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Fiscal Year 2003 SES Nuggets
Cross-Directorate Directorate Activities
Law and Social Science
Research on Science and Technology
Decision, Risk & Management Science
This POWRE grant assessed emotional availability of mothers toward their children (maternal sensitivity, structuring, nonintrusiveness, and nonhostility) as well as emotional availability of children toward their mothers (responsiveness to mother and involvement of mother in interaction) in the spring/summer months before kindergarten. During the kindergarten transition as well as throughout the kindergarten year, the researcher observed children’s interactions with peers and asked teachers to rate the children. She also conducted standardized tests on all children. Children in emotionally available relationships were less likely to display aggression, disruptiveness, distress, or to be victimized by another’s aggression, and more likely to engage in positive behaviors. Interestingly, emotional availability also predicted children’s quality of attention in the classroom during teacher-directed activities and some aspects of learning on standardized tests.
How can we make scientific knowledge more relevant to society? What are the responsibilities of scientists to democratic debate? How can we discern relevant knowledge amid contemporary “information overload”? These are some of the questions the Global Climate Change and Society (GCCS) summer REU addresses. By using the climate change issue as a case study, the program questions what forms of knowledge are valued in the climate change debate, how knowledge must be structured in order to remain credible and legitimate, and whether the social sciences and the humanities can play an important role in addressing the issue. Student interns are encouraged to tackle these questions through an interdisciplinary learning environment where notable guest speakers contribute to the dialogue of the classroom and where this learning is translated and applied through the practical experience of the related summer internships. Through this program, a new generation of scientists and science philosophers are learning from experts in the field and from each other.
Why do some Mexican Americans retain Spanish while others lose their native language? In a study conducted as part of the Research Experience for Undergraduates Program funded by the National Science Foundation, Geneva Villarreal, a student from West Texas A&M University, sought to identify factors that are associated with Spanish language retention among Mexican Americans. Using data from the 1990 Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS), she found that Mexican Americans who are more likely to speak Spanish are persons 35 and older, those with lower levels of education, those who are born in the United States, those whose parents are not intermarried, those living in areas with larger Mexican-origin populations, and those residing in the southwestern region of the country. Ms. Villarreal presented her paper titled, “Correlates of Spanish Language Maintenance: The Case of Mexican Americans,” at the annual meeting of the Southwestern Social Science Association. Ms. Villlarreal was one of 10 students who participated in this REU Site, an NSF program which contributes to the Foundation's continuing efforts to attract talented students into careers in science through active undergraduate research experiences.
In this POWRE award, Susan Bratton of Baylor University interviewed
commercial fishermen and women regarding their perceptions of fisheries
studies and scientists; her results reveal a disconnect between scientists
and fishermen and women. Of those interviewed in the Pacific Northwest
and Alaska, only 16% unequivocally believed fisheries studies make
accurate predictions, while only 25% thought scientists had positive
attitudes towards fishers. Interviews of commercial fishermen and
women found very few recognized Sea Grant, and a majority were critical
of the data gathered by the National Marine Fisheries Service.
In recent years, auction theory has been asked to provide guidance to policymakers in several important areas, including spectrum auctions, electricity auctions, and Treasury auctions. Unfortunately, the standard theory had largely focused on auctions of a single object, and so had little to rigorously say about the most empirically relevant auction problems.
Recent research by economists has begun to expand the boundaries of auction theory and analysis so as to encompass multiple-item auctions.
The investigators in this project have studied the behavior of overseas Chinese and other ethnic groups living outside their countries of origin and how these groups create formal or informal "societies" to which coethnic business people from both the host countries and the mother country have access. The main purpose of these societies is to provide information about business opportunities and business contracts. The operation and economic importance of coethnic societies has been especially well documented for the special case of trade between countries hosting recent immigrants and those immigrants' countries of origin. This research project has built a general equilibrium model of trade where anonymous markets and networks of personal contacts interact and has tested the empirical implications that can be drawn from the model.
This work has studied the behavioral and welfare implication of self-control problems. Whereas the standard economic model assumes that preferences are time-consistent, evidence suggests that people have preferences biased toward the present time. The investigator has developed both formal models and specific numerical examples to analyze the scope of problems such as procrastination and addiction. A major finding of this research is how important is people’s anticipation of future self-control problems, and how costly these self-control problems may be. For instance, in the case of procrastinating a task, such as preparing for retirement or quitting smoking, over optimism about future ability to self-control can cause a person to severely hurt himself or herself. Furthermore, people with self-control problems tend to over consume addictive products, but this behavior is affected by awareness of a self-control problems. Because such awareness makes people pessimistic about their ability to resist future temptations, and hence feel they might as well get addicted now, this can exacerbate over consumption.
This research studies the labor market consequences of two developments
-- the Internet and temporary employment agencies. The first project
explores how the migration of job posting and candidate screening
to the World Wide Web will affect personnel outcomes using firm level
data of a large national bank; the bank will migrate all of its branches
and occupations in phases to exclusively online recruiting. This
part of the research analyzes several issues including how the move
to online recruiting shapes the quality of worker-firm matches and
whether improvements in firm-level match quality due to online recruiting
yields aggregate changes in the quality of matches and hence operation
of labor markets.
The Carnegie-Rochester Conference on Public Policy is designed to foster research and discussion of major policy issues by economists from academia and various policy making organizations. Economists in universities are often unfamiliar with the constraining effect of institutional arrangements in the shaping of policy issues whereas economists in government are often less aware of current research developments and their implications. The principal objectives of the conference series are (i) to stimulate policy relevance in theoretical and empirical research in economic science, (ii) to encourage interchange of scientific ideas among analysts with different approaches, and (iii) to generate greater understanding by academic economists of practitioners' environments. The conferences are held semi-annually at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Rochester. About 50 participants plus faculty and graduate students from the host institution are invited to each conference. Participants from U.S. and foreign central banks and U.S. and international agencies attend regularly, and special care is taken to involve promising young scholars. The papers and formal discussions are edited and published so as to broaden the impact of the conference.
The series of annual summer activities of the Center for Game Theory in Economics is designed to stimulate and disseminate new advances in research on game theory and its applications, and to make conceptual and methodological developments in game theory available to an expanding group of scientists in economics and other disciplines. Each summer there are research-oriented conferences and workshops and, upon occasion, an intensive course of instruction on a topic of major significance, complemented by a further period of informal research activities. This series brings together a large international group of researchers--a mix of established scholars, junior faculty, and graduate students--whose interests represent a diverse array of theoretical and applied aspects of game theory. The programs for 2003-2005 are a continuation of the series of summer activities held at Stony Brook from 1990 to 2002, each of which attracted about 120 participants on average. Formal activities normally include a five-day conference with plenary and parallel sessions, and invited and contributed papers; two workshops on selected themes; and from time to time, one to two weeks of intensive instruction on selected topics. The value of this format and approach is evidenced by the success of the previous programs.
Understanding how best to steward a resource forever poses novel
theoretical challenges and is one of immense practical importance.
On the one hand, there is the prospect of inefficient underutilization
while at the other extreme there is the possibility of driving species
to extinction. This project investigates the management of one renewable
natural resource, timber, in the province of British Columbia, Canada.
The researchers will use the same Timber Supply Area (TSA) site-level
data used by timber-supply managers in the British Columbia Ministry
of Forests when making harvesting decisions. For each of the several
hundreds of thousands of hectares in the Fraser TSA, which is located
near Vancouver, British Columbia, officials at the Ministry of Forests
provide the investigators with a wide variety of biological, engineering,
and geographical information relevant to harvesting timber. In addition,
the researchers also have access to the harvesting strategies proposed
and, in some cases, the decisions implemented by the Minister of
Forests, so they can compare their estimated decisions with actual
This research utilizes Consumer Price Index (CPI) data, to study
two issues. The first part of the research will study the sensitivity
of consumer price inflation and quality growth to treatment of the
price increases associated with the introduction of new models of
consumer durables. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) resampling
method will be exploited to gain information on how quantities sold
change with model turnovers. This information will then be used to
gauge how much of price increases for new goods should be attributed
to quality improvements.
Economists have constructed many theoretical models to explain the
Industrial Revolution transition -- the shift from slow productivity
growth and fertility-determined living standards to the world of
modern growth and rapid and persistent productivity gains. A void
exists, however, between theory and empirics. While models have multiplied,
economic aggregates for any country before 1830 still do not exist.
Even in England, the best-documented pre-industrial economy, there
are no national income estimates before 1700.
This research will look at the impact of confidential settlements
on performance in markets for goods and services. Of significant
concern is the notion that allowing confidential settlement protects
and encourages bad behavior by agents in a variety of settings. Alternatively,
banning confidentiality may also compromise important values, such
as personal privacy and the protection of intellectual property via
trade secrecy; without the ability to conclude confidential settlements,
some important cases may never be brought, and fewer of those brought
are likely to settle. It is important to identify these tradeoffs
and their implications for market performance in order that sensible
public policy can be pursued.
Infant health is a key determinant of an individual's future success
in life. For example, surviving infants of low birth weight are more
likely to suffer from learning disabilities and other cognitive problems.
Moreover, children of lower socioeconomic status have much poorer
birth outcomes on average. To the extent that infant health is compromised
by the mother's lack of opportunity, it represents a mechanism for
the intergenerational perpetuation of poverty and inequality.
This study will provide a framework for analyzing the potential impacts of wholesale price regulation and competition in the gasoline industry. Policy makers at the state and federal levels have proposed wholesale price regulation as a means to restore 'competitive' retail price patterns in retail gasoline markets. Fair Wholesale Price legislation (FWP) would prevent wholesale gasoline suppliers from price discriminating between retail stations. Instead of charging different wholesale prices to different stations, as is currently the practice, refiners would be required to charge the same price to all retailers. This research project will use a discrete choice demand estimation that will be developed to simulate the impact of FWP legislation. This simulation exercise will be used to answer the following pressing policy-relevant questions: Would average retail prices increase or decrease as a result of FWP? What market factors influence the direction and magnitude of the estimated effect? Is FWP a regressive or progressive policy - will it lead to higher or lower prices in disadvantaged socioeconomic communities? Is there an alternative policy that might increase competition in retail gasoline markets, leading to lower prices and decreased price dispersion? This detailed and rigorous empirical estimation of the effects of FWP legislation will guide policy makers at the state and federal level as they consider legislation aimed at increasing competition in retail gasoline markets.
This project consists of a series of workshops to be hosted jointly
by the University of Minnesota and the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
during the summers of 2003, 2004, and 2005. Each workshop is one
week long, concentrating on theoretical issues in macroeconomics
and dynamic economic modeling. These workshops continue the series
sponsored by the NSF at the University of Minnesota during 2000-02
and at Northwestern University during 1990-99. Specific topics for
the three years will vary, depending on research interests of the
participants. Topics in recent years have included: monetary theory,
technical change and technology adoption, fiscal policy, business
cycles, and government policy in the absence of commitment.
Mistaken eyewitness identification is the primary cause of the conviction of innocent people. After making an identification from a lineup, triers of fact (e.g., judges, juries) must rely on what eyewitnesses say about how good their view was, how well they could make out details of the culprit’s face, and how certain the eyewitness is in the identification. This research involved a series of experiments in which eyewitnesses to staged crimes were shown lineups that, unbeknownst to the eyewitnesses, did not contain the culprit, and all eyewitnesses made mistaken identifications. Based on random assignment to conditions, some witnesses were then given confirming feedback (“Good, you identified the suspect”), some were told nothing, and some were told that they identified someone who was not a suspect. The percentage of eyewitnesses who report having been very certain rises to 50% if they were given confirming feedback compared to only 12% for the control condition. This research shows how feedback can destroy the ability of triers of fact to make good decisions about whether or not an eyewitness identification was accurate.
Research on globalization has sparked heated debate over whether the free movement of money has eroded state sovereignty and regulatory regimes. The ethereal character of modern money – complicated debt-based instruments, derivatives, and the like – make money seem more intangible at the same time that the adage ‘money makes the world go around’ may be truer than ever. This research explored on-the-ground, everyday understandings of money among people who are forging their own forms of finance -- through Islamic and offshore banking, and local, non-state currencies. For Muslims who refuse to truck in interest, profit-and-loss sharing contracts that take the place of interest-bearing loans are in their very form professions of faith, at the same time that they make good business sense when state currencies plummet in value. For local currency proponents, the creation of non-state moneys is infused with cosmological significance, as people use the money not just for everyday transactions but to extol the local community and local landscape. Offshore finance, a development strategy of a number of small island states, represents a kind of hypermobile capital but also creates a space of reflection on “the market” as a sort of transcendental being whose whims determine the fate of small nations. The research found that, for people involved in alternative financial practices, the separation of economic value from ethical or religious values was utterly untenable, and that money itself can become a powerful means of commenting on morality.
Three experiments on children’s true and false memories of traumatic
medical experiences were conducted, using large samples of children
between the ages of 3 and 8 who visited urgent-care facilities, hospital
emergency departments, and pediatricians’ offices for treatment of
traumatic injuries that did not require general anesthetic (e.g.,
insect bites, sprains, broken bones). Unlike most prior research,
these experiments were theory-driven in that they were designed to
test specific hypotheses about factors that influence children’s
false memories. Two central questions were: Are children’s spontaneous
false memories of trauma affected by amount of prior memory interviewing?
Are those false memories affected by the time interval since the
trauma occurred? The experiments revealed, contrary to widespread
belief in medical and forensic circles, that children exhibit spontaneous
false memories for trauma and that those false memories occur at
quite high levels.
In the immediate aftermath of the terrorism of September 11th, Americans believed that the civil liberties of Muslims and Arabs in the United States should be as unfettered as anyone else’s, according to a survey conducted by the Center for Survey Research and Analysis (CRSA) at the University of Connecticut. The survey of public opinion on post-9/11 anti-terrorism measures that would impact certain freedoms compared how Americans felt if these would be applied to Americans in general as opposed to Muslims and Arabs in the United States specifically. Americans were slightly more willing to support increased wiretapping (tapping telephones and computer monitors) of Muslims and Arabs more readily than of Americans in general. However, this was the only measure that yielded a statistically significant difference. The study also examined attitudes about new immigrants from Muslim countries as compared to new immigrants from other parts of the world, and found that support for current levels of immigration in general is positively associated with opposition to civil liberties restrictions.
This research looked at the impact of reasoning on jury decision-making. Specifically, the investigators examined individual differences in ability to reason about evidence and its impact on the group decision process. The results demonstrate that the reasoning level of juries (composed of either all high reasoners, so called "theory-evidence coordinators" or low level reasoners, so called "satisficers") varied in a number of ways. One important result showed that low-level reasoners (satisficers) were more likely to change their minds when placed in a jury with higher level reasoners (theory evidence coordinators). The research also indicated that probability of a hung jury varies with jury reasoning levels.
The 2002 Empirical Summer Training Institute involved 15 faculty and 22 competitively-selected student participants, with faculty rotating responsibility for weekly and daily lectures. The program's goal is to train a new generation of scholars who can better link theoretical and empirical work, by offering students an opportunity to be taught by, and work with, experienced scholars who are leaders in advancing theoretical and empirical work, focusing on substantive areas where appreciable research integrating theory and methods already exists.
Working through the Deomscope group at the Institute of Sociology of the Academy of Sciences in Russia, a Harvard team of investigators conducted three sets of interviews: one before the parliamentary election of December 1999, the second after that election, and the third after the presidential election of March 2000. They investigated influences on voting choice, including sociodemographic background, economic realities, nascent partisan attachments, issue opinions, evaluations of incumbents, evaluations of the personal qualities of leaders, and prospective evaluations of future performance on the part of parties and presidential candidates.
This Small Grant for Exploratory Research is studying the emotional underpinnings of support for national security policy in the period before, during, and after a major international event, in this case the anticipated conflict with Iraq. Tremendous uncertainty surrounds the threat posed by Iraq and the risks associated with U.S. military action there. This uncertainty is likely to rekindle and intensify emotional reactions that were present in the aftermath of 9/11. The predominant question is, will citizens rally behind the President as has happened in past conflicts? Or has the landscape been altered by the events of 9/11, so that potential risks of military action now dominate public deliberation? Will those Americans whose sense of security was shattered by 9/11 be reassured by talk of preemptive strikes against Iraq, or will they feel even less secure? More generally, what roles do the emotions play in public reactions to national security threats and support or opposition for government policies in response to those threats? To capture the evolution of public opinion in the midst of this major national security crisis, the investigators are adding two additional waves to an existing national dataset collected in the months after 9/11. The second wave is a re-interview of this sample (with 200 new respondents) to be conducted in October, 2002, and the third wave will be split, with half re-interviewed immediately after hostilities begin and half when things settle down. This design allows for maximal purchase in understanding how perceptions of risk, depression, anxiety, anger, and reassurance shape public opinion with measures taken at three different time points: before Iraq was on most people’s radar, in the midst of public discussion of proposed military action against Iraq (wave 2, October 2002), in the immediate aftermath of military action. Besides the basic science value of this research, it promises to inform public policy on major national security issues.
The Principal Investigator obtained a representative sample of the adult population of France and administered a custom-designed computer-assisted interview combining standard public opinion questions with randomized experiments. The objective of the study was to examine the commitment of citizens to democratic practices under pressure. The standard public opinion survey is designed to determine the positions that a representative sample of citizens take on issues of current policy or controversy in a deliberately neutral situation where no pressure is applied on them to take a stand on one side or another whether in the form of explicit argumentation or indirect cues.
Beginning in the summer of 2003, four training institutes (2003-2006) on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis will be offered to bridge the divide between formal and empirical analysis in political science. The goal is to advance the study of methods and models and to expand the research community with cutting-edge expertise. Each Summer Institute is comprised of four one-week seminars and will have 25 graduate student participants recruited on a competitive basis. Students are offered on-campus housing and are provided with travel and lodging subsidies. An EITM committee comprised of Washington University faculty will administer the program.
The project uses agent-based models to develop a deeper understanding
of fundamental aspects of in-group favoritism and out-group hostility,
in all their manifestations including ethnocentrism, ethnic conflict,
and discrimination based on factors such as skin color, religion,
or national origin. The importance of these problems is manifest,
as in the US racial discrimination is a major cause of inequality.
A central problem in the study of international conflict is to understand the factors that influence states' incentives and behavior in crisis situations involving the threat or use of force. What variables influence how states assess the attractiveness of waging war? When will the targets of threats choose to yield or resist? When will leaders implement the threats they make? This project advances a method for addressing such questions in a manner that is faithful to the nature of strategic interaction in international crises. Inferences from observational data can only be made with confidence when the uncertainty and potential for signaling that are inherent in such situations are accounted for. The project has three components: 1) developing an empirical estimator that is derived directly from a game theoretic model that incorporates incomplete information; 2) leveraging existing international data sets, data are collected that codes conflict outcomes in a way that is consistent with current theoretical treatments of interstate crisis bargaining and 3) using the data and method to test prominent theories of international comflict.
The investigators for this Small Grant for Exploratory Research examined the effects of cognitive and affective reactions to threat on support for anti-terrorism policies using a survey of the American public conducted in the aftermath of 9/11. The investigators distinguished between the ‘cool’ cognitive appraisals of threat and the ‘hot’ emotions it can elicit, such as fear and anxiety. Analyses are based on data from a national telephone survey of a rolling-cross section design of 1,570 adults interviewed between early October, 2001 and early March, 2002. The investigators found that a substantial number of Americans appraised the risk of future attacks on the nation as relatively high, and a minority expressed considerable levels of fear and anxiety in response to the attacks and the US response. Moreover, individuals who experienced high levels of fear and anxiety after the attacks were LESS supportive of aggressive military action against terrorists and generally favored increased American isolationism. This finding stands in contrast to the majority of Americans who viewed future terrorist attacks as likely and were MORE supportive of government action domestically and internationally to combat the threat of terrorism. Thus, the investigators confirmed a difference in support for US foreign policy among individuals who appraised the risk of terrorism highly but were not personally fearful and those who were highly fearful of future terrorist attacks.
Each year, this project brings together two dozen life scientists from Europe and a half dozen from the U.S. A total of more than 90 have gathered in Lisbon to study, for example, environmental ethics, marine ethics, and genetically modified foods. The European Commission recently selected the initiative for inclusion in a brochure highlighting EC achievements.
Values are an essential part of scientific reasoning and crucial for decision-making in scientific practice. To neglect the role of values in science is to neglect the moral responsibilities inherent in doing science. For example, scientists must consider the impacts of possible errors in their work when interpreting their results, particularly when the work retains significant uncertainty. Considering the impacts of error includes weighing those impacts using social values. Rejecting the ideal of value-free science does not mean the demise of scientific objectivity, however. There are several ways in which science can be meaningfully objective, and still be saturated with values. Objectivity in science can include such elements as the reliability of new scientific tools, the convergence of information from multiple sources, discursive agreement among experts, or clearly defined procedures for analysis, none of which is dependent on the exclusion of values from science.
The contents of this textbook were based on two-week intensive workshops the authors
conducted for nearly 75 Long Island high school science teachers. The text was composed over a two year period following the Long Island workshops. A major feature of the text is a set of lesson plans developed by the teachers themselves. The primary aim of this project was to introduce teachers in other states to the model developed in the Long Island project. Three day workshops were presented to more than 20 teachers in each of two states, Florida and Washington.
This project uses a variety of ethnographic and linguistic methods to analyze how speech and gesture affect the outcomes of risk communication, particularly when speakers do not share a common language, education, or culture. The researchers studied risk in speech and gesture in the South African context. The complexity of the South African context makes visible features of risk communication not visible in less diverse workplace contexts.
The investigators interviewed the founders of the Bioethics field to deepen and expand information and understanding about the achievements, limitations, and future prospects of American bioethics. Domains of bioethics explored include: academic teaching and writings, clinical consultation, and the public squares of the mass media, and the development of national policies involving biomedical research and medicine. A more recent and controversial domain is the globalization of American bioethics: the exportation of the particularly American approach to bioethical concerns to other societies and cultures around the globe. In the development of bioethics since the 1960s, a phrase originated by the philosopher and bioethicist H. Tristram Engelhardt provides an apt characterization of the field’s increasing prominence: bioethics has become the “secular priesthood” of our time. One major objective was to further the development of archival materials that provide educational and research resources and to include the perspective of persons from the various disciplines who are working in this multi-disciplinary field about the nature and effectiveness of its academic, clinical, and policy roles. To that end, the investigators have deposited the transcripts of 39 in-depth interviews with many of the major figures in American bioethics, and a transcript of a one-day meeting of the project advisory group, at the National Reference Center for Bioethics Literature/Kennedy Institute of Ethics Library, Georgetown University.
Texas Tech University is developing a DVD for instructional purposes in undergraduate engineering curricula, called "Incident at Morales, An Engineering Ethics Story." The DVD shows the international context in which today's engineers operate. The "hero" of the short film is an Hispanic engineer. The first cut of the video was well received on February 28, 2003 at the annual meeting of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics.
Investigators from the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez have developed numerous ethics cases geared towards Latin American issues, and they have developed ethics integration projects for the university. The program has the strong support of the chancellor and is enabling the incorporation of ethics modules in business, science, and engineering classes across the campus. They are working with other campuses in Puerto Rico and other Latin American countries. They believe that their model has much promise for adoption in many places. They have developed an instructors' manual responsive to the ABET self-evaluation requirements, and recently made a presentation about the project at the Montreal American Society of Engineering Education meeting. Information about results from the NSF project is available at: http://www.uprm.edu/ethics/grants.htm.
One part of the Academic Life Project investigated graduate students' conceptions of appropriate behavior in academic work. In interviews, doctoral students were asked about contrasts between scientific norms as they understood them, their own normative perspectives, and the behavior of their scientific peers. Students' responses centered on violations of rules or ethical practices, as in the following: "We all have to go to this safety training before we are allowed to go in the lab.... And then, they always say practically nothing is supposed to go down the drain. And sometimes stuff does. But we're not even supposed to put things like ... a simple rinsing agent down the drain ... but it happens all the time." With regard to the contrast between scientific norms and the students' own normative perspectives, most responses addressed the competitive nature of the scientific environment. Some mentioned, for example, that they were previously socialized to collaborative norms and found their professors' insistence on individual work and independent achievement counterproductive. Finally, in addressing the contrast between students' own conceptions and the behavior of their peers, students most frequently mentioned others' inability to meet the demands of their doctoral programs. They clearly expressed their understanding of the tremendous commitment to science required to succeed, in contrast to the less-than-complete commitment they saw exhibited among their doctoral peers. The doctoral students’ interviews reveal the norms of science as they understand them, during a period when they are grappling with what it means to be a scientist. The interviews also show the confused nature of doctoral students' personal normative orientations, suggesting that doctoral programs may overestimate the extent of student understanding of the academic system, the nature of research, and the place of individual scientists in the broader context of research.
Public participation in technology policy decision-making is both
controversial and desirable. It is controversial because of questions
about the capabilities of citizens to understand and evaluate these
complex issues; it is desirable because democratic participation
is a measure of civic engagement and may improve decisions and their
outcomes. Identification and development of more effective modes
of citizen participation will play an important part in enabling
citizens to participate effectively.
This project examined ethical issues arising from the creation and
enforcement of food and agricultural standards. Standards raise concerns
with respect to who negotiates the standard and who accesses the
market, with what normative outcomes. As the world moves toward greater
emphasis on free trade, public food and agricultural standards are
being complemented by private ones. Private standards include those
for labor, quality, “fair trade,” and the environment in addition
to food safety.
The project consisted of small scale (less than 50 attendees) workshops
on ethics issues in science and technology. These workshops are welcomed
and supported by academic institutions; they value the unique opportunity
for cross-disciplinary participation.
Findings from this project indicate that, while intellectual property protection is a fundamental consideration for all members – industrial firms as well as colleges or universities – in undertaking collaborative research partnerships, it does not pose insurmountable problems. Results come from a mail survey of 54 general counsels or patent counsels from companies within the US manufacturing and services sector, and 23 in-depth telephone interviews. Responses indicate that confidentiality agreements are critically relevant at early stages of partnerships, while patents are the most frequently used intellectual property protection mechanism. University participation does complicate intellectual property negotiations, and firms express concern over the increasing financial motives of universities in their negotiations. However, firms still place a high value on the research contributions of individual university professors and researchers. Negotiating difficulties increase when the negotiating firms are in the same industry rather than vertically related, and US firms find negotiating with European firms relatively less difficult than with Asian firms.
In the wake of 9-11, many urban planners are calling for more attention to how our urban forms identify our society and who we are as modern Americans. Long's study provides a mirror on this type of approach by examining late 16th-century Rome, which was marked by an intense period of building spawned by the Catholic Church. Her proposal is an important and timely one that brings together the history of science and technology with urban and environmental history, while situating the transformation of Rome in its rich political and religious history.
Globalization has had a marked impact on many aspects of modern living, including the production of food stuffs. With the development of global markets, issues of the normalization of safety standards in food industries become paramount. This proposal will compare meatpacking industries in Poland and the US to clarify what the PI refers to as the "moral economy" of the industry.
Hardly a week goes by where there is not a major news story about cloning or artificial intelligence (AI). Yet, seldom is an historical perspective of either cloning or AI offered. The PI for this proposal will integrate the story of early modern attempts to simulate life and intelligence in a way that will help to locate contemporary developments in a larger history, and open new resources for understanding the interplay between conceptions of the human and the machine over the past several hundred years.
This project provides funds for a Ph.D. student in Science and Technology Studies to collect data at the DNA Fingerprinting Archive at Cornell University's Kroch Library, and to complete interviews in three states. The data is in support of a Ph.D. thesis examing the interaction of science and the law. The hypothesis to be tested is that the history of DNA typing represents the hybridization of knowledge and practice from various legal sources, corporate culture, and a multiplicity of scientific disciplines. This project will provide much-needed insight into how science and law interact and be useful in training judges and lawyers as well as scientists. Most importantly it will train a future STS scholar in an important area of science studies.
The U.S. Bureau of the Census recently reported that the number of single mothers in the United States has grown nearly 200 percent since 1970 and that in 1998, 9.8 million mothers were unmarried. Coupled to this trend, the male prison population grew from 200,000 inmates in 1974 to 1.3 million by 2001. Could the growth in the penal population explain some of the rise in single-motherhood, particularly among poor and minority couples, whose men are at greatest risk of incarceration?
When adequate migration data for a particular study region are unavailable, social scientists generally estimate such data indirectly. Population stock data, for example, has been used to infer mortality and net migration. A workable method for using population stock data to infer directional (not net) migration flows, however, has not been developed. Geographer Andrei Rogers of the University of Colorado is developing methods for inferring migration flows from two successive counts of population stocks. He is drawing on statistical representations of regularities in the age and spatial structures found in relatively complete data on migration streams to infer the directional flows that underlie and shape the population distributions enumerated by censuses and sample surveys with incomplete data.
Computerized adaptive testing (CAT) has become a popular mode of educational assessment in the United States. Examples of large scale CATs include the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). While the implementation of CAT has many advantages, a number of issues related to CATs are not well understood. It has been widely reported, for example, that some CAT examinees may get much lower scores than they would get if an alternative "paper and pencil" (P&P) version of the test were given.
Does the "interface" of a Web survey — the language and pictures
the survey uses to interact with respondents — affect the answers
that respondents give? Lots of programs now use interactive and personalized
interfaces, including the animated paper clip featured by Microsoft
Office. Survey researchers Mick Couper and Roger Tourangeau of the
University of Michigan undertook a series of experiments embedded
in Web surveys to find out how Web survey interfaces affect the survey
results. For example, in some of their studies, respondents were
greeted with a photo of one of the investigators and got feedback
on their answers. One concern was that respondents would be more
prone to shade their answers and present themselves in a more positive
light when the survey was "humanized" in that way. The investigators
found no evidence of such distortions. They also found no evidence
that the addition of the images increased respondents' willingness
to complete the survey. They did find, though, that the "gender" of
the interface affected answers on a series of items about sexual
equality. When the interface presented a male face, respondents gave
less feminist responses on average; when presented with a female
face, respondents gave more feminist responses. These results are
likely to have a substantial impact on the growing number of surveys
done via the Web.
Once an exclusively cognitive enterprise, research on judgment and decision making increasingly addresses the powerful influence of emotion. Recent research has shown that even incidental emotion - emotion that is normatively unrelated to the judgment/decision at hand - can have a significant impact on judgment and choice. The majority of studies in this tradition have been motivated by a valence-based approach, contrasting the effects of positive versus negative emotions on judgment and choice. But there is growing evidence that specific emotions of the same valence can trigger opposing perceptions and judgments. For example, in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 9-11, experimentally induced fear produced opposite effects from anger on both risk estimates and policy preferences among U.S. citizens in a nationwide field experiment (Lerner, Gonzalez, Small, & Fischhoff, in press). From a theoretical perspective, these findings demonstrate that dimensions of emotions other than valence are also important components to include in decision models. From an applied perspective, they demonstrate how and why citizens primed for anger will endorse rather different policies than will citizens primed for fear.
Framing effects are said to occur when "equivalent" redescriptions of objects or outcomes lead to different preferences or judgments. For example, a medical treatment will be seen more favorably when described as resulting in "75% survival" rather than "25% mortality." Such effects have traditionally been seen as irrational. However, preliminary research conducted by the PI has shown that even logically equivalent attribute frames can implicitly convey, or "leak," normatively relevant information. For instance, speakers were more likely to select the "75% survival" frame to describe a new treatment outcome if it led to a higher, rather than a lower, survival rate relative to an old treatment. Moreover, listeners "absorbed" this leaked information: They were more likely to infer that the old treatment led to a lower survival rate when the new treatment was described in terms of percent survival rather than percent mortality.