Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Stability of Implicit Racial Bias in Police Officers -- Policemen need to sleep better

The Stability of Implicit Racial Bias in Police Officers. Lois James. Police Quarterly,

Abstract: Research on police officers has found that they tend to associate African Americans with threat. Little is known however about the stability of implicit racial bias in police officers, whose attitudes could be expected to fluctuate based on their day-to-day encounters or from internal stressors such as fatigue. To investigate, this study tested 80 police officers using the Weapons Implicit Association Test (IAT) on four separate occasions. Officers’ sleep was also monitored using wrist actigraphy. Officers’ IAT scores varied significantly across the testing days (f = 2.36; df = 1.468; p < .05), and differences in IAT scores were associated with officers’ sleep (f = 6.49; df = 1.468; p < .05). These findings indicate that implicit racial bias was not stable among officers, and that when officers slept less prior to testing they demonstrated stronger association between Black Americans and weapons. The implications of these findings within the current climate of police–citizen unrest are discussed.

Doctors should be more sensitive to the limitations of the evidence, training them to do critical appraisal, & enhancing their communication skills

Ioannidis, J. P. A., Stuart, M. E., Brownlee, S. and Strite, S. A. (), How To Survive the Medical Misinformation Mess. Eur J Clin Invest. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/eci.12834

Abstract: Most physicians and other healthcare professionals are unaware of the pervasiveness of poor quality clinical evidence that contributes considerably to overuse, underuse, avoidable adverse events, missed opportunities for right care and wasted healthcare resources. The Medical Misinformation Mess comprises four key problems. First, much published medical research is not reliable or is of uncertain reliability, offers no benefit to patients, or is not useful to decision makers. Second, most healthcare professionals are not aware of this problem. Third, they also lack the skills necessary to evaluate the reliability and usefulness of medical evidence. Finally, patients and families frequently lack relevant, accurate medical evidence and skilled guidance at the time of medical decision-making. Increasing the reliability of available, published evidence may not be an imminently reachable goal. Therefore, efforts should focus on making healthcare professionals, more sensitive to the limitations of the evidence, training them to do critical appraisal, and enhancing their communication skills so that they can effectively summarize and discuss medical evidence with patients to improve decision-making. Similar efforts may need to target also patients, journalists, policy makers, the lay public and other healthcare stakeholders.

In our encounters with students, clinicians, and others working in the healthcare industry (including academicians, researchers, editors, peer reviewers, pharmacists, regulators, politicians and employees of insurance companies, hospitals, the pharmaceutical industry and new technology companies), we have found a lack of the basic skills required for determining a study’s reliability and applicability. For example, in a pre-test administered to a sampling of more than 500 physicians, clinical pharmacists and other healthcare professionals attending evidence-based medicine (EBM) training programs in 2002 and 2003, 70 percent failed a simple 3-question critical appraisal training program test. The three pre-test questions were designed to determine if attendees could recognize the absence of a control group, understand the issue of overestimating benefit when provided with relative risk reduction information without absolute difference information, and determine whether an intention-to-treat analysis was performed. Surprisingly, among those who reported feeling confident to evaluate the medical literature, 72 percent failed the test, even with generous criteria for correct answers [25]. We have repeated the same pre-test with various groups each year with similar results.

Personality Change in the Preclinical Phase of Alzheimer Disease

Personality Change in the Preclinical Phase of Alzheimer Disease. Antonio Terracciano et al.
JAMA Psychiatry. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.2816.

 Key Points

Question  Do changes in personality traits occur before the onset of mild cognitive impairment or clinical dementia?

Findings  In a cohort study that followed up 2046 older adults for as long as 36 years, no evidence of significant change in self-rated personality was found before the onset of mild cognitive impairment or clinical dementia.

Meaning  No personality changes that could be characterized as an early sign of dementia were found.

Importance  Changes in behavior and personality are 1 criterion for the diagnosis of dementia. It is unclear, however, whether such changes begin before the clinical onset of the disease.

Objective  To determine whether increases in neuroticism, declines in conscientiousness, and changes in other personality traits occur before the onset of mild cognitive impairment or dementia.

Design, Setting, and Participants  A cohort of 2046 community-dwelling older adults who volunteered to participate in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging were included. The study examined personality and clinical assessments obtained between 1980 and July 13, 2016, from participants with no cognitive impairment at first assessment who were followed up for as long as 36 years (mean [SD], 12.05 [9.54] years). The self-report personality scales were not considered during consensus diagnostic conferences.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Change in self-rated personality traits assessed in the preclinical phase of Alzheimer disease and other dementias with the Revised NEO Personality Inventory, a 240-item questionnaire that assesses 30 facets, 6 for each of the 5 major dimensions: neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.

Results  Of the 2046 participants, 931 [45.5%] were women; mean (SD) age at first assessment was 62.56 (14.63) years. During 24 569 person-years, mild cognitive impairment was diagnosed in 104 (5.1%) individuals, and all-cause dementia was diagnosed in 255 (12.5%) participants, including 194 (9.5%) with Alzheimer disease. Multilevel modeling that accounted for age, sex, race, and educational level found significant differences on the intercept of several traits: individuals who developed dementia scored higher on neuroticism (β = 2.83; 95% CI, 1.44 to 4.22; P < .001) and lower on conscientiousness (β = −3.34; 95% CI, −4.93 to −1.75; P < .001) and extraversion (β = −1.74; 95% CI, −3.23 to −0.25; P = .02). Change in personality (ie, slope), however, was not significantly different between the nonimpaired and the Alzheimer disease groups (eg, neuroticism: β = 0.00; 95% CI, −0.08 to 0.08; P = .91; conscientiousness: β = −0.06; 95% CI, −0.16 to 0.04; P = .24). Slopes for individuals who developed mild cognitive impairment (eg, neuroticism: β = 0.00; 95% CI, −0.12 to 0.12; P = .98; conscientiousness: β = −0.09; 95% CI, −0.23 to 0.05; P = .18) and all-cause dementia (eg, neuroticism: β = 0.02; 95% CI, −0.06 to 0.10; P = .49; conscientiousness: β = −0.08; 95% CI, −0.16 to 0.00; P = .07) were also similar to those for nonimpaired participants.

Conclusions and Relevance  No evidence for preclinical change in personality before the onset of mild cognitive impairment or dementia was identified. These findings provide evidence against the reverse causality hypothesis and strengthen evidence for personality traits as a risk factor for dementia.

The Cognitive-Evolutionary Model of Surprise: A Review of the Evidence

Reisenzein, R., Horstmann, G. and Schützwohl, A. (2017), The Cognitive-Evolutionary Model of Surprise: A Review of the Evidence. Topics in Cogn Sci. doi:10.1111/tops.12292

Abstract: Research on surprise relevant to the cognitive-evolutionary model of surprise proposed by Meyer, Reisenzein, and Schützwohl (1997) is reviewed. The majority of the assumptions of the model are found empirically supported. Surprise is evoked by unexpected (schema-discrepant) events and its intensity is determined by the degree if schema-discrepancy, whereas the novelty and the valence of the eliciting events probably do not have an independent effect. Unexpected events cause an automatic interruption of ongoing mental processes that is followed by an attentional shift and attentional binding to the events, which is often followed by causal and other event analysis processes and by schema revision. The facial expression of surprise postulated by evolutionary emotion psychologists has been found to occur rarely in surprise, for as yet unknown reasons. A physiological orienting response marked by skin conductance increase, heart rate deceleration, and pupil dilation has been observed to occur regularly in the standard version of the repetition-change paradigm of surprise induction, but the specificity of these reactions as indicators of surprise is controversial. There is indirect evidence for the assumption that the feeling of surprise consists of the direct awareness of the schema-discrepancy signal, but this feeling, or at least the self-report of surprise, is also influenced by experienced interference. In contrast, facial feedback probably does contribute substantially to the feeling of surprise and the evidence for the hypothesis that surprise is affected by the difficulty of explaining an unexpected event is, in our view, inconclusive. Regardless of how the surprise feeling is constituted, there is evidence that it has both motivational and informational effects. Finally, the prediction failure implied by unexpected events sometimes causes a negative feeling, but there is no convincing evidence that this is always the case, and we argue that even if it were so, this would not be a sufficient reason for regarding this feeling as a component, rather than as an effect of surprise.

Understanding the 2016 US Presidential Polls: The Importance of Hidden Trump Supporters

Understanding the 2016 US Presidential Polls: The Importance of Hidden Trump Supporters. Peter Enns, Julius Lagodny and Jonathon Schuldt. Statistics, Politics and Policy,

Abstract: Following Donald Trump’s unexpected victory in the 2016 US presidential election, the American Association for Public Opinion Research announced that “the polls clearly got it wrong” and noted that talk of a “crisis in polling” was already emerging. Although the national polls ended up being accurate, surveys just weeks before the election substantially over-stated Clinton’s lead and state polls showed systematic bias in favor of Clinton. Different explanations have been offered for these results, including non-response bias and late deciders. We argue, however, that these explanations cannot fully account for Trump’s underperformance in October surveys. Utilizing data from two national polls that we conducted in October of 2016 (n>2100 total) as well as 14 state-level polls from October, we find consistent evidence for the existence of “hidden” Trump supporters who were included in the surveys but did not openly express their intention to vote for Trump. Most notably, when we account for these hidden Trump supporters in our October survey data, both national and state-level analyses foreshadow Trump’s Election Day support. These results suggest that late-breaking campaign events may have had less influence than previously thought and the findings hold important implications for how scholars, media, and campaigns analyze future election surveys.

Check also: Social Desirability Bias and Polling Errors in the 2016 Presidential Election. Andy Brownback and Aaron Novotny. University of Arkansas Working Paper, July 2017,

The Foreign Investor Bias and Its Linguistic Origins

The Foreign Investor Bias and Its Linguistic Origins. Russell Lundholm, Nafis Rahman & Rafael Rogo. Management Science,

Abstract: We study how misaligned language between the investor and the firm contributes to the underweighting of foreign securities in an international portfolio. In particular, we document a significant U.S. institutional investor bias against firms located in Quebec relative to firms located in the rest of Canada (ROC). The differential bias is surprising given that (i) Quebec and the other Canadian provinces share the same nationality, federal law, stock exchange, and accounting standards; (ii) their regulatory filings are prepared in English and French; and (iii) U.S. institutional investors are sophisticated and located close to Quebec and the ROC. We also examine Quebec firms with different levels of French versus English online presences as well as those with CEOs who have U.S. work experience or board members or financial analysts who reside in the United States. We find that each factor affects the relative underweighting of investment in Quebec versus the ROC. Finally, we contrast the holdings of institutional investors located in the United Kingdom and France to bolster our conclusion that incongruent languages contribute to the underweighting of Quebec firms relative to firms in the ROC.

Keywords: home bias; investor bias; language; Quebec

My comment: In our search of homogeneity we can go so far as to avoid some business opportunities if we feel the other part will be too foreign for our tastes.

Altruists lie like the others unless lying hurts another party

Do the Altruists Lie Less? Rudolf Kerschbamer, Daniel Neururer, and Alexander Gruber. August 28, 2017.

Abstract: Much is known about heterogeneity in social preferences and about heterogeneity in lying aversion -- but little is known about the relation between the two at the individual level. Are the altruists simply upright persons who do not only care about the well-being of others but also about honesty? And are the selfish those who lie whenever lying maximizes their material payoff? This paper addresses those questions in experiments that first elicit preferences and then let them make decisions in an environment where lying increases the own material payo¤ and has either consequences for the payoffs of others or no consequences for others. We find that altruists lie less when lying hurts another party but we do not find any evidence in support of the hypothesis that altruists are more (or less) averse to lying than others in environments where lying has no effects on the payoffs of others