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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 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.

  3. Prayers, Protest, and Police: How Religion Influences Police Presence at Collective Action Events in the United States, 1960 to 1995

    Do police treat religious-based protest events differently than secular ones? Drawing on data from more than 15,000 protest events in the United States (1960 to 1995) and using quantitative methods, we find that law enforcement agents were less likely to show up at protests when general religious actors, actions, or organizations were present. Rather than reflecting privileged legitimacy, we find that this protective effect is explained by religious protesters’ use of less threatening tactics at events.

  4. "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.

  5. Why and How Inequality Matters

    In this article, I share some thoughts about how we might extend the study of mental health inequalities by drawing from key insights in sociology and sociological social psychology about the nature of inequality and the processes through which it is produced, maintained, and resisted. I suggest several questions from sociological research on stratification that could help us understand unexpected patterns of mental health inequalities.

  6. Weddings in the Town Square: Young Russian Israelis Protest the Religious Control of Marriage in Tel-Aviv

    The article discusses alternative wedding ceremonies staged in urban spaces as a statement of protest among immigrant couples that cannot marry in rabbinical courts, because they are not recognized as Jews. These public weddings are organized and sponsored by the Fishka association of young Israeli adults of Russian origin.

  7. Research Opportunities

    Social psychology offers abundant opportunities for developing new understandings through research. In my career, many people and circumstances have brought opportunities that initiated, supported, and improved investigations. I illustrate that process with selected instances from my research on interpersonal behavior, theory development, and applications of theoretical work. Our field demonstrates many ways that explicit theory is preferable to common sense, and it also shows the importance of caution and discipline in applying theoretical knowledge for practical ends.

  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. Discrimination in Lending Markets: Status and the Intersections of Gender and Race

    Research documents that lenders discriminate between loan applicants in traditional and peer-to-peer lending markets, yet we lack knowledge about the mechanisms driving lenders’ behavior. I offer one possible mechanism: When lenders assess borrowers, they are implicitly guided by cultural stereotypes about the borrowers’ status. This systematically steers lenders toward funding higher status groups even when applicants have the same financial histories.

  10. Effects of Heterogeneity and Homophily on Cooperation

    The article provides a micro-behavioral model and an experimental design to understand the effect of heterogeneity in social identities on cooperation while accounting for endogenous sorting. Social identity is induced exogenously using the minimal group paradigm. The experiment manipulates sorting with three treatments: having subjects interact with both in- and outgroup members, giving them the choice to interact either with ingroup or outgroup members, and isolating the groups from the outset.