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This paper examines the influences that congressional staff people viewed as important in shaping legislators' voting decisions on the human embryonic stem (ES) cell research bill in the 109th Congress, the first legislation vetoed by President George W. Bush. The analysis illuminates factors that impact congressional decision making on a salient issue with a strong moral component. Constituent concerns, ideology, and a desire to make good public policy all centrally affected members' choices; however, moral overtones permeated considerations relevant to the human ES cell research question. In addition, at least three influences that directly reflect or relate to members' moral claims — religious convictions, personal connections to potential beneficiaries of human ES cell research, and moral pressure from outside interests — were important also. The analysis draws on data gathered from interviews with congressional aides.
This paper examines the contextual factors shaping legislative debates affecting stem cell research in two states, Kansas and Massachusetts, which both permit therapeutic cloning for stem cell research but markedly vary in their legislative approach to the issue. In Kansas, restrictive legislation was proposed but effectively blocked by research proponents, while in Massachusetts permissive legislation was successfully implemented under the auspices of an act to promote stem cell research. The importance of university and industry involvement is highlighted in each case, as are the roles of enterprising and persistent policy entrepreneurs. Providing a close examination of the policy process attending the cloning debate in these states is intended to contribute to an enhanced understanding of the cloning-policy process as it has played out at the state level, with an eye toward informing legislative debates over related biotechnical advances in the future.
In the recent United States–led “war on terror,” including ongoing engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan, news organizations have been accused of showing a negative view of developments on the ground. In particular, news depictions of casualties have brought accusations of anti-Americanism and aiding and abetting the terrorists' cause. In this study, video footage of war from television news stories was manipulated to investigate the effects of negative compelling images on cognitive resource allocation, physiological arousal, and recognition memory. Results of a within-subjects experiment indicate that negatively valenced depictions of casualties and destruction elicit greater attention and physiological arousal than positive and low-intensity images. Recognition memory for visual information in the graphic negative news condition was highest, whereas audio recognition for this condition was lowest. The results suggest that negative, high-intensity video imagery diverts cognitive resources away from the encoding of verbal information in the newscast, positioning visual images and not the spoken narrative as a primary channel of viewer learning.
Research investigating the influence and character of nonverbal leader displays has been carried out in a systematic fashion since the early 1980s, yielding growing insight into how viewers respond to the televised facial display behavior of politicians. This article reviews the major streams of research in this area by considering the key ethological frameworks for understanding dominance relationships between leaders and followers and the role nonverbal communication plays in politics and social organization. The analysis focuses on key categories of facial display behavior by examining an extended selection of published experimental studies considering the influence of nonverbal leader behavior on observers, the nature of stimuli shown to research participants, range of measures employed, and make-up of participant pools. We conclude with suggestions for future research.