Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Supplementing multivitamins and iodine to deficient children and learning to play a musical instrument raises the IQ

Raising IQ among school-aged children: Five meta-analyses and a review of randomized controlled trials. John Protzko. Developmental Review, Volume 46, December 2017, Pages 81-101.

•    There have been 36 RCTs attempting to raise IQ in school-aged children.
•    Nutrient supplementation includes multivitamins, iron, iodine, and zinc.
•    Training includes EF and reasoning training, and learning a musical instrument.
•    We meta-analyze this literature to provide a best-evidence summary to date.
•    Multivitamin & iodine supplementation, and learning a musical instrument, raise IQ.

Abstract: In this paper, we examine nearly every available randomized controlled trial that attempts to raise IQ in children from once they begin kindergarten until pre-adolescence. We use meta-analytic procedures when there are more than three studies employing similar methods, reviewing individual interventions when too few replications are available for a quantitative analysis. All studies included in this synthesis are on non-clinical populations. This yields five fixed-effects meta-analyses on the roles of dietary supplementation with multivitamins, iron, and iodine, as well as executive function training, and learning to play a musical instrument. We find that supplementing a deficient child with multivitamins raises their IQ, supplementing a deficient child with iodine raises their IQ, and learning to play a musical instrument raises a child’s IQ. The role of iron, and executive function training are unreliable in their estimates. We also subject each meta-analytic result to a series of robustness checks. In each meta-analysis, we discuss probable causal mechanisms for how each of these procedures raises intelligence. Though each meta-analysis includes a moderate to small number of studies (< 19 effect sizes), our purpose is to highlight the best available evidence and encourage the continued experimentation in each of these fields.

Deciding for oneself, we are averse to loss; deciding for one other, aversion is significantly reduced

Decision making for others: The case of loss aversion. Sascha C. F├╝llbrunn and Wolfgang J. Luhan. Economics Letters,

•    We test whether loss aversion plays a role in risky decisions making for others.
•    Deciding for oneself, we find loss aversion levels similar to the literature.
•    Deciding for one other only, we find loss aversion to be significantly reduced.
•    Deciding for oneself and one other at the same time, we find no difference.

Abstract: Risky decisions are at the core of economic theory. While many of these decisions are taken on behalf of others rather than for oneself, the existing literature finds mixed results on whether people take more or less risk for others then for themselves. Recent studies suggest that taking decisions for others reduces loss aversion, thereby increasing risk taking on behalf of others. To test this, we elicit loss aversion in three treatments: making risky decisions for oneself, for one other subject, or for the decision maker and another person combined. We find a clear treatment effect when making decisions for others but not when making decisions for both.

JEL classification: C9; D3; D8
Keywords: Decision making for others; Risk taking; Loss aversion; Experiment

Acquiescence: People can explicitly recognize that their intuitive judgment is wrong but, nevertheless, stick with it

Risen JL. Acquiescing to intuition: Believing what we know isn't so. Soc Personal Psychol Compass. 2017;e12358.

Abstract: When people identify an error in their initial judgment, they typically try to correct it. But, in some cases, they choose not to—even when they know, in the moment, that they are being irrational or making a mistake. A baseball fan may know that he cannot affect the pitcher from his living room but still be reluctant to say “no-hitter.” A person may learn that flying in an airplane is statistically safer than driving a car and still refuse to fly. Dual-process models of judgment and decision making often implicitly assume that if an error is detected, it will be corrected. Recent work suggests, however, that models should decouple error detection and correction. Indeed, people can explicitly recognize that their intuitive judgment is wrong but, nevertheless, stick with it, a phenomenon known as acquiescence. My goals are to offer criteria for identifying acquiescence, consider why people acquiesce even when it incurs a cost, discuss how lessons that are learned in cases when acquiescence is clearly identified can be exported to cases when acquiescence may be harder to establish, and, more broadly, describe the implications of a model that decouples error detection and error correction.

Why museum visitors touch the exhibits when they do not have permission to do so

Rehabilitating unauthorised touch or why museum visitors touch the exhibits. Fiona Candlin.  The Senses and Society, Volume 12, 2017 - Issue 3, Pages 251-266.

Abstract: In 2014 The Senses and Society published a special issue on “Sensory Museology.” Registering the emergence of this new multi-disciplinary field, the editor usefully observed that “its most salient trend has been the rehabilitation of touch.” Arguably, however, touch has only been rehabilitated as an area of study insofar as it is authorised by the museum. Scholars have rarely considered the propensity of visitors to touch museum exhibits when they do not have permission to do so. In this article I suggest that the academic emphasis on authorised forms of contact privileges the institution’s aims and perspective. Conversely, researching unauthorised touch places a higher degree of emphasis on the visitors’ motivations and responses, and has the capacity to bring dominant characterisations of the museum into question. I substantiate and work through these claims by drawing on interview-based research conducted at the British Museum, and by investigating why visitors touch the exhibits without permission, what they touch, and what experiences that encounter enables.

Keywords: Sensory museology, touch, museums, exhibits, visitors, vandalism

Thus, the visitors therefore touched the objects on display to establish that were real and not replicas, to find out about the material qualities of an exhibit and the processes by which it was made, and to get a grasp on the skill involved in its manufacture. They also touched to make contact with the past. It is possible that a consciousness of being connected to past eras and peoples is what prompts visitors to touch, but judging from the interviews it seems that this experience is predicated on actual contact. Visitors needed to put their hands into the places that their predecessors touched, or to use their bodies to mimic the shapes of the initial makers and users in order to conceive of, or to bridge the enormous geographical and historical distances that lie between them and the objects’ contexts of production.
For the visitors, touching the sculptures of animals and humans had a markedly different dynamic to that of touching architectural exhibits such as columns or sarcophagi. It did not provide a connection with the past, rather the representational character of the sculptures outweighed the consideration of who made the carvings, when, and under what conditions. These sculptures were not primarily conceived as products of human endeavor, but as quasi-men, women, and animals.
A similar logic applied to the way that visitors touched other figures, both clothed and unclothed, and animals. Visitors behaved in ways that were appropriate to the real-life version of that thing, for example, stroking a horse’s nose, but precisely because it is a carving, they were free to push the boundaries of what is acceptable or safe.

A Replication of Thomas Piketty's Data on the Concentration of Wealth in the US. By Richard Sutch

The One Percent across Two Centuries: A Replication of Thomas Piketty's Data on the Concentration of Wealth in the United States. Richard Sutch. Social Science History, Volume 41, Issue 4, Winter 2017 , pp. 587-613.

Abstract: This exercise reproduces and assesses the historical time series on the top shares of the wealth distribution for the United States presented by Thomas Piketty in Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Piketty's best-selling book has gained as much attention for its extensive presentation of detailed historical statistics on inequality as for its bold and provocative predictions about a continuing rise in inequality in the twenty-first century. Here I examine Piketty's US data for the period 1810 to 2010 for the top 10 percent and the top 1 percent of the wealth distribution. I conclude that Piketty's data for the wealth share of the top 10 percent for the period 1870 to 1970 are unreliable. The values he reported are manufactured from the observations for the top 1 percent inflated by a constant 36 percentage points. Piketty's data for the top 1 percent of the distribution for the nineteenth century (1810–1910) are also unreliable. They are based on a single mid-century observation that provides no guidance about the antebellum trend and only tenuous information about the trend in inequality during the Gilded Age. The values Piketty reported for the twentieth century (1910–2010) are based on more solid ground, but have the disadvantage of muting the marked rise of inequality during the Roaring Twenties and the decline associated with the Great Depression. This article offers an alternative picture of the trend in inequality based on newly available data and a reanalysis of the 1870 Census of Wealth. This article does not question Piketty's integrity.

Very little of value can be salvaged from Piketty’s treatment of data from the nineteenth century. The user is provided with no reliable information on the antebellum trends in the wealth share and is even left uncertain about the trend for the top 10 percent during the Gilded Age (1870–1916). This is noteworthy because Piketty spends the bulk of his attention devoted to America discussing the nineteenth-century trends (Piketty 2014: 347–50).

The heavily manipulated twentieth-century data for the top 1 percent share, the lack of empirical support for the top 10 percent share, the lack of clarity about the procedures used to harmonize and average the data, the insufficient documentation, and the spreadsheet errors are more than annoying. Together they create a misleading picture of the dynamics of wealth inequality. They obliterate the intradecade movements essential to an understanding of the impact of political and financial-market shocks on inequality. Piketty’s estimates offer no help to those who wish to understand the impact of inequality on “the way economic, social, and political actors view what is just and what is not” (Piketty 2014: 20).

Hunting Strategies with Cultivated Plants as Bait and the Prey Pathway to Animal Domestication

Hunting Strategies with Cultivated Plants as Bait and the Prey Pathway to Animal Domestication. Serge Svizzero. International Journal of Research in Sociology and Anthropology, Volume 2, Issue 2, 2016, PP 53-68.

Abstract: For various reasons related to human diet, social prestige or cosmology, hunting -especially of large preys- has always been central in foragers' societies. When pre-Neolithic foragers have iven up their nomadic way of life they have faced a sink-source problem about game procurement in the resource-catchment area around their settlements. Baiting, by mean of the cultivation of wild plants in food plots, may have help them to attract herbivores, thus improving the return of hunting activities. These foragers were also motivated by the capture of wild animals alive, in order to keep fresh meat for a while, to translocate these animals or for milk exploitation. For this capture, the use of a passive form of drive hunting seems best suited. The cultivation of food plots within the funnel and the corral might have been used to attract wild herbivores into the drive. Baiting was therefore designed either to increase the hunt or to improve the capture of large wild herbivores such as the Near-Eastern wild caprines that were later domesticated. Therefore baiting should be viewed as a hunting strategy as well as an unconscious selection mechanism since it has inadvertently contributed to the prey pathway to animal domestication

Keywords: Neolithic revolutions, hunter-gatherers, sedentism, animal domestication, unconscious  selection, large herbivores, drive hunting, Near East.

Home sharing driving up rents. Evidence from Airbnb in Boston

Is home sharing driving up rents? Evidence from Airbnb in Boston. Keren Horn & Mark Merante. Journal of Housing Economics, Volume 38, December 2017, Pages 14-24.

Abstract: The growth of the sharing economy has received increasing attention from economists. Some researchers have examined how these new business models shape market mechanisms and, in the case of home sharing, economists have examined how the sharing economy affects the hotel industry. There is currently limited evidence on whether home sharing affects the housing market, despite the obvious overlap between these two markets. As a result, policy makers grappling with the effects of the rapid growth of home sharing have inadequate information on which to make reasoned policy decisions. In this paper, we add to the small but growing body of knowledge on how the sharing economy is shaping the housing market by focusing on the short-term effects of the growth of Airbnb in Boston neighborhoods on the rental market, relying on individual rental listings. We examine whether the increasing presence of Airbnb raises asking rents and whether the change in rents may be driven by a decline in the supply of housing offered for rent. We show that a one standard deviation increase in Airbnb listings is associated with an increase in asking rents of 0.4%.

Ultimately, our analysis supports the contention that home sharing is increasing rents by decreasing the supply of units available to potential residents

For political candidates, an increased audience diversity is associated with a reduced ‘Liking’

Trumped by context collapse: Examination of ‘Liking’ political candidates in the presence of audience diversity. Ben Marder. Computers in Human Behavior,

•    Examination of the effect of audience diversity on ‘Liking’ political candidates.
•    Survey of 1027 potential voters prior the 2016 US presidential election.
•    Increased audience diversity is associated with a reduced ‘Liking’.
•    Increased audience diversity predicts greater social anxiety.
•    ‘Non-Likers’ have a more diverse audience than ‘Likers’.

Abstract: Harnessing social media such as Facebook is now considered critical for electoral success. Although Facebook is widely used by the electorate, few have ‘Liked’ the Facebook pages of the political candidates for whom they vote. To provide understanding of this discrepancy, the present paper offers the first investigation on the role of audience diversity on ‘Liking’ behavior, as well as its association with varying degrees of social anxiety that may arise from ‘Liking’ political candidates. A survey of potential voters who used Facebook preceding the 2016 Presidential Election was conducted ( = 1027). Using the lens of Self-Presentation Theory, results found that for those who had not already ‘Liked’ Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, their intention to do so before the election was negatively associated with the diversity of their Facebook audience. This relationship was mediated by their expected degree of social anxiety from ‘Liking’ the candidate. A comparison of audience diversity of participants who had ‘Liked’ a candidate vs. those who had not ‘Liked’ a candidate also showed that increased audience diversity hinders ‘Liking’. This paper contributes to the knowledge of engagement with politicians through social media as well as the study of audience diversity more generally. Implications for managers are provided.

Keywords: Social media; Politics; Context collapse; Social anxiety; Facebook; Audience diversity

Psychedelic use associated with reduced odds of larceny/theft, assault, arrest for a property crime & for a violent crime

The relationships of classic psychedelic use with criminal behavior in the United States adult population. Peter S Hendricks et al. Journal of Psychopharmacology,

Abstract: Criminal behavior exacts a large toll on society and is resistant to intervention. Some evidence suggests classic psychedelics may inhibit criminal behavior, but the extent of these effects has not been comprehensively explored. In this study, we tested the relationships of classic psychedelic use and psilocybin use per se with criminal behavior among over 480,000 United States adult respondents pooled from the last 13 available years of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2002 through 2014) while controlling for numerous covariates. Lifetime classic psychedelic use was associated with a reduced odds of past year larceny/theft (aOR = 0.73 (0.65–0.83)), past year assault (aOR = 0.88 (0.80–0.97)), past year arrest for a property crime (aOR = 0.78 (0.65–0.95)), and past year arrest for a violent crime (aOR = 0.82 (0.70–0.97)). In contrast, lifetime illicit use of other drugs was, by and large, associated with an increased odds of these outcomes. Lifetime classic psychedelic use, like lifetime illicit use of almost all other substances, was associated with an increased odds of past year drug distribution. Results were consistent with a protective effect of psilocybin for antisocial criminal behavior. These findings contribute to a compelling rationale for the initiation of clinical research with classic psychedelics, including psilocybin, in forensic settings.