Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Seeing live theater yields higher levels of tolerance, social perspective taking, & stronger command of the plot & vocabulary of those plays

Greene, Jay P. and Holmes Erickson, Heidi and Watson, Angela and Beck, Molly, The Play's the Thing: Experimentally Examining the Social and Cognitive Effects of School Field Trips to Live Theater Performances (August 31, 2017). EDRE Working Paper No. 2017-13. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3030928

Abstract: Field trips to see theater performances are a long-standing educational practice, however, there is little systematic evidence demonstrating educational benefits. This article describes the results of five random assignment experiments spanning two years where school groups were assigned by lottery to attend a live theater performance, or for some groups, watch a movie-version of the same story. We find significant educational benefits from seeing live theater, including higher levels of tolerance, social perspective taking, and stronger command of the plot and vocabulary of those plays. Students randomly assigned to watch a movie did not experience these benefits. Our findings also suggest that theater field trips may cultivate the desire among students to frequent the theater in the future.

More modesty, less trust -- The law of Jante

The Law of Jante and generalized trust. Cornelius Cappelen & Stefan Dahlberg. Acta Sociologica, https://doi.org/10.1177/0001699317717319

Abstract: A widespread cultural phenomenon – and/or individual disposition – is the idea that one should never try to be more, try to be different, or consider oneself more valuable than other people. In Scandinavia this code of modesty is referred to as the ‘Jante mentality’, in Anglo-Saxon societies the ‘tall puppy syndrome’, and in Asian cultures ‘the nail that stands out gets hammered down’. The study reported here examines how this modesty code relates to generalized trust. We argue, prima facie, that a positive and a negative relationship are equally plausible. Representative samples of the Norwegian population were asked about their agreement with the Jante mentality and the extent to which they have trust in other people. Two population surveys were conducted; one measuring individual level associations and another measuring aggregate level associations. It was found that the relationship between having a Jante mentality and trust is negative, at both levels of analysis and, furthermore, that the Jante mentality – this modesty code assumed to be instilled in Scandinavians from early childhood – is a powerful predictor of generalized trust.

Low relational mobility leads to greater motivation to understand enemies but not friends and acquaintances

Low relational mobility leads to greater motivation to understand enemies but not friends and acquaintances. Liman Man Wai Li, Takahiko Masuda & Hajin Lee. British Journal of Social Psychology, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bjso.12216/abstract

Abstract: Enemyship occurs across societies, but it has not received as much attention as other types of relationships such as friendship in previous research. This research examined the influence of relational mobility on people's motivation to understand their personal enemies by measuring different dependent variables across three studies. First, a cross-cultural comparison study found that Hong Kong Chinese, from a low-relational-mobility society, reported a stronger desire to seek proximity to enemies relative to European Canadians, from a high-relational-mobility society (Study 1). To test causality, two manipulation studies were conducted. Participants were presented with images of co-workers, including enemies, friends, and acquaintances, in a hypothetical company. The results showed that the participants who perceived lower relational mobility paid more attention to their enemies in an eye-tracking task (Study 2) and had a higher accuracy rate for recognizing the faces of the enemies in an incidental memory test (Study 3). In contrast, the influence of relational mobility on motivation to understand friends and acquaintances was minimal. Implications for research on interpersonal relationships and relational mobility are discussed.

The Split-Brain Phenomenon Revisited: A Single Conscious Agent with Split Perception

The Split-Brain Phenomenon Revisited: A Single Conscious Agent with Split Perception. Yair Pinto, Edward H.F de Haan, and Victor A.F. Lamme. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2017.09.003

Abstract: The split-brain phenomenon is caused by the surgical severing of the corpus callosum, the main route of communication between the cerebral hemispheres. The classical view of this syndrome asserts that conscious unity is abolished. The left hemisphere consciously experiences and functions independently of the right hemisphere. This view is a cornerstone of current consciousness research. In this review, we first discuss the evidence for the classical view. We then propose an alternative, the ‘conscious unity, split perception’ model. This model asserts that a split brain produces one conscious agent who experiences two parallel, unintegrated streams of information. In addition to changing our view of the split-brain phenomenon, this new model also poses a serious challenge for current dominant theories of consciousness.


Five hallmarks characterize the split-brain syndrome: a response × visual field interaction, strong hemispheric specialization, confabulations after left-hand actions, split attention, and the inability to compare stimuli across the midline.

These hallmarks underlie the classical notion that split brain implies split consciousness. This notion suggests that massive interhemispheric communication is necessary for conscious unity.

Closer examination challenges the classical notion. Either the hallmark also occurs in healthy adults or the hallmark does not hold up for all split-brain patients.

A re-evaluation of the split-brain data suggests a new model that might better account for the data. This model asserts that a split-brain patient is one conscious agent with unintegrated visual perception.

This new model challenges prominent theories of consciousness, since it implies that massive communication is not needed for conscious unity.

Keywords: global workspace; information integration theory; recurrent processing; split brain; unified consciousness

Fewer adolescents engaged in adult activities such as having sex, dating, drinking alcohol, working for pay, going out without their parents, & driving

Twenge, J. M. and Park, H. (2017), The Decline in Adult Activities Among U.S. Adolescents, 1976–2016. Child Dev. doi:10.1111/cdev.12930

Abstract: The social and historical contexts may influence the speed of development. In seven large, nationally representative surveys of U.S. adolescents 1976–2016 (N = 8.44 million, ages 13–19), fewer adolescents in recent years engaged in adult activities such as having sex, dating, drinking alcohol, working for pay, going out without their parents, and driving, suggesting a slow life strategy. Adult activities were less common when median income, life expectancy, college enrollment, and age at first birth were higher and family size and pathogen prevalence were lower, consistent with life history theory. The trends are unlikely to be due to homework and extracurricular time, which stayed steady or declined, and may or may not be linked to increased Internet use.