Friday, December 20, 2013

The Numbers Behind “Young Invincibles” and the Affordable Care Act

As enrollment statistics in the new health insurance marketplaces start to become available, there is a growing focus on whether the enrollment of so-called “young invincibles” will be sufficient to keep insurance markets stable. Enrollment of young adults is important, but not as important as conventional wisdom suggests since premiums are still permitted to vary substantially by age. Because of this, a premium “death spiral” is highly unlikely.

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation

Read The Numbers Behind “Young Invincibles” and the Affordable Care Act

Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy an Intervention for Possible Internet Addiction Disorder?

Internet addiction disorder (IAD) has been proposed to describe uncontrollable, damaging use of Internet technology leading to some changes in the autonomic nervous system. IAD can be defined as an impulse-control disorder that does not involve an intoxicant. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) does not recognize it as a disease but the new approach of research domain criteria (RDoC) considers re-evaluating DSM because of the change in global prevalence of IAD from 0.3% to 38%. Treatment of IAD is still unsolved due to the lack of concrete evidence, knowledge, and information about the disease. Some therapeutic examples are medications and psychotherapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The CBT approach addresses dysfunctional emotions, maladaptive behaviors and cognitive processes. Modified CBT is used for the treatment of IAD but better results are observed when it is combined with other therapies. This commentary is based on full research papers and some specific case reports recording CBT as the treatment for IAD. PubMed, Scopus, Ovid, ProQuest, ScienceDirect, and SpringerLink are the databases used for this commentary. More exhaustive research is needed in this field as to confirm the etiology of IAD and its intervention with CBT. 
Source: Journal of Drug and Alcohol Research

Download pdf publication:  Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy an Intervention for Possible Internet Addiction Disorder?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Bonuses More Satisfying When Spent on Others, Study Suggests

Prosocial Bonuses Increase Employee Satisfaction and Team Performance

In three field studies, we explore the impact of providing employees and teammates with prosocial bonuses, a novel type of bonus spent on others rather than on oneself. In Experiment 1, we show that prosocial bonuses in the form of donations to charity lead to happier and more satisfied employees at an Australian bank. In Experiments 2a and 2b, we show that prosocial bonuses in the form of expenditures on teammates lead to better performance in both sports teams in Canada and pharmaceutical sales teams in Belgium. These results suggest that a minor adjustment to employee bonuses – shifting the focus from the self to others – can produce measurable benefits for employees and organizations.
 Source: PLOS One

Download article pdf: Prosocial Bonuses Increase Employee Satisfaction and Team Performance

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Changing Patterns of Global Migration and Remittances

From the overview:
Patterns of global migration and remittances have shifted in recent decades, even as both the number of immigrants and the amount of money they send home have grown, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the United Nations and the World Bank.
A rising share of international migrants now lives in today’s high-income countries such as the United States and Germany, while a growing share was born in today’s middle-income nations such as India and Mexico, the analysis finds.
Source: Pew Research

Download complete pdf publication: Changing Patterns of Global Migration and Remittances

VisIt: An End-User Tool for Visualizing and Analyzing Very Large Data

VisIt is a popular open source tool for visualizing and analyzing big data. It owes its success to its foci of increasing data understanding, large data support, and providing a robust and usable product, as well as its underlying design that fits today's supercomputing landscape. This report, which draws heavily from an earlier publication at the SciDAC Conference in 2011 describes the VisIt project and its accomplishments. 
Source: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory via eScholarship repository

Download pdf report: VisIt: An End-User Tool for Visualizing and Analyzing Very Large Data

Measuring ‘neighborhood’: Constructing network neighborhoods

"This study attempts to measure neighborhood boundaries in a novel way by creating network neighborhoods based on the density of social ties among adolescents. We create valued matrices based on social ties and physical distance between adolescents in the county. We then perform factor analyses on these valued matrices to detect these network neighborhoods. The resulting network neighborhoods show considerable spatial contiguity. We assess the quality of these aggregations by comparing the degree of agreement among residents assigned to the same network neighborhood when assessing various characteristics of their “neighborhood”, along with traditional definitions of neighborhoods from Census aggregations. Our findings suggest that these network neighborhoods are a valuable approach for “neighborhood” aggregation."
Source: U.C. Irvine retrieved from eScholarship repository

Download full pdf of Measuring ‘neighborhood’: Constructing network neighborhoods

Open Access Perspectives in the Humanities and Social Sciences

From the Foreword:
So long as books and journals lived in the world of physical products – and incredibly enough all too many academic books still languish on in this status alone – the roles of publishers and book retailers and book sellers all made sense. And modern publishing has generally developed in ways that in many countries (like the USA) and in some markets (like popular fiction) deliver remarkable value for money. But academic publishing has been a great exception to the rule, especially in high cost countries like the UK and (even more so) Australia. Paper books have for years competed unavailingly against journals, as academics and universities move towards setting (and to a large extent only discussing in classes) items that can be accessed directly and simultaneously by whole class groups from learning management systems like Moodle and Blackboard... Journals secured a key advantage by going digital first, radically improving their accessibility versus books, for a time and at a huge price.
Source: London School of Economics (LSE) Public Policy Group

Download full pdf publication of Open Access Perspectives in the Humanities and Social Sciences

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Dozen Facts about America’s Struggling Lower-Middle-Class

From the introduction:

This Hamilton Project policy paper provides a dozen facts on struggling lower-middle-class families focusing on two key challenges: food insecurity, and the low return to work for struggling lower-middle-class families who lose tax and transfer benefits as their earnings increase. These facts highlight the critical role of federal tax and transfer programs in providing income support to families struggling to remain out of poverty.
Source: Brookings Institution

Download pdf policy paper: A Dozen Facts about America’s Struggling Lower-Middle-Class

Parenthood and Leaving Home in Young Adulthood

With increases in non- marital fertility, the sequencing of transitions in early adulthood has become even more complex. Once the primary transition out of the parental home, marriage was first replaced by nonfamily living and cohabitation; more recently, many young adults have become parents before entering a coresidential union. Studies of leaving home, however, have not examined the role of early parenthood. Using the Young Adult Study of the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth ( n = 4,674), we use logistic regression to analyze parenthood both as a correlate of leaving home and as a route from the home. We find that even in mid- adolescence, becoming a parent is linked with leaving home. Coming from a more affluent family is linked with leaving home via routes that do not involve children rather than those that do, and having a warm relationship with either a mother or a father retards leaving home, particularly to nonfamily living, but is not related to parental routes out of the home.
Source: Maryland Population Research Center (University of Maryland)

Download pdf publication: Parenthood and Leaving Home in Young Adulthood

Even When Test Scores Go Up, Some Cognitive Abilities Don’t

From the APA press release:

To evaluate school quality, states require students to take standardized tests designed to measure the knowledge and skills that students have acquired in school — what psychological scientists refer to as “crystallized intelligence.” These high-stakes tests have been shown to predict students’ future educational attainment and adult employment and income.
But new research shows that schools whose students have the highest gains on test scores do not produce similar gains in “fluid intelligence” — the ability to analyze abstract problems and think logically.
The research, conducted by researchers at MIT, Harvard University, and Brown University, is forthcoming in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
Data from nearly 1,400 eighth-graders in the Boston public school system showed that some schools have successfully raised their students’ scores on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS). However, those schools had almost no effect on students’ performance on tests of fluid intelligence skills, such as working memory capacity, speed of information processing, and ability to solve abstract problems.
Read full story: Even When Test Scores Go Up, Some Cognitive Abilities Don’t

Friday, December 13, 2013

Faculty Perceptions of Students’ Information Literacy Skills Competencies

This research study investigates academic faculty perceptions of information literacy at eight New Jersey higher educational institutions.
The study examines the value and importance faculty place on information literacy (IL), the infusion of IL into curricular learning outcomes and an assessment of the competency levels students achieve in mastering IL skills. This study adds to the research in the field as a multi-institutional study conducted at both two-year and four-year institutions, investigating full-time and part-time faculty perspectives. Findings are based on results from an online survey, with a total of 353 usable responses.
Overall, faculty familiarity with IL concepts was high; faculty are overwhelmingly supportive of IL and are incorporating these skills into learning outcomes for their courses; and there are strong expectations of students’ achieving IL skills by graduation, but faculty perceptions are that students fall short of mastering those skills by the end of their programmes.
Source: Journal of Information Literacy

Download pdf of: Faculty Perceptions of Students’ Information Literacy Skills Competencies

Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises

From the description

Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change is an updated look at the issue of abrupt climate change and its potential impacts. This study differs from previous treatments of abrupt changes by focusing on abrupt climate changes and also abrupt climate impacts that have the potential to severely affect the physical climate system, natural systems, or human systems, often affecting multiple interconnected areas of concern. The primary timescale of concern is years to decades. A key characteristic of these changes is that they can come faster than expected, planned, or budgeted for, forcing more reactive, rather than proactive, modes of behavior.

Source: National Academies Press

Download full pdf publication: Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises

User recommendation in reciprocal and bipartite social networks—a case study of online dating

via Science Daily
Most online dating users don't choose a potential mate the same way they choose a movie to watch, but new research from the University of Iowa suggests they'd be more amorously successful if that's how their dating service operated.

Kang Zhao, assistant professor of management sciences in the Tippie College of Business, and UI doctoral student Xi Wang are part of a team that recently developed an algorithm for dating sites that uses a person's contact history to recommend more compatible partners. It's similar to the model Netflix uses to recommend movies users might like by tracking their viewing history.
Source: IEEE Intelligent Systems and University of Iowa

Download pdf of User recommendation in reciprocal and bipartite social networks—a case study of online dating

Preventing Revictimization in Teen Dating Relationships

Revictimization refers to the occurrence of two or more instances of violence and poses an enormous criminal justice problem . Adolescent girls in the child welfare system are at high risk of revictimization in adolescence. Most interventions with teens have focused on primary prevention (that is, prevention in teens not previously exposed to violence) of physical (usually not sexual) violence. In addition, interventions have frequently targeted youth in school settings, though youth in the child welfare system experience frequent transitions in housing/care that disrupt regular attendance at a single school. Thus, child welfare youth at high risk of revictimization may not receive prevention programming as consistently as their peers. Thus, the current study compared two active interventions designed to decrease revictimization in a diverse sample of adolescent girls in the child welfare system. The interventions targeted theoretically distinct risk factors for revictimization. The social learning/feminist (SL/F) intervention focused on concepts derived from social learning and feminist models of risk, such as sexism and beliefs about relationships. The risk detection/executive function (RD/EF) intervention focused on potential disruptions in the ability to detect and respond to risky situations/people due to problems in executive function.
Source: National Institute of Justice

 Download pdf of Preventing Revictimization in Teen Dating Relationships

Changing Travel Patterns in America’s Biggest Cities

Americans’ transportation habits have changed. The average American drives 7.6 percent fewer miles today than when per-capita driving peaked in 2004. A review of data from the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration and Census Bureau for America’s 100 most populous urbanized areas – which are home to over half of the nation’s population – shows that the decline in per-capita driving has taken place in a wide variety of regions. From 2006 to 2011, the average number of miles driven per resident fell in almost three-quarters of America’s largest urbanized areas for which up-to-date and accurate data are available. Most urbanized areas have also seen increases in public transit use and bicycle commuting and decreases in the share of households owning a car.
Source: U.S. Public Interest Research Group
Download full pdf publication: Transportation in Transition

13th Annual Digital Cities Survey – 2013 Results

From the press release:
This year’s top-ranked cities—Boston; Irving, Texas; Avondale, Ariz.; and Palo Alto, Calif.— improved transparency with open government initiatives and access to city services via mobile apps. The cities eliminated waste and enhanced service levels using agile project management, and reduced costs and improved services through advanced analytics and performance measures.

In its 13th year, the annual survey is a part of the Digital Communities Program and is open to all U.S. cities. The survey criteria focused on results achieved by cities - via the use of technology - in operating efficiencies, realizing strategic objectives, innovative or creative solutions or approaches, effective collaboration and transparency measures, among others.

Source: Center for Digital Government and the Digital Communities Program

Link to 13th Annual Digital Cities Survey – 2013 Results

How Americans Value Public Libraries in Their Communities

From the summary:

Americans strongly value the role of public libraries in their communities, both for providing access to materials and resources and for promoting literacy and improving the overall quality of life. Most Americans say they have only had positive experiences at public libraries, and value a range of library resources and services.

Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project

Download pdf report: How Americans Value Public Libraries in Their Communities
Download topline questionnaire (pdf)

Skilled Immigrants in the Global Economy: Prospects for International Cooperation on Recognition of Foreign Qualifications

Skilled migration is an important resource for governments seeking to build their country’s human-capital base and make the most of global trade and investment opportunities. In many cases, however, migrant professionals face barriers transferring their skills and experiences across borders — with professional regulation one such barrier. Mutual recognition agreements that set out clear rules for licensing practitioners who move between signatory countries represents one solution. But reaching agreement on mutual recognition is no easy feat. Overall, as this report explores, the challenge for policymakers is to determine how governments can get more out of MRAs than they have done to date.
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Download pdf of Skilled Immigrants in the Global Economy: Prospects for International Cooperation on Recognition of Foreign Qualifications

Contractors Who Worked in Conflict Zones Suffer High Rates of PTSD, Depression and Get Little Help

From the press release:
Private contractors who worked in Iraq, Afghanistan or other conflict environments over the past two years report suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression more often than military personnel who served in recent conflicts, according to a new RAND Corporation study.
Researchers found that among the contractors studied, 25 percent met criteria for PTSD, 18 percent screened positive for depression and half reported alcohol misuse. Despite their troubles, relatively few get help either before or after deployment.
Source: RAND Corporation
Download pdf of Out of the ShadowsThe Health and Well-Being of Private Contractors Working in Conflict Environments

APA Report on Gun Violence Identifies Precursors and Promising Solutions

Behavioral threat assessment identified as most effective prevention strategy

From the press release:
There is no single personality profile that can reliably predict who will use a gun in a violent act — but individual prediction is not necessary for violence prevention, according to a comprehensive report on gun violence released today by the American Psychological Association. 
The report summarizes the psychological research that has helped develop evidence-based programs that can prevent violence through both primary and secondary interventions. Primary prevention programs can reduce risk factors for violence in the general population. Secondary prevention programs can help individuals who are experiencing emotional difficulties or interpersonal conflicts before they escalate into violence.
Source: American Psychological Association

Download full pdf publication: Gun Violence: Prediction, Prevention, and Policy

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

How Researchers Can Develop Successful Relationships with Criminal Justice Practitioners

From the Summary:

The benefits of researcher‐practitioner collaborations within the criminal justice (CJ) system are many. They enhance responses to critical challenges facing communities. They lessen the gap between those who work on the front lines and those who study the system. They provide practitioners with evidence upon which to base their practices, services, and policies, and researchers with experience upon which to further their programs of research. By working together and pooling their distinct knowledge, experience, and talent, researchers and practitioners can create uniquely comprehensive projects and products that have the potential to change practices, policies, and services.
Source: U.S. National Institute of Justice

Download pdf: How Researchers Can Develop Successful Relationships with Criminal Justice Practitioners

View more reports from the NIJ-sponsored Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships Study

Monday, December 09, 2013

Sport participation and alcohol and illicit drug use in adolescents and young adults: A systematic review of longitudinal studies

Sport participation can play an important and positive role in the health and development of children and youth. One area that has recently been receiving greater attention is the role that sport participation might play in preventing drug and alcohol use among youth. The current study is a systematic review of 17 longitudinal studies examining the relationship between sport participation and alcohol and drug use among adolescents. Results indicated that sport participation is associated with alcohol use, with 82% of the included studies (14/17) showing a significant positive relationship. Sport participation, however, appears to be related to reduced illicit drug use, especially use of non-cannabis related drugs. Eighty percent of the studies found sport participation associated with decreased illicit drug use, while 50% of the studies found negative association between sport participation and marijuana use. Further investigation revealed that participation in sports reduced the risk of overall illicit drug use, but particularly during high school; suggesting that this may be a critical period to reduce or prevent the use of drugs through sport. Future research must better understand what conditions are necessary for sport participation to have beneficial outcomes in terms of preventing alcohol and/or illicit drug use. This has been absent in the extent literature and will be central to intervention efforts in this area.

Source: Addictive Behaviors

Download full pdf publiction of Sport participation and alcohol and illicit drug use in adolescents and young adults: A systematic review of longitudinal studies

Friday, December 06, 2013

Sector-Level Productivity, Structural Change, and Rebalancing in China

This paper studies structural changes underlying China's remarkable and unprecedented growth in recent years. While patterns of structural transformation across China's provinces are broadly in line with international experience, one important difference is in labor productivity differentials between services and the rest of the economy. Specifically, the gap between labor productivity in the rest of the economy and services has widened across China's provinces as they have moved from low to middle income, which is contrary to the trend observed in cross-country experience. Evidence from a panel of China's provinces suggests that credit and labor market frictions have inhibited labor productivity growth in services relatively more than in the rest of the economy. Reducing these frictions is essential for achieving the next stage of China's development, one in which the service sector will need to play a more prominent role as an engine of growth. The evidence also suggests that improving labor productivity in services will lift the consumption share of GDP, thereby advancing the needed rebalancing of domestic demand in China.
Source: International Monetary Fund 

Download pdf of Sector-Level Productivity, Structural Change, and Rebalancing in China

The danger of high home ownership: greater unemployment


On the basis of evidence from the United States and Europe, the authors maintain that high home ownership is a major reason for the high unemployment rates of the industrialized nations in the post-war era. They argue that governments should encourage more renting, as the Swiss and Germans do, and they should not give financial incentives for ownership.
Source: Chatman House / Competitive advange in the global economy

Download pdf of:  The danger of high home ownership: greater unemployment

Is the Demographic Dividend an Education Dividend?


The effect of changes in age structure on economic growth has been widely studied in the demography and population economics literature. The beneficial effect of changes in age structure after a decrease in fertility has become known as the “demographic dividend.” In this article, we reassess the empirical evidence on the associations among economic growth, changes in age structure, labor force participation, and educational attainment. Using a global panel of countries, we find that after the effect of human capital dynamics is controlled for, no evidence exists that changes in age structure affect labor productivity. Our results imply that improvements in educational attainment are the key to explaining productivity and income growth and that a substantial portion of the demographic dividend is an education dividend.

Source: Demography

Download pdf: Is the Demographic Dividend an Education Dividend?

Congressional Research: How Measures Are Brought to the Senate Floor: A Brief Introduction

From the introduction:
Two basic methods are used by the Senate to bring legislation to the floor for consideration. The Senate, at the majority leader’s request, grants unanimous consent to take up a matter or agrees to his motion to proceed to consider it. Because the motion to proceed is subject to debate in most circumstances, it is less frequently used. Both methods are derived from the basic premise that the Senate as a body may decide what matters it considers. The Senate may also use the same two methods to bring up executive business (nominations and treaties).
This report will be updated to reflect changes in Senate practice.
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Download full pdf publication: Congressional Research: How Measures Are Brought to the Senate Floor: A Brief Introduction

Qualitative evaluation of mental health services for clients with limited English proficiency

From the abstract:
This paper builds on promising results from quantitative evaluations by reporting on qualitative interviews with Latino and Vietnamese LEP clients in mental health services (N = 20) to examine the awareness, impact, and implications of these threshold language policies. 
Source: International Journal of Mental Health Systems [via eScholarship repository]

Download pdf: Qualitative evaluation of mental health services for clients with limited English proficiency

Media, messages, and medication: strategies to reconcile what patients hear, what they want, and what they need from medications

Over the past 30 years, patients’ options for accessing information about prescription drugs have expanded dramatically. In this narrative review, we address four questions: (1) What information sources are patients exposed to, and are they paying attention? (2) Is the information they hear credible and accurate? (3) When patients ask for a prescription, what do they really want and need? Finally, (4) How can physicians reconcile what patients hear, want, and need?
Source: BMC Medical Informatics and Decision-making [via eScholarship Repository]

Download pdf:  Media, messages, and medication: strategies to reconcile what patients hear, what they want, and what they need from medications

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Views on End-of-Life Medical Treatments

From the overview:
At a time of national debate over health care costs and insurance, a Pew Research Center survey on end-of-life decisions finds most Americans say there are some circumstances in which doctors and nurses should allow a patient to die. At the same time, however, a growing minority says that medical professionals should do everything possible to save a patient’s life in all circumstances.

When asked about end-of-life decisions for other people, two-thirds of Americans (66%) say there are at least some situations in which a patient should be allowed to die, while nearly a third (31%) say that medical professionals always should do everything possible to save a patient’s life. Over the last quarter-century, the balance of opinion has moved modestly away from the majority position on this issue. While still a minority, the share of the public that says doctors and nurses should do everything possible to save a patient’s life has gone up 9 percentage points since 2005 and 16 points since 1990.

Source: Pew Research

Read online: Views on End-of-Life Medical Treatments

Report and Data: America’s Place in the World 2013

Growing numbers of Americans believe that U.S. global power and prestige are in decline. And support for U.S. global engagement, already near a historic low, has fallen further.  The public thinks that the nation does too much to solve world problems, and increasing percentages want the U.S. to “mind its own business internationally” and pay more attention to problems here at home.

Yet this reticence is not an expression of across-the-board isolationism. Even as doubts grow about the United States’ geopolitical role, most Americans say the benefits from U.S. participation in the global economy outweigh the risks. And support for closer trade and business ties with other nations stands at its highest point in more than a decade.

These are among the principal findings of America’s Place in the World, a quadrennial survey of foreign policy attitudes conducted in partnership with the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a nonpartisan membership organization and think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy.
Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press

Download pdf complete report: America’s Place in the World 2013
Download pdf of topline questionnaire

New Data Released: Highlights of Women's Earnings in 2012

In 2012, women who were full-time wage and salary workers had median usual weekly earnings of $691. On average in 2012, women made about 81 percent of the median earnings of male full-time wage and salary workers ($854). In 1979, the first year for which comparable earnings data are available, women earned 62 percent of what men earned.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Download pdf Highlights of Women's Earnings in 2012

No Compelling Interest: The 'Birth Control' Mandate and Religious Freedom

Following the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a regulation (the "Mandate") requiring employers of a certain size -- including religious institutions and businesses led by religious individuals -- to provide their employees health insurance covering birth control, sterilization, and emergency contraception, with no co-pay. The rationale underlying the Mandate was contained in an Institute of Medicine report (the "Report") commissioned by the Department. The Report claimed that birth control and emergency contraception were "preventive medical care" for women and girls, claiming that they would lead to less unintended pregnancy and the associated health consequences thereof. This article takes a very close look at the sources cited by the Report for its preventive health care claims. It concludes that the Report is poorly sourced, poorly reasoned, biased and incomplete. The Report fails to show, inter alia: that more accessible contraception and emergency contraception have lowered rates of unintended pregnancy or abortion over time; and that "free" contraception and emergency contraception will provoke greater usage. It also fails to attend to the substantial risk of harming women's individual and social health, by further delinking sex and procreation. Because the Mandate burdens the free exercise of religion, it must demonstrate a "compelling state interest" in order to survive a constitutional challenge. Given the weakness of the factual case for the Mandate, it cannot meet the "compelling state interest" test.
Source; Villanova Law Review, Vol. 58, No. 3, pp. 379-436, 2013; George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 13-35. Available at SSRN

Download pdf of No Compelling Interest: The 'Birth Control' Mandate and Religious Freedom

Experiences with Military Online Learners: Toward a Mindful Practice


Active military service members are increasing as constituents of online distance learning environments in America. For instructors, first-time engagement with military learners poses challenges and opportunities. This paper considers military learners through a framework of stereotype, labeling, and culture. It explores the use of stereotypes in new social engagements and provides a brief discussion of the cultural differences that military learners bring to the learning environment. It presents a small-scale phenomenological study of military learners' experiences in online courses, and suggests that their values and concerns do not differ significantly from non-military students. It concludes that, as with all learners, the most effective way of engaging with military students is for the instructor to be actively present, critically aware, and genuinely open. This approach, mindful practice, is presented as a strategy for exploring and developing a deeper understanding of the military learner. Suggestions for such practice are offered in the concluding section.
Source: Journal of Online Learning and Teaching

Read online: Experiences with Military Online Learners: Toward a Mindful Practice

The Price Had Better Be Right Women’s Reactions to Sexual Stimuli Vary With Market Factors

Two experiments tested when and why women’s typically negative, spontaneous reactions to sexual imagery would soften. Sexual economics theory predicts that women want sex to be seen as rare and special. We reasoned that this outlook would translate to women tolerating sexual images more when those images are linked to high worth as opposed to low worth. We manipulated whether an ad promoted an expensive or a cheap product using a sexually charged or a neutral scene. As predicted, women found sexual imagery distasteful when it was used to promote a cheap product, but this reaction to sexual imagery was mitigated if the product promoted was expensive. This pattern was not observed among men. Furthermore, we predicted and found that sexual ads promoting cheap products heightened feelings of being upset and angry among women. These findings suggest that women’s reactions to sexual images can reveal deep-seated preferences about how sex should be used and understood. 

Source: Psychological Science

Download PDF of The Price Had Better Be Right Women’s Reactions to Sexual Stimuli Vary With Market Factors

How Learning a Musical Instrument Affects the Development of Skills

Despite numerous studies on skill development,we know little about the causal effects of music training on cognitive and non-cognitive skills. This study examines how long-term music training during childhood and youth affects the development of cognitive skills, school grades, personality, time use and ambition using representative data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). Our findings suggest that adolescents with music training have better cognitive skills and school grades and are more conscientious, open and ambitious. These effects do not differ by socio-economic status. Music improves cognitive and non-cognitive skills more than twice as much as sports, theater or dance. In order to address the non-random selection into music training, we take into account detailed information on parents, which may determine both the decision to pursue music lessons and educational outcomes: socio-economic background, personality, involvement with the child’s school, and taste for the arts. In addition, we control for the predicted probability to give up music before age 17 as well as the adolescent’s secondary school type. We provide evidence that our results are robust to both reverse causality and the existence of partly treated individuals in the control group.
Source: German Socio-Economic Panel paper No. 591. Available at SSRN

Download pdf of How Learning a Musical Instrument Affects the Development of Skills