Friday, September 7, 2018

Liberals—but not conservatives—presented less competence to Black interaction partners than to White ones in sophistication of vocabulary selected for assignment, competence-related traits selected for introduction, & competence-related content of open-ended introductions

Dupree, Cydney H., and Susan Fiske. 2018. “Self-presentation in Interracial Settings: The Competence Downshift by White Liberals.” PsyArXiv. September 7. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: Most Whites, particularly socio-political liberals, now endorse racial equality. Archival and experimental research reveals a subtle but reliable ironic consequence: White liberals self-present less competence to minorities than to other Whites—that is, they patronize minorities stereotyped as lower status and less competent. In an initial archival demonstration of the competence downshift, Study 1 examined the content of White Republican and Democratic presidential candidates’ campaign speeches. Although Republican candidates did not significantly shift language based on audience racial composition, Democratic candidates used less competence-related language to minority audiences than to White audiences. Across five experiments (total N = 2,157), White participants responded to a Black or White hypothetical (Studies 2, 3, 4, S1) or ostensibly real (Study 5) interaction partner. Three indicators of self-presentation converged: sophistication of vocabulary selected for an assignment, competence-related traits selected for an introduction, and competence-related content of brief, open-ended introductions. Conservatism indicators included: self-reported political affiliation (liberal-conservative), Right-Wing Authoritarianism (values-based conservatism) and Social Dominance Orientation (hierarchy-based conservatism). Internal meta-analyses revealed that liberals—but not conservatives—presented less competence to Black interaction partners than to White ones. The simple effect was small but significant across studies, and most reliable for the self-reported measure of conservatism. This possibly unintentional but ultimately patronizing competence-downshift suggests that well-intentioned liberal Whites may draw on low-status/competence stereotypes to affiliate with minorities.

Too much meritocracy (accuracy of performance ranking in contests), can be a bad thing: in contests with homogeneous agents, it reduces output and is Pareto inefficient; with sufficiently heterogeneous agents, discouragement & complacency effects further reduce the benefits of meritocracy

Morgan, John and Tumlinson, Justin and Várdy, Felix, The Limits of Meritocracy (July 20, 2018). Available at SSRN:

Abstract: We show that too much meritocracy, modeled as accuracy of performance ranking in contests, can be a bad thing: in contests with homogeneous agents, it reduces output and is Pareto inefficient. In contests with sufficiently heterogeneous agents, discouragement and complacency effects further reduce the benefits of meritocracy. Perfect meritocracy may be optimal only for intermediate levels of heterogeneity.

Keywords: Contest Theory; Mechanism Design; Auctions
JEL Classification: D82; D44

Good Things for Those Who Wait: Predictive Modeling Highlights Importance of Delay Discounting for Income Attainment

Good Things for Those Who Wait: Predictive Modeling Highlights Importance of Delay Discounting for Income Attainment. William H. Hampton, Nima Asadi3 & Ingrid R. Olson. Front. Psychol., 03 September 2018 |

Abstract: Income is a primary determinant of social mobility, career progression, and personal happiness. It has been shown to vary with demographic variables like age and education, with more oblique variables such as height, and with behaviors such as delay discounting, i.e., the propensity to devalue future rewards. However, the relative contribution of each these salary-linked variables to income is not known. Further, much of past research has often been underpowered, drawn from populations of convenience, and produced findings that have not always been replicated. Here we tested a large (n = 2,564), heterogeneous sample, and employed a novel analytic approach: using three machine learning algorithms to model the relationship between income and age, gender, height, race, zip code, education, occupation, and discounting. We found that delay discounting is more predictive of income than age, ethnicity, or height. We then used a holdout data set to test the robustness of our findings. We discuss the benefits of our methodological approach, as well as possible explanations and implications for the prominent relationship between delay discounting and income.

How to crack pre-registration: There are methods for camouflaging a registered study as successful

How to crack pre-registration: Toward transparent and open science. Yuki Yamada. Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01831

The reproducibility problem that exists in various academic fields has been discussed in recent years, and it has been revealed that scientists discreetly engage in several questionable research practices (QRPs). For example, the practice of hypothesizing after the results are known (HARKing) involves the reconstruction of hypotheses and stories after results have been obtained (Kerr, 1998) and thereby promotes the retrospective fabrication of favorable hypotheses (cf. Bem, 2004). P-hacking encompasses various untruthful manipulations for obtaining p-values less than 0.05 (Simmons, Nelson, & Simonsohn, 2011). Such unethical practices dramatically increase the number of false positive findings and thereby encourage the intentional fabrication of evidence as the basis of scientific knowledge and theory, which leads to individual profits for researchers.

Misuse of pre-registration

The preceding paragraphs provide a narrative about QRPs that can be effectively discouraged by pre-registration. However, a detailed examination of the current pre-registration system also reveals problems that this system cannot address. As mentioned, recognition of the value of pre-registration with respect to being able to confer reliability on research findings is becoming increasingly widespread. In terms of reputation management, researchers are motivated to improve their reputation regarding the credibility of their research (and themselves). A subset of researchers may attempt to misuse the pre-registration process to enhance their reputation even if their personality characteristics are not associated with readily engaging in data fabrication or falsification. Alternatively, certain situations may cause normal researchers to misuse this process on a momentary impulse (Motyl et al., 2017; Schoenherr, 2015). Their goals are to enhance the credibility of their research by pre-registering and to show the excellence of their hypothesis by presenting data that support that hypothesis.

There are methods for camouflaging a registered study as successful (van 't Veer & Giner-Sorolla, 2016). One such method is selective reporting, which is a type of data fabrication in which data that do not support the hypothesis are not reported (Goodman, Fanelli, & Ioannidis, 2016). Similarly, in the case of infinite re-experimenting, malicious researchers repeatedly perform the same experiment multiple times until the desired data to support the hypothesis are obtained and then report these data. Such QRPs cannot be completely prevented unless third parties can manage all of the data from experiments performed by researchers following registration. There is also a method that I call overissuing. Researchers who engage in overissuing pre-register a large number of experiments with extremely similar conditions and ultimately report only successful studies. This practice is difficult to discover by reviewers and editors who do not know a researcher’s overall registration status; to date, this approach has not been explicitly identified as a QRP.

Another method is an approach that I call pre-registering after the results are known (PARKing). Researchers engaging in this practice complete an experiment (possibly with infinite re-experimentation) before pre-registering and write an introduction that conforms to their previously obtained results. Because such researchers apparently get attractive results and misrepresent those results as having been obtained under pre-registration, the research can readily acquire false credibility and impact. Rigorous initial peer-reviews that require revision of protocols may be able to reduce PARKing to some extent, but it is not effective if the malicious researchers involved engage in overissuing or target journals with poor peer-review practices. Furthermore, even if all unprocessed data are shared in a repository, the time stamps of uploaded data files can easily be forged or tampered with in various ways, such as by changing the system date for the operating system that is handling the data file. Therefore, there is currently no method for journals or reviewers to detect PARKing. Because many research resources would be required to implement the unethical methods described above, given the discarding of data that do not fit researchers’ hypotheses, such methods can most easily be implemented by laboratories with abundant funds. If the aforementioned QRPs become rampant, their use could not only avoid decreases in false positives (which is a substantial advantage of pre-registration) but also accelerate the Matthew effect of rich people becoming richer (Merton, 1968).

It is easier to fabricate data and falsify results than to engage in cracking pre-registration; therefore, why should researchers attempt to crack pre-registration at all? The answer depends on the associated risk. Because data fabrication is a clear case of research misconduct and is subject to punishment, the risk associated with revelation is large. On the other hand, many of the cracking methods introduced here can be performed by simply extending general research practices. For example, suppose that a researcher conducted a paper-based questionnaire survey in the typical manner (without pre-registration) and had obtained significant results that supported his/her hypothesis and written a manuscript about this research. In this case, barriers to PARKing by using the introduction and method sections of the manuscript and subsequently publishing the full article appear to be low. Excel files for data aggregation can be recreated after pre-registration. If such cracking techniques have benefits that outweigh the difficulties and can be used with little risk, researchers who engage in these techniques will readily emerge.

Global land change from 1982 to 2016: Contrary to the prevailing view that forest area has declined globally, tree cover has increased by 2.24 million km2 (+7.1% relative to the 1982 level

Global land change from 1982 to 2016. Xiao-Peng Song, Matthew C. Hansen, Stephen V. Stehman, Peter V. Potapov, Alexandra Tyukavina, Eric F. Vermote & John R. Townshend. Nature, volume 560, pages639–643 (2018).

Abstract: Land change is a cause and consequence of global environmental change 1,2. Changes in land use and land cover considerably alter the Earth’s energy balance and biogeochemical cycles, which contributes to climate change and—in turn—affects land surface properties and the provision of ecosystem services 1,2,3,4. However, quantification of global land change is lacking. Here we analyse 35 years’ worth of satellite data and provide a comprehensive record of global land-change dynamics during the period 1982–2016. We show that—contrary to the prevailing view that forest area has declined globally 5—tree cover has increased by 2.24 million km2 (+7.1% relative to the 1982 level). This overall net gain is the result of a net loss in the tropics being outweighed by a net gain in the extratropics. Global bare ground cover has decreased by 1.16 million km2 (−3.1%), most notably in agricultural regions in Asia. Of all land changes, 60% are associated with direct human activities and 40% with indirect drivers such as climate change. Land-use change exhibits regional dominance, including tropical deforestation and agricultural expansion, temperate reforestation or afforestation, cropland intensification and urbanization. Consistently across all climate domains, montane systems have gained tree cover and many arid and semi-arid ecosystems have lost vegetation cover. The mapped land changes and the driver attributions reflect a human-dominated Earth system. The dataset we developed may be used to improve the modelling of land-use changes, biogeochemical cycles and vegetation–climate interactions to advance our understanding of global environmental change 1,2,3,4,6.

Brainteaser interview questions such as “Estimate how many windows are in New York”: aggressive, abusive behaviour that lacks evidence for validity & is unsettling to job applicants; behind this behaviour are narcissism & sadism; these dark traits shared a callousness general factor

Dark Motives and Elective Use of Brainteaser Interview Questions. Scott Highhouse, Christopher D. Nye, Don C. Zhang. Applied Psychology,

Abstract: Brainteaser interview questions such as “Estimate how many windows are in New York” are just one example of aggressive interviewer behaviour that lacks evidence for validity and is unsettling to job applicants. This research attempts to shed light on the motives behind such behaviour by examining the relation between dark‐side traits and the perceived appropriateness of brainteaser interview questions. A representative sample of working adults (n = 736) was presented with a list of interview questions that were either traditional (e.g., “Are you a good listener?”), behavioural (e.g., “Tell me about a time when you failed”), or brainteaser in nature. Results of a multiple regression, controlling for interviewing experience and sex, showed that narcissism and sadism explained the likelihood of using brainteasers in an interview. A subsequent bifactor analysis showed that these dark traits shared a callousness general factor. A second longitudinal study of employed adults with hiring experience demonstrated that perspective‐taking partially mediated the relationship between this general factor and the perceived helpfulness and abusiveness of brainteaser interview questions. These results suggest that a callous indifference and a lack of perspective‐taking may underlie abusive behaviour in the employment interview.

Gender Differences in Egalitarian Behavior and Attitudes in Early Childhood: Girls exhibited more egalitarian behavior than boys

Gender Differences in Egalitarian Behavior and Attitudes in Early Childhood. Joyce F. Benenson et al. Developmental Science,

Abstract: It is axiomatic that human females are more egalitarian than males. However, surprisingly little empirical research exists that empirically assesses this stereotype. We created two studies designed to objectively examine egalitarian behavior in three‐ to five‐year‐old children. In Study 1 we compared the egalitarian behavior and attitudes of American girls versus boys by tabulating the extent to which each gender awarded the same number of stickers to and liked to the same degree two puppets. One puppet followed the child's instructions or actions while the other did not during a drawing task in which the child played the roles of leader and peer. In the peer role, girls exhibited more egalitarian behavior than boys. In Study 2, French‐Canadian children were shown two drawings by unknown peers‐ one messily and one neatly colored, then asked to distribute stickers to each peer's drawing. Again, girls exhibited more egalitarian behavior than boys. Results suggest the origins of gender differences in egalitarian behavior occur early in life and merit further investigation.

In childhood, amazingly, only recurrent animal cruelty & stabbing animals are predictive variables of later interpersonal violence, not drowning, hitting/beating, hitting with rocks, shooting, kicking, choking, burning, having sex, & starving/neglecting

The predictive ability of childhood animal cruelty methods for later interpersonal crimes. Christopher Hensley, Joseph B. Ketron. Behavioral Sciences,

Abstract: Research on the topic of childhood animal cruelty methods and their link to interpersonal violence is sparse. Most of the studies that do exist focus only on the frequencies of different methods of childhood animal cruelty. Only two studies to date have examined the predictive nature of these methods for later violence toward humans. One of these previous studies found that drowning and having sex with animals were predictive of later human violence, while the other found that sex with animals and the age at which the offenders began committing animal cruelty were its only statistically significant predictors. Using data collected from 257 anonymous self‐reports by male inmates at a medium‐security prison in a Southern state, we investigate the predictive ability of several retrospectively identified childhood animal cruelty methods (i.e., drowning, hitting/beating, hitting with rocks, shooting, kicking, choking, burning, stabbing, having sex, and starving/neglecting) for later violent crimes toward humans. Regression analyses revealed that recurrent (i.e., more than once) childhood animal cruelty and stabbing animals were the only statistically significant variables in the model that predicted recurrent interpersonal violence in adulthood.

Heightening partisan ambivalence reduces affective polarization for ideological moderates, but increases such discord for those with more extreme ideological identities; efforts to depolarize the electorate can make it more deeply divided

When Efforts to Depolarize the Electorate Fail. Matthew S Levendusky. Public Opinion Quarterly, nfy036,

Abstract: The mass public has become affectively polarized—ordinary Americans increasingly dislike and distrust those from the other party, with negative consequences for politics. Drawing on work in political and social psychology, this paper tests two mechanisms for reducing this discord, both of which have been shown to reduce similar biases in other settings: heightening partisan ambivalence, and using self-affirmation techniques. A population-based survey experiment shows that neither strategy reduces affective polarization in the aggregate. But this null finding masks an important heterogeneity: Heightening partisan ambivalence reduces affective polarization for ideological moderates, but increases such discord for those with more extreme ideological identities. Efforts to depolarize the electorate can make it more deeply divided, with important implications for our understanding of contemporary politics and the durability of affective polarization.