Sunday, November 21, 2021

Male researchers more often value and engage in research mainly aimed at scientific progress, which is more cited; females more often value & engage in research mainly aimed at contributing to societal progress, which has more abstract views (usage)

Gender differences in the aims and impacts of research. Lin Zhang, Gunnar Sivertsen, Huiying Du, Ying Huang & Wolfgang Glänzel. Scientometrics volume 126, pages 8861–8886, Nov 2021.

Abstract: This study uses mixed methods—classical citation analysis, altmetric analysis, a survey with researchers as respondents, and text analysis of the abstracts of scientific articles—to investigate gender differences in the aims and impacts of research. We find that male researchers more often value and engage in research mainly aimed at scientific progress, which is more cited. Female researchers more often value and engage in research mainly aimed at contributing to societal progress, which has more abstract views (usage). The gender differences are observed among researchers who work in the same field of research and have the same age and academic position. Our findings have implications for evaluation and funding policies and practices. A critical discussion of how societal engagement versus citation impact is valued, and how funding criteria reflect gender differences, is warranted.

Holding heavily invested political beliefs makes individuals reluctant to update their beliefs in the face of contradictory information; providing ambiguous information caused them to become further divided based on their political ideology

Updating Politicized Beliefs: How Motivated Reasoning Contributes to Polarization. Siyan Su. Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, November 20 2021, 101799.


• This experiment examined the effect of the political significance of information on motivated belief updating

• Holding heavily invested political beliefs makes individuals reluctant to update their beliefs in the face of contradictory information

• Providing subjects with ambiguous information caused them to become further divided based on their political ideology

• Subjects’ biased incorporation of new evidence is consistent with theories of belief-based utility, confirmation bias, and motivated reasoning

Abstract: This paper examines how the political significance of information can affect subjects’ perceived reliability of that information and their motivated belief updating. In this study, 1,222 subjects were randomly assigned to receive low-reliability, high-reliability, or ambiguous information about neutral and political questions. For each question, subjects were first asked to give a numerical estimate. After receiving new information, subjects had the opportunity to update their previous numerical estimates, and then, they reported their perceived reliability of the information they received. I observed that subjects were more reluctant to update their beliefs for politically significant questions compared to neutral questions. I also found that subjects were more likely to discredit and reject new information when it challenged their preexisting ideology, indicating that one's rooted political beliefs can distort the belief updating process. In addition, subjects drew different conclusions from ambiguous information depending on their political ideology, illustrating how ambiguity may lead to greater polarization. Finally, I discuss possible explanations for subjects’ biased integration of new information using motivated reasoning and belief-based utility theories. The results of this study contribute to the understanding of why people remain divided on politically charged issues.

Keywords: belief updatingbelief-based utilitymotivated reasoningconfirmation biasambiguous informationbelief polarization

Social Networks Facilitate Informed Option Trading? Evidence from Alumni Reunion Networks

Cheong, Harvey and Kim, Joon Ho and Münkel, Florian and Spilker III, Harold D., Do Social Networks Facilitate Informed Option Trading? Evidence from Alumni Reunion Networks (February 27, 2021). Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis (Forthcoming),

Abstract: Material private information transmits through social networks. Using manually collected information on networks of alumni reunion cohorts, we show that hedge fund managers connected to directors of firms engaged in merger deals increase call option holdings on target firms before deal announcements. Effects are larger when reunion events for connected cohorts occur just before announcements. Independent directors, directors with short tenure, and directors with low stock ownership are more likely to transmit information. Our results are robust to confounding factors and alternative specifications. These findings highlight the role of social networks as channels of private information dissemination.

Keywords: Informed Trading, Social Networks, Hedge Funds, Mergers & Acquisitions, Options

JEL Classification: D82, G11, G12, G14, G34, L14, Z13

Loosening the definition of culture... An investigation of gender and cultural tightness: We find that American women felt their gender culture is “tighter” than men

Loosening the definition of culture: an investigation of gender and cultural tightness. Alexandra S. Wormley et al. Current Research in Ecological and Social Psychology, November 14 2021, 100021.


• Cultural tightness has previously been studied at the national or regional level.

• We find that American women felt their gender culture is “tighter” than men.

• This gender difference is mediated by gender related threats, in line with theories about tightness as a way of managing ecological threats

• We find a lack of measurement invariance comparing tightness in men and women in Singapore, pointing to a need for future work refining measurement

Abstract: To date, the study of cultural tightness has been largely limited to exploring the strictness of social norms and the severity of punishments at the level of nations or regions. However, cultural psychologists concur that humans gather cultural information from more than just their nationality. Gender is a cultural identity that confers its own social norms. Across three studies using multi-method designs, we find that American women feel the culture surrounding their gender is “tighter” than that for men, and that this relationship is mediated by perceived gender-related threats to the self. However, in a follow-up study in Singapore, we do not find measurement invariance, suggesting future work is necessary to refine the study of gender tightness cross-culturally. We close with an important discussion of understanding how tightness looks across a variety of cultural identities and introduce a novel, qualitative method for the study of the tightness of social norms within groups.

Keywords: gendertightness-loosenessculturepsychology


Across hundreds of US participants, we found robust evidence for a difference in perceived tightness and looseness across men and women, such that women perceived greater tightness using a modified, 4 item scale and qualitatively reported more gender norms for themselves (Studies 1-2). Further, in line with ideas about tightness functioning to manage threat, we found that gender-specific threats mediated the relationship between gender and tightness (Study 3). This is in line with previous work which has suggested the broader adaptive purpose of cultural tightness is to manage environmental and social threats to the group. However, here we apply this to gender within a given society in a novel way.

We attempted to replicate in a tight country, Singapore. We had thought perhaps national tightness might moderate the relationship between gender and tightness, such that a gender difference might appear in relatively loose cultures (like the US) but not in a culture in which there are very tight norms for everyone (like Singapore). We could not explore these novel questions because of bad model fit and a lack of measurement invariance. Once the measurement is sorted out in future work, we think that will open questions of how individuals, with their many cultural identities, manage competing expectations and prioritize certain parts of their identity (say, national identity) over others (like gender).

Other cultural dimensions may provide insight as to why Singaporean men and women reported similar numbers of norms in an open-ended prompt. Gender egalitarianism which varies by country is (somewhat paradoxically) known to increase gender differences since the equality allows the genders to pursue their different, respective goals (Schwartz & Rubel-Lifschitz, 2009). Singapore is higher than the United States on egalitarianism (Schwartz, 2007), suggesting that we should expect Singapore to have larger differences in gender norms than the United States. An interesting future direction would examine gender and tightness in societies that vary in gender equality and in tightness at the national level; we propose an interesting set of comparisons could be New Zealand (relatively loose, relative gender equality), Ukraine (relatively loose, relative gender inequality), Austria (relatively tight, relative gender equality), and India (relatively tight, relative gender inequality) (Gelfand et al., 2011Schwartz, 2007). Do women report greater feelings of tightness in unequal societies? Do they report differences in the kinds of norms they must follow in comparison to men?

Additionally, our work presents a new qualitative method for studying cultural tightness. In having participants record social norms, we gain not only a proxy for the cognitive accessibility of social norms in their mind, but the content of these norms. This allows us to further dive into what threats are managed by social norms, revealing a cross-cultural convergence upon the importance of affiliation and appearance-related norms for women especially. Thus, we add yet another measure to the growing number of ways to capture perceptions of social norms and cultural tightness (Mu et al., 2015Uz, 2015).

Theoretically, the most exciting prospect this line of research offers is the idea that tightness varies across different cultural identities, with identity-related threat as a mediator. What other differences might we then expect? Do African-Americans or other minority ethnic groups report tighter cultural norms than their White counterparts (US Census Bureau, 2019)? Do Jewish people, who have historically faced immense religious persecution (Phillips, 2018), have tighter norms than Christians do? Is a long history of threats needed to shape norm tightness or can tightness be affected by recent current threats to identity (e.g., a wave of hate crimes)? Do transgender individuals, who face four times the amount of violent crime as cisgender ones (Rude, 2021), have tighter in-group norms? Further, since threat influences cultural tightness, might norms be specific to the domain of threat? For example, in an environment where women outnumber men, might men face stricter mating norms (Bleu et al., 2012)?

Beyond replicating in other countries, gender differences in cultural tightness should be investigated from a more representative sample because student participants may not be entirely representative of the population. The consistent evolution of gender norms in developed countries means that generational, and perhaps social class, differences are likely to exist. Further, these studies cannot rule out the fact that women may overperceive norms in comparison to men. Is the observed difference in gender tightness due to a difference in sensitivity to threat or differences in actual threats? There is reason to think it may be beneficial for women to be especially attuned to the social landscape and the rules within it, in the same way they seem attuned to threat (Brebner, 2003Burani & Nelson, 2020). To rule this out, women could be compared to men in their reporting of norms within other cultural contexts, like the workplace or the nation.

The tightness-looseness continuum represents an exciting trait of cultural groups that lie outside the traditional conception of “culture.” Through a mixed-method design, we establish that while other cultural groups may differ on these traits, special attention must be paid to measurement and the proper application of scales across group types. We leave the reader with two tools for continuing the study of gender and tightness—the GTS and the Gender Norm Perception Task—and further it beyond gender to other cultural identities.

US and activism of sexual minorities: Lesbians and gay men were registered at greater rates than heterosexuals; transgender people were the least likely to be registered to vote, though this may be due to the vote-validation process itself

Voter Registration Rates and Traits by Sexual Orientation and Gender Expression. Dakota Strode, Andrew R Flores. Public Opinion Quarterly, nfab042, November 15 2021.

Abstract: Studies of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people suggest that they are more politically engaged and active compared to cisgender and heterosexual people. However, knowing the voter registration rates of eligible LGBT Americans has been elusive because the U.S. Census Bureau does not document sexual orientation or gender identity in the Current Population Survey and existing estimates are limited based on small sample sizes or on self-reports, which have social desirability biases. The 2016 and 2018 Cooperative Congressional Election Survey merges respondents to their official voter status as contained in state voter files, which overcomes biases in self-reported registration status. We provide demographics and estimates of voter registration rates by sexual orientation and gender expression. Many gaps in registration rates are attributable to demographic differences between groups, though lesbians and gay men were registered at greater rates than heterosexuals even after adjusting for demographics. Transgender Americans were the least likely to be registered to vote, though this may be due to the vote-validation process itself.

Personality, intelligence and belief in astrology: Narcissism was surprisingly the strongest predictor, and intelligence showed a negative relationship with belief in astrology

Even the stars think that I am superior: Personality, intelligence and belief in astrology. Ida Andersson, Julia Persson, Petri Kajonius. Personality and Individual Differences, November 20 2021, 111389.

Abstract: Belief in astrology is on the rise, although the reasons behind this are unclear. We tested whether individual personality traits could predict such epistemically unfounded beliefs. Data was collected for 264 participants through an anonymous online survey shared on social media. The survey consisted of four instruments: Belief in Astrology (BAI), the Big Five personality traits (IPIP-30), narcissism (SD3) and intelligence (ICAR16-R3D). Data analysis was done with multiple linear regression. Narcissism was surprisingly the strongest predictor, and intelligence showed a negative relationship with belief in astrology. Overall, our novel results suggest that something as innocent as astrology could both attract and possibly reinforce individual differences.

Keywords: Belief in astrologyPseudoscienceBig fiveNarcissismIntelligence

4. Discussion

The present study aim was to investigate how individual differences relate to belief in astrology. The main result showed that the higher the narcissism, perhaps surprisingly, the higher the belief in astrology. The positive association is possibly due to the self-centred worldview uniting them, though this must be examined in further research. Furthermore, cultural aspects of millennials may emphasize the uniqueness of individuals which might lead to a more egocentric view of the world, and thus relate to narcissistic traits. Further, since astrological predictions and horoscopes tend to be positively framed, this reinforces grandiose feelings and thus might appeal even more to narcissists. Note that narcissistic traits correlated with the belief that astrology is supported by science (Table 1), which leads to a speculation that narcissists may generally be more fact resistant.

Other interesting findings was that the higher the level of intelligence, the lower the belief in astrology (see Musch & Ehrenberg, 2002), as well as that agreeable people tend to report believing in astrology more. Seeing how most personality predictors were small in magnitude, this leaves room for many other variables influencing belief in astrology. Speculatively, additional predictors could be cohort-effects, educational levels, occupations, and others.

4.1. Limitations

As with most survey designs, social desirability bias, common method bias, and the use of self-report may be an issue. Another limitation was that we had no control over who participated in the study, thus introducing a potential selection bias. In the same vein, we do not know how much participants know about astrology. Also, since the vast majority were younger women recruited through social media the sample is not generalisable to a broader population. Another possible concern in the present study is the use of short versions of the scales, especially Openness which showed a low internal consistency and did not show expected effects in the regression model. One indication of this is that openness and intelligence did not correlate significantly in the present study (see Table 1). Lastly, most of the reported effects were acknowledgeable small (Gignac & Szodorai, 2016), which leaves room for both type I-errors as well as for the influence of other variables, outside individual differences.