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This article reviews biotechnology legislation in the 50 states for 11 policy areas spanning 1990–2010, an era of immense growth in biotechnology, genetic knowledge, and significant policy development. Policies regarding health insurance, life insurance, long-term care insurance, DNA data bank collection, biotech research protection, biotech promotion and support, employment discrimination, genetic counselor licensing, human cloning, and genetic privacy each represent major policy responses arising from biotechnology and coinciding with key areas of state regulation (insurance, criminal justice, economic development, labor law, health and safety, privacy, and property rights). This analysis seeks to answer three questions regarding biotechnology legislation at the state level: who is acting (policy adoption), when is policy adopted (policy timing), and what is policy doing (policy content). Theoretical concerns examine state ideology (conservative or liberal), policy type (economic or moral), and the role of external events (federal law, news events, etc.) on state policy adoption. Findings suggest ideological patterns in adoption, timing, and content of biotech policy. Findings also suggest economic policies tend to be more uniform in content than moral policies, and findings also document a clear link between federal policy development, external events, and state policy response.
In search of a better understanding of inequalities in citizen political engagement, scholars have begun addressing the relationship between personal health and patterns of political behavior. This study focuses on the impact of personal health on various forms of political participation. The analysis contributes to existing knowledge by examining a number of different participation forms beyond just voting. Using European Social Survey data from 2012/2013 for Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden (N = 8,060), self-reported turnout and six alternative modes of political engagement were modeled as dependent variables. Contrary to expectations, poor health did not depress participation across all forms. As assumed by the increased activism hypothesis, all else equal, people with poor health were more active than their healthy counterparts in direct contacts with power holders and demonstrations. The results reveal a “reversed health gap” by showing that people with health problems are in fact more politically active than what previous research, which has focused on voting, has suggested. Although the magnitude of the gap should not be overdramatized, our results stress the importance of distinguishing between different forms of participation when analyzing the impact of health on political engagement. Nevertheless, the findings show that poor health can stimulate people into political engagement rather than depressing activity. This finding holds when the effects of several sociodemographic and motivational factors are controlled for.
The common assumption that female candidates on the campaign trail should not go on the attack, because such tactics contradict gender stereotypes, has not received consistent support. We argue that in some circumstances gender stereotypes will favor female politicians going negative. To test this proposition, this study examines how gender cues affect voter reactions to negative ads in the context of a political sex scandal, a context that should prime gender stereotypes that favor females. Using an online experiment involving a national sample of U.S. adults (N = 599), we manipulate the gender and partisan affiliation of a politician who attacks a male opponent caught in a sex scandal involving sexually suggestive texting to a female intern. Results show that in the context of a sex scandal, a female candidate going on the attack is evaluated more positively than a male. Moreover, while female participants viewed the female sponsor more favorably, sponsor gender had no effect on male participants. Partisanship also influenced candidate evaluations: the Democratic female candidate was evaluated more favorably than her Republican female counterpart.
Hydraulic fracturing (HF) is a focal topic in discussions about domestic energy production, yet the American public is largely unfamiliar and undecided about the practice. This study sheds light on how individuals may come to understand hydraulic fracturing as this unconventional production technology becomes more prominent in the United States. For the study, a thorough search of HF photographs was performed, and a systematic evaluation of 40 images using an online experimental design involving N = 250 participants was conducted. Key indicators of hydraulic fracturing support and beliefs were identified. Participants showed diversity in their support for the practice, with 47 percent expressing low support, 22 percent high support, and 31 percent undecided. Support for HF was positively associated with beliefs that hydraulic fracturing is primarily an economic issue and negatively associated with beliefs that it is an environmental issue. Level of support was also investigated as a perceptual filter that facilitates biased issue perceptions and affective evaluations of economic benefit and environmental cost frames presented in visual content of hydraulic fracturing. Results suggested an interactive relationship between visual framing and level of support, pointing to a substantial barrier to common understanding about the issue that strategic communicators should consider.
The smiles and affiliative expressions of presidential candidates are important for political success, allowing contenders to nonverbally connect with potential supporters and bond with followers. Smiles, however, are not unitary displays; they are multifaceted in composition and signaling intent due to variations in performance. With this in mind, we examine the composition and perception of smiling behavior by Republican presidential candidates during the 2012 preprimary period. In this paper we review literature concerning different smile types and the muscular movements that compose them from a biobehavioral perspective. We then analyze smiles expressed by Republican presidential candidates early in the 2012 primary season by coding facial muscle activity at the microlevel using the Facial Action Coding System (FACS) to produce an inventory of politically relevant smile types. To validate the subtle observed differences between smile types, we show viewers a series of short video clips to differentiate displays on the basis of their perceived reassurance, or social signaling. The discussion considers the implications of our findings in relation to political evaluation and communication efficacy.
In recent years, significant efforts have been made toward elucidating the potential of the human brain. Spanning fields as disparate as psychology, biomedicine, computer science, mathematics, electrical engineering, and chemistry, research venturing into the growing domains of cognitive neuroscience and brain research has become fundamentally interdisciplinary. Among the most interesting and consequential applications to international security are the military and defense community's interests in the potential of cognitive neuroscience findings and technologies. In the United States, multiple governmental agencies are actively pursuing such endeavors, including the Department of Defense, which has invested over $3 billion in the last decade to conduct research on defense-related innovations. This study explores governance and security issues surrounding cognitive neuroscience research with regard to potential security-related applications and reports scientists' views on the role of researchers in these areas through a survey of over 200 active cognitive neuroscientists.