It will take me a while to make sense of the model (in supp materials) but it seems odd that they used a continuous variable for “masculinity-femininty” of names (in observational study). I’m guessing they did b/c male names weren’t added until later in the period & they would have been underpowered for straight-up male v. female. But if the effect is genuinely continuous — so that the impact of the index is same across female- & male-named hurricains–then presumably at least the abstract & title are misleading; it’s not gender of name by “gender-sounding,” so that more feminine femaile kill more than less feminine, and more male “male” more than “feminine” male. Wonder too if female names were indeed invariably rated as more feminine than male by the raters; if not, that would be weird.
As external validity– if those goes back to 1950’s, why should we believe contemporary index ratios would correspond w/ impressions of the individuals whose behavior was contemporarneous w/ the hurricaines? I’m sure all questions answered — in supplementary information etc (I don’t like PNAS’s, Science’s & Nature’s implicit treatment of methods as “just detail” — the effect of shunting them to back of paper & then ultimately out of the “printed” version of magazine, which in PNAS’s case is not even printed in all cases).
I’ve now read several blogs that berate the study, but none of them presents a particularly meaningful criticism (just lots of indignation & ridicule). The critical “expert” quoted in Ed Yong’s blog definitely hadn’t read the paper or didn’t understand the analyses.
The ridicule of paper by people who can’t be bothered to figure out what’s wrong (or probably in even more cases not capable of doing that) is at least as interesting as any problem in the paper!
On non-significant: Sure about that? I though the effect of MFI interacted with measures of storm intensity such that it became significant, statistically as well as practically as storm intensity increased. In Model 4 (where the predictors were standardized & hence centered on zero– they don’t seem to get that that’s presumably why some reviewer asked them to do that, since they observe, nonsensically, that standardizing didn’t change the fit-statistics!), the coefficient for MFI is nonsignificant, but that means only that MFI had a nonsignificant effect in storms of mean intensity; the positive coefficients for the cross-product interactions variables are both statistically signficant & have signs indicating that MFI increased deaths as storm intensity increases (& so presumably has an even smaller effect — maybe a negative one? — for storms below mean intensity).
Pre-79. I’m not sure it made “no sense” to use MFI for those. I would say just that their doing so means the effect they are measuring is not “male” vs. “female” names; it’s something about the connotations of names that applies to both female & male ones.
On scary names vs. gender effect: I have to look more closely. If the effect of the influence of MFI is *same* for female and male storms *&* gender as a dichotomous measure has no effect (even a “nonsignficant” one that is more than trivially different from zero & has right sign; I’m sure they used a continuous measure so they’d be able to increase power), then they really should consider a more nuanced account of the mechanism. “Masculine sounding” is okay. But presumably it *is* something like how scary or hardass the name sounds. That would probably correlate with gender but be more subtle: Bertha can kick Adrian’s ass, for sure. I’m sure that is a gender stereotyped thing to say — that effect would still involve gender — but if this is what’s going on, it’s more accurate, more interesting, & more plausible to think “tough” names would influence people’s expectations than simply that gender of name would
I have’t read closely enough– did they have the names rated in terms of “scariness” as well masculinity? I’d like to know too if any “male” names were rated more “feminine” than “female” names; if so, that would reinforce that MFI isn’t properly understood as “masculinity.”