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    Understanding Empathy: Exploring Power Relations, Group Dynamics, and Counter-dominance in Shaping Outgroup Attitudes

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    This article is a literature review of how the context of group dynamics, power relations, and counter-dominance change our understanding of empathy towards outgroups. A large focus of current psychological research around empathy aims to better understand empathy in improving intergroup relations. However, many of the current studies measure the perspectives of the majority (high-power) groups, while failing to take into account the differences in the perspectives of the minority (low-power) groups, for whom empathy does not predict positive intergroup attitudes. In order to look at the importance of group dynamics and power relations in understanding empathy, I analyze different studies both in the interpersonal and intergroup contexts. Furthermore, when analyzing these studies within the different types of empathy contexts, I illustrate the prominent role of counter-dominance in explaining why empathy relates to positive attitudes toward subordinate groups but negative attitudes toward dominant groups. Additionally, I use counter-dominance to explain differences and similarities in findings when examining different intergroup empathy contexts such as group empathy and attitudinal empathy. In explaining these similarities and differences, I illustrate how counter-dominance is important to understanding empathy in the context of intergroup relations due to its ability to positively predict positive attitudes towards low-power groups and negatively predict attitudes towards high-powered groups

    Effect of Dopamine-2-Receptor Manipulation on Social Interaction and Social Decision-Making in Juvenile Fish

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    Animals interact in intricate social networks. Social behavior is imperative in shaping relationships, in communication, and adapting to changing environments. Despite its profound effects on individual fitness and health, neural-molecular mechanisms behind social behavior and social decision-making continue to be identified. In the present study, we focused on the regulation of social behavior by the Dopamine-2-Receptor (D2R), based on its role in context-dependent social behavior. We used juvenile African cichlid fish, Astatotilapia burtoni, to investigate the effect of dopamine signaling manipulation on their aggressive, territorial, and affiliative behaviors. We hypothesize that D2R manipulation affects social decision-making in juvenile A. burtoni. Specifically, we predict the D2R agonist will increase aggression and the antagonist will reduce aggression. The juveniles were grouped into a triad of 1 bigger fish and 2 smaller fish, then a triad was placed on both sides of a tank divided by an acrylic barrier. Following a 4-day habituation period where the triads could see each other across the barrier for 1 hr/day, the focal fish (larger fish on one side) was injected (intracerebroventricular) with a D2R agonist, antagonist, or control in addition to altering their social context by adding a larger intruder fish to the tank. The aggressive and territorial behaviors of focal, neighbor, and small fish were then scored. Our preliminary results suggest that the D2R manipulation in juvenile A. burtoni induced behavioral changes as the pattern of social interaction varied depending on the treatment group. For instance, the D2R agonist-injected focal had the highest average rate of total interaction while the antagonist group had the lowest average rate of total interaction. Furthermore, our research also showed that the D2R manipulation affect the behavior of unmanipulated fish, as the neighbor’s approach toward the focal substantially increased in the antagonist group. This research demonstrates a critical role for D2R signaling in the neuromolecular mechanisms behind social decision-making

    American-European Alignment: An Assessment of Economic and Security Factors Impacting the Relationship Between the United States and Europe Since WWII

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    The United States and Europe have had a relationship that has constantly augmented during the past 80 years. The extent of this change has depended on a number of factors including security and economics. This paper seeks to analyze the relationship between the United States and Europe throughout the Cold War, following the Cold War, and in the wake of Russia’s current invasion of Ukraine. It will view the partnership through a security and economic lens and seek to determine how much both factors impact the relationship and in what way each factor has impacted the relationship. It will also examine whether the relationship has changed during each timeframe or if there are different relationships across different issues. Finally, this paper will seek to explain how security concerns and events are more impactful to the alignment between the United States and Europe when compared to economic components

    Unions’ Impact on Firms’ Financial Decision Making: A Look at Right-to-Work Laws and their Impact on Firms’ Leverage Decisions

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    I study the impact of unions on firms’ financial decision making by exploring their capital structure, specifically leverage. I test two opposing hypotheses to understand the relationship between unions and firms’ leverage: (1) the bargaining hypothesis which suggests that firms use higher leverage as a bargaining device with unions, and (2) the crowding-out hypothesis which suggests that firms have lower leverage because unions crowd out their debt capacity due to their perceived riskiness. Focusing on the 2007 to 2022 period, I examine right-to-work (RTW) laws, since they are exogenous shocks that decrease union power in five different states. Then, I compare the changes in firms’ leverage between RTW and non-RTW states using an event study differences-in-differences model. Overall, I find that the average firm in a RTW state decreases leverage by 1.2 percentage points relative to non-RTW states and takes three or more years to enact changes. More highly unionized firms like manufacturing firms react more aggressively and promptly, as they decrease leverage by 1.6 percentage points and start doing so two years after RTW laws’ passage. These results support the bargaining hypothesis — as unions weaken, firms reduce their leverage because they no longer need as much of it as a negotiation tool

    Impact of Highway Proximity on Air Quality: An Analysis of Los Angeles County & Harris County

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    The concentration of three major air pollutants - PM2.5, ozone, and NO2 - during the years 2018 to 2022 were analyzed in Los Angeles County, California and Harris County, Texas to determine the extent to which proximity to highways impacts air quality. Los Angeles County is known for its poor air quality and its traffic congestion. Scientific studies about Harris County were lacking when it came to traffic-related emissions, as most of the documented air quality issues were reported from its petrochemical industry. The study tested for general trends in pollutant concentration in areas close to and away from the highway, which proved to be significantly different in most cases for both counties. PM2.5 was the only pollutant that exhibited concentrations above EPA standards, especially in Los Angeles County with a mean concentration of 12.7 μg/m^3 in areas close to the highway and a mean concentration of 11.4 μg/m^3 in areas away from the highway. Additionally, the study observed seasonal variations, which did not exhibit clear trends for each pollutant since the pollutants had different seasons in which concentrations were higher and lower. However, NO2 concentrations were higher during the winter months and lower during the summer months for both counties and at each distance. Most notably, Los Angeles County had overall higher concentrations of each pollutant regardless of the season and distance from the highway, which may be indicative of the air quality issue in the county. Overall, concentrations of pollutants were generally higher closer to highways than away, which means poor air quality disproportionately impacts those residing within close proximity of highways

    City Seeds: Demographic and Economic Threads in Venture Capital Allocations

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    This senior thesis endeavors to unravel the intricate interplay between various demographic and economic factors in shaping the distribution of venture capital funding across cities. As the engine driving innovation and economic growth, venture capital plays a pivotal role in fostering entrepreneurial ecosystems. However, the disparities in funding allocation among urban centers remain inadequately understood. This research seeks to bridge this knowledge gap by examining the multifaceted relationships between demographic characteristics, economic indicators, and the magnitude of venture capital investments in cities. The study employs a comprehensive approach, leveraging a diverse set of data sources to analyze the demographic composition and economic dynamics of selected cities. Demographic factors under scrutiny include population demographics, educational attainment, and age distribution, while economic variables encompass jobs, regulatory environment, and business size data. Through advanced statistical analyses, the research aims to identify patterns, correlations, and potential causal relationships between these factors and the amount of venture capital funding received by cities. Understanding how demographic and economic factors impact funding allocation can inform targeted strategies to enhance the entrepreneurial environment in cities, thereby facilitating sustainable economic development and innovation. This research underscores the significance of considering the unique socio-economic contexts of cities when devising policies and initiatives aimed at promoting a vibrant and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem

    Generational Trauma of the Iranian Revolution

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    This psychology research explores the concept of generational trauma, specifically within the context of the Iranian Revolution, an area that has been understudied compared to well- established research on the Holocaust. Through previous research, it has been revealed that children of individuals who experienced trauma are known to carry their own psychological burdens due to their parents\u27 symptoms, manifesting as generational trauma. The Iranian Revolution, known for causing significant trauma and psychological distress, presents a crucial yet overlooked area for investigating the generational effects of trauma. The study focuses on evaluating the impact of generational trauma on individuals\u27 levels of stress, anxiety, and ethnic identity in the aftermath of the Iranian Revolution. Additionally, the research investigates the role of storytelling in influencing the psychological well-being of the offspring of those who lived through the revolution. With these factors in mind, the goal of this study is to contribute to the understanding of generational trauma in the specific context of the Iranian Revolution, shedding light on its effects on stress, anxiety, ethnic identity, and the potential mitigating role of storytelling

    Applying the SIR model: can students advise the mayor of a small community?

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    This is an account of a modelling scenario that uses the sir epidemic model. It was used in a third year applied mathematics subject. All students were enrolled in a mathematics degree of some type. Students are presented with the results of a test carried out on 100 individuals in a community containing 3000 people. From this they determined the number of infectious and recovered individuals in the population. Given the per capita recovery rate and making a suitable assumption about the number of infectious individuals at the start of the epidemic, they then estimate the infectious contact rate and from this the basic reproduction number. The mayor has asked the students to determine what will happen if no action is taken and to evaluate four policy options. They are asked to recommend the best course of action. This scenario provides students with a problem where parameter values must be inferred from the information provided (one cannot be determined). They use the sir model to provide public health recommendations, reinforcing their appreciation for the usefulness of mathematical modelling. Our paper gives details of student presentations, and errors on the final exam, along with feedback to and from the instructor and the two student coauthors

    Reclaiming Democracy: Examining Disenfranchisement Laws and Policy Recommendations to Restore Voting Rights for Formerly Incarcerated People

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    This paper examines the disenfranchisement of formerly incarcerated people and the steps by which they can participate in civic society again. It delves into the history of these laws, both in the United States and abroad, and the philosophies behind disenfranchisement. It then uses Florida’s Amendment 4 as a case study in current debates surrounding voting rights. After a literature review on voting, it assesses the voting population inside prisons in states that allow it and includes policy recommendations for these states. This thesis also applies interventions from the literature review to reduce the cost for formerly incarcerated people. Ultimately, notifying people of their right to vote is the most cost effective and politically feasible policy to make a sizable difference in voter registration and turnout amongst formerly incarcerated individuals

    The Evolving Landscape of Modern Conflict: Information Warfare in the Age of the Digital Domain

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    As the world progresses towards a new digital age of widespread internet connectivity and information technology, a new wave of geopolitics has emerged. No longer bound by traditional forms of diplomacy with “government to government negotiations,” modern International Relations has seen a breakthrough from digitalization. Cyberspace has fostered informal dialogue, instant networking, and political transparency in international affairs; However, it has also brought along a string of challenges from weaponization for the purpose of misinformation, censorship, and exploitation in times of conflict. I explore in this paper the use of cyberspace for information warfare in international conflict. Particularly, I analyze its role in evolving orthodox warfare by deterritorializing diplomacy, increasing the number of actors, and serving as borderless breeding ground for psychological tactics. This paper uses a two-part methodology which first delves into the uses of information technology and then examines the efficacy of digital instruments. It follows two modern case studies, the Russia-Ukraine and China-Taiwan Conflict, to analyze the impact of cyberspace in hybrid warfare. The paper questions: how is information technology used to gain a powerful advantage and attend to political and military objectives, and what is the complementarity between information warfare and kinetic instruments

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