Involuntary Loss of Extended Self of Victims of Great Hanshin Earthquake and Northridge Earthquake
ABSTRACT - AExtended self@ is defined as the aggregation of all objects that people regard as a part of themselves; for example, their body parts, parents, friends, animal pets, job, social roles, etc. The main purpose of this study was to investigate the emotional reaction of involuntary loss of the extended self, that is, Amaterial possessions,@ and to examine the structure of Aextended self.@ We collected samples from the victims of the 1995 Hanshin Earthquake (209 university students) and the 1994 Northridge Earthquake (87 university students). We asked them to describe what kinds of the favorite possessions they lost, the emotion when they lost them, and what kinds of the external objects they regarded as a part of themselves, etc. The results showed interesting similarities and differences between the victims of two earthquakes. The similarity was found that the most victims of both earthquakes had similar emotional reactions, that is, Asad,@ to the loss of important possessions. The differences were found that the victims of Hanshin Earthquake regarded the material possessions as the extended self and valued the lost possessions more than the victims of Northrdge Earthquake did.
Hiromi Ikeuchi, Takehiro Fujihara, and Itsuko Dohi (1999) ,"Involuntary Loss of Extended Self of Victims of Great Hanshin Earthquake and Northridge Earthquake", in E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 4, eds. Bernard Dubois, Tina M. Lowrey, and L. J. Shrum, Marc Vanhuele, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 28-36.
"Extended self" is defined as the aggregation of all objects that people regard as a part of themselves; for example, their body parts, parents, friends, animal pets, job, social roles, etc. The main purpose of this study was to investigate the emotional reaction of involuntary loss of the extended self, that is, "material possessions," and to examine the structure of "extended self." We collected samples from the victims of the 1995 Hanshin Earthquake (209 university students) and the 1994 Northridge Earthquake (87 university students). We asked them to describe what kinds of the favorite possessions they lost, the emotion when they lost them, and what kinds of the external objects they regarded as a part of themselves, etc. The results showed interesting similarities and differences between the victims of two earthquakes. The similarity was found that the most victims of both earthquakes had similar emotional reactions, that is, "sad," to the loss of important possessions. The differences were found that the victims of Hanshin Earthquake regarded the material possessions as the extended self and valued the lost possessions more than the victims of Northrdge Earthquake did.
We are deeply attached not only to our spiritual activities, but also to our pet animals, significant others, some particular material possessions and physical environments. When our feelings become intense, we come to think as if those objects were a part of our 'self. Belk (1988) and Dittmar (1992) proposed the self which goes beyond the cognitive world of 'internal self, and extends its boundary to external objects existing in the physical environments. They conceptualized this self as 'extended self. In short, extended self is defined as "the aggregation of all objects that people regard as a part of their own self" (Fujihara and Ikeuchi, 1996).
Then, what kind of objects do we tend to regard as a part of our self, that is, extended self? The empirical studies conducted by McClleland (1951) and Prelinger (1959) present some important suggestions. They tried to categorize the objects which people regarded as a part of self. Considering that people will regard some particular external objects as a part of self when they can exercise control over them, McClleland (1951) presented the following categories of objects that could be identified as self: 1) myself and my 'free will 2) my body and my consciousness 3) my possessions 4) my friends 5) strangers and physical objects. On the other hand, Prelinger (1959) asked the subjects to rate 160 items consisting of eight categories by a 4-point-scale according to the extent to which they regarded each item as a part of self. The following result was obtained concerning the order and mean self score of each category: 1) body parts (2.98) 2) psychological or intraorganismic processes (2.46) 3) things which indicate personal characteristics and attributes (2.22) 4) material possessions and products (1.57) 5) abstract ideas (1.36) 6) other people (1.10) 7) objects within the close physical environments (0.64) 8) distant physical environments (0.19).
Then, if we lose above mentioned extended self, what sorts of feelings do we have? For example, if we lost our significant others or pets, if we lost our body parts or a part of our physical functions by disease or accident, if we lost important material possessions, how will we feel? In this study we will examine the meanings and significance of extended self from the viewpoint of 'loss. To put it more concretely, we focus especially on 'material possessions, one of the constituents of extended self, and investigate the values and significance attached to the lost possessions.
There are three reasons why we focus on the loss of material possessions. First of all, it is not until we lose them that we can realize the values of our particular material possessions. Secondly, the relationship between the loss of material possessions and self has been discussed by some authorities for years. For example, Simmel (1950) argued that "material property is, so to speak, an extension of the ego, and any interference with our property is, for this reason, felt to be a violation of the person" (p. 322). Pointing out the relationship between material possessions and self, Goffman (1961) also stated the reason why such institutions as mental hospitals, prisons and concentration camps deprived people of all their personal possessions was that it lessened the individuals sense of self and promoted them to adjust more readily to a new environment. Finally, the third reason is that we considered studying the relationship between material possessions and possessors had significant meanings in the field of social psychology. In this field a considerable number of studies have been made on interpersonal relationships; however, there is a paucity of research which focused on the relationship between possessions and possessors. Since social psychology is a study which deals with the relationship between individuals and society, there seems to be no problem if 'other people are replaced with material things which exist in society. Far from that, it seems that differences in value concerning material possessions can give significant suggestins to explain peoples social attitudes and behaviors.
Generally, two patterns can be considered regarding the loss of material possessions. One is voluntary loss, and the other is involuntary loss. Voluntary loss includes the situations where people dispose their possessions because they change the residence, go on to school in a different area, the possessions no longer fit their self-image or they became unusable. On the other hand, involuntary loss includes the situations, such as unintentional loss by theft or casualty. Belk(1988) maintained that "the trauma that may attend involuntary loss of possessions normally is not present in voluntary disposition of possessions" (p. 443).
In respect of the feelings at the time of unintentional loss by theft, Rosenblatt, Walsh, & Jackson (1976) suggest that victims may experience a deep grief and a process of sorrow that they will have in the death of their significant others. Donner (1985) interviewed 20 victims of theft, and asked them to recall their initial feelings upon discovering the loss. As a result, Donner found that feelings of invasion and violation were the most reported reactions following anger and rage. Similar results were reported in the studies of Paap (1981) and Korosec-Serfaty (1985). On the other hand, regarding the feelings of involuntary loss by natural disaster, McLeod (1984) conducted in-depth interviews for flood victims six weeks after the flood occurred in summer, 1986. As a result, it was found out that most victims were still in the early stage of grief and unwilling to talk about the incident. Furthermore, Freedy, Shaw, Jarrell and Masaters (1992) investigated 1,200 hurricane victims of Charleston, and found that prevalence of clinically meaningful distress level was significantly greater among the victims who experienced a high level of loss of the resources, compared with those who experienced a low level of loss. Ikeuchi and Fujihara (1998) also found that in their study of Great Hanshin Earthquake victims a stress level was significantly greater among the victims who experienced loss of material possessions, compared with those who did not experience any loss. As for the latter studies, that is, involuntary loss of material possessions by natural disaster, few studies have been conducted because natural disaster rarely occurs. Consequently, there are still many unsolved problems.
The first purpose of this study is to investigate kinds of important material possessions the victims of natural disaster lost, values they gave to those possessions, and feelings they had when they lost them. To put it more concretely, this study focuses on the victims of Great Hanshin Earthquake and Northridge Earthquake. Great Hanshin Earthquake is a great earthquake of magnitude 7.2 and occurred in the south of Hyogo Prefecture on January 17, 1995. By this earthquake, over 5,000 people lost their lives and over 140 thousand buildings collapsed or were burnt down. Northridge Earthquake is a great earthquake of magnitude 6.6 which occurred in the Northridge district, northwestern part of Los Angeles on January 17, 1994. By this earthquake one thousand people died or were injured, and many apartments and highways collapsed.
The second purpose of this study is to compare the structure of extended self of Great Hanshin Earthquake victims with that of Northridge earthquake victims. McClleland and Prelinger argue that people obviously regard some particular external objects as a part of themselves. But how we view our self seems to be greatly different among cultures (Markus & Kitayama, 1991; Sampson, 1988; Kitayama & Karasawa, 1995). As it appears that extended self which was presented by MaClleland and Prelinger is applicable only to the Westerners, we consider that it is very meaningful to make comparisons between Westerners and Oriental people in the structure of extended self. However, in investigating the structure of extended self, we will take a different approach from Prelingers. The reason is that we find some problems in his approach. As stataed before, Prelinger asked the subjects to rate 160 items with a 4-point-scale according to the degree to which they regarded some particular obect as a part of themselves. This method clearly assumes that extended self is a continuum. But we have to reconsider whether this assumption is correct or not. For example, in viewing extended self from the standpoint of cognitive theory, we can explain the structure of extended self through the concept of 'self-schema. Self-schema is defined as the structure of genetic knowledge about various characteristics or attributes of our own which each of us holds. Therefore, if the items used in the Prelingers study are strongly connected to self-schema, they will be regarded as 'a part of self. On the other hand, if they do not have any strong connection, these items, that is, external objects cannot be regarded as a continuum, and as a result, they will be classified either into 'self or 'non-self. This indicates that there is a distinct boundary between these two concepts. Because of this reason, we consider that it will be more appropriate to ask subjects to describe freely their thoughts and feelings about their lost material possessions by giving them open-ended questions in the questionnaire.
1. The questions of the damage by the earthquake;
1) whether they were damaged by the earthquake or not
2) about the degree of damage (very severe, severe, moderate, minor, others )
2. The questions of the lost possessions;
1) whether they lost their cherished material possessions by the earthquake or not
2) what the most cherished material possession they lost by the earthquake
3) about the feelings they had when they lost them(multiple and free answer)
4) the materialism scale (25items)
In this study, 'the materialism scale was used to investigate how victims valued on their lost possessions. We have defined the materialism as the values that material possessions are regarded as relatively important to achieve their specific personal goals(Ikeuchi & Fujihara, 1996). It is assumed that the materialist will value on possessions more highly than the other matters and activities. The materialism scale in this study was developed by authors based upon the scales of Belk(1984) and Richins & Dawson(1992) and measured the belief how their possessions are valuable. They were asked to rate on 5-point Likert-type-scale, whether they agree with each 25 item or not. For example, "By possessing it(=your favorite materials), my life was very convenient.", "It helped to reduce my loneliness.", "It helped me to remember my relationship with certain people."
3. The questions of extended self
In this study, they were asked to describe freely all things which they regarded as specially important as a part of themselves.
1. The damage by the earthquake
As for the question whether their property was damaged by the earthquake or not, one hundred eighteen victims of Hanshin earthquake (56.5%) and 65 victims of Northridge earthquake(74.7%) answered yes. Chi-square test evealed that the Northridge earthquake victims significantly suffered more damage in property than the Hanshin earthquake ones(c2(1)=8.67, p<.01).
As for the degree of damage by Hanshin earthquake, 8 victims answered 'very severe(3.9%), 18 victims 'severe(15.3%), 20 victims 'moderate(16.9%), 67 victims 'minor(56.8%), and 5 victims 'others(4.2%). On the other hand, as for the degree of damage by Northridge earthquake, 0 victims answered 'very severe(0.0%), 4 victims 'severe(5.1%), 21 victims 'moderate(26.9%), 48 victims 'minor(61.5%), and 5 victims 'others(6.4%). Chi-square test found that the Hanshin earthquake victims significantly suffered more serious damage than did the Northridge earthquake ones (c2(4)=12.43, p<.05).
2. The lost possessions
1) Whether they lost their favorite material possessions by the earthquake or not; forty-two Hanshin earthquake victims experienced the loss of their favorite material possessions by earthquake(20.1%) and twenty-eight Northridge victims did it(32.2%). The Northridge earthquake victims significantly lost more favorite material possessions than the Hanshin earthquake ones (c2(1)=4.87, p<.05).
2) What kind of possession they lost; The victims who experienced the loss of their favorite material possession were asked to answer what kind of one they lost. Forty four responses were obtained for Hanshin earthquake victims and 32 for Northridge earthquake victims. Responses were classified categories (see Fig.1). The most frequent responses of lost possessions were house/wall for the Hanshin earthquake victims. The reason why they listed them seems to come from the strong magnitude of the earthquake. On the other hand, the Northridge earthquake victims mostly described 'tableware/glass products as the lost favorite ones, which were easy to break. Chi-square found Hanshin earthquake victims significantly listed 'house/wall more than did Northridge earthquake ones (c2(1)=4.22, p<.05).
THE KIND OF POSSESSIONS THEY LOST
3) Feelings when they lost their favorite material possession; We also asked to answer how they felt about the loss of their favorite material possession. The answers from Hanshin earthquake victims were 44 and the ones from Northridge earthquake victims were 32. We classified these answers into five categories by Knbler-Ross(1969) (see Fig.2). The typical responses of 'panic category were " I was upset" or "I was disturbed," 'angry one were "I was angered" or "I was vexed," 'depression one were "I was sad" or "I felt lonely," 'rational or positive thinking one were "I was inconvenienced" or "I was anxious of a repair fee," and that of "others" was 'I was thankful to save my life. Two independent judges classified these answers into five categories; as a result, the agreement about their judgement was 85.0% for Hanshin earthquake victims and 89.3% for Northridge earthquake ones. Furthermore, to investigate the difference between Hanshin earthquake victims and Northridge earthquake ones, chi-square test was conducted. As a results, it was found that the Hanshin earthquake victims tended to feel depressive and have a rational and positive thinking more than did the Northridge earthquake victims(in order, c2(1)=3.33, p<.1, c2(1)=3.04, p<.1).
4) the factor structure of materialism scale; Next, to investigate how they valued on their lost possessions, the principal component factor analysis with varimax rotation was conducted. According to the change of eigenvalues and the probability of interpretation, the following three factors were extracted for Hanshin earthquake victims. Items that loaded>.40 were retained in the description of factors. The factor pattern after rotation are shown in Table 1. The first factor accounted for 27.26% of the variance. High loaded items were, for example, "By possessingit, I felt really impressive," or "By possessing it, I could attract others attention." All of these items show such values that the material possessions are useful as a means to present themselves to the others. So first factor was interpreted as 'self-presentational value. The second factor accounted for 16.64% of the variance and high factor loadings items were "Even though I looked for it all over the world, I would not be able to find a substitute," or "It symbolized important moments my life, and high negative loadings on such 5 items as "Since I lost it, life has become more inconvenient," or "It played practical role in my life." The former items seem to show such values that the material possessions are useful as a means to symbolize the relation with significant person and event, the latter items seem to show that they dont value on the essential function of material possessions. So second factor was named as 'symbolic value of relationship/nonfunctional value. The third factor accounted for 11.19% of the variance and included such 7 items as "It helped to reduce my loneliness," or "Possessing it gave me great personal satisfaction." All of these items show that their material possessions related with emotion. So third factor was interpreted as 'emotional value. The Cronbach alpha .916, .842, and .790 for first factor, second factor, and third factor indicated high reliability of internal consistency. On the other hand, the same analysis was conducted for the Northridge earthquake victims. According to the change of eigenvalues and the probability of interpretation, extracted three factors were rotated and were shown in Table 2. The first factor accounted for 48.50% of the variance. It included such 5 items(item number:4,5,15,16,19) that they valued on the essential function of material possessions and such 6 items(item number:1,2,3,11,13,22) that they related to their material possessions emotionally. So first factor was interpreted as 'functional and emotional value. As a result of interpreting the second and third factor as we did the first factor, in that order, each factor accounted for 13.67% and 7.60% of the variance and was interpreted as 'symbolic value of relationship and as 'self presentational value. The Cronbach alpha were .936, .925, and .893 for factor1, factor2, and factor3, so internal consistency would be also indicated acceptable reliability for Northridge earthquake victims.
FEELINGS WHEN THEY LOST THEIR FAVORITE MATERIAL POSSESSION
5) Materialism factor score by the degree of damage and by country; Next, to investigate the difference of materialism scale by the degree of damage(minor and severe) and by country(Hanshin earthquake victims and Northridge earthquake victims), a two-way analysis of variance(ANOVA) was conducted. Factor scores were computed by averaging across several items with commonly factor loading between Hanshin earthquake victims and Northridge ones. The four factors that is 'functional value(item number: 4,5,15,16,19), 'emotional value(item number: 1,2,3,11,13), 'self presentational value(item number: 6,7,8,18,24,25), and 'symbolic value of relationship(item number: 9,10,14,21) were selected. The Cronbach alpha coefficients .868, .834, 903, and .881 indicated high reliability of internal consistency. The degree of damage and the country were the independent variables. As for the degree of damage, the victims were divided into two groups, such as 'severe damaged group(severe) and 'minor damaged group(minor). The former included 'very severe, 'severe, and 'moderate and the latter did 'minor, and 'others was excluded from analysis.
As a result, significant main effects of the degree of damage and country were observed, F(1,78)=6.09, p<.05 and F(1,78)=23.66, p<.001, for a score of 'functional value. It was found that Hanshin earthquake victims compared with Northridge earthquake ones, and the severe damaged victims compared with minor damaged ones gave more functional value to their favorite material possessions. The main effect of country was significant, F (1,78)=14.44, p<.001, F(178)=9.32, p<.01, and F(1,78)=4.45, p<.05, for scores of 'emotional value, 'self presentational value, and 'symbolic value of relationship. In short, it was found that Hanshin earthquake victims gave more emotional value to their favorite material possessions than did Northridge earthquake ones, and that the former compared with the latter valued their possessions as a means to present themselves to the others or to symbolize the relation with significant others and event. Furthermore, a significant interaction between the degree of damage and country was observed for 'emotional value, 'self presentational value, and 'symbolic value of relationship, F(1,78)=14.73, p<.001, F(1,78)=6.71, p<.05, and F(1,78)=7.27, p<.01, respectively. As a result, it was found that the degree of damage didnt have an great effect on how they value on their lost material possessions for Hanshin earthquake victims. On the other hand, in Northridge earthquake victims, it was found that the severer their damage was, the more they valued on their lost favorite material possessions.
3. The structure of extended self
In order to measure extended self, we asked to describe freely all things which they regarded as specially important as a part of themselves. As a result, the number of responses from Hanshin earthquake victims were 536(2.56 per capita) and the ones from Northridge earthquake victims were 198(2.27 per capita). Two independent judges classified these responses into 9 categories on the basis of the scale of Prelinger; as a result, the agreement about their judgement was 86.0% in Hanshin earthquake victims and 88.5% in Northridge earthquake ones. We compared the percentage of each category between Hanshin earthquake victims and Northridge earthquake ones. Fig.4 shows that frequent responses were 'the other people(42.35%), material possessions(21.83%), and 'psychological or intraorganismic processes (16.23%) for Hanshin earthquake victims. On the other hand, 'psychological or intraorganismic processes (33.33%), 'the other people (25.76%), and 'material possessions (12.63%) for Northridge earthquake ones. Chi-square test(see Table3) found that Hanshin earthquake victims significantly listed more answers of material possessions, the other people, and others than Northridge earthquake ones, while the Northridge earthquake victims significantly did more answers of psychological or intraorganismic processes, distant physical environment, and abstract ideas than Hanshin earthquake ones. In short, it was the characteristic of Northridge earthquake victims that they listed many answers of the internal aspect of self, while it was the characteristic of Hanshin earthquake victims that they listed many answers of the external objects, especially the other people.
FACTOR ANALYSIS OF MATERIALISM ITEMS (HANSHIN)
Value on lost possessions
Materialism scale(Ikeuchi & Fujihara, 1996) was applied to investigate the victims value on lost cherished possessions. Factor analysis of materialism scale revealed three factors in both samples, that is, self presentational value, symbolic value of relationship, and emotional value for Hanshin earthquake victims and functional and emotional value, symbolic value of relationship, and self presentational value for Northridge earthquake victims, Although the number of mainly extracted factors were three in both samples, the content of items was a little different. For Hanshin earthquake victims, emotional value factor was purely extracted as one factor, but for Northridge earthquake victims emotional value and functional value are mixed within one factor.
Three results might suggest that Northridge victims didt discriminate between emotional value and functional value and they perceived them to be related. From these results, it is speculated that functional usefulness of possessions may leads an attachment to possessions such as "friends of heart" and "it decreases the loneliness." These results might represent American modal personality which put an importance on rationalism.
Factor analysis commonly extracted self presentational factor in both victim samples. This factor seems to be consistent with success factor by Richins & Dawson(1992) which means belief and value that possessions can present success. That is common findings was that possession have some values by which people can present oneself to others.
FACTOR ANALYSIS OF MATERIALISM ITEMS (NORTHRIDGE)
2*2 (damage*country) ANOVA revealed a main effect for damage and country, with higher ratings of functional value in Hanshin earthquake than in Northridge earthquake and higher ratings of it in severe damaged group than in minor damaged one. There were significant main country effects and interaction effects: indicating higher ratings of emotional, self presentational, and symbolic values factors in Hanshin earthquake than in Northridge earthquake. These results suggested that Hanshin earthquake victims relatively tended to put an importance on material possessions. What make such differences? The first explanation may base upon extended self. With regards to the structure of extended self, Hanshin earthquake victims regarded material possessions as a part of self in comparison with Northridge victims, suggesting that material possessions might be an important position in their lives. The second explanation comes from the difference of the magnitude of earthquake. This study measured value on possession in terms of lost ones. Hanshin earthquake victims with large magnitude of earthquake tended to list expensive possessions like houses and walls as cherished lost possessions. Expensive possessions might have high value, leading to high score in materialism scale of Hanshin earthquake victims.
MATERIALISM FACTOR SCORE BY THE DEGREE OF DAMAGE AND BY COUNTRY
THE STRUCTURE OF EXTENDED SELF
CHI-SQUARE TEST OF EXTENDED SELF CATEGORY BETWEEN HANSHIN EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS AND NORTHRIDGE EARTHQUAKE ONES
Feeling toward lost possessions
Many victims of Hanshin earthquake listed "house/wall" "computer" "TV, stereo, audio component," and many victims of Northridge earthquake listed "dishes/glass goods" "TV, stereo, audio component" "pictures/letters." In comparison with Northridge earthquake, Hanshin earthquake killed many people and destroyed lots of houses. Thus it is speculated that these differences may attribute to the magnitude of earthquake.
With regards to feeling toward lost possessions, both victims commonly and frequently reported depressive such as "I felt depressed as if one of myself was lost." Accordingly, loss of cherished possessions might leads to strong stress for both victim samples. Why loss of cherished possessions make victims feel stressful? These results can be explained by "conservation of resource theory"(Hobfoll,1989). This model suggests that the promotion of well-being and prevention of stress depends on the availability and successful management of resources. According to Hobfoll, resources are personal characteristics, energies, conditions, and objects which people strive to retain, protect, and/or build. When any of these resources are lost, people become vulnerable to psychological and physical disorder and debilitated functioning. Thus, loss of cherished possessions can be perceived as stressful because of the threat on the resources.
The structure of extended self
While Hanshin earthquake victims regarded "material possession," "the other people," and "others" as extended self, Northridge earthquake victims regarded "psychological and intraorganismic processes," "physical environment in distances," and "abstract ideas" as extended self. These results suggest that the extended self of Hanshin earthquake victims stretche itself to outer objects in its scope and the extended self of Northridge earthquake victims is composed of inner objects.
These differences might come from the difference of self. Markus & Kitayama(1991), for example, propose two kinds of self: an independent view of self and an inter dependent view of self. Asian cultures, such as Japan, have an interdependent view of self and they are socially oriented, and they are concerned with fitting in, belonging to others and group. On the contrary, Americans typically have an independent view of self and seek independence from others. Also, Sampson(1988) defined Western self as "mutually exclusive" and Japanese as "mutually inclusive." Hamaguchi(1982) proposes similar term, "Contextualism" in which Japanese people are apt to attach importance to relationships with others and to regard it as part of self. Minami(1983) points out that the characteristics of Japanese self are weak and unstable.
From the above suggestions, we may conclude that Japanese may take in external objects as self and may extend their self in comparison with American people because of weak consciousness of individuality. Thus, it is speculated that the difference of extended self between two earthquake victims sample might attribute to the differences of self.
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Hiromi Ikeuchi, Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan
Takehiro Fujihara, Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan
Itsuko Dohi, International Buddhist University, Japan
E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 4 | 1999
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Robert Goedegebure, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
Irene Tijssen, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
Nynke van der Laan, University of Amsterdam
Hans van Trijp, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
Crossing Race and Markets: Introducing the Race in the Marketplace Research Network
Kevin D Thomas, University of Texas at Austin, USA
Sonya Grier, American University, USA
Guillaume D Johnson, Université Paris-Dauphine
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Seth Ketron, East Carolina University
Nancy Spears, University of North Texas