Friday, November 17, 2017

Social Factors in Aesthetics: Social Conformity Pressure and a Sense of Being Watched Affect Aesthetic Judgments

Social Factors in Aesthetics: Social Conformity Pressure and a Sense of Being Watched Affect Aesthetic Judgments. Vera M. Hesslinger, Claus-Christian Carbon, Heiko Hecht. i-Perception, https://doi.org/10.1177/2041669517736322

Abstract: The present study is a first attempt to experimentally test the impact of two specific social factors, namely social conformity pressure and a sense of being watched, on participants’ judgments of the artistic quality of aesthetic objects. We manipulated conformity pressure with a test form in which a photograph of each stimulus was presented together with unanimously low (downward pressure) or high quality ratings (upward pressure) of three would-be previous raters. Participants’ sense of being watched was manipulated by testing each of them in two settings, one of which contained an eyespots stimulus. Both social factors significantly affected the participants’ judgments—unexpectedly, however, with conformity pressure only working in the downward direction and eyespots leading to an overall downward shift in participants’ judgments. Our findings indicate the relevance of including explicit and implicit social factors in aesthetics research, thus also reminding us of the limitations of overly reductionist approaches to investigating aesthetic perception and experience.

Keywords: eyespots, aesthetic judgments, conformity, social factors, empirical aesthetics

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Remembering the Details of Others' Heroism in the Aftermath of a Traumatic Public Event Can Foster Our Own Prosocial Response

Ford, J. H., Gaesser, B., DiBiase, H., Berro, T., Young, L., and Kensinger, E. (2017) Heroic Memory: Remembering the Details of Others' Heroism in the Aftermath of a Traumatic Public Event Can Foster Our Own Prosocial Response. Appl. Cognit. Psychol., doi: 10.1002/acp.3377

Summary: Humans, while not wholly altruistic, will often come together to selflessly support and provide aid to others in need. To date, little attention has been paid to how memory for such positive events in the aftermath of a traumatic event can influence subsequent behavior. The current study examined how the way in which people represent and remember helping events immediately following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing related to their tendency to support Boston-related charities in the following months. People who recalled helping-related events in greater detail reported engaging in more helping behaviors in the following months. The relation between memory narratives and reports of helping behavior six months later has important implications for future work investigating the role of memory-based mechanisms in citizens' decisions to provide aid in times of collective need.

Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery, Volume 164, January 2018, Pages 11-13: Pornography headache

Pornography headache. Wei-Hsi Chen, Kuo YenChen, Hsin-LingYin. Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery, Volume 164, January 2018, Pages 11-13. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clineuro.2017.10.026

Highlights
•    Pornographic headache results from visuoneural uncoupling.
•    Sexual-arousal-mediated vascular dysregulation causes the pain.
•    Indomethacin is beneficiary for pornographic headache.

Abstract: The headache associated with intercourse or masturbatory activity is a well-recognized clinical entity but pornography headache is barely mentioned. We report a young man who suffered preorgasmic headache pertaining only to pornography of specific erotic contents but not to other sexual or nonsexual act. An antecedent activation of sexual arousal and vasoconstriction during pain were found. Finally, oral indomethacin favorably prevented the pain. Therefore, pornography headache is a distinguished headache disorder distinct from other sexual-related headache disorders. Sexual arousal-mediated cerebrovascular dysregulation consequence to visuoneural uncoupling in response to erotic stimulus is proposed. Pornography headache may be underestimated in population as pain-killer overuse may mask the actual incidence in real world.

Cancer incidence increasing globally: The role of relaxed natural selection

Cancer incidence increasing globally: The role of relaxed natural selection. Wenpeng You and Maciej Henneberg. Evolutionary Applications, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/eva.12523/abstract

Abstract: Cancer incidence increase has multiple aetiologies. Mutant alleles accumulation in populations may be one of them due to strong heritability of many cancers. The opportunity for the operation of natural selection has decreased in the past ~150 years because of reduction in mortality and fertility. Mutation-selection balance may have been disturbed in this process and genes providing background for some cancers may have been accumulating in human gene pools. Worldwide, based on the WHO statistics for 173 countries the index of the opportunity for selection is strongly inversely correlated with cancer incidence in peoples aged 0–49 years and in people of all ages. This relationship remains significant when gross domestic product per capita (GDP), life expectancy of older people (e50), obesity, physical inactivity, smoking and urbanization are kept statistically constant for fifteen (15) of twenty-seven (27) individual cancers incidence rates. Twelve (12) cancers which are not correlated with relaxed natural selection after considering the six potential confounders are largely attributable to external causes like viruses and toxins. Ratios of the average cancer incidence rates of the 10 countries with lowest opportunities for selection to the average cancer incidence rates of the 10 countries with highest opportunities for selection are 2.3 (all cancers at all ages), 2.4 (all cancers in 0–49 years age group), 5.7 (average ratios of strongly genetically based cancers) and 2.1 (average ratios of cancers with less genetic background).

Risk of Developing Dementia at Older Ages in the US

Risk of Developing Dementia at Older Ages in the United States. Ezra Fishman. Demography, October 2017, Volume 54, Issue 5, pp 1897–1919. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13524-017-0598-7

Abstract: Dementia is increasingly recognized as a major source of disease burden in the United States, yet little research has evaluated the lifecycle implications of dementia. To address this research gap, this article uses the Aging, Demographics, and Memory Study (ADAMS) to provide the first nationally representative, longitudinal estimates of the probability that a dementia-free person will develop dementia later in life. For the 1920 birth cohort, the average dementia-free 70-year-old male had an estimated 26.9 % (SE = 3.2 %) probability of developing dementia, and the average dementia-free 70-year-old female had an estimated 34.7 % (SE = 3.7 %) probability. These estimates of risk of dementia are higher for younger, lower-mortality cohorts and are substantially higher than those found in local epidemiological studies in the United States, suggesting a widespread need to prepare for a life stage with dementia.

Counties with longer historical frontier experience exhibit more prevalent individualism and opposition to redistribution and regulation

Frontier Culture: The Roots and Persistence of "Rugged Individualism" in the United States. Samuel Bazzi, Martin Fiszbein, Mesay Gebresilasse. NBER Working Paper No. 23997. www.nber.org/papers/w23997

In a classic 1893 essay, Frederick Jackson Turner argued that the American frontier promoted individualism. We revisit the Frontier Thesis and examine its relevance at the subnational level. Using Census data and GIS techniques, we track the frontier throughout the 1790-1890 period and construct a novel, county-level measure of historical frontier experience. We document skewed sex ratios and other distinctive demographics of frontier locations, as well as their greater individualism (proxied by infrequent children names). Many decades after the closing of the frontier, counties with longer historical frontier experience exhibit more prevalent individualism and opposition to redistribution and regulation. We take several steps towards a causal interpretation, including an instrumental variables approach that exploits variation in the speed of westward expansion induced by national immigration inflows. Using linked historical Census data, we identify mechanisms giving rise to a persistent frontier culture. Selective migration contributed to greater individualism, and frontier conditions may have further shaped behavior and values. We provide evidence suggesting that rugged individualism may be rooted in its adaptive advantage on the frontier and the opportunities for upward mobility through effort.

Dominance, phylogenetically ancient, and prestige, unique to humans, are ways to gain or maintain high rank



Dominance and Prestige: A Tale of Two Hierarchies. Jon K. Maner. Current Directions in Psychological Science.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721417714323

Abstract: Dominance and prestige represent evolved strategies used to navigate social hierarchies. Dominance is a strategy through which people gain and maintain social rank by using coercion, intimidation, and power. Prestige is a strategy through which people gain and maintain social rank by displaying valued knowledge and skills and earning respect. The current article synthesizes recent lines of research documenting differences between dominance- versus prestige-oriented individuals, including personality traits and emotions, strategic behaviors deployed in social interactions, leadership strategies, and physiological correlates of both behaviors. The article also reviews effects that dominance versus prestige have on the functioning and well-being of social groups. The article also presents opportunities for future research and discusses links between dominance and prestige and the social psychological literature on power and status.

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Although both dominance and prestige serve as viable routes to high social rank, the propensity to use one strategy over the other varies across individuals. Some work indicates no correlation between people’s use of dominance and prestige (Cheng et al., 2013), suggesting that use of one strategy is not contingent on use of the other. Other work suggests a positive correlation, as both strategies share in common the motivation for high rank (Maner & Mead, 2010).

The two strategies have different implications for groups and the individuals who comprise them. For example, the two strategies are characterized by different personality traits. Whereas people who use dominance are relatively aggressive, disagreeable, manipulative, and high in dark-triad traits (Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy), people who use prestige instead are
high in self-esteem, agreeableness, need for affiliation, social monitoring, fear of negative evaluation, and conscientiousness (Case & Maner, 2017; Cheng, Tracy, & Henrich, 2010; Semenya & Honey, 2015).

Dominance and prestige are also marked by different types of emotion. Dominance is associated with feelings of arrogance, superiority, and conceit (hubristic pride; Cheng et al., 2010), whereas prestige is associated with feelings of achievement, but without a sense of superiority or arrogance (authentic pride; Cheng et al., 2010; see also Liu, Yuan, Chen, & Yu, 2016). Another emotion that distinguishes dominance from prestige is humility (Weidman, Cheng, & Tracy, 2016). Prestige, but not dominance, is associated with appreciative humility, which results from a sense of personal success and leads people to celebrate others. Given these distinct profiles of personality and emotion, it comes as no surprise that people adopting a prestige strategy tend to be more well-liked than people adopting a dominance strategy (Cheng et al., 2013).

Clear evidence for physiological correlates of dominance and prestige is limited. Many findings have linked dominance to high levels of testosterone (Mazur & Booth, 1998), yet studies in humans have tended not to differentiate between dominance and prestige. One study that did so found no correlation between dominance and testosterone; instead, the study documented a negative relation between testosterone and prestige (Johnson, Burk, & Kirkpatrick, 2007), consistent with the hypothesis that prestige is associated with an active downplaying of aggression and competitiveness. Another found that testosterone was linked with use of dominance but not with one’s actual rank in the hierarchy (van der Meij, Schaveling, & Van Vugt, 2016). Dominance (but not prestige) has been linked with wider facial width-to-height ratio (Mileva, Cowan, Cobey, Knowles, & Little, 2014)—a morphological cue associated with greater testosterone, aggressiveness, and unethical behavior (CarrĂ©, McCormick, & Mondloch, 2009; Lefevre, Lewis, Perrett, & Penke, 2013; but see Bird et al., 2016). The literature on physiological aspects of dominance and prestige would benefit from further development.