction indicated that Asian participants exhibited reduced startle potentiation to unpredictable, but not predicable, threat relative to Caucasian and Latino participants, who did not differ. However, genetic ancestry was not associated with threat-potentiated startle in any racial group. This study adds to the growing literature on racial differences in emotional responding and provides preliminary evidence suggesting that genetic ancestry may play an important role. Moreover, reduced sensitivity to unpredictable threat may reflect a mechanism for why individuals of Asian descent are at less risk for particular anxiety disorders relative to other racial groups.

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Neighborhood disadvantage in context: The influence of urbanicity on the association between neighborhood disadvantage and adolescent emotional disorders

Kara Rudolph et al.
Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, March 2014, Pages 467-475

Purpose: Inconsistent evidence of a relationship between neighborhood disadvantage and adolescent mental health may be, in part, attributable to heterogeneity based on urban or rural residence. Using the largest nationally representative survey of US adolescent mental health available, we estimated the association between neighborhood disadvantage and adolescent emotional disorders and the extent to which urbanicity modified this association.

Methods: The National Comorbidity Survey Replication Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A) sampled adolescents aged 13–17 years (N = 10,123). Households were geocoded to Census tracts. Using a propensity score approach that addresses bias from non-random selection of individuals into neighborhoods, logistic regression models were used to estimate the relative odds of having a DSM-IV emotional disorder (any past-year anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder or dysthymia) comparing similar adolescents living in disadvantaged versus non-disadvantaged neighborhoods in urban center, urban fringe, and non-urban areas.

Results: The association between neighborhood disadvantage and emotional disorder was more than twice as large for adolescents living in urban centers versus non-urban areas. In urban centers, living in a disadvantaged neighborhood was associated with 59 % (95 % confidence interval 25–103) increased adjusted odds of emotional disorder.

Conclusions: Urbanicity modifies the relationship between neighborhood disadvantage and emotional disorder in adolescents. This effect modification may explain why evidence of a relationship between neighborhood disadvantage and adolescent mental health has been inconsistent. Recognizing the joint influence of neighborhood socioeconomic context and urbanicity may improve specificity in identifying relevant neighborhood processes.

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What Determines Happiness? Income or Attitude: Evidence from U.S. Longitudinal Data

Madhu Mohanty
Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using the data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, a longitudinal data set from the United States, this study demonstrates that the covariates of happiness differ to some extent between matured adults and young-adults and that the relationship of personal happiness with positive attitude is stronger than that with any other covariate of happiness known in the literature including income. These results remain robust to changes in estimation techniques in response to varying assumptions on the attitude variable. Assuming endogeneity of the attitude variable, the study estimates happiness and positive attitude equations simultaneously by a two-stage procedure and obtains interesting new results. These results indicate that positive attitude is not only a covariate of happiness, but also a determinant of happiness, especially in the sample of matured adults. To increase personal happiness therefore the study recommends policies designed to help individuals not only increase their incomes, but also improve their attitudes.

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Efficacy of Intravenous Ketamine for Treatment of Chronic Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Adriana Feder et al.
JAMA Psychiatry, forthcoming

Importance: Few pharmacotherapies have demonstrated sufficient efficacy in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a chronic and disabling condition.

Objective: To test the efficacy and safety of a single intravenous subanesthetic dose of ketamine for the treatment of PTSD and associated depressive symptoms in patients with chronic PTSD.

Design, Setting, and Participants: Proof-of-concept, randomized, double-blind, crossover trial comparing ketamine with an active placebo control, midazolam, conducted at a single site (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York). Forty-one patients with chronic PTSD related to a range of trauma exposures were recruited via advertisements.

Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome measure was change in PTSD symptom severity, measured using the Impact of Event Scale–Revised. Secondary outcome measures included the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale, the Clinical Global Impression–Severity and –Improvement scales, and adverse effect measures, including the Clinician-Administered Dissociative States Scale, the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, and the Young Mania Rating Scale.

Results: Ketamine infusion was associated with significant and rapid reduction in PTSD symptom severity, compared with midazolam, when assessed 24 hours after infusion (mean difference in Impact of Event Scale–Revised score, 12.7 [95% CI, 2.5-22.8]; P = .02). Greater reduction of PTSD symptoms following treatment with ketamine was evident in both crossover and first-period analyses, and remained significant after adjusting for baseline and 24-hour depressive symptom severity. Ketamine was also associated with reduction in comorbid depressive symptoms and with improvement in overall clinical presentation. Ketamine was generally well tolerated without clinically significant persistent dissociative symptoms.

Conclusions and Relevance: This study provides the first evidence for rapid reduction in symptom severity following ketamine infusion in patients with chronic PTSD. If replicated, these findings may lead to novel approaches to the pharmacologic treatment of patients with this disabling condition.

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Prevalence of Diagnosed Depression in Adolescents With History of Concussion

Sara Chrisman & Laura Richardson
Journal of Adolescent Health, May 2014, Pages 582–586

Purpose: Previous studies in adults have suggested concussion and other brain injury presents a risk factor for depression. The goal of our study was to analyze the association between previous concussion and current depression diagnosis in a large nationally representative adolescent data set.

Methods: Retrospective cohort study using the National Survey of Children's Health 2007–2008, a nationally representative survey conducted via random digit dialing. Data were obtained by parental report. We included youth 12–17 years old without a current concussion (N = 36,060), and evaluated the association between previous concussion (binary) and current depression diagnosis (binary) using multiple logistic regression to control for age, sex, parental mental health, and socioeconomic status.

Results: After controlling for age, sex, parental mental health, and socioeconomic status, history of concussion was associated with a 3.3-fold greater risk for depression diagnosis (95% CI: 2.0–5.5). Other factors significantly associated with depression diagnosis included poor or fair parental mental health (OR: 3.7, 95% CI: 2.8–4.9), and older age (15–17 years vs. 12–14 years, OR: 1.4, 95% CI: 1.1–1.8). Sex of the subject was not significantly related to depression diagnosis. Being above 200% of the poverty level was associated with approximately a 50% decreased risk of depression diagnosis (95% CI: 35%–70%).

Conclusions: History of concussion was associated with a higher prevalence of diagnosed depression in a large nationally representative adolescent data set. Clinicians should screen for depression in their adolescent patients with concussion. Future studies should confirm this association using prospective methodology and examine potential treatment approaches.

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Rethinking emotion: Cognitive reappraisal is an effective positive and negative emotion regulation strategy in bipolar disorder

June Gruber, Aleena Hay & James Gross
Emotion, April 2014, Pages 388-396

Abstract:
Bipolar disorder involves difficulties with emotion regulation, yet the precise nature of these emotion regulatory difficulties is unclear. The current study examined whether individuals with remitted bipolar I disorder (n = 23) and healthy controls (n = 23) differ in their ability to use one effective and common form of emotion regulation, cognitive reappraisal. Positive, negative, and neutral films were used to elicit emotion, and participants were cued to watch the film carefully (i.e., uninstructed condition) or reappraise while measures of affect, behavior, and psychophysiology were obtained. Results showed that reappraisal was associated with reductions in emotion reactivity across subjective (i.e., positive and negative affect), behavioral (i.e., positive facial displays), and physiological (i.e., skin conductance) response domains across all participants. Results suggest that reappraisal may be an effective regulation strategy for both negative and positive emotion across both healthy adults and individuals with bipolar disorder. Discussion focuses on clinical and treatment implications for bipolar disorder.

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Adult Health Outcomes of Childhood Bullying Victimization: Evidence From a Five-Decade Longitudinal British Birth Cohort

Ryu Takizawa, Barbara Maughan & Louise Arseneault
American Journal of Psychiatry, forthcoming

Objective: The authors examined midlife outcomes of childhood bullying victimization.

Method: Data were from the British National Child Development Study, a 50-year prospective cohort of births in 1 week in 1958. The authors conducted ordinal logistic and linear regressions on data from 7,771 participants whose parents reported bullying exposure at ages 7 and 11 years, and who participated in follow-up assessments between ages 23 and 50 years. Outcomes included suicidality and diagnoses of depression, anxiety disorders, and alcohol dependence at age 45; psychological distress and general health at ages 23 and 50; and cognitive functioning, socioeconomic status, social relationships, and well-being at age 50.

Results: Participants who were bullied in childhood had increased levels of psychological distress at ages 23 and 50. Victims of frequent bullying had higher rates of depression (odds ratio=1.95, 95% CI=1.27–2.99), anxiety disorders (odds ratio=1.65, 95% CI=1.25–2.18), and suicidality (odds ratio=2.21, 95% CI=1.47–3.31) than their nonvictimized peers. The effects were similar to those of being placed in public or substitute care and an index of multiple childhood adversities, and the effects remained significant after controlling for known correlates of bullying victimization. Childhood bullying victimization was associated with a lack of social relationships, economic hardship, and poor perceived quality of life at age 50.

Conclusions: Children who are bullied — and especially those who are frequently bullied — continue to be at risk for a wide range of poor social, health, and economic outcomes nearly four decades after exposure. Interventions need to reduce bullying exposure in childhood and minimize long-term effects on victims’ well-being; such interventions should cast light on causal processes.

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Is serotonin transporter genotype associated with epigenetic susceptibility or vulnerability? Examination of the impact of socioeconomic status risk on African American youth

Steven Beach et al.
Development and Psychopathology, May 2014, Pages 289-304

Abstract:
We hypothesized that presence of the short allele in the promoter region of the serotonin transporter would moderate the effect of early cumulative socioeconomic status (SES) risk on epigenetic change among African American youth. Contrasting hypotheses regarding the shape of the interaction effect were generated using vulnerability and susceptibility frameworks and applied to data from a sample of 388 African American youth. Early cumulative SES risk assessed at 11–13 years based on parent report interacted with presence of the short allele to predict differential methylation assessed at age 19. Across multiple tests, a differential susceptibility perspective rather than a diathesis–stress framework best fit the data for genes associated with depression, consistently demonstrating greater epigenetic response to early cumulative SES risk among short allele carriers. A pattern consistent with greater impact among short allele carriers also was observed using all cytosine nucleotide–phosphate–guanine nucleotide sites across the genome that were differentially affected by early cumulative SES risk. We conclude that the short allele is associated with increased responsiveness to early cumulative SES risk among African American youth, leading to epigenetic divergence for depression-related genes in response to exposure to heightened SES risk among short allele carriers in a “for better” or “for worse” pattern.

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Genetic Variations in the Human Cannabinoid Receptor Gene Are Associated with Happiness

Masahiro Matsunaga et al.
PLoS ONE, April 2014

Abstract:
Happiness has been viewed as a temporary emotional state (e.g., pleasure) and a relatively stable state of being happy (subjective happiness level). As previous studies demonstrated that individuals with high subjective happiness level rated their current affective states more positively when they experience positive events, these two aspects of happiness are interrelated. According to a recent neuroimaging study, the cytosine to thymine single-nucleotide polymorphism of the human cannabinoid receptor 1 gene is associated with sensitivity to positive emotional stimuli. Thus, we hypothesized that our genetic traits, such as the human cannabinoid receptor 1 genotypes, are closely related to the two aspects of happiness. In Experiment 1, 198 healthy volunteers were used to compare the subjective happiness level between cytosine allele carriers and thymine-thymine carriers of the human cannabinoid receptor 1 gene. In Experiment 2, we used positron emission tomography with 20 healthy participants to compare the brain responses to positive emotional stimuli of cytosine allele carriers to that of thymine-thymine carriers. Compared to thymine-thymine carriers, cytosine allele carriers have a higher subjective happiness level. Regression analysis indicated that the cytosine allele is significantly associated with subjective happiness level. The positive mood after watching a positive film was significantly higher for the cytosine allele carriers compared to the thymine-thymine carriers. Positive emotion-related brain region such as the medial prefrontal cortex was significantly activated when the cytosine allele carriers watched the positive film compared to the thymine-thymine carriers. Thus, the human cannabinoid receptor 1 genotypes are closely related to two aspects of happiness. Compared to thymine-thymine carriers, the cytosine allele carriers of the human cannabinoid receptor 1 gene, who are sensitive to positive emotional stimuli, exhibited greater magnitude positive emotions when they experienced positive events and had a higher subjective happiness level.

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Hypoactive medial prefrontal cortex functioning in adults reporting childhood emotional maltreatment

Anne-Laura van Harmelen et al.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Childhood emotional maltreatment (CEM) has adverse effects on medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) morphology, a structure that is crucial for cognitive functioning and (emotional) memory and which modulates the limbic system. In addition, CEM has been linked to amygdala hyperactivity during emotional face processing. However, no study has yet investigated the functional neural correlates of neutral and emotional memory in adults reporting CEM. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we investigated CEM-related differential activations in mPFC during the encoding and recognition of positive, negative and neutral words. The sample (N = 194) consisted of patients with depression and/or anxiety disorders and healthy controls (HC) reporting CEM (n = 96) and patients and HC reporting no abuse (n = 98). We found a consistent pattern of mPFC hypoactivation during encoding and recognition of positive, negative and neutral words in individuals reporting CEM. These results were not explained by psychopathology or severity of depression or anxiety symptoms, or by gender, level of neuroticism, parental psychopathology, negative life events, antidepressant use or decreased mPFC volume in the CEM group. These findings indicate mPFC hypoactivity in individuals reporting CEM during emotional and neutral memory encoding and recognition. Our findings suggest that CEM may increase individuals’ risk to the development of psychopathology on differential levels of processing in the brain; blunted mPFC activation during higher order processing and enhanced amygdala activation during automatic/lower order emotion processing. These findings are vital in understanding the long-term consequences of CEM.

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Cognitive Vulnerabilities Amplify the Effect of Early Pubertal Timing on Interpersonal Stress Generation During Adolescence

Jessica Hamilton et al.
Journal of Youth and Adolescence, May 2014, Pages 824-833

Abstract:
Early pubertal timing has been found to confer risk for the occurrence of interpersonal stressful events during adolescence. However, pre-existing vulnerabilities may exacerbate the effects of early pubertal timing on the occurrence of stressors. Thus, the current study prospectively examined whether cognitive vulnerabilities amplified the effects of early pubertal timing on interpersonal stress generation. In a diverse sample of 310 adolescents (M age = 12.83 years, 55 % female; 53 % African American), early pubertal timing predicted higher levels of interpersonal dependent events among adolescents with more negative cognitive style and rumination, but not among adolescents with lower levels of these cognitive vulnerabilities. These findings suggest that cognitive vulnerabilities may heighten the risk of generating interpersonal stress for adolescents who undergo early pubertal maturation, which may subsequently place adolescents at greater risk for the development of psychopathology.

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Behavioral effects of longitudinal training in cognitive reappraisal

Bryan Denny & Kevin Ochsner
Emotion, April 2014, Pages 425-433

Abstract:
Although recent emotion regulation research has identified effective regulatory strategies that participants can employ during single experimental sessions, a critical but unresolved question is whether one can increase the efficacy with which one can deploy these strategies through repeated practice. To address this issue, we focused on one strategy, reappraisal, which involves cognitively reframing affective events in ways that modulate one’s emotional response to them. With a commonly used reappraisal task, we assessed the behavioral correlates of four laboratory sessions of guided practice in down-regulating responses to aversive photos. Two groups received practice in one of two types of reappraisal tactics: psychological distancing and reinterpretation. A third no-regulation control group viewed images in each session without instructions to regulate. Three key findings were observed. First, both distancing and reinterpretation training resulted in reductions over time in self-reported negative affect. Second, distancing participants also showed a reduction over time in negative affect on baseline trials in which they responded naturally. Only distancing group participants showed such a reduction over and above the reduction observed in the no-regulation control group, indicating that it was not attributable to habituation. Third, only participants who distanced reported less perceived stress in their daily lives. The present results provide the first evidence for the longitudinal trainability of reappraisal in healthy adults using short courses of reappraisal practice, particularly using psychological distancing.

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Roles of Heat Shock Factor 1 in Neuronal Response to Fetal Environmental Risks and Its Relevance to Brain Disorders

Kazue Hashimoto-Torii et al.
Neuron, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prenatal exposure of the developing brain to various environmental challenges increases susceptibility to late onset of neuropsychiatric dysfunction; still, the underlying mechanisms remain obscure. Here we show that exposure of embryos to a variety of environmental factors such as alcohol, methylmercury, and maternal seizure activates HSF1 in cerebral cortical cells. Furthermore, HSF1 deficiency in the mouse cortex exposed in utero to subthreshold levels of these challenges causes structural abnormalities and increases seizure susceptibility after birth. In addition, we found that human neural progenitor cells differentiated from induced pluripotent stem cells derived from schizophrenia patients show higher variability in the levels of HSF1 activation induced by environmental challenges compared to controls. We propose that HSF1 plays a crucial role in the response of brain cells to prenatal environmental insults and may be a key component in the pathogenesis of late-onset neuropsychiatric disorders.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Fired up

Effects of individualist and collectivist group norms and choice on intrinsic motivation

Martin Hagger, Panagiotis Rentzelas & Nikos Chatzisarantis
Motivation and Emotion, April 2014, Pages 215-223

Abstract:
Previous research suggests that the positive effect of personal choice on intrinsic motivation is dependent on the extent to which the pervading cultural norm endorses individualism or collectivism (Iyengar and Lepper in J Pers Soc Psychol 76:349–366, 1999). The present study tested effects of personal choice on intrinsic motivation under situationally-induced individualist and collectivist group norms. An organizational role-play scenario was used to manipulate individualist and collectivist group norms in participants from a homogenous cultural background. Participants then completed an anagram task under conditions of personal choice or when the task was either assigned to them by an in-group (company director) or out-group (experimenter) social agent. Consistent with hypotheses, when the group norm prescribed individualism participants in the personal choice condition exhibited greater intrinsic motivation. When the group norm prescribed collectivism, participants’ assigned to the task by the company director were more intrinsically motivated. The implications of results for theories of intrinsic motivation are discussed.

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Dying to Win? Olympic Gold Medals and Longevity

Adam Leive
University of Pennsylvania Working Paper, March 2014

Abstract:
This paper investigates how status affects health by comparing mortality between Gold medalists in Olympic Track and Field and other finalists. Due to the nature of Olympic competition, analyzing performance on a single day provides a way to cut through potential endogeneity between status and health. I first document that an athlete’s longevity is affected by whether he wins or loses and then detail mechanisms driving the results. Winning on a team confers a survival advantage, with evidence that higher mortality among losers may be due to poor performance relative to one’s teammates. However, winning an individual event is associated with an earlier death. By analyzing the best performances of each athlete before the Olympics, I demonstrate that an athlete’s performance relative to his expectations partly explains the earlier death of winners in individual events: on average, Olympic Gold medalists expected to win, but losers exceeded their expectations. Conversely, athletes considered “favorites” but who fail to win die earlier than other athletes who also lost. My results are robust to estimating a range of parametric and semi-parametric survival models that make different assumptions about unobserved heterogeneity. My central estimates imply lifespan differentials of a year or more between winners and losers. The findings point to the importance of expectations, relative performance, surprise, and disappointment in affecting health, which are not highlighted by standard models of health capital, but are consistent with reference-dependent utility. I also discuss potential implications for employment contracts in terms of a trade-off between ex post health and ex ante incentives for productivity.

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The mnemonic mover: Nostalgia regulates avoidance and approach motivation

Elena Stephan et al.
Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
In light of its role in maintaining psychological equanimity, we proposed that nostalgia — a self-relevant, social, and predominantly positive emotion — regulates avoidance and approach motivation. We advanced a model in which (a) avoidance motivation triggers nostalgia and (b) nostalgia, in turn, increases approach motivation. As a result, nostalgia counteracts the negative impact of avoidance motivation on approach motivation. Five methodologically diverse studies supported this regulatory model. Study 1 used a cross-sectional design and showed that avoidance motivation was positively associated with nostalgia. Nostalgia, in turn, was positively associated with approach motivation. In Study 2, an experimental induction of avoidance motivation increased nostalgia. Nostalgia then predicted increased approach motivation. Studies 3–5 tested the causal effect of nostalgia on approach motivation and behavior. These studies demonstrated that experimental nostalgia inductions strengthened approach motivation (Study 3) and approach behavior as manifested in reduced seating distance (Study 4) and increased helping (Study 5). The findings shed light on nostalgia’s role in regulating the human motivation system.

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Motivated Misperception: Self-Regulatory Resources Affect Goal Appraisals

Michelle vanDellen et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2014, Pages 118–124

Abstract:
Three studies examine how self-regulatory resources affect goal appraisals, finding support for the hypothesis that when low in self-regulatory resources, individuals endorse statements that rationalize either inaction or less effortful goal pursuit. Study 1 examines appraisals of self-set personal goals, finding that resource-depleted participants describe their goals as less urgent and less consequential. Study 2 examines reappraisals of weight loss goals, replicating the effects of Study 1. Finally, Study 3 examines this reappraisal process in the context of a broader societal goal of environmental conservation. This work contributes a new perspective to the large literature on resource depletion by demonstrating that depletion alters cognition in ways that may excuse the well-documented decrease in behavioral pursuit that arises from resource depletion.

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Academic and emotional functioning in middle school: The role of implicit theories

Carissa Romero et al.
Emotion, April 2014, Pages 227-234

Abstract:
Adolescents face many academic and emotional challenges in middle school, but notable differences are evident in how well they adapt. What predicts adolescents’ academic and emotional outcomes during this period? One important factor might be adolescents’ implicit theories about whether intelligence and emotions can change. The current study examines how these theories affect academic and emotional outcomes. One hundred fifteen students completed surveys throughout middle school, and their grades and course selections were obtained from school records. Students who believed that intelligence could be developed earned higher grades and were more likely to move to advanced math courses over time. Students who believed that emotions could be controlled reported fewer depressive symptoms and, if they began middle school with lower well-being, were more likely to feel better over time. These findings illustrate the power of adolescents’ implicit theories, suggesting exciting new pathways for intervention.

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“I’d Like to Be That Attractive, But At Least I’m Smart”: How Exposure to Ideal Advertising Models Motivates Improved Decision-Making

Kamila Sobol & Peter Darke
Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The use of idealized advertising models has been heavily criticized in recent years. Existing research typically adopts a social comparison framework and shows that upward comparisons with models can lower self-esteem and affect, as well as produce maladaptive behavior. However, the alternative possibility that consumers can cope with threatening advertising models by excelling in other behavioral domains has not been examined. The present research draws on fluid compensation theory (Tesser, 2000) and shows idealized models motivate improved performance in consumer domains that fall outside that of the original comparison. These more positive coping effects operate through self-discrepancies induced by idealized models, rather than self-esteem or negative affect. Specifically, self-discrepancies motivate consumers to improve decision-making by: 1) making more optimal choices from well-specified consideration sets, and 2) better self-regulating indulgent choices. More broadly, the current research integrates and extends theories of fluid compensation and self-discrepancy, as well as provides a more complete picture of the ways in which consumers cope with idealized advertising models.

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Fluency in Future Focus: Optimizing Outcome Elaboration Strategies for Effective Self-Control

Gergana Nenkov, Kelly Haws & Min Jung (MJ) Kim
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current research sheds new light on how individuals can best use the consideration of future outcomes as a self-control strategy to enhance their likelihood of goal attainment. Across three studies, the authors find that the effectiveness of positively versus negatively valenced outcome elaboration is dependent upon the construal level at which the potential outcomes are considered. This research demonstrates that positive outcome elaboration is more effective when it is abstract, whereas negative outcome elaboration is more effective when it is concrete. Moreover, the authors explore the process underlying these effects and demonstrate that the increased effectiveness of matching the outcomes’ valence and construal level is due to outcome elaboration fluency, as increased ease of generating outcomes that are positive and abstract or negative and concrete promotes more effective self-control.

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Love to Win or Hate to Lose? Asymmetry of Dopamine D2 Receptor Binding Predicts Sensitivity to Reward versus Punishment

Rachel Tomer et al.
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, May 2014, Pages 1039-1048

Abstract:
Humans show consistent differences in the extent to which their behavior reflects a bias toward appetitive approach-related behavior or avoidance of aversive stimuli [Elliot, A. J. Approach and avoidance motivation. In A. J. Elliot (Ed.), Handbook of approach and avoidance motivation (pp. 3–14). New York: Psychology Press, 2008]. We examined the hypothesis that in healthy participants this motivational bias (assessed by self-report and by a probabilistic learning task that allows direct comparison of the relative sensitivity to reward and punishment) reflects lateralization of dopamine signaling. Using [F-18]fallypride to measure D2/D3 binding, we found that self-reported motivational bias was predicted by the asymmetry of frontal D2 binding. Similarly, striatal and frontal asymmetries in D2 dopamine receptor binding, rather than absolute binding levels, predicted individual differences in learning from reward versus punishment. These results suggest that normal variation in asymmetry of dopamine signaling may, in part, underlie human personality and cognition.

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Openness to experience and aesthetic chills: Links to heart rate sympathetic activity

Iva Čukić & Timothy Bates
Personality and Individual Differences, July 2014, Pages 152–156

Abstract:
Openness to experience has important links to cognitive processes such as creativity, and to values, such as political attitudes. The biological origins of variation in openness to experience are, however, obscure. The centrality of “aesthetic chills” to high openness suggests that sympathetic nervous system activation may play a role. Here, we tested this using the low-frequency heart rate variability power measure (LF) as biomarker of sympathetic activation, tested under baseline and stress conditions in a sample of 952 subjects, and controlling for measured confounders of age, sex, height, weight and BMI. A significant association was found between LF and openness to experience (β = 0.10, 95% CI [0.02, 0.17], p < .01). These results suggest links between openness to experience and sympathetic nervous system activity explaining, at least in part, relationships of openness to such traits as aesthetic chills.

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Genetic Relations Among Procrastination, Impulsivity, and Goal-Management Ability: Implications for the Evolutionary Origin of Procrastination

Daniel Gustavson et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has revealed a moderate and positive correlation between procrastination and impulsivity. However, little is known about why these two constructs are related. In the present study, we used behavior-genetics methodology to test three predictions derived from an evolutionary account that postulates that procrastination arose as a by-product of impulsivity: (a) Procrastination is heritable, (b) the two traits share considerable genetic variation, and (c) goal-management ability is an important component of this shared variation. These predictions were confirmed. First, both procrastination and impulsivity were moderately heritable (46% and 49%, respectively). Second, although the two traits were separable at the phenotypic level (r = .65), they were not separable at the genetic level (rgenetic = 1.0). Finally, variation in goal-management ability accounted for much of this shared genetic variation. These results suggest that procrastination and impulsivity are linked primarily through genetic influences on the ability to use high-priority goals to effectively regulate actions.

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At Their Best When No One Is Watching: Decision Context Moderates the Effect of Envy on the Tendency Toward Self-Improvement

Jin Youn & Kelly Goldsmith
Northwestern University Working Paper, April 2014

Abstract:
Consumers regularly experience feelings of envy; however, to date, little is known about if or how incidental feelings of envy affect subsequent, unrelated consumption decisions. The current research addresses this by examining how incidental feelings of envy influence consumers’ tendency to engage in self-improvement related behaviors. Prior research suggests that although envy generally triggers the desire for self-improvement, it is also an emotion that bears a heavy social cost. On the basis of this work, we suggest that the effects of incidental envy on one’s tendency toward self-improvement will be moderated by whether the decision context is private or public. We present three experiments that support these predictions, and conclude with a discussion of future directions suggested by this work, as well as the relevant practical implications.

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The Effects of Goal Progress Cues: An Implicit Theory Perspective

Pragya Mathur, Lauren Block & Ozge Yucel-Aybat
Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Consumers often encounter goods and services that provide cues to mark their progress. We define the term “goal progress cues” to reflect the diverse category of cues that highlight progress towards a goal. Across a series of three studies, we show that entity theorists, who rely on cues that highlight completion in order to signal their abilities to others, evaluate tasks that include these cues more favorably than those that lack these features. In contrast, incremental theorists, who focus on improving competence, are impacted only by progress cues that highlight learning. We demonstrate these findings across a variety of goal pursuit contexts that represent a mix of customer-centric (retail queues), service-oriented managerial (sales calls), and personal achievement consumer product (mazes) domains using both behavioral and self-reported measures. We conclude with a discussion about the theoretical and substantive implications of our findings.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, April 25, 2014

Payback

Borrower Misreporting and Loan Performance

Mark Garmaise
Journal of Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
Borrower misreporting is associated with seriously adverse loan outcomes. Significantly more residential mortgage borrowers reported personal assets just above round number thresholds than just below. Borrowers who reported above-threshold assets were almost 25 percentage points more likely to become delinquent (mean delinquency was 20%). For applicants with unverified assets, the increase in delinquency was greater than 40 percentage points. Misreporting was most frequent in areas with low financial literacy or social capital. Incorporating behavioral cues such as threshold effects into a risk assessment model improves its ability to uncover delinquencies, though at a cost of mischaracterizing some safe loans.

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Safer Ratios, Riskier Portfolios: Banks' Response to Government Aid

Ran Duchin & Denis Sosyura
Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using novel data on bank applications to the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), we study the effect of government assistance on bank risk taking. Bailed-out banks initiate riskier loans and shift assets toward riskier securities after government support. However, this shift in risk occurs mostly within the same asset class and, therefore, remains undetected by regulatory capital ratios, which indicate improved capitalization at bailed-out banks. Consequently, these banks appear safer according to regulatory ratios, but show an increase in volatility and default risk. These findings are robust to controlling for credit demand and account for selection of TARP recipients by exploiting banks' geography-based political connections as an instrument for bailout approvals.

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Using Bankruptcy to Reduce Foreclosures: Does Strip-down of Mortgages Affect the Supply of Mortgage Credit?

Wenli Li, Ishani Tewari & Michelle White
NBER Working Paper, March 2014

Abstract:
We assess the credit market impact of allowing mortgage "strip-down" - that is, reducing the principal of underwater residential mortgages to the current market value of the property for homeowners in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Our identification is provided by a series of U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decisions in the early 1990's that introduced mortgage strip-down in parts of the U.S., followed by a 1993 Supreme Court ruling that abolished it all over the U.S. We find that the Supreme Court decision led to a short-term reduction of 3% in mortgage interest rates and a short-term increase of 1% in mortgage approval rates, but only the approval rate effect persists in longer sample periods. In contrast, the circuit court decisions to allow strip-down did not have consistent effects on mortgage terms. We also show that strip-down had little effect on default rates by homeowners with existing mortgages. Taken together, these results suggest that mortgage lenders responded weakly to both the adoption and abolition of strip-down because strip-down had little effect on their profits from mortgage lending. According to these findings, re-introducing strip-down of mortgages in bankruptcy as a foreclosure-prevention program would have only small and transient effects on the supply of mortgage loans.

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Does Mortgage Deregulation Increase Foreclosures? Evidence from Cleveland

Yilan Xu
Regional Science and Urban Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines how relaxing a local anti-predatory lending law for mortgages affects foreclosures. The empirical evidence is drawn from a quasi experiment in Cleveland, Ohio, where the State Supreme Court repealed an ordinance that imposed lending restrictions on home mortgages of high Annual Percentage Rates (APRs). Empirical evidence shows that observable loan and borrower characteristics were not affected by the repeal, nor did the overall originations appear to increase; yet the APRs were 20 percent more likely to exceed the regulatory thresholds that were nullified. Moreover, the foreclosure rate increased by six percentage points to 20 percent.

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Heterogeneity and Stability: Bolster the Strong, Not the Weak

Dong Beom Choi
Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
We first study a stylized model of self-fulfilling panic among agents with differing fragilities to strategic risk and show that depending on the severity of coordination problems, the panic trigger threshold can depend only on one type's fragility. We then present a model of systemic panic among financial institutions with heterogeneous fragilities to financial spillovers. Concerns about potential spillovers generate strategic interaction, triggering a pre-emption game in which one tries to exit the market before others to avoid spillovers. Although financial contagion originates in weaker institutions, systemic risk can critically depend on the financial health of stronger institutions in the contagion chain. In this case, bolstering the strong, rather than the weak, more effectively enhances systemic stability.

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Credit Card Blues: The Middle Class and the Hidden Costs of Easy Credit

Randy Hodson, Rachel Dwyer & Lisa Neilson
Sociological Quarterly, Spring 2014, Pages 315-340

Abstract:
In an era of increased access to credit, it becomes increasingly important to understand the consequences of taking on unsecured consumer debt. We argue that credit can have both positive and negative consequences resulting from its ability to smooth life transitions and difficulties but that this occurs simultaneously with increased financial risks and stress resulting from carrying unsecured debt. We find that those in the middle of the income distribution suffer the greatest disruptions to mental health from carrying debt. Affluent borrowers are relatively unmoved by debt, suggesting the use of short-term debt as a convenience strategy for the financially well heeled. The least advantaged borrowers also suffer emotionally less from debt, possibly because securing spendable funds for necessities remains their most pressing concern. The onset of the Great Recession, however, produced increased emotional distress for all classes.

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Inconsistent Regulators: Evidence from Banking

Sumit Agarwal et al.
Quarterly Journal of Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We find that regulators can implement identical rules inconsistently due to differences in their institutional design and incentives and that this behavior may adversely impact the effectiveness with which regulation is implemented. We study supervisory decisions of U.S. banking regulators and exploit a legally determined rotation policy that assigns federal and state supervisors to the same bank at exogenously set time intervals. Comparing federal and state regulator supervisory ratings within the same bank, we find that federal regulators are systematically tougher, downgrading supervisory ratings almost twice as frequently as state supervisors. State regulators counteract these downgrades to some degree by upgrading more frequently. Under federal regulators, banks report worse asset quality, higher regulatory capital ratios, and lower return on assets. Leniency of state regulators relative to their federal counterparts is related to costly outcomes, such as higher failure rates and lower repayment rates of government assistance funds. The discrepancy in regulator behavior is related to different weights given by regulators to local economic conditions and, to some extent, to differences in regulatory resources. We find no support for regulator self-interest, which includes "revolving doors" as a reason for leniency of state regulators.

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Corporate Taxes and Securitization

Joongho Han, Kwangwoo Park & George Pennacchi
Journal of Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
Most banks pay corporate income taxes, but securitization vehicles do not. Our model shows that when a bank faces strong loan demand but limited deposit market power, this tax asymmetry creates an incentive to sell loans despite less-efficient screening and monitoring of sold loans. Moreover, loan-selling increases as a bank's corporate income tax rate and capital requirement rise. Our empirical tests show that U.S. commercial banks sell more of their mortgages when they operate in states that impose higher corporate income taxes. A policy implication is that tax-induced loan-selling will rise if banks' required equity capital increases.

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Do Big Banks Have Lower Operating Costs?

Anna Kovner, James Vickery & Lily Zhou
Economic Policy Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examines the relationship between bank holding company (BHC) size and components of noninterest expense (NIE), in order to shed light on the sources of scale economies in banking. Drawing on detailed expense information provided by U.S. banking firms in the memoranda of their regulatory filings, the authors find a robust negative relationship between size and normalized measures of NIE. The relationship is strongest for employee compensation expenses and components of "other" noninterest expense such as information technology and corporate overhead expenses. In addition, the authors find no evidence that the inverse relationship between banking firm size and NIE ratios disappears above a given size threshold. In dollar terms, their estimates imply that for a BHC of mean size, an additional $1 billion in assets reduces noninterest expense by $1 million to $2 million per year, relative to a base case where operating cost ratios are unrelated to size.

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The Effects of Monetary Policy on Stock Market Bubbles: Some Evidence

Jordi Gali & Luca Gambetti
NBER Working Paper, March 2014

Abstract:
We estimate the response of stock prices to exogenous monetary policy shocks using a vector-autoregressive model with time-varying parameters. Our evidence points to protracted episodes in which, after a short-run decline, stock prices increase persistently in response to an exogenous tightening of monetary policy. That response is clearly at odds with the "conventional" view on the effects of monetary policy on bubbles, as well as with the predictions of bubbleless models. We also argue that it is unlikely that such evidence be accounted for by an endogenous response of the equity premium to the monetary policy shocks.

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Government Policies, Residential Mortgage Defaults and the Boom and Bust Cycle of Housing Prices

Marius Ascheberg et al.
Real Estate Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We develop a micro-based macromodel for residential home prices in an economy where defaults on residential mortgages negatively affect housing prices. Our model enables us to study the impact of subprime defaults on prime borrowers and the impact of various government policies on the housing market boom and bust cycle. In this regard, our key conclusions are that (i) there is a contagion effect from subprime defaults to prime defaults due to the negative impact of subprime defaults and (ii) monetary policy is the most effective tool for decreasing mortgage defaults and increasing aggregate home prices in contrast to alternative government fiscal policies designed to loosen mortgage credit.

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What Makes a Good Economy? Evidence from Public Opinion Surveys

Darren Grant
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
Analysis of 35 years of previously unstudied survey data shows how the American public evaluates the health of the macroeconomy. Survey responses are multidimensional, distinct from indexes of "consumer sentiment," and based mostly on genuine perceptions of economic conditions, not media reports of economic statistics. As such, they contain unique information about current and future values of these statistics, particularly consumption growth, a longstanding focus of the literature. Both "intangibles" and macroeconomic fundamentals explain substantial variation in the survey data; the public equates 2 to 5 percentage points of inflation with 1 percentage point of unemployment.

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Components of U.S. Financial Sector Growth, 1950-2013

Samuel Antill, David Hou & Asani Sarkar
Economic Policy Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
We provide measures of the size of the financial sector and its components, estimated relative to that of the total business (financial and nonfinancial) sector, and show how they relate to firm type, firm size and valuation. We find that the financial sector has been growing consistently since 1959, until reversed by the recent financial crisis. The relative size of finance is smaller when private firm liabilities are excluded. Although financial firms are more prevalent among large firms, on average large and small financial firms grew at similar rates. Shadow banks have doubled in size since the 1970s, and have grown consistently relative to traditional banks until the recent financial crisis. Small shadow banks have grown faster than large shadow banks, while the reverse is true for traditional banks. Finally, we find that, as compared to nonfinancial firms, the stock market has valued (as indicated by the market-to-book ratio) financial firms in general and traditional banks in particular lower, but shadow banks higher, and that this "value gap" has grown over time. Overall, these results show that growth in finance has mainly occurred in opaque, complex and less-regulated subsectors of finance.

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Spillover Effects of Subprime Mortgage Originations: The Effects of Single-family Mortgage Credit Expansion on the Multifamily Rental Market

Brent Ambrose & Moussa Diop
Journal of Urban Economics, May 2014, Pages 114-135

Abstract:
The dramatic expansion in subprime mortgage credit fueled a remarkable boom and bust in the US housing market and created a global financial crisis. Even though considerable research examines the housing and mortgage markets during the previous decade, how the expansion in mortgage credit affected the rental market remains unclear; and yet, over 30 percent of all U.S. households reside in the rental market. Our study fills this gap by showing how the multifamily rental market was adversely affected by the development of subprime lending in the single-family market before the advent of the 2007/2008 subprime induced financial crisis. We provide evidence for a fundamentals based linkage by which the effect of an innovation in one market (i.e, the growth in subprime mortgage originations) is propagated through to another market. Using a large database of residential rental lease payment records, our results confirm that the expansion in subprime lending corresponds with an overall decline in the quality of rental payments. Finally, we present evidence showing that the financial performance of multifamily rental properties reflected the increase in rental lease defaults.

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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder: The effect of corporate tax avoidance on the cost of bank loans

Iftekhar Hasan et al.
Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We find that firms with greater tax avoidance incur higher spreads when obtaining bank loans. This finding is robust in a battery of sensitivity analyses and in two quasi-experimental settings including the implementation of Financial Accounting Standards Board Interpretation No. 48 and the revelation of past tax sheltering activity. Firms with greater tax avoidance also incur more stringent nonprice loan terms, incur higher at-issue bond spreads, and prefer bank loans over public bonds when obtaining debt financing. Overall, these findings indicate that banks perceive tax avoidance as engendering significant risks.

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Mortgage Brokers, Origination Fees, Price Transparency and Competition

Brent Ambrose & James Conklin
Real Estate Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article examines the dynamics between mortgage broker competition, origination fees and price transparency. A reverse first-price sealed-bid auction model is used to motivate broker pricing behavior. Confirming the model predictions, our empirical analysis shows that increased mortgage brokerage competition at the Metropolitan Statistical Area level leads to lower fees. The findings are robust to different measures of fees as well as different measures of competition. We also provide evidence that broker competition reduces mortgage origination fees on retail (nonbrokered) loans as well. In addition, our results indicate that pricing complexity is an important determinant of fees, and increased broker competition is associated with a higher probability of a loan being priced with transparency. Our results suggest that mortgage brokers increase competition and lower fees in the mortgage market.

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Household Leveraging and Deleveraging

Alejandro Justiniano, Giorgio Primiceri & Andrea Tambalotti
Federal Reserve Working Paper, March 2013

Abstract:
U.S. households' debt skyrocketed between 2000 and 2007, but has since been falling. This leveraging and deleveraging cycle cannot be accounted for by the liberalization and subsequent tightening of mortgage credit standards that occurred during the period. We base this conclusion on a quantitative dynamic general equilibrium model calibrated using macroeconomic aggregates and microeconomic data from the Survey of Consumer Finances. From the perspective of the model, the credit cycle is more likely due to factors that impacted house prices more directly, thus affecting the availability of credit through a collateral channel. In either case, the macroeconomic consequences of leveraging and deleveraging are relatively minor because the responses of borrowers and lenders roughly wash out in the aggregate.

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Incentivizing Calculated Risk-Taking: Evidence from an Experiment with Commercial Bank Loan Officers

Shawn Allen Cole, Martin Kanz & Leora Klapper
Journal of Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
We conduct an experiment with commercial bank loan officers to test how performance compensation affects risk-assessment and lending. High-powered incentives lead to greater screening effort and more profitable lending decisions. This effect is, however, muted by deferred compensation and limited liability, two standard features of loan officer compensation contracts. We find that career concerns and personality traits affect loan officer behavior, but show that the response to incentives does not vary with traits such as risk-aversion, optimism or overconfidence. Finally, we present evidence that incentive contracts distort the assessment of credit risk, even among trained professionals with many years of experience.

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Liquidity Trap and Excessive Leverage

Anton Korinek & Alp Simsek
NBER Working Paper, March 2014

Abstract:
We investigate the role of macroprudential policies in mitigating liquidity traps driven by deleveraging, using a simple Keynesian model. When constrained agents engage in deleveraging, the interest rate needs to fall to induce unconstrained agents to pick up the decline in aggregate demand. However, if the fall in the interest rate is limited by the zero lower bound, aggregate demand is insufficient and the economy enters a liquidity trap. In such an environment, agents' ex-ante leverage and insurance decisions are associated with aggregate demand externalities. The competitive equilibrium allocation is constrained inefficient. Welfare can be improved by ex-ante macroprudential policies such as debt limits and mandatory insurance requirements. The size of the required intervention depends on the differences in marginal propensity to consume between borrowers and lenders during the deleveraging episode. In our model, contractionary monetary policy is inferior to macroprudential policy in addressing excessive leverage, and it can even have the unintended consequence of increasing leverage.

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CDS as Insurance: Leaky Lifeboats in Stormy Seas

Eric Stephens & James Thompson
Journal of Financial Intermediation, forthcoming

Abstract:
What market features of financial risk transfer exacerbate counterparty risk? To analyze this, we formulate a model which elucidates important differences between financial risk transfer and traditional insurance, using the example of Credit Default Swaps (CDS). We allow for (heterogeneous) insurer insolvency, which captures the possibility that relatively risky counterparties may exist in the market. Further, we find that stable insurers become less stable as the price of the contract decreases. The analysis includes insured parties that have heterogeneous motivations for purchasing CDS. For example, some may own the underlying asset and purchase CDS for risk management, while others buy these contracts purely for trading purposes. We show that traders will choose to contract with less stable insurers, resulting in higher counterparty risk in this market relative to that of traditional insurance; however, a regulatory policy that removes traders can, perversely, cause stable counterparties to become less stable. We conclude with two extensions of the model that consider a Central Counterparty (CCP) arrangement and the consequences of asymmetric information over insurer type.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Give it some thought

Psychological Strategies for Winning a Geopolitical Forecasting Tournament

Barbara Mellers et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Five university-based research groups competed to recruit forecasters, elicit their predictions, and aggregate those predictions to assign the most accurate probabilities to events in a 2-year geopolitical forecasting tournament. Our group tested and found support for three psychological drivers of accuracy: training, teaming, and tracking. Probability training corrected cognitive biases, encouraged forecasters to use reference classes, and provided forecasters with heuristics, such as averaging when multiple estimates were available. Teaming allowed forecasters to share information and discuss the rationales behind their beliefs. Tracking placed the highest performers (top 2% from Year 1) in elite teams that worked together. Results showed that probability training, team collaboration, and tracking improved both calibration and resolution. Forecasting is often viewed as a statistical problem, but forecasts can be improved with behavioral interventions. Training, teaming, and tracking are psychological interventions that dramatically increased the accuracy of forecasts. Statistical algorithms (reported elsewhere) improved the accuracy of the aggregation. Putting both statistics and psychology to work produced the best forecasts 2 years in a row.

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Give your ideas some legs: The positive effect of walking on creative thinking

Marily Oppezzo & Daniel Schwartz
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, forthcoming

Abstract:
Four experiments demonstrate that walking boosts creative ideation in real time and shortly after. In Experiment 1, while seated and then when walking on a treadmill, adults completed Guilford's alternate uses (GAU) test of creative divergent thinking and the compound remote associates (CRA) test of convergent thinking. Walking increased 81% of participants' creativity on the GAU, but only increased 23% of participants' scores for the CRA. In Experiment 2, participants completed the GAU when seated and then walking, when walking and then seated, or when seated twice. Again, walking led to higher GAU scores. Moreover, when seated after walking, participants exhibited a residual creative boost. Experiment 3 generalized the prior effects to outdoor walking. Experiment 4 tested the effect of walking on creative analogy generation. Participants sat inside, walked on a treadmill inside, walked outside, or were rolled outside in a wheelchair. Walking outside produced the most novel and highest quality analogies. The effects of outdoor stimulation and walking were separable. Walking opens up the free flow of ideas, and it is a simple and robust solution to the goals of increasing creativity and increasing physical activity.

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Forceful Phantom Firsts: Framing Experiences as Firsts Amplifies their Influence on Judgment

Robyn LeBoeuf, Elanor Williams & Lyle Brenner
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
First experiences are highly influential. Here, the authors show that non-first experiences can be made to seem like firsts and consequently to have a disproportionate influence on judgment. In six experiments, one piece of a series of information was framed to appear to have "first" status: for example, a weather report that appeared at the end of a sequence of weather reports happened to correspond to the first day of a vacation, and a customer review that appeared at the end of a sequence of hotel reviews happened to be the new year's first review. Such information had greater influence on subsequent judgments (e.g., of the next day's weather or of the hotel's quality) than did identical information not framed as a first. This effect seems to arise largely because "phantom first" pieces of information receive greater weight than, but not necessarily more attention than, other pieces of information.

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Redesigning Photo-ID to Improve Unfamiliar Face Matching Performance

David White et al.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, forthcoming

Abstract:
Viewers find it difficult to match photos of unfamiliar faces for identity. Despite this, the use of photographic ID is widespread. In this study we ask whether it is possible to improve face matching performance by replacing single photographs on ID documents with multiple photos or an average image of the bearer. In 3 experiments we compare photo-to-photo matching with photo-to-average matching (where the average is formed from multiple photos of the same person) and photo-to-array matching (where the array comprises separate photos of the same person). We consistently find an accuracy advantage for average images and photo arrays over single photos, and show that this improvement is driven by performance in match trials. In the final experiment, we find a benefit of 4-image arrays relative to average images for unfamiliar faces, but not for familiar faces. We propose that conventional photo-ID format can be improved, and discuss this finding in the context of face recognition more generally.

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Does Lacking Threat-Management Resources Increase Information Avoidance? A Multi-sample, Multi-method Investigation

Jennifer Howell, Benjamin Crosier & James Shepperd
Journal of Research in Personality, June 2014, Pages 102-109

Abstract:
Are people who lack personal and interpersonal resources more likely to avoid learning potentially threatening information? We conducted four studies assessing three different populations (undergraduates, high school students, and a nationally-representative sample of adults), using a variety of measures and methods (e.g., single and multi-item self-report measures, a behavioral measure, social network analysis), across three information contexts (i.e., general health information, specific disease risk, socially-evaluative information). The consistent finding is that people who lack personal and interpersonal resources to manage threat are more likely to avoid learning potentially-threatening information. The results indicate that personal and interpersonal resources represent generalizable and robust predictors of information avoidance.

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Causal Control of Medial-Frontal Cortex Governs Electrophysiological and Behavioral Indices of Performance Monitoring and Learning

Robert Reinhart & Geoffrey Woodman
Journal of Neuroscience, 19 March 2014, Pages 4214-4227

Abstract:
Adaptive human behavior depends on the capacity to adjust cognitive processing after an error. Here we show that transcranial direct current stimulation of medial-frontal cortex provides causal control over the electrophysiological responses of the human brain to errors and feedback. Using one direction of current flow, we eliminated performance-monitoring activity, reduced behavioral adjustments after an error, and slowed learning. By reversing the current flow in the same subjects, we enhanced performance-monitoring activity, increased behavioral adjustments after an error, and sped learning. These beneficial effects fundamentally improved cognition for nearly 5 h after 20 min of noninvasive stimulation. The stimulation selectively influenced the potentials indexing error and feedback processing without changing potentials indexing mechanisms of perceptual or response processing. Our findings demonstrate that the functioning of mechanisms of cognitive control and learning can be up- or down-regulated using noninvasive stimulation of medial-frontal cortex in the human brain.

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Overconfidence Across World Regions

Lazar Stankov & Jihyun Lee
Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this article, nine world regions (based on samples from 33 nations) are compared in their performance on a cognitive ability test and confidence ratings obtained from the items of the same test. Our results indicate that differences between the world regions are greater on cognitive ability than they are on confidence ratings. Consequently, overconfidence - that is, the degree to which people overestimate their performance on cognitive tasks - is pronounced within the world regions that have lower scores on measures of cognitive ability. A less pronounced overconfidence is also present among the high-achieving world regions. Our findings support a cognitive hypothesis according to which individuals suffer from illusory superiority if the task is difficult. Thus, a commonly observed overconfidence can be seen as a self-deceiving, probably unconscious, mechanism that cushions a person (and countries) from experiencing negative feelings due to cognitive failures.

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Negatively-Biased Credulity and the Cultural Evolution of Beliefs

Daniel Fessler, Anne Pisor & Carlos David Navarrete
PLoS ONE, April 2014

Abstract:
The functions of cultural beliefs are often opaque to those who hold them. Accordingly, to benefit from cultural evolution's ability to solve complex adaptive problems, learners must be credulous. However, credulity entails costs, including susceptibility to exploitation, and effort wasted due to false beliefs. One determinant of the optimal level of credulity is the ratio between the costs of two types of errors: erroneous incredulity (failing to believe information that is true) and erroneous credulity (believing information that is false). This ratio can be expected to be asymmetric when information concerns hazards, as the costs of erroneous incredulity will, on average, exceed the costs of erroneous credulity; no equivalent asymmetry characterizes information concerning benefits. Natural selection can therefore be expected to have crafted learners' minds so as to be more credulous toward information concerning hazards. This negatively-biased credulity extends general negativity bias, the adaptive tendency for negative events to be more salient than positive events. Together, these biases constitute attractors that should shape cultural evolution via the aggregated effects of learners' differential retention and transmission of information. In two studies in the U.S., we demonstrate the existence of negatively-biased credulity, and show that it is most pronounced in those who believe the world to be dangerous, individuals who may constitute important nodes in cultural transmission networks. We then document the predicted imbalance in cultural content using a sample of urban legends collected from the Internet and a sample of supernatural beliefs obtained from ethnographies of a representative collection of the world's cultures, showing that beliefs about hazards predominate in both.

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To Switch or Not To Switch: Understanding Social Influence in Online Choices

Haiyi Zhu & Bernardo Huberman
American Behavioral Scientist, forthcoming

Abstract:
The authors designed and ran an experiment to measure social influence in online recommender systems, specifically, how often people's choices are changed by others' recommendations when facing different levels of confirmation and conformity pressures. In this experiment, participants were first asked to provide their preference from pairs of items. They were then asked to make second choices about the same pairs with knowledge of other people's preferences. The results show that other people's opinions significantly sway people's own choices. The influence is stronger when people are required to make their second decision sometime later (22.4%) rather than immediately (14.1%). Moreover, people seem to be most likely to reverse their choices when facing a moderate, as opposed to large, number of opposing opinions. Finally, the time people spend making the first decision significantly predicts whether they will reverse their decisions later on, whereas demographics such as age and gender do not. These results have implications for consumer behavior research as well as online marketing strategies.

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Reversal of fortune: A statistical analysis of penalty calls in the National Hockey League

Jason Abrevaya & Robert McCulloch
Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper analyzes a unique data set consisting of all penalty calls in the National Hockey League between the 1995-1996 and 2001-2002 seasons. The primary finding is the prevalence of "reverse calls:" if previous penalties have been on one team, then the next penalty is more likely to be on the other. This pattern is consistent with a simple behavioral rationale based on the fundamental difficulty of refereeing a National Hockey League game. Statistical modeling reveals that the identity of the next team to be penalized also depends on a variety of other factors, including the score, the time in the game, the time since last penalty, which team is at home, and whether one or two referees are calling the game. There is also evidence of differences among referees in their tendency to reverse calls.

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Deception and decision making in professional basketball: Is it beneficial to flop?

Elia Morgulev et al.
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, June 2014, Pages 108-118

Abstract:
We examine the behavior of professional referees and players in the context of offensive fouls in basketball. Over 500 incidents that had the potential to meet the criteria of an offensive foul were recorded from the 2009/10 season of the Israeli Basketball Super League and were analyzed by basketball experts. Falling intentionally in order to improve the chances to get an offensive foul is a very common behavior of defenders (almost two thirds of the recorded falls). It seems to be helpful at first, increasing indeed the chances to get an offensive foul, but a more careful analysis shows that the entire impact of an intentional fall on the team seems to be negative. We suggest that both rational reasons and biased decision making lead players to frequently act against their team's interest by falling. Referees almost never call an offensive foul if the player remained on his feet, and are generally calling fewer fouls than the number judged by experts as appropriate. We explain the referees' behavior both by using the representativeness heuristic and by examining closely the referees' interests and observing that to some extent even their officiating mistakes may be rational.

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The Use of Cognitive Task Analysis to Reveal the Instructional Limitations of Experts in the Teaching of Procedural Skills

Maura Sullivan et al.
Academic Medicine, forthcoming

Purpose: Because of the automated nature of knowledge, experts tend to omit information when describing a task. A potential solution is cognitive task analysis (CTA). The authors investigated the percentage of knowledge experts omitted when teaching a cricothyrotomy to determine the percentage of additional knowledge gained during a CTA interview.

Method: Three experts were videotaped teaching a cricothyrotomy in 2010 at the University of Southern California. After transcription, they participated in CTA interviews for the same procedure. Three additional surgeons were recruited to perform a CTA for the procedure, and a "gold standard" task list was created. Transcriptions from the teaching sessions were compared with the task list to identify omitted steps (both "what" and "how" to do). Transcripts from the CTA interviews were compared against the task list to determine the percentage of knowledge articulated by each expert during the initial "free recall" (unprompted) phase of the CTA interview versus the amount of knowledge gained by using CTA elicitation techniques (prompted).

Results: Experts omitted an average of 71% (10/14) of clinical knowledge steps, 51% (14/27) of action steps, and 73% (3.6/5) of decision steps. For action steps, experts described "how to do it" only 13% (3.6/27) of the time. The average number of steps that were described increased from 44% (20/46) when unprompted to 66% (31/46) when prompted.

Conclusions: This study supports previous research that experts unintentionally omit knowledge when describing a procedure. CTA is a useful method to extract automated knowledge and augment expert knowledge recall during teaching.

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Making Information Matter: Symmetrically Appealing Layouts Promote Issue Relevance, which Facilitates Action and Attention to Argument Quality

Brianna Middlewood & Karen Gasper
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2014, Pages 100-106

Abstract:
What makes information relevant? We hypothesized that text displayed in a symmetrical, rather than asymmetrical, layout would be more appealing to people, and that appeal would then be used to infer that the topic is personally relevant. Relevance, in turn, should increase the degree to which people engage with the information presented in the message. In three experiments, respondents read text arranged symmetrically or asymmetrically. As predicted, symmetry influences relevance indirectly through appeal, such that symmetrical articles were more appealing than asymmetrical articles, and appeal predicted relevance. Relevance, then, predicted the desire to acquire and act on the information in the article (Experiment 2) and increased attention to argument quality, for participants were more influenced by strong, rather than weak, arguments (Experiment 3). Perceptions of reading difficulty and trustworthiness did not account for the findings, indicating that it is the appeal of symmetry which promoted issue relevance.

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We'll Be Honest, This Won't Be the Best Article You'll Ever Read: The Use of Dispreferred Markers in Word-of-Mouth Communication

Ryan Hamilton, Kathleen Vohs & Ann McGill
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Consumers value word-of-mouth communications in large part because customer reviews are more likely to include negative information about a product or service than are communications originating from the marketer. Despite the fact that negative information is frequently valued by those receiving it, baldly declaring negative information may come with social costs to both communicator and receiver. For this reason, communicators sometimes soften pronouncements of bad news by couching them in dispreferred markers, including phrases such as, "I'll be honest," "God bless it," or "I don't want to be mean, but ." The present work identified and tested in five experiments a phenomenon termed the dispreferred marker effect, in which consumers evaluate communicators who use dispreferred markers as more credible and likable than communicators who assert the same information without dispreferred markers. We further found that the dispreferred marker effect can spill over to evaluations of the product being reviewed, increasing willingness to pay and influencing evaluations of the credibility and likability of the evaluated product's personality.

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Social influence constrained by the heritability of attitudes

Nicholas Schwab
Personality and Individual Differences, August 2014, Pages 54-57

Abstract:
Previous work by Tesser (1993) and Bourgeois (2002) found that heritable attitudes are more resistant to social influence and attitude change. The present study sought to replicate and extend previous work by utilizing attitudes and heritability estimates not previously used in studies examining the effect of heritable attitudes on social influence processes. It was hypothesized that attitudes with higher heritability estimates would change less after group discussion relative to attitudes with lower heritability estimates. As predicted, highly heritable attitudes did show greater resistance to social influence in the context of group discussion. The present findings add further support to the notion that attitude heritability is an important element of attitude change and extend previous work through the study of novel attitudes and heritability estimates.

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Judging a Part by the Size of its Whole: The Category Size Bias in Probability Judgments

Mathew Isaac & Aaron Brough
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Whereas prior research shows that consumers' probability judgments are sensitive to the number of categories into which a set of possible outcomes is grouped, this research demonstrates that categorization can bias predictions even when the number of categories is fixed. Specifically, five experiments document a category size bias in which consumers perceive an outcome as more likely to occur when it is categorized with many rather than few alternative possibilities, even when the grouping criterion is irrelevant and the objective probability of each outcome is identical. For example, participants in one study irrationally predicted being more likely to win a lottery if their ticket color matched most (vs. few) of the other gamblers' tickets - and wagered nearly 25% more as a result. These findings suggest that consumers' perceptions of risk and probability are influenced not only by the number of categories into which possible outcomes are classified, but also by category size.

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Discrediting in a Message Board Forum: The Effects of Social Support and Attacks on Expertise and Trustworthiness

Michael Hughes et al.
Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, April 2014, Pages 325-341

Abstract:
Given the prevalence of online media today, credibility continues to be a popular subject of empirical research. However, studies examining the effects of discrediting strategies are rare. This issue is significant given the popularity of online media and the ease of such sources to spread misinformation. Therefore, the present study examines the effects of attacking the expertise and trustworthiness of a proponent of a major social issue. Results showed that support as well specific combinations of discrediting attack strategies significantly reduced message board readers' perceptions of the proponent's credibility. In addition, attacks on either the proponent's expertise or trustworthiness resulted in a reduced likelihood of readers taking action with respect to the issue.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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