Archive for 'News about research'

They Remember Memorable Music

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

Who remembers memorable music? This study examines one aspect of that question:

dagreenwoodA Song to Remember: Emerging Adults Recall Memorable Music,” Julia R. Lippman and Dara N. Greenwood [pictured here], Journal of Adolescent Research, vol. 27, no. 6 (2012): 751-774.

BONUS: Professor Greenwood’s “Joking in the face of death: A terror management approach to humor production

Candy elasticity as a sticky, gooey innovation in economics

Saturday, July 25th, 2015

Economics, candy, and politics have found a new way to mix. This study makes that, at least, clear:

karlanCandy Elasticity: Halloween Experiments on Public Political Statements,” Julian Jamison and Dean Karlan [pictured here], Economic Inquiry, epub June 15, 2015. (Thanks to Sendhil Mullainathan for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Washington, DC, and Yale University, explain:

We conducted experiments during trick-or-treating on Halloween in a predominantly liberal neighborhood in the weeks preceding the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. We decorated one side of a house porch with McCain material in 2008 (Romney material in 2012) and the other side with Obama material. Children were asked to choose a side, with half receiving the same candy on either side and half receiving more candy to go to the McCain/Romney side. This yields a “candy elasticity” of children’s political support. Results vary by age: children ages nine and older were two to three times more likely to choose the Republican candidate when offered double candy for voting Republican compared to when offered equal candy, whereas children ages eight and under were particularly sticky and did not waver in their choice of candidate despite the offer of double candy….

Children’s responses to the candy incentives varied by age, however. Younger children’s preference for Obama was sticky with respect to price, but older children’s preference for Obama was elastic. This result was first observed in 2008 and then successfully replicated in the 2012 experiment. We discuss several interpretations in the conclusion, including a differential response to symbolic versus monetary rewards, a parental-contamination story for the younger children, and the simplest possibility: that younger children just didn’t understand the task as much and so made the political choice they did understand.

Musical taste and cognitive style, together at last

Friday, July 24th, 2015

Here’s a theory that’s complicated, so it must be true, maybe:

SimonBaronCohenMusical Preferences are Linked to Cognitive Styles,” David M. Greenberg, Simon Baron-Cohen [pictured here],  David J. Stillwell, Michal Kosinski, Peter J. Rentfrow, PLoS ONE 10(7): e0131151. (Thanks to Neil Martin for bringing this to our attention.) The authors explain:

“Why do we like the music we do? Research has shown that musical preferences and personality are linked, yet little is known about other influences on preferences such as cognitive styles. To address this gap, we investigated how individual differences in musical preferences are explained by the empathizing-systemizing (E-S) theory. ”

BONUS: Some researchers suggest there is no clearly definable thing that ought to be called a “cognitive style”.

BONUS: Awkward moments run in the family

A Model of Motion Sickness

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

Takahiro Wada, Normia Kamiji, and Shunichi Doi of Ritsumeikan University recently examined an application of a model of motion sickness incidence (MSI) (which Wada, Kamiji, and others developed in a 2007 paper) to vehicle passengers. They generalized earlier work by including more types of motion — especially head rotation — and they used the model to examine the effect of head-tilt strategy on motion sickness:

Thus, the effect of the head tilt strategy on motion sickness was investigated by the proposed mathematical model. The head movements of drivers and passengers were measured in slalom driving. Then, the MSI of the drivers and that of the passengers predicted by the proposed model were compared.

The model (developed by Kamiji et al. in 2007) of motion sickness used by Wada et al. in their recent paper.

Bonus: Motion sickness is often a Rotating Hell (not to be confused with Rotating HeII).

Medical trial of soap opera videos streamed to smartphones

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

The first medical effects of a soap opera series that streams to smartphones show no significant advantage over phone-texting clear medical messages, but the soap opera is popular, says this study:

A randomized controlled trial of soap opera videos streamed to smartphones to reduce risk of sexually transmitted human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in young urban African American women,” Rachel Jones, Donald R. Hoover, Lorraine J. Lacroix, Nursing Outlook, vol. 61, no. 4, July–August 2013, pp. 205–215.e3. (Thanks to Adrian Levitsky for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at Northeastern University and Rutgers University, report:

Love, Sex, and Choices (LSC) is a soap opera video series created to reduce HIV sex risk in women.

METHODS: LSC was compared to text messages in a randomized trial in 238 high-risk mostly Black young urban women. 117 received 12-weekly LSC videos, 121 received 12-weekly HIV prevention messages on smartphones. Changes in unprotected sex with high risk partners were compared by mixed models.

RESULTS: Unprotected sex with high risk men significantly declined over 6 months post-intervention for both arms, from 21-22 acts to 5-6 (p < 0.001). This reduction was 18% greater in the video over the text arm, though this difference was not statistically significant. However, the LSC was highly popular and viewers wanted the series to continue.

CONCLUSION: This is the first study to report streaming soap opera video episodes to reduce HIV risk on smartphones. LSC holds promise as an Internet intervention that could be scaled-up and combined with HIV testing.

Here’s the pilot episode of the soap opera series:

Here’s the clinical trials registration for part of the project — a part which (the registration says) has not yet begun:

ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02493647

This study is not yet open for participant recruitment.
Verified July 2015 by Northeastern University.

Estimated Enrollment: 912
Study Start Date: July 2015
Estimated Study Completion Date: March 2019
Estimated Primary Completion Date: December 2017 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)

PURPOSE: This study tests a 12-episode Internet-based, guide enhanced Love, Sex, & Choices (LSC) HIV prevention soap opera video series for smartphones or computers, in a randomized clinical trial among predominately at-risk African American urban women.

The following hypotheses are to be tested: 1) The LSC treatment arm will show lower unprotected sex risk, meaning lower frequency of unprotected sex (vaginal + anal) with high risk partners at 6 months post intervention compared to an attention control arm 2) The LSC treatment arm will show higher participation in HIV testing at 6 months post intervention compared to the control.