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Thinking, Learning, Psychology, and Policy.

Eric Horowitz
267 posts

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  • May 12, 2014
  • 12:09 AM
  • 366 views

Why Every Racist Mentions Their Black Friend

by Eric Horowitz in peer-reviewed by my neurons

When something is thoroughly covered by both the New Republic and Urban Dictionary it has clearly reached a point of sufficient social saturation. So there’s no need to go into great detail about the trope of the accused racist who cites minority friends as proof that they don’t have a single racist bone in their body. […]... Read more »

  • April 14, 2014
  • 01:10 PM
  • 548 views

Does Access to Birth Control Reduce Poverty?

by Eric Horowitz in peer-reviewed by my neurons

In American politics the proliferation of birth control is important because of how it affects the eternal resting place of our immortal souls. But believe it or not, there are also non-metaphysical policy consequences to increasing access to birth control. A new study by a pair of economists — Stephanie Browne of J.P. Morgan and […]... Read more »

Browne, S., & LaLumia, S. (2014) The Effects of Contraception on Female Poverty. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. DOI: 10.1002/pam.21761  

  • April 6, 2014
  • 12:41 PM
  • 309 views

Look! A Morsel of Good Vaccination News

by Eric Horowitz in peer-reviewed by my neurons

It’s been a bad few weeks for vaccination. Whooping cough continues to make a comeback; it was revealed that some New York City schools have third-world vaccination rates; and a study led by Brendan Nyhan found that four different interventions were unable to shift vaccination intentions. So it may come as a surprise that a […]... Read more »

  • April 2, 2014
  • 12:34 AM
  • 345 views

The Connection Between Conspiracy Theories and Ambivalence

by Eric Horowitz in peer-reviewed by my neurons

It’s a good time to be in the conspiracy theory business, and not just because the birthplace of the U.S. President has been verified only 72 times. Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever to track down potentially suspicious information and discuss it with like-minded gumshoes. While certain people may be predisposed to believing in certain kinds […]... Read more »

van Harreveld, F., Rutjens, B., Schneider, I., Nohlen, H., & Keskinis, K. (2014) In Doubt and Disorderly: Ambivalence Promotes Compensatory Perceptions of Order. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. DOI: 10.1037/a0036099  

  • March 10, 2014
  • 08:29 AM
  • 435 views

Does Daylight Saving Time Affect Voter Turnout?

by Eric Horowitz in peer-reviewed by my neurons

Another daylight saving time (DST) has come and gone without triggering the collapse of society, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t had an impact. Research suggests that DST can influence energy use (pdf), the prevalence of workplace accidents (pdf), and the tendency to shirk work responsibilities by looking at random stuff on the internet (a […]... Read more »

  • March 6, 2014
  • 01:10 PM
  • 389 views

Sorry Talking Heads, You Know Nothing About What Matters in the NFL Playoffs

by Eric Horowitz in peer-reviewed by my neurons

For years, sports commentators who spew evidence-free clichés about the keys to athletic victory have monopolized our airwaves. But recently a technique some of them view as akin to witchcraft, but that’s more commonly known as “statistical analysis,” has begun to bring an end to their reign of terror. The latest volley in this ongoing […]... Read more »

  • March 3, 2014
  • 01:50 AM
  • 377 views

The Impenetrable Bulwark of Vaccination Lies

by Eric Horowitz in peer-reviewed by my neurons

America has a problem. Some people are spouting the lie that vaccines can cause autism and other people are believing them. This has led to some unfortunate false-equivalence when the issue is discussed, and wouldn’t you know it, that false equivalence makes people less likely to believe the truth. Sometimes there’s no false equivalence; people […]... Read more »

Nyhan, B., Reifler, J., Richey, S., & Freed, G.L. (2014) Effective Messages in Vaccine Promotion: A Randomized Trial. Pediatrics. info:/

  • February 26, 2014
  • 12:32 AM
  • 364 views

Here’s Why Adults Think Teenagers Sleep Too Much

by Eric Horowitz in peer-reviewed by my neurons

The teenage ability to sleep past noon is one of the great joys of adolescence. It’s also one of the great headaches of parenthood. On weekends parents are up bright and early, but try as they might, they can’t get their teenage children to make use of the morning hours. A simple explanation for why […]... Read more »

  • February 23, 2014
  • 11:31 AM
  • 316 views

Are People Wired to Help the Needy?

by Eric Horowitz in peer-reviewed by my neurons

Humans tend to be altruistic creatures. Don’t be fooled by what you see on Black Friday or days when Congress votes on food stamp funding — we like helping each other out. A popular explanation for our behavior is that we have evolved to care for those in need and feel empathy when we come […]... Read more »

  • February 13, 2014
  • 11:48 PM
  • 332 views

Sorry Russia, Olympic Hosts Don’t Get a Long-Term Medal Boost

by Eric Horowitz in peer-reviewed by my neurons

There’s been a lot of hand-wringing about the exorbitant cost of the Sochi Olympics. And with good reason! Purchasing everything necessary to build a lavish two-week global athletic competition is rarely a wise investment strategy. One allure of hosting the Olympics is the prospect of home-field advantage. Research suggests that countries actually do benefit from hosting […]... Read more »

Contreras, J.L., & Corvalan, A. (2014) Olympic Games: No legacy for sports. Economics Letters. DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2013.12.006  

  • January 24, 2014
  • 01:00 AM
  • 363 views

What Increases Trust in Driverless Cars?

by Eric Horowitz in peer-reviewed by my neurons

Driverless cars face a mountain of technological, legal, and regulatory barriers, but it seems likely that some type of autonomous vehicle will eventually reach the cusp of widespread use. At that point, assuming the vehicle hasn’t been made obsolete by the invention of the hoverboard, it will have to earn the trust and confidence of the people […]... Read more »

  • January 16, 2014
  • 01:15 AM
  • 388 views

There’s a Placebo Effect For Sleep

by Eric Horowitz in peer-reviewed by my neurons

The placebo effect is known far and wide. Give somebody a sugar pill, tell them it’s aspirin, and they’ll feel better. What’s less well-known is that there’s evidence of the placebo effect in domains that go beyond the commonly known medical scenarios. One study (pdf) found that hotel maids who were told their work was good […]... Read more »

Draganich C, & Erdal K. (2014) Placebo Sleep Affects Cognitive Functioning. Journal of experimental psychology. Learning, memory, and cognition. PMID: 24417326  

  • December 16, 2013
  • 12:49 AM
  • 348 views

The Offensive Nature of Cheap Crime

by Eric Horowitz in peer-reviewed by my neurons

Jean Valjean’s lengthy prison term for stealing a loaf of bread may be the most well-known (albeit fictional) example of a punishment that didn’t fit the crime, but in the real world things like mandatory minimums have forced similar ordeals on too many people. While there are numerous legal and political issues that have help […]... Read more »

Xie, W., Yu, B., Zhou, X., Sedikides, C., & Vohs, K. (2013) Money, Moral Transgressions, and Blame. Journal of Consumer Psychology. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcps.2013.12.002  

  • December 6, 2013
  • 12:39 AM
  • 385 views

What Do You Do When the Traffic Light Turns Yellow?

by Eric Horowitz in peer-reviewed by my neurons

It’s possible that self-driving cars will obviate the need to ask questions about human decision-making behind the wheel, but until that happens there’s a lot of utility in figuring out why drivers drive in a certain way. Along these lines, a new study from a Alberto Megías and his collaborators at the University of Granada poses […]... Read more »

Megías, A., Di Stasi, L.L., Maldonado, A., Catena, A., & Cándido, A. (2013) Emotion-laden stimuli influence our reactions to traffic lights. Transportation Research Part F. DOI: 10.1016/j.trf.2013.09.017  

  • November 15, 2013
  • 12:50 AM
  • 416 views

A Theory About Why the Powerful Don’t Care For the Powerless

by Eric Horowitz in peer-reviewed by my neurons

Humans are skilled at perceiving the world in a way that makes life more enjoyable. One thing that helps with this goal is the tendency to view the world as a fair and orderly place, a bias often termed the “Just-world fallacy.” There are benefits to believing injustice is rare. It makes you feel nice […]... Read more »

Callan, M.J., Harvey, A.J., & Sutton, R.M. (2013) Rejecting Victims of Misfortune Reduces Delay Discounting. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2013.11.002  

  • November 4, 2013
  • 11:42 PM
  • 465 views

One More Reason to Not Let Your Kids Watch TV

by Eric Horowitz in peer-reviewed by my neurons

“Theory of Mind” (ToM) is the term psychologists use to describe the ability to interpret the distinct mental states of others. The knowledge that each person’s head contains a unique conception of the world is the first step toward understanding what others want and feel. Developing ToM is an important part of childhood. It’s what […]... Read more »

Nathanson, A.I., Sharp, M.L., Alade, F., Rasmussen, E.E., & Christy, K. (2013) The Relation Between Television Exposure and Theory of Mind Among Preschoolers. Journal of Communication. DOI: 10.1111/jcom.12062  

  • October 22, 2013
  • 12:10 AM
  • 379 views

Does It Matter If Stock Analysts Disclose Their Investments?

by Eric Horowitz in peer-reviewed by my neurons

Important financial regulations may currently be withering on the vine, but patriotic wall street job creators still have some rules they must obey. One such rule, which comes from the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002, mandates that stock analysts disclose conflicts of interests. Because analysts stand to profit if hordes of people try to buy stocks […]... Read more »

  • October 22, 2013
  • 12:10 AM
  • 342 views

Does it Matter if Stock Analysts Disclose Their Investments?

by Eric Horowitz in peer-reviewed by my neurons

Important financial regulations may currently be withering on the vine, but patriotic wall street job creators still have some rules they must obey. One such rule, which comes from the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002, mandates that stock analysts disclose conflicts of interests. Because analysts stand to profit if hordes of people try to buy stocks […]... Read more »

  • October 3, 2013
  • 08:29 AM
  • 448 views

Why Does the GOP Hate Food Stamps But Love Farm Subsidies?

by Eric Horowitz in peer-reviewed by my neurons

Perhaps the most striking thing about the GOP’s plan to shut down the government sans a long- or short-term strategy is that it’s arguably not the most incomprehensible position they’ve taken in the past month. That award goes to their comittment to ravage spending on food stamps while preserving subsides for a much wealthier group […]... Read more »

  • September 19, 2013
  • 01:21 PM
  • 465 views

Is Educational Attainment a Privilege or an Accomplishment?

by Eric Horowitz in peer-reviewed by my neurons

I have a new article at Pacific Standard about why people are motivated to believe in meritocracy. (Go read it. I promise it’s better than what’s about to follow.) One thing I don’t talk about is the degree to which certain accomplishments are viewed as indicative of meritocracy. The big example of this is education. […]... Read more »

Eisenkopf, G., Fischbacher, U., & Follmi-Heusi, F. (2013) Unequal opportunities and distributive justice. Journal of Economic Behavior . DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2013.07.011  

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