Thursday, May 28, 2020

Mental health consequences of minority political positions: The case of brexit

Mental health consequences of minority political positions: The case of brexit. Christopher W. N. Saville. Social Science & Medicine, May 29 2020, 113016.

• Previous group density studies correlational and unable to establish causation.
• Novel identities from UK's EU referendum allow study of formation of this effect.
• Density effect evident post-referendum but not beforehand.
• Effect robust to adjustment for a number of possible confounding variables.

The group density effect, where a group member's psychiatric risk is associated with the proportion of the local population their group comprises, demonstrates the importance of minority group status to mental health. Previous research, focusing on ethnicity, has been correlational, but newly-formed identities provide opportunities for natural experiments, with greater scope for causal inference. This study examines whether such a group density effect can be found for the novel Brexit identities of ‘leaver’ and ‘remainer’ following the UK's divisive 2016 referendum on EU membership. Mixed effects models were fitted to the Understanding Society panel survey series (N = 25,555, 19,767 for analyses controlling for pre-referendum mental health data), predicting mental health as a function of individual opinion on EU membership and local referendum results. These interacted such that those holding the local majority opinion had better mental health (Odds ratio (OR):875 [0.766- 0.9995]), compared to those in the minority. This result survived adjustment for individual and area-level economic circumstances (OR:866 [0.758-0.989]), and, strikingly, pre-referendum mental health (OR: 0.841 [0.709-0.998]), as well as a number of other potential confounding variables. The results provide evidence for rapidly forming group density effects based on de novo identities, and suggest that identity may be a causal mechanism for group density effects more broadly. They also speak to the extent of polarisation in the Brexit-era UK, and its public health consequences.

Keywords: UKBrexitEthnic densitySocial identity theoryInter-group relationsGroup densitySocial epidemiologyPublic mental health

Negative views of transgressors can be countered by them thinking that unethical behavior is morally unacceptable & emotions such as guilt; there is a moral superadditivity effect: less negative views from combination

Paruzel-Czachura, Mariola, and Michal Bialek. 2020. “The Moral Superadditivity Effect: Transgressors’ Beliefs and Emotions Influence the Perception of Their Morality.” PsyArXiv. May 28. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: Negative impressions of moral transgressors can be countered by them expressing socially desirable beliefs (thinking that unethical behavior is morally unacceptable) and emotions (such as guilt). Across four experiments with N = 1178, we establish a moral superadditivity effect, whereby jointly signaling socially desirable beliefs and emotions adds more than one could gain from them separately. This effect is visible when directly comparing the moral character of several transgressors (Studies 1 and 2) but disappears when judging them independently (Studies 3 and 4). Additionally, internal metanalysis showed that the benefits of expressing guilt and desirable beliefs are of similar strength, and that both are much larger when participants compare different types of transgressors directly.

Only about 41% of US adults indicated awareness of the race gap in IQ

US Public Perceptions of an Intelligence Quotient Test Score Gap Between Black Americans and White Americans. LJ Zigerell. Political Studies Review, May 27, 2020.

Abstract: Intelligence quotient (IQ) is a common measure of intelligence that associates with many important life outcomes. Research over several decades has indicated that the average IQ test score among Black Americans is lower than the average IQ test score among White Americans, but in weighted results from a national nonprobability survey, only about 41% of US adults indicated awareness of this IQ gap. Results from a follow-up convenience survey indicated that, in the aggregate, White participants’ rating of White Americans’ average IQ and average intelligence is higher than Blacks Americans’ average IQ test score and average intelligence and was not driven by White participants’ belief in a universal White intellectual superiority. These and other results could have implications regarding the US public’s perceptions about the reasons for Black/White inequality and implications for the use of intelligence stereotype scales as measures of racial prejudice.

Keywords: intelligence quotient, IQ, intelligence, stereotypes, race, perceptions, inequality