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Archive for the ‘arts and humanities’ Category

The Paradox of Publicity: How Awards Can Negatively Affect the Evaluation of Quality

April 16, 2014 Comments off

The Paradox of Publicity: How Awards Can Negatively Affect the Evaluation of Quality
Source: Social Science Research Network

Although increases in status often lead to more favorable inferences about quality in subsequent evaluations, in this paper, we examine a setting in which an increase to an actor’s status results in less favorable quality evaluations, contrary to what much of sociological and management theory would predict. Comparing thousands of reader reviews on Goodreads.com of 64 English-language books that either won or were short-listed for prestigious book awards between 2007 and 2011, we find that prizewinning books tend to attract more readers following the announcement of an award and that readers’ ratings of award-winning books tend to decline more precipitously following the announcement of an award relative to books that were named as finalists but did not win. We explain this surprising result, focusing on two mechanisms whereby signals of quality that tend to promote adoption can subsequently have a negative impact on evaluation. First, we propose that the audience evaluating a high-status actor or object tends to shift as a result of a public status shock, like an award, increasing in number but also in diverse tastes. We outline how this shift might translate into less favorable evaluations of quality. Second, we show that the increase in popularity that tends to follow a status shock is off-putting to some, also resulting in more negative evaluations. We show that our proposed mechanisms together explain the negative effect of status on evaluations in the context of the literary world.

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The Voice of Emotion across Species: How Do Human Listeners Recognize Animals’ Affective States?

April 14, 2014 Comments off

The Voice of Emotion across Species: How Do Human Listeners Recognize Animals’ Affective States?
Source: PLoS ONE

Voice-induced cross-taxa emotional recognition is the ability to understand the emotional state of another species based on its voice. In the past, induced affective states, experience-dependent higher cognitive processes or cross-taxa universal acoustic coding and processing mechanisms have been discussed to underlie this ability in humans. The present study sets out to distinguish the influence of familiarity and phylogeny on voice-induced cross-taxa emotional perception in humans. For the first time, two perspectives are taken into account: the self- (i.e. emotional valence induced in the listener) versus the others-perspective (i.e. correct recognition of the emotional valence of the recording context). Twenty-eight male participants listened to 192 vocalizations of four different species (human infant, dog, chimpanzee and tree shrew). Stimuli were recorded either in an agonistic (negative emotional valence) or affiliative (positive emotional valence) context. Participants rated the emotional valence of the stimuli adopting self- and others-perspective by using a 5-point version of the Self-Assessment Manikin (SAM). Familiarity was assessed based on subjective rating, objective labelling of the respective stimuli and interaction time with the respective species. Participants reliably recognized the emotional valence of human voices, whereas the results for animal voices were mixed. The correct classification of animal voices depended on the listener’s familiarity with the species and the call type/recording context, whereas there was less influence of induced emotional states and phylogeny. Our results provide first evidence that explicit voice-induced cross-taxa emotional recognition in humans is shaped more by experience-dependent cognitive mechanisms than by induced affective states or cross-taxa universal acoustic coding and processing mechanisms.

Finding That College Students Cluster in Majors Based on Differing Patterns of Spatial Visualization and Language Processing Speeds

April 14, 2014 Comments off

Finding That College Students Cluster in Majors Based on Differing Patterns of Spatial Visualization and Language Processing Speeds
Source: Sage Open

For over 30 years, researchers such as Eisenberg and McGinty have investigated the relationship between 3-D visualization skills and choice of college major. Results of the present study support the fact that science and math majors tend to do well on a measure of 3-D visualization. Going beyond these earlier studies, the present study investigated whether a measure of Rapid Automatic Naming of Objects—which is normally used to screen for elementary school students who might struggle with speech, language, literacy, and numeracy—would further differentiate the choice of majors by college students. Far more research needs to be conducted, but results indicated that college students differentially clustered in scatterplot quadrants defined by the two screening assessments. Furthermore, several of these clusters, plus a statistical multiplier, may lead to a new understanding of students with phonological processing differences, learning disabilities, and speech and language impairments.

New Report Documents That Liberal Arts Disciplines Prepare Graduates for Long-Term Professional Success

April 10, 2014 Comments off

New Report Documents That Liberal Arts Disciplines Prepare Graduates for Long-Term Professional Success
Source: Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS)

The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) released today a new report on earnings and long-term career paths for college graduates with different undergraduate majors. In How Liberal Arts and Sciences Majors Fare in Employment, authors Debra Humphreys and Patrick Kelly analyze data from the 2010-11 US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and provide answers to some common questions posed by students, parents, and policy makers who are increasingly concerned about the value of college degrees.

Responding to concerns about whether college is still worth it and whether liberal arts majors provide a solid foundation for long-term employment and career success, the report compares earnings trajectories and career pathways for liberal arts majors with the earnings trajectories and career pathways for those majoring in science and mathematics, engineering, and professional or preprofessional fields like business or education.

“Recent attacks on the liberal arts by ill-informed commentators and policy makers have painted a misleading picture of the value of the liberal arts to individuals and our communities,” said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider. “As the findings in this report demonstrate, majoring in a liberal arts field can and does lead to successful and remunerative careers in a wide array of professions.”

Taxes and Inequality

March 24, 2014 Comments off

Taxes and Inequality
Source: Urban Institute

This paper reviews historical trends in economic inequality and tax policy’s role in reducing it. It documents the various reasons why income inequality continues to rise, paying particular attention to the interplay between regressive and progressive federal and state taxes. The report also considers the trade-off between the social welfare gains that a more equal distribution of incomes would provide, and the economic costs of using the tax system to reduce inequality, highlighting the fact that income inequality reflects an amalgam of factors. The optimal policy response reflects that complexity.

AU — ‘That’s it, you’re out’: disorderly conduct in the House of Representatives from 1901 to 2013

March 24, 2014 Comments off

‘That’s it, you’re out’: disorderly conduct in the House of Representatives from 1901 to 2013
Source: Parliamentary Library of Australia

Executive summary

  • Of the 1,093 members who have served in the House of Representatives from 1901 to the end of the 43rd Parliament in August 2013, 300 (27.4%) have been named and/or suspended or ‘sin binned’ for disorderly behaviour in the Chamber. This study outlines the bases of the House’s authority to deal with disorderly behaviour, and the procedures available to the Speaker to act on such behaviour. It then analyses the 1,352 instances of disorderly behaviour identified in the official Hansard record with a view to identifying patterns over time, and the extent and degree of such behaviour. It does not attempt to identify the reasons why disorderly behaviour occurs as they are quite complex and beyond the scope of this paper.
  • The authority for the rules of conduct in the House of Representatives is derived from the Australian Constitution. The members themselves have broad responsibility for their behaviour in the House. However, it is the role of the Speaker or the occupier of the Chair to ensure that order is maintained during parliamentary proceedings. This responsibility is derived from the standing orders. Since its introduction in 1994, the ‘sin bin’ has become the disciplinary action of choice for Speakers.
  • With the number of namings and suspensions decreasing in recent years, the ‘sin bin’ (being ordered from the chamber for one hour) appears to have been successful in avoiding the disruption caused by the naming and suspension procedure. However, as the number of ‘sin bin’ sanctions has increased, it may be that this penalty has contributed to greater disorder because members may view it as little more than a slap on the wrist and of little deterrent value.
  • Most disorderly behavior (90%) occurs during Question Time and in the parliamentary proceedings which often take place during or just after it. Such behaviour also tends to increase daily as the sitting week progresses.
  • Front benchers and parliamentary office holders account for about 57% of instances of disorderly behaviour. Opposition members are sanctioned 90% of the time no matter which party occupies that role. No prime minister has been sanctioned for disorderly behaviour but two deputy prime ministers and seven opposition leaders have, although not all have been ordered from the House. Christopher Pyne leads the list of members most disciplined on 45 followed by Anthony Albanese on 34. Women members have accounted for 15% of disciplinary actions since they first entered Parliament in 1943.
  • Members were disciplined most frequently under the Speakership of Peter Slipper followed by Anna Burke, David Hawker and Harry Jenkins.
  • On four measures of disorderly behaviour (number of disciplinary actions, number of sitting weeks in which a member was disciplined, number of days when four or more members were disciplined, number of different members disciplined), the Rudd/Gillard Parliaments (42nd and 43rd, 2008–2013) were more disorderly than the Howard Parliaments (38th to 41st, 1996–2007). The most disorderly Parliament was the 43rd.

Speaking of Corporate Social Responsibility

March 24, 2014 Comments off

Speaking of Corporate Social Responsibility
Source: Harvard Business School Working Papers

We argue that the language spoken by corporate decision makers influences their firms’ social responsibility and sustainability practices. Linguists suggest that obligatory future-time-reference (FTR) in a language reduces the psychological importance of the future. Prior research has shown that speakers of strong FTR languages (such as English, French, and Spanish) exhibit less future-oriented behavior (Chen, 2013). Yet, research has not established how this mechanism may affect the future-oriented activities of corporations. We theorize that companies with strong-FTR languages as their official/working language would have less of a future orientation and so perform worse in future-oriented activities such as corporate social responsibility (CSR) compared to those in weak-FTR language environments. Examining thousands of global companies across 59 countries from 1999 to 2011, we find support for our theory and further that the negative association between FTR and CSR performance is weaker for firms that have greater exposure to diverse global languages as a result of (a) being headquartered in countries with a higher degree of globalization, (b) having a higher degree of internationalization, and (c) having a CEO with more international experience. Our results suggest that language use by corporations is a key cultural variable that is a strong predictor of CSR and sustainability.

Lessons for a Negotiated Settlement in Afghanistan — If History Serves as a Guide

March 21, 2014 Comments off

Lessons for a Negotiated Settlement in Afghanistan — If History Serves as a Guide
Source: RAND Corporation

Historical insurgencies that ended in settlement after a stalemate have generally followed a seven-step path. A “master narrative” distilled from these cases could help guide and assess the progress toward a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan.

Copyright, Permissions and Fair Use among Visual Artists and the Academic and Museum Visual Arts Communities

March 17, 2014 Comments off

Copyright, Permissions and Fair Use among Visual Artists and the Academic and Museum Visual Arts Communities (PDF)
Source: College Art Association
From press release:

CAA is pleased to announce the publication of Copyright, Permissions and Fair Use among Visual Artists and the Academic and Museum Visual Arts Communities: An Issues Report. Endorsed by CAA’s Board of Directors on January 24, 2014, the report is now available on CAA’s website (here) and will also be distributed in printed form at the upcoming Annual Conference in Chicago.  The report was written by Patricia Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi, professors of communications and law, respectively, at American University; and graduate fellows Bryan Bello and Tijana Milosevic.  Aufderheide and Jaszi are the project’s lead researchers and two of its principal investigators. Their report summarizes 100 interviews of art historians, artists, museum curators, editors and publishers describing issues related to the use of third-party images in creative and scholarly work. The research was further informed by a CAA membership survey on fair use and a review of relevant literature and legal precedents.

This issues report reveals a situation in which uncertainty about copyright law and the availability of fair use, particularly in the digital era, has made many practitioners risk-averse, too often abandoning or distorting projects due to real or perceived challenges in using copyrighted materials. The report was read by the project’s Principal Investigators, Project Advisors, and members of the CAA Task Force on Fair Use, its Committee on Intellectual Property, and a Community Practices Advisory Committee. A full list of these individuals appears as an appendix in the report.

The Evolution of the Book Industry: Implications for U.S. Book Manufacturers and Printers

March 13, 2014 Comments off

The Evolution of the Book Industry: Implications for U.S. Book Manufacturers and Printers
Source: Ricoh

There is not a single book industry. There are many subsectors within the book industry; the major categories include: Trade books, educational books, scientifi c/professional books, children’s books, art/coffee table books and religious books. For the purposes of this research, we focused on the two largest sectors, trade books and educational books. The majority of the output is black text, with limited four-color usage in educational books.

Both trade books and educational book industries are undergoing tremendous changes. Like many industries undergoing change, the changes tend to be driven by new technologies enabling a shift in who controls the value of that industry. The Internet laid the tracks from which new technologies could be deployed, enabling shifts in control over sales/distribution, publishing and where content could be displayed. Combined, these new technologies caused a decline in printed book purchases that since the 2008/2009 recession has run between 4 to 5 percent annually.

But there is a silver lining, a lining that is benefiting the digital production printing industry. With orders for books becoming ever smaller and more frequent, and with more titles being introduced annually than ever before (due to self-publishing and backorder list titles), production inkjet printing technology is solving problems faced by book manufacturers related to the compression of order size, handling increases in order frequency and reducing manual labor through automation.

From Distant Admirers to Library Lovers–and beyond: A typology of public library engagement in America

March 13, 2014 Comments off

From Distant Admirers to Library Lovers–and beyond: A typology of public library engagement in America
Source: Pew Research Internet Project

The digital era has brought profound challenges and opportunities to countless institutions and industries, from universities to newspapers to the music industry, in ways both large and small. Institutions that were previously identified with printed material—and its attendant properties of being expensive, scarce, and obscure—are now considering how to take on new roles as purveyors of information, connections, and entertainment, using the latest formats and technologies.

The impact of digital technologies on public libraries is particularly interesting because libraries serve so many people (about half of all Americans ages 16 and older used a public library in some form in the past year, as of September 2013) and correspondingly try to meet a wide variety of needs. This is also what makes the task of public libraries—as well as governments, news organizations, religious groups, schools, and any other institution that is trying to reach a wide swath of the American public—so challenging: They are trying to respond to new technologies while maintaining older strategies of knowledge dissemination.

Hat tip: INFODocket

The Gender Gap in Art Museum Directorships

March 12, 2014 Comments off

The Gender Gap in Art Museum Directorships (PDF)
Source: Association of Art Museum Directors
From press release:

  • Across all AAMD member museums, women hold less than 50% of directorships. Comparatively, 48% of CEOs at non-profits with budgets above $1 m are women and 5% of Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies are led by women.
  • The average female director’s salary lags behind that of the average male director. Female art museum directors earn 79¢ for every dollar earned by male art museum directors.
  • The overall disparities in the number of female art museum directors and in their salaries are mostly driven by the largest museums. These museums have operating budgets of more than $15 million and represent roughly the top quarter of AAMD member museums by operating budget. At these largest museums, female directors earn 71 cents on average for every dollar earned by male directors.
  • For the other three quarters of member museums with budgets of less than $15 million, female directors on average earn $1.02 for every dollar that male directors earn.

Staging Exclusive & Interactive Experiences: The Case of Music & Craft

February 28, 2014 Comments off

Staging Exclusive & Interactive Experiences: The Case of Music & Craft
Source: Martin Prosperity Institute

With declining entry barriers, digital technologies and global integration, the marketplace for cultural products – including music and craft – has become saturated and highly competitive. Indeed, Apple’s iTunes music store offers over 37 millions songs and Etsy listed over 34 million new cultural products in 2013. This ‘dilemma of democratization’ curtails the ability of independent cultural producers to command monopoly rents. In response, cultural entrepreneurs are developing innovative strategies to market and monetize their products and to ‘stand out’ in the crowded marketplace (Hracs et al. 2013). This chapter contributes to our understanding of the experience economy, consumption and entrepreneurship by examining the ways in which poorly understood independent cultural producers are using experiences as standalone products to help supplement and promote their goods and services. In particular, it demonstrates how local producers are manipulating four different aspects of their experience offerings (exclusivity, interactivity, space and time) and harnessing consumer desires for symbolic value, authenticity and creative expression.

4th edition of EUI Library ‘Bibliography of Academia’ now available

February 21, 2014 Comments off

4th edition of EUI Library ‘Bibliography of Academia’ now available
Source: European University Institute

The Library issued a new edition of the Bibliography of Academia on 20 January. The 4th edition covers works on early career development for young academics; methodology in the humanities and social sciences; writing and publication; presenting and teaching; digital innovation; copyright; academia in Europe; and university strategy and finance. All works are available at the EUI Library. Shelfmarks are provided for each title.

Canadian Heritage Designations

February 21, 2014 Comments off

Canadian Heritage Designations
Source: Library of Parliament

Over the years, the federal government has granted 3,500 heritage designations to places, buildings, events and people of historical significance. These designations, which showcase the creativity and cultural traditions of Canadians, commemorate significant events in Canada’s history and foster understanding about how the country was built.

Citigroup: A Case Study in Managerial and Regulatory Failures

February 20, 2014 Comments off

Citigroup: A Case Study in Managerial and Regulatory Failures
Source: Indiana Law Review (forthcoming); GWU Legal Studies Research Paper; GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper

Citigroup has served as the poster child for the elusive promises and manifold pitfalls of universal banking. When Citicorp merged with Travelers to form Citigroup in 1998, Citigroup’s leaders and supporters asserted that the new financial conglomerate would offer unparalleled convenience to its customers through “one-stop shopping” for banking, securities and insurance services. They also claimed that Citigroup would have a superior ability to withstand financial shocks due to its broadly diversified activities.

By 2009, those bold predictions of Citigroup’s success had turned to ashes. Citigroup pursued a high-risk, high-growth strategy during the 2000s that proved to be disastrous. As a result, the bank recorded more than $130 billion of losses on its loans and investments from 2007 to 2009. To prevent Citigroup’s failure, the federal government provided $45 billion of new capital to the bank and gave the bank $500 billion of additional help in the form of asset guarantees, debt guarantees and emergency loans. The federal government provided more financial assistance to Citigroup than to any other bank during the financial crisis.

During its early years, Citigroup was embroiled in a series of high-profile scandals, including tainted transactions with Enron and WorldCom, biased research advice, corrupt allocations of shares in initial public offerings, predatory subprime lending, and market manipulation in foreign bond markets. Notwithstanding a widely-publicized plan to improve corporate risk controls in 2005, Citigroup continued to pursue higher profits through a wide range of speculative activities, including leveraged corporate lending, packaging toxic subprime loans into mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations, and dumping risky assets into off- balance-sheet conduits for which Citigroup had contractual and reputational exposures.

Post-mortem evaluations of Citigroup’s near-collapse revealed that neither Citigroup’s managers nor its regulators recognized the systemic risks embedded in the bank’s far-flung operations. Thus, Citigroup was not only too big to fail but also too large and too complex to manage or regulate effectively. Citigroup’s history raises deeply troubling questions about the ability of bank executives and regulators to supervise and control today’s megabanks.

Citigroup’s original creators – John Reed of Citicorp and Sandy Weill of Travelers – admitted in recent years that Citigroup’s universal banking model failed, and they called on Congress to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act’s separation between commercial and investment banks. As Reed and Weill acknowledged, the universal banking model is deeply flawed by its excessive organizational complexity, its vulnerability to culture clashes and conflicts of interest, and its tendency to permit excessive risk-taking within far-flung, semi-autonomous units that lack adequate oversight from either senior managers or regulators.

CRS — The President’s State of the Union Address: Tradition, Function, and Policy Implications

February 19, 2014 Comments off

The President’s State of the Union Address: Tradition, Function, and Policy Implications (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. Senate)

The State of the Union address is a communication between the President and Congress in which the chief executive reports on the current conditions of the United States and provides policy proposals for the upcoming legislative year. Formerly known as the “Annual Message,” the State of the Union address originates in the Constitution. As part of the system of checks and balances, Article II, Section 3, clause 1 mandates that the President “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” In recent decades, the President has expanded his State of the Union audience, addressing the speech to both the nation and Members of Congress.

Throwback — Report of the President’s Commission on the Status of Women (1963)

February 12, 2014 Comments off

Report of the President’s Commission on the Status of Women (1963) (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Women

In presenting to you the report of your Commission on the Status of women, we are mindful first of all that we transmit it bereft of our Chairman. Today is Eleanor Roosevelt’s birthday. In handing you the results of the work started with her active participation, we wish once again to pay tribute to a great woman. Her devotion to fuller realization of the abilities of women in all walks of life and in all countries raised the status of women everywhere in the world.

Accepting your invitation to do so, we have assessed the position of women and the functions they perform in the home, in the economy, in the society. In so vast a field, selection of points of concentration was unavoidable. In any case, certain priorities were estalbished for us by your Executive order that brought the commission into being.

Predicting the Risk of Suicide by Analyzing the Text of Clinical Notes

February 6, 2014 Comments off

Predicting the Risk of Suicide by Analyzing the Text of Clinical Notes
Source: PLoS ONE

We developed linguistics-driven prediction models to estimate the risk of suicide. These models were generated from unstructured clinical notes taken from a national sample of U.S. Veterans Administration (VA) medical records. We created three matched cohorts: veterans who committed suicide, veterans who used mental health services and did not commit suicide, and veterans who did not use mental health services and did not commit suicide during the observation period (n = 70 in each group). From the clinical notes, we generated datasets of single keywords and multi-word phrases, and constructed prediction models using a machine-learning algorithm based on a genetic programming framework. The resulting inference accuracy was consistently 65% or more. Our data therefore suggests that computerized text analytics can be applied to unstructured medical records to estimate the risk of suicide. The resulting system could allow clinicians to potentially screen seemingly healthy patients at the primary care level, and to continuously evaluate the suicide risk among psychiatric patients.

“How Old Do You Think I Am?”: A Study of Language and Age in Twitter

January 15, 2014 Comments off

“How Old Do You Think I Am?”: A Study of Language and Age in Twitter (PDF)
Source: Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence

In this paper we focus on the connection between age and language use, exploring age prediction of Twitter users based on their tweets. We discuss the construction of a fine-grained annotation effort to assign ages and life stages to Twitter users. Using this dataset, we explore age prediction in three different ways: classifying users into age categories, by life stages, and predicting their exact age. We find that an automatic system achieves better performance than humans on these tasks and that both humans and the automatic systems have difficul- ties predicting the age of older people. Moreover, we present a detailed analysis of variables that change with age. We find strong patterns of change, and that most changes occur at young ages.

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