No evidence that moral reminders reduce cheating behavior, replication effort concludes

Scientists report they were unable to reproduce the results of a well-known study showing that people are less likely to cheat on a task after making a list of the Ten Commandments. Their findings are published in a Registered Replication Report (RRR) in Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

The RRR, led by Bruno Verschuere from the University of Amsterdam and Ewout Meijer from the University of Maastricht, presented primary analyses of data from a total of 4,674 participants collected by 19 participating labs. The RRR aimed to replicate a 2008 study in which researchers Nina Mazar, On Amir, and Dan Ariely asked participants to recall either the Ten Commandments or 10 books they had read before completing a separate problem-solving task.

Data from the original study indicated that participants who had thought about the Ten Commandments, a moral reminder, were less likely to exaggerate when self-reporting how many problems they had solved compared with those who had been prompted to think about books. The findings provided support for self-concept maintenance theory, which holds that people seek personal gain so long as they can maintain a positive self-image while doing so.

Verschuere and Meijer developed the RRR protocol in consultation with Mazar, Amir, and Ariely, who provided the materials used in the original study and feedback on the study design. The protocol was preregistered and made publicly available online — data from participating research teams were included in RRR analyses as long as the teams followed the protocol and met the preregistered criteria for inclusion.

The RRR data showed that the moral reminder had no observable effect on cheating behavior for participants who self-reported their problem-solving performance. Among the participants who had the opportunity to cheat, those who were asked to list the Ten Commandments reported solving about 0.11 more problems than their peers who listed books they had read. This stands in contrast with findings from the original study, which showed that participants who had thought about the Ten Commandments reported solving 1.45 fewer problems than their peers.

Although the participating research teams were located in various countries (including the US), there was little variation in their findings. This suggests that the features of the individual replication attempts and participants are unlikely to explain the overall RRR finding.

However, there may be other factors that could explain the divergent results.

“There are always differences between an original study and replication research. You cannot step in the same river twice,” says Verschuere. “For instance, the original study was conducted more than a decade ago at an elite university. The perceived rewards, the perceived probability of getting caught and the perceived consequences of getting caught may have been different for participants in our replication study. But we also need to consider the possibility that the effect does not exist, and that the original result was a chance finding.”

In a commentary accompanying the RRR, Amir, Mazar, and Ariely write that they are “grateful for the continued investigation and inquiry into a topic that we believe is not only important but also highly relevant in today’s world.”

They note that there are several possible reasons why the results detailed in the RRR might diverge from those of the original study, including the smaller testing group sizes. Also, participants may simply be more aware of research on dishonesty compared with those who participated in the original study a decade ago, they said.

According to Verschuere, the results show the importance of replication research.

“The psychological theory of cheating is very appealing, but we need more replication research to establish the reliability of its empirical basis,” he concludes.

10 People Share Their Most Expensive Makeup and Skin-Care Must-Haves

Most people have at least one thing they’re willing to throw any disposable income at. For some people it’s handbags. For audiophiles, maybe a new pair of headphones. Travelers save all their money for vacation. For beauty lovers like me, splurges usually come in the form of some skin-care product, lipstick, or hair styler we just can’t live without.

I totally get that when you see a super expensive cream, or a whirring gadget promising next-level results, you might think, “Is this possibly worth the money?” Well, I decided to do a little digging to see what beauty products actually are worth the money, according to the people who use them every day.

From skin-care tools you can buy on Amazon to classic lipsticks that will never go out of style, these are the beauty products and tools 10 people say are worth splurging on.

Related: 9 Cult French Pharmacy Products Available on Amazon

I Made Carrot ‘Bacon’ and It Was Pretty Convincing

Growing up, we ate a lot of meat in my family. Italian rice balls filled with ground beef, slow-cooked pulled pork, Polish sausage in everything—you name the meat, we probably ate it. That’s why it is so surprising that my entire family, save for my mom, is either a vegetarian or a vegan now. Obviously, this transition didn’t happen right away, but in the years since I left for college, both of my brothers, my sister, and my dad have all come to embrace the meat-free lifestyle.

That means most of what my mom cooks these days is veg-focused, even though she still not-so-secretly craves the bacon of her former life. She’s been trying to find ways to cook within my family’s dietary restrictions, yet still somehow satisfy her desire for meat, and since I’m the go-to guinea pig when it comes to food things, she practically demanded that I try a recipe for meatless carrot “bacon” and report back if it was legit.

Even though I was skeptical, I decided to give the carrot bacon a shot. I also took the liberty of testing out two other meat substitutes—eggplant “meat”balls and cauliflower “wings”—to find out which vegetarian alternatives my meat-loving mama would most enjoy. Despite my skepticism, they were all pretty damn convincing. Here’s what you need to know.

With the right spices and cooking method, carrot can basically become bacon.

Audrey Bruno

As much as I love carrots, I never thought they had much potential as a meat substitute. I was wrong, as I often am, because carrot can totally taste and even look like bacon, provided you know what you’re doing.

I roughly followed this recipe from One Green Planet. To start, you have to thinly slice the carrots lengthwise with a vegetable peeler. The recipe called for a mandoline—a horizontal slicing device that you can use to quickly slice vegetables for things like chips—but I found the vegetable peeler easier to use. After that, coat the strips in a mix of paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and oil. If you can find liquid smoke at the store, I imagine this would be a great addition, too.

Though the recipe directs you to bake the carrot strips, I found that doing this doesn’t give them that crispy, crunchy bacon texture you know and love. They looked authentic, but they were just too limp and soggy. Instead, I had better luck when I fried them in a saucepan with a tablespoon of oil. I let them cook over medium heat until they shriveled and browned, and then I let them rest on a paper towel-lined plate until they cooled and most of the oil had drained.

The results were astounding. At one point, I even said to myself, “That looks like freakin’ bacon!” It was so good, I’ll probably make it the next time I’m craving bacon and don’t feel like going to the grocery store. Ultimately, of course, I was still eating carrot. But even though they probably wouldn’t pass convincingly in every way as bacon, they scratched enough of the bacon itch that I consider them a success.

When cooked, eggplant’s texture is unmistakably meaty.

Audrey Bruno

There are a lot of vegetarian meatball alternatives out there, but eggplant is so naturally meaty when cooked, I figured they’d make the best faux meatballs. I used a recipe from Skinny Taste to make them and the results were fabulous. You start by sautéeing chopped eggplant until it’s super tender. This recipe said to keep the skin on, but since I usually prefer eggplant without the skin, I made two batches to see if it would have an effect on its overall meatiness. After you’ve finished sautéeing the eggplant, give it a spin in the food processor until it’s a thick, lumpy purée. Then, add all your other ingredients to it (eggs, breadcrumb, etc), mix it up, roll it into balls and bake until they’re ready.

The meatballs were tender and delicious—they had a mouthfeel almost identical to actual meatballs. There was a slight eggplant flavor, but you wouldn’t notice it at all if you served them in something like a red sauce. The batch I made with skin had a bit more texture than the batch without, but otherwise it didn’t make much of a difference. You could do it either way and both would be enjoyable—it’s up to your preference. While the carrot bacon was pretty legit, you could still kinda tell it was carrot. On the other hand, you could honestly fool someone with these eggplant meatballs.

Cauliflower buffalo wings aren’t technically chicken, but they scratch the same itch.

Audrey Bruno

When it comes to wings, you’re as in it for the sauce as you are for the meat. That’s why vegetarian substitutes like cauliflower wings work so well. You’re less likely to notice a difference in texture because of that fiery buffalo. Even if you can’t help but notice the texture, cauliflower is surprisingly flexible, and, when coated in breadcrumbs, it honestly tastes a lot like a boneless, skinless chicken wing.

Making these was incredibly simple. All I did was cut up cauliflower, coat them in an egg wash and breadcrumbs, let them bake for 30 minutes at 425 degrees F, and then coat them in a spicy, buttery buffalo sauce (I loosely followed this recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie). You could easily bake a batch of these to serve alongside real-deal wings at a party. And, if you’re lucky, you might even be able to fool your meat-eaters, too.

I may not have been a believer before, but these three meaty alternatives have made me a convert, and I’m sure my carnivore mom will love them just as much as my vegetarian family.

Why we stick to false beliefs: Feedback trumps hard evidence

Ever wonder why flat earthers, birthers, climate change and Holocaust deniers stick to their beliefs in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary?

New findings from researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, suggest that feedback, rather than hard evidence, boosts people’s sense of certainty when learning new things or trying to tell right from wrong.

Developmental psychologists have found that people’s beliefs are more likely to be reinforced by the positive or negative reactions they receive in response to an opinion, task or interaction, than by logic, reasoning and scientific data.

Their findings, published today in the online issue of the journal Open Mind, shed new light on how people handle information that challenges their worldview, and how certain learning habits can limit one’s intellectual horizons.

“If you think you know a lot about something, even though you don’t, you’re less likely to be curious enough to explore the topic further, and will fail to learn how little you know,” said study lead author Louis Marti, a Ph.D. student in psychology at UC Berkeley.

This cognitive dynamic can play out in all walks of actual and virtual life, including social media and cable-news echo chambers, and may explain why some people are easily duped by charlatans.

“If you use a crazy theory to make a correct prediction a couple of times, you can get stuck in that belief and may not be as interested in gathering more information,” said study senior author Celeste Kidd, an assistant professor of psychology at UC Berkeley.

Specifically, the study examined what influences people’s certainty while learning. It found that study participants’ confidence was based on their most recent performance rather than long-term cumulative results. The experiments were conducted at the University of Rochester.

For the study, more than 500 adults, recruited online through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing platform, looked at different combinations of colored shapes on their computer screens. They were asked to identify which colored shapes qualified as a “Daxxy,” a make-believe object invented by the researchers for the purpose of the experiment.

With no clues about the defining characteristics of a Daxxy, study participants had to guess blindly which items constituted a Daxxy as they viewed 24 different colored shapes and received feedback on whether they had guessed right or wrong. After each guess, they reported on whether or not they were certain of their answer.

The final results showed that participants consistently based their certainty on whether they had correctly identified a Daxxy during the last four or five guesses instead of all the information they had gathered throughout.

“What we found interesting is that they could get the first 19 guesses in a row wrong, but if they got the last five right, they felt very confident,” Marti said. “It’s not that they weren’t paying attention, they were learning what a Daxxy was, but they weren’t using most of what they learned to inform their certainty.”

An ideal learner’s certainty would be based on the observations amassed over time as well as the feedback, Marti said.

“If your goal is to arrive at the truth, the strategy of using your most recent feedback, rather than all of the data you’ve accumulated, is not a great tactic,” he said.

You act most like ‘you’ in a time crunch, study finds

When they must act quickly, selfish people are likely to act more selfishly than usual, while pro-social people behave even more pro-socially, a new study found.

The results suggest that when people don’t have much time to make a decision, they go with what they’ve done in similar situations, said Ian Krajbich, co-author of the study and assistant professor of psychology and economics at The Ohio State University.

“People start off with a bias of whether it is best to be selfish or pro-social. If they are rushed, they’ll tend to go with that bias,” Krajbich said.

But when people have more time to decide, they are more likely to go against their bias as they evaluate the options in front of them, he said.

Krajbich conducted the study with Fadong Chen of Zhejiang University in China. Their results were published Sept. 3 in the journal Nature Communications.

The study involved 102 college students from the United States and Germany who played 200 rounds of a game that is often used in psychology and economics experiments. In each round, played on a computer, the participants chose between two ways of splitting up a real sum of money. Both choices favored the person playing the game, but one choice shared more of the money with the unseen partner.

“The participants had to decide whether to give up some of their own money to increase the other person’s payoff and reduce the inequality between them,” Krajbich said.

The decision scenarios were very different. In some cases, the participants would have to give up only, say, $1 to increase their partner’s payoff by $10. In others, they might have to give up $1 to give their partner an extra $1. And in other cases, they would have to make a large sacrifice — for example, give up $10 to give their partner an extra $3.

The key to this study is that participants didn’t always have the same amount of time to decide, Krajbich said.

In some cases, participants had to decide within two seconds how they would share their money as opposed to other cases, when they were forced to wait at least 10 seconds before deciding. And in additional scenarios, they were free to choose at their own pace, which was usually more than two seconds but less than 10.

The researchers used a model of the “normal” decisions to predict how a participant’s decisions would change under time pressure and time delay.

“We found that time pressure tends to magnify the predisposition that people already have, whether it is to be selfish or pro-social,” Krajbich said.

“Under time pressure, when you have very little time to decide, you’re going to lean more heavily than usual on your predisposition or bias of how to act.”

The situation was different when participants were forced to wait 10 seconds before deciding.

“People may still approach decisions with the expectation that they will act selfishly or pro-socially, depending on their predisposition. But now they have time to consider the numbers and can think of reasons to go against their bias,” he said.

“Maybe you’re predisposed to be selfish, but see that you only have to give up $1 and the other person is going to get $20. That may be enough to get you to act more pro-socially.”

The results may help explain why some previous studies found that time pressure makes people more selfish, while others found that it makes people more pro-social.

“It really depends on where you’re starting, on how you’re predisposed to decide,” Krajbich said.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Ohio State University. Original written by Jeff Grabmeier. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Second Trimester Pregnancy: What to Expect

The second trimester of pregnancy often brings a renewed sense of well-being. The worst of the nausea has usually passed, and your baby isn’t big enough to make you too uncomfortable. Yet more pregnancy symptoms are on the horizon. Here’s what to expect.

Your body

During the second trimester of pregnancy, you might experience physical changes, including:

  • Growing belly and breasts. As your uterus expands to make room for the baby, your abdomen grows. Your breasts will also gradually continue to increase in size. A supportive bra with wide straps is a must.
  • Braxton Hicks contractions. You might feel these mild contractions as a slight tightness in your abdomen. They’re more likely to occur with activity, including after physical activity or after sex. Contact your health care provider if the contractions become painful or regular. This could be a sign of preterm labor.
  • Skin changes. Hormonal changes during pregnancy stimulate an increase in pigment-bearing cells (melanin) in your skin. As a result, you might notice brown patches on your face (melasma). You might also see a dark line down your abdomen (linea nigra). These skin changes are common and usually fade after delivery. Sun exposure, however, can aggravate the issue. When you’re outdoors, use sunscreen. You might also notice reddish lines along your abdomen, breasts, buttocks, or thighs (stretch marks). Although stretch marks can’t be prevented, most eventually fade in intensity. Using your favorite moisturizer might help ease any accompanying itchiness.
  • Nasal problems. During pregnancy, your hormone levels increase and your body makes more blood. This can cause your mucous membranes to swell and bleed easily, resulting in stuffiness and nosebleeds. Saline drops or a saline rinse can help relieve congestion. Also, drink plenty of fluids, use a humidifier, and dab petroleum jelly around the edges of your nostrils to help moisten skin.
  • Dental issues. Pregnancy can cause your gums to become more sensitive to flossing and brushing, resulting in minor bleeding. Rinsing with salt water and switching to a softer toothbrush can decrease irritation. Frequent vomiting could also affect your tooth enamel and make you more susceptible to cavities. Be sure to keep up your dental care during pregnancy.
  • Dizziness. Pregnancy causes changes in circulation that might leave you dizzy. If you’re having trouble with dizziness, drink plenty of fluids, avoid standing for long periods, and move slowly when you stand up or change position. When you feel dizzy, lie down on your side.
  • Leg cramps. Leg cramps are common as pregnancy progresses, often striking at night. To prevent them, stretch your calf muscles before bed, stay physically active, and drink plenty of fluids. Choose shoes with comfort, support, and utility in mind. If a leg cramp strikes, stretch the calf muscle on the affected side. A hot shower, warm bath, ice massage, or muscle massage also might help.
  • Vaginal discharge. You might notice a sticky, clear, or white vaginal discharge. This is normal. Contact your health care provider if the discharge becomes strong smelling, unusual in color, or if it’s accompanied by pain, soreness, or itching in your vaginal area. This could indicate a vaginal infection.
  • Urinary tract infections. These infections are more common during pregnancy. Contact your health care provider if you have pain when you urinate or you have a fever or backache. Left untreated, urinary tract infections can become severe and result in a kidney infection.

Your emotions

During the second trimester, you might feel less tired and more up to the challenge of preparing for your baby. Check into childbirth classes. Find a doctor for your baby. Read about breastfeeding. If you plan to work after the baby is born, get familiar with your employer’s maternity leave policy and investigate child care options.

You might worry about labor, delivery, or impending parenthood. To ease your anxiety, learn as much as you can. Focus on making healthy lifestyle choices that will give your baby the best start.

Prenatal care

During the second trimester, your prenatal appointments will focus on your baby’s growth and detecting any health problems. Your health care provider will begin by checking your weight and blood pressure. He or she might measure the size of your uterus by checking your fundal height—the distance from your pubic bone to the top of your uterus (fundus).

At this stage, the highlight of your prenatal visits might be listening to your baby’s heartbeat. Your health care provider might suggest an ultrasound or other screening tests this trimester. You might also find out your baby’s sex—if you choose.

Be sure to mention any signs or symptoms that concern you. Talking to your health care provider is likely to put your mind at ease.

Updated: 2017-06-21

Publication Date: 2000-10-12

First Trimester Pregnancy: What to Expect

The first trimester of pregnancy is marked by an invisible—yet amazing—transformation. And it happens quickly. Hormones trigger your body to begin nourishing the baby even before tests and a physical exam can confirm the pregnancy.

Knowing what physical and emotional changes to expect during the first trimester can help you face the months ahead with confidence.

Your body

While your first sign of pregnancy might have been a missed period, you can expect several other physical changes in the coming weeks, including:

  • Tender, swollen breasts. Soon after conception, hormonal changes might make your breasts sensitive or sore. The discomfort will likely decrease after a few weeks as your body adjusts to hormonal changes.
  • Nausea with or without vomiting. Morning sickness, which can strike at any time of the day or night, often begins one month after you become pregnant. This might be due to rising hormone levels. To help relieve nausea, avoid having an empty stomach. Eat slowly and in small amounts every one to two hours. Choose foods that are low in fat. Avoid foods or smells that make your nausea worse. Drink plenty of fluids. Foods containing ginger might help. Motion sickness bands, acupuncture, or hypnosis might offer relief—but get the OK from your health care provider first. Contact your health care provider if your nausea and vomiting is severe.
  • Increased urination. You might find yourself urinating more often than usual. The amount of blood in your body increases during pregnancy, causing your kidneys to process extra fluid that ends up in your bladder.
  • Fatigue. During early pregnancy, levels of the hormone progesterone soar—which can put you to sleep. Rest as much as you can. A healthy diet and exercise might help boost your energy.
  • Food aversions. When you’re pregnant, you might become more sensitive to certain odors and your sense of taste might change. Like most other symptoms of pregnancy, food preferences can be chalked up to hormonal changes.
  • Heartburn. Pregnancy hormones relaxing the valve between your stomach and esophagus can allow stomach acid to leak into your esophagus, causing heartburn. To prevent heartburn, eat small, frequent meals and avoid fried foods, citrus fruits, chocolate, and spicy or fried foods.
  • Constipation. High levels of the hormone progesterone can slow the movement of food through your digestive system, causing constipation. Iron supplements can add to the problem. To prevent or relieve constipation, include plenty of fiber in your diet and drink lots of fluids, especially water and prune or other fruit juices. Regular physical activity also helps.

Your emotions

Pregnancy might leave you feeling delighted, anxious, exhilarated, and exhausted—sometimes all at once. Even if you’re thrilled about being pregnant, a new baby adds emotional stress to your life.

It’s natural to worry about your baby’s health, your adjustment to parenthood, and the financial demands of raising a child. If you’re working, you might worry about how to balance the demands of family and career. You might also experience mood swings. What you’re feeling is normal. Take care of yourself, and look to your loved ones for understanding and encouragement. If your mood changes become severe or intense, consult your health care provider for support.

Prenatal care

Whether you choose a family doctor, obstetrician, nurse-midwife, or other pregnancy specialist, your health care provider will treat, educate, and reassure you throughout your pregnancy.

Your first visit will focus on assessing your overall health, identifying any risk factors and determining your baby’s gestational age. Your health care provider will ask detailed questions about your health history. Be honest. If you’re uncomfortable discussing your health history in front of your partner, schedule a private consultation. Also expect to learn about first trimester screening for chromosomal abnormalities, including prenatal cell-free DNA screening.

After the first visit, you’ll probably be asked to schedule checkups every four weeks. During these appointments, discuss any concerns or fears you might have about pregnancy, childbirth, or life with a newborn. Remember, no question is silly or unimportant—and the answers can help you take care of yourself and your baby.

Updated: 2017-04-14

Publication Date: 1994-12-01

Internet and telephone assisted training for child disruptive behavior found to be effective

Positive long-term outcomes, such as a reduction in child disruptive behavior and increased parental skills, have been reported in a new study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP). For a large number of families, screened from the general population, internet- and telephone-assisted trainings that target disruptive behavior in children at age 4 decreases the likelihood of such disruptive behavior occurring. The program was effective 24 months after initiation.

Preschool children with disruptive behavior show significant functional impairment at home, daycare, school and in community settings. A number of studies have shown that this type of behavior has untoward, long-term, harmful consequences, including mental and physical health problems, crime, substance abuse, and increased risk of suicidality later in life. Untreated disruptive behavior disorders are some of the most costly early childhood psychiatric disorders. Parent training is one of the most effective approaches for the psychosocial treatment of disruptive behavioral problems in young children. However, no previous Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) has been conducted on an intervention offering remote or internet-assisted parental training and population-based screening. This study reports on two-year outcomes from preschool children with disruptive behavioral problems who were randomized to receive either an 11-week internet-assisted parental training or an educational control condition. The study is unique, in part, due to its use of a population-based screening to facilitate enrollment and due to its long-term follow-up period with an assessment at 24 months which had a very low attrition rate.

Altogether, 730 of the 4,656 four-year-old children who attended annual child health clinic check-ups in Southwest Finland met the criteria for high level disruptive behavioral problems. 464 parents participated in the 11-week Strongest Families Smart Website (SFSW) intervention program, or an educational control (EC) group. When the SFSW and EC groups were compared between baseline and after the 24-month follow-up, the primary outcome of the Child Behavior Check List (CBCL) externalizing score showed significantly higher improvements in the SFSW group (effect size 0.22; p<0.001). In addition, most of the child psychopathology measures, including aggression, sleep problems, anxiety, and other emotional problems decreased significantly more in the SFSW group than in the EC group. Similarly, parental skills increased more in the SFSW group than in the EC group.

Interestingly, children in the SFSW group made significantly less use of child mental health services than the EC group during the 24-month follow-up period (17.5 percent vs. 28.0 percent).

“Our findings address some key public health challenges in delivering parent training programs,” said lead author Andre Sourander, MD, PhD, of the University of Turku, Finland, and leader of the research group.

“When traditional parental training requires referral to clinical services, it often results in substantial delays, and older children are more likely to require adjunctive treatment to parental training. Studies have identified that internet-assisted treatment programs may offer certain benefits over traditional interventions: these include high levels of support; greater accessibility; convenience; and reduced costs. Studying feasibility and effectiveness of digitalized child mental health interventions is important because of the global shortage of skilled staff who can address child mental health problems.”

According to Dr. Sourander, the parents were highly motivated and continued their involvement in the training program. Most importantly, the treatment effects were maintained until two years. Identifying children at risk in the community at an early stage enabled local government services to provide an effective parent training program for a large number of families, including many who would not have participated in clinic-based services.

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Materials provided by Elsevier. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Troubling disadvantages, including bias, against women in business, study finds

Women CEOs in America are paid less, have shorter tenures and their companies are punished in the stock market, even when their firms are just as profitable as those run by men, according to new research from Florida State University.

In addition, women CEOs are less likely to serve as board chair of their companies, and they have a much tougher time landing the top job because there is significantly less demand for their leadership compared to men.

“This research should be eye-opening to people, and I hope they take a closer look,” said Michael Holmes, FSU’s Jim Moran Associate Professor of Strategic Management. “We hope this sets the record straight on past research, some of which has produced conflicting results, and now people can build on this aggregation of findings.”

To set the record straight, Holmes and Assistant Professor of Management Gang Wang conducted an exhaustive study focusing on the influence of gender on CEOs’ careers. The business management experts conducted a meta-analysis, examining the entire body of research completed over decades, and they pored over 158 previous studies that investigated gender, companies’ hiring choices and the impact of those decisions.

One of the key findings in that body of research reveals an extreme underrepresentation of women CEOs. Only 5.4 percent of Fortune 500 companies had female CEOs in 2017, and that figure was the all-time high in the United States.

“The situation for women leaders is probably worse than you think right now,” Holmes said. “Many women who become CEOs are absolute rock stars. They have graduated from elite schools and risen through the corporate ranks faster, but they get paid less, are less likely to be a firm’s board chair, have shorter tenures in the job and are more likely to lead distressed firms. We wondered, ‘What’s going on here?'”

That question prompted Wang and Holmes to embark on a two-and-a-half-year research project — the results were just published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. The study identifies a number of factors that hinder female CEOs and CEO candidates among stock market investors, corporate boards, managers, and more generally, across American culture.

Wang and Holmes grouped those factors into two basic marketplace forces: demand-side and supply-side influences that combined to stifle women’s ability to get CEO jobs.

Demand-side factors reduce demand for female CEOs by limiting the willingness of companies to hire women for the job. One example of that attitude is known as “in-group favoritism,” a phenomenon that causes people to view others who are similar to them as more competent. In the corporate world, where men dominate leadership jobs and company boards, that attitude means leaders tend to hire people like themselves.

The FSU research also notes the hiring process for CEOs can be influenced by gender-role stereotypes. In American culture, as well as many countries worldwide, the perceived traits of a good leader, such as aggressiveness and risk-taking, are generally seen as masculine qualities.

“Because of that bias, men have advantages obtaining and succeeding in leadership positions, while women leaders are more likely to be disliked and viewed as socially inept, due to the perceived role incongruity,” the researchers wrote in the paper.

The other marketplace force influencing corporate hiring decisions, according to Wang and Holmes, is a supply-side issue. They report more women choose to leave the workforce for a variety of reasons, including family changes, lack of career advancement or perhaps outright discrimination.

In addition, the study points to a larger sociological influence on hiring CEOs. Men are socialized from childhood to display traits associated with leadership — being forceful, aggressive, even pugnacious — and those characteristics are generally less common among women, Holmes said, perhaps because women are raised differently.

“Females are more likely socialized to care for the home or be nurturing,” he said. “Men start to develop characteristics that might help them become a CEO early in childhood, whereas fewer women do. That reduces the supply of female candidates for CEO jobs.”

Wang and Holmes also documented a clear bias in the stock market against women CEOs. When they used accounting metrics to compare companies with similar financial results, for example, profits, firms run by women CEOs experienced worse stock performance than those led by men.

Wang and Holmes wrote that investors and stock market analysts, most of whom are men, likely had less direct experience with women CEOs, were influenced by in-group favoritism and gender-role stereotypes, and saw more women opting out of careers. As a result, the researchers concluded those factors prompted many investors to treat the stocks of companies led by women more harshly.

“Women have come a long way in the workforce in terms of their overall numbers and acceptance, but when it comes to stock market investors evaluating a CEO and a company that they don’t know, I think investors may subconsciously discount that firm because the leader is female versus male,” Holmes said. “It seems when investors take an overall look at firms, biases creep in, and people may not even be aware of them.”

The research team hopes future studies focus on ways to reduce biases resulting from demand-side and supply-side forces. They believe too many women either have been pushed out of careers or opted out because they faced an uneven playing field.

Their research provides practical ideas for young women who hope to become a CEO someday, such as pursuing early and fast promotions because, as their research shows, women who do break through to become CEOs are often younger with fewer years of experience than men.

“These women have earned their place at the top,” Holmes said. “But the data shows things are different for women — the workforce does not offer a level playing field.

“I hope when people read the research, they have some ‘aha’ moments with the findings, as well as the explanations. By showing these firms perform the same as companies led by male CEOs, let’s get beyond the idea that women can’t be good leaders. Clearly, they are good leaders. They often just aren’t rewarded equally.”

Rich Devine and John Bishoff, former FSU doctoral students, contributed to this research.

How weight loss is linked to future health for older adults

Studies describing the effects of weight loss on health rarely consider age. However, weight loss during middle age likely has different effects on your health than does weight loss when you’re 65-years-old or older — especially when you’re older than 85.

Although some studies have found that weight loss in older adults is generally linked to an increase in illness and death, researchers say that these studies were either too short or were based on information that may have been interpreted incorrectly.

However, one study about fractures and osteoporosis (a medical condition in which bones become thin, lose density, and become increasingly fragile) looked specifically at health and weight for women who were over age 65. Reviewing more than 20 years’ worth of data for study participants, the team of researchers responsible for this study had the chance to examine links between long-term weight gain/loss and health. Their findings were published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

In their new study, the research team evaluated information from the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures. The research team theorized that women with greater weight loss, greater variability in their weight, and/or abrupt declines in weight would be less able to function physically at year 20, and would be more likely to experience poorer health outcomes one to five years after year 20. This theory was based in part on an earlier, related study by the same research team also making use of the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures. In that earlier work, the researchers discovered that the rate of weight loss over 20 years was linked to developing mild cognitive impairment or dementia in women surviving past age 80. (This was not the case for participants with sudden weight loss or changes in weight).

The current study revealed that every 22 pounds of weight loss over 20 years was linked to a 23 percent increased risk of death and a 52 percent increased risk of hip fracture.

The team also said that women with moderate weight loss (20 or more pounds) over 20 years had a 74 percent increased risk of death. Their risk for hip fracture increased nearly three times, compared to women who had not lost weight. They were nearly four times more likely to have poor physical function after 20 years, compared to women with no weight loss.

Even women who had lost a small amount of weight (less than 20 pounds) over 20 years had an increased risk of death, but no increased risk of hip fracture or of poor physical function.

However, the researchers found no link between weight loss and chances for experiencing two or more falls during approximately 18 months of follow-up.

Weight variability and abrupt weight loss were not associated with poor health outcomes, such as falls, fractures, and death. However, those with the most weight variability over 20 years were two times more likely to have poor scores for measures of physical function.

As women age, they risk weight loss because of changes in senses of taste and smell, poorer digestion, and difficulty absorbing nutrients. In addition, other challenges such as loneliness, being in a long-term care facility, having mental health problems such as depression, and/or having limited ability to get around independently can lead to weight loss, said the researchers. “Our findings suggest that weight loss may contribute to the process of health decline,” said Dr. Erin LeBlanc, lead author of the study at Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research, Portland, Oregon.

The researchers added: “Our results suggest long-term weight loss in older women may be a marker for increased risk of poor health outcomes. Therefore, we should pay attention to women who have survived into their 80s and 90s who have experienced moderate weight loss, regardless of whether there was an abrupt weight decline.” Looking closely at women’s nutrition, as well as social, environmental, and physical factors impacting well-being also could help preserve health and physical function into old age. However, additional research is needed, the researchers concluded.

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Materials provided by American Geriatrics Society. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.