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We provide a new way of deriving a number of dynamic unobserved factors from a set of variables. We show how standard principal components may be expressed in state space form and estimated using the Kalman filter. To illustrate our procedure, we perform two exercises. First, we use it to estimate a measure of the current account imbalances among northern and southern euro area countries that developed during the period leading up to the outbreak of the euro area crisis, before looking at adjustment in the post-crisis period. Second, we show how these dynamic factors can improve forecasting of the euro exchange rate.
Recent fieldwork and archival sedimentary materials from southern Iraq have revealed new insights into the environment that shaped southern Mesopotamia from the pre-Ubaid (early Holocene) until the early Islamic period. These data have been combined with northern Iraqi speleothem, or stalagmite, data that have revealed relevant palaeoclimate information. The new results are investigated in light of textual sources and satellite remote sensing work. It is evident that areas south of Baghdad, and to the region of Uruk, were already potentially habitable between the eleventh and early eighth millennia B.C., suggesting there were settlements in southern Iraq prior to the Ubaid. Date palms, the earliest recorded for Iraq, are evident before 10,000 B.C., and oak trees are evident south of Baghdad in the early Holocene but disappeared after the mid-sixth millennium B.C. New climate results suggest increased aridity after the end of the fourth millennium B.C. For the third millennium B.C. to first millennium A.D., a negative relationship between grain and date palm cultivation in Nippur is evident, suggesting shifting cultivation emphasising one of these crops at any given time in parts of the city. The Shatt en-Nil was also likely used as a channel for most of Nippur's historical occupation from the third millennium B.C. to the first millennium A.D. In the early to mid-first millennium A.D., around the time of the Sasanian period, a major increase in irrigation is evident in plant remains, likely reflecting large-scale irrigation expansion in the Nippur region. The first millennium B.C. to first millennium A.D. reflects a relatively dry period with periodic increased rainfall. Sedimentary results suggest the Nahrawan, prior to it becoming a well-known canal, formed an ancient branch of the Tigris, while the region just south of Baghdad, around Dalmaj, was near or part of an ancient confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates.
Substantial clinical heterogeneity of major depressive disorder (MDD) suggests it may group together individuals with diverse aetiologies. Identifying distinct subtypes should lead to more effective diagnosis and treatment, while providing more useful targets for further research. Genetic and clinical overlap between MDD and schizophrenia (SCZ) suggests an MDD subtype may share underlying mechanisms with SCZ.
The present study investigated whether a neurobiologically distinct subtype of MDD could be identified by SCZ polygenic risk score (PRS). We explored interactive effects between SCZ PRS and MDD case/control status on a range of cortical, subcortical and white matter metrics among 2370 male and 2574 female UK Biobank participants.
There was a significant SCZ PRS by MDD interaction for rostral anterior cingulate cortex (RACC) thickness (β = 0.191, q = 0.043). This was driven by a positive association between SCZ PRS and RACC thickness among MDD cases (β = 0.098, p = 0.026), compared to a negative association among controls (β = −0.087, p = 0.002). MDD cases with low SCZ PRS showed thinner RACC, although the opposite difference for high-SCZ-PRS cases was not significant. There were nominal interactions for other brain metrics, but none remained significant after correcting for multiple comparisons.
Our significant results indicate that MDD case-control differences in RACC thickness vary as a function of SCZ PRS. Although this was not the case for most other brain measures assessed, our specific findings still provide some further evidence that MDD in the presence of high genetic risk for SCZ is subtly neurobiologically distinct from MDD in general.
Chapter 2 considers recent work on obedience. Alongside attempts at partial replication, there have been a number of novel experimental paradigms and conceptual replications, and renewed attempts at theorising the phenomena captured in Milgram’s lab. A novel strand to this ‘new wave’ of critical engagement with the obedience experiments has come from researchers drawing on the materials available in Milgram’s archive held at Yale University. This has led to new insights regarding the ethical, methodological and theoretical issues raised by the experiments, and has generated new lines of enquiry and debate. In particular, I will highlight the fascinating insights into the experiments that can be gleaned from paying attention to the audio recordings of the experiments. With considerable foresight, Milgram recorded his experimental sessions, the majority of which survive in the archives. These provide a rich resource for researchers, and it is these recordings that form the data for the analyses outlined in Chapters 4–7.
Chapter 4 begins the process of exploring the data by foregrounding the role of the experimenter. Most treatments of Milgram’s work have followed Milgram’s own gloss on the experimenter as having used a restricted and standardised series of ‘prods’ in his efforts to compel participants to continue with the experiment in the face of the learner’s protests. However, analysis of the archived audio recordings suggests a rather more complex picture. The standardised prods were used far more flexibly than is typically assumed, and indeed many other verbal and nonverbal tactics (e.g. going to check on the learner in the next room) were used in an attempt to keep the participant in the experiment. Moreover, the experimenter’s utterances – whether based on the scripted prods or not – were tailored to the specific context of their use. It is suggested that this necessitates a reorientation of our understanding of the experimenter’s role: he was not an impassive authority figure, but rather his role can be understood as involving persuasion.
Chapter 1 summarises Milgram’s original programme of research on obedience, some of the classic lines of critique that it provoked, and some of the early extensions and replications. In providing an overview of the most well-known findings from Milgram’s studies, I also highlight some of the frequently neglected aspects, such as the high rates of disobedience across the series of experiments as a whole. The chapter then considers issues concerning the ethics of Milgram’s experiments, early methodological critiques (e.g. around demand characteristics) and theoretical issues, noting that even many of Milgram’s most enthusiastic supporters are not convinced by his theoretical explanation concerning the ‘agentic state’. Drawing on the oft-noted observation that empirical work inspired by Milgram ceased in the mid-1980s (Blass, 2004, 2012; Burger, 2009) and didn’t really get going again until the middle years of the 2000s, Chapter 1 reviews what we might call the ‘first wave’ of extensions and replications of Milgram’s studies.
This section provides a brief introduction to the Milgram experiments and to the argument to be developed in the book. In order to set the scene, it provides an overview of the impact that Milgram’s work has had in the social sciences and beyond, as well as introducing the analytic perspective to be developed in the book. The Introduction concludes with a brief overview of each of the chapters to follow.
Chapter 6 focusses on the arguments employed by naïve participants as they sought to extricate themselves from the experiments, and on how different conditions made different rhetorical affordances for participants. For example, in a condition where naïve participants were joined by additional confederates whose role involved withdrawing from the experiment at a predetermined point, these individuals and their acts of defiance became available as rhetorical resources on which the participants could subsequently draw in negotiating their own exit from the experiment. The chapter then considers how participants tailored their arguments to the specific context in which they found themselves. Finally, the chapter explores how some strategies that might not ordinarily be thought of as rhetorical can be recast as performing particular argumentative functions. These include displays of emotion, breaking conversational norms, and articulating doubts concerning the ‘reality’ of the experiment. This necessitates moving from a view of Milgram’s participants as being passive subjects of psychological forces, to one that conceives of them as being able to actively engage in negotiating the continuation of the study, and also begins to hint at the necessity of an expanded conception of rhetoric
This section highlights three conclusions: first, I suggest that social psychology needs an expanded conception of obedience that takes into account the extent to which authority operates through more banal processes than the issuing of direct orders; second, I build on the ideas outlined in chapter 7 to suggest that our expanded conception of obedience necessitates an expanded conception of rhetoric that allows for that which may appear to be beyond argument to be conceived of in rhetorical terms; third, I conclude by summarising some implications for social psychology itself, with particular attention to what has become known as the ‘replication crisis’, in which a number of notable social psychological findings have failed to survive an encounter with that cornerstone of the scientific method, replication. It will be suggested that the recordings of Milgram’s obedience experiments highlight the extent to which rhetoric and interaction are at the heart of experimental practice. Until this is more fully understood and woven into the disciplinary practice of social psychology, we can expect more crises to be declared as our idealised view of the psychology laboratory comes to grief as it encounters the inescapably social-contextual nature of rhetoric and interaction.
The role of the learner has not been foregrounded in extant analyses of Milgram’s archived data. This is in no small part due to the fact that in many conditions the learner’s responses during the memory test were prerecorded on tape. The interaction between experimenter and teacher therefore unfolded against a backdrop of relatively consistent responses from the learner. In Chapter 5, however, I argue that things are a little more complex. By using data from the ‘touch proximity’ condition, in which the learner was present in the same room as the experimenter and teacher during the experimental session, it is shown how the learner’s persistent objections to his treatment stand in contrast to his more minimal engagements in other conditions. Specifically, in this condition the learner could tailor his protests to the precise requirements of the situation, he could directly address both teacher and experimenter, and they could address him. That none of these behaviours were possible when the learner’s responses were recorded on tape highlights the oddity of the rhetorical situation in which participants found themselves, and suggests that previous analyses miss the important differences in the rhetorical affordances of Milgram’s conditions.
Chapter 7 considers those experimental sessions in which participants proceeded with the experiment with little or no attempt at disobedience. It is suggested that existing interpretations of Milgram’s experiments have tended to use a primarily physical metaphor in which participants are subject to a number of ‘binding factors’ that make it difficult for them to extricate themselves from the situation. In contrast, it will be suggested that the rhetorical conception of the experiments can be expanded to encompass that which is not said. What Milgram conceived of in terms of physical forces buffeting a largely passive participant (e.g. the institutional context, the impressive-looking shock generator, even the experimental procedure itself) can instead be understood as rhetorical in that they were geared towards persuading participants to keep shocking the learner. This is more than merely a cosmetic change in our understanding of the Milgram experiments, for it involves a key conceptual shift: In emphasising rhetorical processes over physical ones, this perspective emphasises agency over passivity. Even those participants who appeared to go on with the experiment without arguing back can be seen as agents who have been persuaded, rather than as dull automata engaged in drone-like behaviour.
Chapter 3 provides a detailed overview of the analytic perspective adopted in the book. Drawing on Michael Billig’s rhetorical perspective on social psychology, as well as key ideas from the related approach of discursive psychology, I focus initially on the value of paying attention to the explicitly verbal aspects of the archived audio recordings of the experimental sessions. I also sketch a preliminary outline of the value of moving towards a wider sense in which the experiments can be understood as ‘rhetorical’, which while still being centrally concerned with language use also acknowledges the importance of nonlinguistic processes. In this chapter I also provide details of the data used in my analyses. Given the wealth of materials in the archives, it is be noted that the aim is not to present a comprehensive analysis of all of Milgram’s conditions, but rather to present a framework for analysis, together with some of the findings that have been identified through the use of this framework. Much of the work of analysing Milgram’s data remains to be done, and my aim is to provide an impetus to future work rather than to suggest that I have done all that needs doing myself.
Stanley Milgram's obedience experiments are among the most influential and controversial scientific studies ever conducted. The experiments are commonly understood to have shown how easily people can be led into harming another person, simply as a result of following orders. Recently, however, Milgram's studies have been subjected to a sustained critique and re-evaluation. This book draws on the vast stock of audio recordings from Milgram's experiments to reveal how these experiments can be understood as occasions for argumentation and rhetoric, rather than showing how passive subjects can be led into simply doing as they are told. In doing so, it reconsiders what we understand by 'obedience' and extends how social psychologists have understood rhetoric itself.