Meet markets

Kevin Lewis

July 27, 2019

The economic and interpersonal consequences of deflecting direct questions
Bradford Bitterly & Maurice Schweitzer
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Direct, difficult questions (e.g., Do you have other offers? When do you plan on having children?) pose a challenge. Respondents may incur economic costs for honestly revealing information, reputational costs for engaging in deception, and interpersonal costs, including harm to perceptions of trust and liking, for directly declining to answer the question (e.g., I would rather not answer that question.). Across 8 experiments, we explore the relative economic and interpersonal consequences of a fourth approach: deflection, answering a direct question with another question. We describe how individuals infer the respondent’s communication motive from their response (e.g., a motive to seek or hide information), and how these inferences influence perceptions of the respondent’s trust and likability. We contrast deflection with other types of responses and show that deflection causes significantly less reputational harm than detected deception and causes significantly less interpersonal harm than directly declining to answer a question. In some cases, deflection even yields better interpersonal and economic outcomes than honest disclosures (e.g., deflecting questions about prior acts of untrustworthy behavior).

The Popular Kids Don't Matter: Centrality and Influence on Adolescent Behavior
Timothy Malacarne
Sociological Inquiry, forthcoming

This study examines the widely held belief that socially central individuals are disproportionately influential in their networks. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, it models the association between four behavioral outcomes and two distinct specifications of the behaviors' relationship to network prominence. This study finds little evidence that sociometrically central individuals are more influential than randomly chosen peers from the same network when predicting drinking, smoking, and sports participation. Students resemble their peers in systematic ways, but it is unlikely that this is because central students serve as a reference for the group or because students adjust their actions based on the social rewards that they observe given their position in a social network.

Social Connectedness in Urban Areas
Michael Bailey et al.
NBER Working Paper, July 2019

We use anonymized and aggregated data from Facebook to explore the spatial structure of social networks in the New York metro area. We highlight the importance of transportation infrastructure in shaping urban social networks by showing that travel time and travel costs are substantially stronger predictors of social connectedness between zip codes than geographic distance is. We also document significant heterogeneity in the geographic breadth of social networks across New York zip codes, and show that much of this heterogeneity is explained by the ease of access to public transit, even after controlling for socioeconomic characteristics of the zip codes' residents. When we group zip codes with strong social ties into hypothetical communities using an agglomerative clustering algorithm, we find that geographically non-contiguous locations are grouped into socially connected communities, again highlighting that geographic distance is an imperfect proxy for urban social connectedness. We also explore the social connections between New York zip codes and foreign countries, and highlight how these are related to past migration movements.

Modulation of humor ratings of bad jokes by other people’s laughter
Qing Cai et al.
Current Biology, July 2019

Laughter is a positive vocal emotional expression: most laughter is found in social interactions. We are overwhelmingly more likely to laugh when we are with other people, and laughter can play a very important communicative role. We do of course also laugh at humor - but can laughter influence how funny we actually perceive the humorous material to be? In this study, we show that the presence of laughter enhances how funny people find jokes and that this effect is increased for spontaneous laughter. This effect was present for both neurotypical and autistic participants, indicating similarities in their implicit processing of laughter.

When and Why Being Ostracized Affects Veracity Judgments
Jennifer Eck et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Ostracism - being ignored and excluded by others - is a ubiquitous experience with adverse effects on well-being. To prevent further exclusion and regain belonging, ostracized individuals are well advised to identify affiliation partners who are sincerely well-disposed. Humans’ ability to detect lies, however, is generally not very high. Yet, veracity judgments can become more accurate with decreasing reliance on common stereotypic beliefs about the nonverbal behavior of liars and truth-tellers. We hypothesize that ostracized (vs. included) individuals base their veracity judgments less on such stereotypical nonverbal cues if message content is affiliation-relevant. In line with this hypothesis, Experiment 1 shows that ostracized (vs. included) individuals are better at discriminating affiliation-relevant lies from truths. Experiments 2 and 3 further show that ostracized (vs. included) individuals base their veracity judgments less on stereotypical nonverbal cues if messages are of high (but not low) affiliation relevance.

A Test of the Bistrategic Control Hypothesis of Adolescent Popularity
Amy Hartl et al.
Child Development, forthcoming

Resource Control Theory (Hawley, 1999) posits a group of bistrategic popular youth who attain status through coercive strategies while mitigating fallout via prosociality. This study identifies and distinguishes this bistrategic popular group from other popularity types, tracing the adjustment correlates of each. Adolescent participants (288 girls, 280 boys; Mage = 12.50 years) completed peer nominations in the Fall and Spring of the seventh and eighth grades. Longitudinal latent profile analyses classified adolescents into groups based on physical and relational aggression, prosocial behavior, and popularity. Distinct bistrategic, aggressive, and prosocial popularity types emerged. Bistrategic popular adolescents had the highest popularity and above average aggression and prosocial behavior; they were viewed by peers as disruptive and angry but were otherwise well‐adjusted.


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