Psychology, Department of

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Assessing the Validity of The Self Versus Other Interest Implicit Association Test

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2020-06-01
Abstract: 

There is great variability in the ways that humans treat one another, ranging from extreme compassion (e.g., philanthropy, organ donation) to self-interested cruelty (e.g., theft, murder). What underlies and explains this variability? Past research has primarily examined human prosociality using explicit self-report scales, which are susceptible to self-presentation biases. However, these concerns can be alleviated with the use of implicit attitude tests that assess automatic associations. Here, we introduce and assess the validity of a new test of implicit prosociality–the Self versus Other Interest Implicit Association Test (SOI-IAT)–administered to two samples in pre-registered studies: regular blood donors (Study 1; N = 153) and a nationally representative sample of Americans (Study 2; N = 467). To assess validity, we investigated whether SOI-IAT scores were correlated with explicit measures of prosociality within each sample and compared SOI-IAT scores of the control sample (representative sample of Americans) with the prosocial sample (blood donors). While SOI-IAT scores were higher in the prosocial blood donor sample, SOI-IAT scores were generally uncorrelated with explicit measures and actual prosocial behaviour. Thus, the SOI-IAT may be able to detect group differences in everyday prosociality, but future testing is needed for a more robust validation of the SOI-IAT. These unexpected findings underscore the importance of sharing null and mixed results to fill gaps in the scientific record and highlight the challenges of conducting research on implicit processes.

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Article
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Predictive Validity of the SAVRY With Indigenous and Caucasian Female and Male Adolescents on Probation

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2020-03-26
Abstract: 

Indigenous people and the courts have emphasized that it is important to examine whether violence risk assessment tools are valid and appropriate for Indigenous youth. However, studies are scarce. Therefore, we examined the predictive validity of youth probation officers’ SAVRY ratings for 744 Canadian youth, including 299 Indigenous youth (219 male, 80 female), and 445 Caucasian youth (357 male, 88 female) in a prospective field study. The SAVRY summary risk ratings and risk total scores significantly predicted violent and any reoffending for Indigenous female and male youth with medium effect sizes. Relatively few significant differences in the predictive validity emerged for Indigenous and Caucasian youth. However, Historical, Protective, and Risk Total scores predicted any recidivism better for Caucasian males than Indigenous males. Also, Indigenous youth scored significantly higher on all risk domains than Caucasian youth. Opposite to predictions, the rates of false positives were higher for Caucasian youth than for Indigenous youth. Based on the results, the SAVRY appears to be a reasonable tool to use for assessing risk in youth who are Indigenous. However, assessors should take steps to ensure that they use the SAVRY in a culturally appropriate manner, such as considering cultural factors in case formulations and treatment planning as the SAVRY does not ground assessments in an understanding of factors such as colonialism. In addition, future research should examine culturally salient risk factors (e.g., discrimination) and examine potential causes of higher risk scores in Indigenous youth, particularly the role of both past and present-day colonialism.

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Article
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Ten-year Trends in Physical Dating Victimization among Adolescent Boys and Girls in British Columbia, Canada

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-07-18
Abstract: 

Physical dating violence (PDV) victimization among adolescents is a serious global problem. Although knowledge of trends in PDV victimization can help guide programming and health policies, little research has examined whether the prevalence of PDV victimization has increased, decreased, or remained stable over time among non-U.S.-based samples of youth. In addition, few studies have directly tested whether disparities in PDV victimization between boys and girls have narrowed, widened, or remained unchanged in recent years. To address these gaps, we used school-based data from the British Columbia Adolescent Health Surveys (BC AHS) of 2003, 2008, and 2013 (n boys = 18,441 and n girls = 17,459) to examine 10-year trends in PDV victimization. We also tested whether trends differed across self-reported sex. Data from the 2003 to 2013 BC AHS revealed that recent PDV victimization rates had significantly decreased among youth overall (5.9% to 5.0%) and boys (8.0% to 5.8%), but not girls (5.3% to 4.2%). Although boys had steeper declines than girls in PDV victimization rates, year-by-sex interactions indicate that the sex gap in PDV victimization had not significantly narrowed. Moreover, rates of PDV victimization over the 10-year period indicated significantly higher rates of PDV victimization among boys compared to girls. Despite positive declines in recent rates of PDV victimization among youth, important differences in rates of PDV victimization between boys and girls remain. These findings underscore the need for greater attention to sex differences in research and programming and health policies to reduce PDV victimization and the sex disparities therein.

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Article
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The Inventory of Callous-Unemotional Traits: Reliability, Convergent Validity, and Predictive Validity for Reoffending in Adolescents on Probation

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-11-10
Abstract: 

This prospective study assessed the reliability and validity of the Inventory of Callous-Unemotional Traits (ICU) in a sample of 70 adolescent offenders. With the exception of the Unemotional subscale, ICU scores showed acceptable reliability. ICU total and Callousness scores demonstrated moderate associations with the Antisocial Process Screening Device and the Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version. The ICU also demonstrated moderate predictive accuracy for violent reoffending over an 18-month follow-up period. While these findings provide some support for the ICU’s validity, more research is needed to determine if it is appropriate for use in applied settings with adolescent offenders.

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Article
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Improving Case Plans and Interventions for Adolescents on Probation: The Implementation of the SAVRY and a Structured Case Planning Form

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-09-27
Abstract: 

Even when probation officers use risk assessment tools, many of their clients’ needs remain unaddressed. As such, we examined whether the implementation of the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth (SAVRY) and a structured case planning form resulted in better case plans as compared to prior practices (i.e., a non-validated local tool and an unstructured plan). Our sample comprised 216 adolescents on probation who were matched via propensity scores. Adolescents in the SAVRY/Structured Plan condition had significantly better case plans than those in the pre-implementation condition. Specifically, following implementation, adolescents’ high need domains were more likely to be targeted in plans. Plans also scored higher on other quality indicators (e.g., level of detail). These improvements appeared to be due primarily to the structured plan rather than the SAVRY. Overall, our findings highlight that, just as structure can improve risk assessments, so too might structure improve case plans.

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Article
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Predictive Validity of the MAYSI-2 and PAI-A for Suicide-Related Behavior and Nonsuicidal Self-Injury Among Adjudicated Adolescent Offenders on Probation

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-09-01
Abstract: 

This prospective study evaluated the ability of the MAYSI-2 and PAI-A to predict suicide-related behavior (SRB) and non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) among adjudicated adolescent offenders on probation. Predictive validity of the MAYSI-2 for SRB and NSSI has generally been postdictively examined among detained adolescents. In addition, no published studies have examined the predictive validity of the PAI-A for SRB and NSSI among adolescent offenders. Neither the MAYSI-2 nor PAI-A added incremental predictive validity above lifetime SRB or NSSI. However, several MAYSI-2 and PAI-A subscales were predictive of SRB or NSSI. With some exceptions, most recommended instrument cut-off scores differentiated between low-risk and high-risk youth. These findings suggest that the MAYSI-2 and PAI-A hold promise for evaluating SRB and NSSI among justice-involved youth. In addition, these findings contribute to more informed decisions regarding the use of these tools and can be used to inform SRB and NSSI prevention efforts.

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Article
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Midday Meals Do Not Impair Mouse Memory

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-11-19
Abstract: 

Nocturnal mice fed in the middle of the light period exhibit food anticipatory rhythms of behavior and physiology under control of food-entrainable circadian clocks in the brain and body. This is presumed to be adaptive by aligning behavior and physiology with predictable mealtimes. This assumption is challenged by a report that daytime feeding schedules impair cognitive processes important for survival, including object memory and contextual fear conditioning assessed at two times of day. To further evaluate these effects, mice were restricted to a 6 h daily meal in the middle of the light or dark period and object memory was tested at four times of day. Object memory was not impaired by daytime feeding, and did not exhibit circadian variation in either group. To determine whether impairment might depend on methodology, experimental procedures used previously to detect impairment were followed. Daytime feeding induced food anticipatory rhythms and shifted hippocampal clock genes, but again did not impair object memory. Spontaneous alternation and contextual fear conditioning were also not impaired. Hippocampal memory function appears more robust to time of day and daytime feeding schedules than previously reported; day-fed mice can remember what they have seen, where they have been, and where it is dangerous.

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Article
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Prosocial Perceptions of Taxation Predict Support for Taxes

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-11-26
Abstract: 

Many people report disliking taxes despite the fact that tax funds are used to provide essential services for the taxpayer and fellow citizens. In light of past research demonstrating that people are more likely to engage in prosocial action when they recognize how their assistance positively impacts the recipient, we examine whether recognition of how one’s tax contributions help other citizens–perceived prosocial taxation–predicts more supportive views of taxation and greater engagement. We conducted three correlational studies using North American samples (N = 902, including a nationally representative sample of over 500 US residents) in which we find that perceived prosocial taxation is associated with greater enjoyment paying taxes, willingness to continue paying taxes, and larger financial contributions in a tax-like payment. Findings hold when controlling for several demographic variables, participants’ general prosocial orientation, and the perception that tax dollars are being put to good use. In addition, we examined data from six waves of the World Values Survey (N > 474,000 across 107 countries). We find that people expressing trust in their government and civil service–thereby indicating some confidence that their taxes will be used in prosocial ways–are significantly more likely to state that it is never justifiable to cheat on taxes. Together, these studies offer a new and optimistic perspective on taxation; people may hold more positive views and be more willing to contribute if they believe their contribution benefits others.

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Article
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Sleep Timing and Duration in Indigenous Villages with and Without Electric Lighting on Tanna Island, Vanuatu

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-11-21
Abstract: 

It has been hypothesized that sleep in the industrialized world is in chronic deficit, due in part to evening light exposure, which delays sleep onset and truncates sleep depending on morning work or school schedules. If so, societies without electricity may sleep longer. However, recent studies of hunter-gatherers and pastoralists living traditional lifestyles without electricity report short sleep compared to industrialized population norms. To further explore the impact of lifestyles and electrification on sleep, we measured sleep by actigraphy in indigenous Melanesians on Tanna Island, Vanuatu, who live traditional subsistence horticultural lifestyles, in villages either with or without access to electricity. Sleep duration was long and efficiency low in both groups, compared to averages from actigraphy studies of industrialized populations. In villages with electricity, light exposure after sunset was increased, sleep onset was delayed, and nocturnal sleep duration was reduced. These effects were driven primarily by breastfeeding mothers living with electric lighting. Relatively long sleep on Tanna may reflect advantages of an environment in which food access is reliable, climate benign, and predators and significant social conflict absent. Despite exposure to outdoor light throughout the day, an effect of artificial evening light was nonetheless detectable on sleep timing and duration.

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Article
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Evidence for Proactive and Reactive Helping in Two- To Five-Year-Olds from A Small-Scale Society

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2017-11-15
Abstract: 

Humans are unique in their propensity for helping. Not only do we help others in need by reacting to their requests, we also help proactively by assisting in the absence of a request. Proactive helping requires the actor to detect the need for help, recognize the intention of the other, and remedy the situation. Very little is known about the development of this social phenomenon beyond an urban, industrialized setting. We examined helping in nineteen two- to five-year old children in small-scale rural villages of Vanuatu. In the experimental condition, the intentions of the experimenter were made salient, whereas in the control condition they were ambiguous. Children helped more often in the experimental compared to the control condition, suggesting that the propensity to monitor others’ goals and act accordingly can be detected in different cultural contexts.

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Article
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