Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Those who minimize (vs. acknowledge) the extent to which their group is the target of discrimination report better well-being across myriad indicators: body mass index, social well-being, self-esteem, depression, & mental illness diagnosis

The Palliative Effects of System Justification on the Health and Happiness of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Individuals. Alexandra Suppes, Jaime L. Napier, Jojanneke van der Toorn. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167218785156

Abstract: Across three studies, we examine the correlates of subjective well-being and mental and physical health among members of a historically disadvantaged group, namely, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals. Results show those who minimize (vs. acknowledge) the extent to which their group is the target of discrimination report better well-being across myriad indicators (Studies 1-3). We also demonstrate that this effect is mediated by perceived system fairness (Study 1); holds above and beyond internalized homonegativity (Studies 1 and 3) and ingroup identification (Studies 2-3); and is true regardless of whether individuals reside in hostile or accepting environments (Study 2), and regardless of whether individuals had personally experienced discrimination (Study 3). For some indicators (namely, body mass index [BMI], social well-being, self-esteem, depression, and mental illness diagnosis), the relationship between minimization of discrimination and well-being was stronger among those who had frequent (vs. rare) discriminatory experiences.

Keywords: well-being, health, system justification, LGBT, discrimination

Border wall expansion, 2007-2010, harmed Mexican workers & high-skill U.S. workers, but benefited U.S. low-skill ones; reduced trade costs between US & Mexico by 25% should have reduced Mexico to US migration with welfare gains

Border Walls. Treb Allen, CauĂȘ de Castro Dobbin, Melanie Morten. NBER Working Paper No. 25267, Nov 2018, https://www.nber.org/papers/w25267

What are the economic impacts of a border wall between the United States and Mexico? We use confidential data on bilateral flows of primarily unauthorized Mexican workers to the United States to estimate how a substantial expansion of the border wall between the United States and Mexico from 2007 to 2010 affected migration. We then combine these estimates with a general equilibrium spatial model featuring multiple labor types and a flexible underlying geography to quantify the economic impact of the wall expansion. At a construction cost of approximately $7 per person in the United States, we estimate that the border wall expansion harmed Mexican workers and high-skill U.S. workers, but benefited U.S. low-skill workers, who achieved gains equivalent to an increase in per capita income of $0.36. In contrast, a counterfactual policy which instead reduced trade costs between the United States and Mexico by 25% would have resulted in both greater declines in Mexico to United States migration and substantial welfare gains for all workers.

To quantify partisan audience bias, we developed a domain-level score by leveraging the sharing propensities of registered voters on a large Twitter panel; we found little evidence for the "filter bubble'' hypothesis

Auditing Partisan Audience Bias within Google Search. Ronald E. Robertson et al. Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction - CSCW archive. Volume 2 Issue CSCW, November 2018, Article No. 148, doi: 10.1145/3274417

Abstract: There is a growing consensus that online platforms have a systematic influence on the democratic process. However, research beyond social media is limited. In this paper, we report the results of a mixed-methods algorithm audit of partisan audience bias and personalization within Google Search. Following Donald Trump's inauguration, we recruited 187 participants to complete a survey and install a browser extension that enabled us to collect Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) from their computers. To quantify partisan audience bias, we developed a domain-level score by leveraging the sharing propensities of registered voters on a large Twitter panel. We found little evidence for the "filter bubble'' hypothesis. Instead, we found that results positioned toward the bottom of Google SERPs were more left-leaning than results positioned toward the top, and that the direction and magnitude of overall lean varied by search query, component type (e.g. "answer boxes"), and other factors. Utilizing rank-weighted metrics that we adapted from prior work, we also found that Google's rankings shifted the average lean of SERPs to the right of their unweighted average.

Young adult mental health and functional outcomes among individuals with remitted, persistent and late-onset ADHD

Agnew-Blais, J., Polanczyk, G., Danese, A., Wertz, J., Moffitt, T., & Arseneault, L. (2018). Young adult mental health and functional outcomes among individuals with remitted, persistent and late-onset ADHD. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 213(3), 526-534. doi:10.1192/bjp.2018.97

Abstract

Background: Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with mental health problems and functional impairment across many domains. However, how the longitudinal course of ADHD affects later functioning remains unclear.

Aims: We aimed to disentangle how ADHD developmental patterns are associated with young adult functioning.

Method: The Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study is a population-based cohort of 2232 twins born in England and Wales in 1994–1995. We assessed ADHD in childhood at ages 5, 7, 10 and 12 years and in young adulthood at age 18 years. We examined three developmental patterns of ADHD from childhood to young adulthood – remitted, persistent and late-onset ADHD – and compared these groups with one another and with non-ADHD controls on functioning at age 18 years. We additionally tested whether group differences were attributable to childhood IQ, childhood conduct disorder or familial factors shared between twins.

Results: Compared with individuals without ADHD, those with remitted ADHD showed poorer physical health and socioeconomic outcomes in young adulthood. Individuals with persistent or late-onset ADHD showed poorer functioning across all domains, including mental health, substance misuse, psychosocial, physical health and socioeconomic outcomes. Overall, these associations were not explained by childhood IQ, childhood conduct disorder or shared familial factors.

Conclusions: Long-term associations of childhood ADHD with adverse physical health and socioeconomic outcomes underscore the need for early intervention. Young adult ADHD showed stronger associations with poorer mental health, substance misuse and psychosocial outcomes, emphasising the importance of identifying and treating adults with ADHD.

Attitudes towards robots became more negative between 2012 and 2017; robots assisting at work showed the strongest negative trend; countries with a larger share of older citizens evaluated robots more favorably

Are robots becoming unpopular? Changes in attitudes towards autonomous robotic systems in Europe. Timo Gnambs, Markus Appel. Computers in Human Behavior, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2018.11.045

Highlights
•    Attitudes towards robots became more negative between 2012 and 2017.
•    Attitudes towards robots assisting at work showed the strongest negative trend.
•    Women with lower education evaluated robots more negatively.
•    Countries with a larger share of older citizens evaluated robots more favorably.

Abstract: Many societies are on the brink of a robotic era. In the near future, various autonomous computer systems are expected to be part of many people's daily lives. Because attitudes influence the adoption of new technologies, we studied the attitudes towards robots in the European Union between 2012 and 2017. Using representative samples from 27 countries (three waves, total N = 80,396), these analyses showed that, within five years, public opinions regarding robots exhibited a marked negative trend. Respondents became more cautious towards the use of robots. This tendency was particularly strong for robots at the workplace, which are, despite the drop, still more positively evaluated than robots performing surgeries or autonomous cars. Attitudes were more positive among men and people in white-collar jobs. Moreover, countries with a larger share of older citizens evaluated robotic assistance more favorably. In general, these results highlight increasing reservations towards autonomous robotic systems in Europe.

The impact of pseudo-psychological demonstrations make people believe that one can read a person’s mind by evaluating micro expressions, psychological profiles & muscle activities, & can prime a person’s behaviour through subtle suggestions

Fake science: The impact of pseudo-psychological demonstrations on people’s beliefs in psychological principles. Yuxuan Lan, Christine Mohr, Xiaomeng Hu, Gustav Kuhn. PLOS, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0207629

Abstract: Magicians use deception to create effects that allow us to experience the impossible. More recently, magicians have started to contextualize these tricks in psychological demonstrations. We investigated whether witnessing a magic demonstration alters people’s beliefs in these pseudo-psychological principles. In the classroom, a magician claimed to use psychological skills to read a volunteer’s thoughts. After this demonstration, participants reported higher beliefs that an individual can 1) read a person’s mind by evaluating micro expressions, psychological profiles and muscle activities, and 2) effectively prime a person’s behaviour through subtle suggestions. Whether he was presented as a magician or psychologist did not influence people’s beliefs about how the demonstration was achieved, nor did it influence their beliefs in pseudo-psychological principles. Our results demonstrate that pseudo-psychological demonstrations can have a significant impact on perpetuating false beliefs in scientific principles and raise important questions about the wider impact of scientific misinformation.

Doubling the permissible length of a Tweet led to more polite, less informal, more analytical, and overall healthier discussions online

Jaidka, Kokil and Zhou, Alvin and Lelkes, Yphtach, Brevity is the soul of Twitter: The constraint affordance and political discussion (November 20, 2018). https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3287552

Abstract: Many hoped that social networks would allow for the open exchange of information and a revival of the public sphere. Unfortunately, conversations on social media are often toxic and not conducive to healthy political discussion. Twitter, the most widely used social network for political discussions, doubled the limit of characters in a Tweet in November 2017, which provided a natural experiment to study the causal effect of technological affordances on political discussions with a discontinuous time series design. Using supervised and unsupervised natural language processing methods, we analyze 358,242 Tweet replies to U.S. politicians from January 2017 to March 2018. We show that the doubling the permissible length of a Tweet led to more polite, less informal, more analytical, and overall healthier discussions online. However, the declining trend in the political relevance of these tweets raises concerns about the implications of the changing norms for the quality of political deliberation.

Keywords: Political Communication, Political Discussion, Social Media, Computational Social Science

Study with rats sheds light on why women are roughly twice as likely as men to develop depression, anxiety and other stress-related problems, including difficulty with attention

Early Life Stress Drives Sex-Selective Impairment in Reversal Learning by Affecting Parvalbumin Interneurons in Orbitofrontal Cortex of Mice. Haley L. Goodwill et al. Cell Reports, Volume 25, ISSUE 9, P2299-2307.e4, Nov 27 2018.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2018.11.010

Highlights
    •    Early life stress leads to select deficits in reversal learning in female mice
    •    Impaired rule-reversal learning is associated with decreased PV and GAD67 in OFC
    •    Optogenetic silencing of OFC PV+ cells recapitulates ELS effects on reversal learning
    •    Optogenetic silencing of mPFC PV+ cells impairs rule shifting, but not reversal learning

Summary: Poverty, displacement, and parental stress represent potent sources of early life stress (ELS). Stress disproportionately affects females, who are at increased risk for stress-related pathologies associated with cognitive impairment. Mechanisms underlying stress-associated cognitive impairment and enhanced risk of females remain unknown. Here, ELS is associated with impaired rule-reversal (RR) learning in females, but not males. Impaired performance was associated with decreased expression and density of interneurons expressing parvalbumin (PV+) in orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), but not other interneuron subtypes. Optogenetic silencing of PV+ interneuron activity in OFC of control mice phenocopied RR learning deficits observed in ELS females. Localization of reversal learning deficits to PV+ interneurons in OFC was confirmed by optogenetic studies in which neurons in medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) were silenced and associated with select deficits in rule-shift learning. Sex-, cell-, and region-specific effects show altered PV+ interneuron development can be a driver of sex differences in cognitive dysfunction.