Sunday, March 13, 2022

Pictorial representations (like company logos, emojis, photos) are very popular nowadays; we show that people are perceived as less powerful when using pictures vs. words

Medium is a powerful message: Pictures signal less power than words. Elinor Amit, Shai Danziger, Pamela K. Smith. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Volume 169, March 2022, 104132.


• Pictorial representations are very popular nowadays.

• We show that people are perceived as less powerful when using pictures vs. words.

• Desire for social proximity mediates the effect of medium on perceived power.

• We show people can strategically use medium to signal power.

• The effect of medium on perceived power matters in organizational contexts.

Abstract: This research shows people are perceived as less powerful when they use pictures versus words. This effect was found across picture types (company logos, emojis, and photographs) and use contexts (clothing prints, written messages, and Zoom profiles). Mediation analysis and a mediation-by-moderation design show this happens because picture-use signals a greater desire for social proximity (versus distance) than word-use, and a desire for social proximity is associated with lower power. Finally, we find that people strategically use words (pictures) when aiming to signal more (less) power. We refute alternative explanations including differences in the content of pictures and words, the medium’s perceived appropriateness, the context’s formality, and the target’s age and gender. Our research shows pictures and words are not interchangeable means of representation. Rather, they signal distinct social values with reputational consequences.

Keywords: MediumPicturesWordsZoomEmojisLogosPowerPsychological distance

Maoist China: During the embryonic stage of communist centralization, the productivity of manufacturing sectors more than doubled; this growth was largely obtained by the exploitation from agriculture and low compensation for workers

Chi, Shawn, Rob Peter to Pay Paul: The Maoist Growth of a Socialist Economy (January 1, 2022). SSRN:

Abstract: This paper explains the stylized facts during China's collectivization movement. Despite the spectacular organization of communism, few studies, to my knowledge, have systematically assessed its uncanny productivity effects. I examine the inter-industrial difference of productivity growth and compare its outcome to a decentralized capitalist economy. During the embryonic stage of communist centralization, the productivity of manufacturing sectors more than doubled. However, this manufacturing growth is largely obtained by the exploitation from agriculture and low compensation for workers.

Keywords: socialistic economy, industrialization, productivity, exploitation

JEL Classification: D24, N15, O14, P21, P32

Cats understand human pointing gestures. My view: When cats ignore us or do what they like even against our protests/commands, they know what they are doing.

Assessing cats' (Felis catus) sensitivity to human pointing gestures. Margaret Maeses, Claudia A.F. Wascher. bioRxiv, Mar 13 2022.

Abstract: A wide range of non-human animal species have been shown to be able to respond to human referential signals, such as pointing gestures. The aim of the present study was to replicate previous findings showing cats to be sensitive to human pointing cues (Miklósi et al. 2005). In our study, we presented two types of human pointing gestures - momentary direct pointing and momentary cross-body pointing. We tested nine rescue cats in a two-way object choice task. On a group level, the success rate of cats was 74.4 percentage. Cats performed significantly above chance level in both the direct pointing and cross-body pointing condition. Trial number, rewarded side and type of gesture did not significantly affect the cats' performance in the experiment. On an individual level, 5 out of 7 cats who completed 20 trials, performed significantly above chance level. Two cats only completed 10 trials. One of them succeeded in 8, the other in 6 of these. The results of our study replicate previous findings of cats being responsive to human direct pointing cues and add additional knowledge about their ability to follow cross-body pointing cues. Our results highlight a domestic species, socialised in a group setting, to possess heterospecific communication skills, however we have to consider parsimonious explanations, such as local and stimulus enhancement.

Greater political knowledge is associated with greater intensity of emotions against opponents

The more you know, the less you like: A comparative study of how news and political conversation shape political knowledge and affective polarization. Jiyoun Suk et al. Communication and the Public, December 28, 2021.

Abstract: The contemporary communication ecology contributes to affective polarization by presenting us with extreme exemplars of disliked groups. News exposure that is associated with political discussion networks is related to greater political knowledge, yet unlike previous eras where political knowledge and tolerance went hand in hand, this is no longer the case. We employ a comparative design to examine this idea among two democracies with differing levels of journalistic professionalism and political system: Mexico and the United States. Results show that greater political knowledge is associated with affective polarization, especially for the United States. Furthermore, there was a significant indirect path between media use and affective polarization, mediated through homogeneous political talk and political knowledge, but not in Mexico.

Keywords: Affective polarization, comparative analysis, political conversation, political knowledge

Our findings suggest that raters cannot reliably detect women's ovulatory timing from their scent attractiveness

Does scent attractiveness reveal women's ovulatory timing? Evidence from signal detection analyses and endocrine predictors of odour attractiveness. Mei Mei, Rachel L. Grillot, Craig K. Abbey, Melissa Emery Thompson and James R. Roney. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. March 9 2022.

Abstract: Odour cues associated with shifts in ovarian hormones indicate ovulatory timing in females of many nonhuman species. Although prior evidence supports women's body odours smelling more attractive on days when conception is possible, that research has left ambiguous how diagnostic of ovulatory timing odour cues are, as well as whether shifts in odour attractiveness are correlated with shifts in ovarian hormones. Here, 46 women each provided six overnight scent and corresponding day saliva samples spaced five days apart, and completed luteinizing hormone tests to determine ovulatory timing. Scent samples collected near ovulation were rated more attractive, on average, relative to samples from the same women collected on other days. Importantly, however, signal detection analyses showed that rater discrimination of fertile window timing from odour attractiveness ratings was very poor. Within-women shifts in salivary oestradiol and progesterone were not significantly associated with within-women shifts in odour attractiveness. Between-women, mean oestradiol was positively associated with mean odour attractiveness. Our findings suggest that raters cannot reliably detect women's ovulatory timing from their scent attractiveness. The between-women effect of oestradiol raises the possibility that women's scents provide information about overall cycle fecundity, though further research is necessary to rigorously investigate this possibility.