Sociological Science: Recent Research

Studying Online Behavior: Comment and Rejoinder

Kevin Lewis
Ashton Anderson et al.

Sociological Science, January 21, 2015
DOI 10.15195/v2.a2
DOI 10.15195/v2.a3

Comment Rejoinder 0

Kevin Lewis: Department of Sociology, University of California, San Diego
Email: [email protected]

  • Citation: Lewis, Kevin. 2015. “Studying Online Behavior: Comment on Anderson et al. 2014″ Sociological Science 2: 20-31.
  • Received: September 19, 2014
  • Accepted: Spetember 29, 2014
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Stephen L. Morgan
  • DOI: 10.15195/v2.a2 

Ashton Anderson: Department of Computer Science, Stanford University
E-mail: [email protected]

Sharad Goel: Department of Management Science and Engineering, Stanford University
Email: [email protected]

Gregory Huber:  Department of Political Science, Yale University
Email: [email protected]

Neil Malhotra:  Graduate School of Business, Stanford University
Email: [email protected]

Duncan J. Watts:  Microsoft Research
Email: [email protected]

  • Citation: Anderson, Ashton, Sharad Goel, Gregory Huber, Neil Malhotra, and Duncan J. Watts. 2015. ” Rejoinder to Lewis” Sociological Science 2: 32-35.
  • Received: November 13, 2014
  • Accepted: November 17, 2014
  • Editor: Jesper Sørensen
  • DOI: 10/15195/v2.a3

Original Article 


Disability and the Worlds of Welfare Capitalism

Rourke O’Brien

Sociological Science, January 12, 2015
DOI 10.15195/v2.a1



A higher proportion of working- age persons receive disability assistance in the Nordic countries and the Netherlands than in other European countries. Whereas current research emphasizes the connection between disability assistance and rates of labor force exit, to date there has been no exploration of how welfare state context influences individual self-reported disability. Using nationally representative data from 15 countries (n = 88, 478), I find that residents of generous welfare states are significantly more likely to report a disability net of self-reported health, sociodemographic, and labor force characteristics and, notably, that this association extends to younger and more educated workers. I argue that welfare state context may directly shape what it means to be disabled, which may have consequences for evaluations of welfare state performance and social exclusion.
Rourke O’Brien: Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies. Harvard University E-mail: [email protected]

  • Citation: O’Brien, Rourke L. 2015. “Disability and the Worlds of Welfare Capitalism” Sociological Science 2: 1-19.
  • Received: July 26, 2014
  • Accepted: September 20, 2014
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen,  Stephen L. Morgan
  • DOI: 10.15195/v2.a1


Birds of Different Feathers Cooperate Together: No Evidence for Altruism Homophily in Networks

Brent Simpson, Matthew Brashears, Eric Gladstone, Ashley Harrell

Sociological Science, December 22, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a30



Many evolutionary models of cooperation assume that altruists possess telltale signs of disposition that they use to find and selectively associate with each other. Prior research finds that people can detect these signs of altruism in strangers, but we do not yet know whether this results in altruism homophily. We argue that dispositions should matter less in repeated interactions, where behavior is based on reciprocity. As a consequence, we should not expect people to have accurate insight into the dispositions (egoism vs. altruism) of their friends, nor should we expect these relations to be characterized by altruism homophily. Three studies, employing diverse methodologies and measures, find no evidence of altruism homophily. Moreover, we find that people have poor insight into their friends’ altruism. We discuss the implications of these findings for the emergence of altruism and the role of embedded interactions in sustaining human cooperation.
Brent Simpson: University of South Carolina  E-mail: [email protected]

Matthew Brashears: Cornell University  E-mail: [email protected]

Eric Gladstone: Cornell University Email: [email protected]

Ashley Harrell: University of South Carolina Email: [email protected]

  • Citation: Simpson, Brent, Matthew Brashears, Eric Gladstone, and Ashley Harrell. 2014. “Birds of Different Feathers Cooperate Together: No Evidence for Altruism Homophily in Networks.” Sociological Science 1: 542-564.
  • Received: September 4, 2014
  • Accepted: October 11, 2014
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen,  Gabriel Rossman
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a30


Defending the Decimals: Why Foolishly False Precision Might Strengthen Social Science

Jeremy Freese

Sociological Science, December 8, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a29



Social scientists often report regression coefficients using more significant figures than are meaningful given measurement precision and sample size. Common sense says we should not do this. Yet, as normative practice, eliminating these extra digits introduces a more serious scientific problem when accompanied by other ascendant reporting practices intended to reduce social science’s long-standing emphasis on null hypothesis significance testing. Coefficient p-values can no longer be recovered to the degree of precision that p-values have been abundantly demonstrated to influence actual research practice. Developing methods for detecting and addressing systematically exaggerated effect sizes across collections of studies cannot be done effectively if p-values are hidden. Regarding what is preferable for scientific literature versus an individual study, the costs of false precision are therefore innocuous compared to alternatives that either encourage the continuation of practices known to exaggerate causal effects or thwart assessment of how much such exaggeration occurs.
Jeremy Freese: Northwestern University E-mail: [email protected]

  • Citation: Freese, Jeremy. 2014.“Defending the Decimals: Why Foolishly False Precision Might Strengthen Social Science.” Sociological Science 1: 532-541.
  • Received: June 13, 2014
  • Accepted: July 3, 2014
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen,  Delia Baldassarri
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a29


New Dimensions of Tolerance: A Case for a Broader, Categorical Approach

Darin M. Mather, Eric Tranby

Sociological Science, November 24, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a28



Most social scientific research on tolerance rests upon two assumptions: 1) that tolerance is mainly concerned with the extension of political rights, and 2) that the concept is best understood as a unidimensional continuum of attitudes that are more or less tolerant. We argue that to have a fuller understanding of tolerance, we must transcend these two assumptions to develop a concept that is multidimensional. We use latent class analysis and confirmatory factor analysis to uncover new patterns of tolerant responses to least liked groups. Our results reveal four different profiles, which describe four different approaches to objectionable groups. These are generally intolerant, politically tolerant, generally tolerant and privately tolerant. Our profiles provide a fuller, more nuanced description of tolerant and intolerant attitudes than traditional approaches. These profiles can be used to help social scientists refine existing theories on the mechanisms of tolerance.
Darin M. Mather: Crown College E-mail: [email protected]

Eric Tranby: University of Delaware  E-mail: [email protected]

  • Citation: Mather, Darin M. and Eric Tranby. 2014. “New Dimensions of Tolerance: A Case for a Broader, Categorical Approach.” Sociological Science 1:512-531.
  • Received: March 10, 2014
  • Accepted: July 24, 2014
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen,  Kim Weeden
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a28


“Trivial” Topics and Rich Ties: The Relationship Between Discussion Topic, Alter Role, and Resource Availability Using the “Important Matters” Name Generator

Matthew E. Brashears

Sociological Science, November 10, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a27



This paper uses a nationally representative dataset of discussion relationships to determine what Americans consider to be an important matter, whether some topics are predominantly discussed with certain types of associates, and if the topic of discussion or the role of the discussant predicts the availability of social support. Results indicate that some topics are pursued or avoided with particular types of alters, and that the role of the discussant, but not the topic of discussion, predicts the availability of support from our discussion partners. This implies that some differences in measured network structure may be due to variations in topics discussed, but that topic says little about the supportiveness of the tie once we are dealing with important matters discussants.
 Matthew E. Brashears: Cornell University  E-mail: [email protected]

  • Citation: Brashears, Matthew E. 2014. “‘Trivial’ Topics and Rich Ties: The Relationship Between Discussion Topic, Alter Role, and Resource Availability Using the ‘Important Matters’ Name Generator.” Sociological Science 1: 493-511.
  • Received: June 30, 2014
  • Accepted: August 7, 2014
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen,  Delia Baldassarri
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a27