Friday, December 21, 2018

The Persistence of the Power Elite: Presidential Cabinets and Corporate Interlocks, 1968–2018

The Persistence of the Power Elite: Presidential Cabinets and Corporate Interlocks, 1968–2018. Timothy M. Gill. Social Currents,

Abstract: In his seminal text, The Power Elite, C. Wright Mills initially drew critical attention to U.S. state power, asserting that economic, political, and military elites flow through a revolving door, cycling in and out of positions of power. Following its publication, several social scientists began to examine the nature of the U.S. state, including individuals like G. William Domhoff and Michael Useem. One particular work by Peter Freitag examined the class composition of presidential cabinets. Freitag examined whether presidential cabinet members came from the elite corporate sphere, went into the elite corporate sphere following their tenure in office, the extent of interlocks among the Democratic and Republican Parties, and whether particular cabinet positions were more interlocked with the elite corporate sphere than others. In this article, I examine these same questions, looking at presidential cabinets between 1968 and 2018, that is, across the last half-century. In doing so, I find consistency with many of Freitag’s initial findings: most presidential cabinets remain heavily interlocked, there is little difference between Democratic and Republican cabinets, and there is a significant amount of cabinet members that come from and enter the elite corporate sphere following their time in office.

Keywords: U.S. politics, political sociology, class, corporations, the state

Evolutionary approaches to understanding crime: explaining the gender gap in offending

Evolutionary approaches to understanding crime: explaining the gender gap in offending. Russil Durrant. Psychology, Crime & Law,

ABSTRACT: Evolutionary approaches have the potential to make significant contributions to our understanding of criminal offending. In particular, an evolutionary perspective can help in the development of more comprehensive explanations for the main correlates of offending such as gender, age, and social class. In this article I argue that that an evolutionary perspective that draws on the conceptual resources of the extended evolutionary synthesis can help us to explain why men are more likely to be perpetrators of crime compared to women. First, I will outline the key conceptual characteristics of the extended evolutionary synthesis and tease out the implications of this approach for understanding the evolution of human behaviour. Next, I will discuss how an evolutionary approach can help us to understand the gender gap in offending. I will then present a model which outlines how an extended evolutionary perspective can usefully integrate different kinds of explanation to provide a more comprehensive explanatory account of gender differences in crime. I conclude by considering some of the wider implications of this model for crime prevention.

KEYWORDS: Evolutionary psychology, extended evolutionary synthesis, biosocial criminology, gender gap in offending

Adolescents with a trajectory of early & regular pornography use are more likely to report the initiation of sexual activity & nearly double the number of sexual partners as those with a low-use trajectory

Risk or Release?: Porn Use Trajectories and the Accumulation of Sexual Partners
Kyler R. Rasmussen, Alex Bierman. Social Currents,

Abstract: A central question in the study of pornography consumption is whether consumption influences risky sexual behavior. In this research, we focus on one key aspect of risky sexual behavior, the accumulation of sexual partners. Using longitudinal latent class analysis of a nationally representative sample, we determine distinct trajectories of pornography consumption. We then use hurdle models to relate membership in these trajectories to the initiation of sexual activity and accumulation of sexual partners. Even with controls for likely confounds (such as risk-taking propensity and relationship formation), we find that adolescents with a trajectory of early and regular pornography use are more likely to report the initiation of sexual activity and nearly double the number of sexual partners as those with a low-use trajectory. This research is of sociological interest because pornography consumption is becoming increasingly common well before adulthood, suggesting that recent cohorts of emerging adults may be more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior through the accumulation of multiple sexual partners.

Keywords: pornography, sexual risk, hurdle models, latent class analysis

Nonreligion is socially risky, atheism is more socially risky than other forms of nonreligion, & women and members of other marginalized groups avoid the most socially risky forms of nonreligion

From Existential to Social Understandings of Risk: Examining Gender Differences in Nonreligion. Penny Edgell, Jacqui Frost, Evan Stewart. Social Currents, Dec 2018.

Abstract: Across many social contexts, women are found to be more religious than men. Risk preference theory proposes that women are less likely than men to accept the existential risks associated with nonbelief. Building on previous critiques of this theory, we argue that the idea of risk is relevant to understanding the relationship between gender and religiosity if risk is understood not as existential, but as social. The research on existential risk focuses on religious identification as solely a matter of belief; as part of the movement away from this cognitivist bias, we develop the concept of social risk to theorize the ways that social location and differential levels of power and privilege influence women’s nonreligious choices. We show that women’s nonreligious preferences in many ways mirror those of other marginalized groups, including nonwhites and the less educated. We argue that nonreligion is socially risky, that atheism is more socially risky than other forms of nonreligion, and that women and members of other marginalized groups avoid the most socially risky forms of nonreligion.

Keywords: nonreligion, atheism, risk, gender

Conservatives donate more blood but less organs: care more about human body integrity, are more disgusted by the very act of organ donations, & believe that signing onto organ registries would be tempting fate

The politics of intent: Political ideology influences organ donation intentions. Eugene Y. Chan. Personality and Individual Differences,

Abstract: The low supply of organs is a global concern. It is crucial to recognize the barriers, whether cognitive or emotional, that influence individuals' willingness to sign up onto organ donation registries. In the current investigation, we hypothesize that a politically-conservative ideology reduces people's organ donation intentions. This is likely since individuals with a conservative ideology care more about the integrity of the human body, are more disgusted by the very act of organ donations, and believe that signing onto such registries would be tempting fate. We test and confirm this possibility in a study with 148 Australians. The findings indicate that political ideology can be a predictor of individuals' likelihood of becoming organ donors.

In a large-scale replication & extension of Hsee et al. 2013, we cannot confirm the original paper’s findings, that mindless accumulation is a quantitatively relevant driver of overearning behavior

Overearning – Revisited. Nadine Riedel, Robert Stüber. Journal of Economic Psychology,

•    Replicate the study of Hsee, Zhang, Cai, and Zhang (2013) in a large sample of German students
•    Reject that mindless accumulation is a quantitatively relevant driver of overearning
•    Analyze the effect of task enjoyment, uncertainty and social comparison on overearning
•    Test for overearning in a dynamic setting
•    Revisit the effect of earnings caps on happiness

Abstract: In a 2013 Psychological Science article, Hsee et. al designed a controlled laboratory experiment to assess whether individuals overearn, i.e., forgo leisure to work and earn beyond their consumption needs. The authors reported evidence in line with people overearning, even at the cost of happiness, and in line with mindless accumulation being the driver of this finding. In a large-scale replication and extension of Hsee et al. (2013), we cannot confirm the original paper’s findings: Our results reject that mindless accumulation is a quantitatively relevant driver of overearning behavior. In direct replications of Hsee et al. (2013), overearning turns out to be a moderate phenomenon. Extensions to the original paper, however, suggest that task enjoyment and uncertainty about future utility of consumption may establish overearning.

Native American Beauty Standards: “paling” in Comparison to the White Norm

Marrinan, Kristen. 2018. “American Beauty Standards: “paling” in Comparison to the White Norm.” SocArXiv. December 20. doi:10.31235/

Abstract: America has a culturally accepted norm of what makes someone beautiful. A standard that is hard to meet. Being light-skinned, blonde and blue-eyed is the benchmark of beauty, of what is most desirable. But is that really what it takes to be attractive in America? This research examines the relationship between race, birth-place, ethnicity and self-rated attractiveness. The General Social Survey (2016) provides the quantitative data for this study. While past literature explores the connections between identity, self-esteem, and attractiveness, it does not explore the intersection of different identifying characteristics. Group position and Colourism approaches provide the theoretical foundations for the hypothesis and the research conducted in this paper. These theories also help explain why certain physical attributes are more valuable in American society. So how does the privileging of White America, specifically when measuring beauty, influence one’s opinion of their own attractiveness? This study has 1,622 respondents—non-institutionalized, English or Spanish speaking adults, who live in the country. Multiple regression analysis was used to examine the individual and collaborative relationships between the variables. The results from this study concur with some of findings from the literature. Yet, they do not support the hypotheses. The results concluded that being Non-White had little influence on one's self-rated attractiveness. Similarly, birthplace and ethnicity had no statistical significance. However, the controls, age and sex, are significant. This research explores the role identity plays in one’s view of their own beauty. Especially during a period of controversial leadership and drastic shifts in the social norms of society.

Found little evidence that the accumulation of treatment development & testing across decades increased psychotherapies benefit, 1960-2017

Are Psychotherapies for Young People Growing Stronger? Tracking Trends Over Time for Youth Anxiety, Depression, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, and Conduct Problems. John R. Weisz et al. Perspectives on Psychological Science,

Abstract: ith the development of empirically supported treatments over the decades, have youth psychotherapies grown stronger? To investigate, we examined changes over time in treatment effects for four frequently treated youth mental-health problems: anxiety, depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and conduct disorders. We used PubMed and PsycINFO to search for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that were published between January 1960 and May 2017 involving youths between the ages of 4 and 18 years. We also searched reviews and meta-analyses of youth psychotherapy research, followed reference trails in the reports we identified, and obtained additional studies identified by therapy researchers whom we contacted. We identified 453 RCTs (31,933 participants) spanning 53 years (1963–2016). Effect sizes for the problem-relevant outcome measures were synthesized via multilevel meta-analysis. We tracked temporal trends for each problem domain and then examined multiple study characteristics that might moderate those trends. Mean effect size increased nonsignificantly for anxiety, decreased nonsignificantly for ADHD, and decreased significantly for depression and conduct problems. Moderator analyses involving multiple study subgroups showed only a few exceptions to these surprising patterns. The findings suggest that new approaches to treatment design and intervention science may be needed, especially for depression and conduct problems. We suggest intensifying the search for mechanisms of change, making treatments more transdiagnostic and personalizable, embedding treatments within youth ecosystems, adapting treatments to the social and technological changes that alter youth dysfunction and treatment needs, and resisting old habits that can make treatments unduly skeuomorphic.

Keywords: psychotherapy, children, adolescents, youth, meta-analysis, mental health

Neither facial attractiveness nor its constituents, such as symmetry, are a reliable mirror of a person's health, but facial adiposity -the perceived weight in the face- is

Facial Adiposity, Attractiveness, and Health: A Review. Stefan de Jager, Nicoleen Coetzee and Vinet Coetzee. Front. Psychol., Dec 21 2018.

Abstract: The relationship between facial cues and perceptions of health and attractiveness in others plays an influential role in our social interactions and mating behaviors. Several facial cues have historically been investigated in this regard, with facial adiposity being the newest addition. Evidence is mounting that a robust link exists between facial adiposity and attractiveness, as well as perceived health. Facial adiposity has also been linked to various health outcomes such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, blood pressure, immune function, diabetes, arthritis, oxidative stress, hormones, and mental health. Though recent advances in the analysis of facial morphology has led to significant strides in the description and quantification of facial cues, it is becoming increasingly clear that there is a great deal of nuance in the way that humans use and integrate facial cues to form coherent social or health judgments of others. This paper serves as a review of the current literature on the relationship between facial adiposity, attractiveness, and health. A key component in utilizing facial adiposity as a cue to health and attractiveness perceptions is that people need to be able to estimate body mass from facial cues. To estimate the strength of the relationship between perceived facial adiposity and body mass, a meta-analysis was conducted on studies that quantified the relationship between perceived facial adiposity and BMI/percentage body fat. Summary effect size estimates indicate that participants could reliably estimate BMI from facial cues alone (r = 0.71, n = 458).