Not many people know this

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John F
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Not many people know this

Post by John F » Tue Dec 11, 2012 3:18 am

Some of these may be in the running for an Ignobel Prize.

Social Science Palooza III
By DAVID BROOKS
Published: December 10, 2012

Elections come and go, but social science marches on. Here are some recent research findings that struck my fancy.

Organic foods may make you less generous. In a study published in Social Psychology and Personality Science, Kendall J. Eskine had people look at organic foods, comfort foods or a group of control foods. Those who viewed organic foods subsequently volunteered less time to help a needy stranger and they judged moral transgressions more harshly.

Men are dumber around women. Thijs Verwijmeren, Vera Rommeswinkel and Johan C. Karremans gave men cognitive tests after they had interacted with a woman via computer. In the study, published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, the male cognitive performance declined after the interaction, or even after the men merely anticipated an interaction with a woman.

Women inhibit their own performance. In a study published in Self and Identity, Shen Zhang, Toni Schmader and William M. Hall gave women a series of math tests. On some tests they signed their real name, on others they signed a fictitious name. The women scored better on the fictitious name tests, when their own reputation was not at risk.

High unemployment rates may not hurt Democratic incumbents as much. In the American Political Science Review, John R. Wright looked at 175 midterm gubernatorial elections and four presidential elections between 1994 and 2010. Other things being equal, high unemployment rates benefit the Democratic Party. The effect is highest when Republicans are the incumbents, but even when the incumbent is a Democrat, high unemployment rates still benefit Democratic candidates.

People filter language through their fingers. In a study published in the Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, Kyle Jasmin and Daniel Casasanto asked people to rate real words, fictitious words and neologisms. Words composed of letters on the right side of the QWERTY keyboard were viewed more positively than words composed of letters from the left side.

We communicate, process and feel emotions by mimicking the facial expressions of the people around us. For a study in Basic and Applied Social Psychology, Paula M. Niedenthal, Maria Augustinova and others studied young adults who had used pacifiers as babies, and who thus could not mimic as easily. They found that pacifier use correlated with less emotional intelligence in males, though it did not predict emotional processing skills in girls.

Judges are toughest around election time. Judges in Washington State are elected and re-elected into office. In a study for The Review of Economic Statistics, Carlos Berdejó and Noam Yuchtman found that these judges issue sentences that are 10 percent longer at their end of the political cycle than at the beginning.

New fathers pay less. In a study for the Administrative Science Quarterly, Michael Dahl, Cristian Dezso and David Gaddis Ross studied male Danish C.E.O.’s before and after their wives gave birth to children. They found that male C.E.O.’s generally pay their employees less generously after fathering a child. The effect is stronger after a son is born. Female employees are less affected than male employees. C.E.O.’s also tend to pay themselves more after the birth of a child.

Affluent neighborhoods challenge mental equilibrium. In a study for the Journal of Research on Adolescence, Terese J. Lund and Eric Dearing found that boys reported higher levels of delinquency and girls reported higher levels of anxiety and depression when they lived in affluent neighborhoods compared with middle-class neighborhoods. Boys’ delinquency and girls’ anxiety-depression levels were lowest when they were from affluent families living in middle-class neighborhoods.

Premarital doubts are significant. In a study in the Journal of Family Psychology, Justin Lavner, Benjamin Karney and Thomas Bradbury found that women who had cold feet before marriage had significantly higher divorce rates four years later. Male premarital doubts did not correlate with more divorce.

Women use red to impress men. In a study for the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Andrew Elliot, Tobias Greitemeyer and Adam Pazda found that women expecting to converse with an attractive man were more likely to select a red versus green shirt than women expecting to converse with an unattractive man or another woman.

Birth date affects corporate success. In a study for Economics Letters, Qianqian Du, Huasheng Gao and Maurice Levi found that C.E.O.’s are disproportionately likely to be born in June and July.

It’s always worth emphasizing that no one study is dispositive. Many, many studies do not replicate. Still, these sorts of studies do remind us that we are influenced by a thousand breezes permeating the unconscious layers of our minds. They remind us of the power of social context. They’re also nice conversation starters. If you find this sort of thing interesting, you really should check out Kevin Lewis’s blog at National Affairs. He provides links to hundreds of academic studies a year, from which these selections have been drawn.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/11/opini ... a-iii.html
John Francis

AlanM
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Re: Not many people know this

Post by AlanM » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:52 am

The first time I read this column this morning, I was wondering if its purpose was to denigrate this type of research. After all, I have some friends who are extremely politically conservative and who are suspicious of anything that comes from academia. And they also are suspicious of any excessive expenditures. No, Brooks seems serious. And yet . . . . Is it possible that some of this is a message to those on his side that he disagrees with? These days anything is suspect.

Teresa B
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Re: Not many people know this

Post by Teresa B » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:59 am

Men are dumber around women.
:lol: :lol: :lol:
Oh, so THAT explains it!!!
:twisted:
"We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad." ~ The Cheshire Cat

Author of the novel "Creating Will"

BWV 1080
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Re: Not many people know this

Post by BWV 1080 » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:40 am

Why most published research is false:


Image

... most published research findings are false. This is plausible in his field of medicine where it is easy to imagine that there are more than 800 false hypotheses out of 1000. In medicine, there is hardly any theory to exclude a hypothesis from being tested. Want to avoid colon cancer? Let's see if an apple a day keeps the doctor away. No? What about a serving of bananas? Let's try vitamin C and don't forget red wine. Studies in medicine also have notoriously small sample sizes. Lots of studies that make the NYTimes involve less than 50 people - that reduces the probability that you will accept a true hypothesis and raises the probability that the typical study is false.

http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalr ... ublis.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/article ... ool=pubmed

John F
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Re: Not many people know this

Post by John F » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:50 am

AlanM wrote:Brooks seems serious. And yet . . . . Is it possible that some of this is a message to those on his side that he disagrees with? These days anything is suspect.
Actually, I think he's just having fun, at nobody's expense: "They’re also nice conversation starters."
John Francis

jbuck919
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Re: Not many people know this

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:28 pm

Readers of Harper's magazine (which is not me for a couple of years now) know that there is a feature on the last page every month called "Findings," which summarizes research results for studies you wouldn't believe anyone ever conducted. Here is this month's selection:


ARCHIVE / 2012 / December

Rich men with big biceps tend to oppose the redistribution of wealth and poor men with big biceps tend to support it, whereas the weak are less strongly opinionated. The more conservative an American female lawmaker is, the more feminine her face will be, and the uglier a Spanish woman is, the less likely Spaniards are to believe she killed her non–gender-specific abusive partner in self-defense. Domestic violence in England rises by about 30 percent with either a loss or a win in a World Cup match, but draws have no effect. Chicago’s coyotes are monogamous, and blondes are likelier to cheat. The clinically depressed are less able to differentiate between anger, anxiety, disgust, frustration, guilt, sadness, and shame. Both male and female college students who believe men should sexually dominate women were found less likely to pick up free female condoms from a bowl next to the computer on which they filled out the survey. Psychologists found that white college students who have been told they belong to the Moon race can differentiate well between other Moons, whether those Moons are black or white, but find members of the Sun race harder to tell apart. Widespread rebellion was observed among slave ants.

Australian scientists discovered a population of dolphins among whom a technique of using sponges to catch small fish has been passed from mothers to daughters for the past 180 years. Trained lemon sharks can pass along behaviors to naïve sharks. A woman in Beaulieu-sur-Mer, France, was embraced by an octopus while aquabiking. A woman in Fort De Soto Park, Florida, turned herself in to police for riding a manatee. Obese teenage boys have only half the testosterone and obese children have insensitive taste buds. Obese children were again found to experience foot pain, fatness was found to be 50 percent more prevalent among Europe’s only children than among its siblinged children, and obese Canadian children were found to be more likely to take prescription medication. Calgary scientists prevented bedsores in the paralyzed by means of electroshock underwear. A pelvic surgeon warned of the incontinence of long-distance runners. Bedwetting was linked to activity in the brain’s Oz site. The use of pacifiers in infancy retards the empathy of adult men. Targeted social rejection activates the inflammatory response of adolescent girls. Children in a marshmallow study will eat the marshmallow if they believe the researchers have abandoned them. Engineers described why children and the primitive sometimes think the number between 1 and 9 is 3.

Chinese soft-shelled turtles were found to ureate from their mouths, and bats worldwide were found to avoid the light of the moon. Paler Germans are less likely to use tanning beds. Researchers from the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum and the Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologie discovered the world’s oldest ivory workshop, near Zeitz. Ancient peoples in the mountains of Chongqing ate premodern pandas, whose descendants prefer to deposit their anogenital-gland secretions on rough-barked, moss-free trees. Korean eunuchs of the Joseon dynasty, most of whom either underwent castration voluntarily or lost their genitals to dogs, were found to have lived, on average, fourteen to nineteen years longer than their intact male counterparts. Spanish researchers found the spot where Caesar was stabbed. Slime molds avoid retracing their own steps. The atmosphere’s organic jellies are virtually unaging. Chemists slowed the respiration of bananas. MIT scientists unveiled a universal model of leaf decay. Waste from the production of M&M’s was turning the honey of Alsatian bees green and blue. Pathobiologists killed dog cancer with a rabbit pox. Plant pathologists Sudeep Bag, Neena Mitter, and Hanu Pappu found that iris yellow spot virus and tomato spotted wilt virus ally to superate the defenses of jimsonweed. Mice with Lou Gehrig’s disease were dying for the wrong reason. Sightings of pizzly and grolar bears were abundant. Scalabrini’s noseless lemur was found to be a fish.

http://harpers.org/archive/2012/12/findings-46/

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

John F
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Re: Not many people know this

Post by John F » Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:32 pm

Slime molds avoid retracing their own steps.
Slime molds do mazes better than humans do - they make all the correct turns with no trial and error. I saw it on Nova Science Now. (But what's this about steps? :) )
John Francis

jbuck919
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Re: Not many people know this

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:34 pm

BWV 1080 wrote:Why most published research is false:


Image

... most published research findings are false. This is plausible in his field of medicine where it is easy to imagine that there are more than 800 false hypotheses out of 1000. In medicine, there is hardly any theory to exclude a hypothesis from being tested. Want to avoid colon cancer? Let's see if an apple a day keeps the doctor away. No? What about a serving of bananas? Let's try vitamin C and don't forget red wine. Studies in medicine also have notoriously small sample sizes. Lots of studies that make the NYTimes involve less than 50 people - that reduces the probability that you will accept a true hypothesis and raises the probability that the typical study is false.

http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalr ... ublis.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/article ... ool=pubmed
Let me just say that I taught advanced placement statistics, and cannot make hide or hair out of that diagram or the ensuing explanation. If he just means most hypotheses lead to experiments in which we fail to reject the null hypothesis (i.e., the hypothesis we were testing has no evidence to support it), then that is probably true. That is not the same as saying that most of the replicated research results we read, which is what we should be paying attention to, are false.

(In practice, many consequential research studies are not replicated because there is neither prestige nor money in being the second to reach a finding. However, the research that means the most to most people, such as the effectiveness of a drug in treating a disease, is conducted under strict experimental conditions with an appropriately chosen sample, which, BTW, need not be large.)
Last edited by jbuck919 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

lennygoran
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Re: Not many people know this

Post by lennygoran » Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:52 pm

John F wrote:
Slime molds avoid retracing their own steps.
Slime molds do mazes better than humans do - they make all the correct turns with no trial and error. I saw it on Nova Science Now. (But what's this about steps? :) )
I saw that too--still they were slow! Regards, Len :)

BWV 1080
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Re: Not many people know this

Post by BWV 1080 » Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:00 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
BWV 1080 wrote:Why most published research is false:


Image

... most published research findings are false. This is plausible in his field of medicine where it is easy to imagine that there are more than 800 false hypotheses out of 1000. In medicine, there is hardly any theory to exclude a hypothesis from being tested. Want to avoid colon cancer? Let's see if an apple a day keeps the doctor away. No? What about a serving of bananas? Let's try vitamin C and don't forget red wine. Studies in medicine also have notoriously small sample sizes. Lots of studies that make the NYTimes involve less than 50 people - that reduces the probability that you will accept a true hypothesis and raises the probability that the typical study is false.

http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalr ... ublis.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/article ... ool=pubmed
Let me just say that I taught advanced placement statistics, and cannot make hide or hair out that diagram or the ensuing explanation. If he just means most hypotheses lead to experiments in which we fail to reject the null hypothesis (i.e., the hypothesis we were testing has no evidence to support it), then that is probably true. That is not the same as saying that most of the replicated research results we read, which is what we should be paying attention to, are false.
its a straightforward Bayesian argument -

research that finds positive associations gets reported while negative results do not (generally true - no one tends to publish negatives unless there was a prior positive report)

per the chart above, some percentage of the positives are false and some percentage of the negatives are false - so if out of 1000 tests the true number is 200 positive relationships, 80 of those will be false negatives, reducing the positive results to 120 and out of the true population of 800 negatives, 40 (i.e. 5% when using a 95% confidence interval) will be false positives.

the key issue is a selection bias toward positive results. If you read the original paper it discusses different types of studies and their propensity for error. Large double blind trials are generally ok, but this is a particular problem in genetics (they found the cancer gene!) or epidemiology (i.e. bananas prevent cancer headline articles) studies where the data mining problem is acute. How many spurious correlations is one going to find testing 10,000 genes against the presence of a disease in a relatively small sample size?

jbuck919
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Re: Not many people know this

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:07 pm

BWV 1080 wrote: per the chart above, some percentage of the positives are false and some percentage of the negatives are false - so if out of 1000 tests the true number is 200 positive relationships, 80 of those will be false negatives, reducing the positive results to 120 and out of the true population of 800 negatives, 40 (i.e. 5% when using a 95% confidence interval) will be false positives.
There's more than one thing going on here, but to start with, were those number pulled out of a hat? (It reminds me of the Drake "equation" for the number of planets with intelligent life. It is actually only a product in which each factor is entirely speculative.)

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

BWV 1080
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Re: Not many people know this

Post by BWV 1080 » Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:10 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
BWV 1080 wrote: per the chart above, some percentage of the positives are false and some percentage of the negatives are false - so if out of 1000 tests the true number is 200 positive relationships, 80 of those will be false negatives, reducing the positive results to 120 and out of the true population of 800 negatives, 40 (i.e. 5% when using a 95% confidence interval) will be false positives.
There's more than one thing going on here, but to start with, were those number pulled out of a hat?
yes, of course they were. the point is to show that with reasonable assumptions a large percentage of published medical research are false positives, the actual number is unquantifiable

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