Sunday, April 14, 2019

Light‐ & moderate alcohol consumption & non‐hazardous drinking were associated with the lowest risk of subsequent depression; hazardous drinking increased the risk of depression

Moderate alcohol consumption and depression ‐ a longitudinal population‐based study in Sweden. Katalin Gémes, Yvonne Forsell, Imre Janszky, Krisztina D. László, Andreas Lundin, Antonio Ponce de Leon, Kenneth J. Mukamal. Jette Möller. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, April 13 2019.

Background and aims: The inter‐relationship between alcohol consumption and depression is complex and the direction of the association is unclear. We investigated whether alcohol consumption influences the risk of depression while accounting for this potential bi‐directionality.

Methods: A total of 10,441 individuals participated in the PART study in 1998‐2000; 8,622 in 2001‐2003 and 5,228 in 2010. Participants answered questions on their alcohol consumption, symptoms of depression, childhood adversity, and sociodemographic, socioeconomic, psychosocial and lifestyle factors. A total of 5,087 participants provided repeated information on alcohol consumption. We used marginal structural models to analyze the association between alcohol consumption and depression while controlling for previous alcohol consumption and depressive symptoms and other time‐varying confounders.

Results: Non‐drinkers had a higher depression risk than light drinkers (≤7 drinks/week) (risk ratio: 1.7; 95% confidence interval 1.3‐2.1). Consumers of 7‐14 drinks/week had a depression risk similar to that of light drinkers. Hazardous drinking was associated with a higher risk of depression than non‐hazardous alcohol consumption (risk ratios: 1.8, 95% confidence intervals: 1.4‐2.4).

Conclusion: Light‐ and moderate alcohol consumption and non‐hazardous drinking were associated with the lowest risk of subsequent depression after accounting for potential bi‐directional effects. Hazardous drinking increased the risk of depression.

When coupled with the emergence of hyper polarization & the resulting salience of partisan identity, we easily infer partisan group identity from intentional consumption choices

Partisan Cultural Stereotypes: The Effect of Everyday Partisan Associations on Social Life in the United States. Maggie Deichert. Vanderbilt University, dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. May 10 2019.

ABSTRACT: People routinely use their knowledge of others’ partisanship, when present, to make social evaluations in political and apolitical settings. Most social situations, however, do not focus on partisan identification nor issue positions. In this paper, I argue that, despite this informational shortfall, people may still engage in partisan prejudice by using information about others’ habits and hobbies, provided such cultural preferences are associated with one party or the other. Using two studies, I find, first, that respondents systematically recognize many cultural preferences as associated witha particular party; and, second, that they use these connections to categorize and stereotype others as partisans. Also, and most importantly, I demonstrate that people use cultural preferences to express prejudice against out-group partisans in both non-partisan political and apolitical settings. Thus, not only is politics relevant to citizens’ everyday lives, but citizens use information from everyday life to navigate the political and social world.

Partisan identity is a particularly salient cleavage in the American political environment. The psychological attachment individuals have to their party, whether the result of policy opinions or affect, has played a central role in the American public’s political attitudes and behavior (Bartels 2000; Campbell et al. 1960; Hetherington and Rudolph 2015; Huddy, Mason and Aaroe 2015), and has recently bled into apolitical environments as well. Partisans have, in the past decade or so, begun to engage in partisan bias and discrimination in apolitical environments. They express positive attitudes towards and favorco-partisans and express negative attitudes and prejudice toward opposing partisans (Iyengar, Sood, and Lelkes 2012; Iyengar et al. 2018). Partisans discriminate based off others’ partisan identity in a variety of different hypothetical or real contexts largely in part because partisan discrimination is not only socially accepted but often encouraged (Iyengar and Westwood 2015). Both politicians and partisan commentators frequently spend time denigrating the other party: calling them deplorable (Reilly 2016) or comparing opposing partisans to historically evil and unfavorable groups (Berry and Sobieraj 2014). This language from group elites creates an environment in which social norms against partisan discrimination are non-existent, unlike social norms against racialor gender discrimination. Thus, it is perceived as acceptablefor everyday Americans to engage in discrimination of an individual solely from their partisan group membership. It is perhaps fortunate, then, that partisan identity (and associated issue positions) is not easily attainable information in most contexts. Most people tend to avoid political discussion on a daily basis (Mutz 2006), and few people wear a name tag that says “Democrat” or “Republican.” However, as Dave Chappelle points out in his description of 2016 early voting in Ohio, even when you don’t knowsomeone’s partisan identity you can still categorize and stereotype individuals by party.Through increased sorting between social groups and the two political parties (Mason 2018), the cultural symbols used to impute social group membership can now be used to impute partisan membership, provided the social group is uniquely associated with only one party. Not only do people recognize that the two parties are distinctly comprised of different social groups but they actively extend in-group favoritism and out-group animosity towards co-partisan and opposing partisan social groups, respectively (Mason et al. 2018; Miller et al. 1992). Democrats express positive feelings towards socialgroups that fall under the Democratic partisan coalition absent partisan labels, and so do Republicans. One problem with these studies though is that they measure group affect bluntly, through survey questions and feeling thermometer ratings of social groups. This is not necessarily a realistic way in which people learn about and evaluate others’ identities. People do not necessarily go around introducing themselves as their social groups. Instead, we pick up cues from how people look and act, what they like to talk about, and the things that they own (Gosling et al. 2002; Rentfrow and Gosling 2006). Instead of learning about people’s social identities via sterile social group proper nouns, we decode their lifestyle choicesand preferences to decipher who they are and to which groups they belong (Gosling et al. 2002). Therefore, we use the cultural symbols attached to these social groups to impute social group membership, and provided that that social group is uniquely associated with only one political party, to also impute partisan membership. As such, some everyday cultural preferences, like driving a pickup truck instead of a Volvo, wearing camouflage instead of a basketball jersey, and listening to rap music not country music, are partisan cultural stereotypes. In this dissertation, I argue that partisan cultural stereotypes are omnipresent. Basic information about individuals’ hobbies and preferences is easily available and obvious information about people. Thisinformation can be communicated to others through many different processes. Two of the primary ways in which an observer “learns” about a person are through visual or verbal pieces of information (Lampeland Anderson 1968). Visual pieces of information are typically communicated through physical appearance and can be observed simply by looking at someone, whether in a photograph or in person (Ambady and Rosenthal 1992; Levy and Richter 1963). If someone is wearing a cowboy hat, people might automatically impute that they are from a rural area of the country and that they are a Republican. Thus, if a person’s clothing choices, hair style, and general physical style are associated with a specific partisan social group then people can impute partisan identity simply by looking at someone. Besides visual pieces of information, people can signal aspects about themselves through verbal or written communication (Lampeland Anderson 1968). Indeed, cultural preferences, like music, movies, and hobbies, are often the first things people talk about when getting to know others (Rentfrow and Gosling 2006), and if these cultural preferences are connected to partisan identity, learning this information can activate partisan categorization of an individual in small talk situations or casual “getting-to-know-you” environments. Through either of these “learning” processes, people can use the cultural attributes and preferences of others, in everyday social scenarios, to infer their partisan preferences and formulate a broader impression of strangers around this perception of partisanship. I argue that this initial impression can shape any number of social evaluations, such as whereto sit on the bus, in which neighborhood to live, whom to recommend for a promotion,andwhich candidate to vote for in low-information elections. By just seeing or meeting someone, people might immediately engage in partisan categorization and prejudice without knowing anything else about them. If perceived partisan identity shapes these daily experiences and interactions with strangers around partisan bias, these minor interactions will continue to foster negative attitudes towards the opposing party andaffective polarization,simply through increased physical distance between the two partisan groups in daily interactions. My dissertation research involves fourrelated articles that all focus on the concept of partisan cultural stereotypes. Through these four articles I answer three central questions:dopartisan cultural stereotypes exists, how are they formed,andwhat are theirsocial implications? Drawing on theories from political science and psychology, I use a variety of experimental and psychological methods to analyze how partisan identity plays a role in day-to-day social evaluations and interactions in the United States. In the first paperof my dissertation, I conduct an initial test of the relationship between cultural preferences and partisan stereotypes. First, I conduct a categorization task using an undergraduate sample to demonstrate that certain cultural preferences are seen as highly typical of one of the two parties, and that some of these cultural preferences are seen as more typicalof one of the two parties than issue positions and partisan news media sources. Building off the results of this categorization task, I conduct a nationally representative survey experiment to assess whether learning about a stranger’s cultural preferences is related to partisan social evaluations of that individual. In this 2 by 3 experimental design, respondents read a vignette about either a hypothetical co-worker or non-partisan political candidate’s cultural preferences and daily lives. The results from this experimental study suggest that if the cultural preferences of either the co-worker or candidate are connected to one party, that respondents are more likely to categorize and stereotype that individual as the “correct” partisan. Furthermore, partisans are also more likely to express partisan discrimination towards an individual that is seen as stereotypical of their opposing party. In the second paperof my dissertation, I test the breadth of the effect of cultural preferences on partisan discrimination through two experimental studies. In the first study, I conduct an Implicit Association Test (IAT) and find that both partisan categorization and partisan bias occur automatically and subconsciously when exposed to cultural preferences. These findings suggest that these social group cultural symbols and the party images are cognitively linked in long-term memory,and that partisan identity and associated affective tags can be activated when exposed to cultural preferences. In the second study, I testwhether this implicit partisan bias extends to explicit partisan bias by replicating and expanding the second experimental study from the first paper. I find that regardless of which apolitical environment and what type of social evaluation, partisansexpress partisan discrimination against stereotypical opposing partisans. Inthe third paper, I assess whether partisan identity can be visually communicated. As mentioned above, information about an individual or their identity can be communicated through multiple pathways. In the previous two papers, I evaluated whether partisan identity can be perceived through written communication about an individual. In this paper, I evaluate whether partisan identity, through partisan cultural stereotypes like clothingchoice and physical style, can be perceived by just looking at someone. In the first part of this paper, I test whether one’s physical appearance affects the partisan perception and initial impressions of an individual through a randomized and timed categorization task. The findings from this studysuggest thatclothing styles and appearance significantly alter the partisan perception of an individual and that partisan identity can be inferred from visual cues. In the second half of this paper, I show thatthese visual manifestations of partisan identity also affect social evaluations of complete strangers, as both Democrats and Republicans engage inpartisan social evaluations of individuals who look stereotypical of their in-party and out-party. Furthermore, partisan discrimination is, to some extent, moderated by socio-economic status differences within the two parties.The last paper of this dissertation evaluatesone mechanism through which partisan cultural stereotypesform and come to be systematic:public knowledge. I argue that it is through the growing intersection of culture and politics, namelythe endorsement of politicians bycelebrities and politicians’ lifestyle preferences, that people learn to distinctly associate certain cultural preferences with one of the two political parties. I test this theory in two ways. First, I trace Taylor Swift’s evolutionfrom a staunchly apolitical celebrity to a supporter of two Tennessee Democrats and use original survey data to assess how her behavior has affected partisan categorization of her and her fans. I find that while her behavior slightly shifted respondent’s partisan categorization of her towards more typical Democrat, her behavior did not shift respondents’categorization of her fans.Second, I conduct an experiment to more directlytest what happens when people are aware of either celebrity or partisan exemplar behavior. I find that when respondents learn about either a celebrityendorsinga partisan politicianor a partisan exemplar endorsing a celebrity, they are more likely to categorize and stereotype a fan of the celebrity as a Republican or Democrat, depending on the partisan politician mentioned in the treatment. When people are aware of the cultural behavior of a politician or the partisan behavior of a celebrity, associative learning begins to take place and partisan cultural stereotypes form. This dissertation project is an in-depth study of how the concept and definition of partisan identity has evolved as the two partisan coalitions have become socially and culturally distinct. Advances in technology and production have drastically increased the availability of consumer’s options across a broad array of products and have thus made social group membership more visible through increased symbolic consumption. Industrialization and economic development coupled with globalization has drastically increased Americans consumption options from radio programs, to grocery stores, to hobbies, to potato chips –basically every choice one makes throughout the day.It is this choice that allows individuals to specifically tailor their consumption behavior to their self and social identity, creating a more cohesiveconcept of identity(Heffetz 2009, Elliot and Wattanasuwan 2015). If they wish to, social group members canuse their consumption patterns to intentionally express who they are and what they stand for. Christians can now listen to Christian radio, environmentalists can now choose to drive more environmentally friendly cars, and individuals with predilections towards meditation and spirituality can practice yoga even if they live in the middle of rural Kansas. Thus, social group identity can be easily expressed through consumption choices as well as easily seen and inferred from consumption choices. When coupled with the emergence of hyper polarization and the resulting salience of partisan identity, social group symbolic consumption and intentional expressions of social group identity can also be interpreted as symbolic consumption and the intentional expression of partisan identity. As a result, we now live in an era where people can easily infer social and partisan group identity from intentional consumption choices.

Early-career setback and future career impact: Consistent with the concept that "what doesn't kill me makes me stronger."

Early-career setback and future career impact. Yang Wang, Benjamin F. Jones, Dashun Wang. > arXiv:1903.06958, Mar 16 2019. Final version: Nature Communications, volume 10, Article number: 4331 (2019). (free)

Abstract: Setbacks are an integral part of a scientific career, yet little is known about whether an early-career setback may augment or hamper an individual's future career impact. Here we examine junior scientists applying for U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01 grants. By focusing on grant proposals that fell just below and just above the funding threshold, we compare "near-miss" with "near-win" individuals to examine longer-term career outcomes. Our analyses reveal that an early-career near miss has powerful, opposing effects. On one hand, it significantly increases attrition, with one near miss predicting more than a 10% chance of disappearing permanently from the NIH system. Yet, despite an early setback, individuals with near misses systematically outperformed those with near wins in the longer run, as their publications in the next ten years garnered substantially higher impact. We further find that this performance advantage seems to go beyond a screening mechanism, whereby a more selected fraction of near-miss applicants remained than the near winners, suggesting that early-career setback appears to cause a performance improvement among those who persevere. Overall, the findings are consistent with the concept that "what doesn't kill me makes me stronger." Whereas science is often viewed as a setting where early success begets future success, our findings unveil an intimate yet previously unknown relationship where early-career setback can become a marker for future achievement, which may have broad implications for identifying, training and nurturing junior scientists whose career will have lasting impact.

Corrected misinformation was presented alongside equal presentations of affirmed factual statements; participants reduced their belief in the misinformation but did not reduce their feelings towards the politician

They Might Be a Liar But They’re My Liar: Source Evaluation and the Prevalence of Misinformation. Briony Swire‐Thompson et al. Political Psychology, April 13 2019.

Abstract: Even if people acknowledge that misinformation is incorrect after a correction has been presented, their feelings towards the source of the misinformation can remain unchanged. The current study investigated whether participants reduce their support of Republican and Democratic politicians when the prevalence of misinformation disseminated by the politicians appears to be high in comparison to the prevalence of their factual statements. We presented U.S. participants either with (1) equal numbers of false and factual statements from political candidates or (2) disproportionately more false than factual statements. Participants received fact‐checks as to whether items were true or false, then rerated both their belief in the statements as well as their feelings towards the candidate. Results indicated that when corrected misinformation was presented alongside equal presentations of affirmed factual statements, participants reduced their belief in the misinformation but did not reduce their feelings towards the politician. However, if there was considerably more misinformation retracted than factual statements affirmed, feelings towards both Republican and Democratic figures were reduced—although the observed effect size was extremely small.

In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, 88% of Americans reported that fabricated news had caused confusion about basic facts regarding current events (Barthel, Mitchell, & Holcomb, 2016). From the Cambridge Analytica scandal to reports of Russian troll factories (Chappell, 2018; Steward, Arif, & Starbird, 2018), it has been difficult to escape debate about how information can affect political discourse and the problematic nature of a media environment where veracity can-not be guaranteed. Misinformation in the public sphere can cause long-term damage to democratic discourse, not least because reasoning is often influenced by misinformation even after people have been presented with a valid correction (Johnson & Seifert, 1994; Lewandowsky, Ecker, Seifert, Schwarz, & Cook, 2012; Thorson, 2016). Even if people do update their belief after a correction, they might not similarly update their attitudes about the issue or their opinion of the person who is spreading the misinformation. The present study assesses whether people’s feelings towards political figures are affected when a large amount of invalid information is disseminated in comparison to the amount of valid information. In other words, if a politician tends to tell mostly lies, to what extent do their supporters lose faith in them?
Events that influence trust, such as political scandals, often affect people’s voting preferences (Funk, 1996). However, political reputation is also surprisingly resilient; more than half of U.S. incumbents who are implicated in scandals are subsequently reelected (Basinger, 2013). Moreover, not all scandals are created equal. For example, a financial scandal such as tax evasion is more likely to permanently diminish feelings towards a political candidate as compared to a moral scandal (such as an extramarital affair; Doherty, Dowling, & Miller, 2014). The continued spreading of inaccurate information, however, differs from a one-time scandal as it is an ongoing violation of the pervasive but tacit assumption that people are generally truth tellers (Grice, 1975). Although people assume that speakers by and large are truthful, they are sensitive to violations of that maxim (Okanda, Asada, Moriguchi, & Itakura, 2015). Regardless of whether a politician is actually lying with intent to deceive or simply making repetitive unintentional errors, it is unclear how forgivable continued falsehoods are in the eyes of voters.

In previous research, Swire, Berinsky, Lewandowsky, and Ecker (2017) found that feelings to-wards a politician who disseminated misinformation remained unchanged even when participants acknowledged that their favored politician’s statements were incorrect. Specifically, Swire et al. asked participants to rate their belief in eight statements that Donald Trump made on the campaign trail, four of which were accurate and four inaccurate. The statements were either attributed to Trump (e.g., “Donald Trump said that vaccines cause autism”) or presented without attribution (“Vaccines cause autism”). After inaccurate items were corrected and true items affirmed, participants rerated their belief in those items either immediately or after a week-long delay. Results indicated that even if Trump supporters reduced their belief in misinformation attributed to Trump, they did not change their voting preferences nor feelings towards him.

This null effect, however, could potentially have resulted from participants being presented with true and false statements in equal quantities. While it is unclear a priori why factual statements should “balance out” misinformation, it is possible that a 50/50 split of true and false statements is insufficient to sway supporters’ feelings, as it may not sufficiently violate people’s expectations of truthfulness. This also could be in accordance with the tallying heuristic where people count the number of arguments (for example, pros and cons) and disregard the relative importance of each argument (Bonnefon, Dubois, Fargier, & Leblois, 2008; Gigerenzer, 2004). Perhaps the prevalence of misinformation must be more extreme—that is, the perceived amount or ratio of misinformation in comparison to factual information might have to be greater for falsehoods to influence opinion of the source. Additionally, it may be that participants update their beliefs about the specific items that are corrected, while opinion regarding the general amount of misinformation spread by a politician may be more stable. In other words, participants may accept that particular claims are false, but they maintain the perception that the candidate is accurate day to day, enabling them to have stable feel-ings towards the candidate.

Nyhan, Porter, Reifler, and Wood (2019) conducted a similar study to Swire et al. (2017) and also found that participants who reduced their belief in corrected misinformation did not change their feel-ings towards Donald Trump. However, unlike Swire et al., Nyhan and colleagues only presented one false (and no true) statement, suggesting that the preservation of support was not due to an equal number of factually accurate statements alongside it. There is additionally evidence to suggest that this phenom-enon could extend beyond political figures. With Israeli participants, Nyhan and Zeitzoff (2017) found that corrections successfully reduced individual misperceptions regarding the Israeli-Palestine conflict, but this did not extend to participants’ feelings towards the outgroup nor support for the peace process.

A separate question is whether (null) effects of misinformation on feelings and voting pref-erences are similar on both sides of the political spectrum, as both Swire et al. (2017) and Nyhan et al. (2019) exclusively used claims made by Donald Trump. Political symmetry is important to consider because there is still debate as to whether there are notable cognitive differences between people on opposing sides of the political spectrum. Some argue that these psychological differ-ences are the reason that the rejection of well-established scientific propositions are mainly found on the political right (Jost, 2017; Lewandowsky & Oberauer, 2016). Experimental support for political asymmetry was provided by Ecker and Ang (2018), who investigated whether partisan po-litical attitudes affected how people updated their beliefs after corrections were presented. Ecker and Ang found that retractions of attitude-dissonant misinformation were effective in participants on both sides of the political spectrum, whereas retractions of attitude-congruent misinformation were only effective in left-wing (but not right-wing) participants. In other words, left-wing partic-ipants were more willing to reject erroneous information that had supported their worldview than right-wing participants.

However, other researchers argue that identity-protective cognition occurs on both sides of the political spectrum (Kahan, 2013; Kahan, Peters, Dawson, & Slovic, 2017). For example, Washburn and Skitka (2017) tested the propensity of conservatives and liberals to misinterpret scientific claims that conflicted with preexisting beliefs. The authors found that both groups had motivated interpre-tations of scientific studies and were less likely to discover correct interpretations of the results when they conflicted with participants’ attitudes. Additionally, Claassen and Ensley (2016) found no dif-ference between Republicans and Democrats when it came to their concern about politicians using dirty-campaign tricks. There was little change in attitude towards a politician if the respondents were politically aligned with the politician, but participants were highly concerned if the politician came from the opposite side. It is therefore possible that cognitive processes guiding preferences towards politicians are similar regardless of partisanship. Whether correcting misinformation is more likely to reduce feelings towards Republican or Democratic political figures (or whether symmetry will be observed) is yet to be studied empirically.