Type of Person

Kevin Lewis

September 22, 2022

When an irresistible prejudice meets immovable politics: Black legal gun ownership undermines racially resentful White Americans’ gun rights advocacy
Gerald Higginbotham, David Sears & Lauren Goldstein
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming


Historical evidence suggests that White Americans’ support for gun rights (i.e., opposition to gun control) is challenged by Black Americans exercising their legal rights to guns (e.g., The Black Panther Party and the Mulford Act of 1967). Here, we examined two empirical questions. First, we tested whether White Americans implicitly racialize gun rights as “White.” In a preregistered study employing a novel IAT, racially resentful White Americans indirectly associated gun rights with White (and not Black) people. Moreover, this association was not primarily based in partisanship. Racial resentment overwhelmed the effect of party identification in explaining this association (Study 1). Given racial resentment typically predicts stronger support for gun rights (Filindra & Kaplan, 2015; O'Brien et al., 2013), we next examined whether Black legal gun ownership undermines gun rights support among racially resentful White Americans across two studies (total N = 773), including a nationally representative sample of White partisans. In both studies, racially resentful White Americans expressed less support for a gun right (i.e., concealed-carry) when informed that Black (vs. White) Americans showed greater utilization of the gun right (Studies 2 and 3). Study 3 provided initial evidence suggesting that the observed reduced support is more closely linked to concerns about identity than security. Overall, these results support that Black legal gun ownership can reduce opposition to gun control among gun rights’ most entrenched advocates.

Gender-Affirming Hormonal Treatment Changes Neural Processing of Emotions in Trans Men: An fMRI Study
Meltem Kiyar et al.
Psychoneuroendocrinology, forthcoming

Methods: Thirty transgender men (TM), 30 cisgender men (CM), and 35 cisgender women (CW) underwent 3 Tesla functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while passively viewing emotional faces (happy, angry, surprised faces) at two timepoints (T0 and T1). At T0 all participants were hormone-naïve, while TM immediately commenced testosterone supplementation at T0. The second scanning session (T1) occurred after 6-10 months of GAHT in TM. All 3 groups completed both T0 and T1

Results: GAHT in TM shifted the neural profile whilst processing emotions from a sex-assigned at birth pattern at T0 (similar to CW) to a consistent with gender identity pattern at T1 (similar to CM). Overall, the brain patterns stayed the same for the cis people at T0 and T1.

Born to Be Wild: Second-to-Fourth Digit Length Ratio and Risk Preferences
Brian Finley, Adriaan Kalwij & Arie Kapteyn
Economics & Human Biology, forthcoming


The second-to-fourth digit length ratio of an individual’s hand (digit ratio) is a putative biomarker for prenatal exposure to testosterone. We examine the hypothesized negative association between the digit ratio and the preference for risk taking within a large U.S. population survey. Our statistical framework provides a cardinal proxy for the true digit ratio based on ordinal digit ratio measurements and accounts for measurement error under the assumptions of Gaussianity and time-invariant true digit ratios. Our empirical findings support the hypothesis and suggest a meaningful biological basis for risk preferences.

Race and Redistribution in the United States: An Experimental Analysis
Jesper Akesson et al.
NBER Working Paper, September 2022


Scholars have suggested that White American support for welfare is related to beliefs about the racial composition of welfare recipients. While a host of observational studies lend credence to this view, it has not yet been tested using the tools of randomized inference. In this study, we do this by conducting two incentive-compatible experiments (n = 9,775) in which different participants are randomly given different signals about the share of welfare recipients who identify as Black and White. Our analysis yields four main findings. First, 86% of respondents greatly overestimate the share of welfare recipients who are Black, with the average respondent overestimating this by almost a factor of two. Second, White support for welfare is inversely related to the proportion of welfare recipients who are Black — a causal claim that we establish using treatment assignment as an instrument for beliefs about the racial composition of welfare recipients. Third, just making White participants think about the racial composition of welfare recipients reduces their support for welfare. Fourth, providing White respondents with accurate information about the racial composition of welfare recipients (relative to not receiving any information) does not significantly influence their support for welfare.

Sexism, Actually? Analysis of Ambivalent Sexism in Popular Movies
Morgan Brewington, Jana Hackathorn & Alex Velez
Sexuality & Culture, October 2022, Pages 1541–1560


The current study examined the depiction of sexist behaviors in film. It was generally expected that characters’ behaviors in popular films would mirror modern American culture. We expected benevolent sexism would be more prevalent than hostile sexism or sexual assault behaviors. We also expected that sexism behaviors would be depicted less in recent movies than in “classic” movies. Lastly, we expected more sexism behaviors would be found in action movies. We found that sexism was ubiquitous in the films, but that benevolent sexism was by far more prevalent. However, the frequency of sexist behaviors has not decreased over time. Lastly, we found that all genres portrayed sexism, but that characters in sci-fi/fantasy films exhibited the least amount of sexist behaviors. These findings are important as they help us to become more critical consumers of film so as not to normalize sexism and further reinforce damaging gender stereotypes.

Gender relativism: How context shapes what is seen as male and female
Ashley Martin
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming


This research explores the concept of gender relativism, whereby “gender” — or what is seen as “male” and “female” — changes as a function of context. Seven studies find that people attach gender to seemingly “gender-neutral” stimuli — bifurcating information by “male” and “female” — but that the gender of the stimuli changes as a function of the comparison set. Using stimuli from past work, including shapes (Study 1), species (Study 2), “gender-neutral” traits (Studies 3–4), faces (Study 5), and names (Studies 6–7), these studies demonstrate that gender is relative, where characteristics deemed “female” or “male” exist within a given context. Importantly, these relative evaluations shift perceptions of both gender (i.e., stereotypes) and physical sex (i.e., height, weight) characteristics, with downstream consequences for bias and target judgments (Studies 4–7). In contrast to most work in psychology, which studies gender as an independent variable (to predict differences in stereotypes and outcomes), this work calls for gender to also be considered as a dependent variable that can change as a function of context. Together, these results have theoretical implications for the construct and measurement of gender in psychology, as well as practical implications for gender stereotyping, bias, and discrimination.

Racial Biases in Prices: Fair Pricing Distortions at the Horse Track
Spencer Barnes
University of Texas Working Paper, August 2022


Horse betting markets have four features -- no systematic risk, extremely short termination windows, posted payouts, and readily available public information -- that make them ideal to test theories of racial biases in prices by evading typical problems in other areas of fair pricing research. Leveraging trainer surname frequencies to proxy for ethnicity, this study finds evidence of a racial bias in pricing, especially at Southern U.S. tracks and races with standard characteristics, consistent with a theory of racial preferences and inconsistent with a theory of racial stereotyping.

Preferences for perceived attractiveness in modern dance
Rachel Lau & Brooke Krause
Journal of Cultural Economics, September 2022, Pages 483–517


The role of attractiveness in the arts, an area that inherently deals with esthetics, is one way in which consumer decisions may have economic effects. Focusing on consumer (or audience member) preferences, this paper explores the relationship between audience members’ perceived attractiveness of dancers and their willingness to pay (WTP) for a modern dance performance. One of our contributions is through primary data collected using a series of four video recordings of self-choreographed modern dance solos. Using a dataset of 1,989 observations, we investigate the extent that the audience members’ perceived attractiveness of a dancer is related to their WTP for a modern dance performance using tobit and binomial logit models. The findings reveal evidence of a positive relationship between dancers’ perceived attractiveness and WTP for modern dance performances and an even stronger relationship between audience members’ perceived attractiveness of dancers and their willingness to re-watch or watch more of the performance. Aside from the performing dancer, the audience members’ perceived attractiveness of the other dancer also has a significant relationship with WTP and willingness to watch the performance.



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