At the recently completed Farnborough Air Show within which the prestigious world aviation awards were awarded – The World Airline Awards, Croatia Airlines was named one of the best airlines in Eastern Europe.Despite extremely strong competition, Croatia Airlines took a high fourth place, leaving behind the best airlines from this part of Europe, as well as companies from Serbia and Slovenia, ie from the republics of the former Commonwealth (for example, Air Serbia is ranked seventh, and Adria Airways as the eighth).The World Airline Awards the most prestigious is global recognition in the aviation industry, better known as airline Oscar. Airlines are awarded prizes based on the experiences of passengers, and this year alone, more than 19 million of them took part in the survey. About 40 key performance indicators and more than 280 airlines around the world were included. “We are extremely pleased to have further strengthened our market position among the best airlines in Europe with this global recognition. We can proudly say that this is the result of our systematic investment in improving our service and passenger satisfaction, which, among other things, is reflected in the expansion of the flight network and the opening of new airlines connecting Croatia with several attractive European destinations.”Said Krešimir Kučko, President of the Management Board of Croatia Airlines.Let us remind you that this prestigious recognition is the result of a positive trend in Croatia Airlines’ business, after this year the flight network was expanded by opening as many as four new airlines from Croatia to some of the most attractive European destinations. Thus, this global measure of aviation excellence according to the choice of passengers arrived as an additional confirmation of the systematic work and investment that Croatia Airlines is carrying out after the successful completion of the restructuring program.
The world’s leading tourism industry fair 51st ITB Berlin is behind us, impressions have settled and it is time to analyze and implement new trends in tourism.In collaboration with the company StarDigital, which specializes in providing technological services and solutions in the field of digital marketing with a specific focus on digital promotion and marketing in the function of tourism development and better positioning of destinations, we bring you conclusions about the latest trends in tourism and technological trends that will significantly affect future tourism development.GENERAL TOURIST TRENDS – GROWING TOURISM Some of the latest general trends in tourism were also presented at ITB Berlin. According to the ITB Travel Trend Report, the consumption of tourist services grew in the first eight months of 2016, despite the terrorist attacks that marked last year. There is a global increase in outbound tourist travel by 3.9 percent, led by tourists from Asia (+11 percent), with the emphasis on the strong growth of outbound Asian guests significantly influenced by China (+18 percent) and the United States with +7 percent. As for outbound tourist trips from Europe in the global picture, they also recorded a growth of 2,5 percent, in which guests from the UK (+6 percent) and Germany (+4 percent) participate the most.INCOMING TOURISM IS GROWINGGlobal inbound tourist travel grew by 4 percent in the first 9 months according to the UNWTO Global Tourism Barometer. As far as Europe is concerned, destinations perceived as safe have achieved significant growth as opposed to destinations affected by terrorist attacks. Asia and America have generated significant contributions to these figures. Thus, in Asia, the Mecca region is highlighted as one of the fastest growing destinations globally. Forecasts for 2017 also give a positive picture, inbound tourism is expected to grow by 4 to 5 percent, with Asia and the US achieving the highest growth, stronger than Europe.POSITIVE INDICATORS FOR THE FUTURE. SECURITY AS AN IMPORTANT TOPICTourists from China are expected to travel more strongly in the future, with somewhat more rational consumption. Also, the World Travel Monitor covered the topics of risks in the tourism industry, which are mainly reduced to the problem of terrorist attacks, but according to the data presented in the Monitor, the real risk is significantly less than health problems or crime. Despite this, many people (45 percent) worry about the security issue, especially for certain countries and destinations. Two-thirds of respondents plan to travel only to international destinations that are perceived as safe, so the topic of security and security has become important and there is much talk about methods and approaches that terrorism-affected destinations can use to improve their tourism image and the importance of peace and stabilization. for the general development of the tourism industry. Which includes a proactive approach to communications, sending positive destination stories, crisis communication, investing in security promotion and the like.MILLENNIALS AS AN INTERESTING TARGET GROUPMillennials, of which there are about 1.8 billion on the global market today, form a significant tourist segment, have specific characteristics, desires and needs and prefer to get to know a destination through authentic cultural experience, often using advanced and new technological solutions in their tourist offer.DIGITAL MARKETING TRENDS AFFECTING TOURISM DEVELOPMENT IN THE FUTURETotal tourism sales globally exceeded $ 22 trillion and recorded an increase over previous years. Most people today use a variety of online services and products to purchase travel services, whether they are looking for destination information, reading testimonials or trying to book their trip. The British travel agency has announced that 76 per cent of UK Internet users have booked their holiday digitally, in the US Emarketer has estimated that over 52 per cent of US travel arrangements are contracted through online platforms. These indicators suggest that digital marketing techniques are extremely important for the success of the tourism industry as well as its further development in the future. Technology is thus becoming an important component for the development of this industry. Here we present some of the technological trends highlighted during the ITB that are considered to affect and transform tourism in the future.VIRTUAL REALITYAs a technique that will be able to “taste and try” the product in advance before the purchase, while such scenarios should still be put in a realistic framework.BIG DATAAs tourists are looking for more relevant and reliable content, providers, on the other hand, are investing more in big data analytics and collecting and analyzing data on tourist behavior, their structure, habits, principles of using various channels, communication methods and content consumption. A survey by American Express found that 85 percent of millennials would allow travel companies to track their spending habits if it in turn provided them with a better individual experience and a personally tailored content offering. It is also important to say that 43 percent of travel companies cite better targeted and individualized offerings as a top priority of their digital strategy.MARKETING THROUGH MULTI CHANNELS BECOMES NORM FOR THE TOURIST SECTORThe global online tourism sector is growing at an annual rate of 3.8 percent and is expected to continue to grow even more dynamically over the next 10 years, reaching $ 11.4 trillion, and the size of that market could exceed the current size of the overall UK economy. Online bookings are growing and have reached over 40 percent of total tourist sales. In addition, new, younger generations are coming to the tourism scene, for whom technology is an integral part of life and they use various technological tools in a very wide range. In this sense, the tourism industry must follow market trends, so it is to be expected that its promotion and marketing offer will increasingly focus on a variety of digital channels.Photo: ww.everplans.comRESERVATIONS BY MOBILE DEVICES ARE INCREASINGIt turned out that as many as 27 percent of tourist destinations are booked globally via mobile devices, in the US as many as 29 percent. This trend is on the rise, and includes smartphones and tablets. It has been shown that reservations via mobile devices are very susceptible to seasonal changes. The growth of booking via mobile devices is especially emphasized in last minute bookings.MOBILE APPLICATIONS AN IMPORTANT FACTORAccording to data in several studies, as many as 31 percent of Americans use at least one mobile app to plan their travel, and 52 percent tend to use the mobile app to purchase additional services while on the go. Mobile applications have thus generated 57 percent of total bookings made via mobile devices and continue to grow. Also, more and more tourism companies are investing in the so-called in-app advertising and tracking of advertising results via mobile applications.SMARTPHONES CHANGE THE RULES OF THE GAMECompared to tablets, smartphones dominate when booking accommodation via mobile devices, holding a share of as much as 81 percent. More than 53 percent of airline flights are also booked by phone. For travel arrangements, however, tablet computers hold a higher share of 60 percent. While travel agencies have proven to be a good generator of hotel reservations for travel agencies, as much as 32 percent is realized through smartphones.CONSUMER MONITORING THROUGH DIFFERENT PLATFORMS AND DEVICESIn tourism, it is becoming increasingly important to monitor the behavior of consumers and customers through various technological platforms and devices. Without tracking, it is not possible to read the path until the purchase decision is made. Organizations that can get better data and a holistic view of their users and customers, will be able to more precisely form programmed offers and recommendations and better serve their customers, and thus increase ROI.More information on these trends can be found in the reports: ITB Travel Trend Report, Mobile Flash Trend Report, SmartInsights Travel Marketing Trends
For decades, researchers in the genetics field have theorized that the protein spools around which DNA is wound, histones, remain constant in the brain, never changing after development in the womb. Now, researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have discovered that histones are steadily replaced in brain cells throughout life – a process which helps to switch genes on and off. This histone replacement, known as turnover, enables our genetic machinery to adapt to our environment by prompting gene expression, the conversion of genes into the proteins that comprise cellular structures and carry signals in the brain.This new concept, described in a study led by researchers in the Department of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and at the Laboratory of Chromatin Biology and Epigenetics, The Rockefeller University, was published today in the journal Neuron.The study’s findings argue against the long-held belief that histones, part of the chromatin structure that package and protect genetic material in chromosomes, are highly stable proteins in non-dividing cells like nerve cells. The study authors argue that aging histones are instead constantly replaced with new histones, rather than being created once and remaining attached to DNA throughout a person’s life. The newfound mechanism is epigenetic, meaning it fine-tunes gene expression without changing the DNA code we inherit from our parents. The study results revolve around the fact that, although some cell types, such as skin cells, constantly self-destruct and are replaced in an ongoing turnover that keeps tissues viable, others, such as nerve and heart cells, are programmed to perform specific functions with complex genetic memory involved, and do not often divide. With few exceptions, humans get one supply in the womb that must last a lifetime. Therefore, these cells must be highly adaptable, able to form new connections and behave differently depending on outside factors encountered. The research team found that histone turnover regulates how genes in the brain are turned on and off in response to various stimuli, thereby allowing neurons to form new synaptic connections.“These are very exciting results, creating a new front in the field of chromatin biology,” said Ian Maze, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “By identifying this new mechanism of epigenetic regulation, or changes to gene expression caused by external and environmental factors, this work provides a novel conceptual framework for further studies aimed at identifying the molecular underpinnings of neurodevelopmental disease and psychiatric illness.”Specifically, the study examined a specific type of histone called H3.3 in human and rodent brains. H3.3 is a version of the histone H3 with a small random genetic change in its code, and thus a small difference in its protein structure. Cells with this version of H3.3 frequently turn over their histones.To study histone composition in mouse nerve cells and related turnover, researchers fed young, post-weaning rodents a special diet containing heavy labeled lysines, a process known as staple isotope labeling of amino acids in cell cultures and live mice. When examining the nerve cells, researchers explored whether the H3.3 variant was labeled with that stable isotope (“new” histones) or if they were free of the label (“older” histones). This was accomplished by isolating individual neurons from the mice and performing mass spectrometry. The prevalence of the labeled H3.3 demonstrated the fact that the older histones had been replaced with newer ones, indicating histone turnover.In humans, researchers used a technique called 14C/12C bomb pulse dating to measure turnover. The technique is based on the fact that high levels of radioactive carbon (14C) were released into the atmosphere during the 1950s and 1960s, when open-air nuclear bomb testing occurred following the Second World War. Researchers can take samples from cells – in this case, purified H3.3 samples from brain cells of postmortem human brains, and determine present 14C/12C ratios from the time of death against past atmospheric levels from the time of the subject’s birth. As with the rodent observations, the researchers found that H3.3 turnover occurs in the human brain throughout life.Additionally, the researchers deliberately manipulated H3.3 dynamics in both embryonic and adult neurons, confirming the role of histone turnover in neuronal plasticity. The findings thus establish histone turnover as a critical, and new, regulator of cell-type specific transcription in the brain.“Histone turnover, shown through our work with H3.3, is essential for the behavior of brain cells,” said Dr. Maze. “Furthering our understanding of how the brain works, learns, forms new memories and reacts to changes in the environment can help us to find new ways to treat neurodegenerative diseases and mental illness.” Share on Facebook Share Pinterest LinkedIn Email Share on Twitter
Email People who recognise they are overweight or obese are more likely to put on weight than those who are unaware that they may be heavier than doctors would advise, according to research by the University of Liverpool.In a study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, researchers looked at the lives of 14,000 adults in the US and the UK through data captured in three studies: the US National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, the UK National Child Development Study and Midlife in the United States.They analysed data from time periods after the children had reached adulthood to find out their perception of their own weight – whether or not it was correct – and their subsequent weight gain over time. LinkedIn Share on Facebook The UK study followed participants from 23 until 45, but the other two studies had shorter follow-up periods, of seven years and nine to 10 years.They found that, those who identified themselves as being ‘overweight’ were more likely to report overeating in response to stress and this predicted subsequent weight gain.Dr Eric Robinson, from the University’s Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, said: “Realising you are an overweight individual is in itself likely to be quite stressful and make making healthy choices in your lifestyle more difficult. It is a tricky finding for public health intervention work.“You would hope that making a person aware they are overweight would result in them being more likely to adopt a healthier lifestyle and lose some weight.”He added: “What is important is to tackle stigma in society. People with a heavier body weight have body image challenges. That is not surprising given the way we talk about weight as a society.”“But the way we talk about body weight and the way we portray overweight and obesity in society is something we can think about and reconsider. There are ways of encouraging people to make healthy changes to their lifestyle that don’t portray adiposity as a terrible thing.” Pinterest Share Share on Twitter
Share on Twitter Share Email Pinterest LinkedIn Share on Facebook In a follow-up study, the research group tested the involvement of the opioid system in the previously observed placebo-empathy effect in order to enable precise conclusions on the underlying neurotransmitter systems. Using a substance that blocks opioid receptors, Lamm and his team induced a blocking of the placebo-empathy effect in 50 participants.“This result strongly suggests an involvement of the opioid system in placebo-empathy, which is an important step to a more mechanistic understanding of empathy”, explains the PI Lamm.What about the direct influence of the opioid system on empathy?“We are now wondering whether the observed effects in the opioid system act directly on empathic processes or whether these are only carry-over effects of the manipulation of self-experienced pain”, explains Claus Lamm.The team is thus currently working on a follow-up study which will investigate direct effects of opioid administration on empathy.“The present results show that empathy is strongly and directly grounded in our own experiences – even in their bodily and neural underpinnings. This might be one reason why feelings of others can affect us so immediately – as we literally feel these feelings as if we were to experience them ourselves, at least partially. On the other hand, these findings also explain why empathy can go wrong – as we judge the feelings of others based on our own perspective”, explains Lamm.The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In a study with more than 100 participants, Claus Lamm and his interdisciplinary team used an innovative experimental trick, the so-called placebo analgesia effect, to close an explanatory gap in the understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms of empathy. Experimentally manipulating self-experienced pain, they tested whether this manipulation also leads to an equivalent change in empathy for pain.“Only this trick enabled us to conclude with higher certainty that empathy relies on simulation”, explains Claus Lamm from the Department of Basic Psychological Research and Research Methods at the University of Vienna.Participants in the placebo group reported significantly less subjective pain experience, which was associated with reduced brain activation in anterior insula and midcingulate cortex. “These brain regions are well-known major hubs in the neuronal empathy network. In addition they are central parts of the endogenous opioid system, which is involved in pain regulation”, says the psychologist.
Share Email LinkedIn Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Pinterest Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, have identified for the first time a cell type in the brain of mice that is integral to attention. By manipulating the activity of this cell type, the scientists were able to enhance attention in mice. The results, which are published in the journal Cell, add to the understanding of how the brain’s frontal lobes work and control behaviour.The frontal cortex of the brain plays a crucial part in cognitive functions, including everyday mental processes such as attention, memory, learning, decision-making and problem-solving. However, little is known about how the frontal cortex performs these mental processes, including which neuronal cell types are involved. A longstanding theory holds that parvalbumin-expressing neurons (PV cells) play a key role in cognition; now, however, researchers show that PV cells seem to be not only essential to attention; it also appears that it is enough to optimise PV cell activity in order to enhance attention.The team focused on attention since it is a cognitive process that is affected in many neuropsychiatric disorders. The scientists trained mice to perform a task requiring a high degree of attention, and recorded the activity of hundreds of individual neurons in the frontal cortex while the animals repetitively performed the task. “We found that the activity of the PV cells reflected the animals’ level of attention,” says lead investigator Marie Carlén at the Department of Neuroscience. “The PV cells were highly active if the animals were attentive, and less active when they were inattentive. The differences were so great that we were able to predict if an animal would perform the task successfully or not merely by looking at the activity of the PV cells.”The researchers used optogenetics to influence PV-cell activity during the seconds the animals needed to be attentive. They found that the animals’ attention was impaired when they either inhibited or changed the pattern of this activity. However, they also found a type of manipulation that could improve attention. During certain cognitive processes a category of brain waves known as gamma oscillations (30-80 Hz) increases in prefrontal cortex, and when the scientists activated the PV cells at gamma frequencies the animals solved the task more times.While cognitive problems are common in mental disorders such as schizophrenia, ADHD and autism, there is currently no effective medicine available.“Our findings tie together a number of previous observations on PV cells and their involvement in cognition and neuropsychiatric disorders, and demonstrate this cell type’s critical role in cognition and psychiatry,” says Dr Carlén. “The findings also show that it’s possible to enhance cognitive functions by altering the activity of a single neuron type, which is quite astonishing when you think of how complex the brain is. PV cells are therefore a very interesting target for the pharmaceutical industry.”
Email This is one of very few studies to explicitly examine the impact that living in a disadvantaged neighborhood has on PTSD symptoms. The study was published Dec. 7 in the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.The traumatic experiences reported in the study were often violent or sexual in nature. One woman disclosed having witnessed the fatal shooting of her son, and another woman reported watching her father be murdered in her home.The neighborhood from which women in the study were recruited ranked 7th for property crime, 26th for quality of life crime and 35th for violent crime among 77 Chicago neighborhoods.Thirty-six percent of women in the study had PTSD or sub-threshold PTSD (substantial trauma symptoms that might not have met the full PTSD diagnostic criteria). Those with PTSD had more severe depression symptoms than other women in the study who did not exhibit signs of PTSD, said principal investigator and senior author Inger Burnett-Zeigler, clinical psychologist and assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Feinberg.“Even if you don’t meet the full criteria for PTSD, you can have enough symptoms to impact your well-being,” Burnett-Zeigler said. “There is a substantial proportion of people who fall below the PTSD diagnosis line who might be getting lost in the cracks. It’s important for mental health providers to develop a greater awareness around this because untreated PTSD symptoms affect mental health, quality of life and functioning.”A significant percentage of women in a general population who experienced trauma (20 percent) develop PTSD she said.“But the prevalence of PTSD symptoms is particularly acute in impoverished neighborhoods,” Burnett-Zeigler said. “In the study’s sample, 71 percent of the women who experienced trauma had PTSD symptoms.”“This wasn’t a sample we recruited based on having traumatic experiences, and yet so many women we recruited had experienced something traumatic,” Burnett-Zeigler said. “That is really significant in terms of how prevalent of an issue this is in that vulnerable population.” The violence that women in disadvantaged neighborhoods experience and witness can result in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and full diagnoses, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study that examined a disadvantaged Chicago neighborhood.Also noteworthy, women with PTSD diagnosis or sub-threshold PTSD had significantly more severe depression symptoms than women in the study who didn’t report experiencing trauma. Every woman who was recruited had symptoms of depression.“There are many women who are affected by shooting and gang violence in these neighborhoods,” said first author Sunghyun Hong, a research assistant at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “These women are often overlooked. With this study, we were able to shine a light on this high prevalence of trauma exposure and PTSD diagnosis among the underserved population.” Share on Facebook Pinterest Share on Twitter LinkedIn Share
Share Email Previous studies have shown that adults and young people who are physically active have a lower risk of developing depression. But the same effect has not been studied in children – until now.Results from a new study are showing that children receive the same beneficial effect from being active. We’re talking about moderate to vigorous physical activity that leaves kids sweaty or out of breath.Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and NTNU Social Research have followed hundreds of children over four years to see if they could find a correlation between physical activity and symptoms of depression. LinkedIn Share on Facebook Pinterest Share on Twitter Healthy to roughhouseResearchers examined just under 800 children when they were six years old, and conducted follow-up examinations with about 700 of them when they were eight and ten years old. Physical activity was measured with accelerometers, which served as a kind of advanced pedometer, and parents were interviewed about their children’s mental health.“Being active, getting sweaty and roughhousing offer more than just physical health benefits. They also protect against depression,” says Tonje Zahl, a PhD candidate at NTNU. She is first author of the article on the study findings, which was recently published in the February 2017 issue of Pediatrics.The work was conducted as part of Tidlig Trygg i Trondheim, a multi-year study of child development and mental health.Fewer symptomsPhysically active six- and eight-year-olds showed fewer symptoms of depression when they were examined two years later. Physical activity thus seems to protect against the development of depression.“This is important to know, because it may suggest that physical activity can be used to prevent and treat depression already in childhood,” says Silje Steinsbekk, associate professor in NTNU’s Department of Psychology. Steinsbekk and Professor Lars Wichstrøm are Zahl’s mentors and coauthors.Steinsbekk stresses that these results should now be tested in randomized studies where researchers increase children’s physical activity and examine whether those who participate in these measures have fewer symptoms of depression over time than those who do not participate.“We also studied whether children who have symptoms of depression are less physically active over time, but didn’t find that to be the case,” she says.Facilitate activity for childrenPrevious findings in adolescents and adults showed that sedentary lifestyles – like watching television and computer gaming – are associated with depression, but the NTNU children’s study found no correlation between depression and a sedentary lifestyle.Depressive symptoms did not lead to greater inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle did not increase the risk of depression.So the message to parents and health professionals is: Facilitate physical activity, which means that children get a little sweaty and breathless. Try a bike ride or outdoor play. Limiting children’s TV or iPad screen time is not enough. Children need actual increased physical activity.
Pinterest LinkedIn Email A scientist’s smile might provide a small clue about how impactful his or her research is. A study recently published in the Journal of Positive Psychology found a relationship between smiling and impactful research.“This study results from two of fascinations of ours,” the study’s corresponding author, Lukasz D. Kaczmarek of Adam Mickiewicz University, told PsyPost. “First, this study is about the function of positive emotions. It is fantastic to collect new evidence that joy or happiness can help mobilize the resources required to effectively complete life goals. This is what we termed the broaden and build model of positive emotions.”“The second fascination is with so-called thin-slicing research methodology. In thin-slicing we use publicly available real-life data that has a particular psychological meaning. In this case, we took a sample of photos and publication records from a large set of ResearchGate profiles. We used a very thin-slice of someone’s behavior (choosing a profile photograph) to estimate this person’s emotionality: a person who is smiling on a profile photo is more likely to be a cheerful person in everyday life.” Share “Research that has used thin-slicing in the past has revealed that this method is surprisingly accurate,” Kaczmarek said. “We used this type of data to test hypotheses derived from psychological theories. It is a great supplement to laboratory or survey methods that are much more popular in psychology. Laboratory and survey methods, however, suffer from poor ecological validity, i.e., we are never sure whether they reflect real-life processes accurately. Thus, it is crucial to use different approaches in testing hypotheses because the variety of methods supports the robustness of findings.”The researchers examined the profiles of 440 scientists (220 women and 220 men) on ResearchGate, a social networking service. The scientists were split into three groups: those who didn’t smile, those who partially smiled, and those with a full-on smile. Kaczmarek and his colleagues found a positive relationship between smile intensity and work impact, even after controlling for the effects of sex and age. Scientists with a full smile in their profile picture tended to have a greater number of citations of their work. “We were very fortunate to observe one of the most suggestive evidence that happy scientists are more likely to produce the most impactful science,” Kaczmarek said. “This is important because it contradicts some stereotypes regarding researchers. Some people might think that a serious scientist should be dead serious or worried all the time. With this research we were able to show that happy emotionality among scientists and impactful science are related. “Obviously, it does not mean that only scientists with positive emotionality produce great science. This type of evidence suggest, however, that positive emotionality is an extra resource that is likely to assist scientists in navigating the shoals of academic life.”However, there was no relationship found between smile intensity and the number of studies published.“Replicability and causality are two main challenges for this study,” Kaczmarek told PsyPost. “First, such suggestive findings need replication, perhaps using data from other publicly available social networking sites for scientists such a Google Scholar.” “Second, what we found in this particular research is that happy profile photographs and academic achievements go together,” he continued. “This is a correlation. We know that correlations often happen to be problematic. Above all, correlations say nothing about causality (only experiments do). This means that we can never be certain with this type of data whether happiness leads to achievements, achievements lead to happiness, or both. Previous research on positive emotionality and work outcomes suggests that this influence is likely to act in both directions: success at work influences how people are happy in life, and individuals who are happier are more productive at work.”The study, “Smile intensity in social networking profile photographs is related to greater scientific achievements“, was also co-authored by Maciej Behnke, Todd B. Kashdan, Aleksandra Kusiak, Katarzyna Marzec, Martyna Mistrzak and Magdalena Włodarczyk. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Pinterest Share A common test used to measure unconscious bias may not be a good predictor of actual behavior, suggests new research published in the journal Games. The study examined the Implicit Association Test, a popular tool that is used to measure people’s biases against certain social groups.The IAT measures differences in reaction time taken to categorize faces into groups, depending on whether they are paired with positive or negative words. People are quicker to associate negative words with things they are biased against.“I first became interested in the IAT during my second year in grad school. My father (who is an employment lawyer) was at a conference where he and his colleagues took one as a didactic exercise. In telling me about it, he stressed that he could feel himself slowing down when the less associated categories were paired,” explained Daniel J. Lee of Rice University, the author of the study. “Now I’m an economist, so naturally my first thought was how does this map onto behavior ‘in the wild’. I found this question of particular importance because people were using this assessment to draw conclusions about complex economic constructs like labor market matching.”“As I explored the IAT research more deeply, one thing that struck me was there hadn’t been much work that explored how the IAT predicted costly behavior, and this is where I think the toolbox of experimental economics can be used to shed light on the topic of implicit bias,” Lee explained.The study of 456 participants found no evidence that scores on the IAT were associated with racially-biased behavior in a dictator game. In this popular experiment, a participant is given a fixed amount of money that he or she can choose to share — or not share — with another person. The one-sided game is used to measure prosocial behavior.Implicit bias did not predict how much money was shared with people of another race. For example, “dictators” who had a pro-white bias as indicated by the IAT were no more or less likely to share their money with a black person.“There is a difference between having a bias and acting on one, which is not to say there is no overlap between the two, but it is to say we need to understand when and why that overlap exists,” Lee told PsyPost.“The second takeaway stems from this point which is an overall need to interrogate our assumptions, and do think and act more critically.”The study — like all research — has limitations. Lee only used a single measure of behavior but other behavioral tests could lead to different results.“The dictator game is a very straightforward game. On the one hand, this is very exciting because we can think of it as ‘bounding’ the effects of implicit bias. On the other hand, perhaps what we are learning is people act on biases when decisions are harder, fuzzier, or they have to rely on heuristics,” Lee explained.“Unfortunately, we live in a world where bias is real and bias is profound. However, the science of bias, particularly implicit bias, is still nascent. I’d encourage everyone reading this to take an IAT (implicit.harvard.edu) but then to turn back and ask themselves what are they learning from it, and how we can use that information to improve the world around us.”The study was titled: “Does Implicit Bias Predict Dictator Giving?“. Email LinkedIn Share on Facebook Share on Twitter