Mittwoch, 28. Januar 2015

Cognitive Advantage in Bilingualism - An Example of Publication Bias?

Cognitive Advantage in Bilingualism - An Example of Publication Bias?
Angela de Bruin, Barbara Treccani, Sergio Della Sala (2015)


Abstract

It is a widely held belief that bilinguals have an advantage over monolinguals in executive-control tasks, but is this what all studies actually demonstrate? The idea of a bilingual advantage may result from a publication bias favoring studies with positive results over studies with null or negative effects. To test this hypothesis, we looked at conference abstracts from 1999 to 2012 on the topic of bilingualism and executive control. We then determined which of the studies they reported were subsequently published. Studies with results fully supporting the bilingual-advantage theory were most likely to be published, followed by studies with mixed results. Studies challenging the bilingual advantage were published the least. This discrepancy was not due to differences in sample size, tests used, or statistical power. A test for funnel-plot asymmetry provided further evidence for the existence of a publication bias.

What Is Typical Is Good - The Influence of Face Typicality on Perceived Trustworthiness

What Is Typical Is Good - The Influence of Face Typicality on Perceived Trustworthiness
Carmel Sofer, Ron Dotsch, Daniel H. J. Wigboldus, Alexander Todorov (2015)


Abstract

The role of face typicality in face recognition is well established, but it is unclear whether face typicality is important for face evaluation. Prior studies have focused mainly on typicality’s influence on attractiveness, although recent studies have cast doubt on its importance for attractiveness judgments. Here, we argue that face typicality is an important factor for social perception because it affects trustworthiness judgments, which approximate the basic evaluation of faces. This effect has been overlooked because trustworthiness and attractiveness judgments have a high level of shared variance for most face samples. We show that for a continuum of faces that vary on a typicality-attractiveness dimension, trustworthiness judgments peak around the typical face. In contrast, perceived attractiveness increases monotonically past the typical face, as faces become more like the most attractive face. These findings suggest that face typicality is an important determinant of face evaluation.

Do Men Overperceive Women’s Sexual Interest?

Do Men Overperceive Women’s Sexual Interest?
Carin Perilloux, Robert Kurzban (2015)


Abstract

Substantial evidence comparing men’s perceptions of women’s sexual intentions with women’s own reports of their sexual intentions has shown a systematic pattern of results that has been interpreted as support for the idea that men overestimate women’s true sexual intentions. However, because women’s true sexual intentions cannot be directly measured, an alternative interpretation of the existing data is that women understate their sexual intentions and that men’s assessments of women’s intentions are generally accurate. In three studies, we (a) replicated the typical sex difference in sexual-intent ratings, (b) showed that men maintain their ratings of women’s sexual intentions even when incentivized to tell the truth, and (c) showed that women believe that other women are understating their sexual intentions in self-report measures. Taken together, these results imply that men might be accurate in perceiving and reporting women’s sexual intentions and that men might be managing errors through biased behavior rather than biased beliefs.

Freitag, 23. Januar 2015

Demography and Modernization as the Major Determinants of Religious Belief

Demography and Modernization as the Major Determinants of Religious Belief >pdf<
Gerhard Meisenberg (2012)


Abstract

Using a sample of up to 62 countries, this study finds that differential fertility influences trend lines in the prevalence of theistic religious belief at the country level. High religiosity of females relative to males is an additional, though less consistent, predictor. These effects are demonstrated on the background of two other causal influences: Recovery from communist rule predicts a rising trend, and indicators of economic, social and cognitive development predict a declining trend. Several alternative hypotheses about the determinants of religious trends receive no support.




Conclusions:

The most important conclusion of the present study is that differential fertility is a significant influence on trends in the strength of religious belief at the country level. This adds to earlier results suggesting that differential fertility is important for the growth of Christian denominations in the United States (Hout et al, 2001), and for future religiosity in most religious traditions worldwide (Kaufmann, 2008, 2010). The belief that differential fertility can affect trends in psychological and behavioral traits in human societies has been brought forward since the late 19th century as an implication of Darwinian evolutionary theory, and is still held by many researchers today (Lynn, 2011; Rowthorn, 2011). However, empiric evidence linking differential fertility for any behavioral trait to country-level trends in the trait has never been presented in comparative studies. The results presented here for religion provide the first empiric evidence that this theoretically postulated link exists for religion on a worldwide scale. The reason why the effect is detectable even over rather short time periods of 5 to 26 years is that in the case of religion, genetic transmission is amplified greatly by cultural transmission in the family.
The results of this study indicate that the future of religion is determined by two factors. First, rising cognitive and economic development are predicted to undermine religion in the “threshold countries” of Asia, North Africa and Latin America in the near future. Second, differential fertility favoring religious individuals and groups within countries is likely to assure the survival of religion in many of the advanced post-industrial societies, most likely through the formation of highly religious and highly fertile subpopulations as postulated by Rowthorn (2011).
One development that is not addressed in the present study is the positive relationship between the country-level total fertility rate (TFR) and religiosity. The TFR (1990-2005 average) correlates with religious belief at r = .618 (N = 94 countries). The 5.73 billion people in countries covered in the World Values Survey had an average religiosity rating of 7.32 in 2005. Based on data about population size and annual population growth rates from the CIA’s World Fact Book, the 7.93 billion expected to live in these countries in 2035 will have an average religiosity score of 7.61 because of differential fertility between countries, assuming no change of religiosity within countries.

Mittwoch, 21. Januar 2015

Lessons in academic freedom as lived experience

Lessons in academic freedom as lived experience
Linda S. Gottfredson (2010)

Abstract

What is academic freedom, what guarantees it, and what would you do if your university violated yours? Few of us academics entertain these questions or ponder possible answers. This leaves us individually and collectively vulnerable to encroachments on our right to free and open inquiry. I use a case study from 1989–1994 to illustrate how violations of academic freedom develop, the typical pretexts used to justify them, and what is required to halt and reverse them. My aim is to help scholars recognize when academic freedom is at risk and how better to safeguard it in daily academic life. To this end, I describe the general social mechanisms that operate both inside and outside academe to selectively burden and suppress unpopular research. The case study provides concrete examples to illustrate six specific lessons. Like free speech in general, academic freedom (1) has maintenance costs, (2) is not self-enforcing, (3) is invoked today to stifle unwelcome speech, (4) is often violated by academic institutions, (5) is not often defended by academics themselves, and (6) yet, requires no heroic efforts for collective enjoyment if scholars consistently contribute small acts of support to prevent incursions.