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  1. Definitions and the Development of Theory in Social Psychology

    Formal definitions specify what is necessary and sufficient for the identification of a particular term. These formal definitions use precise language and do not admit contradictions; they are exact class. There are multiple advantages of exact class definitions. They enable us to confidently use deductive arguments so we can ensure that the terms in the premises match the terms in the conclusion. They prevent sloppiness and circularity of logic. They also help us look beyond common sense or what we think we already know.
  2. From “Ridiculous” to “Glad to Have Helped”: Debriefing News Delivery and Improved Reactions to Science in Milgram’s “Obedience” Experiments

    Commentators on Milgram’s classic and controversial experiments agree that better integration of theories of “obedience to authority” with current archival research on participants’ viewpoints is essential in explaining compliance. Using conversation analysis, we examine an archived data source that is largely overlooked by the Milgram literature, yet crucial for understanding the interactional organization of participants’ displayed perspectives. In hundreds of interviews conducted immediately after each experiment, participants received one of two types of debriefing: deceptive or full.
  3. Understanding the Link between Victimization and Alcohol Use among Homeless Youth Using Ecological Momentary Assessment

    Most prior research on victimization and alcohol use among homeless youth is retrospective and thus does not allow researchers to determine the sequencing of these events. We address this gap using ecological momentary assessment via short message service surveying with homeless youth during 30 days. Multilevel binary logistic regression results revealed that experiencing physical or sexual victimization on a specific day was positively associated with youth’s drinking alcohol later that day.
  4. Stereotype Threat and Educational Tracking: A Field Experiment in Chinese Vocational High Schools

    Educational tracks create differential expectations of student ability, raising concerns that the negative stereotypes associated with lower tracks might threaten student performance. The authors test this concern by drawing on a field experiment enrolling 11,624 Chinese vocational high school students, half of whom were randomly primed about their tracks before taking technical skill and math exams. As in almost all countries, Chinese students are sorted between vocational and academic tracks, and vocational students are stereotyped as having poor academic abilities.
  5. Marriage, Social Control, and Health Behavior: A Dyadic Analysis of Same-sex and Different-sex Couples

    Prior research based on studies of heterosexual populations suggests that men’s health benefits more from marriage than women’s, in part because women do more than men to influence the health habits of their spouse. We extend this work by using dyadic survey data from 838 spouses in 419 gay, lesbian, and heterosexual marriages to consider differences in social control tactics across same-sex and different-sex couples—that is, how spouses monitor and regulate each other’s health habits.
  6. Villains, Victims, and Heroes in Character Theory and Affect Control Theory

    We examine three basic tropes—villain, victim, and hero—that emerge in images, claims, and narratives. We compare recent research on characters with the predictions of an established tradition, affect control theory (ACT). Combined, the theories describe core traits of the villain-victim-hero triad and predict audiences’ reactions. Character theory (CT) can help us understand the cultural roots of evaluation, potency, and activity profiles and the robustness of profile ratings.
  7. The Social Construction of Illness: Key Insights and Policy Implications

    The social construction of illness is a major research perspective in medical sociology. This article traces the roots of this perspective and presents three overarching constructionist findings. First, some illnesses are particularly embedded with cultural meaning—which is not directly derived from the nature of the condition—that shapes how society responds to those afflicted and influences the experience of that illness. Second, all illnesses are socially constructed at the experiential level, based on how individuals come to understand and live with their illness.

  8. Featured Essay: The Arrival of Social Science Genomics

    “The genetics revolution may be well underway,” write Dalton Conley and Jason Fletcher in The Genome Factor, “but the social genomics revolution is just getting started” (p. 11). They are not alone in their excitement for recent developments bringing together social science and genetic research. Decades from now, folks may well look back at this time as the start of a golden age for the field.
  9. Accounting for Women’s Orgasm and Sexual Enjoyment in College Hookups and Relationships

    This article investigates the determinants of orgasm and sexual enjoyment in hookup and relationship sex among heterosexual college women and seeks to explain why relationship sex is better for women in terms of orgasm and sexual enjoyment. We use data from women respondents to a large online survey of undergraduates at 21 U.S. colleges and universities and from 85 in-depth interviews at two universities. We identify four general views of the sources of orgasm and sexual enjoyment—technically competent genital stimulation, partner-specific learning, commitment, and gender equality.

  10. Hiring as Cultural Matching: The Case of Elite Professional Service Firms

    This article presents culture as a vehicle of labor market sorting. Providing a case study of hiring in elite professional service firms, I investigate the often suggested but heretofore empirically unexamined hypothesis that cultural similarities between employers and job candidates matter for employers’ hiring decisions. Drawing from 120 interviews with employers as well as participant observation of a hiring committee, I argue that hiring is more than just a process of skills sorting; it is also a process of cultural matching between candidates, evaluators, and firms.