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The latest news about social psychology and sociology research

Parental concerns could increase the size of our creative brains

Evidence from Disneyland suggests that human creativity may have evolved not in response to sexual selection as some scientists believe but as a way to help parents bond with their children and to pass on traditions and cultural knowledge, a new study published in the inaugural issue of the International Journal of Tourism Anthropology suggests.

Study: Teleworkers more satisfied than office-based employees

Employees who telecommute the majority of the work week are more satisfied with their jobs compared to those working mostly in the office because working remotely alleviates more stress than it creates, according to a new study by a communication researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM).

Recommendation letters may be costing women jobs, promotions

A recommendation letter could be the chute in a woman’s career ladder, according to ongoing research at Rice University. The comprehensive study shows that qualities mentioned in recommendation letters for women differ sharply from those for men, and those differences may be costing women jobs and promotions in academia and medicine.

Voluntary cooperation and monitoring lead to success

Many imminent problems facing the world today, such as deforestation, overfishing, or climate change, can be described as commons problems. The solution to these problems requires cooperation from hundreds and thousands of people. Such large scale cooperation, however, is plagued by the infamous cooperation dilemma. According to the standard prediction, in which each individual follows only his own interests, large-scale cooperation is impossible because free riders enjoy common benefits without bearing the cost of their provision.

Sick at work and surfing the net? You’re not alone – or are you?

Some scholars estimate that presenteeism, a relatively recent buzzword that applies to people who are less productive at work because of health issues, costs employers as much as three times the dollar amount as absenteeism in terms of lost productivity. A new opinion paper suggests that the tools for measuring and quantifying hours of lost productivity and translating those hours to dollars are unreliable and don’t capture the entire presenteeism picture, said Susan Hagen, an analyst from the U-M School of Kinesiology Health Management Research Center (HMRC).

Cohabiting parents struggle with nonstandard work schedules

Irregular work schedules appear harmful to the well-being of cohabiting parents, a growing segment of the U.S. population, a study by Michigan State University researchers finds. Working nights, weekends and other nonstandard schedules is increasingly common as the United States moves toward a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week economy, according to the study, which appears in the journal Social Science Research.

Views on health disparities fueled largely by political ideology

When it comes to public perception about health disparities in the United States, political ideology plays a surprisingly large role – more so even than party affiliation, according to new research by a Michigan State University sociologist.

Researchers liberate a ‘liberal gene’

Liberals may owe their political outlook partly to their genetic make-up, according to new research from the University of California, San Diego, and Harvard University. Ideology is affected not just by social factors, but also by a dopamine receptor gene called DRD4. The study’s authors say this is the first research to identify a specific gene that predisposes people to certain political views.

What do managers really do at work

What managers feel they should be doing at work differs from what they really do. The dominating explanations as to why the managerial work looks the way it does are formed collectively and affect first- and second line managers’ view of the leadership. This is the conclusion reached in a new doctoral thesis authored by Rebecka Arman from the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg.

Friends share personal details to strengthen relationships in United States, but not in Japan

In the United States, friends often share intimate details of their lives and problems. However, such self-disclosure is much less common in Japan. A new study by an American researcher living in Japan finds that this may be because of the different social systems in the two countries, and in particular the extent to which there are opportunities to make new friends.

Black youth are politically involved

Many of the assumptions people have about black youth—that they are politically detached and negatively influenced by rap music and videos—are false stereotypes, according to a new University of Chicago study by Prof. Cathy Cohen, based on surveys and conversations with the youth themselves.

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