Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Reasons Probably Won’t Change Your Mind: The Role of Reasons in Revising Moral Decisions

Stanley, M. L., Dougherty, A. M., Yang, B. W., Henne, P., & De Brigard, F. (2017). Reasons Probably Won’t Change Your Mind: The Role of Reasons in Revising Moral Decisions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000368

Abstract: Although many philosophers argue that making and revising moral decisions ought to be a matter of deliberating over reasons, the extent to which the consideration of reasons informs people’s moral decisions and prompts them to change their decisions remains unclear. Here, after making an initial decision in 2-option moral dilemmas, participants examined reasons for only the option initially chosen (affirming reasons), reasons for only the option not initially chosen (opposing reasons), or reasons for both options. Although participants were more likely to change their initial decisions when presented with only opposing reasons compared with only affirming reasons, these effect sizes were consistently small. After evaluating reasons, participants were significantly more likely not to change their initial decisions than to change them, regardless of the set of reasons they considered. The initial decision accounted for most of the variance in predicting the final decision, whereas the reasons evaluated accounted for a relatively small proportion of the variance in predicting the final decision. This resistance to changing moral decisions is at least partly attributable to a biased, motivated evaluation of the available reasons: participants rated the reasons supporting their initial decisions more favorably than the reasons opposing their initial decisions, regardless of the reported strategy used to make the initial decision. Overall, our results suggest that the consideration of reasons rarely induces people to change their initial decisions in moral dilemmas.

Check also: Deliberation increases the wisdom of crowds. Joaquin Navajas, Tamara Niella, Gerry Garbulsky, Bahador Bahrami, Mariano Sigman. ArXiv Mar 2017, https://arxiv.org/abs/1703.00045

Mothers want extraversion over conscientiousness or intelligence for their children

Mothers want extraversion over conscientiousness or intelligence for their children. Rachel Latham & Sophie von Stumm. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 119, Dec 01 2017, Pages 262-265, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2017.07.037

•    We examined what traits mothers value as most important for their child to have.
•    Mothers valued extraversion as most important for their child.
•    Extraversion was preferred over intelligence and conscientiousness.

Abstract: Intelligence and conscientiousness are key predictors of all important life outcomes, such as socioeconomic success, marital status, health and longevity. It is unclear, however, if and to what extent lay people appreciate these dimensions of individual differences. Here, 142 mothers of 0–12 month old infants were asked to select from each of the Big Five personality traits the facets that they most liked their child to have. Afterwards, mothers rank-ordered the facets they had selected and ‘intelligence’ from most to least important for their child to have. Less than 10% of mothers rated intelligence and the conscientiousness facet as most important. By contrast, 51% rated the extraversion facet as most important, followed by 20% of mothers who favoured the agreeableness facet. Our results suggest that mothers preferred extraversion over intelligence and conscientiousness, despite their strong, empirically demonstrated predictive validity for important life outcomes.

Emission budgets and pathways consistent with limiting warming to 1.5 °C

Emission budgets and pathways consistent with limiting warming to 1.5 °C. Richard J. Millar et al. Nature Geoscience (2017), doi:10.1038/ngeo3031

Abstract: The Paris Agreement has opened debate on whether limiting warming to 1.5 °C is compatible with current emission pledges and warming of about 0.9 °C from the mid-nineteenth century to the present decade. We show that limiting cumulative post-2015 CO2 emissions to about 200 GtC would limit post-2015 warming to less than 0.6 °C in 66% of Earth system model members of the CMIP5 ensemble with no mitigation of other climate drivers, increasing to 240 GtC with ambitious non-CO2 mitigation. We combine a simple climate–carbon-cycle model with estimated ranges for key climate system properties from the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report. Assuming emissions peak and decline to below current levels by 2030, and continue thereafter on a much steeper decline, which would be historically unprecedented but consistent with a standard ambitious mitigation scenario (RCP2.6), results in a likely range of peak warming of 1.2–2.0 °C above the mid-nineteenth century. If CO2 emissions are continuously adjusted over time to limit 2100 warming to 1.5 °C, with ambitious non-CO2 mitigation, net future cumulative CO2 emissions are unlikely to prove less than 250 GtC and unlikely greater than 540 GtC. Hence, limiting warming to 1.5 °C is not yet a geophysical impossibility, but is likely to require delivery on strengthened pledges for 2030 followed by challengingly deep and rapid mitigation. Strengthening near-term emissions reductions would hedge against a high climate response or subsequent reduction rates proving economically, technically or politically unfeasible.

“No one wants to be seen as someone who can’t afford to get online.”

Facebook Faces a New World as Officials Rein In a Wild Web. By PAUL MOZUR, MARK SCOTT and MIKE ISAAC. TNYT, Sept 17, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/17/technology/facebook-government-regulations.html

Facebook expanded its efforts in [Kenya,] country of 48 million in 2014. It teamed up with Airtel Africa, a mobile operator, to roll out Facebook’s Free Basics — a no-fee version of the social network, with access to certain news, health, job and other services there and in more than 20 other countries worldwide. In Kenya, the average person has a budget of just 30 cents a day to spend on internet access.

Free Basics now lets Kenyans use Facebook and its Messenger service at no cost, as well as read news from a Kenyan newspaper and view information about public health programs. Joe Mucheru, Kenya’s tech minister, said it at least gives his countrymen a degree of internet access.

Still, Facebook’s plans have not always worked out. Many Kenyans with access to Free Basics rely on it only as a backup when their existing smartphone credit runs out.

“Free Basics? I don’t really use it that often,” said Victor Odinga, 27, an accountant in downtown Nairobi. “No one wants to be seen as someone who can’t afford to get online.”

Encouraging consumers to take photos of sentimental possessions before donating them increases donations

Karen Page Winterich, Rebecca Walker Reczek, and Julie R. Irwin (2017) Keeping the Memory but Not the Possession: Memory Preservation Mitigates Identity Loss from Product Disposition. Journal of Marketing: September 2017, Vol. 81, No. 5, pp. 104-120. https://doi.org/10.1509/jm.16.0311

Abstract: Nonprofit firms' reliance on donations to build inventory distinguishes them from traditional retailers. This reliance on consumer donations means that these organizations face an inherently more volatile supply chain than retailers that source inventory from manufacturers. The authors propose that consumer reluctance to part with possessions with sentimental value causes a bottleneck in the donation process. The goal of this research is therefore to provide nonprofits with tools to increase donations of used goods and provide a theoretical link between the literature streams on prosocial behavior, disposition, memory, and identity. As such, the authors explore the effectiveness of memory preservation strategies (e.g., taking a photo of a good before donating it) in increasing donations to nonprofits. A field study using a donation drive demonstrates that encouraging consumers to take photos of sentimental possessions before donating them increases donations, and five laboratory experiments explicate this result by mapping the proposed psychological process behind the success of memory preservation techniques. Specifically, these techniques operate by ameliorating consumers' perceived identity loss when considering donation of sentimental goods.

Keywords: nonprofit marketing, donation, memory, identity, product disposition

Propensity for self-employment and success increase with ability balance

All About Balance? A Test of the Jack-of-all-Trades Theory Using Military Enlistment Data. Lina Aldén, Mats Hammarstedt, and Emma Neuman. Labour Economics. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.labeco.2017.09.001

•    We test the Jack-of-all-trades theory using Swedish military enlistment data
•    Ability balance is measured based on tests of cognitive and non-cognitive ability
•    The unique data addresses the issue of endogeneity in skill balance
•    We find that both propensity for self-employment and success increase with ability balance
•    Policies for skill-building in many areas should encourage self-employment

Abstract: According to the Jack-of-all-trades theory, people with a balanced set of skills are more suitable for self-employment than are those without. In this paper we test this theory using Swedish Military Enlistment data. This data enables us to construct a measure of balance in abilities that, in comparison to measures used in previous research, is less contaminated by endogeneity problems. We find clear support for the Jack-of-all-trades theory, in the sense that the likelihood of being self-employed is higher for individuals whose skills are balanced. In addition, their earnings from self-employment tend to be higher.

Keywords: Ability balance; Cognitive and non-cognitive ability; Earnings; Jack-of-all-trades theory; Occupational choice; Self-employment

JEL-classification: J24; J31; L26