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What Makes Us Politic


Why Do We Elect Corrupt Politicians?

Voters, it seems, are willing to forgive—over and over again—dishonest yet beloved politicians if they think the job is still getting done.

The Rest of the World


They Steal Babies, Don’t They?

Ethiopia, the Hague, and the rise and fall of international adoption. An exclusive investigation of internal U.S. State Department documents describing how humanitarian adoptions metastasized into a mini-industry shot through with fraud, becoming a source of income for unscrupulous orphanages, government officials, and shady operators—and was then reined back in through diplomacy, regulation, and a brand-new federal law.

Quick Studies


Standing Up for My Group by Kicking Yours

Members of a minority ethnic group are less likely to express support for gay equality if they believe their own group suffers from discrimination.

True Crime


For Juvenile Records, It’s ‘Justice by Geography’

A new study finds an inconsistent patchwork of policies across states for how juvenile records are sealed and expunged.

Our Machine Overlords


The FBI’s Dangerous Misrepresentation of Encryption Law

The FBI no more deserves a direct line to your data than it deserves to intercept your mail at the post office. But it doesn’t want you to know that.

The Rest of the World


As the Russian Hercules, Vladimir Putin Tames the Cretan Bull

We can better understand Russia’s president, including his foreign policy in Crimea, by looking at how he uses art, opera, and holiday pageantry to assert his connection to the Tsars.

True Crime


The End to Race-Based Lockdowns in California Prisons

The legacy of “tough on crime” legislation has historically allowed correctional authorities to conceal and pursue politics that would be illegal anywhere else. Could that finally be changing?

True Crime


The Unscientific Science of Jury Selection

The techniques of jury consultants are unreliable, and often incentivize the use of lazy stereotypes.

What Makes Us Politic


What’s the Matter With Puerto Rico?

The limbo that Puerto Rico has existed in for more than a century was never meant to be permanent. Could Congress finally be getting around to naming our 51st state?

What Makes Us Politic


In Praise of Canvassers

It is still, by far, the most reliable campaign method of actually getting someone to turn out to vote.

Sociological Images


Voter Suppression, by Incompetence or Design

Data collected by the Cooperative Congressional Election Study shows how racial minorities have to wait longer at the polls.



Viewing God as Masculine Impacts One’s View of Gay Marriage

A new study finds thinking of God as a “he” has wide implications.

Sociological Images


It Makes Sense That Voters Are Disappointed in the Democratic Party

Are you any better off than you were after the last recession?

X and Y


Silencing Women: Inside the National Coalition for Men

By outing rape accusers, the organization is poisoning the dialogue on campus sexual assault.

Sociological Images


Who Talks to Who About Politics?

Do you know where your closest friends stand on the big political issues of our time?

What Makes Us Politic


What It Took for a Democrat to Win in Last Week’s Mid-Terms

A few lessons from Colorado’s Governor John Hickenlooper, one of the only purple state Democratic governors to win re-election last week.



Eric Holder’s Drug Policy Record Is Much Weaker Than Many Believe

Advocates for reform are praising the outgoing attorney general’s accomplishments. But ultimately his legacy is more words than deeds.

Quick Studies


If It’s Good Enough for the Supreme Court…

A research team looks into how Iowa’s legalization of gay marriage in 2009 affected the views of registered voters.

Quick Studies


Poorly Chosen Headlines Can Hurt Your Memory

Experiments show people remember the main points less when a headline emphasizes something else.

True Crime


When Your Stalker Is a Cop

Where do you go for help when the people who are meant to keep you safe are the real danger?



A ‘Particularly Egregious Form of Dark Money’ Exposed During the Mid-Term Elections

Judicial retention elections in Kansas have typically been apolitical and uncontested—until Kansans for Justice entered the fray. Now state election overseers are grappling with a new kind of dark money.

Sociological Images


Politicians Are Just Following Our Lead on Same-Sex Marriage

Whereas with interracial marriage they actually led public opinion.



Secret Donors Are Behind Some of the Super PACs That Spent Millions on Mid-Terms

Super PACs are required to identify their contributors, but some of them are funded entirely or mostly by social welfare non-profits that don’t have to do so. That leaves voters in the dark about where money is really coming from.



North Dakota’s Measure 1 Ballot Initiative Is About Much More Than Abortion

Money and strategists are shaping a nationally watched campaign amid talk of in vitro fertilization and end-of-life care.

Poll Dancing


The Curious and ‘Complexifying’ Ranked-Choice Voting System

Does it make democracy more representative or more confusing?

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Sufferers of Social Anxiety Disorder, Your Friends Like You

The first study of friends' perceptions suggest they know something's off with their pals but like them just the same.

Standing Up for My Group by Kicking Yours

Members of a minority ethnic group are less likely to express support for gay equality if they believe their own group suffers from discrimination.

How Old Brains Learn New Tricks

A new study shows that the neural plasticity needed for learning doesn't vanish as we age—it just moves.

Ethnic Diversity Deflates Market Bubbles

But it's not in the rainbow and sing-along way you'd hope for. We just don't trust outsiders' judgments.

Online Brain Exercises Are Probably Useless

Even under the guidance of a specialist trainer, computer-based brain exercises have only modest benefits, a new analysis shows.

The Big One

One in two United States senators and two in five House members who left office between 1998 and 2004 became lobbyists. November/December 2014

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