Thursday, December 3, 2020

Men perceived affirmative action more negatively than women, but women were more put off by being rejected rather than selected based on gender

Carlsson, Rickard, and Samantha Sinclair. 2020. “Preprint_selected or Rejected: Men and Women’s Reactions to Affirmative Action Procedures in Hiring.” PsyArXiv. December 3. doi:10.31234/

Rolf Degen's take:

Abstract: Previous research suggests that affirmative action policies tend to be perceived more negatively by men than by women, and by non-beneficiaries relative to beneficiaries. However, studies focusing on men as beneficiaries are lacking. The present paper reports the results of two pre-registered experiments conducted in Sweden. Study 1 investigated gender differences in reactions to being selected for a position based on either a strong or weak type of affirmative action policy. The results revealed that men (relative to women) displayed more negative attitudes, but not stronger resentment, and that a procedure using explicit quotas was perceived more negatively than a softer type of preferential treatment. In Study 2, we experimentally manipulated whether participants imagined being selected or rejected due to the same preferential treatment policy. Again, men displayed more negative attitudes, but not stronger resentment. The results further showed that attitudes were negative regardless of whether one was selected or rejected. However, those who were rejected felt stronger resentment than those who were selected, and this effect was especially pronounced for women. Implications for research, organizations, and policy-makers are discussed.

High cognition helps more a team when there is high category heterogeneity, high external interdependence, low authority differentiation, temporal dispersion, and geographic dispersion

Conditioning team cognition: A meta-analysis. Ashley A. Niler et al. Organizational Psychology Review, December 3, 2020.

Abstract: Abundant research supports a cognitive foundation to teamwork. Team cognition describes the mental states that enable team members to anticipate and to coordinate. Having been examined in hundreds of studies conducted in board rooms, cockpits, nuclear power plants, and locker rooms, to name a few, we turn to the question of moderators: Under which conditions is team cognition more and less strongly related to team performance? Random effects meta-analytic moderator analysis of 107 independent studies (N = 7,778) reveals meaningful variation in effect sizes conditioned on team composition and boundary factors. The overall effect of team cognition on performance is ρ = .35, though examining this effect by these moderators finds the effect can meaningfully vary between ρ = .22 and ρ = .42. This meta-analysis advances team effectiveness theory by moving past the question of “what is important?” to explore the question of “when and why is it important?” Results indicate team cognition is most strongly related to performance for teams with social category heterogeneity (ρ = .42), high external interdependence (ρ = .41), as well as low authority differentiation (ρ = .35), temporal dispersion (ρ = .36), and geographic dispersion (ρ = .35). Functional homogeneity and temporal stability (compositional factors) were not meaningful moderators of this relationship. The key takeaway of these findings is that team cognition matters most for team performance when—either by virtue of composition, leadership, structure, or technology—there are few substitute enabling conditions to otherwise promote performance.

Keywords: team cognition, team composition attributes, team boundary attributes, team performance, meta-analysis

Who Cares If You Vote? We find that citizens are more likely to perceive normative pressure to vote from fellow partisans

Who Cares If You Vote? Partisan Pressure and Social Norms of Voting. Edward Fieldhouse, David Cutts & Jack Bailey. Political Behavior, Dec 3 2020.

Abstract: Social norms are important in explaining why people vote, but where do those norms come from and is social pressure motivated by partisanship? In this article, we use political discussion network data to examine the role of party identification in shaping the relationship between injunctive norms, civic duty and voter turnout. More specifically, we examine the extent to which both the application of injunctive norms and their impact on turnout is affected by shared partisan identification. We find that citizens are more likely to perceive normative pressure to vote from fellow partisans, a phenomenon we refer to as “partisan pressure”. However we do not find consistent evidence for the hypothesis that turnout is more closely related to the approval or disapproval of discussants who share a partisanship. By separating the role of social pressure from that of normative beliefs we also demonstrate that injunctive norms affect voter turnout both directly and indirectly by increasing civic duty.


Existing research suggests that it is difficult to explain why people vote without invoking the concept of social norms. However, due in part to the limited availability of relational data, political scientists have tended to focus on personal normative beliefs, especially civic duty, ignoring the role of normative influence, either directly on voting or indirectly via civic duty. This has made it difficult to understand the process of normative influence, including who is most likely to apply normative pressure, and whether or not some political discussion partners are more influential than others. In this article we have presented a number of new and important findings concerning the relationships between injunctive norms, civic duty and turnout and how these relationships are shaped by party identification. For the first time we have demonstrated the role of shared partisan identification in determining the extent of social pressure to vote. We found strong evidence for partisan pressure—that is that norms are selectively enforced (Hypothesis 1). In short, people are more likely to perceive that their fellow partisans care whether they vote than discussants who do not share a party affiliation, especially identifiers of opposing parties. Second, we demonstrated that this social pressure is associated with higher levels of civic duty (Hypothesis 2), which in turn is correlated with voter turnout. Although the size of the effect of social pressure on duty (the coefficient) was not found to vary by dyadic partisanship (Hypothesis 3), because the amount of social pressure is higher in shared partisan dyads, the level of duty also tends to be higher. Moreover, despite the importance of social pressure in shaping civic duty, approval of voting was found to be strongly associated with turnout even after allowing for civic duty (Hypothesis 4). However, we do not find consistent evidence that social pressure from fellow partisans was more strongly related to turnout than that from opposing partisans (Hypothesis 5). The failure to consistently identify the differential effect may reflect either the unique electoral context of our primary dataset (2014), peculiarities of the supplementary samples (2015 and 2017), or both.

It is important to remember that these findings relate to interpersonal influence through dyadic injunctive norms and partisanship, not to the character of whole networks (Huckfeldt et al. 2004; Nir 2011). While we find that shared partisanship stimulates social pressure to vote, it is entirely plausible that disagreement could simultaneously stimulate turnout through increased partisan discussion (Foos and de Rooij 2016). The latter, as Foos and de Rooij point out, may reflect friendly competition (‘I will vote to offset your vote’) whilst the former relies on a desire for co-operation (‘you should vote because our party needs your support’).

Before accepting these conclusions, we should consider possible problems of endogeneity that threaten causal inference. First, regarding the effect of shared partisanship on approval, it might be argued that there is reciprocal causality. This would require that respondents select discussants that care about their turnout behaviour and, in turn, this would make them more likely to adopt a shared a party preference. In other words, the showing of approval of turnout by a discussant would have to influence the party identification of the respondent. This seems rather unlikely. Certain types of discussant may well be both more likely to approve and likely to influence the party preference of respondent, but this must be attributable to some characteristics of the dyad (e.g. the closeness of the relationship) and is therefore a problem of omitted variable bias rather than reverse causality. To mitigate this, we have included a substantial range of individual and dyadic controls. It is hard to think of many other characteristics not already included in the approval model that might be related to both shared partisanship and approval of voting. However, we acknowledge there may be omitted variables that are related to both sharing partisanship and applying normative pressure which means that causal inference needs to be made with caution. Regarding the relationship between approval and turnout, similar arguments apply.

Another possible threat to inference is that civic duty and turnout of the respondent may influence the likelihood of perceiving approval amongst discussants. However, there is no theoretical or logical reason that any misperception should be restricted to those sharing the same partisanship. The fact that the inclusion of a large number of other individual and dyadic controls makes little difference to the effect of dyadic partisanship reassures us that dyadic partisanship most likely does influence perceived approval of voting. Whilst endogeneity can rarely be ruled out in observational cross-sectional analysis, it is important to note that the existence of endogeneity per se does not necessarily render analysis obsolete. By its very nature, influence via social norms and social networks is an endogenous process. People influence each other, and this is precisely our object of interest. If we are to understand these routes of influence better, then it is necessary to recognise and acknowledge this and employ relational data as we have here. Indeed, whilst experimental designs have proved very successful at identifying causal effects (e.g. Sinclair 2012) they have more limited potential for uncovering the underlying patterns of normative influence. Network designs may be inferior for making causal inference, but arguably better suited for describing the conditions under which normative pressure is applied—an important and sometimes undervalued endeavour (Blais and Daoust 2020; Hersh and Ghitza 2018). The network data used here has enabled us to come to an important conclusion: citizens are more likely to perceive normative pressure from fellow partisans.

In sum, we believe the findings of this research are important in furthering our understanding of how social norms of voting operate, and the crucial role of partisanship. This matters because models of turnout are heavily reliant on the concepts of norms and, very often, this is reduced to personal normative beliefs, especially civic duty, which is frequently treated as an exogenous characteristic of autonomous and isolated citizens. We suggest that this is unsatisfactory: norms are social constructs and, if normative beliefs of voting are critical to understanding turnout, then we must at least attempt to understand more about where they come from and when they are most effective. Here we have taken a small step in that direction, making a clear link between party identity and normative influence on both civic duty and voter turnout.

Contrary to existing research, both liberals and conservatives are more fearful of different circumstances

Dispositional Fear and Political Attitudes. Peter K. Hatemi & Rose McDermott. Human Nature, Dec 3 2020.

Abstract: Previous work proposes that dispositional fear exists predominantly among political conservatives, generating the appearance that fears align strictly along party lines. This view obscures evolutionary dynamics because fear evolved to protect against myriad threats, not merely those in the political realm. We suggest prior work in this area has been biased by selection on the dependent variable, resulting from an examination of exclusively politically oriented fears that privilege conservative values. Because the adaptation regulating fear should be based upon both universal and ancestral-specific selection pressures combined with developmental and individual differences, the elicitation of it should prove variable across the ideological continuum dependent upon specific combinations of fear and value domains. In a sample of ~ 1,600 Australians assessed with a subset of the Fear Survey Schedule II, we find fears not infused with political content are differentially influential across the political spectrum. Specifically, those who are more fearful of sharp objects, graveyards, and urinating in public are more socially conservative and less supportive of gay rights. Those who are more fearful of death are more supportive of gay rights. Those who are more fearful of suffocating and swimming alone are more concerned about emissions controls and immigration, while those who are more fearful of thunderstorms are also more anti-immigration. Contrary to existing research, both liberals and conservatives are more fearful of different circumstances, and the role of dispositional fears are attitude-specific.

There is less of a disproportionate conservative antipathy toward protests than of a disproportionate liberal enthusiasm

Clarifying the Ideological Asymmetry in Public Attitudes Toward Political Protest. David Barker, Kimberly Nalder, Jessica Newham. American Politics Research, December 2, 2020.

Rolf Degen's take:

Abstract: Political protests cannot succeed without public support. Extant studies point to weaker average support among ideological conservatives, but researchers have yet to consider the extent to which such apparent ideological asymmetry is (a) an artifact of the particular protest cases that researchers have tended to investigate, and/or (b) conditioned by the precise meaning of “ideological conservatism.” In this investigation, we address these gaps. Specifically, we analyze public perceptions of protest legitimacy after exposing survey respondents to one of a series of experimental treatments that randomize the specific ideological and issue contents of the particular protests under consideration. In iterative models, we observe how political ideology, social dominance orientation and authoritarianism condition the effects associated with these experimental treatments. The data suggest that that the notorious ideological asymmetry that is often associated with support for protests is authentic, but it is also conditioned in important ways by these other factors.

Keywords: political protest, attitudes, ideology, authoritarianism, social dominance orientation