There is considerable disagreement among scholars as to whether social media fuels polarization in society. However, a few have considered the possibility that polarization may instead affect social media usage.
To address this gap, the study uses Dutch panel data to test directionality in the relationship between social media use and affective polarization. No support was found for the hypothesis that social media use contributed to the level of affective polarization. Instead, the results lend support to the hypothesis that it was the level of affective polarization that affected subsequent use of social media. The results furthermore reveal heterogeneous patterns among individuals, depending on their previous level of social media usage, and across different social media platforms.
The study gives reason to call into question the predominating assumption in previous research that social media is a major driver of polarization in society.
Using data from the first Census data set that includes complete measures of male biological fertility for a large-scale probability sample of the U.S. population (the 2014 wave of the Study of Income and Program ParticipationN = 55,281), this study shows that:
high income men are more likely to marry, are less likely to divorce, if divorced are more likely to remarry, and are less likely to be childless than low income men. Men who remarry marry relatively younger women than other men, on average, although this does not vary by personal income. For men who divorce who have children, high income is not associated with an increased probability of having children with new partners. Income is not associated with the probability of marriage for women and is positively associated with the probability of divorce.
High income women are less likely to remarry after divorce and more likely to be childless than low income women. For women who divorce who have children, high income is associated with a lower chance of having children with new partners, although the relationship is curvilinear.
These results are behavioral evidence that women are more likely than men to prioritize earning capabilities in a long-term mate and suggest that high income men have high value as long-term mates in the U.S.
[Keywords: evolutionary psychology, fertility, marriage, childlessness, divorce, sex differences]
Talent development in science is a national investment as it is key to enhancing national competitiveness. However, even after undergoing a 3-year training in a science gifted academy, 8.5% of South Korea’s gifted students choose to enter medical school rather than pursuing a science or technology major.
By conducting in-depth interviews with 5 participants, this study determines why talented students who are trained to become scientists at high schools and universities change their major to medicine. The participants were high school graduates gifted in science selected by purposive sampling according to the following criteria: Individuals entered medical school immediately after graduation, majored in a STEM at university and then entered a graduate school of medicine, and have a master’s or doctoral degree in a STEM major but changed their major to becoming a doctor.
This study investigates students who have lost motivation for a pure STEM career to reflect on the educational and social driving forces that would have enabled them to continue on their path to become scientists.
In addition, as it examines the current controversy over these individuals’ career choices, the study has implications for the development of talent development goals from a macro perspective.
[Keywords: talent development, STEM, career change, gifted education, motivation trajectory]
…Reasons the students abandoned their pursuit of S&E careers falls into 2 categories: personal reasons and environmental reasons. Personal reasons included (1) Low interest in science but high interest in educational resources of science-gifted high schools, (2) Interest in a different direction and altruism, and (3) Possession of insufficient ability to become a scientist. The environmental reason was a perception of unsatisfactory reinforcement because of poor professional prospects of S&E fields.
Why are online discussions about politics more hostile than offline discussions? A popular answer argues that human psychology is tailored for face-to-face interaction and people’s behavior therefore changes for the worse in impersonal online discussions. We provide a theoretical formalization and empirical test of this explanation: the mismatch hypothesis. We argue that mismatches between human psychology and novel features of online environments could (a) change people’s behavior, (b) create adverse selection effects, and (c) bias people’s perceptions. Across eight studies, leveraging cross-national surveys and behavioral experiments (total n = 8,434), we test the mismatch hypothesis but only find evidence for limited selection effects. Instead, hostile political discussions are the result of status-driven individuals who are drawn to politics and are equally hostile both online and offline. Finally, we offer initial evidence that online discussions feel more hostile, in part, because the behavior of such individuals is more visible online than offline.
A robust empirical literature suggests that the development of one’s political ideology is the product of an “elective affinity” between the discursive, socially constructed elements of ideological belief systems and the psychological constraints, motives, and interests of those who are drawn to those belief systems. However, most studies which support this elective affinity theory have been conducted in the West.
In the present study, we tested the theory in China to see whether elective affinities between psychological traits and political ideology are more likely to be universal. Across a nationally representative sample (n = 509), we found initial support for the characterization of the left-right divide in China, albeit in reverse. Namely, the “liberal Right in China mostly evinces traits of the psychological Left in the West (e.g., lower intolerance of ambiguity), while the”conservative Left" mostly evinces traits of the psychological right in the West (e.g., higher system justification). Epistemic motives were most reliably related to political ideology, while existential and relational motives were more mixed; economic and political aspects of ideology were more closely linked to psychological traits than social/cultural aspects.
The present findings provide an extension of existing theory and opportunities for further development.
Are large families a liability or an asset for an autocratic ruler? In this article, we show that in medieval and early modern Europe, relatives protected monarchs from challenges from their elite groups, thus reducing their risk of being deposed. Women reduced the risk of both depositions from outside and from within the family, whereas men primarily reduced the risk of outside depositions (as well as the risk of civil wars breaking out). This is demonstrated in a statistical analysis of 27 European monarchies spanning the time period 1000–1799, which enlists new data on royal offspring, siblings, and paternal uncles and aunts. These findings not only elucidate power dynamics in the medieval and early modern world of dynastic politics but also have implications for present-day authoritarian states where institutions are weak and personal relationships retain their importance.
…In this article, we investigate this timeless problem in a particular historical setting. Using original data on offspring, siblings, and paternal uncles and aunts of 700 monarchs from 27 European states during 1000–1799 CE, we find that monarchs with more legitimate children, siblings, and paternal uncles and aunts had a lower risk of being deposed. Although some monarchs were deposed by relatives, the positive effects of family clearly trumped the negative effects. The cases of familial infighting cited above thus seem to reflect the fact that relatives were often in a better position than strangers to challenge monarchs, not that they were less trustworthy. These findings increase our understanding of dynastic politics, which characterized medieval and early modern Europe (Sharma 2017), and of the dynamics of power struggles between a ruler and his closest associates inherent to authoritarian systems throughout history (Mesquita et al 2005; Svolik 2012).
…Previous research has found that European and Chinese rulers who had at least one son were less likely to be deposed (Wang 2018) and interpreted this as an effect of the succession being stabilized. Our results, which take more family categories into account, cast doubt on this interpretation. Had succession been the main mechanism, we should expect to see stronger effects of sons than daughters and stronger effects of children than siblings. A larger family likely contributed to leader survival in other ways as well, at least in the European context we analyze. Considering the relatively clear effects of daughters and sisters, marriage alliances and female relatives’ subsequent influence in their new household may in fact be the most important stabilizers among the functions we listed in the theoretical section.
Objectives: Despite the broad appeal of abstract notions of political tolerance, people vary in the degree to which they support the political rights of groups they dislike. Prior research highlighted the relevance of individual differences in the cognitive domain, claiming the application of general tolerance ideals to specific situations is a cognitively demanding task. Curiously, this work has overwhelmingly focused on differences in cognitive style, largely neglecting differences in cognitive ability, despite compelling conceptual linkages. We remedy this shortcoming.
Methods: We explore diverse predictors of tolerance using survey data in 2 large samples from Denmark (n = 805) and the United States (n = 1,603).
Results: Cognitive ability was the single strongest predictor of political tolerance, with larger effects than education, openness to experience, ideology, and threat. The cognitively demanding nature of tolerance judgments was further supported by results showing cognitive ability predicted tolerance best when extending such tolerance was hardest. Additional small-sample panel results demonstrated substantial 4-year stability of political tolerance, informing future work on the origins of political tolerance.
Conclusions: Our observation of a potent role for cognitive ability in tolerance supports cognitively oriented accounts of tolerance judgments and highlights the need for further exploration of cognitive ability within the political domain.
…Our Danish sample was selected using a registry of military draftees, which has been in operation since 2006. We drew our sample from the subset of the registry which had taken a cognitive ability test…For our American sample, 2,766 respondents completed our survey using Mechanical Turk in September & October 2014.
We argue a short but intense research exposure can durably alter career trajectory.
We study careers of NIH Associate Training Program physician applicants, 1965–1975.
Attendees more frequently held research jobs and had higher scientific productivity.
Attendees were imprinted with a distinct “translational” biomedical research style.
[media] Can a relatively short but intense exposure to frontier research alter the career trajectories of potential innovators? To answer this question, we study the careers and productivity of 3075 medical school graduates who applied to the Associate Training Programs (ATP) of theNational Institutes of Health (NIH) during the turbulent period of the Vietnam War, 1965–1975.
Carefully selecting on observables, we compare physicians who attended the program to those who passed a first admission screen but were ultimately not selected.
We find that program participants were twice as likely to choose a research-focused position after training, and considerably less likely to switch to purely clinical endeavors as their careers unfolded. Over the life cycle, NIH trainees also garnered publications, citations, and grant funding at a much higher rate than synthetic controls, and went on to mentor more trainees who themselves became successful researchers. The direction of their research efforts was durably imprinted by their training experience. In particular, NIH trainees appear to have acquired a distinct “translational” style of biomedical research which became an implicit training model for physician-scientists as ATP alumni came to occupy the commanding heights of academic medicine throughout the United States.
[Keywords: biomedical workforce, scientific and technical human capital, career imprinting, mentorship, translational medicine]
Anyone who engages in sexual intercourse with someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, unconscious, oblivious to their surroundings or not able to voice dissent can be charged with the crime of rape. No individual should be used, without their consent, for another person’s pleasure. The lack of informed consent makes rape unethical. Ethically the victim being male should be irrelevant.
Yet male rape is rarely reported and frequently minimized, as will be shown by the 2010 CDC National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey as well as other sources in this paper which will show that male rape happens about as often as female rape, and possibly exceeds it. Evidence also shows that 80% of those who rape men are women. Reconsidering stereotypes of the rape of men is an important part of rethinking masculinity. Among these stereotypes is the assumption that male rape is rare, as well as assumptions about the experience of male rape victims.
The goal of this paper is to show that male rape is a prevalent problem and that the victims endure the same emotional and psychological after-effects as female rape victims.
A considerable proportion of the population is involuntarily single; that is, they want to be in an intimate relationship but they face difficulties in doing so. The current paper attempted to assess some possible predictors of this phenomenon.
More specifically, in a sample of 1228 Greek-speaking women and men, we found that participants who scored low in flirting capacity, capacity to perceive signals of interest and mating effort, were more likely to be involuntarily single than in an intimate relationship, and experienced longer spells of singlehood. Mating effort had also a statistically-significant effect on voluntary singlehood, with low scorers being more likely to be in this category than high scorers. Choosiness had also a statistically-significant effect, but only on voluntary singlehood, with high scorers being more likely to prefer to be single than low scorers.
It turns out that being good-looking really does pay off: decades of research have shown that attractive individuals are more likely to get ahead in their careers. Although prior research has suggested that bias on the part of evaluators is the source of attractive individuals’ favorable career outcomes, there is also evidence that these individuals may be socialized to behave and perceive themselves differently from others in ways that contribute to their success.
Building on socialization research and studies on nonverbal power cues, we examined nonverbal communication in individuals with varying degrees of physical attractiveness. In 2 experimental studies with data from 300 video interview pitches, we found that attractive individuals had a greater sense of power than their less attractive counterparts and thus exhibited a more effective nonverbal presence, which led to higher managerial ratings of their hirability.
However, we also identified a potential means for leveling this gap. Adopting a powerful posture was found to be especially beneficial for individuals rated low in attractiveness, enabling them to achieve the same level of effective nonverbal presence as their highly attractive counterparts naturally displayed.
Our research sheds new light on the source of attractive individuals’ success and suggests a possible remedy for individuals who lack an appearance advantage.
I think whaling is really cool. I can’t help it. It’s one of those things like guns and war and space colonization which hits the adventurous id. The idea that people used to go out in tiny boats into the middle of oceans and try to kill the biggest animals to ever exist on planet earth with glorified spears to extract organic material for fuel is awesome. It’s like something out of a fantasy novel.
So I embarked on this project to understand everything I could about whaling. I wanted to know why burning whale fat in lamps was the best way to light cities for about 50 years. I wanted to know how profitable whaling was, what the hunters were paid, and how many whaleships were lost at sea. I wanted to know why the classical image of whaling was associated with America and what other countries have whaling legacies. I wanted to know if the whaling industry wiped out the whales and if they can recover.
…Fun Fact 1: Right whale testicles make up 1% of their weight,23 so each testicle weighs around 700 pounds. The average American eats 222 pounds of meat per year (not counting fish),24 so a single right whale testicle should cover a family of 4 for almost a year.
Speech is a critical means of negotiating political, adaptive interests in human society. Prior research on motivated political cognition has found that support for freedom of speech depends on whether one agrees with its ideological content. However, it remains unclear if people (A) openly hold that some speech should be more free than other speech; or (B) want to feel as if speech content does not affect their judgments.
Here, we find support for (B) over (A), using social dominance orientation and political alignment to predict support for speech. Study 1 demonstrates that if people have previously judged restrictions of speech which they oppose, they are less harsh in condemning restrictions of speech which they support, and vice versa. Studies 2 and 3 find that when participants judge two versions of the same scenario, with only the ideological direction of speech being reversed, their answers are strongly affected by the ordering of conditions: While the first judgment is made in accordance with one’s political attitudes, the second opposing judgment is made so as to remain consistent with the first. Studies 4 and 5 find that people broadly support the principle of giving both sides of contested issues equal speech rights, also when this is stated abstractly, detached from any specific scenario. In Study 6 we explore the boundaries of our findings, and find that the need to be consistent weakens substantially for speech that is widely seen as too extreme.
Together, these results suggest that although people can selectively endorse moral principles depending on their political agenda, many seek to conceal this bias from others, and perhaps also themselves.
[Keywords: motivated reasoning, moral judgment, freedom of speech, self-deception, social dominance, political ideology]
The causal nature between childhood family income and subsequent risks for psychiatric disorders, substance misuse and violent crime remains unclear.
In this Finnish cohort study of 650 680 individuals, we initially found that increased family income was associated with lower risks of psychiatric disorders, substance misuse and arrest for a violent crime.
However, once we compared siblings who grew up in the same household but were exposed to varying income levels at specific ages, the associations were no longer present.
Associations between family income and subsequent psychiatric disorders, substance misuse and violent crime arrest were therefore explained by shared familial risks and were not consistent with a causal interpretation.
Background: Childhood family income has been shown to be associated with later psychiatric disorders, substance misuse and violent crime, but the consistency, strength and causal nature of these associations remain unclear.
Methods: We conducted a nationwide cohort and co-sibling study of 650 680 individuals (426 886 siblings) born in Finland between 1986 and 1996 to re-examine these associations by accounting for unmeasured confounders shared between siblings. The participants were followed up from their 15th birthday until they either migrated, died, met criteria for the outcome of interest or reached the end of the study period (31 December 2017 or 31 December 2018 for substance misuse). The associations were adjusted for sex, birth year and birth order, and expressed as adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs). The outcomes included a diagnosis of a severe mental illness (schizophrenia-spectrum disorders or bipolar disorder), depression and anxiety. Substance misuse (eg. medication prescription, hospitalization or death due to a substance use disorder or arrest for drug-related crime) and violent crime arrests were also examined. Stratified Cox regression models accounted for unmeasured confounders shared between differentially exposed siblings.
Results: For each $15,000 increase in family income at age 15 years, the risks of the outcomes were reduced by between 9% in severe mental illness (aHR = 0.91; 95% confidence interval: 0.90–0.92) and 23% in violent crime arrests (aHR = 0.77; 0.76–0.78). These associations were fully attenuated in the sibling-comparison models (aHR range: 0.99–1.00). Sensitivity analyses confirmed the latter findings.
Conclusions: Associations between childhood family income and subsequent risks for psychiatric disorders, substance misuse and violent crime arrest were not consistent with a causal interpretation.
When Pinel looked into the discourse around ball performance, he found that most everyone believed that all that mattered was the quality of coverstock—that is, the exterior layer of a ball that is visible to the naked eye. Coverstocks are studded with microscopic spikes, the roughness of which is measured by the average distance from each spike’s peak to valley—a metric known as Ra. The higher a ball’s Ra, the more friction it can create with the lane and thus the greater the potential that it will hook well under the right circumstances. The hardness of the material that underlies the spikes is also an important factor. In the early 1970s, several pros had enjoyed great success by soaking their balls in methyl ethyl ketone, a flammable solvent that softened the coverstocks. (The balls became so gelatinous, in fact, that a bowler could indent the surface with a fingernail.) These softer balls gripped the lane much better than their harder counterparts, and so they tended not to skid unpredictably when encountering patches of oil used to dress the wooden boards. The use of methyl ethyl ketone had increased scores so much that rules were put in place mandating a degree of coverstock hardness as measured by a device known as a Shore durometer.
Pinel thought that too much attention was being paid to coverstocks and not nearly enough to what was inside the ball…Pinel used the shop’s drill and off-the-shelf components to alter balls. He’d pock them with deep holes that he’d then fill with dense wads of barium, a soft metal. “So I’d drill a hole, fill it with either dense or light stuff, and plug it to the top”, he says. “And I started playing around with that, and I started to see some differences in motion.”
Never lacking confidence, Pinel contacted several ball manufacturers in 1973 and proposed a deal: If they would sign a nondisclosure agreement, he’d brief them on his experimental results and help them design balls that would allow amateurs and pros alike to increase their strike rates. Company executives responded that they were willing to listen to Pinel’s ideas, but he was the one who would have to sign a release affirming that nothing he said was confidential. Miffed by what he saw as attempts to steal his ideas, Pinel veered away from a career in ball design.
…The AMF Sumo, the smash-hit ball that would earn Pinel his kanji pendant, was released in 1992. This time, Pinel opted for a core that bears a passing resemblance to the video game character Q*Bert, albeit with a disc at the base in lieu of feet. The ball came out right as new regulations called for more oil to be poured on lanes, a change that decreased friction; this sapped shots of spin and power. The extra oil was no match for the Sumo, however, because Pinel’s core caused it to slice hard across the boards near the pins. The ball would eventually sell well enough to make Pinel a modestly wealthy man…Pinel says the size of his royalty eventually became a problem for AMF, and the company terminated his contract in 1995. He was barely out of work a week before he was hired by Faball…The ball that contained this revamped core, the Hammer 3D Offset, would become Pinel’s signature achievement. “That ball sold like hotcakes for 3 years, where the average life span of a ball was about 6 months”, says Del Warren, a former ball designer who now works as a coach in Florida. “They literally couldn’t build enough of them.” In addition to flaring like few other balls on the market, the 3D Offset was idiot-proof: The core was designed in such a way that it would be hard for a pro shop to muck up its action by drilling a customer’s finger holes incorrectly, an innovation that made bowlers less nervous about plunking down $410$2001996 for a ball…Pinel was delighted by the 3D Offset’s success not just because it affirmed his beliefs about the importance of asymmetry but also because it inflicted pain on his former employer. “AMF had been doing $25$121996 million a year; Hammer had been doing $2$11996 million”, he told me. “When we came out with the 3D Offset, Hammer did $25$121996 million a year and AMF did $2$11996 million. Not that I enjoyed that at all.”AMF would file for bankruptcy 4 years later.
…Pinel was still trying to maximize flare potential in his designs, an effort that was arguably becoming outmoded. A new generation of pro bowlers, both stronger and more technically sophisticated than their predecessors, have achieved unprecedented amounts of spin on their balls—sometimes as much as 600 revolutions per minute for those who opt for the increasingly popular 2-handed throwing technique. Such bowlers don’t need as much hook assistance as in days gone by, so they’re using more stable balls—a strategic trend that may be having a trickle-down effect on the league bowlers who worship the sport’s stars. In our conversations, Pinel never displayed any hint that he was worried about the future of his cores.
[Example of regression to the mean fallacies: parents know much more about their children than highly unreliable early childhood exam scores, and their “overestimates” predict later performance (particularly for immigrant parents about second-language proficiency). Of course. How could it be otherwise? (Not to mention that we already know the ‘Pygmalion effect’ isn’t real so the claimed causal explanation of their correlates has already been ruled out.)]
In a representative longitudinal sample of 2,602 Australian children (52% boys; 2% Indigenous; 13% language other than English background; 22% of Mothers born overseas; and 65% Urban) and their mothers (first surveyed in 2003), this article examined if maternal judgments of numeracy and reading ability varied by child demographics and influenced achievement and interest gains.
We linked survey data to administrative data of national standardized tests in Year 3, 5, and 7 and found that maternal judgments followed gender stereotype patterns, favoring girls in reading and boys in numeracy. Maternal judgments were more positive for children from non-English speaking backgrounds. Maternal judgments predicted gains in children’s achievement (consistently) and academic interest (generally) including during the transition to high school.
His team collected data from more than 2,600 Australian children and tracked their academic performance through NAPLAN tests between grade 3, 5 and 7.
They also collected information from the primary caregiver—mostly the child’s mother—as to whether they thought their child’s academic performance was better than average, average or below average.
“What we found was that in year 5, the kids whose parents overestimated their ability—they were optimistic—they did better in subsequent NAPLAN tests”, Professor Parker says.
“And more importantly, [the children] actually grew in their interest. They were more interested in maths, they were more interested in reading than [those who had] parents who are more pessimistic.”
Professor Philip Parker says your expectations of your child can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The study also found that mothers who were not from English-speaking backgrounds had statistically-significantly more positive judgments than English-speaking mothers towards their child when assessing them on reading. This was not the case when assessing numeracy.
Professor Parker says there are many ways that a parent’s optimism can benefit their child. “So they might hire a tutor, or they … buy one of those computer games for maths classes … also they tend to be more motivating. And they tend to give homework help that is more positive and supportive, rather than controlling and detrimental.”
Authoritarianism has been the subject of scientific inquiry for nearly a century, yet the vast majority of authoritarianism research has focused on right-wing authoritarianism. In the present studies, we investigate the nature, structure, and nomological network of left-wing authoritarianism (LWA), a construct famously known as “the Loch Ness Monster” of political psychology.
We iteratively construct a measure and data-driven conceptualization of LWA across 6 samples (n = 7,258) and conduct quantitative tests of LWA’s relations with over 60 authoritarianism-related variables. Wefind that LWA, right-wing authoritarianism, and social dominance orientation reflect a shared constellation of personality traits, cognitive features, beliefs, and motivational values that might be considered the “heart” of authoritarianism. Still, relative to right-wing authoritarians, left-wing authoritarians were lower in dogmatism and cognitive rigidity, higher in negative emotionality, and expressed stronger support for a political system with substantial centralized state control. Our results also indicate that LWA powerfully predicts behavioral aggression and is strongly correlated with participation in political violence.
We conclude that a movement away from exclusively right-wing conceptualizations of authoritarianism may be required to illuminate authoritarianism’s central features, conceptual breadth, and psychological appeal.
[Keywords: authoritarianism, construct validity, left-wing authoritarianism, right-wing authoritarianism, social dominance orientation, political violence, political extremism, construct validity, individual differences, personality]
Marijuana use has been proposed to serve as a “gateway” that increases the likelihood that users will engage in subsequent use of harder and more harmful substances, known as the marijuana gateway hypothesis (MGH). The current study refines and extends the literature on the MGH by testing the hypothesis using rigorous quasi-experimental, propensity score-matching methodology in a nationally representative sample.
Using 3 waves of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (1994–2002), 18 propensity score-matching tests of the marijuana gateway hypothesis were conducted. 6 of the 18 tests were statistically-significant; however, only 3 were substantively meaningful. These 3 tests found weak effects of frequent marijuana use on illicit drug use but they were also sensitive to hidden bias.
Results from this study indicate that marijuana use is not a reliable gateway cause of illicit drug use. As such, prohibition policies are unlikely to reduce illicit drug use.
This research examined how people explain major outcomes of political consequence (e.g., economic growth, rising inequality). We argue that people attribute positive outcomes more and negative outcomes less to their own political party than to an opposing party. We conducted two studies, one before the 2016 U.S. presidential election (n = 244) and another before the 2020 election (n = 249 registered voters), that examined attributions across a wide array of outcomes. As predicted, a robust partisan attribution bias emerged in both studies. Although the bias was largely equivalent among Democrats and Republicans, it was magnified among those with more extreme political ideology. Further, the bias predicted unique variance in voting intentions and significantly mediated the link between political ideology and voting. In sum, these data suggest that partisan allegiances systemically bias attributions in a group-favoring direction. We discuss implications of these findings for emerging research on political social cognition.
By 2009, Harry Hong, a spiky-haired twenty-four-year-old Angeleno, delivered the site’s first certified max-out, and Adam Cornelius, another Tetris enthusiast and a filmmaker, began working on a documentary about the remarkable achievement. When Harrison saw the project on Kickstarter, he donated a few hundred dollars to help complete the film, but added a caveat. “You can’t just talk about Harry Hong”, he recalls writing. “You’ve got to talk about Jonas Neubauer. You’ve got to talk about Thor Aackerlund. You’ve got to get these guys together and have a tournament and see who’s actually the best.”
Some of the players who gathered for the first classic-Tetris tournament, for all their thousands of hours of practice, were in the dark about basic tactics. Hong was stunned to learn that his strategy of scoring Tetrises by dropping long bars into a left-side gap was suboptimal. Due to piece-flipping mechanics, a right-side gap was superior. Dana Wilcox, one of the highest-scoring players on the Twin Galaxies leaderboard, discovered that she’d played for 20 years without knowing that the blocks could be spun in either direction.
…Learning to “hyper-tap” was a priority. Thor had been the first to hyper-tap, but, by 2017, Koryan Nishio, a Japanese programmer in his forties, was the only prominent player using the technique. (“It seemed like a lot of work for a video game”, Vince Clemente, who has co-organized the classic-Tetris tournament since its inception, explained.) To Joseph, though, it was the obvious way to go. To tap quickly, he developed a unique one-handed grip: with his right thumb on the control pad, he flexed his right bicep until his arm shook, pressing down with each tremor, about fifteen times per second. He turned his thumb into a jackhammer.
…Jonas quit his job to stream full-time on Twitch—broadcasting an efficient, battle-tested style for amateurs to emulate. When Joseph won the tournament again, in 2019, he inspired more young players. In 2020 alone, 131 players maxed out; between 1990 and 2019, 87 players had maxed out. Kids had killed the Tetris curve.
These new players see a max-out not as an impossibility, but as a rite of passage. Before even buying the game, most of the rising generation of classic-Tetris players have already watched hours of the best performances, hard-wiring beautiful stacking strategies. As they begin practicing, they often join one of many classic-Tetris servers on Discord, where hundreds of people are online all the time, ready to discuss any aspect of the game. It’s there that they often learn the most common hyper-tapping grip—holding the controller sideways, with the directional pad facing up—and how to properly tense the right arm so that it shakes quickly and consistently. They study the principles of developing a relatively even stack with a built-out left side, and discuss how dropping a pair of tetrominoes in a complementary orientation can reduce the need for a timely T-piece. They can imitate Joseph’s “hyper-tap quick-tap”, in which he sneaks in a left-handed tap among a right-thumb flurry, or watch Jonas’s “Tetris Spin Class” and observe how certain flips can clear a line and make the stack Tetris ready.
What took Jonas years to figure out takes new players minutes. “You don’t need to experiment for hours trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t”, Jacob Huff, a nineteen-year-old who maxed out last March after playing for two months, said. “You can ask someone in the Discord and they’ll tell you every spin that you can do.” Strategies born on Discord are practiced and scrutinized on Twitch, then put to the test in a growing pool of competitions: Classic Tetris Monthly, Classic Tetris League, Classic Tetris Gauntlet, Classic Tetris Brawl. Thanks to hyper-tapping and more efficient stacking, players build higher and higher, almost refusing to accept any line clearance that’s not a Tetris. To the older generation, the style seems reckless. To newer players, it’s simply the best way to play.
…By the quarter-final [of the championship], the entire old guard had vanished. The remaining players were all of the YouTube generation, with many explicitly crediting its algorithm for introducing them to classic Tetris.
An influential model of democratic civil-military relations insists that civilian politicians and officials, accountable to the public, have “the right to be wrong” about the use of force: they, not senior military officers, decide when force will be used and set military strategy. While polls have routinely asked about Americans’ trust in the military, they have rarely probed deeply into Americans’ views of civil-military relations. We report and analyze the results of a June 2019 survey that yields two important, and troubling, findings. First, Americans do not accept the basic premises of democratic civil-military relations. They are extraordinarily deferential to the military’s judgment regarding when to use military force, and they are comfortable with high-ranking officers intervening in public debates over policy. Second, in this polarized age, Americans’ views of civil-military relations are not immune to partisanship. Consequently, with their man in the Oval Office in June 2019, Republicans—who, as political conservatives, might be expected to be more deferential to the military—were actually less so. And Democrats, similarly putting ideology aside, wanted the military to act as a check on a president they abhorred. The stakes are high: democracy is weakened when civilians relinquish their “right to be wrong.”
Segregation across social groups is an enduring feature of nearly all human societies and is associated with numerous social maladies. In many countries, reports of growing geographic political polarization raise concerns about the stability of democratic governance.
Here, using advances in spatial data computation, we measure individual partisan segregation by calculating the local residential segregation of every registered voter in the United States, creating a spatially weighted measure for more than 180 million individuals. With these data, we present evidence of extensive partisan segregation in the country.
A large proportion of voters live with virtually no exposure to voters from the other party in their residential environment. Such high levels of partisan isolation can be found across a range of places and densities and are distinct from racial and ethnic segregation. Moreover, Democrats and Republicans living in the same city, or even the same neighbourhood, are segregated by party.
Fernbach et al 2013 found that political extremism and partisan in-group favoritism can be reduced by asking people to provide mechanistic explanations for complex policies, thus making their lack of procedural-policy knowledge salient. Given the practical importance of these findings, we conducted two preregistered close replications of Fernbach et al.’s Experiment 2 (Replication 1a: n = 306; Replication 1b: n = 405) and preregistered close and conceptual replications of Fernbach et al.’s Experiment 3 (Replication 2: n = 343). None of the key effects were statistically-significant, and only one survived a small-telescopes analysis. Although participants reported less policy understanding after providing mechanistic policy explanations, policy-position extremity and in-group favoritism were unaffected. That said, well-established findings that providing justifications for prior beliefs strengthens those beliefs, and well-established findings of in-group favoritism, were replicated. These findings suggest that providing mechanistic explanations increases people’s recognition of their ignorance but is unlikely to increase their political moderation, at least under these conditions.
Non-algorithmic/algorithmic news impact political behavior and polarization differently.
Using algorithmically generated news sources leads to higher political participation.
Non-algorithmic news sources fail to predict political participation.
Neither algorithmic nor non-algorithmic news sources impact political polarization.
Do algorithm-driven news sources have different effects on political behavior when compared to non-algorithmic news sources? Media companies compete for our scarce time and attention; one way they do this is by leveraging algorithms to select the most appealing content for each user. While algorithm-driven sites are increasingly popular sources of information, we know very little about the effects of algorithmically determined news at the individual level. The objective of this paper is to define and measure the effects of algorithmically generated news. We begin by developing a taxonomy of news delivery by distinguishing between two types of algorithmically generated news, socially driven and user-driven, and contrasting these with non-algorithmic news. We follow with an exploratory analysis of the effects of these news delivery modes on political behavior, specifically political participation and polarization. Using two nationally representative surveys, one of young adults and one of the general population, we find that getting news from sites that use socially driven or user-driven algorithms to generate content corresponds with higher levels of political participation, but that getting news from non-algorithmic sources does not. We also find that neither non-algorithmic nor algorithmically determined news contribute to higher levels of partisan polarization. This research helps identify important variation in the consequences of news consumption contingent on the mode of delivery.
[Keywords: algorithms, YouTube, social media, political behavior, polarization]
Many assume that high family income protects against the risk of youth obesity.
I exploit Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale economic boom to test this causal theory.
Youth obesity rates are unchanged with exogenous income gains, even in poor areas.
There is no causal effect of income on youth obesity in this setting.
Low family income is frequently assumed to be a primary social determinant of youth obesity in the U.S. But while the observed correlation between family income and youth obesity is consistently negative, the true causal relationship is unclear.
I take advantage of a natural experiment—the boom economy created by development of the Marcellus Shale geological formation for natural gas extraction—to study whether income gains affect youth obesity rates among Pennsylvania students. To test this relationship, I compile data from geological, administrative, Census and other governmental sources and estimate cross-sectional OLS regression models, longitudinal fixed effects models, and two-stage instrumental variable models within a difference-in-differences framework. Falsification tests indicate that children’s location relative to the Marcellus Shale’s geological boundaries is a valid instrument for income gains. Yet plausibly exogenous income gains do not alter youth obesity rates, regardless of the community’s initial level of poverty or affluence and regardless of the child’s grade level.
Thus, the observed disparities in youth obesity by area income in Pennsylvania do not result from simple differences in disposable income and the relative cost of “healthy” versus “unhealthy” goods and services.
[Keywords: Youth obesity, income, health disparities, Natural experiment]
There is a stereotype of libertarians being young, college educated, white men and that the Libertarian Party lacks appeal among women and individuals of color. There is a great deal of research investigating gender differences in public opinion on a number of issues including the provision of government resources and government spending (Barnes and Cassese; Howell and Day). Nevertheless, there is no work specifically investigating why women and nonwhites do not find libertarianism appealing.
We test several hypotheses using 2016 American National Election Study data and 2013 PRRI data. We find a sizeable and statistically-significant gender gap and race gap in support for libertarian principles. We investigate several explanations for these gaps finding moderate support for self-interest, racial attitudes, and egalitarianism as reasons for women and African Americans being less supportive of Libertarian Principles.
We believe that the modest success of and media attention garnered by Ron Paul and Rand Paul in recent years along with the success of the Libertarian Party presidential ticket in 2016 highlights the need to understand who is drawn to libertarianism and why.
In nearly every documented society, people believe that some misfortunes are caused by malicious group mates using magic or supernatural powers. Here I report cross-cultural patterns in these beliefs and propose a theory to explain them.
Using the newly created Mystical Harm Survey, I show that several conceptions of malicious mystical practitioners, including sorcerers (who use learned spells), possessors of the evil eye (who transmit injury through their stares and words), and witches (who possess superpowers, pose existential threats, and engage in morally abhorrent acts), recur around the world.
I argue that these beliefs develop from three cultural selective processes: a selection for intuitive magic, a selection for plausible explanations of impactful misfortune, and a selection for demonizing myths that justify mistreatment.
Separately, these selective schemes produce traditions as diverse as shamanism, conspiracy theories, and campaigns against heretics—but around the world, they jointly give rise to the odious and feared witch. I use the tripartite theory to explain the forms of beliefs in mystical harm and outline 10 predictions for how shifting conditions should affect those conceptions:
People are more likely to believe in sorcerers as sorcery techniques become more effective seeming.
People are more likely to ascribe injury to mystical harm when they are distrustful of others, persecuted, or otherwise convinced of harmful intent (“Accusations of Mystical Harm Track Distrust and Suspicions of Harmful Intent”).
The emotions attributed to malicious practitioners will be those that most intensely and frequently motivate aggression (“Accusations of Mystical Harm Track Distrust and Suspicions of Harmful Intent”).
People are more likely to attribute injury to mystical harm when they lack alternative explanations (“Mystical Harm Explains Impactful and Unexplainable Misfortunes”).
The greater the impact of the misfortune, the more likely people are to attribute it to mystical harm (“Mystical Harm Explains Impactful and Unexplainable Misfortunes”).
Practitioners of mystical harm are more likely to become demonized during times of stressful uncertainty.
The traits ascribed to malicious practitioners will become more heinous or sensational as Condoners become more trustful or reliant on information from Campaigners.
Malicious practitioners will become less demonized when there is less disagreement or resistance about their removal.
The traits that constitute demonization will be those that elicit the most punitive outrage, controlling for believability (“Witches Are Well Designed to Induce Punitive Outrage”).
Malicious practitioners whose actions can more easily explain catastrophe, such as those who employ killing magic compared with love magic, will be easier to demonize.
Societally corrosive beliefs can persist when they are intuitively appealing or they serve some believers’ agendas.
People form political attitudes to serve psychological needs. Recent research shows that some individuals have a strong desire to incite chaos when they perceive themselves to be marginalized by society. These individuals tend to see chaos as a way to invert the power structure and gain social status in the process.
Analysing data drawn from large-scale representative surveys conducted in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, we identify the prevalence of Need for Chaos across Anglo-Saxon societies.
Using Latent Profile Analysis, we explore whether different subtypes underlie the uni-dimensional construct and find evidence that some people may be motivated to seek out chaos because they want to rebuild society, while others enjoy destruction for its own sake. We demonstrate that chaos-seekers are not a unified political group but a divergent set of malcontents. Multiple pathways can lead individuals to ‘want to watch the world burn’.
…We focus on demographic characteristics (gender, age and education) that previous research has found to be linked to perceived marginalization and the motivation to acquire status, both of which are associated with the Need for Chaos. With respect to gender and age, psychological studies often conceptualize status-seeking as part of a ‘young male syndrome’ . Education may also be important because it has become a major fault line in Western democracies, as those without a college degree often feel left out and pushed aside in post-industrial knowledge economies [7,19].
The results of the multinomial logit analysis show a clear pattern across all 4 countries: men and young people are more likely to be classified as RB or HC (see electronic supplementary material for results). Yet as table 3 shows, the relationship between age and Need for Chaos appears conditional on education. This table shows the predicted probabilities generated from the multinomial logit models where we interacted education with indicators for generation cohorts (Silent, Boomer, Generation X and Millennial generation). We focus on generation cohorts, because ‘trends in political alienation reflect political and historical events or periods which affect all members of the population in a similar fashion’ [20, p. 160]. For the most part, individuals with higher levels of education are more likely to fall in the LC category than individuals with lower levels of education, across generational cohorts. There are some exceptions to this pattern, particularly in Australia where education does not seem to discriminate the LC category very much. In contrast, relative to more educated individuals, less educated individuals seem to be more drawn to the RB category and, to a lesser extent, the HC category. Australia offers yet another exception to this pattern, with more educated individuals gravitating to the HC category at a higher rate than those with less education. Turning our attention to generational differences, we do not observe large or consistent differences across cohorts with respect to RB or HC.
…Consistent with Petersen et al. , we find that individuals who fall in the HC category are much more likely to say that they would take part in an ‘illegal protest,’ even relative to those in the RB category.
Although decades have passed since the initial immigration of Southeast Asians to the U.S. after the Vietnam War, the socioeconomic outcomes of the native-born offspring of Southeast Asian immigrants have not been adequately considered in recent research.
We therefore investigate current data on the education, wages, poverty, affluence, and household income of Southeast Asian Americans. The results indicate that the socioeconomic outcomes of native-born Southeast Asian Americans are substantially higher than their immigrant generation. Second-generation Thai and Vietnamese tend to have higher socioeconomic outcomes than whites, while second-generation Cambodians, Hmong and Laotians have lower outcomes than whites. However, none of the five native-born Southeast Asian groups are penalized in terms of wages net of their demographic characteristics. Furthermore, all five of the native-born Southeast Asian groups generally have higher socioeconomic outcomes than African Americans and Hispanics.
Whereas prior discussions of Southeast Asian Americans imply that their lower socioeconomic characteristics derive from the intergenerational persistence of minority discrimination in an inherently racialized society, we instead view them as being broadly consistent with assimilation theory which has traditionally been based on a three-generational model.
The current study tests the effect of police layoffs on crime through a natural experiment involving Newark and Jersey City, New Jersey’s two largest cities. In response to severe budget shortfalls resulting from the economic recession beginning in 2008, officials in both cities seriously considered police layoffs as a potential component of their cutback strategies. The Newark Police Department terminated 13% of the police force in late 2010 while Jersey City officials averted any layoffs from occurring.
The current study uses monthly Part 1 crime counts spanning from 2006 to 2015 to measure the effect of the police layoffs on crime in Newark. Findings of time series generalized least squares regression models indicate the police layoffs were associated with statistically-significant increases of overall crime, violent crime, and property crime in Newark as compared to Jersey City in the post-layoffs period. Supplemental analyses found the overall crime and violent crime increases become progressively more pronounced each year following the police layoffs.
While numerous studies assess the relationship between education and health, no consensus has been reached on whether education really improves health. We perform a meta-analysis of 4866 estimates gleaned from 99 published studies that examine the health effects of education. We find that the current literature suffers from moderate publication bias towards the positive effects of education on health. After correcting for publication bias with an array of sophisticated methods, we find that the overall effect size is practically zero, indicating that education generates no discernible benefits to health. The heterogeneity analysis by Bayesian Model Averaging (BMA) andFrequentist Model Averaging (FMA) reveals that the reported estimates can be largely explained by whether the econometric models control for endogeneity of education, the types of data and the differences in health measurements. Our results also suggest that education may not be an effective policy option for promoting population health.
A host of studies have examined the impact of playing violent video games on aggressive behavior. However, longitudinal research is rare, and existing studies have allowed little room for individual variability in the trajectories of violent video game play. The current study used a person-centered approach to examine trajectories, predictors, and outcomes of violent video game play over a 10-year period. Three groups of individuals emerged: high initial violence (4%), moderate (23%), and low increasers (73%). High initial violence and moderate groups showed a curvilinear pattern of violent video game play across time, whereas low increasers group increased slightly in violent video game play across time. The high initial violence and moderate groups were more likely to be male, and those in the high initial violence group were more likely to be depressed at the initial wave. There was no difference in prosocial behavior at the final time point across all the three groups, but individuals in the moderate group displayed the highest levels of aggressive behavior at the final wave. Implications of the results are discussed.
Society is becoming increasingly dependent on survey research. However, surveys can be impacted by participants who are non-attentive, respond randomly to survey questions, and misrepresent who they are and their true attitudes. The impact that such respondents can have on public health research has rarely been systematically examined.
In this study we examine whether Americans began to engage in dangerous cleaning practices to avoid COVID-19 infection. Prior reports have suggested that people began to engage in highly dangerous cleaning practices during the COVID-19 pandemic, including ingesting household cleansers such as bleach. In a series of studies totaling close to 1400 respondents, we show that 80–90% of reports of household cleanser ingestion are made by problematic respondents. These respondents report impossible claims such as ‘recently having had a fatal heart attack’ and ‘eating concrete for its iron content’ at a similar rate to ingesting household cleaners. Additionally, respondents’ frequent misreading or misinterpreting the intent of questions accounted for the rest of such claims.
Once inattentive, mischievous, and careless respondents are taken out of the analytic sample we find no evidence that people ingest cleansers. The relationship between dangerous cleaning practices and health outcomes also becomes non-significant once problematic respondents are taken out of the analytic sample. These results show that reported ingestion of household cleaners and other similar dangerous practices are an artifact of problematic respondent bias.
The implications of these findings for public health and medical survey research, as well as best practices for avoiding problematic respondents in surveys are discussed.
Some teenagers are willing to bully, harass, and torment their schoolmates in order to achieve popularity and other goals. But whom do they bully? Here, we extend the logic of instrumental aggression to answer this question. To the extent that friendships are the currency of social status, we should expect social aspirants to target their own friends, their friends’ friends, and other structurally equivalent schoolmates. This tendency, we argue, extends beyond what would be explained by propinquity, and we expect that victimization by friends will be particularly distressing. We test these hypotheses using panel social network data from 14 middle and high schools at two time points during a school year. Findings from temporal exponential random graph models suggest that our expectations are correct: the tendency to be cruel to friends is not substantially influenced by propinquity, and victimization by friends has adverse consequences for mental health.
…We both heed this warning and expand on it, by challenging a core assumption in balance theory and in most network research: that positive and negative ties are mutually exclusive. Thus, our goal here is not to test balance—an impossibility if friends are also enemies—but instead to propose a theory of “frenemies.” Overlap between positive and negative networks is rarely if ever examined in the small empirical literature on negative tie networks, as it would seem strange to dislike a friend or to avoid eating lunch with a classmate you would nominate for student council (Berger & Dijkstra 2013; Harrigan & Yap 2017). But it is not incomprehensible for people to be cruel to their friends, or their friends’ friends. Indeed, there are good reasons to expect them to do so.
In contrast to both balance theory and much of the empirical literature on bullying, which concludes that victims are isolated or marginal and thus sit at relatively large social distances from their tormentors, we extend the logic of instrumental aggression to anticipate higher rates of aggression at low social distances, between friends and among structurally equivalent schoolmates. This is not because they spend more time with one another, but because they compete for the same social positions and relationships. We test these hypotheses using temporal exponential random graph models (TERGMs) of networks of aggression from 14 middle schools and high schools over two time points during one school year. We further anticipate that betrayal by friends is acutely painful relative to harassment by others, and so we also examine the consequences of each source of victimization for well-being. And thus, we are not so sanguine as Lincoln in asking, Where do our enemies come from? The answer, we conclude, is that they are close by.
We present results from a large-scale experimental evaluation of an ambitious attempt to improve management quality in Indian schools (implemented in 1,774 randomly-selected schools). The intervention featured several global “best practices” including comprehensive assessments, detailed school ratings, and customized school improvement plans. It did not, however, change accountability or incentives.
We find that the assessments were near-universally completed, and that the ratings were informative, but the intervention had no impact on either school functioning or student outcomes. Yet, the program was perceived to be successful and scaled up to cover over 600,000 schools nationally. We find using a matched-pair design that the scaled-up program continued to be ineffective at improving student learning in the state we study. We also conduct detailed qualitative interviews with frontline officials and find that the main impact of the program on the ground was to increase required reporting and paperwork.
Our results illustrate how ostensibly well-designed programs, that appear effective based on administrative measures of compliance, may be ineffective in practice.
Psychology has traditionally seen itself as the science of universal human cognition, but it has only recently begun seriously grappling with cross-cultural variation. Here we argue that the roots of cross-cultural variation often lie in the past. Therefore, to understand not only how but also why psychology varies, we need to grapple with cross-temporal variation. The traces of past human cognition accessible through historical texts and artifacts can serve as a valuable, and almost completely unutilized, source of psychological data. These data from dead minds open up an untapped and highly diverse subject pool. We review examples of research that may be classified as historical psychology, introduce sources of historical data and methods for analyzing them, explain the critical role of theory, and discuss how psychologists can add historical depth and nuance to their work. Psychology needs to become a historical science if it wants to be a genuinely universal science of human cognition and behavior.
Prior to last month, I knew next to nothing about K-pop (Korean popular music) besides having heard a few songs in passing and the rumors of the industry’s infamous elements, most notably a string of high profile suicides over the last few years. As an American with no connection to music or South Korean culture, I wondered if I was getting an accurate picture of the industry or if I was being misled by the most lurid and morbid elements eagerly conveyed by the media.
“K-pop” is both a genre of music and an entire industry which “manufacturers” performers and their performance output (music, dance routines, shows, merchandise, etc.) in a highly systematized top-down manner
The global popularity of K-pop is extraordinary considering the relatively small population of South Korea, and the relatively small size of K-pop production companies
K-pop’s industrial/corporate structure represents a Korean (and East-Asian) cultural alternative to Western pop and broader music production
K-pop stars and bands are manufactured and controlled by production companies in the same manner Western athletes are trained and traded by sports teams.
K-pop stars are crafted into idealized portrays of individuals by East Asian cultural standards
K-pop fandom is both more intense on average than Western fandom, and has a larger percentage of unhealthily obsessive fans
K-pop stars are forced to abide by extremely restrictive behavioral norms to appease production companies and fans
Trying to become a K-pop star is a terrible idea by any rational cost-benefit analysis
The process by which production companies train K-pop stars is abusive and depends on the ignorance of children/teenagers and clueless and/or malicious parents
Even after making it through the extraordinarily difficult audition and training process, the vast majority of K-pop stars will have short careers and earn little or possibly no money
K-pop is an extremely centralized, hierarchical industry, where structural, business, and creative decisions are almost entirely made by corporate management, rather than the performers
Raw creativity in the music production process is largely outsourced to Westerners who write, produce, and choreograph the music
The K-pop industry is subsidized and supported by the South Korean government, if not implicitly or explicitly directed, as a conscious form of soft power projection and social control.
As you can tell, I came away from my research with a negative view of K-pop. I don’t think it’s the worst thing in the world, but I find its fandom to be unhealthy and its production process to be exploitative. That being said, there are undoubtedly many tremendous talents in the K-pop world and the cultural power of K-pop is remarkable.
Evidence across social science indicates that average effects of persuasive messages are small. One commonly offered explanation for these small effects is heterogeneity: Persuasion may only work well in specific circumstances. To evaluate heterogeneity, we repeated an experiment weekly in real time using 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign advertisements. We tested 49 political advertisements in 59 unique experiments on 34,000 people. We investigate heterogeneous effects by sender (candidates or groups), receiver (subject partisanship), content (attack or promotional), and context (battleground versus non-battleground, primary versus general election, and early versus late). We find small average effects on candidate favorability and vote. These small effects, however, do not mask substantial heterogeneity even where theory from political science suggests that we should find it. During the primary and general election, in battleground states, for Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, effects are similarly small. Heterogeneity with large offsetting effects is not the source of small average effects.
This chapter argues that leader personality cults are typically produced by a specific set of mechanisms of flattery inflation. It describes how loyalty signaling, emotional amplification, and direct production mechanisms can combine, under specific circumstances, to transform ordinary flattery into full-blown practices of ruler worship. And it argues for attending to the specific conditions that make possible the operation of these mechanisms, showing how patronage relationships in particular provide fertile ground for the emergence of personality cults. Moreover, the chapter argues that both ancient and modern leader cults depend on similar mechanisms, despite clear differences in context and function. I illustrate the operation of these mechanisms with many modern examples and an extended discussion of one ancient example, the abortive cult of Caligula during the Roman Principate.
[Keywords: personality cults, Caligula, flattery inflation, Hugo Chávez, Mao Zedong, Stalin]
Social influence is an inevitable part of human social interaction. Although past research has demonstrated that testosterone has a key role in social interaction, no study has examined its role in social influence so far. Building on previous research showing that minority positions are perceived as risky options and that testosterone is positively associated with status seeking and risk-taking, we hypothesized that basal testosterone renders individuals more receptive to minority positions. In two studies, participants (total n = 250) read messages that were supported by either a numerical majority or minority. As hypothesized, individuals’ levels of basal testosterone were positively related to susceptibility to minority influence. In contrast, susceptibility to majority influence was unaffected by basal testosterone. Given the importance of minorities for innovation and change within societies, our results suggest that individuals with high levels of testosterone may play an important role as catalysts of social change.
…This Flash game is called Canabalt. A businessman crashes out of a window and starts running to escape the destruction of his city. Canabalt sparked the entire endless runner genre of gameplay, which is now one of the most popular genres on mobile. The game has since been included in the New York Museum of Modern Art, alongside Pac-Man and Tetris. Escape room games, now a popular genre, originally came from Flash games. They even made the jump into real life, with many physical escape rooms all over the world. There were many more Flash games. Millions more. Played billions of times on thousands of different gaming websites. It was creative chaos. Flash games were the gateway for many developers in the games industry, and served as an experimental playground for distilling games down to their most pure and engaging elements. The end-of-life of Flash in December 2020 marks the end of one of the most creative periods in the history of gaming. It all started in 1996, when the Flash player was first released. Originally it was intended for Web graphics and animations, but when it got its own programming language in 2000, developers started to use it to make games. That was the same year we saw the rise of the first automated Flash games website, Newgrounds. Anyone could upload their games and they were published immediately…
[Followed by timeline of Flash games; >20 testimonials from ex-Flash developers and game industry figures.]
Psychology research focuses primarily on male competition. This research, however, investigates women’s competition for love and the ideal partner in the mating market and reveals one psychological consequence for women, that is, beautification. This is demonstrated with ecologically valid, real-world archive and online search query data, a quasi-experiment, and a series of controlled experiments with random assignments. Intrasexual competition, indexed by the operational sex ratio (OSR) and income inequality (GINI), predicts women’s beautification reflected by Google search queries for cosmetic surgery terms (Study 1) and the density of certificated plastic surgeons (Study 2). Female college students from faculties with female-biased OSRs exhibit greater appearance focus than women from male-biased faculties (Study 3). A causal relationship, between women’s intrasexual competition and beautification (and even self-objectification), is subsequently demonstrated in experiments (Studies 4–6). Additionally, self-objectification due to intrasexual competition leads to women’s preference for appearance-oriented products (Study 6). Implications are discussed.
We collected 299 frontal face images of 2017 cabinet ministers from 15 post-Soviet states (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan). For each image, the minister’s body-mass index is estimated using a computer vision algorithm.
The median estimated body-mass index of cabinet ministers is highly correlated with conventional measures of corruption (Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, World Bank worldwide governance indicator Control of Corruption, Index of Public Integrity).
This result suggests that physical characteristics of politicians such as their body-mass index can be used as proxy variables for political corruption when the latter are not available, for instance at a very local level.
…Dataset: We collected 299 frontal face images of cabinet ministers from 15 post-Soviet states who were in office in 2017.2 In case of a cabinet reshuffle, when 2 (sometimes even 3) individuals occupied the same ministerial position in 2017, we collected the image of the individual who occupied this position for the longest period in 2017.3 Country-specific details are presented in the Appendix. For each minister, we conducted a Google image search in the form “Name Surname” + 2017. The minister’s first name and surname were typed in the official language of his or her country (e.g. in Cyrillic script for Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Ukraine). Whenever possible, we selected a minister’s image that resembled a passport photograph—unobscured frontal face image preferably taken during an event in 2017 (such as an official press conference, an official visit abroad or a meeting with a counterpart minister from another country)
Estimation: For each image in the dataset, the minister’s body-mass index is estimated using the computer vision algorithm recently developed by Kocabey et al 2017.4 This algorithm is a 2-stage procedure. The first stage is a deep convolutional neural network VGG-Face developed by Parkhi, Vedaldi, and Zisserman (2015). This neural network extracts the features from a deep fully connected neuron layer fc6 for the input image. The second stage is an epsilon support vector regression (Smola & Vapnik, 1997) of the extracted features to predict body-mass indexes of 3,368 training images (with known body-mass index values) collected by Kocabey et al 2017.
…Estimated body-mass index for ministers in our dataset is generally quite high. According to the estimated body-mass index, 96 out of 299 ministers (32%) are severely obese (estimated body-mass index between 35 and 40). In particular, 13 out of 24 Uzbek ministers (54%), 8 out 18 Tajik ministers (44%) and 10 out of 24 Ukrainian ministers (42%) are estimated to be severely obese. Another 13 out of 299 ministers in our dataset (4%) are very severely obese (estimated body-mass index greater than 40). In particular, 3 out of 20 Kazakh ministers (15%) and 2 out of 24 Ukrainian ministers (8%) are estimated to be very severely obese. Only 10 out of 299 ministers in our dataset (3%) are estimated to have normal weight (body-mass index between 18.5 and 25). In particular, the governments of Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Uzbekistan each have one minister with an estimated normal weight. None of the ministers in our dataset is estimated to be underweight (body-mass index below 18.5)
…A visual inspection of Table 1 confirms the intuition presented in Section 1—as ministers’ images in the third column get progressively more overweight and obese, conventional corruption indicators in the last 5 columns get progressively worse. Our median estimated ministers’ body-mass index is highly correlated with all 5 conventional measures of perceived corruption. The correlation coefficient with Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2017, World Bank worldwide governance indicator ‘Control of Corruption’ 2017, European Research Centre for Anti-Corruption and State-Building Index of Public Integrity 2017, the sub-attribute ‘Absence of Corruption’ of Global State of Democracy Index 2017 and Basel Anti-Money Laundering Index 2017 is −0.92, −0.91, −0.93, −0.76 and 0.8, respectively.
…Our proposed methodology is widely applicable across countries as photographic data of top public officials are relatively accessible in traditional mass media and social media. This creates the potential of measuring corruption in many regions where administering reliable micro-level surveys is problematic and foreign experts have limited direct access. Our proposed corruption measure can be also applied retrospectively in time. This introduces for the first time, the possibility of measuring corruption from a historical perspective (before the mid-1990s when the first indexes of perceived corruption were constructed).
Most human societies exhibit a distinct class structure, with an elite, middle classes, and a bottom class, whereas animals form simple dominance hierarchies in which individuals with higher fighting ability do not appear to form coalitions to “oppress” weaker individuals. Here, we extend our model of primate coalitions and find that a division into a bottom class and an upper class is inevitable whenever fitness-enhancing resources, such as food or real estate, are exploitable or tradable and the members of the bottom class cannot easily leave the group. The model predicts that the bottom class has a near flat, low payoff and always comprises at least half the society. The upper class may subdivide into one or more middle class(es), resulting in improved payoff for the topmost members (elite). The model predicts that the bottom class on its own is incapable of mounting effective counter-coalitions against the upper class, except when receiving support from dissatisfied members of the middle class(es). Such counter-coalitions can be prevented by keeping the payoff to the lowest-ranked members of the middle classes (through concessions) well above that of the bottom class. This simple model explains why classes are also absent in nomadic hunter-gatherers and predominate in (though are not limited to) societies that produce and store food. Its results also agree well with various other known features of societies with classes.
Nudge interventions have quickly expanded from academic studies to larger implementation in so-called Nudge Units in governments. This provides an opportunity to compare interventions in research studies, versus at scale. We assemble a unique data set of 126 RCTs covering over 23 million individuals, including all trials run by 2 of the largest Nudge Units in the United States. We compare these trials to a sample of nudge trials published in academic journals from 2 recent meta-analyses.
In papers published in academic journals, the average impact of a nudge is very large—an 8.7 percentage point take-up effect, a 33.5% increase over the average control. In the Nudge Unit trials, the average impact is still sizable and highly statistically-significant, but smaller at 1.4 percentage points, an 8.1% increase [8.7 / 1.4 = 6.2×].
We consider 5 potential channels for this gap: statistical power, selective publication, academic involvement, differences in trial features and in nudge features. Publication bias in the academic journals, exacerbated by low statistical power, can account for the full difference in effect sizes. Academic involvement does not account for the difference. Different features of the nudges, such as in-person versus letter-based communication, likely reflecting institutional constraints, can partially explain the different effect sizes.
We conjecture that larger sample sizes and institutional constraints, which play an important role in our setting, are relevant in other at-scale implementations. Finally, we compare these results to the predictions of academics and practitioners. Most forecasters overestimate the impact for the Nudge Unit interventions, though nudge practitioners are almost perfectly calibrated.
…In this paper, we present the results of a unique collaboration with 2 of the major “Nudge Units”: BIT North America operating at thelevel of US cities and SBST/OES for the US Federal government. These 2 units kept a comprehensive record of all trials that they ran from inception in 2015 to July 2019, for a total of 165 trials testing 349 nudge treatments and a sample size of over 37 million participants. In a remarkable case of administrative transparency, each trial had atrial report, including in many cases a pre-analysis plan. The 2 units worked with us to retrieve the results of all the trials. Importantly, over 90% of these trials have not been documented in working paper or academic publication format. [emphasis added]
…Since we are interested in comparing the Nudge Unit trials to nudge papers in the literature, we aim to find broadly comparable studies in academic journals, without hand-picking individual papers. We lean on 2 recent meta-analyses summarizing over 100 RCTs across many different applications (Benartzi et al 2017, and Hummel & Maedche 2019). We apply similar restrictions as we did in the Nudge Unit sample, excluding lab or hypothetical experiments and non-RCTs, treatments with financial incentives, requiring treatments with binary dependent variables, and excluding default effects. This leaves a final sample of 26 RCTs, including 74 nudge treatments with 505,337 participants. Before we turn to the results, we stress that the features of behavioral interventions in academic journals do not perfectly match with the nudge treatments implemented by the Nudge Units, a difference to which we indeed return below. At the same time, overall interventions conducted by Nudge Units are fairly representative of the type of nudge treatments that are run by researchers.
What do we find? In the sample of 26 papers in the Academic Journals sample, we compute the average (unweighted) impact of a nudge across the 74 nudge interventions. We find that on average a nudge intervention increases the take up by 8.7 (s.e. = 2.5) percentage points, out of an average control take up of 26.0 percentage points.
Turning to the 126 trials by Nudge Units, we estimate an unweighted impact of 1.4 percentage points (s.e. = 0.3), out of an average control take up of 17.4 percentage points. While this impact is highly statistically-significantly different from 0 and sizable, it is about 1⁄6th the size of the estimated nudge impact in academic papers. What explains this large difference in the impact of nudges?
We discuss 3 features of the 2 samples which could account for this difference. First, we document a large difference in the sample size and thus statistical power of the interventions. The median nudge intervention in the Academic Journals sample has treatment arm sample size of 484 participants and a minimum detectable effect size(MDE, the effect size that can be detected with 80% power) of 6.3 percentage points. In contrast, the nudge interventions in the Nudge Units have a median treatment arm sample size of 10,006 participants and MDE of 0.8 percentage points. Thus, the statistical power for the trials in the Academic Journals sample is nearly an order of magnitude smaller. This illustrates a key feature of the “at scale” implementation: the implementation in an administrative setting allows for a larger sample size. Importantly, the smaller sample size for the Academic Journals papers could lead not just to noisier estimates, but also to upward-biased point estimates in the presence of publication bias.
A second difference, directly zooming into publication bias, is the evidence of selective publication of studies with statistically-significant results (t > 1.96), versus studies that are not statistically-significant (t < 1.96). In the sample of Academic Journals nudges, there are over 4× as many studies with a t-statistic for the most statistically-significant nudge between 1.96 and 2.96, versus the number of studies with the most statistically-significant nudge with at between 0.96 and 1.96. Interestingly, the publication bias appears to operate at the level of the most statistically-significant treatment arm within a paper. By comparison, we find no evidence of a discontinuity in the distribution of t-statistics for the Nudge Unit sample, consistent with the fact that the Nudge Unit registry contains the comprehensive sample of all studies run. We stress here that with “publication bias” we include not just whether a journal would publish a paper, but also whether a researcher would write up a study (the “file drawer” problem). In the Nudge Units sample, all these selective steps are removed, as we access all studies that were run.
Recently, policy makers worldwide have suggested and passed legislation to ban mobile phone use in schools. The influential (and only quantitative) evaluation by Beland and Murphy (2016), suggests that this is a very low-cost but effective policy to improve student performance. In particular, it suggests that the lowest-achieving students have the most to gain. Using a similar empirical setup but with data from Sweden, we partly replicate their study and thereby add external validity to this policy question. Furthermore, we increase the survey response rate of schools to approximately 75%, although at the expense of the amount of information collected in the survey. In Sweden, we find no impact of mobile phone bans on student performance and can reject even small-sized gains.
For over 30 years, researchers and journalists have made the claim that men do not prefer the level of thinness typically embodied by female fashion models, along with the secondary claim that women overestimate the extent to which men find these ultra-thin bodies attractive.
The current studies examined men’s and women’s perceptions of the bodies of fashion models shown in media images, as well as how each gender believed the other would perceive the models’ bodies. In Study 1, 548 U.S. college students rated the body size and attractiveness of 13 images of models from women’s fashion magazines. Respondents also indicated how they thought the other gender would rate the models on these dimensions. In Study 2, 707 men and women recruited from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk completed the same rating task. Overall, both men and women overestimated how ideal the other gender would find the models’ bodies (both in terms of thinness and attractiveness). This misperception was strongest when women estimated how men would react to the models’ bodies.
Results were consistent with previous studies suggesting that men do not find the ultra-thin body ideal for women as attractive as women believe men do. These gender-based misconceptions may contribute to the negative effects of viewing ultra-thin media images on women’s body image.
This paper provides the first causal estimates of the effect of children’s access to computers and the internet on educational outcomes in early adulthood, such as schooling and choice of major. I exploit cross-cohort variation in access to technology among primary and middle school students in Uruguay, the first country to implement a nationwide one-laptop-per-child program. Despite a notable increase in computer access, educational attainment has not increased; the schooling gap between private and public school students has persisted, despite closing the technology gap. Among college students, those who had been exposed to the program as children were less likely to enroll in science and technology.
[Keywords: education policy, education and inequality, government expenditures and education]
Consider a case in which a new research finding links a health behavior with good health outcomes. A possible consequence is take-up of this behavior among individuals who engage in other positive health behaviors. If this occurs, later analyses of observational data may be biased by the change in selection. This paper evaluates these dynamic biases in empirical settings. Using data from vitamin supplementation and diet, I show that selection responds endogenously to health recommendations. These results highlight how spurious findings on health behaviors can be self-reinforcing.
[Examples: vitamin E, vitamin D, sugar consumption, fat consumption, and the Mediterranean diet.]
Santa Muerte has been depicted as a narcosaint, that is to say a saint propitiated only by those who belong to drug cartels, in particular by the Mexican State. As a consequence, the Mexican army, under orders from the Mexican State, has obliterated thousands of shrines dedicated to the folk saint across the country.
However, as we evince, the popular figure has followers in all camps involved in the drug war. Both narcos and those who fight them, prisoners and prison guards, venerate the folk saint, turning to her for spiritual favours, protection and even to predict death. This diverse group of people, although divided by their differing positions in the drug war, turns to her for parallel reasons, to explain, predict and control events.
As such, Santa Muerte rather than being a narcosaint should be considered the Matron Saint of the Drug War.
How do stigmatized minorities advance agendas when confronted with hostile majorities? Elite theories of influence posit marginal groups exert little power. I propose the concept of agenda seeding to describe how activists use methods like disruption to capture the attention of media and overcome political asymmetries. Further, I hypothesize protest tactics influence how news organizations frame demands. Evaluating black-led protests between 1960 and 1972, I find nonviolent activism, particularly when met with state or vigilante repression, drove media coverage, framing, Congressional speech and public opinion on civil rights. Counties proximate to nonviolent protests saw presidential Democratic vote share among whites increase 1.3–1.6%. Protester-initiated violence, by contrast, helped move news agendas, frames, elite discourse and public concern toward “social control.” In 1968, using rainfall as an instrument, I find violent protests likely caused a 1.6–7.9% shift among whites towards Republicans and tipped the election. Elites may dominate political communication but hold no monopoly.
Background: While neighborhood deprivation is a well-known predictor of obesity, the mechanisms behind this association are unclear and these are important to clarify before designing interventions focusing on modifiable neighborhood environmental factors in order to reduce obesity risk.
Objectives: This study examined the longitudinal association between availability of fast-food outlets and physical activity facilities and the risk of obesity among adults.
Methods: This study used multiple national register data from Sweden. During the 11-year follow-up period between 2005 and 2015, data from 1,167,449 men and 542,606 women, aged 20–55 years, were accessible for inclusion in this analysis. Incidence of obesity was identified based on a diagnosis of obesity during the follow-up period derived from clinical register data. Neighborhood availability of fast-food outlets and physical activity facilities were assessed in 2005 and Cox regression was used in the statistical analysis. Individual socio-demographic factors and neighborhood deprivation were used as covariates.
Results: There were no meaningful associations between neighborhood fast-food outlets or physical activity facilities and obesity in men or women. Neighborhood deprivation was, however, consistently and strongly associated with incidence of obesity in both men and women.
Conclusions: Availability of fast-food outlets and lack of physical activity facilities appear unlikely to cause obesity in Swedish adults. Other potentially modifiable environmental factors within specific social and cultural settings that may influence obesity risk should be examined in future studies.
The public salience of crime has wide-ranging political and social implications; it influences public trust in the government and citizens’ everyday routines and interactions, and it may affect policy responsiveness to punitive attitudes. Identifying the sources of crime salience is thus important. Two competing theoretical models exist: the objectivist model and the social constructionist model. According to the first, crime salience is a function of the crime rate. According to the second, crime salience is a function of media coverage and political rhetoric, and trends in crime salience differ across population subgroups as a result of differences in their responsiveness to elite initiatives. In both theories, period‐level effects predominate. Variation in crime salience, however, may also reflect age and cohort effects. Using data from 422,504 respondents interviewed between 1960 and 2014, we first examine the nature of crime salience using hierarchical age-period-cohort (HAPC) models and then analyze period‐level predictors using first differences. We find that 1. crime salience varies mostly at the period level; 2. crime salience trends are parallel (cointegrated) across demographic, socioeconomic, and partisan groups; and 3. crime salience trends within every population subgroup are most consistent with the constructionist model. The crime rate does not exert a statistically-significant effect in any subgroup.
In the five decades since its inception in 1971, the General Social Survey (GSS) project has prospectively recorded the current characteristics, backgrounds, behaviors, and attitudes of representative cross sections of American adults covering more than two generations and more than a century of birth cohorts. A foundational resource for contemporary social science, the data it produces and disseminates enable social scientists to develop broad and deep understandings into the changing fabric of US society, and aid legions of instructors and students in teaching and learning. It facilitates internationally comparative survey research and places the United States in the context of other societies through the International Social Survey Program, which it cofounded. This article first recounts the GSS’s origins, design, and development. It thensurveys contributions based on GSS data to studies of stratification and inequality, religion, sociopolitical trends, intergroup relations, social capital and social networks, health and well-being, culture, and methodology.
Americans appear to be losing faith in what President Donald Trump says about the coronavirus pandemic, with almost everyone rejecting Trump’s remark that COVID-19 may be treated by injecting infected people with bleach or other disinfectants, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday.
The April 27–28 public opinion poll found that fewer than half of all adults in the U.S.—47%—said they were “very” or “somewhat” likely to follow recommendations Trump makes about the virus. That is 15 percentage points lower than the number who said they would follow Trump’s advice in a survey that ran at the end of March.
And 98% of Americans said they would not try to inject themselves with bleach or other disinfectants if they got the coronavirus, including 98% of Democrats and 98% of Republicans. That is a near-unanimous rejection of an idea that Trump floated at a time of widespread anxiety about the virus.
This article studies the consequences of digital surveillance in dictatorships. I first develop an informational theory of repression and co-optation.
I argue that digital surveillance resolves dictators’ information problem of not knowing individual citizens’ true anti-regime sentiments. By identifying radical opponents, digital surveillance enables dictators to substitute targeted repression for nonexclusive co-optation to forestall coordinated uprisings. My theory implies that as digital surveillance technologies advance, we should observe a rise in targeted repression and a decline in universal redistribution.
Using a difference-in-differences design that exploits temporal variation in digital surveillance systems among Chinese counties, I find that surveillance increases local governments’ public security expenditure and arrests of political activists but decreases public goods provision.
My theory and evidence suggest that improvements in governments’ information make citizens worse off in dictatorships.
Research in educational psychology consistently finds a relationship between intelligence and academic performance. However, in recent decades, educational fields, including gifted education, have resisted intelligence research, and there are some experts who argue that intelligence tests should not be used in identifying giftedness. Hoping to better understand this resistance to intelligence research, we created a survey of beliefs about intelligence and administered it online to a sample of the general public and a sample of teachers. We found that there are conflicts between currently accepted intelligence theory and beliefs from the American public and teachers, which has important consequences on gifted education, educational policy, and the effectiveness of interventions.
Since 1969, racial and ethnic preferences have existed throughout the American medical academy. The primary purpose has been to increase the number of blacks and Hispanics within the physician workforce as they were deemed to be “underrepresented in medicine.” To this day, the goal continues to be population parity or proportional representation. These affirmative action programs were traditionally voluntary, created and implemented at the state or institutional level, limited to the premedical and medical school stages, and intended to be temporary. Despite these efforts, numerical targets for underrepresented minorities set by the Association of American Medical Colleges have consistently fallen short. Failures have largely been attributable to the limited qualified applicant pool and legal challenges to the use of race and ethnicity in admissions to institutions of higher education. In response, programs under the appellation of diversity, inclusion, and equity have recently been created to increase the number of blacks and Hispanics as medical school students, internal medicine trainees, cardiovascular disease trainees, and cardiovascular disease faculty. These new diversity programs are mandatory, created and implemented at the national level, imposed throughout all stages of academic medicine and cardiology, and intended to be permanent. The purpose of this white paper is to provide an overview of policies that have been created to impact the racial and ethnic composition of the cardiology workforce, to consider the evolution of racial and ethnic preferences in legal and medical spheres, to critically assess current paradigms, and to consider potential solutions to anticipated challenges.
Question: Is unearned wealth from lottery winnings associated with more healthy habits and better overall health?
Findings: This quasi-experimental cohort study of 3344 individuals in 3 Swedish lotteries found no statistically-significant differences in long-term (5–22 years) health behaviors or overall health among individuals who participated in the same lottery but who randomly won prizes of different magnitudes.
Meaning: The findings suggest that large, random transfers of unearned wealth are unlikely to be associated with large, long-term changes in health habits or overall health.
substantially more prevalent among individuals with low income than among individuals with high income, but the underlying mechanisms are not well understood.
Objective: To evaluate whether changes to unearned wealth from lotteries are associated with long-term health behaviors and overall health.
Design, Setting, and Participants: In this quasi-experimental cohort study, 4820 participants (aged 18–70 years at the time of winning) in 3 Swedish lotteries were surveyed from September 1, 2016, to November 11, 2016, between 5 and 22 years after a lottery event. Outcomes of participants in the same lottery who were randomly assigned prizes of different magnitudes by the lotteries but were ex ante identical in terms of their probability of winning different prizes were compared. Data were analyzed from December 22, 2016, to November 21, 2019.
Exposures: Lottery prizes ranged from $0 for nonwinning players to $1.6 million.
Main Outcomes and Measures: 4 lifestyle factors (smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and a healthy diet index) and 2 measures of overall health (subjective health and an index of total health derived from responses to questions about 35 health conditions).
Results: The survey was returned by 3344 of 4820 individuals (69%; 1722 [51.5%] male), which corresponded to 3362 observations. The mean (SD) age was 48 (11.8) years in the year of the lottery win and 60 (11.0) years at the time of the survey. There were no statistically-significant associations between prize amount won and any of the 6 long-term health outcomes. Estimated associations expressed in SD units per $100,000 won were as follows: smoking (−0.006, 95% CI, −0.038 to 0.026); alcohol consumption (0.003, 95% CI, −0.027 to 0.033); physical activity (0.001, 95% CI, −0.029 to 0.032); dietary quality (−0.007, 95% CI, −0.040 to 0.026); subjective health (0.013, 95% CI, −0.017 to 0.043); and index of total health (−0.003, 95% CI, −0.033 to 0.027).
Conclusions and Relevance: In this study of Swedish lottery players, unearned wealth from random lottery prize winnings was not associated with subsequent healthy lifestyle factors or overall health. The findings suggest that large, random transfers of unearned wealth are unlikely to be associated with large, long-term changes in health habits or overall health.
These formulas have turned an obscure idea that Galanis and his college buddies had a few years ago about making more money for second rate celebs into a thriving two-sided marketplace that has caught the attention of VCs, Hollywood, and professional sports. In June, Cameo raised $50 million in Series B funding, led by Kleiner Perkins (which recently began funding more early stage startups) to boost marketing, expand into international markets, and staff up to meet the growing demand. In the past 15 months, Cameo has gone from 20 to 125 employees, and moved from an 825-square-foot home base in the 1871 technology incubator into its current 6,000-square-foot digs in Chicago’s popping West Loop. Cameo customers have purchased more than 560,000 videos from some 20,000 celebs and counting, including ’80s star Steve Guttenberg and sports legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. And now, when the masses find themselves in quarantined isolation—looking for levity, distractions, and any semblance of the human touch—sending each other personalized videograms from the semi-famous has never seemed like a more pitch-perfect offering.
The product itself is as simple as it is improbable. For a price the celeb sets—anywhere from $5 to $2,500—famous people record video shout-outs, aka “Cameos”, that run for a couple of minutes, and then are delivered via text or email. Most Cameo videos are booked as private birthday or anniversary gifts, but a few have gone viral on social media. Even if you don’t know Cameo by name, there’s a good chance you caught Bam Margera of MTV’s Jackass delivering an “I quit” message on behalf of a disgruntled employee, or Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath dumping some poor dude on behalf of the guy’s girlfriend. (Don’t feel too bad for the dumpee, the whole thing was a joke.)
…Back at the whiteboard, Galanis takes a marker and sketches out a graph of how fame works on his platform. “Imagine the grid represents all the celebrity talent in the world”, he says, “which by our definition, we peg at 5 million people.” The X-axis is willingness; the Y-axis is fame. “Say LeBron is at the top of the X-axis, and I’m at the bottom”, he says. On the willingness side, Galanis puts notoriously media-averse Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch on the far left end. At the opposite end, he slots chatty celebrity blogger-turned-Cameo-workhorse Perez Hilton, of whom Galanis says, “I promise if you booked him right now, the video would be done before we leave this room.”
…“The contrarian bet we made was that it would be way better for us to have people with small, loyal followings, often unknown to the general population, but who were willing to charge $5 to $10”, Galanis says. Cameo would employ a revenue-sharing model, getting a 25% cut of each video, while the rest went to the celeb. They wanted people like Galanis’ co-founder (and former Duke classmate) Devon Townsend, who had built a small following making silly Vine videos of his travels with pal Cody Ko, a popular YouTuber. “Devon isn’t Justin Bieber, but he had 25,000 Instagram followers from his days as a goofy Vine star”, explains Galanis. “He originally charged a couple bucks, and the people who love him responded, ‘Best money I ever spent!’”
…After a customer books a Cameo, the celeb films the video via the startup’s app within four to seven days. Most videos typically come in at under a minute, though some talent indulges in extensive riffs. (Inexplicably, “plant-based activist and health coach” Courtney Anne Feldman, wife of Corey, once went on for more than 20 minutes in a video for a customer.) Cameo handles the setup, technical infrastructure, marketing, and support, with white-glove service for the biggest earners with “whatever they need”—details like help pronouncing a customer’s name or just making sure they aren’t getting burned-out doing so many video shout-outs.
…For famous people of any caliber—the washed-up, the obscure micro-celebrity, the actual rock star—becoming part of the supply side of the Cameo marketplace is as low a barrier as it gets. Set a price and go. The videos are short—Instagram comedian Evan Breen has been known to knock out more than 100 at $25 a pop in a single sitting—and they don’t typically require any special preparation. Hair, makeup, wardrobe, or even handlers aren’t necessary. In fact, part of the oddball authenticity of Cameo videos is that they have a take-me-as-I-am familiarity—filmed at breakfast tables, lying in bed, on the golf course, running errands, at a stoplight, wherever it fits into the schedule.
We analyze whether the positive relation between education and health is causal.
We combine multi-country data from two cross-sections of EU-SILC.
We use exogenous variation in compulsory schooling induced by school laws.
We find no causal effect of education on any of our several health measures.
The result is robust to changes in the main specification and using other databases.
Many studies find a strong positive correlation between education and adult health. A subtler question is whether this correlation can be interpreted as a causal relationship. We combine multi-country data from two cross-sections of the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) survey and use exogenous variation in compulsory years of schooling across countries and cohorts induced by compulsory schooling laws. We find no causal effect of education on any of our several health measures. This finding is extremely robust to different changes in our main specification and holds using other databases. We discuss different explanations for our results.
We surveyed a large sample of Swedish lottery players about their psychological well-being 5–22 years after a major lottery event and analysed the data following pre-registered procedures. Relative to matched controls, large-prize winners experience sustained increases in overall life satisfaction that persist for over a decade and show no evidence of dissipating over time. The estimated treatment effects on happiness and mental health are statistically-significantly smaller. Follow-up analyses of domain-specific aspects of life satisfaction implicate financial life satisfaction as an important mediator for the long-run increase in overall life satisfaction.
Ideology is a central construct in political psychology. Even so, the field’s strong claims about an ideological public rarely engage evidence of enormous individual differences: a minority with real ideological coherence and weak to nonexistent political belief organization for everyone else. Here, I bridge disciplinary gaps by showing the limits of mass political ideology with several popular measures and components—self-identification, core political values (egalitarian and traditionalism’s resistance to change), and policy indices—in representative U.S. surveys across four decades (Ns ~ 13k–37k), plus panel data testing stability. Results show polar, coherent, stable, and potent ideological orientations only among the most knowledgeable 20–30% of citizens. That heterogeneity means full-sample tests overstate ideology for most people but understate it for knowledgeable citizens. Whether through top-down opinion leadership or bottom-up ideological reasoning, organized political belief systems require political attention and understanding to form. Finally, I show that convenience samples make trouble for ideology generalizations. I conclude by proposing analytic best practices to help avoid overclaiming ideology in the public. Taken together, what first looks like strong and broad ideology is actually ideological innocence for most and meaningful ideology for a few.
Health and social scientists have documented the hospital revolving-door problem, the concentration of crime, and long-term welfare dependence. Have these distinct fields identified the same citizens? Using administrative databases linked to 1.7 million New Zealanders, we quantified and monetized inequality in distributions of health and social problems and tested whether they aggregate within individuals. Marked inequality was observed: Gini coefficients equalled 0.96 for criminal convictions, 0.91 for public-hospital nights, 0.86 for welfare benefits, 0.74 for prescription-drug fills and 0.54 for injury-insurance claims. Marked aggregation was uncovered: a small population segment accounted for a disproportionate share of use-events and costs across multiple sectors. These findings were replicated in 2.3 million Danes. We then integrated the New Zealand databases with the four-decade-long Dunedin Study. The high-need/high-cost population segment experienced early-life factors that reduce workforce readiness, including low education and poor mental health. In midlife they reported low life satisfaction. Investing in young people’s education and training potential could reduce health and social inequalities and enhance population wellbeing.
Adventure and excitement have often been invoked to explain why people engage in political violence, yet empirical evidence on the topic has thus far been anecdotal. The present research sought to fill this gap in knowledge by examining the role of sensation seeking in political violence and integrating this concept with The-Significance-Quest-Theory (Kruglanski et al 2009; Kruglanski et al 2013).
Extending prior research on violent extremism, Study 1 found that sensation seeking mediated the relation between meaning in life and willingness to self-sacrifice and support for political violence. Study 2 established temporal precedence of the variables in the mediation model, using a longitudinal design. Studies 3 and 4 experimentally replicated findings of Studies 1 and 2. In Studies 5a and 5b, we found that sensation seeking predicts support for a real life violent activist group. In Studies 6a and 6b, the positive evaluation of a violent activist group by individuals high in sensation seeking was explained by how exciting they perceived the group to be. Finally, Study 7 introduced an intervention targeting the sensation seeking motive by presenting participants with a peaceful (less exciting vs. exciting) activism group.
As hypothesized, providing individuals high in sensation seeking with a peaceful yet exciting group mitigated their support for extreme behavior.
[Keywords: political violence, search for meaning, self-sacrifice, sensation seeking]
Because stereotypes and social reality are mutually reinforcing, it is often unclear whether a given stereotype has emerged from preexisting social reality, or has shaped social reality over time to resemble the stereotype (eg., via discrimination). To address this chicken-or-egg problem, we advance an integrative model that captures not only endogenous stereotype formation from social reality, but also exogenous stereotype formation without social reality. When arbitrary social categories are introduced, the cultural meanings of category cues (eg., semantic category names) can be exogenously projected as stereotypes onto those social categories.
To illustrate exogenous stereotype formation, we examined a novel form of stereotyping and discrimination in China based on astrological signs, which were introduced into China from the West. Studies 1a, 1b, and 2 revealed that astrological stereotypes are salient in China (but not in the United States). These stereotypes were likely produced exogenously because of how the signs were translated into Chinese. In particular, Virgos are stereotyped as having disagreeable personalities, likely because of Virgo’s Chinese translation as “virgin” (Study 3). This translation-based stereotype led Chinese individuals to discriminate against Virgos in romantic dating (Study 4) and in simulated job recruitment (Studies 5 and 6). Studies 7 and 8 confirmed that astrological stereotypes are inaccurate and astrological discrimination is irrational: Astrological sign predicted neither personality (n = 173,709) nor job performance (n = 32,878).
Overall, our research disentangles stereotypes from social reality by providing a real-world demonstration that stereotypes can form without preexisting social reality, yet still produce discrimination that can then shape social reality.
We reevaluate the claim from Bor et al. (2018: 302) that “police killings of unarmed black Americans have effects on mental health among black American adults in the general population.”
The Mapping Police Violence data used by the authors includes 91 incidents involving black decedents who were either (1) not killed by police officers in the line of duty or (2) armed when killed. These incidents should have been removed or recoded prior to analysis.
Correctly recoding these incidents decreased in magnitude all of the reported coefficients, and, more importantly, eliminated the reported statistically-significant effect of exposure to police killings of unarmed black individuals on the mental health of black Americans in the general population.
We caution researchers to vet carefully crowdsourced data that tracks police behaviors and warn against reducing these complex incidents to overly simplistic armed/unarmed dichotomies.
Popular culture associates the lives of Roman emperors with luxury, cruelty, and debauchery, sometimes rightfully so. One missing attribute in this list is, surprisingly, that this mighty office was most dangerous for its holder. Of the 69 rulers of the unified Roman Empire, from Augustus (d. 14 CE) to Theodosius (d. 395 CE), 62% suffered violent death. This has been known for a while, if not quantitatively at least qualitatively. What is not known, however, and has never been examined is the time-to-violent-death of Roman emperors. This work adopts the statistical tools of survival data analysis to an unlikely population, Roman emperors, and it examines a particular event in their rule, not unlike the focus of reliability engineering, but instead of their time-to-failure, their time-to-violent-death. We investigate the temporal signature of this seemingly haphazard stochastic process that is the violent death of a Roman emperor, and we examine whether there is some structure underlying the randomness in this process or not. Nonparametric and parametric results show that: (1) emperors faced a statistically-significantly high risk of violent death in the first year of their rule, which is reminiscent of infant mortality in reliability engineering; (2) their risk of violent death further increased after 12 years, which is reminiscent of wear-out period in reliability engineering; (3) their failure rate displayed a bathtub-like curve, similar to that of a host of mechanical engineering items and electronic components. Results also showed that the stochastic process underlying the violent deaths of emperors is remarkably well captured by a (mixture) Weibull distribution. We discuss the interpretation and possible reasons for this uncanny result, and we propose a number of fruitful venues for future work to help better understand the deeper etiology of the spectacle of regicide of Roman emperors.
Across five field experiments with employees of a large organization (n = 68,915), we examined whether standard behavioural interventions (‘nudges’) successfully reduced single-occupancy vehicle commutes. In Studies 1 and 2, we sent letters and emails with nudges designed to increase carpooling. These interventions failed to increase carpool sign-up or usage. In Studies 3a and 4, we examined the efficacy of other well-established behavioural interventions: non-cash incentives and personalized travel plans. Again, we found no positive effect of these interventions. Across studies, effect sizes ranged from Cohen’s d = −0.01 to d = 0.05. Equivalence testing, using study-specific smallest effect sizes of interest, revealed that the treatment effects observed in 4 out of 5 of our experiments were statistically equivalent to zero (p < 0.04). The failure of these well-powered experiments designed to nudge commuting behaviour highlights both the difficulty of changing commuter behaviour and the importance of publishing null results to build cumulative knowledge about how to encourage sustainable travel.
The Heckman Curve characterizes the rate of return to public investments in human capital as rapidly diminishing with age. For the disadvantaged, it describes investments early in the life course as having substantially higher rates of return compared to later in life. This paper assesses the Heckman Curve using estimates of program benefit cost ratios from the Washington State Institute for Public Policy. We find no support for the claim that social policy programs targeted early in the life course have the largest benefit cost ratios, or that on average the benefits of adult programs are less than the cost of the intervention.
Collective memory and attention are sustained by two channels: oral communication (communicative memory) and the physical recording of information (cultural memory). Here, we use data on the citation of academic articles and patents, and on the online attention received by songs, movies and biographies, to describe the temporal decay of the attention received by cultural products. We show that, once we isolate the temporal dimension of the decay, the attention received by cultural products decays following a universal biexponential function. We explain this universality by proposing a mathematical model based on communicative and cultural memory, which fits the data better than previously proposed log-normal and exponential models. Our results reveal that biographies remain in our communicative memory the longest (20–30 years) and music the shortest (about 5.6 years). These findings show that the average attention received by cultural products decays following a universal biexponential function.
The difference in angel investing between Silicon Valley and everywhere else isn’t just a difference in perceived risk/reward or a difference in FOMO. It’s that angel investing fulfils a completely different purpose in Silicon Valley than it does elsewhere. It’s not just a financial activity; it’s a social status exercise.
Angel Investors in the Bay Area aren’t just in it for the financial returns; they’re also in it for the social returns.
The Bay Area tech ecosystem has been so successful that startup-related news has become the principal determinant of social status in San Francisco. In other cities, you acquire and flex social status by joining exclusive neighbourhoods or country clubs, or through philanthropic gestures, or even something as simple as what car you drive. In San Francisco, it’s angel investing. Other than founding a successful startup yourself, there’s not much higher-status in the Bay Area than backing founders that go on to build Uber or Stripe…The end result is that the Bay Area has a critical density of people who are willing to offer founders a term sheet for enough investment, and at attractive enough valuations, that it makes sense for the founder to actually accept them. I honestly believe that without this social “subsidy”, a lot of angel investing stops working. If investors were being purely rational, they could only offer something like a $2 million valuation for founders’ first cheques. And if entrepreneurs are smart, they know they can’t accept it; it makes them un-fundable from that day forward.
The social rewards of angel investing solve an important chicken-and-egg problem in early stage fundraising that financial rewards does not.
One of the biggest frustrations you face as a founder out fundraising is the refrain: “This sounds really interesting. I love it. Let me know when there are a bunch of other people investing, and then I’ll invest too.” From far away, it’s easy to label this behaviour as cowardly investing. But it happens for a reason…The social returns to angel investing resolve our chicken/egg problem: they turn angel investing into a kind of “race to be first” that is much more aligned with the founder, and more conducive to breaking inertia and completing deals. The founder wants you to move first, and so do you.
The social returns to angel investing have a strong geographical network effect, because they require a threshold density in order to kick in.
…If you can assemble enough early stage investors together, it should conceptually become self-sustaining. Once you have that sufficient density of people who care about the social return to angel investing, and you establish a genuine “early stage capital market” that is subsidized in part by the social and emotional job that it’s doing for its angel members, you create something really special. You get the rare conditions where capital is available for founders at high enough valuations, with no strings attached, and by investors who are evaluating them “the right way”, that you actually sustain a scene that produces startups in sufficient numbers to generate those few unlikely mega-winners that replenish angels’ bank accounts and keep the cycle going.
Carelessness in self-report data can be detected with many methods.
Embedding items in a scale with presumed ‘correct’ responses is one of these.
Properties of these items can impact their usefulness.
Individuals can provide valid justification for ‘incorrect’ responses.
Researchers should know their items, and know the risk of not knowing those items.
Participant carelessness is a source of invalidity in psychological data (Huang, Liu, & Bowling, 2015), and many methods have been created to screen for this carelessness (Curran, 2016; Johnson, 2005). These include items that researchers presume thoughtful individuals will answer in a given way (eg., disagreement with “I am paid biweekly by leprechauns”, Meade & Craig, 2012). This paper reports on two samples in which individuals spoke aloud a series of these questions, and found that (a) individuals do occasionally report valid justifications for presumed invalid responses, (b) there is relatively high variance in this behavior over different items, and (c) items developed for this specific purpose tend to work better than those drawn from other sources or created ad-hoc.
“‘Aliens’ is a relative term; I don’t actually know for sure” · “What does that even mean, we’re all aliens if there’s other life out there”
“I am interested in…parabanjology”
“Might be real so don’t want to disagree” · “It sounds like it could be interesting”
“I work twenty-eight hours in a typical work day.”
“It feels like that sometimes”
“I am familiar with geological terms such as jpg and firewall.”
“I know what those are, but don’t know that they’re geological”
“I am fluent in combinatorial English”
“I’m fluent in English”
“I am able to read the minds of others” · “I can see into the future”
“Understand general idea of what others are thinking” · “Close friends know each other” · “Can plan and expect future events”
“I sleep less than one hour per night”
“When I’m pulling an all-nighter I do” · “I sleep very few hours each night”
“All my friends say I would make a great poodle”
“They say I’m like a puppy” · “They say I’d make a great koala” · “Friends say I share dog-like personality” · “Friends have said my hair looks like a poodle” · “Have been told I’d make a good dog” · “Don’t know, I’ve never asked them”
“I eat cement occasionally”
“There was cement in my braces, sure that I ate some” · “There are a lot of things that are in cement in a lot of foods, so maybe eating parts of it”
“Answer with ‘Disagree’ for this item”
“Item doesn’t say how much to disagree (picked ‘Strongly disagree’)”
“I am paid biweekly by leprechauns”
“I am paid biweekly, just not by leprechauns”
“I can run 2 miles in 2 min”
“It doesn’t say run with your feet, can do it in my mind”
“I have been to every country in the world”
“I’ve been to a lot of countries” · “I have probably been to more countries than most people”
“I can teleport across time and space”
“Well, time passes, and I can move places, so that’s sort of true” · “Is walking a type of teleportation?” · “In my dreams I can because one of my life goals is to be the doctor’s companion”
Table 2: Selected examples of valid justifications for ‘incorrect’ answers.
In recent decades the field of anthropology has been characterized as sharply divided between pro-science and anti-science factions. The aim of this study is to empirically evaluate that characterization. We survey anthropologists in graduate programs in the United States regarding their views of science and advocacy, moral and epistemic relativism, and the merits of evolutionary biological explanations. We examine anthropologists’ views in concert with their varying appraisals of major controversies in the discipline (Chagnon / Tierney, Mead / Freeman, and Menchú / Stoll). We find that disciplinary specialization and especially gender and political orientation are statistically-significant predictors of anthropologists’ views. We interpret our findings through the lens of an intuitionist social psychology that helps explain the dynamics of such controversies as well as ongoing ideological divisions in the field.
Research on racial resentment has been meticulously developed, tested, and analyzed with white Americans in mind—yet black Americans have also responded to this battery for the past three decades. To date, little to nothing is known about the implications of responses to the racial resentment battery among black Americans. A burgeoning literature on blacks’ intragroup attitudes suggests that over time, black Americans have increasingly attributed racial inequality to individual failings as opposed to structural forces. As such, unpacking blacks’ responses to the canonical racial resentment battery may provide further insight into the micro-foundations of black public opinion. Using survey data from 1986 to 2016, we engage in a systematic quantitative examination of the role of racial resentment in predicting black and white Americans’ opinions on racial policies, “race-coded” policies, and nonracialized policies. Along the way, we highlight the existence of wide heterogeneity among black respondents and call for further investigation that identifies similarities and differences in the foundations of white and black public opinion.
But what do we agree on the most? If your goal is simply to be in favor of popular things and against unpopular things, what should you campaign on? What are the least controversial issues in the country?
To help figure this out, I reached out to Kathleen Weldon, director of data operations and communications at the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at Cornell University, to commission a poll of their polls. The Roper Center maintains a tremendous database of opinion polling data—over 700,000 polling questions spanning almost a century of opinion polling, collected from virtually every organization that has ever conducted a public poll in the United States. I told them I was looking for the most one-sided questions in their polling database—the questions where virtually everyone gave the same answer. In a sense, these would be the least divisive issues in the country.
The Roper research staff sifted through their database of 700,000 questions and assembled a list of those questions for which at least 95% of respondents gave the same answer.
It’s pretty rare for that many respondents to agree on anything in a poll. A small percentage of respondents will often choose ridiculous answers because they’re not taking the poll seriously or because they misunderstand the question. But one-sided questions are also rare because no one bothers to conduct polls on uncontroversial topics unless they’re trying to prove a point. Since everything in the Roper database is something that some person or organization bothered to commission a poll to ask, it means it’s at least potentially controversial, if not actually so. Here is a selection of the most one-sided issues in the history of polling. If you want to run for office, these are views you can safely espouse, secure in the knowledge that at least one scientific survey puts the people squarely behind you:
95% [5%] are satisfied with their friends. (Associated Press/Media General Poll, 1984)
95% [5%] believe employers should not be able to access the DNA of their employees without permission. (Time/CNN/Yankelovich Partners Poll, 1998)
95% [5%] disapprove of people using cell phones in movie theaters. (Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel Poll, 2014)
95% [5%] don’t believe Magic 8 Balls can predict the future. (Shell Poll, 1998)
95% [5%] say that “if a pill were available that made you twice as good looking as you are now, but only half as smart”, they would not take it. (Men’s Health Work Survey, 2000)
95% [5%] support laws against money laundering involving terrorism. (Washington Post Poll, 2001)
95% [5%] think doctors should be licensed. (Private Initiatives & Public Values, 1981)
95% [5%] think it’s wrong to pay someone to do a term paper for you. (NBC News Poll, 1995)
95% [5%] would like to see a decline in prejudice. (Harris Survey, 1977)
95% [5%] would like to see an end to all wars. (Harris Survey, 1981)
95% [5%] would support going to war if the United States were invaded. (Harris Survey, 1971)
96% [4%] have a positive impression of small business. (Gallup Poll, 2016)
96% [4%] oppose legalizing crystal meth. (CNN/ORC International Poll, 2014)
96% [4%] think the Olympics are a great sports competition. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution Poll, 1996)
97% [3%] believe there should be laws against texting while driving. (The New York Times/CBS News Poll, 2009)
97% [3%] would like to see a decline in terrorism and violence. (Harris Survey, 1983)
98% [2%] believe adults should watch swimmers rather than reading or talking on the phone. (American Red Cross Water Safety Poll, 2013)
98% [2%] would like to see a decline in hunger in the world. (Harris Survey, 1983)
98% [2%] would like to see an end to high unemployment. (Harris Survey, 1982)
99% [1%] think it’s wrong for employees to steal expensive equipment from their workplace. (NBC News Poll, 1995)
Objective: This article provides an assessment of whether unmarried women currently face demographic shortages of marital partners in the U.S. marriage market.
Background: One explanation for the declines in marriage is the putative shortage of economically attractive partners for unmarried women to marry. Previous studies provide mixed results but are usually focused narrowly on sex ratio imbalances rather than identifying shortages on the multiple socioeconomic characteristics that typically sort women and men into marriages.
Methods: This study identifies recent marriages from the 2008 to 2012 and 2013 to 2017 cumulative 5-year files of the American Community Survey. Data imputation methods provide estimates of the sociodemographic characteristics of unmarried women’s potential (or synthetic) spouses who resemble the husbands of otherwise comparable married women. These estimates are compared with the actual distribution of unmarried men at the national, state, and local area levels to identify marriage market imbalances.
Results: These synthetic husbands have an average income that is about 58% higher than the actual unmarried men that are currently available to unmarried women. They also are 30% more likely to be employed (90% vs. 70%) and 19% more likely to have a college degree (30% vs. 25%). Racial and ethnic minorities, especially Black women, face serious shortages of potential marital partners, as do low socioeconomic status and high socioeconomic status unmarried women, both at the national and subnational levels.
Conclusions: This study reveals large deficits in the supply of potential male spouses. One implication is that the unmarried may remain unmarried or marry less well-suited partners.
This article analyzes variations in subject perceptions of pain in Milgram’s obedience experiments and their behavioral consequences. Based on an unpublished study by Milgram’s assistant, Taketo Murata, we report the relationship between the subjects’ belief that the learner was actually receiving painful electric shocks and their choice of shock level. This archival material indicates that in 18 of 23 variations of the experiment, the mean levels of shock for those who fully believed that they were inflicting pain were lower than for subjects who did not fully believe they were inflicting pain. These data suggest that the perception of pain inflated subject defiance and that subject skepticism inflated their obedience. This analysis revises our perception of the classical interpretation of the experiment and its putative relevance to the explanation of state atrocities, such as the Holocaust. It also raises the issue of dramaturgical credibility in experiments based on deception. The findings are discussed in the context of methodological questions about the reliability of Milgram’s questionnaire data and their broader theoretical relevance.
We examine the roots of variation in corruption across societies, and we argue that marriage practices and family structure are an important, overlooked determinant of corruption.
By shaping patterns of relatedness and interaction, marriage practices influence the relative returns to norms of nepotism/favoritism versus norms of impartial cooperation. In-marriage (eg. consanguineous marriage) generates fractionalization because it yields relatively closed groups of related individuals and thereby encourages favoritism and corruption. Out-marriage creates a relatively open society with increased interaction between non-relatives and strangers, thereby encouraging impartiality.
We report a robust association between in-marriage practices and corruption both across countries and within countries. Instrumental variables estimates exploiting historical variation in preferred marriage practices and in exposure to the Catholic Church’s family policies provide evidence that the relationship could be causal.
“A national experiment reveals where a growth mindset improves achievement”, David S. Yeager, Paul Hanselman, Gregory M. Walton, Jared S. Murray, Robert Crosnoe, Chandra Muller, Elizabeth Tipton, Barbara Schneider, Chris S. Hulleman, Cintia P. Hinojosa, David Paunesku, Carissa Romero, Kate Flint, Alice Roberts, Jill Trott, Ronaldo Iachan, Jenny Buontempo, Sophia Man Yang, Carlos M. Carvalho, P. Richard Hahn, Maithreyi Gopalan, Pratik Mhatre, Ronald Ferguson, Angela L. Duckworth, Carol S. Dweck (2019-08-07; statistics / bias; backlinks):
A global priority for the behavioural sciences is to develop cost-effective, scalable interventions that could improve the academic outcomes of adolescents at a population level, but no such interventions have so far been evaluated in a population-generalizable sample. Here we show that a short (less than one hour), online growth mindset intervention—which teaches that intellectual abilities can be developed—improved grades among lower-achieving students and increased overall enrolment to advanced mathematics courses in a nationally representative sample of students in secondary education in the United States. Notably, the study identified school contexts that sustained the effects of the growth mindset intervention: the intervention changed grades when peer norms aligned with the messages of the intervention. Confidence in the conclusions of this study comes from independent data collection and processing, pre-registration of analyses, and corroboration of results by a blinded Bayesian analysis.
Can events be accurately described as historic at the time they are happening? Claims of this sort are in effect predictions about the evaluations of future historians; that is, that they will regard the events in question as important. Here we provide empirical evidence in support of earlier philosophical arguments1 that such claims are likely to be spurious and that, conversely, many events that will one day be viewed as historic attract little attention at the time. We introduce a conceptual and methodological framework for applying machine learning prediction models to large corpora of digitized historical archives. We find that although such models can correctly identify some historically important documents, they tend to over-predict historical importance while also failing to identify many documents that will later be deemed important, where both types of error increase monotonically with the number of documents under consideration. On balance, we conclude that historical importance is extremely difficult to predict, consistent with other recent work on intrinsic limits to predictability in complex social systems2,3. However, the results also indicate the feasibility of developing ‘artificial archivists’ to identify potentially historic documents in very large digital corpora.
Empirical nudging studies can be categorized along 8 dimensions.
Analysis reveals that only 62% of nudging treatments are statistically-significant.
Nudges have a median effect size of 21% which depends on the category and context.
Defaults are most effective while precommitment strategies are least effective.
Digital nudging is similarly effective, but offers new perspectives of individualization.
Changes in the choice architecture, so-called nudges, have been employed in a variety of contexts to alter people’s behavior. Although nudging has gained a widespread popularity, the effect sizes of its influences vary considerably across studies. In addition, nudges have proven to be ineffective or even backfire in selected studies which raises the question whether, and under which conditions, nudges are effective.
Therefore, we conduct a quantitative review on nudging with 100 primary publications including 317 effect sizes from different research areas. We derive 4 key results:
A morphological box on nudging based on 8 dimensions,
an assessment of the effectiveness of different nudging interventions,
a categorization of the relative importance of the application context and the nudge category, and
a comparison of nudging and digital nudging.
Thereby, we shed light on the (in)effectiveness of nudging and we show how the findings of the past can be used for future research. Practitioners, especially government officials, can use the results to review and adjust their policy making.
[Keywords: behavioral economics, nudging, quantitative review, digital nudging, choice architecture]
Consent-based searches are by far the most ubiquitous form of search undertaken by police. A key legal inquiry in these cases is whether consent was granted voluntarily. This Essay suggests that fact finders’ assessments of voluntariness are likely to be impaired by a systematic bias in social perception. Fact finders are likely to underappreciate the degree to which suspects feel pressure to comply with police officers’ requests to perform searches.
In 2 preregistered laboratory studies, we approached a total of 209 participants (“Experiencers”) with a highly intrusive request: to unlock their password-protected smartphones and hand them over to an experimenter to search through while they waited in another room. A separate 194 participants (“Forecasters”) were brought into the lab and asked whether a reasonable person would agree to the same request if hypothetically approached by the same researcher. Both groups then reported how free they felt, or would feel, to refuse the request.
Study 1 found that whereas most Forecasters believed a reasonable person would refuse the experimenter’s request, most Experiencers—100 out of 103 people—promptly unlocked their phones and handed them over. Moreover, Experiencers reported feeling statistically-significantly less free to refuse than did Forecasters contemplating the same situation hypothetically.
Study 2 tested an intervention modeled after a commonly proposed reform of consent searches, in which the experimenter explicitly advises participants that they have the right to withhold consent. We found that this advisory did not statistically-significantly reduce compliance rates or make Experiencers feel more free to say no. At the same time, the gap between Experiencers and Forecasters remained statistically-significant.
These findings suggest that decision makers judging the voluntariness of consent consistently underestimate the pressure to comply with intrusive requests. This is problematic because it indicates that a key justification for suspicionless consent searches—that they are voluntary—relies on an assessment that is subject to bias. The results thus provide support to critics who would like to see consent searches banned or curtailed, as they have been in several states.
The results also suggest that a popular reform proposal—requiring police to advise citizens of their right to refuse consent—may have little effect. This corroborates previous observational studies that find negligible effects of Miranda warnings on confession rates among interrogees, and little change in rates of consent once police start notifying motorists of their right to refuse vehicle searches. We suggest that these warnings are ineffective because they fail to address the psychology of compliance. The reason people comply with police, we contend, is social, not informational. The social demands of police-citizen interactions persist even when people are informed of their rights. It is time to abandon the myth that notifying people of their rights makes them feel empowered to exercise those rights.
With news pushed to smart phones in real time and social media reactions spreading across the globe in seconds, the public discussion can appear accelerated and temporally fragmented. In longitudinal datasets across various domains, covering multiple decades, we find increasing gradients and shortened periods in the trajectories of how cultural items receive collective attention. Is this the inevitable conclusion of the way information is disseminated and consumed? Our findings support this hypothesis. Using a simple mathematical model of topics competing for finite collective attention, we are able to explain the empirical data remarkably well. Our modeling suggests that the accelerating ups and downs of popular content are driven by increasing production and consumption of content, resulting in a more rapid exhaustion of limited attention resources. In the interplay with competition for novelty, this causes growing turnover rates and individual topics receiving shorter intervals of collective attention.
There are a growing number of large-scale educational randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Considering their expense, it is important to reflect on the effectiveness of this approach. We assessed the magnitude and precision of effects found in those large-scale RCTs commissioned by the UK-based Education Endowment Foundation and the U.S.-based National Center for Educational Evaluation and Regional Assistance, which evaluated interventions aimed at improving academic achievement in K–12 (141 RCTs; 1,222,024 students). The mean effect size was 0.06 standard deviations. These sat within relatively large confidence intervals (mean width = 0.30 SDs), which meant that the results were often uninformative (the median Bayes factor was 0.56). We argue that our field needs, as a priority, to understand why educational RCTs often find small and uninformative effects.
[Keywords: educational policy, evaluation, meta-analysis, program evaluation.]
Previous research has demonstrated that consanguineous marriage is a vector for socioeconomic inheritance and for the maintenance of family structure and property.
On the basis of reconstituted families from the Krummhörn, Ostfriesland in the 18th and 19th centuries, we examine statistical correlations between ascertained inbreeding coefficients (F) based on family trees and socioeconomic status as well as the intergenerational transmission of landholdings. Semiparametric copula/bivariate regression models with non-random sample selection were applied to estimate F and the proportion of medium (0.0625 > F ≥ 0.0156) or high consanguineous unions (F ≥ 0.0625), respectively.
Our estimates for F as well as for the proportion of medium (0.0625 > F ≥ 0.0156) or high consanguineous unions (F ≥ 0.0625) are statistically-significantly higher among socioeconomically privileged large farmer families than among the landless portion of the population. At the same time, our analyses show that a high level of consanguinity is associated with an increased intergenerational transmission of landholdings through the patriline (but not the matriline).
We discuss the reproductive consequences of consanguinity among large farmers in connection with local resource competition, intensive kinship, and potential in-law conflicts.
[Meditation on what drives social networks like Instagram: status and signaling. A social network provides a way for monkeys to create and ascend status hierarchies, and a new social network can bootstrap and succeed by offering a new way to do that.]
Let’s begin with two principles:
People are status-seeking monkeys
People seek out the most efficient path to maximizing social capital
…we can start to demystify social networks if we also think of them as SaaS businesses, but instead of software, they provide status.
Almost every social network of note had an early signature proof of work hurdle. For Facebook it was posting some witty text-based status update. For Instagram, it was posting an interesting square photo. For Vine, an entertaining 6-second video. For Twitter, it was writing an amusing bit of text of 140 characters or fewer. Pinterest? Pinning a compelling photo. You can likely derive the proof of work for other networks like Quora and Reddit and Twitch and so on. Successful social networks don’t pose trick questions at the start, it’s usually clear what they want from you.
…Thirst for status is potential energy. It is the lifeblood of a Status as a Service business. To succeed at carving out unique space in the market, social networks offer their own unique form of status token, earned through some distinctive proof of work.
…Most of these near clones have and will fail. The reason that matching the basic proof of work hurdle of an Status as a Service incumbent fails is that it generally duplicates the status game that already exists. By definition, if the proof of work is the same, you’re not really creating a new status ladder game, and so there isn’t a real compelling reason to switch when the new network really has no one in it.
…Why do social network effects reverse? Utility, the other axis by which I judge social networks, tends to be uncapped in value. It’s rare to describe a product or service as having become too useful. That is, it’s hard to over-serve on utility. The more people that accept a form of payment, the more useful it is, like Visa or Mastercard or Alipay. People don’t stop using a service because it’s too useful.
…Social network effects are different. If you’ve lived in New York City, you’ve likely seen, over and over, night clubs which are so hot for months suddenly go out of business just a short while later. Many types of social capital have qualities which render them fragile. Status relies on coordinated consensus to define the scarcity that determines its value. Consensus can shift in an instant. Recall the friend in Swingers, who, at every crowded LA party, quips, “This place is dead anyway.” Or recall the wise words of noted sociologist Groucho Marx: “I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.”
Human symbol systems such as art and fashion styles emerge from complex social processes that govern the continuous re-organization of modern societies. They provide a signalling scheme that allows members of an elite to distinguish themselves from the rest of society.
Efforts to understand the dynamics of art and fashion cycles have been placed on ‘bottom-up’ and ‘top-down’ theories. According to ‘top-down’ theories, elite members signal their superior status by introducing new symbols (eg. fashion styles), which are adopted by low-status groups. In response to this adoption, elite members would need to introduce new symbols to signal their status. According to many ‘bottom-up’ theories, style cycles evolve from lower classes and follow an essentially random pattern. We propose an alternative explanation based on counter-dominance signalling (CDS). In CDS, elite members want others to imitate their symbols; changes only occur when outsider groups successfully challenge the elite by introducing signals that contrast those endorsed by the elite.
We investigate these mechanisms using a dynamic network approach on data containing almost 8 million music albums released between 1956 and 2015. The network systematically quantifies artistic similarities of competing musical styles and their changes over time. We formulate empirical tests for whether new symbols are introduced by current elite members (top-down), randomness (bottom-up) or by peripheral groups through counter-dominance signals. We find clear evidence that CDS drives changes in musical styles.
This provides a quantitative, completely data-driven answer to a century-old debate about the nature of the underlying social dynamics of fashion cycles.
[Keywords: cultural evolution, network analysis, evolutionary dynamics, fashion cycle theory]
This dissertation contains three essays in Applied Microeconomics. Chapter 1 provides the first causal estimates of the effect of children’s access to computers and the internet on adult educational outcomes such as schooling and choice of major. I exploit cross-cohort variation in access to technology among primary and middle school students in Uruguay, the first country to implement a nationwide one-laptop-per-child program. Despite a notable increase in computer access, educational attainment has not increased. However, college students who had been exposed to the program as children, were more likely to select majors with good employment prospects. Chapter 2 provides the first empirical evidence of the historical effects of natural disasters on economic activity in the United States. Although the literature has focused on salient natural disasters, more than one hounded strike the country every year, causing extensive property destruction and loss of life. My coauthors and I construct an 80 year panel data set that includes the universe of natural disasters in the United States from 1930 to 2010 and study how these shocks affected migration rates, home prices and poverty rates at the county level. Severe disasters increased out-migration rates by 1.5 percentage points and lowered housing prices/rents by 2.5–5.0%, but milder disasters had little effect on economic outcomes. Chapter 3 exploits the 1962 publication of Silent Spring, the first successful environmental science book, to investigate whether public information can influence popular demand for environmental regulation. Protecting the environment is often plagued by collective-action problems, so it is important to understand what motivates politicians to act. Combining historical U.S. congressional roll-call votes and census data, I find that the propensity of politicians to vote in favor of pro-environmental regulation increased by 5 to 33 percentage points after the publication of the book. The response to the informational shock varies with the constituency’s level of education, income, and exposure to pollution.
“Technology and Educational Choices: Evidence from a One-Laptop-per-Child Program”
This paper provides the first causal estimates of the effect of children’s access to computers and the internet on adult educational outcomes such as schooling and choice of major. I exploit cross-cohort variation in access to technology among primary and middle school students in Uruguay, the first country to implement a nationwide one-laptop-per-child program. Despite a notable increase in computer access, educational attainment has not increased. However, college students who had been exposed to the program as children, were more likely to select majors with good employment prospects.
“The Effect of Natural Disasters on Economic Activity in US Counties: A Century of Data”
More than 100 natural disasters strike the United States every year, causing extensive property destruction and loss of life. We construct an 80 year panel data set that includes the universe of natural disasters in the United States from 1930 to 2010 and study how these shocks affected migration rates, home prices and poverty rates at the county level. Severe disasters increased out-migration rates by 1.5 percentage points and lowered housing prices/rents by 2.5–5.0%, but milder disasters had little effect on economic outcomes.
“From Awareness to Action: Informational Shocks and Demand for Environmental Regulation”
Protecting the environment is often plagued by collective-action problems, so it is important to understand what motivates politicians to act. This paper exploits the 1962 publication of Silent Spring, the first influential environmental science book, to investigate whether public information can influence popular demand for environmental regulation. Combining historical U.S. congressional roll-call votes and census data, I find that the propensity of politicians to vote in favor of pro-environmental regulation increased by 5 to 33 percentage points after the publication of the book. The response to the informational shock varies with the constituency’s level of education, income, and exposure to pollution.
A landmark study published in PNAS [Côté S, House J, Willer R (2015)Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 112:15838–15843] showed that higher income individuals are less generous than poorer individuals only if they reside in a US state with comparatively large economic inequality. This finding might serve to reconcile inconsistent findings on the effect of social class on generosity by highlighting the moderating role of economic inequality. On the basis of the importance of replicating a major finding before readily accepting it as evidence, we analyzed the effect of the interaction between income and inequality on generosity in three large representative datasets. We analyzed the donating behavior of 27,714 US households (study 1), the generosity of 1,334 German individuals in an economic game (study 2), and volunteering to participate in charitable activities in 30,985 participants from 30 countries (study 3). We found no evidence for the postulated moderation effect in any study. This result is especially remarkable because (i) our samples were very large, leading to high power to detect effects that exist, and (ii) the cross-country analysis employed in study 3 led to much greater variability in economic inequality. These findings indicate that the moderation effect might be rather specific and cannot be easily generalized. Consequently, economic inequality might not be a plausible explanation for the heterogeneous results on the effect of social class on prosociality.
Classic and contemporary studies show that greater social class status is associated with higher levels of education for youth. However, racialized processes might constrain the benefits blacks receive from increases in parents’ social class. In this study the authors use the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 to estimate whether race moderates the relationship among three common measures of youths’ social class during high school (parents’ occupations, family income, and parents’ level of education) and their college enrollment two years after high school and educational attainment eight years after high school. The results suggest that black youth receive lower benefits from social class than whites for both outcomes, and parents’ gender plays a role in the racial differences in the link between social class and both outcomes. The authors also find a three-way interaction with family structure for mothers (among race, social class, and family structure); among youth not in two-parent households, blacks benefit less than whites from mothers’ occupational prestige on enrollment. This study extends the literature on social class and racial inequality in education by explicitly testing whether black youth receive lower benefits from social class in their attainment. Doing so separately for mothers’ and fathers’ social class characteristics uncovers a nuanced pattern useful for understanding race as a moderator to social class.
In February, 2018, WHO in collaboration with The University of Sydney,NSW, Australia, launched a new tool to monitor compliance with theInternational Health Regulations (2005) (IHR 2005) requirements regarding additional health measures. The initiative is part of the WHO Secretariat’s commitment to strengthening the IHR framework, which is a legally binding instrument to protect global public health and prevent unnecessary disruption to international traffic and trade; this framework has been adopted by 196 States Parties, including all 194 Member States of WHO.
The new tool relies on media reports to identify potential outbreak-related trade and travel sanctions, and it uses a standard set of procedures for verification and compliance. Researchers from The University of Sydney are working with the WHO Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, to integrate the tool into existing notification and reporting systems to enable timely monitoring. Integration will enable WHO to track in real time when countries impose trade or travel sanctions that can substantially harm national and regional economies, and to work constructively with governments to remove the sanctions. It is a crucial step in strengthening the implementation of IHR 2005, which remains the only international treaty specifically designed to safeguard global health security.
Among both elites and the mass public, conservatives and liberal differ in their foreign policy preferences. Relatively little effort, however, has been put toward showing that, beyond the use of force, these differences affect the day-to-day outputs and processes of foreign policy.
This article uses United Nations voting data from 1946 to 2008 of the 5 major Anglophone democracies of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand to show that each of these countries votes more in line with the rest of the world when liberals are in power. This can be explained by ideological differences between conservatives and liberals and the ways in which the socializing power of international institutions interact with preexisting ideologies.
The results hope to encourage more research into the ways in which ideological differences among the masses and elites translate into differences in foreign policy goals and practices across governments.
[WP] Because of the intrinsic randomness of the evolutionary process, a mutant with a fitness advantage has some chance to be selected but no certainty. Any experiment that searches for advantageous mutants will lose many of them due to random drift. It is therefore of great interest to find population structures that improve the odds of advantageous mutants. Such structures are called amplifiers of natural selection: they increase the probability that advantageous mutants are selected. Arbitrarily strong amplifiers guarantee the selection of advantageous mutants, even for very small fitness advantage. Despite intensive research over the past decade, arbitrarily strong amplifiers have remained rare. Here we show how to construct a large variety of them. Our amplifiers are so simple that they could be useful in biotechnology, when optimizing biological molecules, or as a diagnostic tool, when searching for faster dividing cells or viruses. They could also occur in natural population structures.
In the evolutionary process, mutation generates new variants, while selection chooses between mutants that have different reproductive rates. Any new mutant is initially present at very low frequency and can easily be eliminated by random drift. The probability that the lineage of a new mutant eventually takes over the entire population is called the fixation probability. It is a key quantity of evolutionary dynamics and characterizes the rate of evolution.
…In this work we resolve several open questions regarding strong amplification under uniform and temperature initialization. First, we show that there exists a vast variety of graphs with self-loops and weighted edges that are arbitrarily strong amplifiers for both uniform and temperature initialization. Moreover, many of those strong amplifiers are structurally simple, therefore they might be realizable in natural or laboratory setting. Second, we show that both self-loops and weighted edges are key features of strong amplification. Namely, we show that without either self-loops or weighted edges, no graph is a strong amplifier under temperature initialization, and no simple graph is a strong amplifier under uniform initialization.
…In general, the fixation probability depends not only on the graph, but also on the initial placement of the invading mutants…For a wide class of population structures17, which include symmetric ones28, the fixation probability is the same as for the well-mixed population.
… A population structure is an arbitrarily strong amplifier (for brevity hereafter also called “strong amplifier”) if it ensures a fixation probability arbitrarily close to one for any advantageous mutant, r > 1. Strong amplifiers can only exist in the limit of large population size.
Numerical studies30 suggest that for spontaneously arising mutants and small population size, many unweighted graphs amplify for some values of r. But for a large population size, randomly constructed, unweighted graphs do not amplify31. Moreover, proven amplifiers for all values of r are rare. For spontaneously arising mutants (uniform initialization): (1) the Star has fixation probability of ~1 − 1⁄r2 in the limit of large N, and is thus an amplifier17, 32, 33; (2) the Superstar (introduced in ref. 17, see also ref. 34) and the Incubator (introduced in refs. 35, 36), which are graphs with unbounded degree, are strong amplifiers.
…In this work we resolve several open questions regarding strong amplification under uniform and temperature initialization. First, we show that there exists a vast variety of graphs with self-loops and weighted edges that are arbitrarily strong amplifiers for both uniform and temperature initialization. Moreover, many of those strong amplifiers are structurally simple, therefore they might be realizable in natural or laboratory setting. Second, we show that both self-loops and weighted edges are key features of strong amplification. Namely, we show that without either self-loops or weighted edges, no graph is a strong amplifier under temperature initialization, and no simple graph is a strong amplifier under uniform initialization.
…Intuitively, the weight assignment creates a sense of global flow in the branches, directed toward the hub. This guarantees that the first 2 steps happen with high probability. For the third step, we show that once the mutants fixate in the hub, they are extremely likely to resist all resident invasion attempts and instead they will invade and take over the branches one by one thereby fixating on the whole graph. For more detailed description, see “Methods” section “Construction of strong amplifiers”.
Necessary conditions for amplification: Our main result shows that a large variety of population structures can provide strong amplification. A natural follow-up question concerns the features of population structures under which amplification can emerge. We complement our main result by proving that both weights and self-loops are essential for strong amplification. Thus, we establish a strong dichotomy. Without either weights or self-loops, no graph can be a strong amplifier under temperature initialization, and no simple graph can be a strong amplifier under uniform initialization. On the other hand, if we allow both weights and self-loops, strong amplification is ubiquitous.
…Some naturally occurring population structures could be amplifiers of natural selection. For example, the germinal centers of the immune system might constitute amplifiers for the affinity maturation process of adaptive immunity46. Habitats of animals that are divided into multiple islands with a central breeding location could potentially also act as amplifiers of selection. Our theory helps to identify those structures in natural settings.
Fairness in machine learning has predominantly been studied in static classification settings without concern for how decisions change the underlying population over time. Conventional wisdom suggests that fairness criteria promote the long-term well-being of those groups they aim to protect.
We study how static fairness criteria interact with temporal indicators of well-being, such as long-term improvement, stagnation, and decline in a variable of interest. We demonstrate that even in a one-step feedback model, common fairness criteria in general do not promote improvement over time, and may in fact cause harm in cases where an unconstrained objective would not.
We completely characterize the delayed impact of three standard criteria, contrasting the regimes in which these exhibit qualitatively different behavior. In addition, we find that a natural form of measurement error broadens the regime in which fairness criteria perform favorably.
Our results highlight the importance of measurement and temporal modeling in the evaluation of fairness criteria, suggesting a range of new challenges and trade-offs.
This article finds firmer evidence than has previously been presented that men are more left-wing than women in older birth cohorts, while women are more left-wing than men in younger cohorts. Analysis of the European Values Study/World Values Survey provides the first systematic test of how processes of modernization and social change have led to this phenomenon. In older cohorts, women are more right-wing primarily because of their greater religiosity and the high salience of religiosity for left-right self-placement and vote choice in older cohorts. In younger, more secular, cohorts, women’s greater support for economic equality and state intervention and, to a lesser extent, for liberal values makes them more left-wing than men. Because the gender gap varies in this way between cohorts, research focusing on the aggregate-level gap between all men and all women underestimates gender differences in left-right self-placement and vote choice.
Although men tended to receive more education than women in the past, the gender gap in education has reversed in recent decades in most Western and many non-Western countries. We review the literature about the implications for union formation, assortative mating, the division of paid and unpaid work, and union stability in Western countries. The bulk of the evidence points to a narrowing of gender differences in mate preferences and declining aversion to female status-dominant relationships. Couples in which wives have more education than their husbands now outnumber those in which husbands have more. Although such marriages were more unstable in the past, existing studies indicate that this is no longer true. In addition, recent studies show less evidence of gender display in housework when wives have higher status than their husbands. Despite these shifts, other research documents the continuing influence of the breadwinner-homemaker model of marriage.
By tracking longitudinally a sample of American children (n = 1,097), this study examined the extent to which enrollment in private schools between kindergarten and ninth grade was related to students’ academic, social, psychological, and attainment outcomes at age 15. Results from this investigation revealed that in unadjusted models, children with a history of enrollment in private schools performed better on nearly all outcomes assessed in adolescence. However, by simply controlling for the sociodemographic characteristics that selected children and families into these schools, all of the advantages of private school education were eliminated. There was also no evidence to suggest that low-income children or children enrolled in urban schools benefited more from private school enrollment.
We use experimental data to estimate impacts on school readiness of different kinds of preschool curricula—a largely neglected preschool input and measure of preschool quality. We find that the widely-used “whole-child” curricula found in most Head Start and pre-K classrooms produced higher classroom process quality than did locally-developed curricula, but failed to improve children’s school readiness. A curriculum focused on building mathematics skills increased both classroom math activities and children’s math achievement relative to the whole-child curricula. Similarly, curricula focused on literacy skills increased literacy achievement relative to whole-child curricula, despite failing to boost measured classroom process quality.
Physical attractiveness is an important social factor in our daily interactions. Scholars in social psychology provide evidence that attractiveness stereotypes and the “halo effect” are prominent in affecting the traits we attribute to others. However, the interest in attractiveness has not directly filtered down to questions of political behavior beyond candidates and elites. Utilizing measures of attractiveness across multiple surveys, we examine the relationship between attractiveness and political beliefs. Controlling for socioeconomic status, we find that more attractive individuals are more likely to report higher levels of political efficacy, identify as conservative, and identify as Republican. These findings suggest an additional mechanism for political socialization that has further implications for understanding how the body intertwines with the social nature of politics.
Organizations are increasingly turning to crowdsourcing to solve difficult problems. This is often driven by the desire to find the best subject matter experts, strongly incentivize them, and engage them with as little coordination cost as possible. A growing number of authors, however, are calling for increased collaboration in crowdsourcing settings, hoping to draw upon the advantages of teamwork observed in traditional settings. The question is how to effectively incorporate team-based collaboration in a setting that has traditionally been individual-based.
We report on a large-field experiment of team collaboration on an online platform, in which incentives and team membership were randomly assigned, to evaluate the influence of exogenous inputs (member skills and incentives) and emergent collaboration processes on performance of crowd-based teams. Building on advances in machine learning and complex systems theory, we leverage new measurement techniques to examine the content and timing of team collaboration.
We find that temporal “burstiness” of team activity and the diversity of information exchanged among team members are strong predictors of performance, even when inputs such as incentives and member skills are controlled. We discuss implications for research on crowdsourcing and team collaboration.
[Keywords: collaboration, crowdsourcing, emergence, team communication, team performance]
This well-written paper focuses on the phenomenon of crowdsourcing and asks the question: How might groups of individuals collaborate most effectively in a crowdsourcing setting to produce high quality solutions to problems? The paper describes a rigorous field study with random assignment of individuals to groups that seeks to examine the conditions that could facilitate a team’s performance on a problem-solving task in a crowd-based setting. The “discovery” is that the temporal “burstiness” of the team members’ contributions, which suggests some effort to coordinate attention to the problem, plays a highly important role in influencing the quality of solutions that teams produce. As one of the reviewers noted “this paper is a perfect ‘fit’ for the Academy of Management Discoveries.” I wholeheartedly agree—it focuses on an important yet poorly understood phenomenon and reports on the results of a rigorous field study that provides potentially important insights into developing our understanding of that phenomenon. I highly recommend that all Academy members read this paper.
He and his wife live in an apartment not far from mine that was originally occupied by his grandfather, who was the Soviet Union’s chief literary censor under Stalin. The most striking thing about the building was, and is, its history. In the nineteen-thirties, during Stalin’s purges, the House of Government earned the ghoulish reputation of having the highest per-capita number of arrests and executions of any apartment building in Moscow. No other address in the city offers such a compelling portal into the world of Soviet-era bureaucratic privilege, and the horror and murder to which this privilege often led…“Why does this house have such a heavy, difficult aura?” he said. “This is why: on the one hand, its residents lived like a new class of nobility, and on the other they knew that at any second they could get their guts ripped out.”
…This is the opening argument of a magisterial new book by Yuri Slezkine, a Soviet-born historian who immigrated to the United States in 1983, and has been a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, for many years. His book, The House of Government, is a 1200-page epic that recounts the multigenerational story of the famed building and its inhabitants—and, at least as interesting, the rise and fall of Bolshevist faith. In Slezkine’s telling, the Bolsheviks were essentially a millenarian cult, a small tribe radically opposed to a corrupt world. With Lenin’s urging, they sought to bring about the promised revolution, or revelation, which would give rise to a more noble and just era. Of course, that didn’t happen. Slezkine’s book is a tale of “failed prophecy”, and the building itself—my home for the past several years—is “a place where revolutionaries came home and the revolution went to die.”…The Soviet Union had experienced two revolutions, Lenin’s and Stalin’s, and yet, in the lofty imagery of Slezkine, the “world does not end, the blue bird does not return, love does not reveal itself in all of its profound tenderness and charity, and death and mourning and crying and pain do not disappear.” What to do then? The answer was human sacrifice, “one of history’s oldest locomotives”, Slezkine writes. The “more intense the expectation, the more implacable the enemies; the more implacable the enemies, the greater the need for internal cohesion; the greater the need for internal cohesion, the more urgent the search for scapegoats.” Soon, in Stalin’s Soviet Union, the purges began.
…N.K.V.D. agents would sometimes use the garbage chutes that ran like large tubes through many apartments, popping out inside a suspect’s home without having to knock on the door. After a perfunctory trial, which could last all of three to five minutes, prisoners were taken to the left or to the right: imprisonment or execution. “Most House of Government leaseholders were taken to the right”, Slezkine writes…eight hundred residents of the House of Government were arrested or evicted during the purges, thirty% of the building’s population. Three hundred and forty-four were shot…Before long, the arrests spread from the tenants to their nannies, guards, laundresses, and stairwell cleaners. The commandant of the house was arrested as an enemy of the people, and so was the head of the Communist Party’s housekeeping department…“He felt a premonition”, she said. “He was always waiting, never sleeping at night.” One evening, Malyshev heard footsteps coming up the corridor—and dropped dead of a heart attack. In a way, his death saved the family: there was no arrest, and thus no reason to kick his relatives out of the apartment.
…One of Volin’s brothers was…called back, arrested, and shot. One of Volin’s sisters was married to an N.K.V.D. officer, and they lived in the House of Government, in a nearby apartment. When the husband’s colleagues came to arrest him, he jumped out of the apartment window to his death. Volin, I learned, kept a suitcase packed with warm clothes behind the couch, ready in case of arrest and sentence to the Gulag…They gave their daughter, Tolya’s mother, a peculiar set of instructions. Every day after school, she was to take the elevator to the ninth floor—not the eighth, where the family lived—and look down the stairwell. If she saw an N.K.V.D. agent outside the apartment, she was supposed to get back on the elevator, go downstairs, and run to a friend’s house.
From time to time, I try to speak or write about mathematics for general (non-mathematical) audiences. If you’ve done this, you know it’s pretty hard—in large part because it’s hard to know what people know, despite my best attempts to find out.
Enter Google Surveys. For a pretty reasonable fee, it turns out anyone can run a survey through Google; the respondents are randomly selected and reweighted by demographics (age, gender, location). So I decided to find out: What percentage of Americans over the age of 18 know what a prime number is [out of the list 2/9/13/33/31/57]? What about an even number [0/8/17/99/257/774]? I also tried to design the questions so they tested a bit more than basic knowledge; for example, I wanted to know whether the respondents knew that zero is even (a surprisingly controversial topic)…Each survey received about 250 responses from randomly selected Americans over the age of 18. (And cost me a well-spent $25.)
…The percentages indicate how many survey-takers thought the number in question was even. So about 75.7% of people think 8 is even (not bad!) but 774 is much harder. I don’t know what was going on with the 0.8% of people who thought that 17 was even, but maybe this is an example of the Lizardman constant.
Even numbers: In particular, more than half of the survey-takers were able to get 5 or 6 answers correct. Not too shabby! To get a perfect score, one had to identify zero as even, which only 24% of the respondents were able to do, so I think this is a pretty good result. Interestingly, about 2⁄3 of the people who correctly identified zero as even got perfect scores. The median number of correct answers was 5 out of 6; the mean was about 4.5.
Prime numbers: Identifying primes was evidently much harder. The median number of correct answers was 3 out of 6 (no better than chance), and the mean was about 3.6.
…I was a bit surprised how few respondents knew that 0 is even. Parity is a concept which actually comes up in daily life—for example, when one wants to know which side of the street a given address is on, or in certain regulatory questions. I was also a bit surprised that it was so difficult to identify 2 as a prime.
…competition is fiercer the more that competitors resemble each other. When we’re not so different from people around us, it’s irresistible to become obsessed about beating others.
It’s hard to construct a more perfect incubator for mimetic contagion than the American college campus. Most 18-year-olds are not super differentiated from each other. By construction, whatever distinctions any does have are usually earned through brutal, zero-sum competitions. These tournament-type distinctions include: SAT scores at or near perfection; being a top player on a sports team; gaining master status from chess matches; playing first instrument in state orchestra; earning high rankings in Math Olympiad; and so on, culminating in gaining admission to a particular college. Once people enter college, they get socialized into group environments that usually continue to operate in zero-sum competitive dynamics. These include orchestras and sport teams; fraternities and sororities; and many types of clubs. The biggest source of mimetic pressures are the classes. Everyone starts out by taking the same intro classes; those seeking distinction throw themselves into the hardest classes, or seek tutelage from star professors, and try to earn the highest grades.
There’s very little external intermediation, instead all competitive dynamics are internally mediated…Once internal rivalries are sorted out, people coalesce into groups united against something foreign. These tendencies help explain why events on campus so often make the news—it seems like every other week we see some campus activity being labeled a “witch hunt”, “riot”, or something else that involves violence, implied or explicit. I don’t care to link to these events, they’re so easy to find. It’s interesting to see that academics are increasingly becoming the target of student activities. The Girardian terror devours its children first, who have tolerated or fanned mimetic contagion for so long.
…I’ll end with a quote from I See Satan Fall Like Lightning: “Mimetic desire enables us to escape from the animal realm. It is responsible for the best and the worst in us, for what lowers us below the animal level as well as what elevates us above it. Our unending discords are the ransom of our freedom.”
A survey of 1,000 people shows 7% of participants think chocolate milk comes from brown cows. The answer did not surprise dietitians, who discuss several common misconceptions related to food.
…JEAN RAGALIE-CARR: When we asked them, where does chocolate milk come from, they indicated that they thought it came from brown cows.
SHAPIRO: 7% of Americans thought that.
CORNISH: Jean Ragalie-Carr is president of the National Dairy Council, which commissioned the survey. She says they put that question to a thousand people and gave them several options for how to answer.
RAGALIE-CARR: Well, there was brown cows or black-and-white cows, or they didn’t know.
SHAPIRO: When Ragalie-Carr and her team got the results…
RAGALIE-CARR: (Laughter) I have to say, there were probably a few chuckles in the room as we learned this, you know? But it did make me wonder what they thought about strawberry milk. Did they think there were some pink cows out there?
…CORNISH: Registered dietitian Lisa Cimperman says while she thinks some people were having a little fun with their answer, she’s also not surprised that some might think chocolate milk comes from a brown cow.
[Details are scarce, and the original survey has not been published according to Glendora Meikle:
A spokesperson for the Innovation Center told me the purpose of the survey was to “gauge some interesting and fun facts about consumers’ perceptions of dairy”, and the chocolate milk stat was apparently a winner. (She declined to respond to my queries about the wording of the questions, and said the full results of the survey were not intended to be published.) ]
A long tradition of scholarship, from ancient Greece to Marxism or some contemporary social psychology, portrays humans as strongly gullible—wont to accept harmful messages by being unduly deferent. However, if humans are reasonably well adapted, they should not be strongly gullible: they should be vigilant toward communicated information. Evidence from experimental psychology reveals that humans are equipped with well-functioning mechanisms of epistemic vigilance. They check the plausibility of messages against their background beliefs, calibrate their trust as a function of the source’s competence and benevolence, and critically evaluate arguments offered to them. Even if humans are equipped with well-functioning mechanisms of epistemic vigilance, an adaptive lag might render them gullible in the face of new challenges, from clever marketing to omnipresent propaganda. I review evidence from different cultural domains often taken as proof of strong gullibility: religion, demagoguery, propaganda, political campaigns, advertising, erroneous medical beliefs, and rumors. Converging evidence reveals that communication is much less influential than often believed—that religious proselytizing, propaganda, advertising, and so forth are generally not very effective at changing people’s minds. Beliefs that lead to costly behavior are even less likely to be accepted. Finally, it is also argued that most cases of acceptance of misguided communicated information do not stem from undue deference, but from a fit between the communicated information and the audience’s preexisting beliefs.
The purpose of this study was to explore the underlying mechanisms through which the use of social media affects endorser effectiveness. Based on theories related to parasocial relationships, self-disclosure, and celebrity endorsement, this study proposed a theoretical research model and empirically tested the model using online survey data collected from 400 Korean Wave fans in Singapore.
The results showed that consumers’ parasocial interactions with celebrities though social media have a positive impact on celebrity endorsement. Specifically, we found that:
parasocial relationships mediated the relationships between social media interactions and source trustworthiness,
social media interactions influenced parasocial relationships via self-disclosure; and
source trustworthiness had a positive effect on brand credibility, which, in turn, led to purchase intention.
Implications for research and practice are discussed.
2017-cantoni.pdf: “Curriculum and Ideology”, Davide Cantoni, Yuyu Chen, David Y. Yang, Noam Yuchtman, Y. Jane Zhang (2017-03-09):
We study the causal effect of school curricula on students’ political attitudes, exploiting a major textbook reform in China between 2004 and 2010. The sharp, staggered introduction of the new curriculum across provinces allows us to identify its causal effects. We examine government documents articulating desired consequences of the reform and identify changes in textbooks reflecting these aims. A survey we conducted reveals that the reform was often successful in shaping attitudes, while evidence on behavior is mixed. Studying the new curriculum led to more positive views of China’s governance, changed views on democracy, and increased skepticism toward free markets.
Medical research is held as a field for education to emulate. Education researchers have been urged to adopt randomized controlled trials, a more “scientific” research method believed to have resulted in the advances in medicine.
But a much more important lesson education needs to borrow from medicine has been ignored. That is the study of side effects. Medical research is required to investigate both the intended effects of any medical interventions and their unintended adverse effects, or side effects. In contrast, educational research tends to focus only on proving the effectiveness of practices and policies in pursuit of “what works.” It has generally ignored the potential harms that can result from what works.
This article presents evidence that shows side effects are inseparable from effects. Both are the outcomes of the same intervention.
This article further argues that studying and reporting side effects as part of studying effects will help advance education by settling long fought battles over practices and policies and move beyond the vicious cycle of pendulum swings in education.
[Keywords: educational research, methodology, RCT, Direct Instruction, international assessment, side effects, PISA, educational policy, educational reform]
Paraphilic sexual interests are defined as unusual or anomalous, but their actual occurrence in nonclinical samples is still unknown. This study looked at desire for and experience of paraphilic behaviors in a sample of adult men and women in the general population. A secondary goal was to compare the results of two survey modes—traditional landline telephone versus online. A total of 1,040 persons classified according to age, gender, education, ethnic background, religious beliefs, area of residency, and corresponding to the norm for the province of Quebec were interviewed. Nearly half of this sample expressed interest in at least one paraphilic category, and approximately one-third had had experience with such a practice at least once. Voyeurism, fetishism, frotteurism, and masochism interested both male and female respondents at levels above what is usually considered to be statistically unusual (15.9%). Interestingly, levels of interest in fetishism and masochism were not statistically-significantly different for men and women. Masochism was statistically-significantly linked with higher satisfaction with one’s own sexual life. As expected, the online mode generated more acknowledgment of paraphilic interest than the telephone mode. These results call into question the current definition of normal (normophilic) versus anomalous (paraphilic) sexual behaviors.
PPP’s newest Florida poll finds Hillary Clinton’s lead in the state continuing to tick up. She’s at 46% to 42% for Donald Trump, with Gary Johnson at 5%, and Jill Stein at 1%. When PPP last polled the state two weeks ago, Clinton’s advantage was 45/43. In a head to head, Clinton’s lead over Trump grows to 5 points at 49/44.
…Alex Jones floated the notion this week that Hillary Clinton is actually a demon, and 40% of Trump voters say that they really do think Clinton is a demon to only 42% who dismiss that idea. This measurement pretty clearly shows that 40% of Trump’s base is the InfoWars crowd, so they’re not going to be too dissuaded by allegations of sexual misconduct…Public Policy Polling surveyed 985 likely voters on October 12th and 13th. The margin of error is ±3.1%. 80% of participants, selected through a list based sample, responded via the phone, while 20% of respondents who did not have landlines conducted the survey over the internet through an opt-in internet panel.
…Q26. “Do you think that Hillary Clinton is an actual demon, or not?”
Background: Dread Pirate Roberts, founder of the first cryptomarket for illicit drugs named Silk Road, articulated libertarian political motives for his ventures. Previous research argues that there is a large political component present or involved in cryptomarket drug dealing which is specifically libertarian. The aim of the paper is to investigate the prevalence of political discourses within discussions of cryptomarket drug dealing, and further to research the potential changes of these over the timespan of the study.
Methods: We develop a novel operationalization of discourse analytic concepts which we combine with topic modelling enabling us to study how politics are articulated on cryptomarket forums. We apply the Structural Topic Model on a corpus extracted from crawls of cryptomarket forums encompassing posts dating from 2011 to 2015.
Results: The topics discussed on cryptomarket forums are primarily centered around the distribution of drugs including discussions of shipping and receiving, product advertisements, and reviews as well as aspects of drug consumption such as testing and consumption. However, on forums whose primary function is aiding operations on a black market, we still observe political matter. We identified one topic which expresses a libertarian discourse that emphasizes the individual’s right to non-interference. Over time, we observe an increasing prevalence of the libertarian discourse from 2011 to the end of 2013. In the end of 2013—when Silk Road was seized—we observe an abrupt change in the prevalence of the libertarian discourse.
Conclusions: The libertarian political discourse has historically been prevalent on cryptomarket forums. The closure of Silk Road has affected the prevalence of libertarian discourse suggesting that while the closure did not succeed in curtailing the cryptomarket economy, it dampened political sentiments.
[Keywords: digital methods, cryptomarkets, discourse analysis, harm-reduction, political theory, anarchism, topic models, libertarianism]
DAVIDLEVINSONWILK: Hi (laughter), I’m David Levinson Wilk, and that’s my name.
SMITH: And what do you do?
WILK: I write for television game shows, which is wonderful and delightful and provides health care, which is also delightful and wonderful.
SMITH: So when you say you’re a writer for a game show, what does that mean?
…ROMER: David gets to work cooking up questions to give the polling company. The polling company does its job.
WILK: And it was the only question that we ever wrote where we ever got a response from them saying, is this actually what you want us to be polling? And we said, yes. And the question was—we were going to ask people, have you ever been decapitated?
SMITH: (Laughter). But…
WILK: They were sure we had made a mistake, and we had not.
SMITH: As far as David remembers, by the way, 4% of Americans answered that they had been decapitated.
ROMER: Seems high.
SMITH: So the producer, Vin, and the question writer, David, and all of these other people get to work creating this new game show from scratch.
Boredom makes people attempt to re-establish a sense of meaningfulness. Political ideologies, and in particular the adherence to left-wing versus right-wing beliefs, can serve as a source of meaning. Accordingly, we tested the hypothesis that boredom is associated with a stronger adherence to left-wing versus right-wing beliefs, resulting in more extreme political orientations.
Study 1 demonstrates that experimentally induced boredom leads to more extreme political orientations. Study 2 indicates that people who become easily bored with their environment adhere to more extreme ends of a political spectrum compared with their less easily bored counterparts. Finally, Study 3 reveals that the relatively extreme political orientations among those who are easily bored can be attributed to their enhanced search for meaning.
Overall, our research suggests that extreme political orientations are, in part, a function of boredom’s existential qualities.
[Keywords: boredom, meaning, political orientation, ideology, existential psychology]
With nearly half a million registered members, the American Independent Party is bigger than all of California’s other minor parties combined. The ultraconservative party’s platform opposes abortion rights and same sex marriage, and calls for building a fence along the entire United States border. Based in the Solano County home of one of its leaders, the AIP bills itself as “The Fastest Growing Political Party in California.” But a Times investigation has found that a majority of its members have registered with the party in error. Nearly three in four people did not realize they had joined the party, a survey of registered AIP voters conducted for The Times found.
…Residents of rural and urban communities, students and business owners and top Hollywood celebrities with known Democratic leanings—including Sugar Ray Leonard, Demi Moore and Emma Stone—were among those who believed they were declaring that they preferred no party affiliation when they checked the box for the American Independent Party.
…Of the 500 AIP voters surveyed by a bipartisan team of pollsters, fewer than 4% could correctly identify their own registration as a member of the American Independent Party.
…After being asked questions about their registration, voters were read a series of statements from the American Independent Party’s official platform, a combination of specific and broad political beliefs. It calls for abiding by duties given to “all men” by “the God they are commanded to love.” It supports a “pro-life Constitution” and proclaims that marriage between a man and a woman is a “God-ordained contract.” And the platform supports what the party labels as the 2nd Amendment’s “right to self defense” and calls for building a fence around the entire United States border. After being read excerpts of the platform, more than 50% of those surveyed in the poll said they wanted to leave the American Independent Party. The more specific the platform position, the weaker the support of those surveyed. Most of the voters who were polled knew little, if anything, about the party to which they belong.
Examined mate preferences in two national U.S. studies (_n_s = 22,815; 4790)
There were large gender differences in preferences for attractiveness and resources.
Older men and women had weaker preferences for desirable partner traits.
Wealthier men, but not women, had stronger preferences for good-looking partners.
People with more appearance satisfaction preferred slender and good-looking partners.
According to a “mating market” approach, people with desirable traits have a stronger “bargaining hand” and can be more selective when choosing partners. We examined how heterosexual mate preferences varied by gender, age, personal income, education, and appearance satisfaction (Study 1 n = 22,815; Study 2 n = 4790).
Men and women differed in the percentage indicating it was “desirable” or “essential” that their potential partner was good-looking (92% vs. 84%; d = 0.39), had a slender body (80% vs. 58%; d = 0.53), had a steady income (74% vs. 97%; d = 1.17), and made/will make a lot of money (47% vs. 69%; d = −0.49). There were also gender differences in whether it was “very important” or “a must have” their partner made at least as much money as they do (24% vs. 46%; d = 0.60) and had a successful career (33% vs. 61%; d = 0.57), but not in whether their partner was physically attractive to them (40% vs. 42%; d = 0.03). Wealthier men and people with better appearance satisfaction had stronger preferences for good looking and slender partners.
Preferences varied within and between genders, and were linked to bargaining hand in the mating market.
[Much like the chocolate-milk statistic, this is an industry-funded survey where I cannot find the original report, and so is somewhat dubious.]
1/5th of young adults think fish fingers are actually made from the fingers of fish, a new study reveals.
…A quarter (25%) are ‘confused’ about whether wasps make honey and 9% think potatoes grow on trees.
Meanwhile, 1 in 7 (15%) do not know that lamb comes from sheep or that a pork chop comes from a pig (15%). The study, carried out by Rowse Honey, found over a third of those aged between 16 and 24 (35%) are not aware that veal comes from cows.
It also indicates that young adults struggle to answer simple questions regarding the humble bumble bee. One in 6 (15%) think bees make syrup and one in 8 (12%) believe farmers have to ‘squeeze’ bees to get honey out of them.
…More than a fifth of mothers and fathers (22%) admit they have lied to their children about the origin of some food because they didn’t know the answer.
…More than 2⁄3rds of us (67%) can’t place a honey bee and 40% have no idea how honey is made.
Background: The creation of economically mixed communities has been proposed as one way to improve the life outcomes of children growing up in poverty. However, whether low-income children benefit from living alongside more affluent neighbors is unknown.
Method: Prospectively gathered data on over 1,600 children from the Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study living in urban environments is used to test whether living alongside more affluent neighbors (measured via high-resolution geo-spatial indices) predicts low-income children’s antisocial behavior (reported by mothers and teachers at the ages of 5, 7, 10, and 12).
Results: Results indicated that low-income boys (but not girls) surrounded by more affluent neighbors had higher levels of antisocial behavior than their peers embedded in concentrated poverty. The negative effect of growing up alongside more affluent neighbors on low-income boys’ antisocial behavior held across childhood and after controlling for key neighborhood and family-level factors.
Conclusions: Findings suggest that efforts to create more economically mixed communities for children, if not properly supported, may have iatrogenic effects on boys’ antisocial behavior.
This chapter comments on Anthony Downs’s 1972 seminal paper “Up and Down with Ecology: The ‘Issue-Attention’ Cycle”, which tackles the concept of “public” or “issue” attention. Focusing on domestic policy, particularly environmental policy in the United States, Downs describes a process called “issue-attention cycle”, by which the public gains and loses interest in a particular issue over time. This chapter summarizes studies that directly put Downs’s propositions to the test, laying emphasis on research that probes the existence of and interrelationships among the public attention cycle, media attention cycle, and government attention cycle. It then reviews the main arguments put forward by Downs before concluding with a discussion of promising avenues for future research as well as important theoretical and methodological questions that need further elucidation.
[Discussion of the creation of modern sports training: professional athletes, even NBA stars, typically did not ‘train’. Practice was about getting into shape and working with teammates, if even that much—one simply took one’s skills for granted. Coaches focused on strategy, not coaching.
A harbinger of the professionalization of professional athletes was basketball player Kermit Washington, on the verge of washing out of the NBA early on until he swallowed his pride and began tutoring with coach Pete Newell, who drilled Kermit on the basics repeatedly. Kermit eventually became an All-Star player and influenced other NBA players to engage in coaching and deliberate practice to improve their fundamentals. The modern paradigm is a ruthless quest for perfection in every dimension, quantified, and applying the latest science and technology to eek out even the slightest fraction of a second improvement; athletes are projects, with many different specialists examining them constantly for potential improvements, and as importantly, when not to practice lest they be injured.
And the results speak for themselves—performance has never been higher, the impossible is now done routinely by many professionals, this continuous improvement trend has spread to other domains too, including chess, classical music, business. Equally striking are domains which don’t see trends like this, particular American education.]
“You need to have the best PhDs onboard as well”, McClusky says. This technological and analytical arms race is producing the best athletes in history.
The arms race centers on an obsessive scrutiny of every aspect of training and performance. Trainers today emphasize sports-specific training over generalized conditioning: if you’re a baseball player, you work on rotational power; if you’re a sprinter, on straight-line explosive power. All sorts of tools have been developed to improve vision, reaction time, and the like. The Dynavision D2 machine is a large board filled with flashing lights, which ballplayers have to slap while reading letters and math equations that the board displays. Football players use Nike’s Vapor Strobe goggles, which periodically cloud for tenth-of-a-second intervals, in order to train their eyes to focus even in the middle of chaos. Training is also increasingly personalized. Players are working not just with their own individual conditioning coaches but also with their own individual skills coaches. In non-team sports, such as tennis and golf, coaches were rare until the seventies. Today, tennis players such as Novak Djokovic have not just a single coach but an entire entourage. In team sports, meanwhile, there’s been a proliferation of gurus. George Whitfield has built a career as a “quarterback whisperer”, turning college quarterbacks into NFL-ready prospects. Ron Wolforth, a pitching coach, is known for resurrecting pitchers’ careers—he recently transformed the Oakland A’s Scott Kazmir from a has-been into an All-Star by revamping his mechanics and motion. Then there’s the increasing use of biometric sensors, equipped with heart-rate monitors, G.P.S., and gyroscopes, to measure not just performance (how fast a player is accelerating or cutting) but also fatigue levels. And since many studies show that getting more sleep leads to better performance, teams are now worrying about that, too. The N.B.A.’s Dallas Mavericks have equipped players with Readiband monitors to measure how much, and how well, they’re sleeping.
All this effort may sound a bit nuts. But it’s how you end up with someone like Chris Hoy, the British cyclist who won two gold medals at the London Olympics in 2012, trailed by a team of scientists, nutritionists, and engineers. Hoy ate a carefully designed diet of five thousand calories a day. His daily workouts—two hours of lifting in the morning, three hours in the velodrome in the afternoon, and an easy one-hour recovery ride in the evening—had been crafted to maximize both his explosive power and his endurance. He had practiced in wind tunnels at the University of Southampton. He had worn biofeedback sensors that delivered exact data to his trainers about how his body was responding to practice. The eighty-thousand-dollar carbon-fibre bike he rode helped, too. Hoy was the ultimate product of an elaborate and finely tuned system designed to create the best cyclist possible. And—since his competitors weren’t slacking, either—he still won by only a fraction of a second.
In such different domains as neurosciences, spin glasses, social science, economics and finance, large ensemble of interacting individuals following (mainstream) or opposing (hipsters) to the majority are ubiquitous. In these systems, interactions generally occur after specific delays associated to transport, transmission or integration of information. We investigate here the impact of anti-conformism combined to delays in the emergent dynamics of large populations of mainstreams and hipsters. To this purpose, we introduce a class of simple statistical systems of interacting agents composed of (i) mainstreams and anti-conformists in the presence of (ii) delays, possibly heterogeneous, in the transmission of information. In this simple model, each agent can be in one of two states, and can change state in continuous time with a rate depending on the state of others in the past. We express the thermodynamic limit of these systems as the number of agents diverge, and investigate the solutions of the limit equation, with a particular focus on synchronized oscillations induced by delayed interactions. We show that when hipsters are too slow in detecting the trends, they will consistently make the same choice, and realizing this too late, they will switch, all together to another state where they remain alike. Similar synchronizations arise when the impact of mainstreams on hipsters choices (and reciprocally) dominate the impact of other hipsters choices, and we show that these may emerge only when the randomness in the hipsters decisions is sufficiently large. Beyond the choice of the best suit to wear this winter, this study may have important implications in understanding synchronization of nerve cells, investment strategies in finance, or emergent dynamics in social science, domains in which delays of communication and the geometry of information accessibility are prominent.
For Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Party, the socialist transformation after 1949 was not only a political and administrative construction, but also a process of transforming the consciousness of the people and rewriting history. To fight lukewarm attitudes and “backward thoughts” among the peasants, as well as their resistance to rural socialist transformation and collectivization of production and their private lives, Mao decided that politicizing the memory of the laboring class and reenacting class struggle would play a substantial role in ideological indoctrination and perpetuating revolution.
Beginning in the 1950s, the Party made use of grassroots historical writing, oral articulation, and exhibition to tease out the experiences and memories of individuals, families, and communities, with the purpose of legitimizing the rule of the CCP. The cultural movement of recalling the past combined grassroots histories, semi-fictional family sagas, and public oral presentations, as well as political rituals such as eating “recalling-bitterness meals” to educate the masses, particularly the young. Eventually, Mao’s emphasis on class struggle became the sole guiding principle of historical writings, which were largely fictionalized, and recalling bitterness and contrasting the past with the present became a solid part of PRC political culture, shaping the people’s political imagination of the old society and their way of narrating personal experience.
This article also demonstrates people’s suspicion of and resistance to the state’s manipulation of memory and ritualization of historical education, as well as the ongoing contestation between forgetting, remembering, and representation in China today.
[Keywords: historiography, Mao Zedong, socialist education, memory, recalling bitterness]
…Different from “speaking bitterness (诉苦 suku)” in the Land Reform movement of the late 1940s and early 1950s, which was mainly implemented as a technique of mobilization, the “recalling bitterness (忆苦 yiku)” campaign in the 1960s aimed at reenacting class struggle and reinforcing class awareness by invoking collective memory.6 During this process, which was largely interactive and involved different levels of the Chinese state apparatus, history became personalized and also gradually fictionalized, and the oral presentation of memory became ritualistic and volatile to suit the needs of different political agendas. This project of ideology-driven and class-based historical writing and oral articulation was interestingly conducted mainly by writers of fictional works or manipulated by cultural officials of the state, and there was a gradual blurring of the boundary between history and fiction. Many family history stories appeared in literary magazines rather than journals of historical research. Finally, past bitterness not only became the articulation of individual and collective memories, but also involved rituals and performance, and thus was successfully incorporated into the larger institution of propaganda and Chinese popular culture.7 As a result, all depictions of the old society in the recalling-bitterness movement were dissociated from “objective realities” and became “representational realities.”8
…Lin Biao emphasized that this campaign was a “living education” that could effectively overcome the mentality of pacifism and enhance the soldiers’ will to fight. “If the past bitterness is not understood, the present sweetness will be unknown. [Some] might regard today’s sweetness as bitterness”, Lin Biao said.20
…Collective memory can be defined as “recollections of a shared past ‘that are retained by members of a group, large or small, that experienced it,’” and this “socially constructed, historically rooted collective memory functions to create social solidarity in the present.”50 During the process of socialist education, the party-state attempted to build a class identity grounded in a shared memory of past suffering, but did so by gradually compromising historical authenticity. “Pure memory” was reworked to take on “quasi-hallucinatory forms” when it was put into images to configure tragedy and trauma.51 Emphasizing class confrontation, hatred, and bitter memory, the narrative schema of semi-fictional family histories show several common characteristics.
First, many family histories during the socialist education movement appeared in multiple literary magazines at national and provincial levels or were published in volumes dedicated to reportage literature (报告文学 baogao wenxue), emphasizing “vividness (生动 shengdong)” and “literary character (文学性 wenxuexing)” in addition to “educational meaning.”52 The famous myth about a female tenant-farmer named Leng Yueying (冷月英 1911–1984) being locked in landlord Liu Wencai’s (刘文彩 1887–1949) “water dungeon (水牢 shui lao)” was published as fact-based “reportage literature” in 1963.53 Many works in this genre were written by authors of fiction and essays. The short story writer Ai Wu wrote an article entitled “Miserable Childhood (苦难的童年 Ku’nan de tongnian)” to tell the stories of 2 peasants in the Beijing suburbs. The stories were published by the leading literary magazine People’s Literature (人民文学 Renmin wenxue) in February 1964. The same issue also contained another family history written by the famous essayist Yang Shuo (杨朔 1913–1968).
Second, landlords and capitalists were portrayed as extremely brutal and inhumane, particularly to women and children. Ralph A. Thaxton, Jr., points out that the post-famine recalling-bitterness propaganda was aimed at altering the villagers’ memory of the Great Famine (the “bitterness” produced by the CCP) and replacing it with the “bitterness” from before 1949.54 Yet, if the memory of the Great Leap Forward and the famine was more about bodily pain and hunger, the bitterness in pre-1949 China presumably had a much broader spectrum, ranging from physical pains and emotional frustrations to sociopolitical inequality, and emphasized the sense of humiliation and de-humanization in the old society. One such story recounted the experience of a boy named Xiaotieliang (小铁粱), who said that he was a helper in the house of landlord Kang and was beaten all day long. He would be beaten if he got up late, if he moved slowly, if the landlord’s little son cried, or if the pig got sick or a chicken died. If a landlord was a local philanthropist, then the story was meant to reveal his true face as a sham who hoodwinked laboring people.55 In Guizhou, the provincial literary magazine published a story entitled “The Suffering of Two Generations (两代人的苦难 liangdairen de ku’nan)”, in which a female narrator told about how the landlord’s wife pinched her breasts, causing her milk to spray several inches. This story was written by the Writing Group of the 4 Histories.56 A reader whose letter was published in the October 1964 issue of Shandong Literature (山东文学 Shandong wenxue) was deeply moved by the 3 family histories that had appeared in the magazine earlier that year. The reader said that the stories were all true and very educational, and offered his own examples of bitter experiences. He knew a 13-year-old girl, Xu Ronghua (徐荣华), who had worked as a servant and had had to carry the landlord’s daughter on her back to school. Grandma Zhang, another servant, was forced to drink her employer’s urine. Of the Zhangs’ 12 children, 3 were tortured to death by capitalists, 6 were starved to death, and the remaining 3 were sold. However, the author of the letter said that the family stories also provided evidence of how sweet the new society was. Xu Ronghua survived and became a Party member, and the sold children were returned to Grandma Zhang with the aid of the communist government. The details cited in the letter repeated the sadistic plots of the bitter story: as a wet nurse, Grandma Zhang’s breasts were pinched by her employer, Landlord Chen Number Three, with wood splints to produce more milk until her breasts became red and swollen. To prevent Zhang from breastfeeding her own child, Chen was said to have used iron rings to encase Zhang’s nipples when she went out and to have them checked when she returned.57
…Fifth, while fictitious stories were often told in the name of “reportage”, sometimes they featured a real person as the main character. The famous soldier-writer Gao Yubao (高玉宝 1927–?), an orphan who had labored for a landlord, published his autobiographical account titled Gao Yubao in 1951, which was reprinted in 1972. Gao explained how his experiences were written and revised as a semi-fiction:
With the help and cultivation of the Party and the leaders, I finally completed the first draft of the xiaoshuo (小说).64 Later, the Party Committee of the army dispatched experts to help me revise. Based on the draft, we cut, concentrated, and summarized the characters and the plots, and thus finished this novel.65
Here Gao does not deny that his work is a fictional xiaoshuo based on personal experiences, and that it had been reworked by the author and professional writers to meet the needs of political propaganda. Gao further discussed how his understanding of how to write xiaoshuo was deepened:
When I started to write Gao Yubao […] I did not have time to study some political theories and lacked profound understanding of the great Mao Zedong Thought […] Particularly I did not know what xiaoshuo means, nor did I know that the personas and plots can be created. As a result, what I wrote was nothing but an autobiography […] When revising it, I reasonably highlighted the spirit of rebellion of Yubao and the masses, and enhanced the class feelings among the laboring people in their consolidated struggle. I also deepened my exposure of the reactionary nature of the exploitative class. In addition, I added […] the Party’s influence on Yubao.66
For the reader, an autobiographical account whose title is identical to the author’s name is easily accepted as truth, but Gao did not mind blending real experiences with imagination and editing based on political need.
In addition to writing, the visualization of class education became another form of preserving and reinforcing the collective memory of victimization. The theme was soon boiled down to 2 key words: bitterness (苦 ku) and hatred (仇 chou). The documentary “Never Forget Class Bitterness, Forever Remember the Hatred in the Sea of Blood (不忘阶级苦，永记血海仇 Buwang jieji ku, yongji xiehai chou)”, made in 1965, was based on an exhibition promoting class education in Shandong Province. The film showed the objects on display, including a leather whip, club, and walnuts filled with lead that capitalists allegedly used to beat workers. These items were interpreted in the voiceover narrative as part of the “so-called bourgeois civilization.” The documentary showed a photo of an unemployed worker selling his daughter. Most other images were painted pictures with motifs such as child laborers burying, with agony, the dead body of their little colleague, headmen watching them with whips in their hands; a child worker with a fever who fainted into a wok filled with boiling water; and a sick child buried alive in a wooden box while he was striking it from inside with his fists. The plight of the peasants was another main theme of the exhibition and of the documentary, both of which displayed a quilt that a poor peasant family had allegedly used for 3 generations, a wooden pillow that was said to have been used for 4 generations, and the one pair of pants that a poor couple had shared for many years. The forced separation of families by poverty was a recurring theme of the exhibition and recalling-bitterness literature. Parents were forced to sell their children; a wife was sold to a human trafficker to pay her husband’s debts to the landlord. The documentary ended with the liberation of the people and the founding of the People’s Republic. The voiceover stated,
In the socialist society, class struggle still exists. All these that have passed, we can never forget! The blood debt owed by imperialism, the crimes committed by landlords and capitalists, and all the suffering inflicted on us—can we forget them?
Afterward, the documentary showed a village history tablet that bore an inscription of 4 characters, Yong Bu Wang Ji (永不忘记): “never forget.” The voiceover concluded: “No, we cannot. This hatred is as deep as the sea and the animosity is as heavy as a mountain, and let them be inscribed on the rock and let our offspring never forget.”67
…After being chosen, the speakers were trained further to ensure they were eloquent, emotional, and able to cry easily.71 One speaker, Master Hao, showed good skills in sobbing, talking, eating a steamed bun, and wiping off tears—almost at the same time.72
… The deep sense of victimization was effectively used to justify the violence and physical abuse of Red Guards. One former Red Guard recalled that when he and his peers were reluctant to beat students with bad class backgrounds, one radical student stood out to do “thought work.” He talked about the bitterness and hatred of the laboring people, the slaughter of revolutionary masses by the Nationalist Party, and the death of his uncle in the Civil War. Through tears, the student asked: “Back then, who sympathized with us? Who pitied us? Today, can we have mercy on these people? Can we pity them?” Upon hearing this, some students’ eyes turned red, shouting: “No, we can’t!” Some turned back and slapped the face of the student who had been beaten, though doing so half-heartedly.87 Other former students, however, recalled their experiences with skepticism. One former sent-down youth working in Inner Mongolia wrote that recalling bitterness meetings became the “privilege” of a chosen few in his village. However, the content was never consistent, he reported. The orator first said that he became a shepherd for the landlord at 12, but then he would say that was when he was ten. The village chief would go so far as to speak about the bitterness he suffered during the Great Famine in 1961 and 1962.88
In Yunnan Province in 1969, the Provincial Revolutionary Committee issued a directive requiring ideological education for sent-down youth. In one village, there was a famous female orator who had been an adopted daughter-in-law. With innocent eyes, a tanned face, and big, rough hands, the old woman convinced listeners of her past suffering. When her talk reached its climax, she burst into tears and cried out loud. Her crying, which was in itself an accusation, automatically triggered the crying of the audience, and was followed by slogan shouting. The sent-down youth who provided the reminiscence, however, said that he was later told that the old woman’s 4 brothers starved to death during the famine of 1960, and the bitterness under communism, which she was forbidden to mention, might have been the real cause of her crying.89 Very often, an invited bitterness speaker confused pre-Liberation bitterness and post-Liberation suffering, as recounted by a low-level government official, Party Secretary Ye. According to Ye, the local government usually invited a person whose “living conditions improved substantially after the Liberation” to address the youngsters. Once, however, an old man described the “difficult time he experienced after the failure of the Great Leap Forward: how much hunger he had suffered during that period, and how many people he had seen die.” The host of the event wanted to stop him, but found that the young audience listened with amusement, that is, until the host himself began to feel like laughing.90 For the sent-down youth Zhu Xueqin (朱学勤 b. 1962), who later became a famous historian, an old peasant’s anachronism in accusing collectivization under communism, the starvation of the villagers, and deprivation of the right to beg for food, was much more enlightening than it was entertaining, because it destroyed his youthful dream of revolution in toto.91
People living in densely populated and socially disorganized areas have higher rates of psychiatric morbidity, but the potential causal status of such factors is uncertain. We used nationwide Swedish longitudinal registry data to identify all children born 1967–1989 (n = 2361585), including separate datasets for all cousins (n = 1 715 059) and siblings (n = 1667 894). The nature of the associations between population density and neighborhood deprivation and individual risk for a schizophrenia diagnosis was investigated while adjusting for unobserved familial risk factors (through cousin and sibling comparisons) and then compared with similar associations for depression. We generated familial pedigree structures using the Multi-Generation Registry and identified study participants with schizophrenia and depression using the National Patient Registry. Fixed-effects logistic regression models were used to study within-family estimates. Population density, measured as ln(population size/km2), at age 15 predicted subsequent schizophrenia in the population (OR = 1.10; 95% CI: 1.09; 1.11). Unobserved familial risk factors shared by cousins within extended families attenuated the association (1.06; 1.03; 1.10), and the link disappeared entirely within nuclear families (1.02; 0.97; 1.08). Similar results were found for neighborhood deprivation as predictor and for depression as outcome. Sensitivity tests demonstrated that timing and accumulation effects of the exposures (mean scores across birth, ages 1–5, 6–10, and 11–15 years) did not alter the findings. Excess risks of psychiatric morbidity, particularly schizophrenia, in densely populated and socioeconomically deprived Swedish neighborhoods appear, therefore, to result primarily from unobserved familial selection factors. Previous studies may have overemphasized the etiological importance of these environmental factors.
Teenagers face some serious issues: drugs, bullying, sexual violence, depression, gangs. They don’t always like to talk about these things with adults. One way that researchers and educators can get around that is to give teens a survey—a simple, anonymous questionnaire they can fill out by themselves without any grown-ups hovering over them. Hundreds of thousands of students take such surveys every year. School districts use them to gather data; so do the federal government, states and independent researchers.
But a new research paper points out one huge potential flaw in all this research: kids who skew the results by making stuff up for a giggle. “Mischievous Responders”, they’re called.
They may say they’re 7 feet tall, or weigh 400 pounds, or have three children. They may exaggerate their sexual experiences, or lie about their supposed criminal activities…For example, 41% of the students who claimed they were transgender also claimed to be extremely tall or short, and the same percentage also claimed they were in a gang…In other words, kids will be kids, especially when you ask them about sensitive issues.
Jackson Terry, 14, says he answered honestly when he took one of these surveys last year, but he knows kids who didn’t. “They handed out the sheet, I believe it was in language class”, says Terry, who’s from Granville, Ohio. “The teacher was in the room. It was anonymous. I think they asked us about bullying, do you feel safe in school, some questions about drugs, the learning environment.” Some kids “would joke through the entire thing and have a cocky attitude about it”, Terry says. “Afterwards some would say, yeah, No. 5, that’s totally not true; I just made something up.”
…This is important because researchers are often the most interested in minority groups, and so the undetected presence of a small number of jokesters can seriously mess up results. In a 2003 study, 19% of teens who claimed to be adopted actually weren’t, according to follow-up interviews with their parents. When you excluded these kids (who also gave extreme responses on other items), the study no longer found a statistically-significant difference between adopted children and those who weren’t on behaviors like drug use, drinking and skipping school. The paper had to be retracted. In yet another survey, fully 99% of 253 students who claimed to use an artificial limb were just kidding.
“Part of you laughs about it, and the researcher side is terrified”, says Robinson-Cimpian. “We have to do something about this. We can’t base research and policy and beliefs about these kids on faulty data.”
This article introduces novel sensitivity-analysis procedures for investigating and reducing the bias that mischievous responders (ie., youths who provide extreme, and potentially untruthful, responses to multiple questions) often introduce in adolescent disparity estimates based on data from self-administered questionnaires (SAQs). Mischievous responders affect a wide range of disparity estimates, including those between adoptees and non-adoptees, sexual minorities and non-minorities, and individuals with and without disabilities. Thus, the procedures introduced here have broad relevance to research and can be widely, and easily, implemented. The sensitivity-analysis procedures are illustrated with SAQ data from youths in Grades 9–12 (n = 11,829) to examine between-group disparities based on sexual identity, gender identity, and physical disability. Sensitivity analyses revealed that each disparity estimated with these data was extremely sensitive to the presence of potentially mischievous responders. Patterns were similar across multiple approaches to dealing with mischievous responders, across various outcomes, and across different between-group comparisons. Mischievous responders are ubiquitous in adolescent research using SAQs and can, even in small numbers, lead to inaccurate conclusions that substantively affect research, policy, and public discourse regarding a variety of disparities. This article calls attention to this widespread problem and provides practical suggestions for assessing it, even when data are already collected.
This paper takes stock of megaproject management, an emerging and hugely costly field of study. First, it answers the question of how large megaprojects are by measuring them in the units mega, giga, and tera, concluding we are presently entering a new “tera era” of trillion-dollar projects. Second, total global megaproject spending is assessed, at USD 6–9 trillion annually, or 8 percent of total globalGDP, which denotes the biggest investment boom in human history. Third, four “sublimes” —political, technological, economic, and aesthetic—are identified to explain the increased size and frequency of megaprojects. Fourth, the “iron law of megaprojects” is laid out and documented: Over budget, over time, over and over again. Moreover, the “break-fix model” of megaproject management is introduced as an explanation of the iron law. Fifth, Albert O. Hirschman’s theory of the Hiding Hand is revisited and critiqued as unfounded and corrupting for megaproject thinking in both the academy and policy. Sixth, it is shown how megaprojects are systematically subject to “survival of the unfittest”, explaining why the worst projects get built instead of the best. Finally, it is argued that the conventional way of managing megaprojects has reached a “tension point”, where tradition is challenged and reform is emerging.
John Sinclair’s Idiom Principle famously posited that most texts are largely composed of multi-word expressions that ‘constitute single choices’ in the mental lexicon. At the time that assertion was made, little actual psycholinguistic evidence existed in support of that holistic, ‘single choice’, view of formulaic language. In the intervening years, a number of studies have shown that multi-word expressions are indeed processed differently from novel phrases. This processing advantage, however, does not necessarily support the holistic view of formulaic language. The present review aims to bring together studies on the processing of multi-word expressions in a first and second language that have used a range of psycholinguistic techniques, and presents why such research is important. Practical implications and pathways for future research are discussed.
Contemporary science thrives on collaborative networks, but these can also be found elsewhere in the history of science in unexpected places. When Mendel turned his attention to inheritance in peas he was not an isolated monk, but rather the latest in a line of Moravian researchers and agriculturalists who had been thinking about inheritance for half a century. Many of the principles of inheritance had already been sketched out by Imre Festetics, a Hungarian sheep breeder active in Brno. Festetics, however, was ultimately hindered by the complex nature of his study traits, aspects of wool quality that we now know to be polygenic. Whether or not Mendel was aware of Festetics’s ideas, both men were products of the same vibrant milieu in 19th-century Moravia that combined theory and agricultural practice to eventually uncover the rules of inheritance.
[The RLS surveys more than 35,000 Americans from all 50 states about their religious affiliations, beliefs and practices, and social and political views]
Belief in God among atheists: n% of atheists who say they… [Sample size = 1,098. Visit this table to see approximate margins of error for a group of a given size. For full question wording, see the survey questionnaire. Sample sizes and margins of error vary from subgroup to subgroup, from year to year and from state to state. You can see the sample size for the estimates in this chart on rollover or in the last column of the table. And visit this table to see approximate margins of error for a group of a given size. Readers should always bear in mind the approximate margin of error for the group they are examining when making comparisons with other groups or assessing the statistical-significance of trends over time. For full question wording, see the survey questionnaire.]
Believe in God; absolutely certain
Believe in God; fairly certain
Believe in God; not too/not at all certain
Believe in God; don’t know
Do not believe in God
Other/don’t know if they believe in God
Belief in God: Q.G1, Q.G1b
READTO ALL: Now we have some questions about people’s religious beliefs. First…
Q.G1: Do you believe in God or a universal spirit?
A footnote on Inga Clendinnen’s extraordinary Aztecs: An Interpretation. If there’s a better book on the Aztecs than this, I want to read it…Consider this passage Clendinnen quotes from the Florentine Codex (one of the main sources for pre-conquest Mexica thought and culture), coming after the speech with which the Mexica greeted a new tlatoani (ruler; literally, the “Great Speaker”) and exhorted him to good behaviour:
Those early and anxious exhortations to benevolent behaviour were necessary, ‘for it was said when we replaced one, when we selected someone…he was already our lord, our executioner and our enemy.’ (p. 80; the quote is from Book 6, chapter 10, in Dibble and Anderson’s translation from the Nahuatl).
It’s an arresting thought: “he was already our lord, our executioner, and our enemy.” (Clendinnen comments on the “desolate cadence” of these words). The ruler is not understood by the Mexica as normally benevolent though potentially dangerous; he is the enemy, and yet as the enemy he is indispensable. There is something profoundly alien in this thought, with its unsettling understanding of “legitimacy”, something I do not find anywhere in the classical Western tradition of political thought…But Aztec cosmology, it turns out, goes much further than this. The ruler embodies or channels Tezcatlipoca, who is often vaguely characterized as a god of “fate and war” (and normally downplayed in favor of Huizilopochtli, eg., in the current Te Papa exhibit on the Aztecs here in Wellington, who is more understandable as a straightforward god of war, and is viewed as the “patron” of the Tenochtitlan Mexica). But Tezcatlipoca is the more important deity: he is described at the beginning of Book 6 of the Florentine Codex as “the principal god” of the Mexica. And he is not a merciful or benevolent god; on the contrary, he represents a kind of arbitrary malice that is visited on all alike, and is variously addressed as the Enemy on Both Sides, the Mocker, He Whose Slaves We Are, and the Lord of the Smoking Mirror (for the smoky reflections in dark obsidian mirrors used by the shamans, “obscure intimations of what was to come endlessly dissolving back into obscurity”, as Clendinnen puts it [p. 148])…Clendinnen notes many other examples of the “shared and steady vision common to the different social groupings in Tenochtitlan” concerning “the casual, inventive, tireless malice of the only sacred force concerned with the fates of men”, p. 148
…When reading these passages, I cannot help but think: how could the Mexica be reconciled to their social and natural worlds with such an arbitrary, even malignant conception of divine and political authority? How is a ruler or a deity who is simultaneously seen as an enemy inspire support and commitment? As Clendinnen puts it, the puzzle is that “submission to a power which is caprice embodied is a taxing enterprise, yet it is that which the most devoted Mexica appear to have striven to achieve” (p. 76). Yet she hits on the right answer, I think, when she interprets these statements in the context of the rituals of Mexica society. In particular, she shows the Aztec state as an extraordinary example of what Clifford Geertz, referring to pre-colonial Bali, once called the “theatre state.”
I mentioned earlier that human sacrifice was one of the central practices of Mexica society. But this does not quite capture what was going on. Human sacrifice was the most intense part of the pervasive ritual practices that structured Mexica society, but it was never merely sacrifice. Sacrifice was the culminating act of a set of amazing spectacles, enormously powerful intensifiers of emotion that made use of the entire register of Aztec symbols and pharmacopeia, and drew on the full resources of the empire.
We take cohorts of entering freshmen at the United States Air Force Academy and assign half to peer groups designed to maximize the academic performance of the lowest ability students. Our assignment algorithm uses nonlinear peer effects estimates from the historical pre-treatment data, in which students were randomly assigned to peer groups.
We find a negative and statistically-significant treatment effect for the students we intended to help. We provide evidence that within our “optimally” designed peer groups, students avoided the peers with whom we intended them to interact and instead formed more homogeneous subgroups.
These results illustrate how policies that manipulate peer groups for a desired social outcome can be confounded by changes in the endogenous patterns of social interactions within the group.
[Keywords: peer effects, social network formation, homophily]
…We first identify nonlinear peer effects at the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) using pre-treatment data in which students were randomly assigned to peer groups (squadrons) of about 30 students. These estimates showed that low ability students benefited statistically-significantly from being with peers who have high SAT Verbal scores. We use these estimates to create optimally designed peer groups intended to improve academic achievement of the bottom one-third of incoming students by academic ability while not harming achievement of students at other points in the distribution. [This objective function was determined by USAFA senior leadership, who had a strong desire to reduce the academic probation rate, then at roughly 20%.] Using an experimental design, we sorted the incoming college freshman cohorts at USAFA into peer groups during the fall semesters of 2007 and 2008. Half of the students were placed in the control group and randomly assigned to squadrons, as was done with preceding entering classes. The other half of students (the treatment group) were sorted into squadrons in a manner intended to maximize the academic achievement of the students in the lowest third of the predicted grade point average (GPA) distribution. To do so, low ability students were placed into squadrons with a high fraction of peers with high SAT Verbal scores. We refer to these as bimodal squadrons. In the process, the sorting algorithm also created a set of treatment squadrons consisting largely of middle ability students. We call these homogeneous squadrons.
The reduced form coefficients (using the pre-treatment data) predicted a Pareto-improving allocation in which grades of students in the bottom third of the academic distribution would rise, on average, 0.053 grade points while students with higher predicted achievement would be unaffected. Despite this prediction, actual outcomes from the experiment yielded quite different results. For the lowest ability students, we observe a negative and statistically-significant treatment effect of −0.061 (p = 0.055). For the middle ability students, expected to be unaffected, we observe a positive and statistically-significant treatment effect of 0.082 (p = 0.041). High ability students are unaffected by the treatment.
High and low ability students in the treatment squadrons appear to have segregated themselves into separate social networks, resulting in decreased beneficial social interactions among group members. Survey responses following the experiment show that, compared to the control group, low ability students in the treatment group were much more likely to sort into study (friendship) groups with other low ability students. For the middle ability students, evidence suggests that the positive treatment effect occurred because these students did not interact with low ability students after being placed into the homogeneous squadrons.
…Well known difficulties exist in the application of policy to affect a desired outcome. General equilibrium responses as in Lucas 1976 or Acemoglu 2010 can undo effects predicted by more simple partial equilibrium models. Large policy interventions can also lead to political responses by actors and interest groups (Acemoglu 2010). However, we see in our results a different mechanism at work; policy interventions can affect patterns of endogenous social interaction. As such, we believe that endogenous responses to large policy interventions are a major obstacle to foreseeing the effects of manipulating peer groups for a desired social outcome.
…Students in the control group were randomly assigned to one of the 20 control squadrons according to an algorithm that has been used by USAFA since the summer of 2000. The algorithm provides an even distribution of students by demographic characteristics. Specifically, the USAFA admissions office implements a stratified random assignment process where females are first randomly assigned to squadrons. Next, male ethnic and racial minorities are randomly assigned, followed by male non-minority recruited athletes. Students who attended a military preparatory school are then randomly assigned. Finally, all remaining students are randomly assigned to squadrons. Students with the same last name, including siblings, are not placed in the same squadron. This stratified process is accomplished to ensure demographic diversity across peer groups.
We found that the adverse effect of neighbourhood deprivation on adolescent violent criminality and substance misuse in Sweden was not consistent with a causal inference. Instead, our findings highlight the need to control for familial confounding in multilevel studies of criminality and substance misuse.
Since the establishment of the Institute for Education Sciences (IES)within the U.S. Department of Education in 2002, IES has commissioned a sizable number of well-conducted randomized controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating the effectiveness of diverse educational programs, practices, and strategies (“interventions”). These interventions have included, for example, various educational curricula, teacher professional development programs, school choice programs, educational software, and data-driven school reform initiatives. Largely as a result of these IES studies, there now exists—for the first time in U.S. education—a sizable body of credible knowledge about what works and what doesn’t work to improve key educational outcomes of American students. A clear pattern of findings in these IES studies is that the large majority of interventions evaluated produced weak or no positive effects compared to usual school practices. This pattern is consistent with findings in other fields where RCTs are frequently carried out, such as medicine and business,1 and underscores the need to test many different interventions so as to build the number shown to work.
In the aftermath of many natural and man-made disasters, people often wonder why those affected were underprepared, especially when the disaster was the result of known or regularly occurring hazards (eg., hurricanes). We study one contributing factor: prior near-miss experiences. Near misses are events that have some nontrivial expectation of ending in disaster but, by chance, do not. We demonstrate that when near misses are interpreted as disasters that did not occur, people illegitimately underestimate the danger of subsequent hazardous situations and make riskier decisions (eg., choosing not to engage in mitigation activities for the potential hazard). On the other hand, if near misses can be recognized and interpreted as disasters that almost happened, this will counter the basic “near-miss” effect and encourage more mitigation. We illustrate the robustness of this pattern across populations with varying levels of real expertise with hazards and different hazard contexts (household evacuation for a hurricane, Caribbean cruises during hurricane season, and deep-water oil drilling). We conclude with ideas to help people manage and communicate about risk.
Although freedom of speech is a fundamental value in the United States, individuals vary in the importance they place on it. The purpose of this study was to examine personality and attitudinal factors that may influence an individual’s judgments of the importance of freedom of speech and, secondarily, the harm of hate speech. As expected, the importance of freedom of speech was positively related to intellect, individualism, separate knowing, and negatively related to right-wing authoritarianism. Men rated freedom of speech more important than did women. The perceived harm of hate speech was positively related to intellect and liberalism, and women perceived a greater harm of hate speech than did men.
Many cultural traits exhibit volatile dynamics, commonly dubbed fashions or fads. Here we show that realistic fashion-like dynamics emerge spontaneously if individuals can copy others’ preferences for cultural traits as well as traits themselves. We demonstrate this dynamics in simple mathematical models of the diffusion, and subsequent abandonment, of a single cultural trait which individuals may or may not prefer. We then simulate the coevolution between many cultural traits and the associated preferences, reproducing power-law frequency distributions of cultural traits (most traits are adopted by few individuals for a short time, and very few by many for a long time), as well as correlations between the rate of increase and the rate of decrease of traits (traits that increase rapidly in popularity are also abandoned quickly and vice versa). We also establish that alternative theories, that fashions result from individuals signaling their social status, or from individuals randomly copying each other, do not satisfactorily reproduce these empirical observations.
The anthropological record indicates that approximately 85% of human societies have permitted men to have more than one wife (polygynous marriage), and both empirical and evolutionary considerations suggest that large absolute differences in wealth should favour more polygynous marriages. Yet, monogamous marriage has spread across Europe, and more recently across the globe, even as absolute wealth differences have expanded.
Here, we develop and explore the hypothesis that the norms and institutions that compose the modern package of monogamous marriage have been favoured by cultural evolution because of their group-beneficial effects—promoting success in inter-group competition. In suppressing intrasexual competition and reducing the size of the pool of unmarried men, normative monogamy reduces crime rates, including rape, murder, assault, robbery and fraud, as well as decreasing personal abuses. By assuaging the competition for younger brides, normative monogamy decreases (1) the spousal age gap, (2) fertility, and (3) gender inequality. By shifting male efforts from seeking wives to paternal investment, normative monogamy increases savings, child investment and economic productivity. By increasing the relatedness within households, normative monogamy reduces intra-household conflict, leading to lower rates of child neglect, abuse, accidental death and homicide.
These predictions are tested using converging lines of evidence from across the human sciences.
[Keywords: cultural group selection, monogamy, polygyny, marriage, norms, institutional evolution]
[Meditation by doctor interested in medical improvement/progress (elsewhere, checklists). In tennis, he had improved his performance enormously after just minutes of coaching from a young man who pointed out his errors. Coaches are used in many areas and often spot problems that highly-competent trained professionals continue to make. A good coach is emotionally supportive, careful, speaks with credibility so they are not reflexively dismissed, brings an independent eye to highlight blind spots, and always finds a way they can push themselves to improve and deliberately practice.
Gawande, having noticed his surgery success rates plateaued, considers a ‘medical coach’. Doctors are intensively taught up until they become full-fledged doctors, at which point they are cut loose to act as little gods in their domains, with no supervision. Yet, they are almost surely not perfect, and their skills may degrade over time. In domains far less important, like entertainment (arts/athletics), no individual believes they are perfect and they use personal coaches to constantly critique themselves, spot errors that untrained eyes would not, and strive for improvement. Why don’t we do the same thing in important things like surgeries? Why not coaches for doctors? Does the mystique of doctors intimidate themselves (and patients) away from acknowledging error and fallibility and improving?
Gawande talks a former medical professor into coaching him. Gawande, while proud of his surgical technique, is surprised how many flaws his coach notes, and embarrassed; he had become used to working on his own, with no accountability or external critique. Other doctors made fun of the idea of coaching (coaching for thee, not for me). But he worked on his errors, and feels positive about his improvements and the possibility of breaking out of his plateau.]
The CuPS (Culture × Person × Situation) approach attempts to jointly consider culture and individual differences, without treating either as noise and without reducing one to the other. Culture is important because it helps define psychological situations and create meaningful clusters of behavior according to particular logics. Individual differences are important because individuals vary in the extent to which they endorse or reject a culture’s ideals. Further, because different cultures are organized by different logics, individual differences mean something different in each. Central to these studies are concepts of honor-related violence and individual worth as being inalienable versus socially conferred. We illustrate our argument with 2 experiments involving participants from honor, face, and dignity cultures. The studies showed that the same “type” of person who was most helpful, honest, and likely to behave with integrity in one culture was the “type” of person least likely to do so in another culture. We discuss how CuPS can provide a rudimentary but integrated approach to understanding both within-culture and between-culture variation.
…Face is defined essentially by what other people see. Thus, face is like honor in that the sentiments of other people are extremely important. Like honor, face also can involve a claim to virtue or top prestige. However, the settings—and consequently, the role expectations—are quite different for cultures of honor and cultures of face. Whereas honor is contested in a competitive environment of rough equals, face exists in settled hierarchies that are essentially cooperative.
Ho (1976, p. 883; see also Heine, 2001) defined face as “the respectability and/or deference which a person can claim . . . by virtue of [his or her] relative position” in a hierarchy and the proper fulfillment of his or her role. Thus, everyone in the hierarchy can have some face, though some may have more than others due to their position. Implicitly, people have face—unless they lose it. A person can “gain” face, and one person can “give face” to another, but the major focus is primarily on not losing face (Hamamura, Meijer, Heine, Kamaya, & Hori, 2009). This is reflected in the expression “saving face”, a saying that came into English from British expatriates living in China (“Face”, 2003).
Because face exists within a stable hierarchy, it is not competitive or zero sum. In an honor culture, one person may take another’s honor and appropriate it as his or her own; however, one cannot increase one’s face by taking another’s. In a face culture, people are obliged to work together to preserve each other’s face, and because it is bad form to cause another to lose face, formalities are carefully observed, and direct conflicts are avoided (Gelfand, Lim, & Raver, 2004; Gelfand, Nishii, & Raver, 2006; Gelfand et al 2001; Sanchez-Burks & Mor Barak, 2004). If one person openly aggrieves another, it disrupts the harmony and order of the system. And unlike in honor cultures, it is not incumbent on the victim to directly redress the grievance himself or herself. Direct retaliation by the victim is unnecessary because the group or a superior is able to punish the offender; in fact, direct retaliation would be undesirable because it would further upset the harmony of the system.
The 3 H’s of a face culture are thus hierarchy, humility, and harmony (see discussion in Y.-H. Kim & Cohen, 2010; Y.-H. Kim, Cohen, & Au, 2010). People are supposed to show appropriate deference to hierarchy. They are supposed to display humility and not overreach on status claims (lest they learn a painful and humiliating lesson about how much status others are willing to accord them). And they are to pursue, or at least not disturb, the harmony of the system.
Pornography continues to be a contentious matter with those on the one side arguing it detrimental to society while others argue it is pleasurable to many and a feature of free speech. The advent of the Internet with the ready availability of sexually explicit materials thereon particularly has seemed to raise questions of its influence. Following the effects of a new law in the Czech Republic that allowed pornography to a society previously having forbidden it allowed us to monitor the change in sex related crime that followed the change. As found in all other countries in which the phenomenon has been studied, rape and other sex crimes did not increase. Of particular note is that this country, like Denmark and Japan, had a prolonged interval during which possession of child pornography was not illegal and, like those other countries, showed a statistically-significant decrease in the incidence of child sex abuse.
This research introduces “brand prominence”, a construct reflecting the conspicuousness of a brand’s mark or logo on a product.
The authors propose a taxonomy that assigns consumers to one of four groups according to their wealth and need for status, and they demonstrate how each group’s preference for conspicuously or inconspicuously branded luxury goods corresponds predictably with their desire to associate or dissociate with members of their own and other groups. Wealthy consumers low in need for status want to associate with their own kind and pay a premium for quiet goods only they can recognize. Wealthy consumers high in need for status use loud luxury goods to signal to the less affluent that they are not one of them. Those who are high in need for status but cannot afford true luxury use loud counterfeits to emulate those they recognize to be wealthy.
Field experiments along with analysis of market data (including counterfeits) support the proposed model of status signaling using brand prominence.
People’s judgments about their own moral status and well-being were made differently by those from a Dignity culture (Anglo-Americans) and by those from a Face culture (Asian Americans). Face culture participants were more influenced by information processed from a third-person (compared with first-person) perspective, with information about the self having a powerful effect only when seen through another’s eyes. Thus, (a) Asian Americans felt the greatest need for moral cleansing when thinking about how others would judge their many (vs. few) transgressions, but this effect did not hold when others were not invoked, and (b) Asian Americans defined themselves as having a rich social network and worthwhile life when thinking about how others would evaluate their many (vs. few) friendships, but again, effects did not hold when others were not invoked. In contrast, Anglo-Americans responded to information about their transgressions or friendships, but effects were pronounced only when other people were not invoked.
[Keywords: the self, face and dignity cultures, cross-cultural, perspective, judgments, Asian Americans vs. Anglo-Americans]
The self is defined and judged differently by people from face and dignity cultures (in this case, Hong Kong and the United States, respectively). Across 3 experiments, people from a face culture absorbed the judgments of other people into their private self-definitions. Particularly important for people from a face culture are public representations—knowledge that is shared and known to be shared about someone. In contrast, people from a dignity culture try to preserve the sovereign self by not letting others define them. In the 3 experiments, dignity culture participants showed a studied indifference to the judgments of their peers, ignoring peers’ assessments—whether those assessments were public or private, were positive or negative, or were made by qualified peers or unqualified peers. Ways that the self is “knotted” up with social judgments and cultural imperatives are discussed.
Physical attractiveness has been associated with mating behavior, but its role in reproductive success of contemporary humans has received surprisingly little attention.
In the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study(WLS; 1244 women, 997 men born between 1937 and 1940) we examined whether attractiveness assessed from photographs taken at age ~18 predicted the number of biological children at age 53–56.
In women, attractiveness predicted higher reproductive success in a nonlinear fashion, so that attractive (second highest quartile) women had 16% and very attractive (highest quartile) women 6% more children than their less attractive counterparts. In men, there was a threshold effect so that men in the lowest attractiveness quartile had 13% fewer children than others who did not differ from each other in the average number of children. These associations were partly but not completely accounted for by attractive participants’ increased marriage probability. A linear regression analysis indicated relatively weak directional selection gradient for attractiveness (β = 0.06 in women, β = 0.07 in men).
These findings indicate that physical attractiveness may be associated with reproductive success in humans living in industrialized settings.
[Alexander defines the “typical mind fallacy”: everyone reasons about their mental experiences as if they are universal. People with vivid visual imagery assume everyone can see things in “the mind’s eye” while ‘aphantasics’ assume that this is simply a poetic metaphor; people with color-blindness wonder why other people get so worked up about various shades of gray, and people with anosmia are puzzled by the focus on flowers etc. Further examples include maladaptive daydreaming, pain insensitivity, the prevalence of visual & auditory hallucinations in mentally-healthy individuals like ‘scintillating scotoma’, misophonia, hearing voices, inner monologues, facial self-awareness, trypophobia, Severely Deficient Autobiographical Memory, hypermnesia, ASMR, face blindness/prosospagnosia, musical anhedonia, ‘the call of the void’/intrusive thoughts, hypnagogia, the nasal dilation cycle…
This phenomenon for visual imagery was discovered only recently by Francis Galton, who asked if the interminable debate between philosophers/psychologists like Berkeley or Behaviorists like Skinner, where neither could accept that there was (or was not) visual imagery, was because both were right—some people have extremely vivid mental imagery, while others have none at all. He simply circulated a survey and asked. Turned out, most people do but some don’t.
The typical mind fallacy may explain many interpersonal conflicts and differences in advice: we underappreciate the sheer cognitive diversity of mankind, because we only have access to our limited personal anecdote, and people typically do not discuss all their differences because they don’t realize they exist nor have a vocabulary/name.]
Much recent research suggests that North Americans more frequently experience approach motivations and East Asians more frequently experience avoidance motivations. The current research explores some cognitive implications of this cultural difference. North Americans should be more attentive to approach-oriented information, whereas East Asians should be more attentive to avoidance-oriented information. 3 studies confirmed this hypothesis. When asked to recall information framed in either approach or avoidance terms, a predicted interaction between culture and information frame was observed (Study 1 and 2). Moreover, analyses of consumer book reviews found that among reviews that were rated as helpful, approach-focused content was more prevalent in American reviews compared to Japanese reviews, in which avoidance-focused content was more prevalent (Study 3). Findings from the current research add to the growing literature of cross-cultural research on approach-avoidance motivations.
Western managers typically rate their performance higher than their bosses, peers, or subordinates do; research on Asian managers, however, has been both sparse and conflicting. In examining data from 6 Asian countries, Japanese managers were found to rate themselves lower than others in their organization do. This “modesty bias”, however, varies considerably among Asian countries; in other countries, including India and China, self-inflation was more comparable to typical Western findings. Findings lend initial support to the ability of national collectivism to explain differences in modesty and leniency bias when institutional collectivism is distinguished from in-group collectivism using data from the GLOBE Project (House, Hanges, Javidan, Dorfman, & Gupta, 2004). Theoretical basis for modesty bias, and implications for Asian and American expatriates are discussed.
This dissertation contains 3 parts—three papers. The first is about the effects of party cues on policy attitudes and candidate preferences. The second is about the resilience of false political beliefs. The third is about Bayesian updating of public opinion. Substantively, what unites them is my interest in partisanship and public opinion. Normatively, they all spring from my interest in the quality of citizens’ thinking about politics. Methodologically, they are bound by my conviction that we gain purchase on interesting empirical questions by doing things differently: first, by bringing more experiments to fields still dominated by cross-sectional survey research; second, by using experiments unlike the ones that have gone before.
Part 1: It is widely believed that party cues affect political attitudes. But their effects have rarely been demonstrated, and most demonstrations rely on questionable inferences about cue-taking behavior. I use data from 3 experiments on representative national samples to show that party cues affect even the extremely well-informed and that their effects are, as Downs predicted, decreasing in the amount of policy-relevant information that people have. But the effects are often smaller than we imagine and much smaller than the ones caused by changes in policy-relevant information. Partisans tend to perceive themselves as much less influenced by cues than members of the other party—a finding with troubling implications for those who subscribe to deliberative theories of democracy.
Part 2: The widely noted tendency of people to resist challenges to their political beliefs can usually be explained by the poverty of those challenges: they are easily avoided, often ambiguous, and almost always easily dismissed as irrelevant, biased, or uninformed. It is natural to hope that stronger challenges will be more successful. In a trio of experiments that draw on real-world cases of misinformation, I instill false political beliefs and then challenge them in ways that are unambiguous and nearly impossible to avoid or dismiss for the conventional reasons. The success of these challenges proves highly contingent on party identification.
Part 3: Political scientists are increasingly interested in using Bayes’ Theorem to evaluate citizens’ thinking about politics. But there is widespread uncertainty about why the Theorem should be considered a normative standard for rational information processing and whether models based on it can accommodate ordinary features of political cognition including partisan bias, attitude polarization, and enduring disagreement. I clarify these points with reference to the best-known Bayesian updating model and several little-known but more realistic alternatives. I show that the Theorem is more accommodating than many suppose—but that, precisely because it is so accommodating, it is far from an ideal standard for rational information processing.
Families originally living in public housing were assigned housing vouchers by lottery, encouraging moves to neighborhoods with lower poverty rates.
Although we had hypothesized that reading and math test scores would be higher among children in families offered vouchers (with larger effects among younger children), the results show no statistically-significant effects on test scores for any age group among more than 5,000 children aged 6 to 20 in 2002 who were assessed 4 to 7 years after randomization.
Program impacts on school environments were considerably smaller than impacts on neighborhoods, suggesting that achievement-related benefits from improved neighborhood environments alone are small.
This paper utilizes a plausibly exogenous source of variation in housing assistance generated by public housing demolitions in Chicago to examine the impact of high-rise public housing on student outcomes. I find that children in households affected by the demolitions do no better or worse than their peers on a wide variety of achievement measures. Because the majority of households that leave high-rise public housing in response to the demolitions move to neighborhoods and schools that closely resemble those they left, the zero effect of the demolitions may be interpreted as the independent impact of public housing.
For the past several years I have been noticing a phenomenon that seems to me new in my lifetime as a scholar of constitutional law. I call the phenomenon constitutional hardball. This Essay develops the idea that there is such a practice, that there is a sense in which it is new, and that its emergence (or re-emergence) is interesting because it signals that political actors understand that they are in a position to put in place a new set of deep institutional arrangements of a sort I call a “constitutional order”. A shorthand sketch of constitutional hardball is this: it consists of political claims and practices-legislative and executive initiatives-that are without much question within the bounds of existing constitutional doctrine and practice but that are nonetheless in some tension with existing pre-constitutional understandings. It is hardball because its practitioners see themselves as playing for keeps in a special kind of way; they believe the stakes of the political controversy their actions provoke are quite high, and that their defeat and their opponents’ victory would be a serious, perhaps permanent setback to the political positions they hold.
Self-esteem has become a household word. Teachers, parents, therapists, and others have focused efforts on boosting self-esteem, on the assumption that high self-esteem will cause many positive outcomes and benefits—an assumption that is critically evaluated in this review.
Appraisal of the effects of self-esteem is complicated by several factors. Because many people with high self-esteem exaggerate their successes and good traits, we emphasize objective measures of outcomes. High self-esteem is also a heterogeneous category, encompassing people who frankly accept their good qualities along with narcissistic, defensive, and conceited individuals.
The modest correlations between self-esteem and school performance do not indicate that high self-esteem leads to good performance. Instead, high self-esteem is partly the result of good school performance. Efforts to boost the self-esteem of pupils have not been shown to improve academic performance and may sometimes be counterproductive. Job performance in adults is sometimes related to self-esteem, although the correlations vary widely, and the direction of causality has not been established. Occupational success may boost self-esteem rather than the reverse. Alternatively, self-esteem may be helpful only in some job contexts. Laboratory studies have generally failed to find that self-esteem causes good task performance, with the important exception that high self-esteem facilitates persistence after failure.
People high in self-esteem claim to be more likable and attractive, to have better relationships, and to make better impressions on others than people with low self-esteem, but objective measures disconfirm most of these beliefs. Narcissists are charming at first but tend to alienate others eventually. Self-esteem has not been shown to predict the quality or duration of relationships.
High self-esteem makes people more willing to speak up in groups and to criticize the group’s approach. Leadership does not stem directly from self-esteem, but self-esteem may have indirect effects. Relative to people with low self-esteem, those with high self-esteem show stronger in-group favoritism, which may increase prejudice and discrimination.
Neither high nor low self-esteem is a direct cause of violence. Narcissism leads to increased aggression in retaliation for wounded pride. Low self-esteem may contribute to externalizing behavior and delinquency, although some studies have found that there are no effects or that the effect of self-esteem vanishes when other variables are controlled. The highest and lowest rates of cheating and bullying are found in different subcategories of high self-esteem.
Self-esteem has a strong relation to happiness. Although the research has not clearly established causation, we are persuaded that high self-esteem does lead to greater happiness. Low self-esteem is more likely than high to lead to depression under some circumstances. Some studies support the buffer hypothesis, which is that high self-esteem mitigates the effects of stress, but other studies come to the opposite conclusion, indicating that the negative effects of low self-esteem are mainly felt in good times. Still others find that high self-esteem leads to happier outcomes regardless of stress or other circumstances.
High self-esteem does not prevent children from smoking, drinking, taking drugs, or engaging in early sex. If anything, high self-esteem fosters experimentation, which may increase early sexual activity or drinking, but in general effects of self-esteem are negligible. One important exception is that high self-esteem reduces the chances of bulimia in females.
Overall, the benefits of high self-esteem fall into two categories: enhanced initiative and pleasant feelings. We have not found evidence that boosting self-esteem (by therapeutic interventions or school programs) causes benefits. Our findings do not support continued widespread efforts to boost self-esteem in the hope that it will by itself foster improved outcomes. In view of the heterogeneity of high self-esteem, indiscriminate praise might just as easily promote narcissism, with its less desirable consequences. Instead, we recommend using praise to boost self-esteem as a reward for socially desirable behavior and self-improvement.
This review highlights the importance of recognizing the possibility for doing harm when intentions are good. It describes several examples showing that well-planned and adequately executed programs provide no guarantee for safety or efficacy. The author concludes with recommendations for scientifically credible evaluations to promote progress in the field of crime prevention.
In signalling environments ranging from consumption to education, high-quality senders often shun the standard signals that should separate them from lower-quality senders. We find that allowing for additional, noisy information on sender quality permits equilibria where medium types signal to separate themselves from low types, but high types then choose to not signal, or countersignal. High types not only save costs by relying on the additional information to stochastically separate them from low types, but countersignalling itself is a signal of confidence that separates high types from medium types. Experimental results confirm that subjects can learn to countersignal.
…Contrary to this standard implication, high types sometimes avoid the signals that should separate them from lower types, while intermediate types often appear the most anxious to send the “right” signals. The nouveau riche flaunt their wealth, but the old rich scorn such gauche displays. Minor officials prove their status with petty displays of authority, while the truly powerful show their strength through gestures of magnanimity. People of average education show off the studied regularity of their script, but the well educated often scribble illegibly. Mediocre students answer a teacher’s easy questions, but the best students are embarrassed to prove their knowledge of trivial points. Acquaintances show their good intentions by politely ignoring one’s flaws, while close friends show intimacy by teasingly highlighting them. People of moderate ability seek formal credentials to impress employers and society, but the talented often downplay their credentials even if they have bothered to obtain them. A person of average reputation defensively refutes accusations against his character, while a highly respected person finds it demeaning to dignify accusations with a response.
…We investigate such countersignalling behavior formally with a model that incorporates extra, noisy information on type into a signalling game. We find that countersignalling can emerge as part of a standard perfect Bayesian equilibrium in which all players are forming rational beliefs and are acting rationally given these beliefs. Countersignalling is naturally interpreted as a sign of confidence. While signalling proves the sender is not a low type, it can also reveal the sender’s insecurity. Since medium types have good reason to fear that the extra information on type will not differentiate them from low types, they must signal to clearly separate themselves. In contrast, high types can demonstrate by countersignalling that they are confident of not being confused with low types. This possibility arises because in a countersignalling equilibrium, the sender’s expectation over the receiver’s beliefs about her type depends on both the signal and her type, not just on the signal.
In the past decade a wealth of research has been conducted on the cultural foundation of the self-concept, particularly with respect to East Asian and North American selves. The present paper discusses how the self differs across these two cultural contexts, particularly with respect to an emphasis on consistency versus flexibility, an intraindividual vs. an extra-individual focus, the malleability of the self versus world, the relation of self to others, and self-enhancing versus self-critical motivations. These differences reveal the manifold ways that culture shapes the self.
In research with 942 nonclinical adult participants, gay men and lesbian women reported a substantially higher rate of childhood molestation than did heterosexual men and women. 46% of the homosexual men in contrast to 7% of the heterosexual men reported homosexual molestation. 22% of lesbian women in contrast to 1% of heterosexual women reported homosexual molestation. This research is apparently the first survey that has reported substantial homosexual molestation of girls. Suggestions for future research were offered.
This Article provides theoretical and empirical support for the claim that organized crime competes with the state to provide property rights enforcement and protection services. Drawing on extensive data from Japan, this Article shows that like firms in regulated environments everywhere, the structure and activities of organized criminal firms are substantially shaped by state-supplied institutions. Careful observation reveals that in Japan, the activities of organized criminal firms closely track inefficiencies in formal legal structures, including both inefficient substantive laws and a state-induced shortage of legal professionals and other rights-enforcement agents. Thus organized crime in Japan—and, by extension, in other countries where substantial gaps exist between formal property rights structures and state enforcement capacities—is the dark side of private ordering.
Regression analyses show negative correlations between membership in Japanese organized criminal firms and (a) civil cases, (b) bankruptcies (c) reported crimes, and (d) loans outstanding. Professors Milhaupt and West interpret these data to support considerable anecdotal evidence that members of organized criminal firms in Japan play an active entrepreneurial role in substituting for state-supplied enforcement mechanisms and other public services in such areas as dispute mediation, bankruptcy and debt collection, (unorganized) crime control, and finance They offer additional empirical evidence indicating that arrests of gang members do not curb the growth of organized criminal firm Their findings may have an important normative implication for transition economies: efforts to eradicate organized crime should focus on the alteration of institutional incentive structures and the stimulation of competing rights-enforcement agents rather than on traditional crime-control activities.
Almost everyone in the sociology of religion is familiar with the classic 1956 study by Festinger et al. of how religious groups respond to the failure of their prophetic pronouncements. Far fewer are aware of the many other studies of a similar nature completed over the last thirty years on an array of other new religious movements. There are intriguing variations in the observations and conclusions advanced by many of these studies, as well as some surprising commonalities. This paper offers a systematic overview of these variations and commonalities with an eye to developing a more comprehensive and critical perspective on this complex issue. An analysis is provided of the adaptive strategies of groups faced with a failure of prophecy and the conditions affecting the nature and relative success of these strategies. In the end, it is argued, the discussion would benefit from a conceptual reorientation away from the specifics of the theory of cognitive dissonance, as formulated by Festinger et al to a broader focus on the generic processes of dissonance management in various religious and social groups.
All parachute injuries from two local parachute centres over a 5-year period were analysed. Of 174 patients with injuries of varying severity, 94% were first-time charity-parachutists. The injury rate in charity-parachutists was 11% at an average cost of £3751 per casualty. 63% of casualties who were charity-parachutists required hospital admission, representing a serious injury rate of 7%, at an average cost of £5781 per patient. The amount raised per person for charity was £30. Each pound raised for charity cost the NHS £13.75 in return. Parachuting for charity costs more money than it raises, carries a high risk of serious personal injury and places a substantial burden on health resources.
Moriarty discusses the “Paul is dead” conspiracy theory: that the Beatles Paul McCartney has in fact been dead for the past 54 years, replaced by a lookalike to keep the Beatles media empire going.
The theory began as a rumor, and spread through early Beatlemania forums among young obsessive students, who began analyzing songs (playing them backwards as necessary) to discover hidden messages and developing an elaborate symbolic mythology where it is held that the lookalike & Beatles themselves are covertly alluding to their coverup through coded messages (possibly out of guilt), where the positioning of stars, garbled lyrics, which hand a cigarette is held in, hands held up as benedictions/wardings, interpreting scenes as funeral processions, and so on. No amount of denials or interviews with Paul McCartney could kill the theory. Most of these ‘clues’ can be debunked, given the wealth of documentation about the most minute details of the production of Beatles albums. A few oddities remain, but Moriarty suggests they are covert messages or allusions for other things, like the ‘walrus’ references, and may even have been the Beatles playing along with the theorists! What is the point of discussing this? See QAnon:]
This silly event, which happened way back when I was a kid, made a really big impression on me. It was so eerie, so deliciously creepy. And so… consuming! Clue hunting occupied me and my friends constantly for nearly six weeks! It was all we ever talked about! We spent every school night and entire weekends going over every square millimeter of these five records. We destroyed every copy we had, spinning them backwards on our cheap record players. It drove our parents nuts! “Turn me on, dead man! Turn me on, dead man!” And they hated it even more when they heard it again on the evening news!
I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun.
And, although I didn’t appreciate it at the time, something wonderful happened as we scoured these records, backwards and forwards, line by line. We memorized them. “Who Buried Paul?” is one of the best games I ever played. This ridiculous rumor sucked my entire generation into a massively multiplayer adventure. A morbid treasure hunt in which accomplices were connected by word-of-mouth, college newspapers, the alternative press and underground radio. We can only wonder what would happen if something like this were to happen today, in the age of the World Wide Web. Imagine how such a thing might get started, by accident…
…put something like this in front of people, and all kinds of evocative coincidences become likely. Why is this useful for us as entertainers? Because that moment when you peer into the mirror of chaos and discover yourself is satisfying in a uniquely personal sense. You get a little oomph when you make a connection that way. Those little oomphs are what make good stories and puzzles and movies so compelling. And those little oomphs are what made the Paul-is-dead rumor so much fun…Let your players employ their own imaginative intelligence to fill in the gaps in your worlds you can’t afford to close. Chances are, they’ll paint the chaos in exactly the colors they want to see. What’s more, they’ll enjoy themselves doing it. But the credit will be yours.
The aim of this paper is to supply quantitative information that is useful for planning studies that investigate social discrimination on differently valued scales with newly created groups. Meta-analyses of the amount of in-group favoritism were conducted with the valence of the scale as moderator (k = 52). Additionally, the experimental effect of valence on the size of in-group bias was analyzed (k = 26). In-group favoritism in the minimal group paradigm is greater when participants are asked to make evaluations on positively valued attributes or to allocate positive resources than when they are asked to make evaluations on negatively valued attributes or to allocate negative resources. Nevertheless, there is also in-group favoritism in the negative domain. The analyses indicate that the difference between positive and negative valence conditions is especially striking when resources are allocated between in-group and out-group or when minority members are making decisions.
For three decades Oscar Lewis’s subculture of poverty concept has been misinterpreted as a theory bent on blaming the victims of poverty for their poverty. This essay corrects this misunderstanding. Using a sociology of knowledge approach, it explores the historical origins of this misreading and shows how current poverty scholarship replicates this erroneous interpretation of Lewis’s work. An attempt is made to remedy this situation by arguing that Lewis’s subculture of poverty idea, far from being a poor-bashing, ideological ploy, is firmly grounded in a Marxist critique of capital and its productive contradictions. As such, Lewis’s work is a celebration of the resilience and resourcefulness of the poor, not a denigration of the lower class and the cultural defenses they erect against poverty’s everyday uncertainty.
Uncertainty about what motivates “senders” of public messages leads “receivers” to “read between the lines” to discern the sender’s deepest commitments. Anticipating this, senders “write between the lines,” editing their expressions so as to further their own ends. I examine how this interactive process of inference and deceit affects the quality and extent of public deliberations on sensitive issues. A principle conclusion is that genuine moral discourse on difficult social issues can become impossible when the risks of upsetting some portion of one’s audience are too great. Reliance on euphemism and platitude should be expected in this strategic climate. Groups may embark on a tragic course of action, believed by many at the outset to be ill-conceived, but that has become impossible to criticize.
Conventional reviews of research on the efficacy of psychological, educational, and behavioral treatments often find considerable variation in outcome among studies and, as a consequence, fail to reach firm conclusions about the overall effectiveness of the interventions in question. In contrast, meta-analysis reviews show a strong, dramatic pattern of positive overall effects that cannot readily be explained as artifacts of meta-analytic technique or generalized placebo effects. Moreover, the effects are not so small that they can be dismissed as lacking practical or clinical-significance. Although meta-analysis has limitations, there are good reasons to believe that its results are more credible than those of conventional reviews and to conclude that well-developed psychological, educational, and behavioral treatment is generally efficacious.
[‘Subliminal advertising’ was the Cambridge Analytica of the 1950s.] In September 1957, I began what to me was a serious study of contemporary applied psychology at Hofstra College in Hempstead, Long Island. At exactly the same time, in nearby New York City, an unemployed market researcher named James M. Vicary made a startling announcement based on research in high-speed photography later popularized by Eastman Kodak Company.
His persuasive sales pitch was that consumers would comprehend information projected at 1/ 60,000th of a second, although they could not literally “see” the flash. And he sent a news release to the major media announcing his “discovery”.
…And, as a follow-up, toward the end of 1957 Vicary invited 50 reporters to a film studio in New York where he projected some motion picture footage, and claimed that he had also projected a subliminal message. He then handed out another of his well written and nicely printed news releases claiming that he had actually conducted major research on how an invisible image could cause people to buy something even if they didn’t want to.
The release said that in an unidentified motion picture theater a “scientific test” had been conducted in which 45,699 persons unknowingly had been exposed to 2 advertising messages projected subliminally on alternate nights. One message, the release claimed, had advised the moviegoers to “Eat Popcorn” while the other had read “Drink Coca-Cola.”
…Vicary swore that the invisible advertising had increased sales of popcorn an average of 57.5%, and increased the sales of Coca-Cola an average of 18.1%. No explanation was offered for the difference in size of the percentages, no allowance was made for variations in attendance, and no other details were provided as to how or under what conditions the purported tests had been conducted. Vicary got off the hook for his lack of specificity by stating that the research information formed part of his patent application for the projection device, and therefore must remain secret. He assured the media, however, that what he called “sound statistical controls” had been employed in the theater test. At least as importantly, too, he had observed the proven propagandist’s ploy of using odd numbers, and also including a decimal in a percentage. The figures 57.5 and 18.1% rang with a clear tone of Truth.
…When I learned of Vicary’s claim, I made the short drive to Fort Lee to learn first-hand about his clearly remarkable experiment.
The size of that small-town theater suggested it should have taken considerably longer than 6 weeks to complete a test of nearly 50,000 movie patrons. But even more perplexing was the response of the theater manager to my eager questioning. He declared that no such test had ever been conducted at his theater.
There went my term paper for my psychology class.
Soon after my disappointment, Motion Picture Daily reported that the same theater manager had sworn to one of its reporters that there had been no effect on refreshment stand patronage, whether a test had been conducted or not—a rather curious form of denial, I think.
…Technological Impossibility: Vicary also informed the reporters that subliminal advertising would have its “biggest initial impact” on the television medium.
When I learned of this, I visited the engineering section of RCA…I was assured by their helpful and knowledgeable engineering liaison man that, because of the time required for an electron beam to scan the surface of a television picture tube, and the persistence of the phosphor glow, it was technologically impossible to project a television image faster than the human eye could perceive.
“In a nighttime scene on television, watch the way the image of a car’s headlights lingers; that’s called comet-tailing”, the engineer explained. “See how long it takes before the headlights fade away.” Clearly there was no way that even the slower tachistoscope speeds of 1/3,000th of a second that Vicary had begun talking about in early 1958 could work on contemporary television.
…It has been estimated he collected retainer and consulting fees from America’s largest advertisers totaling some $35.19$4.51958 million—about $53.01$22.51992 million in today’s dollars.
Then, some time in June 1958, Mr. Vicary disappeared from the New York marketing scene, reportedly leaving no bank accounts, no clothes in his closet, and no hint as to where he might have gone. The big advertisers, apparently ashamed of having been fooled by such an obvious scam, have said nothing since about subliminal advertising, except to deny that they have ever used it.
This study investigates empirically the strengths and limitations of using experimental versus nonexperimental designs for evaluating employment and training programs. The assessment involves comparing results from an experimental-design study-the National Supported Work Demonstration-with the estimated impacts of Supported Work based on analyses using comparison groups constructed from the Current Population Surveys.
The results indicate that nonexperimental designs cannot be relied on to estimate the effectiveness of employment programs. Impact estimates tend to be sensitive both to the comparison group construction methodology and to the analytic model used. There is currently no way a priori to ensure that the results of comparison group studies will be valid indicators of the program impacts.
[Keywords: public assistance programs, analytical models, analytical estimating, employment, control groups, estimation methods, random sampling, human resources, public works legislation, statistical-significance]
[Transcript of a talk by mathematician and Bell Labs manager Richard Hamming about what he had learned about computers and how to do effective research (republished in expanded form as Art of Doing Science and Engineering: Learning to Learn; 1995 video). It is one of the most famous and most-quoted such discussions ever.]
At a seminar in the Bell Communications Research Colloquia Series, Dr. Richard W. Hamming, a Professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California and a retired Bell Labs scientist, gave a very interesting and stimulating talk, ‘You and Your Research’ to an overflow audience of some 200 Bellcore staff members and visitors at the Morris Research and Engineering Center on March 7, 1986. This talk centered on Hamming’s observations and research on the question “Why do so few scientists make substantial contributions and so many are forgotten in the long run?” From his more than 40 years of experience, 30 of which were at Bell Laboratories, he has made a number of direct observations, asked very pointed questions of scientists about what, how, and why they did things, studied the lives of great scientists and great contributions, and has done introspection and studied theories of creativity. The talk is about what he has learned in terms of the properties of the individual scientists, their abilities, traits, working habits, attitudes, and philosophy.
There are relatively few empirical laws in sociology…Several empirical laws—the size-density law, the rank-size rule, the urban density law, the gravity model, and the urban area-population law—have been reported in the ecological or social-demographic literature. They have also been derived from the theory of time-minimization (Stephan 1979).
The purpose of this paper is to examine a non-ecological law, one developed from the study of formal organizations, and to derive that law from the theory of time-minimization. The law is Mason Haire’s “square-cube law”, a law which has stirred considerable interest and controversy since its introduction. Haire examined longitudinal data from 4 firms. He divided the employees of these firms into “external employees”, those who interact with others outside the firm, and “internal employees”, those who interact only with others inside the firm. His finding was that, over time, the cube-root of the number of internal employees was directly proportional to the square-root of the number of external employees. The scatter diagrams he presented (286–7) show regression lines of the form
I1⁄3 = a + bE1⁄2
where I and E are the number of internal and external employees and a and b are the intercept and slope of the regression line (see Figure 1 for an example). His explanation of the square-cube law is based on certain mathematical properties of physical objects, extended to an explanation of biological form and analogically applied by Haire to the shape of formal organizations. For a given physical object, say a cube, an increase in the length of a side results in an increase of the surface area and also of the volume. If the new length is 10 times the old, the area will be 102 or 100 times the old, and the new volume will be 103 or 1000 times the old. Thus, the cube-root of the volume will be proportional to the square-root of the surface area.
…Levy and Donhowe tested Haire’s law with cross-sectional data for 62 firms in 8 industries. They conclude that the square-cube law “is a reasonable and consistent description of the industrial organizational composition among firms of varying size in different industries” (342). A second study, by Draper and Strother, examined data for a single educational organization over a 45-year period. They showed that regression analysis of the untransformed data produced nearly as good a fit as did the square-cube transformation in Equation 1…Carlisle analyzed data for 7 school districts using both the square-cube transformations and the raw data. He found, supporting Draper-Strother, that the correlation coefficients were about equally good under the 2 tests.
…Derivation of the Square-Cube Law: …As McWhinney’s own scatter diagram shows (345), all 3 fit the data fairly well. Under such conditions, when the data themselves do not provide conclusive evidence favoring one model over another, the best criterion is often a logical one: Can one of the models be derived from some general theory?
…We now proceed to suggest a theoretical derivation of the square-cube law, not by analogy but by a direct consideration of the underlying processes involved. The general theory from which the derivation will proceed is the theory of time-minimization mentioned above (Stephan). Its central assumption is that social structures evolve in such a way as to minimize the time which must be expended in their operation.
Assume a firm specified by a boundary which separates it from its environment, and which includes people who spend some of their time as its employees. Assume 2 measurements made on the firm, measurements which produce the numbers E (the number of “external employees, those who interact with others outside the firm) and I (the number of”internal employees", those who interact only with others inside the firm). Finally, from the general theory of time-minimization, assume that social structures, including the firm, evolve in such a way as to minimize the time which must be expended in their operation.
All the employees of the firm must be supported or compensated from the total pool of benefits held within the firm. Since this pool of benefits is brought in through the time-expenditures of the external employees, we may say that they in effect support themselves. At least on average, a portion of what they bring in is consumed by them. In contrast, the internal employees represent a special time-cost to the firm. The internal employees, by definition, do not bring the means of their own support into the firm. They must be supported, ultimately, through the time expenditures of the external employees. The average support time will be directly proportional to the number of internal employees and inversely proportional to the number of external employees. Thus
Ts = aI / E (6)
where a is the constant of proportionality.
If the internal employees thus appear parasitical, as a cost factor, they also contribute to reducing other costs of the firm. The benefit factor is that internal employees contribute by coordinating the work of the external employees. If there were no internal structure, if the external employees had to spend time coordinating their own activities by themselves, the amount of time spent would detract from the time they could spend at their primary assignment, bringing resources into the firm. How much time would be spent in coordination? Assuming that each one potentially could interact with all others, the time spent should be proportional to E(E - 1)/2, the number of pairwise interactions in a group of E individuals; thus, as E becomes modestly large, the coordination time should be proportional to E2. Since this work is actually done by the internal employees, we have an average coordination time which is directly proportional to E2 and inversely proportional to I. Thus,
Tc = bE2/I (7)
where b is the constant of proportionality.
These 2 cost/benefit ratios represent the time expenditures of the internal and the external employees relative to one another. Their sum should give the overall time expenditure, the expenditure which the theory of time-minimization says will be minimized.
…The values of E and I can never be negative, so the second derivative must be positive; Equation 10 therefore represents the condition when T is a minimum. Rearranging terms, and taking the 6th root of both sides, we obtain
In this paper, the practice of women breast-feeding animals is viewed from a geographic and historical perspective. The principal aims are to establish where the practice has been commonplace, to determine its economic and socio-cultural context, to consider its possible role in animal domestication, and to weigh its importance in human ecology.—In many cases, the practice is an expression of affection for pets (among Polynesians, among forest peoples of tropical South America, and especially among aboriginal hunters and gatherers in Southeast Asia, Australia, and Tasmania). In other cases, affection is supplemented or supplanted by economic concerns, as among various Melanesian “pig complex” peoples. In some cases, breast-feeding of animals is linked to cult and ritual, an outstanding example being the nursing of cubs in connection with the Ainu bear cult. In a few cases, animals are breast-fed with the welfare of the human mother or child being of greatest concern. The conclusion is drawn that animal nursing may indeed have contributed to the domestication of such animals as the pig and dog, and that in some places, particularly lowland New Guinea, the practice can play an important role in human ecology.
[Keywords: Breast-Feeding of Animals, Ecology, Animal Domestication, Animal Cult]
…This initial survey of the practice of breast-feeding of animals by humans leads us to three general conclusions about the practice. First, we note that virtually all contemporary human groups reported as regularly nursing animals belong to cultures which either possess no dairy animals or, if they do, do not milk them. Second, we note the importance of animal-nursing as a taming mechanism used by some human groups who capture infant animals in the wild, and suggest that animal-nursing may have contributed to the full domestication of such often-captured pets as the dog and the pig, Sauer’s “household” animals. Finally and most tentatively, we conclude that the practice of animal-nursing, particularly in areas such as New Guinea where human breastmilk production is low, may at times pose a health threat to human infants who must compete with animals at the breast.
[Chapter 6 of the first book of The Book of the New Sun, and is famous for being an extended homage to Jorge Luis Borges as the blind librarian Ultan who was gifted blindness right as he became librarian, and also has some of the most beautiful writing in the series.]
…“You are in close contact, then, with your opposite numbers in the city”, I said. The old man stroked his beard. “The closest, for we are they. This library is the city library, and the library of the House Absolute too, for that matter. And many others.” “Do you mean that the rabble of the city is permitted to enter the Citadel to use your library?” “No”, said Ultan. “I mean that the library itself extends beyond the walls of the Citadel. Nor, I think, is it the only institution here that does so. It is thus that the contents of our fortress are so much larger than their container.”
…His grip on my shoulder tightened. “We have books here bound in the hides of echidnes, krakens, and beasts so long extinct that those whose studies they are, are for the most part of the opinion that no trace of them survives unfossilized. We have books bound wholly in metals of unknown alloy, and books whose bindings are covered with thickset gems. We have books cased in perfumed woods shipped across the inconceivable gulf between creations—books doubly precious because no one on Urth can read them.”
“We have books whose papers are matted of plants from which spring curious alkaloids, so that the reader, in turning their pages, is taken unaware by bizarre fantasies and chimeric dreams. Books whose pages are not paper at all, but delicate wafers of white jade, ivory, and shell; books too whose leaves are the desiccated leaves of unknown plants. Books we have also that are not books at all to the eye: scrolls and tablets and recordings on a hundred different substances. There is a cube of crystal here—though I can no longer tell you where—no larger than the ball of your thumb that contains more books than the library itself does. Though a harlot might dangle it from one ear for an ornament, there are not volumes enough in the world to counterweight the other. All these I came to know and made safeguarding them my life’s devotion. For seven years I busied myself with that; and then, just when the pressing and superficial problems of preservation were disposed of, and we were on the point of beginning the first general survey of the library since its foundation, my eyes began to gutter in their sockets. He who had given all books into my keeping made me blind so that I should know in whose keeping the keepers stand.”
…“In every library, by ancient precept, is a room reserved for children. In it are kept bright picture books such as children delight in, and a few simple tales of wonder and adventure. Many children come to these rooms, and so long as they remain within their confines, no interest is taken in them.” He hesitated, and though I could discern no expression on his face, I received the impression that he feared what he was about to say might cause Cyby pain.
“From time to time, however, a librarian remarks a solitary child, still of tender years, who wanders from the children’s room and at last deserts it entirely. Such a child eventually discovers, on some low but obscure shelf, The Book of Gold. You have never seen this book, and you will never see it, being past the age at which it is met.”
“It must be very beautiful”, I said. “It is indeed. Unless my memory betrays me, the cover is of black buckram, considerably faded at the spine. Several of the signatures are coming out, and certain of the plates have been taken. But it is a remarkably lovely book. I wish that I might find it again, though all books are shut to me now. The child, as I said, in time discovers The Book of Gold. Then the librarians come—like vampires, some say, but others say like the fairy godparents at a christening. They speak to the child, and the child joins them. Henceforth he is in the library wherever he may be, and soon his parents know him no more.”
Earlier work on the size-density hypothesis [political unit size vs density scales by negative 2⁄3rds] led to a theory of time-minimization from which the size-density relation could be derived. Subsequently, time-minimization theory was employed to derive expected relations between population and area for cities and urbanized areas, expectations which were empirically confirmed.
The present paper derives 3 well-known and empirically supported relationships from the time-minimization assumption:
Models of collective behavior are developed for situations where actors have two alternatives and the costs and/or benefits of each depend on how many other actors choose which alternative.
The key concept is that of “threshold”: the number or proportion of others who must make one decision before a given actor does so; this is the point where net benefits begin to exceed net costs for that particular actor. Beginning with a frequency distribution of thresholds, the models allow calculation of the ultimate or “equilibrium” number making each decision. The stability of equilibrium results against various possible changes in threshold distributions is considered. Stress is placed on the importance of exact distributions distributions for outcomes. Groups with similar average preferences may generate very different results; hence it is hazardous to infer individual dispositions from aggregate outcomes or to assume that behavior was directed by ultimately agreed-upon norms.
Suggested applications are to riot behavior, innovation and rumor diffusion, strikes, voting, and migration. Issues of measurement, falsification, and verification are discussed.
This paper attempts to develop an experimental analysis of drug-induced religious behavior. The first part discusses drugs and religious behavior in man and includes sections on anthropological, contemporary, and experimental perspectives. The second part reviews analogous natural and drug-induced animal behaviors which are seen to be structurally similar to human religious activities. The functional similarities are examined in the third section which analyses religion in terms of operant behavior concepts and findings. It is concluded that the behavioral, albeit not necessarily the experiential, aspects of drug-induced religious behavior can be studied in the animal model.
The concept of face is clarified and distinguished from other closely related constructs: authority, standards of behavior, personality, status, dignity, honor, and prestige. The claim to face may rest on the basis of status, whether ascribed or achieved, and on personal or non-personal factors; it may also vary according to the group with which a person is interacting. Basic differences are found between the processes involved in gaining versus losing face. While it is not a necessity for one to strive to gain face, losing face is a serious matter which will, in varying degrees, affect one’s ability to function effectively in society. Face is lost when the individual, either through his action or that of people closely related to him, fails to meet essential requirements placed upon him by virtue of the social position he occupies. In contrast to the ideology of individualism, the question of face frequently arises beyond the realm of individual responsibility and subjective volition. Reciprocity is inherent in face behavior, wherein a mutually restrictive, even coercive, power is exerted upon each member of the social network. It is argued that face behavior is universal and that face should be utilized as a construct of central importance in the social sciences.
American public attention rarely remains sharply focused upon any one domestic issue for very long—even if it involves a continuing problem of crucial importance to society. Instead, a systematic “issue-attention cycle” seems strongly to influence public attitudes and behavior concerning most key domestic problems. Each of these problems suddenly leaps into prominence, remains there for a short time, and then—though still largely unresolved—gradually fades from the center of public attention. A study of the way this cycle operates provides insights into how long public attention is likely to remain sufficiently focused upon any given issue to generate enough political pressure to cause effective change.
The shaping of American attitudes toward improving the quality of our environment provides both an example and a potential test of this “issue-attention cycle.” In the past few years, there has been a remarkably widespread upsurge of interest in the quality of our environment. This change in public attitudes has been much faster than any changes in the environment itself. What has caused this shift in public attention? Why did this issue suddenly assume so high a priority among our domestic concerns? And how long will the American public sustain high-intensity interest in ecological matters? I believe that answers to these questions analyzing the “issue-attention cycle.”
The dynamics of the “issue-attention cycle”
Public perception of most “crises” in American domestic life does not reflect changes in real conditions as much as it reflects the operation of a systematic cycle of heightening public interest and then increasing boredom with major issues. This “issue-attention cycle” is rooted both in the nature of certain domestic problems and in the way major communications media interact with the public. The cycle itself has five stages, which may vary in duration depending upon the particular issue involved, but which almost always occur in the following sequence:
Arthur Jensen argues that the failure of recent compensatory education efforts to produce lasting effects on children’s IQ and achievement suggests that the premises on which these efforts have been based should be reexamined. He begins by questioning a central notion upon which these and other educational programs have recently been based: that IQ differences are almost entirely a result of environmental differences and the cultural bias of IQ tests. After tracing the history of IQ tests, Jensen carefully defines the concept of IQ, pointing out that it appears as a common factor in all tests that have been devised thus far to tap higher mental processes. Having defined the concept of intelligence and related it to other forms of mental ability, Jensen employs an analysis of variance model to explain how IQ can be separated into genetic and environmental components. He then discusses the concept of “heritability”, a statistical tool for assessing the degree to which individual differences in a trait like intelligence can be accounted for by genetic factors. He analyzes several lines of evidence which suggest that the heritability of intelligence is quite high (ie., genetic factors are much more important than environmental factors in producing IQ differences). After arguing that environmental factors are not nearly as important in determining IQ as are genetic factors, Jensen proceeds to analyze the environmental influences which may be most critical in determining IQ. He concludes that prenatal influences may well contribute the largest environmental influence on IQ. He then discusses evidence which suggests that social class and racial variations in intelligence cannot be accounted for by differences in environment but must be attributed partially to genetic differences. After he has discussed the influence on the distribution of IQ in a society on its functioning, Jensen examines in detail the results of educational programs for young children, and finds that the changes in IQ produced by these programs are generally small. A basic conclusion of Jensen’s discussion of the influence of environment on IQ is that environment acts as a “threshold variable.” Extreme environmental deprivation can keep the child from performing up to his genetic potential, but an enriched educational program cannot push the child above that potential. Finally, Jensen examines other mental abilities that might be capitalized on in an educational program, discussing recent findings on diverse patterns of mental abilities between ethnic groups and his own studies of associative learning abilities that are independent of social class. He concludes that educational attempts to boost IQ have been misdirected and that the educational process should focus on teaching much more specific skills. He argues that this will be accomplished most effectively if educational methods are developed which are based on other mental abilities besides IQ.
Revolutions are most likely to occur when a prolonged period of objective economic and social development is followed by a short period of sharp reversal. People then subjectively fear that ground gained with great effort will be quite lost; their mood becomes revolutionary. The evidence from Dorr’s Rebellion, the Russian Revolution, and the Egyptian Revolution supports this notion; tentatively, so do data on other civil disturbances. Various statistics—as on rural uprisings, industrial strikes, unemployment, and cost of living—may serve as crude indexes of popular mood. More useful, though less easy to obtain, are direct questions in cross-sectional interviews. The goal of predicting revolution is conceived but not yet born or mature
One of the striking characteristics of the new mass media—radio, television, and the movies—is that they give the illusion of face-to-face relationship with the performer. The conditions of response to the performer are analogous to those in a primary group. The most remote and illustrious men are met as if they were in the circle of one’s peers; the same is true of a character in a story who comes to life in these media in an especially vivid and arresting way. We propose to call this seeming face-to-face relationship between spectator and performer a parasocial relationship.
…Radio and television, however—and in what follows we shall speak primarily of television—are hospitable to both these worlds in continuous interplay. extending the para-social relationship now to leading people of the world of affairs, now to fictional characters, sometimes even to puppets anthropomorphically transformed into “personalities”, and, finally, to theatrical stars who appear in their capacities as real celebrities. But of particular interest is the creation by these media of a new type of performer: quizmasters, announcers, “interviewers” in a new “show-business” world—in brief, a special category of “personalities” whose existence is a function of the media themselves. These “personalities”, usually, are not prominent in any of the social spheres beyond the media1 They exist for their audiences only in the para-social relation. Lacking an appropriate name for these performers, we shall call them personae.
…The persona offers, above all, a continuing relationship. His appearance is a regular and dependable event, to be counted on, planned for, and integrated into the routines of daily life. His devotees ‘live with him’ and share the small episodes of his public life—and to some extent even of his private life away from the show. Indeed, their continued association with him acquires a history, and the accumulation of shared past experiences gives additional meaning to the present performance. This bond is symbolized by allusions that lack meaning for the casual observer and appear occult to the outsider. In time, the devotee—the “fan”—comes to believe that he “knows” the persona more intimately and profoundly than others do; that he “understands” his character and appreciates his values and motives.2 Such an accumulation of knowledge and intensification of loyalty, however, appears to be a kind of growth without development, for the one-sided nature of the connection precludes a progressive and mutual reformulation of its values and aims.3
Social stratification, whatever its causes, hinges upon certain objective bases or marks—eg., sex, age, birth, race, residence, achievement, and appearance—tangible pegs whereon are hung the more intangible realities of invidious discrimination. This chapter deals with marital selection only in this second sense, being primarily concerned with the interrelation between marriage and caste. It discusses the strange circumstance that despite the intimate dependence of caste stratification upon caste endogamy, intermarriage often occurs in caste societies, sometimes in the highly regularized form of hypergamy. A cardinal principle of every stratified social order is that the majority of those marrying shall marry equals. This rule can be called (according to the type of stratification involved) class, caste, or ständische endogamy. There are forces that oppose rank endogamy. But the principle that stratification in itself necessitates such endogamy remains firm. The chapter also explores actual caste societies and attempts to deal with glaring exceptions (such as hypergamy) which occur in them.