Monday, July 31, 2017

Status goods: experimental evidence from platinum credit cards

Bursztyn, Leonardo A.; Ferman, Bruno; Fiorin, Stefano; Kanz, Martin; Rao, Gautam. 2017. Status goods: experimental evidence from platinum credit cards. Policy Research working paper; no. WPS 8064. Washington, D.C.: World Bank Group.

This paper provides novel evidence on status goods, using a series of field experiments with an Indonesian bank that markets platinum credit cards to high-income customers. In a first experiment, the paper shows that demand for the platinum card greatly exceeds demand for a nondescript control product with identical benefits, suggesting demand for the pure status aspect of the card. Transaction data reveal that platinum cards are more likely to be used in social contexts, implying social image motivations. Combining price variation with information on the use of the card sheds light on the magnitude of the demand for social status. A second experiment provides evidence of positional externalities from the consumption of these status goods. The final experiment shows that increasing self-esteem causally reduces demand for status goods. This suggests that part of the demand for status is psychological in nature, and that social image is a substitute for self-image.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The smartphone and the driver’s cognitive workload: A comparison of Apple, Google, and Microsoft’s intelligent personal assistants

Strayer, D. L., Cooper, J. M., Turrill, J., Coleman, J. R., & Hopman, R. J. (2017). The smartphone and the driver’s cognitive workload: A comparison of Apple, Google, and Microsoft’s intelligent personal assistants. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology/Revue canadienne de psychologie expérimentale, 71(2), 93-110.

Abstract: The goal of this research was to examine the impact of voice-based interactions using 3 different intelligent personal assistants (Apple’s Siri, Google’s Google Now for Android phones, and Microsoft’s Cortana) on the cognitive workload of the driver. In 2 experiments using an instrumented vehicle on suburban roadways, we measured the cognitive workload of drivers when they used the voice-based features of each smartphone to place a call, select music, or send text messages. Cognitive workload was derived from primary task performance through video analysis, secondary-task performance using the Detection Response Task (DRT), and subjective mental workload. We found that workload was significantly higher than that measured in the single-task drive. There were also systematic differences between the smartphones: The Google system placed lower cognitive demands on the driver than the Apple and Microsoft systems, which did not differ. Video analysis revealed that the difference in mental workload between the smartphones was associated with the number of system errors, the time to complete an action, and the complexity and intuitiveness of the devices. Finally, surprisingly high levels of cognitive workload were observed when drivers were interacting with the devices: “on-task” workload measures did not systematically differ from that associated with a mentally demanding Operation Span (OSPAN) task. The analysis also found residual costs associated using each of the smartphones that took a significant time to dissipate. The data suggest that caution is warranted in the use of smartphone voice-based technology in the vehicle because of the high levels of cognitive workload associated with these interactions

Genetic and environmental sources of individual differences in views on aging

Kornadt, A. E., & Kandler, C. (2017). Genetic and environmental sources of individual differences in views on aging. Psychology and Aging, 32(4), 388-399.

Abstract: Views on aging are central psychosocial variables in the aging process, but knowledge about their determinants is still fragmental. Thus, the authors investigated the degree to which genetic and environmental factors contribute to individual differences in various domains of views on aging (wisdom, work, fitness, and family), and whether these variance components vary across ages. They analyzed data from 350 monozygotic and 322 dizygotic twin pairs from the Midlife Development in the U.S. (MIDUS) study, aged 25–74. Individual differences in views on aging were mainly due to individual-specific environmental and genetic effects. However, depending on the domain, genetic and environmental contributions to the variance differed. Furthermore, for some domains, variability was larger for older participants; this was attributable to increases in environmental components. This study extends research on genetic and environmental sources of psychosocial variables and stimulates future studies investigating the etiology of views on aging across the life span.

Investigating the origins of political views: Biases in explanation predict conservative attitudes in children and adults

Investigating the origins of political views: Biases in explanation predict conservative attitudes in children and adults. Larisa Hussak and Andrei Cimpian. Developmental Science,

Abstract: We tested the hypothesis that political attitudes are influenced by an information-processing factor - namely, a bias in the content of everyday explanations. Because many societal phenomena are enormously complex, people's understanding of them often relies on heuristic shortcuts. For instance, when generating explanations for such phenomena (e.g., why does this group have low status?), people often rely on facts that they can retrieve easily from memory - facts that are skewed toward inherent or intrinsic features (e.g., this group is unintelligent). We hypothesized that this bias in the content of heuristic explanations leads to a tendency to (1) view socioeconomic stratification as acceptable and (2) prefer current societal arrangements to alternative ones, two hallmarks of conservative ideology. Moreover, since the inherence bias in explanation is present across development, we expected it to shape children's proto-political judgments as well. Three studies with adults and 4- to 8-year-old children (N = 784) provided support for these predictions: Not only did individual differences in reliance on inherent explanations uniquely predict endorsement of conservative views (particularly the stratification-supporting component; Study 1), but manipulations of this explanatory bias also had downstream consequences for political attitudes in both children and adults (Studies 2 and 3). This work contributes to our understanding of the origins of political attitudes.

Peer influence on children’s reading skills: A social network analysis of elementary school classrooms

Cooc, N., & Kim, J. S. (2017). Peer influence on children’s reading skills: A social network analysis of elementary school classrooms. Journal of Educational Psychology, 109(5), 727-740.

Research has found that peers influence the academic achievement of children. However, the mechanisms through which peers matter remain underexplored. The present study examined the relationship between peers’ reading skills and children’s own reading skills among 4,215 total second- and third-graders in 294 classrooms across 41 schools. One innovation of the study was the use of social network analysis to directly assess who children reported talking to or seeking help from and whether children who identified peers with stronger reading skills experienced higher reading skills. The results indicated that children on average identified peers with stronger reading skills and the positive association between peer reading skills and children’s own reading achievement was strongest for children with lower initial levels of reading skills. The study has implications for how teachers can leverage the advantages of peers via in-class activities

The costs and benefits of sexual communal motivation for couples coping with vulvodynia

Muise, A., Bergeron, S., Impett, E. A., & Rosen, N. O. (2017). The costs and benefits of sexual communal motivation for couples coping with vulvodynia. Health Psychology, 36(8), 819-827.

Abstract: Objective: Most women with vulvodynia—a prevalent, chronic, vulvovaginal pain condition—engage in intercourse with their partners despite experiencing pain. Their motivation for doing so appears to be interpersonally oriented (e.g., to meet their partners’ sexual needs), but the costs and benefits of such motivations are unknown. We tested whether sexual communal strength (being responsive to a partner’s sexual needs) and unmitigated sexual communion (focusing on a partner’s sexual needs to the exclusion of one’s own needs) were associated with sexual function, and sexual and relationship satisfaction in couples with coping with vulvodynia. Method: In an 8-week daily experience study, 95 women diagnosed with vulvodynia and their partners reported on sexual communal strength, unmitigated sexual communion, sexual function, and sexual and relationship satisfaction on days when sexual activity occurred. Results: On days when women reported higher sexual communal strength, both they and their partners reported greater sexual function and satisfaction, and their partners reported greater relationship satisfaction. When women’s partners reported higher sexual communal strength, both they and the women reported better sexual function, partners reported greater sexual satisfaction, and women reported greater relationship satisfaction. On days when women reported higher unmitigated sexual communion, they reported poorer sexual function and lower sexual satisfaction, and both the women and partners reported lower relationship satisfaction. When women’s partners reported higher unmitigated sexual communion, they reported poorer sexual function. Conclusions: These novel aspects of sexual motivation should be targeted in psychological interventions aimed to improve the sexual and relationship well-being of affected couples.

A large-scale horizontal-vertical illusion produced with small objects separated in depth

Li, Z., & Durgin, F. H. (2017). A large-scale horizontal-vertical illusion produced with small objects separated in depth. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 43(8), 1473-1479.

Abstract: We conducted two experiments (total N = 81) to investigate the basis for the large-scale horizontal-vertical illusion (HVI), which is typically measured as 15%–20% and has previously been linked to the presence of a ground plane. In a preliminary experiment, vertical rods of similar angular extents that were either large (4.5–7.5 m) and far, or small (0.9–1.5 m) and near, were matched to horizontal extents in a virtual environment by adjustment of horizontal gaps or rods. Large/far objects showed a larger HVI (∼13%) than did small objects (∼7%), as has been shown before, but the horizontal gap normally used to measure the large-scale HVI was not the source of the larger bias. In the second experiment, we found that simply separating the comparison rod in depth from the vertical rod (thus forcing an evaluation of size at a distance) was sufficient to produce a large HVI (17%), even with small rods. The results are interpreted in light of evidence that the large-scale HVI is dependent on ground plane orientation and may be related to differential angular expansion in the visual coding of elevation and azimuth.

Resource loss and gain following military reserve duty in Israel: An assessment of conservation of resources (COR) theory

Goldfarb, R., & Ben-Zur, H. (2017). Resource loss and gain following military reserve duty in Israel: An assessment of conservation of resources (COR) theory. International Journal of Stress Management, 24(2), 135-155.

Abstract: According to Israeli law, citizens aged 20–40 are obligated to fulfill military reserve duty in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Guided by the theory of conservation of resources (COR; Hobfoll, 2001), this study examined the association of resource loss and gain (economic, time, familial, work, and personal resources) with level of reserve combat soldiers’ distress and satisfaction with their service following the termination of their reserve duty. The sample consisted of 139 male Israeli citizens, ages 23–40, serving as reserve soldiers in the IDF. Using an Internet-based questionnaire, prior to the start of their reserve duty (Time 1), the respondents completed questionnaires assessing psychological traits, social support, and psychological distress. Following the reserve service period (Time 2), the respondents completed a short inventory of resource loss and gain related to the service, and assessments of psychological distress and satisfaction with the service. The main results showed that resource loss was higher on average than resource gain and was associated positively with distress and negatively with satisfaction with the service, whereas resource gain was positively associated with satisfaction only. The findings are compatible with COR theory and point to areas in which reserve soldiers could be assisted in fulfilling the task of maintaining national security while simultaneously preserving personal well-being.

The development of real-time stability supports visual working memory performance: Young children’s feature binding can be improved through perceptual structure

Simmering, V. R., & Wood, C. M. (2017). The development of real-time stability supports visual working memory performance: Young children’s feature binding can be improved through perceptual structure. Developmental Psychology, 53(8), 1474-1493.

Abstract: Working memory is a basic cognitive process that predicts higher-level skills. A central question in theories of working memory development is the generality of the mechanisms proposed to explain improvements in performance. Prior theories have been closely tied to particular tasks and/or age groups, limiting their generalizability. The cognitive dynamics theory of visual working memory development has been proposed to overcome this limitation. From this perspective, developmental improvements arise through the coordination of cognitive processes to meet demands of different behavioral tasks. This notion is described as real-time stability, and can be probed through experiments that assess how changing task demands impact children’s performance. The current studies test this account by probing visual working memory for colors and shapes in a change detection task that compares detection of changes to new features versus swaps in color-shape binding. In Experiment 1, 3- to 4-year-old children showed impairments specific to binding swaps, as predicted by decreased real-time stability early in development; 5- to 6-year-old children showed a slight advantage on binding swaps, but 7- to 8-year-old children and adults showed no difference across trial types. Experiment 2 tested the proposed explanation of young children’s binding impairment through added perceptual structure, which supported the stability and precision of feature localization in memory—a process key to detecting binding swaps. This additional structure improved young children’s binding swap detection, but not new-feature detection or adults’ performance. These results provide further evidence for the cognitive dynamics and real-time stability explanation of visual working memory development

Babies and math: A meta-analysis of infants’ simple arithmetic competence

Christodoulou, J., Lac, A., & Moore, D. S. (2017). Babies and math: A meta-analysis of infants’ simple arithmetic competence. Developmental Psychology, 53(8), 1405-1417.

Abstract: Wynn’s (1992) seminal research reported that infants looked longer at stimuli representing “incorrect” versus “correct” solutions of basic addition and subtraction problems and concluded that infants have innate arithmetical abilities. Since then, infancy researchers have attempted to replicate this effect, yielding mixed findings. The present meta-analysis aimed to systematically compile and synthesize all of the primary replications and extensions of Wynn (1992) that have been conducted to date. The synthesis included 12 studies consisting of 26 independent samples and 550 unique infants. The summary effect, computed using a random-effects model, was statistically significant, d = +0.34, p < .001, suggesting that the phenomenon Wynn originally reported is reliable. Five different tests of publication bias yielded mixed results, suggesting that while a moderate level of publication bias is probable, the summary effect would be positive even after accounting for this issue. Out of the 10 metamoderators tested, none were found to be significant, but most of the moderator subgroups were significantly different from a null effect. Although this meta-analysis provides support for Wynn’s original findings, further research is warranted to understand the underlying mechanisms responsible for infants’ visual preferences for “mathematically incorrect” test stimuli.

Catching fire and spreading it: A glimpse into displayed entrepreneurial passion in crowdfunding campaigns

Li, J. (J.), Chen, X.-P., Kotha, S., & Fisher, G. (2017). Catching fire and spreading it: A glimpse into displayed entrepreneurial passion in crowdfunding campaigns. Journal of Applied Psychology, 102(7), 1075-1090.

Abstract: Crowdfunding is an emerging phenomenon that enables entrepreneurs to solicit financial contributions for new projects from mass audiences. Drawing on the elaboration likelihood model of persuasion and emotional contagion theory, the authors examined the importance of displayed entrepreneurial passion when seeking resources in a crowdfunding context. They proposed that entrepreneurs’ displayed passion in the introductory video for a crowdfunding project increases viewers’ experienced enthusiasm about the project (i.e., passion contagion), which then prompts them to contribute financially and to share campaign information via social-media channels. Such sharing further facilitates campaign success. In addition, the authors proposed that perceived project innovativeness strengthens the positive effect of displayed passion on social-media exposure and the funding amount a project garners. They first tested their hypotheses in 2 studies using a combination of survey and archival data from the world’s 2 most popular crowdfunding platforms: Indiegogo (Study 1) and Kickstarter (Study 2). They then conducted an experiment (Study 3) to validate the proposed passion contagion process, and the effect of displayed entrepreneurial passion at the individual level. Findings from these 3 studies significantly supported their hypotheses. The authors discuss the theoretical and practical implications of their findings.

Robin Hood effects on motivation in math: Family interest moderates the effects of relevance interventions

Häfner, I., Flunger, B., Dicke, A.-L., Gaspard, H., Brisson, B. M., Nagengast, B., & Trautwein, U. (2017). Robin Hood effects on motivation in math: Family interest moderates the effects of relevance interventions. Developmental Psychology, 53(8), 1522-1539.

Abstract: Using a cluster randomized field trial, the present study tested whether 2 relevance interventions affected students’ value beliefs, self-concept, and effort in math differently depending on family background (socioeconomic status, family interest (FI), and parental utility value). Eighty-two classrooms were randomly assigned to either 1 of 2 intervention conditions or a control group. Data from 1,916 students (Mage = 14.62, SDage = 0.47) and their predominantly Caucasian middle-class parents were obtained via separate questionnaires. Multilevel regression analyses with cross-level interactions were used to investigate differential intervention effects on students’ motivational beliefs 6 weeks and 5 months after the intervention. Socioeconomic status, FI, and parental utility values were investigated as moderators of the intervention effects. The intervention conditions were especially effective in promoting students’ utility, attainment, intrinsic value beliefs, and effort 5 months after the intervention for students whose parents reported lower levels of math interest. Furthermore, students whose parents reported low math utility values especially profited in terms of their utility and attainment math values 5 months after the intervention. No systematic differential intervention effects were found for socioeconomic status. These results highlight the effectiveness of relevance interventions in decreasing motivational gaps between students from families with fewer or more motivational resources. Findings point to the substantial importance of motivational family resources, which have been neglected in previous research.

Not just sticks and stones: Indirect ethnic discrimination leads to greater physiological reactivity

Huynh, V. W., Huynh, Q.-L., & Stein, M.-P. (2017). Not just sticks and stones: Indirect ethnic discrimination leads to greater physiological reactivity. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 23(3), 425-434.


Objectives: We examined the effect of indirect ethnic discrimination on physiological reactivity (i.e., cortisol, blood pressure, heart rate) in Latino emerging adults.

Method: Participants (N = 32) were randomly assigned to be exposed to indirect ethnic discrimination (experimental condition) or not (control condition) while undergoing a cognitive stress task.

Results: Greater total cortisol output was observed in participants in the experimental condition, relative to those in the control condition. No significant differences in heart rate or blood pressure were noted.

Conclusions: Results suggest that witnessing ethnic discrimination affects cortisol recovery responses, but not cardiovascular reactivity. Words that are not intentionally hurtful or directed at a specific person may still “hurt”—affecting biological processes associated with hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis and potentially leading to long-term health consequences

Music education, academic achievement, and executive functions

Holochwost, S. J., Propper, C. B., Wolf, D. P., Willoughby, M. T., Fisher, K. R., Kolacz, J., . . . Jaffee, S. R. (2017). Music education, academic achievement, and executive functions. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 11(2), 147-166.

Abstract: This study examined whether music education was associated with improved performance on measures of academic achievement and executive functions. Participants were 265 school-age children (Grades 1 through 8, 58% female, and 86% African American) who were selected by lottery to participate in an out-of-school program offering individual- and large-ensemble training on orchestral instruments. Measures of academic achievement (standardized test scores and grades in English language arts and math) were taken from participants’ academic records, whereas executive functions (EFs) were assessed through students’ performance on a computerized battery of common EF tasks. Results indicated that, relative to controls, students in the music education program scored higher on standardized tests, t(217) = 2.74, p = .007; earned better grades in English language arts, t(163) = 3.58, p < .001, and math, t(163) = 2.56, p = .011; and exhibited superior performance on select tasks of EFs and short-term memory. Further analyses revealed that although the largest differences in performance were observed between students in the control group and those who had received the music program for 2 to 3 years, conditional effects were also observed on 3 EF tasks for students who had been in the program for 1 year. These findings are discussed in light of current educational policy, with a particular emphasis on the implications for future research designed to understand the pathways connecting music education and EFs.

False Polarization and False Moderation: Political Opponents Overestimate the Extremity of Each Other's Ideologies but Underestimate Each Other's Certainty

False Polarization and False Moderation: Political Opponents Overestimate the Extremity of Each Other's Ideologies but Underestimate Each Other's Certainty. Craig Blatz and Brett Mercier. Social Psychological and Personality Science,

Abstract: Past research finds that people hold moderate views on political issues while believing others are extreme. This false polarization has been demonstrated across a variety of different attitude dimensions and is explained by naive realism, the belief that one holds an unbiased view of reality. We argue that because people believe they see the world objectively, they should be very certain about their opinions, more certain than others expect. In three studies, we tested this false moderation of attitude certainty hypothesis and attempted to replicate past research on false polarization of attitude stance and perceived ideology of others. All three studies revealed a false moderation effect on judgments of certainty. Additionally, we replicate the finding that people false polarize others' ideology but do not find evidence for false polarization of specific stance.

Experiences of nursing students regarding sexual dreams

Gutiérrez-Puertas, L., Márquez-Hernández, V. V., & Aguilera-Manrique, G. (2017). Experiences of nursing students regarding sexual dreams. Dreaming, 27(2), 137-147.

Abstract: The aim of this study was to describe the experiences related to sexual dreams in a sample of nursing degree students from the University of Almería, Spain. The research instrument used was an adapted version of the Sexual Dream Experience Questionnaire. This questionnaire is composed of 32 items, divided into 4 dimensions: Joyfulness, Aversion, Familiarity, and Bizarreness. The main results highlighted differences in relation to sex—men have more sexual dreams than women and place more importance on them. While foreplay is involved in the erotic dreams of both men and women, regular partners rarely appear in them. Male dreams tend to include more sexual partners than female dreams and the percentage of men or women who had dreamed about being raped or abused in their sexual dreams was very low. Ultimately, students showed a strong desire to have sexual dreams.

People are willing to pay less for a risky prospect than for its worst possible outcome

Reminder of how averse we are to risks:

Gneezy et al. (2006) documented that people were willing to pay less for a risky prospect than for its worst possible outcome. For instance, people were willing to pay an average of $26.10 for a $50 Barnes and Noble gift card but only $16.12 for a gamble where participants were guaranteed to win either a $50 or $100 gift card, each with a 50% probability. This general finding has been replicated by many independent research teams (e.g., Andreoni & Sprenger, 2011; Newman & Mochon, 2012; Simonsohn, 2009; Wang, Feng, & Keller, 2013; Yang, Vosgerau, & Loewenstein, 2013). *

In a previous summary: When Risk Is Weird: Unexplained Transaction Features Lower Valuations. Robert Mislavsky and Uri Simonsohn. Management Science,

Effects of professional experience and time pressure on passport-matching performance

Wirth, B. E., & Carbon, C.-C. (2017). An easy game for frauds? Effects of professional experience and time pressure on passport-matching performance. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 23(2), 138-157.

Abstract: Despite extensive research on unfamiliar face matching, little is known about factors that might affect matching performance in real-life scenarios. We conducted 2 experiments to investigate the effects of several such factors on unfamiliar face-matching performance in a passport-check scenario. In Experiment 1, we assessed the effect of professional experience on passport-matching performance. The matching performance of 96 German Federal Police officers working at Munich Airport was compared with that of 48 novices without specific face-matching experience. Police officers significantly outperformed novices, but nevertheless missed a high ratio of frauds. Moreover, the effects of manipulating specific facial features (with paraphernalia like glasses and jewelry, distinctive features like moles and scars, and hairstyle) and of variations in the physical distance between the faces being matched were investigated. Whereas manipulation of physical distance did not have a significant effect, manipulations of facial features impaired matching performance. In Experiment 2, passport-matching performance was assessed in relation to time constraints. Novices matched passports either without time constraints, or under a local time limit (which is typically used in laboratory studies), or under a global time limit (which usually occurs during real-life border controls). Time pressure (especially the global time limit) significantly impaired matching performance.

Holistic processing of static and moving faces

Zhao, M., & Bülthoff, I. (2017). Holistic processing of static and moving faces. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 43(7), 1020-1035.

Abstract: Humans’ face ability develops and matures with extensive experience in perceiving, recognizing, and interacting with faces that move most of the time. However, how facial movements affect 1 core aspect of face ability—holistic face processing—remains unclear. Here we investigated the influence of rigid facial motion on holistic and part-based face processing by manipulating the presence of facial motion during study and at test in a composite face task. The results showed that rigidly moving faces were processed as holistically as static faces (Experiment 1). Holistic processing of moving faces persisted whether facial motion was presented during study, at test, or both (Experiment 2). Moreover, when faces were inverted to eliminate the contributions of both an upright face template and observers’ expertise with upright faces, rigid facial motion facilitated holistic face processing (Experiment 3). Thus, holistic processing represents a general principle of face perception that applies to both static and dynamic faces, rather than being limited to static faces. These results support an emerging view that both perceiver-based and face-based factors contribute to holistic face processing, and they offer new insights on what underlies holistic face processing, how information supporting holistic face processing interacts with each other, and why facial motion may affect face recognition and holistic face processing differently.

Does the cerebellum contribute to human navigation by processing sequential information?

Tedesco, A. M., etal. (2017). Does the cerebellum contribute to human navigation by processing sequential information? Neuropsychology, 31(5), 564-574.


Objective: Several authors have proposed that the cerebellum has an important role in functions of higher order as a general mode of sequence detection, independently from the nature of the information. The aim of this study was to verify whether the cerebellum mediates the processing of navigational sequential information and to determine whether it is influenced by the modality of the stimuli presentation.

Method: We tested 12 cerebellar patients and 12 healthy age-matched participants in 2 comparable navigational tasks (Walking Corsi Test and the Magic Carpet) requiring to memorizing a sequence of spatial locations. The 2 tasks differ each other for the modality of stimuli presentation: in the Walking Corsi Test the sequence is shown by an examiner that walks on the carpet, whereas in the Magic Carpet it is shown by a computer that lights up the tiles in the sequence. We hypothesize that different mental processes are implicated between the Walking Corsi Test and the Magic Carpet. Indeed, whereas watching the examiner, who performs the sequence on the carpet, allows the patient to simulate the action mentally in the Walking Corsi Test, such simulation cannot be triggered in the Magic Carpet.

Results: Our results showed that cerebellar patients obtained scores significantly lower than control participants only in the Magic Carpet.

Conclusions: We interpreted the patients’ performance as a specific deficit in detecting and ordering single independent stimuli as a sequence, when the maintenance of stimulus–response associations is more demanding.

Perceptions of masculinity and fatherhood among men experiencing homelessness

Rice, A., Kim, J. Y. C., Nguyen, C., Liu, W. M., Fall, K., & Galligan, P. (2017). Perceptions of masculinity and fatherhood among men experiencing homelessness. Psychological Services, 14(2), 257-268.

Abstract: This study explored the perceptions of fatherhood held by 11 men living in a homeless shelter. Using consensual qualitative research methodology (CQR; Hill, 2012), we investigated perceptions of masculinity and fatherhood among fathers experiencing homelessness. Participants described (a) their perceptions of masculinity and fatherhood and changes resulting from homelessness, (b) physical and psychological challenges of being a father experiencing homelessness, and (c) expectations of homeless fathers. The fathers generally expressed feelings of low self-esteem related to their perceived difficulty fulfilling the role of providers for their family; however, they also adapted their view of fatherhood to include roles suited to their situation, such as that of guide, teacher, and role model. Suggestions are made for clinicians in helping fathers navigate and develop these roles, and limitations and directions for future research are discussed.

This Hamptons trailer park is a billionaire hotspot - the indescribable cachet that comes with shabby chic

This Hamptons trailer park is a billionaire hotspot. By Jennifer Gould Keil. NY Post, Jul 26, 2017.

Owning a trailer at the park has become the ultimate status symbol for the tony Long Island town’s summering rich and famous, many of whom use their relatively modest mobile digs as a second pad to escape with the family or even as a glorified changing room after a long day of romping in Montauk’s waves.

There’s also the indescribable cachet that comes with shabby chic.

“All you own is the box of air above the land,” noted a former Montauk Shores trailer owner. “Whoever buys here is essentially buying a 24-foot-wide-by-50-foot-long box of air.”

Remember: The Perils of Proclaiming an Authentic Organizational Identity. By Balázs Kovács, Glenn Carroll & David Lehman. Sociological Science, January 2017,


Why Elites Love Authentic Lowbrow Culture: Overcoming High-Status Denigration with Outsider Art. By Oliver Hahl, Ezra W. Zuckerman, Minjae Kim
American Sociological Review,

Characterizing autism-relevant social behavior in poodles (Canis familiaris) via owner report

Zamzow, R. M., Lit, L., Hamilton, S., & Beversdorf, D. Q. (2017). Characterizing autism-relevant social behavior in poodles (Canis familiaris) via owner report. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 131(2), 139-149.

Abstract: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by deficits in social communication and the presence of restricted, repetitive behaviors. It can be difficult to model the complex behavioral features of this disorder with rodent models, which have limited similarity to human behaviors. The domestic dog may be a promising model of complex human behavior, including core features of ASD. The present study examines ASD-relevant social behavior in Miniature and Standard Poodles using an owner-report questionnaire with questions adapted from the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (Lord, Rutter, DiLavore, & Risi, 2000). A previous study identified 3 behavioral constructs examined by this questionnaire: initiation of reciprocal social behaviors, response to social interaction, and communication. In the present study, confirmatory and experimental factor analyses used to assess how collected data fit with the previous model revealed moderate model fit and a similar factorial structure. Between-breed comparisons across these factors and at the individual question level revealed differences between Miniature and Standard Poodles in showing behaviors. Cluster analyses used to group dogs within each breed according to social behavior identified smaller subgroups of dogs with less social behavior across all 3 factors compared with the average within each breed. Within- and between-breed differences in social behavior warrant investigation of genetic variation underlying this complex trait as it relates to ASD-relevant behavior.

The Authoritarian Left Withdraws from Politics: Ideological Asymmetry in the Relationship between Authoritarianism and Political Engagement

The Authoritarian Left Withdraws from Politics: Ideological Asymmetry in the Relationship between Authoritarianism and Political Engagement. Christopher Federico, Emily Fisher & Grace Deason. Journal of Politics, July 2017, Pages 1010-1023,

Abstract: In this article, we argue that authoritarianism will be associated with reduced political interest and participation to a greater extent among those who identify with the left rather than the right because left-leaning politics - which challenges the status quo - threatens more instability and flux. Using data from the United States, we provide evidence for this first hypothesis. Using multinational European data, we also provide support for a second hypothesis that this interaction would be more evident in "Westernized" contexts, where the traditional left-right difference is clearly defined, than in Eastern European countries, where its meaning is less distinct; and we conceptually replicate the authoritarianism results using a measure of support for "conservation" values favoring security, conformity, and tradition. Together, these results suggest that the lower visibility of left-wing authoritarianism relative to its counterpart on the right may be due in part to greater withdrawal from politics among left-leaning authoritarians.

Keywords: authoritarianism, values, ideology, political engagement.

The role of need for uniqueness in belief in conspiracy theories

"I know things they don't know!": The role of need for uniqueness in belief in conspiracy theories. Anthony Lantian et al. Social Psychology, May/June 2017, Pages 160-173,

Abstract: In the current research, we investigated whether belief in conspiracy theories satisfies people's need for uniqueness. We found that the tendency to believe in conspiracy theories was associated with the feeling of possessing scarce information about the situations explained by the conspiracy theories (Study 1) and higher need for uniqueness (Study 2). Further two studies using two different manipulations of need for uniqueness (Studies 3 and 4) showed that people in a high need for uniqueness condition displayed higher conspiracy belief than people in a low need for uniqueness condition. This conclusion is strengthened by a small-scale meta-analysis. These studies suggest that conspiracy theories may serve people's desire to be unique, highlighting a motivational underpinning of conspiracy belief.

Check also:

Imhoff, R., and Lamberty, P. K. (2017) Too special to be duped: Need for uniqueness motivates conspiracy beliefs. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., doi: 10.1002/ejsp.2265,


A Birther and a Truther: The Influence of the Authoritarian Personality on Conspiracy Beliefs. Sean Richey. Politics & Policy, June 2017, Pages 465-485,

Meditation for posttraumatic stress: more high-quality data needed to confirm benefits

Hilton, L., et al. (2017). Meditation for posttraumatic stress: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 9(4), 453-460.

Objective: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis that synthesized evidence from randomized controlled trials of meditation interventions to provide estimates of their efficacy and safety in treating adults diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This review was based on an established protocol (PROSPERO: CRD42015025782) and is reported according to PRISMA guidelines. Outcomes of interest included PTSD symptoms, depression, anxiety, health-related quality of life, functional status, and adverse events.

Method: Meta-analyses were conducted using the Hartung-Knapp-Sidik-Jonkman method for random-effects models. Quality of evidence was assessed using the Grade of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) approach.

Results: In total, 10 trials on meditation interventions for PTSD with 643 participants met inclusion criteria. Across interventions, adjunctive meditation interventions of mindfulness-based stress reduction, yoga, and the mantram repetition program improve PTSD and depression symptoms compared with control groups, but the findings are based on low and moderate quality of evidence. Effects were positive but not statistically significant for quality of life and anxiety, and no studies addressed functional status. The variety of meditation intervention types, the short follow-up times, and the quality of studies limited analyses. No adverse events were reported in the included studies; only half of the studies reported on safety.

Conclusions: Meditation appears to be effective for PTSD and depression symptoms, but in order to increase confidence in findings, more high-quality studies are needed on meditation as adjunctive treatment with PTSD-diagnosed participant samples large enough to detect statistical differences in outcomes.

Rejecting a Bad Option Feels Like Choosing a Good One

Rejecting a Bad Option Feels Like Choosing a Good One. Hanna Perfecto et al. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,

Abstract: Across 4,151 participants, the authors demonstrate a novel framing effect, attribute matching, whereby matching a salient attribute of a decision frame with that of a decision's options facilitates decision-making. This attribute matching is shown to increase decision confidence and, ultimately, consensus estimates by increasing feelings of metacognitive ease. In Study 1, participants choosing the more attractive of two faces or rejecting the less attractive face reported greater confidence in and perceived consensus around their decision. Using positive and negative words, Study 2 showed that the attribute's extremity moderates the size of the effect. Study 3 found decision ease mediates these changes in confidence and consensus estimates. Consistent with a misattribution account, when participants were warned about this external source of ease in Study 4, the effect disappeared. Study 5 extended attribute matching beyond valence to objective judgments. The authors conclude by discussing related psychological constructs as well as downstream consequences.

Trends in First Names Foreshadowed Hillary Clinton's Electoral Defeat

Trends in First Names Foreshadowed Hillary Clinton's Electoral Defeat. Stefano Ghirlanda.
Cliodynamics: The Journal of Quantitative History and Cultural Evolution, 2017,

Abstract: I examine trends in the popularity of first names around the years of USA presidential elections, showing that the names 'Hillary' and 'Hilary' decreased abruptly by more than 90% in popularity following the 1992 election of Hillary Clinton's husband Bill. I show that this outcome is unique to the 1992 election, and argue that it may evidence a "dislike" for Hillary Clinton's public image among both Democratic and Republican voters, which may have eventually contributed to Hillary Clinton's losing the 2016 presidential election.

Health and Spirituality

Health and Spirituality. By Tyler J. VanderWeele, PhD; Tracy A. Balboni, MD, MPH; Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH
JAMA. Published online July 27, 2017. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.8136

Recent studies suggest a broad protective relationship between religious participation and population health. A report from the Nurses’ Health Study, which followed up more than 74 000 study participants for 16 years, found that women who attended weekly religious services had a lower mortality rate compared with those who had never attended religious services (actual rates of 845 vs 1229 per 100 000/y, respectively; adjusted hazard ratio, 0.74),4 and those who attended religious services more than once per week had an even lower mortality rate (actual rates of 740 vs 1229 per 100 000/y; adjusted hazard ratio, 0.67), suggesting a possible dose-response relationship.

Multivariable adjustment for extensive confounders did not substantially attenuate the association, suggesting that some of the association might be causal. Although the findings may still be subject to unmeasured factors and residual confounding4 (eg, personal, social, psychological, and socioeconomic characteristics), sensitivity analysis suggested that the association was moderately robust to such unmeasured confounding. Another report from the Nurses’ Health Study noted that attendance at religious services was associated with a reduction in depression risk (adjusted relative risk, 0.71) and a 6-fold reduction in suicide risk (from 6.5 to 1.0 per 100 000/y).5

Possible mechanisms include that religious service participation may enhance the social integration that promotes healthy (eg, tobacco-free) behaviors and provides social support, optimism, or purpose. A recent meta-analysis of 10 prospective studies with more than 136 000 participants showed having higher purpose in life was associated with a reduction (relative risk, 0.83) in all-cause mortality and cardiovascular events.6 Because randomized trials are not possible (assignment of behaviors such as service attendance and life purpose is infeasible), these population-based studies represent the strongest available evidence.

Additional investigations suggest the value of spiritual approaches to medical care within the clinical realm, particularly in the end-of-life setting. In a multisite, prospective study7 of 343 patients with advanced cancer, those whose medical teams (eg, clinicians, chaplains) attended to their spiritual needs had quality-of-life scores at life’s end that were 28% greater on average than those who did not receive such spiritual care (20.3 vs 15.8; highest possible score, 30). In addition, patients reporting high support of their spiritual needs by their medical teams (26%) compared with the large majority who did not receive such care (74%) had a higher odds of transitioning to hospice care (adjusted odds ratio, 3.5).

In contrast, when religious communities supplied spiritual care in the absence of the medical team (43%), patients with terminal illness had a lower odds of receiving hospice services (adjusted odds ratio, 0.37) together with a higher odds of receiving aggressive medical interventions (eg, resuscitation and ventilation) during the last week of life (adjusted odds ratio, 2.6).7 Other studies indicate that most patients with serious illness experience spiritual struggles, such as feeling punished or abandoned by God, associated with decrements in patient well-being.7 All these findings suggest the need for clinicians to integrate spiritual care into end-of-life settings for patients who wish to receive it.


>>> Interesting data for those of you who are spiritual.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

When Risk Is Weird: Unexplained Transaction Features Lower Valuations

When Risk Is Weird: Unexplained Transaction Features Lower Valuations. Robert Mislavsky and Uri Simonsohn. Management Science,

Abstract: We define transactions as weird when they include unexplained features, that is, features not implicitly, explicitly, or self-evidently justified, and propose that people are averse to weird transactions. In six experiments, we show that risky options used in previous research paradigms often attained uncertainty via adding an unexplained transaction feature (e.g., purchasing a coin flip or lottery), and behavior that appears to reflect risk aversion could instead reflect an aversion to weird transactions. Specifically, willingness to pay drops just as much when adding risk to a transaction as when adding unexplained features. Holding transaction features constant, adding additional risk does not further reduce willingness to pay. We interpret our work as generalizing ambiguity aversion to riskless choice.

Keywords: transaction features, weirdness, risk aversion, ambiguity aversion, uncertainty effect
JEL Classification: D80, M30, M31

Is General Intelligence Little More Than the Speed of Higher-Order Processing?

Is General Intelligence Little More Than the Speed of Higher-Order Processing? Anna-Lena Schubert, Dirk Hagemann and Gidon Frischkorn. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General,

Abstract: Individual differences in the speed of information processing have been hypothesized to give rise to individual differences in general intelligence. Consistent with this hypothesis, reaction times (RTs) and latencies of event-related potential have been shown to be moderately associated with intelligence. These associations have been explained either in terms of individual differences in some brain-wide property such as myelination, the speed of neural oscillations, or white-matter tract integrity, or in terms of individual differences in specific processes such as the signal-to-noise ratio in evidence accumulation, executive control, or the cholinergic system. Here we show in a sample of 122 participants, who completed a battery of RT tasks at 2 laboratory sessions while an EEG was recorded, that more intelligent individuals have a higher speed of higher-order information processing that explains about 80% of the variance in general intelligence. Our results do not support the notion that individuals with higher levels of general intelligence show advantages in some brain-wide property. Instead, they suggest that more intelligent individuals benefit from a more efficient transmission of information from frontal attention and working memory processes to temporal-parietal processes of memory storage.

Social Norm Perception in Groups With Outliers

Social Norm Perception in Groups With Outliers. Jennifer Dannals and Dale Miller. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General,

Abstract: Social outliers draw a lot of attention from those inside and outside their group and yet little is known about their impact on perceptions of their group as a whole. The present studies examine how outliers influence observers' summary perceptions of a group's behavior and inferences about the group's descriptive and prescriptive norms. Across 4 studies (N = 1,718) we examine how observers perceive descriptive and prescriptive social norms in groups containing outliers of varying degrees. We find consistent evidence that observers overweight outlying behavior when judging the descriptive and prescriptive norms, but overweight outliers less as they become more extreme, especially in perceptions of the prescriptive norm. We find this pattern across norms pertaining to punctuality (Studies 1-2 and 4) and clothing formality (Study 3) and for outliers who are both prescriptively and descriptively deviant (e.g., late arrivers), as well as for outliers who are only descriptive deviants (e.g., early arrivers). We further demonstrate that observers' perceptions of the group shift in the direction of moderate outliers. This occurs because observers anchor on the outlier's behavior and adjust their recollections of nonoutlying individuals, making their inferences about the group's average behavior more extreme.

Comparison Neglect in Upgrade Decisions

Comparison Neglect in Upgrade Decisions. Aner Sela and Robyn LeBoeuf. Journal of Marketing Research,

Abstract: To properly evaluate a potential product upgrade, consumers should compare the upgraded option with the product they already own to assess the upgrade's added utility. However, although consumers explicitly and spontaneously acknowledge the importance of comparing the upgrade with the status quo, the authors find that they often fail to do so. Consequently, consumers frequently buy product upgrades that they would not have bought had they followed their own advice. Five experiments, involving both real and hypothetical upgrade decisions, show that even when the status quo option is represented in the decision context, if consumers are not explicitly prompted to reflect on it or compare it with the upgraded option, they often do not compare it with the upgrade and thus show an elevated likelihood of upgrading. The experiments suggest that this "comparison neglect" increases upgrade likelihood by making people overlook the similarities between the upgraded and status quo options and that it persists even when deliberation effort is high. The findings have important implications for theory, marketing practice, and consumer welfare.

Keywords: status quo bias, comparison, product upgrades, focalism, consumerism

Remember too: How Unequal Perceptions of User Reviews Impact Price Competition. By Pelin Pekgün, Michael Galbreth & Bikram Ghosh
Decision Sciences,

When outgroup negativity trumps ingroup positivity: Fans of the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees place greater value on rival losses than own-team gains

When outgroup negativity trumps ingroup positivity: Fans of the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees place greater value on rival losses than own-team gains. Steven Lehr, Meghan Ferreira & Mahzarin Banaji. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations,

Abstract: Much research suggests that ingroup positivity is more central than outgroup negativity. We argue that this conclusion is incomplete as a description of the totality of intergroup emotions. In 4 studies, we use a novel measure of willingness to pay for intergroup gains and losses to examine the intergroup emotions of fans of the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. Results indicate that pleasure from a powerful rival's losses can outstrip that from gains of one's own group (Studies 1-2), and these patterns extend into domains not immediately relevant to the competition (Studies 3-4). A reversal in the competitive position of the two teams in the 2012-2013 season allowed us to examine whether fluctuations in competitive status moderated this pattern (Studies 3-4). Indeed, fans of the rival teams frequently valued outgroup losses more than ingroup gains, and this effect was particularly strong when one's own team was behind in the rivalry.

Political Conformity: Event-Study Evidence from the United States

Political Conformity: Event-Study Evidence from the United States. Ricardo Perez-Truglia. Review of Economics and Statistics,

Abstract: We propose that individuals are more politically active in more like-minded social environments. To test this hypothesis, we combine administrative data from the Federal Election Commission and the United States Postal Service. We identify 45,000 individuals who contributed to Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and who changed residences either before or after the 2012 election cycle. We examine whether living in an area with a higher share of Democrats causes higher contributions to Obama. We disentangle the direction of causality by exploiting the timing of residential mobility with an event-study analysis. We find that conformity effects are economically significant: increasing the share of Democrats by 1% increases the contribution to Obama by 0.11% (p-value<0 .01="" 27="" a="" analysis.="" attributed="" be="" br="" can="" conformity="" contributions="" counterfactual="" degree="" effects.="" estimates="" find="" for="" geographic="" in="" last="" model="" of="" polarization="" provide="" reduced-form="" that="" the="" to="" uses="" we="">
Keywords: conformity effects, geographic polarization, campaign contributions
JEL Classification: D72, H41

Limited individual attention and online virality of low-quality information

Limited individual attention and online virality of low-quality information. Xiaoyan Qiu et al. Nature Human Behaviour, June 2017,

Abstract: Social media are massive marketplaces where ideas and news compete for our attention. Previous studies have shown that quality is not a necessary condition for online virality and that knowledge about peer choices can distort the relationship between quality and popularity. However, these results do not explain the viral spread of low-quality information, such as the digital misinformation that threatens our democracy. We investigate quality discrimination in a stylized model of an online social network, where individual agents prefer quality information, but have behavioural limitations in managing a heavy flow of information. We measure the relationship between the quality of an idea and its likelihood of becoming prevalent at the system level. We find that both information overload and limited attention contribute to a degradation of the market's discriminative power. A good tradeoff between discriminative power and diversity of information is possible according to the model. However, calibration with empirical data characterizing information load and finite attention in real social media reveals a weak correlation between quality and popularity of information. In these realistic conditions, the model predicts that low-quality information is just as likely to go viral, providing an interpretation for the high volume of misinformation we observe online.

Fact-Checking Effectiveness as a Function of Format and Tone: Evaluating and

Fact-Checking Effectiveness as a Function of Format and Tone: Evaluating and Dannagal Young et al. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly,

Abstract: This experiment explores the role of information format (print vs. video) and tone (humorous-nonhumorous) in shaping message interest and belief correction in the context of political fact-checking (N = 525). To understand the mechanisms by which audience misperceptions may be reduced, this experiment tests the belief-correcting effectiveness of a humorous fact-checking video produced by, a long-form print article on the same topic, a nonhumorous video debunking the same set of claims, an unrelated humorous video, and a non-stimulus control group. Mediating psychological mechanisms (message interest, counterargumentation, message discounting) and message perceptions (message confusion) are explored. Results suggest video (humorous or nonhumorous) is an effective way to reduce audience misperceptions by increasing message attention and reducing confusion.

Enhancement of multitasking performance and neural oscillations by transcranial alternating current stimulation

Enhancement of multitasking performance and neural oscillations by transcranial alternating current stimulation. Wan-Yu Hsu et al. PLoS One, May 2017,

Abstract: Multitasking is associated with the generation of stimulus-locked theta (4-7 Hz) oscillations arising from prefrontal cortex (PFC). Transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) is a non-invasive brain stimulation technique that influences endogenous brain oscillations. Here, we investigate whether applying alternating current stimulation within the theta frequency band would affect multitasking performance, and explore tACS effects on neurophysiological measures. Brief runs of bilateral PFC theta-tACS were applied while participants were engaged in a multitasking paradigm accompanied by electroencephalography (EEG) data collection. Unlike an active control group, a tACS stimulation group showed enhancement of multitasking performance after a 90-minute session (F1,35 = 6.63, p = 0.01, ηp2 = 0.16; effect size = 0.96), coupled with significant modulation of posterior beta (13-30 Hz) activities (F1,32 = 7.66, p = 0.009, ηp2 = 0.19; effect size = 0.96). Across participant regression analyses indicated that those participants with greater increases in frontal theta, alpha and beta oscillations exhibited greater multitasking performance improvements. These results indicate frontal theta-tACS generates benefits on multitasking performance accompanied by widespread neuronal oscillatory changes, and suggests that future tACS studies with extended treatments are worth exploring as promising tools for cognitive enhancement.

National Trauma and the Fear of Foreigners: How Past Geopolitical Threat Heightens Anti-Immigration Sentiment Today

National Trauma and the Fear of Foreigners: How Past Geopolitical Threat Heightens Anti-Immigration Sentiment Today. Wesley Hiers, Thomas Soehl & Andreas Wimmer. Social Forces,

Abstract: This paper introduces a historical, macro-political argument into the literature on anti-immigration sentiment, which has mainly considered individual-level predictors such as education or social capital as well as country-level factors such as fluctuations in labor market conditions, changing composition of immigration streams, or the rise of populist parties. We argue that past geopolitical competition and war have shaped how national identities formed and thus also contemporary attitudes toward newcomers: countries that have experienced more violent conflict or lost territory and sovereignty developed ethnic (rather than civic) forms of nationalism and thus show higher levels of anti-immigration sentiment today. We introduce a geopolitical threat scale and score 33 European countries based on their historical experiences. Two anti-immigration measures come from the European Social Survey. Mixed-effects, ordinal logistic regression models reveal strong statistical and substantive significance for the geopolitical threat scale. Furthermore, ethnic forms of national identification do seem to mediate this relationship between geopolitical threat and restrictionist attitudes. The main analysis is robust to a wide variety of model specifications, to the inclusion of all control variables known to affect anti-immigration attitudes, and to a series of alternative codings of the geopolitical threat scale.

How Self-Control Shapes the Meaning of Choice

How Self-Control Shapes the Meaning of Choice. Aner Sela, Jonah Berger and Joshua Kim
Journal of Consumer Research,

Abstract: Self-control is an important driver of choice, but might it also change choice's meaning, making it seem less indicative of preference? Decades of research suggest that preference and choice are often intertwined. Choice often originates from one's preferences. As a result, choice is often seen as a reflection of preference, leading people to infer their preferences by observing their own choices. We suggest that self-control attenuates this process. Because self-control often overrides personal desires in favor of external constraints, norms, and long-term considerations, we propose that self-control is associated with a sense of attenuated correspondence between choice and individual preference. Five experiments suggest that when the notion of self-control is salient, people are less likely to see their choices as reflecting their preferences or to infer preference from previous choices. As a result, evoking the notion of self-control attenuates the tendency to view choice as indicative of preference, even in contexts unrelated to where self-control was originally evoked. Thus, self-control shapes not only choice itself, but also the perceived meaning of choice.

Keywords: Self-control, Inferences, Choice, Preference, Self-perception

Changes in cognitive flexibility and hypothesis search across human life history from childhood to adolescence to adulthood

Changes in cognitive flexibility and hypothesis search across human life history from childhood to adolescence to adulthood. Alison Gopnik et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Jul 25 2017, Pages 7892-7899,

Abstract: How was the evolution of our unique biological life history related to distinctive human developments in cognition and culture? We suggest that the extended human childhood and adolescence allows a balance between exploration and exploitation, between wider and narrower hypothesis search, and between innovation and imitation in cultural learning. In particular, different developmental periods may be associated with different learning strategies. This relation between biology and culture was probably coevolutionary and bidirectional: life-history changes allowed changes in learning, which in turn both allowed and rewarded extended life histories. In two studies, we test how easily people learn an unusual physical or social causal relation from a pattern of evidence. We track the development of this ability from early childhood through adolescence and adulthood. In the physical domain, preschoolers, counterintuitively, perform better than school-aged children, who in turn perform better than adolescents and adults. As they grow older learners are less flexible: they are less likely to adopt an initially unfamiliar hypothesis that is consistent with new evidence. Instead, learners prefer a familiar hypothesis that is less consistent with the evidence. In the social domain, both preschoolers and adolescents are actually the most flexible learners, adopting an unusual hypothesis more easily than either 6-y-olds or adults. There may be important developmental transitions in flexibility at the entry into middle childhood and in adolescence, which differ across domains.

Keywords: causal reasoning, social cognition, cognitive development, adolescence, life history

A Birther and a Truther: The Influence of the Authoritarian Personality on Conspiracy Beliefs

A Birther and a Truther: The Influence of the Authoritarian Personality on Conspiracy Beliefs. Sean Richey. Politics & Policy, June 2017, Pages 465-485,

Abstract: I find that 10 percent of Americans believe in both "trutherism" and "birtherism." Even among citizens who say they like Bush or Obama, or are from the same party, many still believe in conspiracies implicating the presidents. It is crucial to understand why so many Americans believe obviously erroneous conspiracies that denigrate a president who otherwise has their support. I predict that the authoritarian personality creates a predisposition to believe in conspiracies based on the tendency of those high in this trait to have greater anxiety and cognitive difficulties with higher order thinking. Using 2012 American National Election Study data, I find a clear and robust relationship between the authoritarian personality and conspiratorial beliefs. In all models, authoritarianism is a chief predictor for a predisposition toward both conspiratorial beliefs. This suggests that psychological propensities are an important explanation of why so many citizens believe in conspiracy theories.

Remember too: Imhoff, R., and Lamberty, P. K. (2017) Too special to be duped: Need for uniqueness motivates conspiracy beliefs. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., doi: 10.1002/ejsp.2265,

Brain Drain: The Mere Presence of One's Own Smartphone Reduces Available Cognitive Capacity

Brain Drain: The Mere Presence of One's Own Smartphone Reduces Available Cognitive Capacity. Adrian Ward et al. Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, April 2017, Pages 140-154,

Abstract: Our smartphones enable - and encourage - constant connection to information, entertainment, and each other. They put the world at our fingertips, and rarely leave our sides. Although these devices have immense potential to improve welfare, their persistent presence may come at a cognitive cost. In this research, we test the "brain drain" hypothesis that the mere presence of one's own smartphone may occupy limited-capacity cognitive resources, thereby leaving fewer resources available for other tasks and undercutting cognitive performance. Results from two experiments indicate that even when people are successful at maintaining sustained attention - as when avoiding the temptation to check their phones - the mere presence of these devices reduces available cognitive capacity. Moreover, these cognitive costs are highest for those highest in smartphone dependence. We conclude by discussing the practical implications of this smartphone-induced brain drain for consumer decision-making and consumer welfare.

Remember too: Selectively Distracted: Divided Attention and Memory for Important Information. By Catherine Middlebrooks, Tyson Kerr & Alan Castel. Psychological Science,

On the inability to ignore useless advice: A case for anchoring in the judge-advisor-system

On the inability to ignore useless advice: A case for anchoring in the judge-advisor-system. Thomas Schultze, Andreas Mojzisch & Stefan Schulz-Hardt. Experimental Psychology, May/June 2017, Pages 170-183,

Abstract: Research in the judge-advisor-paradigm suggests that advice is generally utilized less than it should be according to its quality. In a series of four experiments, we challenge this widely held assumption. We hypothesize that when advice quality is low, the opposite phenomenon, namely overutilization of advice, occurs. We further assume that this overutilization effect is the result of anchoring: advice serves as an anchor, thus causing an adjustment toward even useless advice. The data of our four experiments support these hypotheses. Judges systematically adjusted their estimates toward advice that we introduced to them as being useless, and this effect was stable after controlling for intentional utilization of this advice. Furthermore, we demonstrate that anchoring-based adjustment toward advice is independent of advice quality. Our findings enhance our understanding of the processes involved in advice taking and identify a potential threat to judgment accuracy arising from an inability to discount useless advice.

Keywords: judgment, decision-making, advice taking, anchoring, social influence

The Advantage of Being Oneself: The Role of Applicant Self-Verification in Organizational Hiring Decisions

The Advantage of Being Oneself: The Role of Applicant Self-Verification in Organizational Hiring Decisions. Celia Moore et al. Journal of Applied Psychology,

Abstract: In this paper, we explore whether individuals who strive to self-verify flourish or flounder on the job market. Using placement data from 2 very different field samples, we found that individuals rated by the organization as being in the top 10% of candidates were significantly more likely to receive a job offer if they have a stronger drive to self-verify. A third study, using a quasi-experimental design, explored the mechanism behind this effect and tested whether individuals who are high and low on this disposition communicate differently in a structured mock job interview. Text analysis (LIWC) of interview transcripts revealed systematic differences in candidates’ language use as a function of their self-verification drives. These differences led an expert rater to perceive candidates with a strong drive to self-verify as less inauthentic and less misrepresentative than their low self-verifying peers, making her more likely to recommend these candidates for a job. Taken together, our results suggest that authentic self-presentation is an unidentified route to success on the job market, amplifying the chances that high-quality candidates can convert organizations’ positive evaluations into tangible job offers. We discuss implications for job applicants, organizations, and the labor market.

Does Culture Pay? Compensating Differentials, Job Satisfaction, and Organizational Practices

Does Culture Pay? Compensating Differentials, Job Satisfaction, and Organizational Practices. By Christos Andreas Makridis. Stanford Working Paper, June 2017,

Abstract: Work-place practices are becoming an increasingly important mechanism for retaining and motivating employees. Using a new survey tool in partnership with between 2014 and 2016, I first document new facts about the dispersion of employee engagement and organizational practices in the labor market, and, secondly, recover a willingness to pay for these amenities. I show that the provision of these amenities creates a time-varying, firm-specific rent that amplifies traditional selection problems. My identification strategy exploits variation in employees’ outside option, which is uncorrelated with contemporaneous organizational factors, but still capitalizes work-place amenities. My estimates imply that employees are willing to pay 2% of their earnings for a standard deviation rise in organizational practices. Through a back-of-the-envelope calculation, I show that these amenities have a benefit-cost ratio of 1.4.

Keywords: Organizational practices, job satisfaction, turnover, compensating differentials, productivity.

JEL: L20, M51, M52, M54, M55

Poisoned Praise: Discounted Praise Backfires and Undermines Subordinate Impressions in the Minds of the Powerful

Poisoned Praise: Discounted Praise Backfires and Undermines Subordinate Impressions in the Minds of the Powerful. Jonathan Kunstman, Christina Fitzpatrick & Pamela Smith
Social Psychological and Personality Science,

Abstract: High-power people frequently receive compliments from subordinates, yet little is known about how high-power people respond to praise. The current research addresses this gap in the empirical literature by testing the primary hypothesis that high-power people discount others’ praise more than equal- and low-power people. Secondary hypotheses also tested whether high-power people’s tendency to discount positive feedback would paradoxically heighten negative perceptions of others. Evidence from two experiments (one preregistered) reveals that high-power participants discounted feedback from others more than low- and equal-power participants. However, high-power people’s tendency to discount feedback only produced negative partner perceptions when positive feedback, but not neutral feedback, was discounted. These results suggest that compliments may sometimes backfire and lead high-power people to discount praise and form negative impressions of subordinates.

Social-Recognition versus Financial Incentives? Exploring the Effects of Creativity-Contingent External Rewards on Creative Performance

Social-Recognition versus Financial Incentives? Exploring the Effects of Creativity-Contingent External Rewards on Creative Performance. Ravi Mehta, Darren Dahl & Rui (Juliet) Zhu. Journal of Consumer Research,

Abstract: The present work examines the role of creativity-contingent monetary versus social-recognition rewards on creative performance and provides new insights into the underlying motivational processes through which these rewards affect consumer creativity. A series of five studies demonstrate that within the context of creativity contingency, monetary rewards induce a performance focus, while social-recognition rewards induce a normative focus. Such performance (normative) focus in turn enhances (attenuates) approach motivation to be original and hence leads to higher (lower) originality in a creative task. Thus, this work not only advances the current understanding of how and why two types of widely used creativity-contingent external rewards may have contrasting effects on creative performance, but it also offers important practical insights to managers who utilize reward systems in cultivating consumer creativity in their innovation platforms.

Keywords: creativity, innovation, approach motivation, monetary rewards, normative focus, social-recognition rewards

Cyclical Population Dynamics of Automatic Versus Controlled Processing: An Evolutionary Pendulum

Cyclical Population Dynamics of Automatic Versus Controlled Processing: An Evolutionary Pendulum. David Rand et al. Psychological Review,

Abstract: Psychologists, neuroscientists, and economists often conceptualize decisions as arising from processes that lie along a continuum from automatic (i.e., “hardwired” or overlearned, but relatively inflexible) to controlled (less efficient and effortful, but more flexible). Control is central to human cognition, and plays a key role in our ability to modify the world to suit our needs. Given its advantages, reliance on controlled processing may seem predestined to increase within the population over time. Here, we examine whether this is so by introducing an evolutionary game theoretic model of agents that vary in their use of automatic versus controlled processes, and in which cognitive processing modifies the environment in which the agents interact. We find that, under a wide range of parameters and model assumptions, cycles emerge in which the prevalence of each type of processing in the population oscillates between 2 extremes. Rather than inexorably increasing, the emergence of control often creates conditions that lead to its own demise by allowing automaticity to also flourish, thereby undermining the progress made by the initial emergence of controlled processing. We speculate that this observation may have relevance for understanding similar cycles across human history, and may lend insight into some of the circumstances and challenges currently faced by our species.

Numerical Nudging: Using an Accelerating Score to Enhance Performance

Numerical Nudging: Using an Accelerating Score to Enhance Performance. Luxi Shen & Christopher Hsee. Psychological Science,

Abstract: People often encounter inherently meaningless numbers, such as scores in health apps or video games, that increase as they take actions. This research explored how the pattern of change in such numbers influences performance. We found that the key factor is acceleration - namely, whether the number increases at an increasing velocity. Six experiments in both the lab and the field showed that people performed better on an ongoing task if they were presented with a number that increased at an increasing velocity than if they were not presented with such a number or if they were presented with a number that increased at a decreasing or constant velocity. This acceleration effect occurred regardless of the absolute magnitude or the absolute velocity of the number, and even when the number was not tied to any specific rewards. This research shows the potential of numerical nudging - using inherently meaningless numbers to strategically alter behaviors - and is especially relevant in the present age of digital devices.

Chronotype variation drives night-time sentinel-like behaviour in hunter–gatherers

Chronotype variation drives night-time sentinel-like behaviour in hunter–gatherers. David Samson et al. Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, July 12 2017,

Abstract: Sleep is essential for survival, yet it also represents a time of extreme vulnerability to predation, hostile conspecifics and environmental dangers. To reduce the risks of sleeping, the sentinel hypothesis proposes that group-living animals share the task of vigilance during sleep, with some individuals sleeping while others are awake. To investigate sentinel-like behaviour in sleeping humans, we investigated activity patterns at night among Hadza hunter–gatherers of Tanzania. Using actigraphy, we discovered that all subjects were simultaneously scored as asleep for only 18 min in total over 20 days of observation, with a median of eight individuals awake throughout the night-time period; thus, one or more individuals was awake (or in light stages of sleep) during 99.8% of sampled epochs between when the first person went to sleep and the last person awoke. We show that this asynchrony in activity levels is produced by chronotype variation, and that chronotype covaries with age. Thus, asynchronous periods of wakefulness provide an opportunity for vigilance when sleeping in groups. We propose that throughout human evolution, sleeping groups composed of mixed age classes provided a form of vigilance. Chronotype variation and human sleep architecture (including nocturnal awakenings) in modern populations may therefore represent a legacy of natural selection acting in the past to reduce the dangers of sleep.

Only one small sin: How self-construal affects self-control

Only one small sin: How self-construal affects self-control. Janina Steinmetz and Thomas Mussweiler. British Journal of Social Psychology,

Abstract: Past research has shown that self-construal can influence self-control by reducing interdependent people's impulsivity in the presence of peers. We broaden these findings by examining the hypothesis that an interdependent (vs. independent) self-construal fosters self-control even in the absence of peers and for non-impulsive decisions. We further explore whether this effect could be mediated by the more interrelated (vs. isolated) processing style of interdependent (vs. independent) people. Such an interrelated (vs. isolated) processing style of temptations makes the impact of a single temptation more salient and can thereby increase self-control. Study 1 demonstrated that more interdependent participants show more self-control behaviour by refraining from chocolate consumption to secure a monetary benefit. Studies 2a and 2b highlighted a link between self-construal and trait self-control via the processing of temptations. Study 3 suggested that an interrelated (vs. isolated) perspective on temptations could mediate the effect of (primed) self-construal on self-control. Taken together, self-construal shapes self-control across various decision contexts.

Expectations Influence How Emotions Shape Behavior

Expectations Influence How Emotions Shape Behavior. Tamir M, Bigman YE. Emotion, doi: 10.1037/emo0000351.

Abstract: Emotions shape behavior, but there is some debate over the manner in which they do so. The authors propose that how emotions shape behavior depends, in part, on how people expect emotions to shape behavior. In Study 1, angry (vs. calm) participants made more money in a negotiation when they expected anger to be beneficial. In Study 2, angry (vs. calm) participants killed more enemies in a computer game when they expected anger (but not calmness) to promote performance. In Study 3, excited (vs. calm) participants were more creative when they expected excitement to promote performance, whereas calm (vs. excited) participants were more creative when they expected calmness to promote performance. These findings demonstrate that, at least sometimes, what emotions do depends on what we expect them to do.

When My Object Becomes Me: The Mere Ownership of an Object Elevates Domain-Specific Self-Efficacy

When My Object Becomes Me: The Mere Ownership of an Object Elevates Domain-Specific Self-Efficacy. Victoria Wai-lan Yeung et al. Applied Psychology,

Abstract: Past research on the mere ownership effect has shown that when people own an object, they perceive the owned objects more favorably than the comparable non-owned objects. The present research extends this idea, showing that when people own an object functional to the self, they perceive an increase in their self-efficacy. Three studies were conducted to demonstrate this new form of the mere ownership effect. In Study 1, participants reported an increase in their knowledge level by the mere ownership of reading materials (a reading package in Study 1a, and lecture notes in Study 1b). In Study 2, participants reported an increase in their resilience to sleepiness by merely owning a piece of chocolate that purportedly had a sleepiness-combating function. In Study 3, participants who merely owned a flower essence that is claimed to boost creativity reported having higher creativity efficacy. The findings provided insights on how associations with objects alter one's self-perception.

First Evidence for "The Backup Plan Paradox"

First Evidence for "The Backup Plan Paradox". Christopher Napolitano & Alexandra Freund. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General,

Abstract: This research is a first test of the backup plan paradox. We hypothesized that investing in a backup plan may facilitate the conditions that it was developed to address: Plan A's insufficiency. Five studies provide initial, primarily correlative support for the undermining effect of investing in a backup plan. Study 1 (n= 160) demonstrated that the more participants perceived they had invested in developing a backup plan (preparing a "crib sheet"), the more likely they were to use it, although greater investments were unrelated to backup plan utility. Studies 2-4 used a simulated negotiation task. Study 2 (n = 247) demonstrated that when goal-relevant resources are limited, investing in developing backup plans and perceiving them as highly instrumental can decrease goal performance through the indirect effect of increased means replacing. Study 3 (n = 248) replicated this effect when goal-relevant resources were plentiful. Study 4 (n = 204) used an experimental variant of the simulated negotiation task and demonstrated that simply having a backup plan is not detrimental, but perceiving backup plans to be highly instrumental decreased goal performance, again through the indirect effect of increased means replacing. Study 5 (n = 160) replicated findings from Studies 1-4 using a lab-based motor task (throwing a ball). Together, these results provide first evidence that backup plans can introduce costs that may jeopardize goal performance.

Wolves in sheep’s clothing: Is non-profit status used to signal quality?

Wolves in sheep’s clothing: Is non-profit status used to signal quality? Daniel Jones, Carol Propper & Sarah Smith. Journal of Health Economics,

Abstract: Why do many firms in the healthcare sector adopt non-profit status? One argument is that non-profit status serves as a signal of quality when consumers are not well informed. A testable implication is that an increase in consumer information may lead to a reduction in the number of non-profits in a market. We test this idea empirically by exploiting an exogenous increase in consumer information in the US nursing home industry. We find that the information shock led to a reduction in the share of non-profit homes, driven by a combination of home closure and sector switching. The lowest quality non-profits were the most likely to exit. Our results have important implications for the effects of reforms to increase consumer provision in a number of public services.

JEL classification: L31, L38, I18, I11

Keywords: Non-profit, Quality disclosure, Nursing homes

Do Government Subsidies to Low-income Individuals Affect Interstate Migration? Evidence from the Massachusetts Health Care Reform.

Do Government Subsidies to Low-income Individuals Affect Interstate Migration? Evidence from the Massachusetts Health Care Reform. James Alm & Ali Enami. Regional Science and Urban Economics, September 2017, Pages 119-131,

•    Will low-income individuals move to a state with better health subsidies?
•    This paper estimates the migration impact of the 2006 Massachusetts health care reform.
•    We use difference-in-differences and triple-differences models, with tax return data.
•    We find that the reform had no global effect on the overall movement into the state.
•    We also find that the reform had a border effect on cities closest to the state's borders.

Abstract: Following the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010, many – but not all – states decided to expand their Medicaid program in line with provisions of the new law. Will low-income individuals respond to the incentives of living in a state with better health subsidies by relocating to the state? This paper addresses this question by examining the population growth rate of low-income individuals in Massachusetts following the Massachusetts Health Care Reform (MHCR) of 2006. Like the ACA, the MHCR expanded the Medicaid program, and also provided subsidized health insurance for low-income individuals. Using difference-in-differences and triple-differences models and Internal Revenue Service tax return data, we show that the reform did not have a global effect on the movement of low-income individuals across all cities in Massachusetts. However, we also show that the reform did have a local (or border) effect on the movement into border cities of the state, an effect that is relatively large for cities very close to the border but disappears quickly once the distance to border goes beyond 15 miles.

JEL classification: H24, I13, J11

Keywords: Massachusetts health care reform, Interstate migration, Medicaid expansion, Subsidized health insurance, Border analysis

Engendering Empathy, Begetting Backlash: American Attitudes toward Syrian Refugees

Engendering Empathy, Begetting Backlash: American Attitudes toward Syrian Refugees. Claire Adida, Adeline Lo & Melina Platas. University of California Working Paper, May 2017,

Abstract: Existing research has shown how easily individuals are moved to harbor exclusionary attitudes toward out-group members. Can we foster inclusion instead? This paper leverages the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis – one of the most significant humanitarian crises of our time – to test whether and under what conditions American citizens adopt more inclusionary attitudes and behaviors toward Syrian refugees. We conduct a nationally representative survey of American citizens in the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election and experimentally test two mechanisms hypothesized to promote inclusion: information and empathy. We examine attitudinal measures of acceptance of refugees, as well as a substantively important behavioral measure – writing a letter to the 45th president of the United States in support of refugees. Our results unveil significant effects on attitudes and behavior of both empathy and information treatments that are mediated by partisanship. The empathy treatment resulted in an increase in the likelihood of writing a letter in support of refugees. An examination of heterogeneous effects by party reveals that the empathy treatment engendered inclusionary attitudes among Independents, and the increase in letter writing was driven primarily by Democrats, whose underlying attitudes did not change, but also by Republicans. The information treatment, on the other hand, did not robustly improve attitudes or behavior of Democrats or Independents, and may have induced a backlash among Republicans. We discuss implications for understanding what kinds of interventions increase inclusion and which create backlash.

Remember too: Napier, J. L., Huang, J., Vonasch, A. J., and Bargh, J. A. (2017) Superheroes for Change: Physical Safety Promotes Socially (but Not Economically) Progressive Attitudes among Conservatives. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., doi: 10.1002/ejsp.2315

Acculturational Homophily

Acculturational Homophily. Dafeng Xu. Economics of Education Review, August 2017, Pages 29-42,

Abstract: Economists have long recognized the influence of friends on various outcomes among immigrants, and also observed the benefit of acculturation. This paper lies at the intersection of the above two topics: by focusing on a typical behavior of acculturation, namely English-name usage, I examine the extent of acculturational homophily among Chinese students. Specifically, I investigate the relationship between self English-name usage and English-name usage of close friends using online social networking data on students who receive undergraduate education in China and graduate education in the U.S. The empirical analysis relies on an instrumental variable strategy: I use the indicator of the difficulty of pronouncing the Chinese name in English to instrument for English-name usage. Results suggest the presence of acculturational homophily: students with English-name usage have more close friends who are also English-name users, and the relationship is not based on the number of close friends overall.

Keywords: Acculturation,  Homophily, Migration, International students, Language, Name
JEL Classification: I2 J1 Z1

Hispanic Population Growth Engenders Conservative Shift Among Non-Hispanic Racial Minorities

Hispanic Population Growth Engenders Conservative Shift Among Non-Hispanic Racial Minorities. Maureen Craig & Jennifer Richeson. Social Psychological and Personality Science,

Abstract: The racial/ethnic diversity of the United States is increasing, yet recent social psychological research has focused primarily on White Americans’ reactions to this demographic trend. The present research experimentally examines how members of different racial minority groups perceive increasing diversity, driven by Hispanic population growth, focusing on downstream consequences for political ideology and policy preferences. Four studies reveal that making Hispanic population growth salient leads non-Hispanic racial minorities to identify as more conservative and support more conservative policy positions, compared with control information. The policy preferences of Hispanics, however, were not affected by exposure to information about their in-group’s growth. Considered in tandem with previous research, the present studies suggest that Hispanic population growth may motivate greater support for conservative ideology among members of both racial majority and minority groups.

Immigration, Employment Opportunities, and Criminal Behavior

Immigration, Employment Opportunities, and Criminal Behavior. Matthew Freedman, Emily Owens & Sarah Bohn. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy,

Abstract: We take advantage of provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), which granted legal resident status to long-time unauthorized residents but created new obstacles to employment for more recent immigrants, to explore how employment opportunities affect criminal behavior. Exploiting administrative data on the criminal justice involvement of individuals in San Antonio, Texas and using a triple-differences strategy, we find evidence of an increase in felony charges filed against residents most likely to be negatively affected by IRCA’s employment regulations. Our results suggest a strong relationship between access to legal jobs and criminal behavior.

Treating Objects like Women: The Impact of Terror Management and Objectification on the Perception of Women’s Faces

Treating Objects like Women: The Impact of Terror Management and Objectification on the Perception of Women’s Faces. Christina Roylance, Clay Routledge & Benjamin Balas
Sex Roles,

Abstract: There is a modern trend whereby women’s beauty and attractiveness tends towards the artificial, which appears to be an extreme manifestation of objectification culture. Research suggests that sexual objectification has the ability to alter the way we perceive women. Objectification occurs, in part, because women’s bodies pose a unique existential threat, and objectifying women is believed to mitigate concerns about mortality because it transforms women into something inanimate and thus less mortal. We therefore hypothesized that priming death concerns should impact object-person recognition of women. In the present study we recruited 177 undergraduate students from a U.S. Midwestern university to participate in exchange for course credit. We utilized face-morphing techniques to create a series of images representing a continuum of artificial-to-real faces, and after being exposed to a death reminder (as opposed to a pain reminder comparison condition), we asked participants to rate the extent to which the image appeared artificial. Results suggested that death awareness biases people towards reporting artificial female (but not male) faces as real. Existential concerns about death have an impact on perceptual assessments of women, specifically women who have been turned into literal objects. Future research directions, limitations of the current study, and implications for improving women’s health and well-being with this added knowledge about objectification are discussed.

Keywords: Objectification, Terror management, Perception, Health, Sexism, Social psychology,  Women and gender studies, Implicit attitudes, Gender equality

Effects of Exposure to Alcohol-related Cues on Racial Discrimination

Effects of Exposure to Alcohol-related Cues on Racial Discrimination. Elena Stepanova et al.
European Journal of Social Psychology,

Abstract: Prior research has shown that exposure to alcohol-related images exacerbates expression of implicit racial biases, and that brief exposure to alcohol-related words increases aggressive responses. However, the potential for alcohol cue exposure to elicit differential aggression against a Black (outgroup) relative to a White (ingroup) target — that is, racial discrimination — has never been investigated. Here, we found that White participants (N = 92) exposed to alcohol-related words made harsher judgments of a Black experimenter who had frustrated them than participants who were exposed to nonalcohol words. These findings suggest that exposure to alcohol cues increases discriminatory behaviors toward Blacks.

Spatial Cues Influence the Visual Perception of Gender

Spatial Cues Influence the Visual Perception of Gender. Sarah Lamer, Max Weisbuch & Timothy Sweeny. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

Abstract: Spatial localization is a basic process in vision, occurring reliably when people encounter an object or person. Yet the role of spatial-location in the visual perception of people is poorly understood. We explored the extent to which spatial-location distorts the perception of gender. Consistent with evidence that the perception of objects is constrained by their location in visual scenes, enhancing perception for objects in their typical location (e.g., Biederman et al., 1982), we hypothesized that people would see relatively greater femininity in faces that appeared lower in space. On each of many trials, participants briefly viewed a pair of faces that varied in gender-ambiguity. One face appeared higher than the other, and participants identified the 1 that looked more like a woman’s face (Study 1) or indicated whether the 2 faces were the same (Study 2). Across 2 experiments, participants perceived greater femininity in faces seen lower (vs. higher) in space. These effects seem to be perceptual — changes to spatial location were sufficient for altering whether 2 faces looked identical or different. Thus, spatial-location modulates visual percepts of gender, providing a biased foundation for downstream processes involved in gender biases, sexual attraction, and sex-roles.