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Melissa Selby

Items from 9 people Melissa Selby follows

Todd Suomela
  • In the early days of the United States, colonists imported from England a set of regulations that were ostensibly meant to maintain the public peace. They were called, collectively, “common scold” laws, and they targeted women—it was almost always women—who had a habit of loudly quarreling with their neighbors.
Todd Suomela
  • My research was the first empirical study of creepiness, and I had a hunch that feeling creeped out might have something to do with ambiguityabout not really being sure how to react to a person or situation.

    We recruited 1,341 volunteers ranging in age from 18 to 77 to fill out an online survey. In the first section of the survey, our participants rated the likelihood that a hypothetical “creepy person” would exhibit 44 different behaviors, such as unusual patterns of eye contact or physical characteristics like visible tattoos. In the second section of the survey, participants rated the creepiness of 21 different occupations, and in the third section they simply listed two hobbies that they thought were creepy. In the final section, participants noted how much they agreed with 15 statements about the nature of creepy people.

  • The results indicated that people we perceive as creepy are much more likely to be males than females (as are most clowns), that unpredictability is an important component of creepiness and that unusual patterns of eye contact and other nonverbal behaviors set off our creepiness detectors big time.
Todd Suomela
  • Sentiment analysis is far from a polished technology. “The computer’s understanding of natural language is still bad,” says Liu. “Accuracy is not very easy.” A research project that tested basic analysis tools on a trove of emails sent between developers of an open-source server software suite only had a maximum accuracy rate of 30 percent. (Interestingly, when two people tried to determine the emotions expressed in 50 emails, they could only agree on three-quarters of them, says Tourani Parastou, the main author of the research paper at Polytechnique Montréal.)

    The human element still remains an important check on emotion-sensing algorithms. Even IBM’s 3-year-old Social Pulse software is bolstered by human eyes: A small team of analysts routinely examine the trends it identifies to make sure it got them right before sending them up the chain to management.

Todd Suomela
  • Of course, the “personality contest” narrative isn’t new. Ronald Reagan’s charisma and Bill Clinton’s ability to connect with voters are, in the folklore, key to their electoral success. Because Trump and Clinton’s difficulties seem particularly acute, many assume that voters’ sense of their personalities will decide who reaches the White House.

    But that theory is often wrong. In a new paper, I show that over the last 60 years, presidential candidates’ personal attributes have actually become less important to voters and less correlated with election outcomes.

    So, what really matters? Policy, group affiliations and ideology.

  • Or to be more direct: Presidential elections are rarely won or lost these days on the basis of candidate personality.

    In our increasingly polarized politics, people have come to hold more black-and-white views of the candidates — and judge personal character through the lens of political bias. Marc Hetherington, Meri Long and Thomas Rudolph find more and more polarization in ratings of recent candidates’ honesty, competence and leadership in recent elections, with voters assessing those traits based on party.

Todd Suomela

Political Connections and the Informativeness of Insider Trades by Alan D. Jagolinzer, David F. Larcker, Gaizka Ormazabal, Daniel J. Taylor :: SSRN

"This paper examines the relation between political connections and informed trading by corporate insiders in the context of the Financial Crisis. The unprecedented magnitude of government intervention, the substantial impact of this intervention on firm value, and the political nature of the intervention provide a powerful setting to examine the relation between political connections and informed trading. Consistent with political connections providing corporate insiders with an information advantage, we find strong evidence of a relation between political connections and the informativeness of their trades. Consistent with this relation stemming from private information related to government intervention, we find the relation is strongest during the period in which TARP funds were dispersed, and strongest among politically connected insiders at banks that received TARP funds. Examining insider trades around the announcements of TARP infusions, we find evidence of significant trading thirty days in advance of the announcement, and that these trades predict the market reaction to the announcement. Notably, we find these relations are present only for the trades of politically connected insiders. Overall, our results suggest that politically connected insiders had an information advantage during the Crisis and traded to exploit this advantage."

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