RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS | 2019-08-27

Weekly Briefing | The Politics of Sleep; Crowdsourced Cycling Data; and Crazy Rich Thais

Roads
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How sleep affects ideologies; what big data from a cycling monitoring app tells us; the legal risks behind the use of Machine Learning in predicting psychoses; and a new analysis of the wealthiest Thai families. – Trending social science research from 19 to 25 August 2019.

Political Science

Sleep may affect political ideologies, according to a new paper which finds that morningness is associated with conservatism. The fact that professional institutions favor a 9-to-5 schedule may privilege these chronotypes. The paper highlights these and other variations between morning and evening types (e.g. with regard to the exposure to specific media environments depending on the time of news consumption). (Paper: Conservative Larks, Liberal Owls: The Relationship between Chronotype and Political Ideology in Journal of Politics.)

A survey experiment argues that among Americans, a “human rights” frame increases support of the International Criminal Court (ICC), while a “national security” frame decreases it. (Paper: Human Rights versus National Interests: Shifting US Public Attitudes on the International Criminal Court in International Studies Quarterly.)

Sociology

Having surveyed the literature on the Black Church (as the oldest social institution in the Black community), a paper departs from the usual institutional and ideological level frames by focusing rather on an individual Black Christian activist. Highlighting the agency of Bree Newsome Bass, the paper seeks to illuminate how individual faith informs everyday racialized experiences. (Paper: Doing Black Christianity: Reframing Black Church scholarship in Sociology Compass.)

How do graduates with a working-class background fare during their academic career, and how do their trajectories differ from their peers of a different social upbringing? A longitudinal analysis with data from the 1970 British cohort study sheds light. (Paper: Open Access Social origin, field of study and graduates’ career progression: does social inequality vary across fields? in British Journal of Sociology.)

Geography

Crowdsourced, publicly available big data from users of a cycling monitoring app were harnessed in a study which explored how movement patterns responded to spatial configurations. The results could be important for future planners and designers of cycling infrastructures. (Paper: Exploring the influence of road network structure on the spatial behaviour of cyclists using crowdsourced data in Environment and Planning B.)

With commercial Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) having become more and more accessible, how can one use this tool for education purposes in Geoscience? A fieldwork underlines some barriers to their use (laws, licencing, privacy, costs, etc.) as well as some advantages (enhancing data collection skills, providing new perspectives on landscapes, etc.). (Paper: Evaluating the introduction of unmanned Aerial Vehicles for teaching and learning in geoscience fieldwork education in Journal of Geography in Higher Education.)

History

Dissatisfied with the common depiction of pre-colonial East Africans as merely “nominal” Muslims, a paper investigates how new converts of present west-central Tanzania and the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo started to question their usual way of living. (Paper: Islam In The Interior Of Precolonial East Africa: Evidence From Lake Tanganyika in Journal of African History.)

Domestic support for unilateral secession (in Catalonia and Scotland) depends on the prospecs of international recognition, according to a new survey experiment. This holds particularly true for those who desire independency due to economic(rather than ethno-political) reasons. (Paper: Does international recognition matter? Support for unilateral secession in Catalonia and Scotland in Nations & Nationalism.)

Law

With Machine Learning advancing into psychosis prediction, what are the risks and benefits? A new paper illuminates the legal background behind the use of artificial intelligence for psychiatric assessments. (Paper: The risks of risk. Regulating the use of machine learning for psychosis prediction in International Journal of Law and Psychiatry.)

Given that many alleged “experts” disseminate untested information to judges and lawyers and police officers, a paper, explicitly adressed at the justice system, highlights the distinction between science and pseudo-science. (Paper: Science or pseudoscience? A distinction that matters for police officers, lawyers and judges in Psychiatry, Psychology and Law.)

Communication

The internet is ambivalent: It can displace face-to-face social contacts, or serve as a positive replacement of deficits in direct interactions; and it can be a source of both positive and negative information. Discussing these conceptual possibilities, a longitudinal study (n= 7122) conducted in 19 countries asks and analyzes how internet use affects life satisfaction over time. (Paper: A longitudinal study of the effects of internet use on subjective well-being in Media Psychology.)

There is a widespread distrust towards the current media ecosystem whic is perceived to be filled with misinformation. A study involving in-depth interviews highlights what people rely on in order to get trustworthy information. The paper discusses changing trends in media consumption which is becoming more and more personalized; the role of opinion leaders in social media; and what professional journalists could do to meet the audiences' demands. (Paper: The Reception of Fake News: The Interpretations and Practices That Shape the Consumption of Perceived Misinformation in Digital Journalism.)

Area Studies

Based on Forbes data, a paper analyzes Thailand's wealthiest families and groups from 2006 to 2019 and finds many consistent similarities with the upper echelons of the Thai capitalist class from the 1980s. (Paper: Open Access Crazy Rich Thais: Thailand’s Capitalist Class, 1980–2019 in Journal of Contemporary Asia.)

In 1963, the president of Togo was shot outside the U.S. embassy in Lomé in what was to be West Africa's first coup. Winding its way through Togo's vast “shadow archives” located in various countries outside Togo, a paper sheds light on how competing explanations of the coup selectively chose particular archives to support their narratives. (Paper: West Africa’s First Coup: Neo-Colonial and Pan-African Projects in Togo’s “Shadow Archives” in African Studies Review.)


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