Secure communities

Kevin Lewis

August 06, 2019

Ingroup vigilance in collectivistic cultures
Shi Liu et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 16 July 2019, Pages 14538-14546

Collectivistic cultures have been characterized as having harmonious, cooperative ingroup relationships. However, we find evidence that people in collectivistic cultures are more vigilant toward ingroup members, mindful of their possible unethical intentions. Study 1 found that Chinese participants were more vigilant than Americans in within-group competitions, anticipating more unethical behaviors from their peers. Study 2 replicated this finding by comparing areas within China, finding that people from China’s collectivistic rice-farming regions exhibit greater ingroup vigilance than people from the less collectivistic wheat-farming regions. The rice/wheat difference was mediated by greater perceived within-group competition. Study 3 found that Chinese participants were more likely than Americans to interpret a peer’s friendly behavior as sabotage in disguise. We also manipulated within-group competition and found that it increased ingroup vigilance in both cultures. Finally, study 3 identified two boundary conditions where cultural differences in ingroup vigilance decrease: an unambiguously competitive win–lose situation where Americans also exhibit vigilance, and an unambiguously cooperative win–win situation where Chinese participants relax their vigilance. This research contributes to a more balanced view of collectivism, revealing its interpersonal tensions in the forms of within-group competition and ingroup vigilance.

Loss Aversion at the Aggregate Level across Countries and its Relation to Economic Fundamentals
Reto Foellmi, Adrian Jaeggi & Rina Rosenblatt-Wisch
Journal of Macroeconomics, forthcoming

Preferences are important when thinking about macroeconomic problems and questions. Differences in preferences might, for example, explain cross-country variations in economic fundamentals. In recent years, differences in preferences across countries and cultures have been studied more frequently, usually concentrating on micro evidence. However, it is an open question as to how differences in average preferences affect the aggregate economy. Coming from a macroeconomic perspective, we test whether preferences stated in Kahneman and Tversky’s prospect theory, namely, reference point dependence and loss aversion, prevail on the aggregate and whether the average degree of loss aversion differs across countries. We find evidence of loss aversion for a broad set of OECD countries, while the average loss aversion clearly differs across these countries. We find little evidence that these differences could be linked to micro evidence. Furthermore, we analyse whether the different degrees of loss aversion correlate with economic fundamentals such as the level of GDP and consumption per capita. We find that indeed loss aversion is negatively correlated with GDP and consumption per capita and positively correlated with consumption smoothing.

Context shapes early diversity in abstract thought
Alexandra Carstensen et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 9 July 2019, Pages 13891-13896

Early abstract reasoning has typically been characterized by a “relational shift,” in which children initially focus on object features but increasingly come to interpret similarity in terms of structured relations. An alternative possibility is that this shift reflects a learned bias, rather than a typical waypoint along a universal developmental trajectory. If so, consistent differences in the focus on objects or relations in a child’s learning environment could create distinct patterns of relational reasoning, influencing the type of hypotheses that are privileged and applied. Specifically, children in the United States may be subject to culture-specific influences that bias their reasoning toward objects, to the detriment of relations. In experiment 1, we examine relational reasoning in a population with less object-centric experience — 3-y-olds in China — and find no evidence of the failures observed in the United States at the same age. A second experiment with younger and older toddlers in China (18 to 30 mo and 30 to 36 mo) establishes distinct developmental trajectories of relational reasoning across the two cultures, showing a linear trajectory in China, in contrast to the U-shaped trajectory that has been previously reported in the United States. In a third experiment, Chinese 3-y-olds exhibit a bias toward relational solutions in an ambiguous context, while those in the United States prefer object-based solutions. Together, these findings establish population-level differences in relational bias that predict the developmental trajectory of relational reasoning, challenging the generality of an initial object focus and suggesting a critical role for experience.

Cutthroat Capitalism versus Cuddly Socialism: Are Americans More Meritocratic and Efficiency-Seeking than Scandinavians?
Ingvild Almås, Alexander Cappelen & Bertil Tungodden
Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

There are striking differences in inequality and redistribution between the United States and Scandinavia. To study whether there are corresponding differences in social preferences, we conducted a large-scale international social preference experiment where Americans and Norwegians make distributive choices in identical environments. Combining the infrastructure of an international online labor market and that of a leading international data collection agency, we show that Americans and Norwegians differ significantly in fairness views, but not in the importance assigned to efficiency. In particular, we find that Americans accept significantly more inequality than Norwegians, even when they make distributive choices in identical situations. The study also provides general insights into the nature of social preferences. We provide causal evidence suggesting that fairness considerations are more fundamental for inequality acceptance than efficiency considerations. In both countries, merit instead of luck as the source of inequality causes a huge increase in inequality acceptance, while the introduction of a cost of redistribution has a negligible effect on the distributive choices of the participants.

Polygynous Neighbors, Excess Men, and Intergroup Conflict in Rural Africa
Carlo Koos & Clara Neupert-Wentz
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

We argue that polygyny creates a social imbalance where few, economically well-off men marry many wives and many poor men marry late or never. By definition, polygyny produces what we refer to as “excess men.” In order to gain material wealth, excess men are likely to raid, plunder, and rob neighboring ethnic groups. We test this hypothesis with georeferenced data on polygyny and intergroup conflict in rural Africa and find strong support. Drawing on Afrobarometer survey data, we explore the underlying mechanisms and find that young men who belong to polygynous groups feel that they are treated more unequally and are readier to use violence in comparison to those belonging to monogamous groups. Our article makes an important contribution to the peace, conflict, and development literature by emphasizing a fundamental aspect of human life: marriage and family.

Attachment Orientations Guide the Transfer of Leadership Judgments: Culture Matters
Dritjon Gruda & Konstantinos Kafetsios
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Two experiments tested the role of global and relationship-specific attachment orientations in leader transference, a social-cognitive process in which mental representations of past leaders are associated with the evaluations of new, similar leaders. Individuals scoring higher on anxious attachment were more likely to hold high just treatment expectations of new leaders who were similar to their previous leaders. Conversely, avoidant individuals evaluated new similar leaders low on just treatment expectations and perceived them as less effective. Relationship-specific attachment orientations predicted transfer of behavioral judgments of just treatment, while global attachment orientations predicted transfer of perceived leader effectiveness. These effects were moderated by culture. In two collectivistic cultures (Greece and India), avoidant individuals demonstrated low just treatment expectations of their new similar leader. In an individualistic culture (United States), avoidant participants showed high behavioral expectations of their new, similar, leader. The results inform emerging views on relational social-cognitive processes in leader–follower interactions.

Labor markets and cultural values: Evidence from Japanese and American views about caregiving immigrants
Margaret Peters et al.
Economics & Politics, forthcoming

One overlooked reason for the persistence of distinct cultural values across rich democracies, we argue, is a country's labor market structure. Parents seeking to position their children for long‐term success would do well to instill values consistent with requirements of the labor market in the country where their children are likely to work. To the extent that labor markets are fluid, as in the United States, parents should teach their children to be resourceful and creative. In countries like Japan with relatively rigid labor markets, where workers have one chance to land a long‐term contract with a leading company, parents instead should instill the values of hard work and respect for authority. We find evidence consistent with this argument in survey experiments about attitudes in the United States and Japan about the desirability of employing immigrants for care work, and what values the immigrant care workers should hold. We also find evidence of indirect norm creation. American and Japanese respondents prefer immigrants — not just caregiving immigrants — whose values align with their country's type of valued human capital.

How to Close the Gender Gap in Political Participation: Lessons from Matrilineal Societies in Africa
Amanda Lea Robinson & Jessica Gottlieb
British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

While gender gaps in political participation are pervasive, especially in developing countries, this study provides systematic evidence of one cultural practice that closes this gap. Using data from across Africa, this article shows that matrilineality – tracing kinship through the female line – is robustly associated with closing the gender gap in political participation. It then uses this practice as a lens through which to draw more general inferences. Exploiting quantitative and qualitative data from Malawi, the authors demonstrate that matrilineality's success in improving outcomes for women lies in its ability to sustain more progressive norms about the role of women in society. It sets individual expectations about the gendered beliefs and behaviors of other households in the community, and in a predictable way through the intergenerational transmission of the practice. The study tests and finds evidence against two competing explanations: that matrilineality works through its conferral of material resources alone, or by increasing education for girls.

Casual Contact and Ethnic Bias: Experimental Evidence from Afghanistan
Luke Condra & Sera Linardi
Journal of Politics, July 2019, Pages 1028-1042

What determines how contact with the out-group affects behavior? We show experimentally that casual interethnic contact in a postconflict society can increase ethnic bias. Day laborers in Kabul, Afghanistan, were equally altruistic toward their in-group and their out-group when out-group members were not physically present. When out-group members were physically present in an environment where no guidance for interaction or explicit incentives for cooperation were given, out-group altruism was decreasing in time among those who did not speak the out-group’s language, suggesting that this contact highlights differences in descent-based attributes and increases in-group identification. We provide evidence for a psychological mechanism leading to in-group bias in casual, everyday interactions in a postconflict society, with implications for studying the nature of ethnic bias in political and economic behavior. Results suggest that interethnic interaction does not automatically improve ethnic relationships, and attention should be paid to the conditions under which interaction occurs.

Liking for abstract and representational art: National identity as an art appreciation heuristic
Stefano Mastandrea, Joseph Wagoner & Michael Hogg
Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, forthcoming

Attitudes toward artwork are influenced by many individual and societal factors. One factor that has not been investigated is whether the viewer considers the artist to be an ingroup or an outgroup member. Drawing on 2 social psychological theories — social identity theory and uncertainty-identity theory — we proposed that people can show ingroup bias in evaluating artwork, and that this is more likely when the viewer lacks art-related expertise and experience. We conducted a 3-factor mixed between- and within-participants experiment (N = 335). American and Italian participants evaluated 2 pieces of abstract art and two pieces of representational art that were attributed to fictional American or Italian artists. The key prediction, that participants would evaluate pieces of art, specifically abstract art, more favorably if the artist was a conational than a national outgroup member, was supported, but only among American participants (the Americans had less art-related experience and were more aesthetically uncertain than the Italians). Americans liked American art more than Italian art, American art was liked more by Americans than Italians, and the preference for representational over abstract art disappeared among Americans evaluating American art. Some limitations of the study and future directions for research are discussed.

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