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  1. Keep Your Enemies Close? Study Finds Greater Proximity to Opponents Leads to More Polarization

    Encouraging adversaries to have more interpersonal contact to find common ground may work on occasion, but not necessarily in the U.S. Senate, according to new research.

  2. Study: Probation for Schools Spurs Transfer Patterns Linked to Family Income

    Schools placed on probation due to subpar test scores spurs transfer patterns linked to household income, a study by New York University (NYU) sociologists finds.

    Their study of a school accountability program in the Chicago Public Schools reveals that families were responsive to new information about school quality and that those with more financial resources were the most likely to transfer to other schools in the district or to leave the district altogether.

  3. Study Uses Internet and Social Media to Show How Fracking Documentary Influenced Public Perception and Political Change

    Social scientists have long argued documentary films are powerful tools for social change.

    But a University of Iowa (UI) sociologist and his co-researchers are the first to use the Internet and social media to systematically show how a documentary film reshaped public perception and ultimately led to municipal bans on hydraulic fracking.

  4. "Context is Everything!"

    Sociologist and food critic Joshua Page talks with New York Times food critic about the sociological work of reviewing restaurants.

  5. Becoming a Stickup Kid

    Randol Contreras’ drug-robber respondents were not born criminals or torturers, so how did they become "stick-up kids"?

  6. "No Fracking Way!" Documentary Film, Discursive Opportunity, and Local Opposition against Hydraulic Fracturing in the United States, 2010 to 2013

    Recent scholarship highlights the importance of public discourse for the mobilization and impact of social movements, but it neglects how cultural products may shift discourse and thereby influence mobilization and political outcomes. This study investigates how activism against hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") utilized cultural artifacts to influence public perceptions and effect change. A systematic analysis of Internet search data, social media postings, and newspaper articles allows us to identify how the documentary Gasland reshaped public discourse.

  7. Choice, Information, and Constrained Options: School Transfers in a Stratified Educational System

    It is well known that family socioeconomic background influences childhood access to opportunities. Educational reforms that introduce new information about school quality may lead to increased inequality if families with more resources are better able to respond. However, these policies can also level the playing field for choice by equalizing disadvantaged families’ access to information. This study assesses how a novel accountability system affected family enrollment decisions in the Chicago Public Schools by introducing new test performance information and consequences.

  8. Justice Standard Determines Emotional Responses to Over-Reward

    How do people feel when they benefit from an unfair reward distribution? Equity theory predicts negative emotion in response to over-reward, but sociological research using referential standards of justice drawn from status-value theory repeatedly finds positive emotional responses to over-reward.

  9. Reward Stability Promotes Group Commitment

    A pressing problem for the social sciences is to understand the processes leading to commitment within organizational settings. Toward this end, we argue for the stability of rewards derived from groups as a key dimension of commitment. We present a theory that links reward stability to justice evaluations and corresponding emotional reactions, which in turn predict group commitment. From this theory, we derive several hypotheses, the key one being that justice evaluations and corresponding emotional reactions explain the effect of reward stability on commitment.

  10. Sharing the Emotional Load: Recipient Affiliation Calms Down the Storyteller

    In conversational storytelling, the recipients are expected to show affiliation with the emotional stance displayed by the storytellers. We investigated emotional arousal-related autonomic nervous system responses in tellers and recipients of conversational stories. The data consist of 20 recordings of 45- to 60-minute dyadic conversations between female university and polytechnic students. Conversations were videotaped and analyzed by means of conversation analysis (CA), with a special emphasis on the verbal and nonverbal displays of affiliation in storytelling.