Wednesday, May 23, 2018

China's social credit system has blocked people from taking 11.14 million flights and 4.25 million high-speed train trips

China's social credit system has blocked people from taking 11 million flights and 4 million train trips. Tara Francis Chan. May 21, 2018.
http://www.businessinsider.com/china-social-credit-system-blocked-people-taking-flights-train-trips-2018-5

China's social credit system has blocked people from taking 11.14 million flights and 4.25 million high-speed train trips.

The numbers, from the end of April, were included in a report by China's state-run news outlet Global Times  [http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1103262.shtml], but it is unclear what offenses those targeted in the travel ban have committed.

The social credit system is actually a collection of blacklists, of which there are more than a dozen at the national level. Each list is based on similar offenses — such as misbehavior on planes and trains, or failing to abide by a court judgment — and determines the punishments people face, from throttling internet speeds to blocking loans.

While it's not made clear which list has had so many plane and train trips blocked, a former official, Hou Yunchun, is quoted as saying the system needs to be improved so "discredited people become bankrupt."

 The blacklist Hou is referring to most likely involves debtors and was created by the Supreme People's Court in an attempt to make people comply with verdicts and repay their debts.

The court publishes the names and ID numbers of debtors on its website. They are banned from plane and high-speed train travel, and can't stay at four and five star hotels, send their children to expensive schools, book cheap hire cars, or make luxury purchases online.

Some provinces play a recorded message when someone tries to call a blacklisted debtor, informing the caller that the person they want to speak with has outstanding debts. And in May, a short cartoon with the photographs of debtors' faces began playing at movie theatres, on buses, and on public noticeboards with a voiceover that said: "Come, come, look at these [debtors]. It's a person who borrows money and doesn't pay it back."

The list of debtors launched in late 2013 with 31,259 names and within two weeks had been visited 180,000 times. By December 2017, 8.8 million debtors had been added to the list, preventing 8.7 million flights and 3.4 million high-speed train trips.

With nearly 2.5 million trips blocked in the past six months, either China has cracked down on existing debtors' plane travel or many more names have been added to the blacklist.

Full text with links at the e-address above.

Are Black Robots Like Black People? Examining How Negative Stigmas about Race Are Applied to Colored Robot

Are Black Robots Like Black People? Examining How Negative Stigmas about Race Are Applied to Colored Robots. Jeannice Louine et al. Sociological Inquiry, https://doi.org/10.1111/soin.12230

Abstract: Recent scholarly research has begun to examine human perceptions toward robots. Researchers have also demonstrated that humans make decisions about individuals based on skin color. However, scant research examines the perceptions that individuals have toward robots of certain colors or whether these perceptions, both negative and positive, are predicted by demographic and contextual factors of either humans or robots. Using data from 504 adults responding to robots in separate scenarios across two surveys, we explore whether robot color has an impact on the human's perception of that robot. Respondents were presented with pictures of black, yellow, and neutral‐colored robots and were asked to indicate their perceptions of the robots along a number of dimensions or were asked to indicate how they would react to the robot were they to encounter the robots in their daily activities. Findings suggest that (1) black robots were viewed as significantly stronger than yellow robots; (2) yellow robots were viewed as significantly more affable than black and neutral robots; and (3) respondents were more likely to move away from black robots (and less likely to stop when encountering black robots) than robots of other colors. Possible explanations and implications for these findings are also discussed.

Mate preferences on actual mating decisions, on tactics of mate attraction/retention, patterns of deception, causes of sexual regret, attraction to cues to sexual exploitability, attraction to cues to fertility, attraction to cues to resources and protection, derogation of competitors, causes of breakups, & patterns of remarriage

Mate preferences and their behavioral manifestations. David M. Buss and David P. Schmitt. Brunel University, Dept of Life Sciences Research Papers, http://bura.brunel.ac.uk/handle/2438/16165

Abstract: Evolved mate preferences define a central causal process in Darwin’s theory of sexual selection. Their powerful influence has been documented in all well-studied sexually reproducing species, and is central to Sexual Strategies Theory (SST) as applied to humans. This chapter takes stock of what is scientifically known about human mate preferences and their many behavioral manifestations. We discuss sex differences and sex similarities in the design features of human sexual psychology as they vary according to short-term and long-term mating temporal contexts. We review context-specific shifts in mating strategy depending on individual, social, and ecological qualities such as mate value, life history strategy, sex ratio, gender economic inequality, and cultural norms. For mate preferences to have evolved, they must be manifested in actual mating behavior in some individuals some of the time, such as those with high mate value in contexts where freedom of mate choice is permitted. We review the empirical evidence for the impact of mate preferences on actual mating decisions, as well as on tactics of mate attraction, tactics of mate retention, patterns of deception, causes of sexual regret, attraction to cues to sexual exploitability, attraction to cues to fertility, attraction to cues to resources and protection, derogation of competitors, causes of breakups, and patterns of remarriage. We conclude by articulating unresolved issues and offer a future agenda for the science of human mating. This agenda includes resolving key debates, such as competing evolutionary hypotheses about the functions of women’s short-term mating; how humans invent novel cultural technologies to better implement ancient sexual strategies; and how cultural evolution may be dramatically influencing our evolved mating psychology.

Keywords: Human mating;Sexual strategies;Mate preferences;Sex differences;Evolutionary

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Do women’s preferences translate into actual mating behavior? In one study of speed dating, women were more likely to actually select men who indicated that they had grown up in an affluent neighborhood (Hitch et al., 2010). Another study of 382 speed daters found that women were more likely than men to select dates who had higher levels of income and education (Asendorpf et al., 2011; see also Li & Meltzer, 2015). A study of mail-order brides from Colombia, the Philippines, and Russia found that women actively sought men with higher levels of status and ambition (Minervini & McAndrew, 2006). A study of 2,956 Israelis using a computer dating service found that women, far more than men, sought mates who owned their own cars, had good economic standing, and who placed a high level of importance on their careers (Bokek-Cohen et al., 2008). In the Kipisigis of Kenya, women and their parents preferentially select men who have large plots of land (Borgerhoff Mulder, 1990). And the men who women choose to marry, compared to same-aged men who do not marry, have consistently higher incomes (Buss, 2016).

Would women who acted on these long-term mate preferences, actually selecting men of high status and resources, have experienced greater reproductive success? There is evidence that women married to older, higher-status men have more and more surviving children (Nettle & Pollet, 2008). For instance, in a study of 1700s pre-industrial Finland, women married to wealthier men had more children and better child survival rates than women married to poorer men (Pettay et al., 2007). Fieder and Huber (2007) found marrying a man four years older was associated with maximum levels of fertility among women, which matches closely what women say is their ideal long-term mate (Buss, 1989; Kenrick & Keefe, 1992).

A cross-cultural study of the causes of divorce found that inadequate economic support, including inadequate food, housing, and clothing, was a sex-linked cause of marital dissolution (Betzig, 1989). In no society did a woman’s failure to provide economic resources constitute grounds for divorce. Women’s mate preferences for economic resources and social status in a long-term mate translate into actual mating behavior, from selective decisions in speed dating to real-life fertility outcomes to the causes of divorce. As with men’s preferences, women’s mate preferences matter in real-world mating markets.

Export sophistication is the only robust determinant of growth among standard growth determinants such as human capital, trade, financial development, and institutions. Our results suggest that other growth determinants may be important to the extent they help improve export sophistication.

Sharp Instrument: A Stab at Identifying the Causes of Economic Growth. Reda Cherif; Fuad Hasanov; Lichen Wang. IMF Working Paper No. 18/117, http://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WP/Issues/2018/05/21/Sharp-Instrument-A-Stab-at-Identifying-the-Causes-of-Economic-Growth-45879

Summary: We shed new light on the determinants of growth by tackling the blunt and weak instrument problems in the empirical growth literature. As an instrument for each endogenous variable, we propose average values of the same variable in neighboring countries. This method has the advantage of producing variable-specific and time-varying—namely, “sharp”—and strong instruments. We find that export sophistication is the only robust determinant of growth among standard growth determinants such as human capital, trade, financial development, and institutions. Our results suggest that other growth determinants may be important to the extent they help improve export sophistication.

The American Dream and Support for the Social Safety Net: Housing wealth's conservatizing effect should be interpreted as a status quo preference, rather than opposition to redistributive social policies

Wong, Weihuang, The American Dream and Support for the Social Safety Net: Evidence from Experiment and Survey Data (May 4, 2018). MIT Political Science Department Research Paper No. 2018-12. https://ssrn.com/abstract=3173814

Abstract: I propose the status quo bias hypothesis, which predicts that housing wealth increases preference for status quo arrangements with respect to Social Security. I contrast the status quo bias hypothesis with the claim that housing wealth reduces support for social insurance, and test the hypothesis in two empirical studies. A survey experiment finds that homeowners informed about high historical home price appreciation (HPA) are about 8 percentage points more likely to prefer existing Social Security arrangements to privatized retirement accounts, compared to those informed about low historical HPA. Observational data from the 2000-2004 ANES panel show that homeowners who experience higher HPA are about 11 percentage points more likely to prefer status quo levels of spending on Social Security than those in the bottom HPA quartile. No significant HPA effects are observed among renters, and for other domains of social insurance among homeowners. The evidence suggests that housing wealth's conservatizing effect should be interpreted as a status quo preference, rather than opposition to redistributive social policies.

Keywords: housing wealth, social insurance, political behavior, Social Security

On The Evolution of The Sex Differences in Throwing: Throwing is a Male Adaptation in Humans, Origin is Fighting

On The Evolution of The Sex Differences in Throwing: Throwing is a Male Adaptation in Humans. Michael P. Lombardo, Robert O. Deaner. The Quarterly Review of Biology, Volume 93, Number 2, June 2018. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/698225

Abstract: The development of the ability to throw projectiles for distance, speed, and accuracy was a watershed event in human evolution. We hypothesize that throwing first arose in threat displays and during fighting and later was incorporated into hunting by members of the Homo lineage because nonhuman primates often throw projectiles during agonistic interactions and only rarely in attempts to subdue prey. Males, who threw more often than females in both combat and hunting, would have been under stronger selection than females to become proficient at the ability to throw, intercept, and dodge projectiles as throwing skills became critical to success in combat and hunting. Therefore, we predict that males, more than females, should display innate anatomical and behavioral traits associated with throwing. We use data from a variety of disciplines to discuss: the sex differences in throwing speed, distance, and accuracy; sex differences in the development of the throwing motion; inability of training or cultural influences to erase the sex differences in throwing; sex differences in the use of throwing in sports, combat, and hunting; and sex differences in anatomical traits associated with throwing that are partly responsible for male throwing superiority. These data contradict the view held by many commentators that socialization rather than innate sex differences in ability are primarily responsible for male throwing superiority. We suggest that throwing is a male adaptation.

Keywords: anatomy, combat, fighting, human evolution, hunting, throwing, sex differences

Understanding of the evolutionary role of fire in animals: there is evidence suggesting that different behaviors might provide a rich source of putative fire adaptations

Towards an understanding of the evolutionary role of fire in animals. Juli G. Pausas, Catherine L. Parr. Evolutionary Ecology, June 2018, Volume 32, Issue 2–3, pp 113–125. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10682-018-9927-6

Abstract: Wildfires underpin the dynamics and diversity of many ecosystems worldwide, and plants show a plethora of adaptive traits for persisting recurrent fires. Many fire-prone ecosystems also harbor a rich fauna; however, knowledge about adaptive traits to fire in animals remains poorly explored. We review existing literature and suggest that fire is an important evolutionary driver for animal diversity because (1) many animals are present in fire-prone landscapes and may have structural and phenotypic characters that contribute to adaptation to these open landscapes; and (2) in some cases, animals from fire-prone ecosystems may show specific fire adaptations. While there is limited evidence on morphological fire adaptations in animals, there is evidence suggesting that different behaviors might provide a rich source of putative fire adaptations; this is because, in contrast to plants, most animals are mobile, unitary organisms, have reduced survival when directly burnt by fire and can move away from the fire. We call for research on fire adaptations (morphological, behavioral, and physiological) in animals, and emphasize that in the animal kingdom many fire adaptations are likely to be behavioral. While it may be difficult to discern these adaptations from other animal behaviors, making this distinction is fundamental if we want to understand the role of fire in shaping biodiversity. Developing this understanding is critical to how we view and manage our ecosystems in the face of current global and fire regime changes.

The phrase “no homo” is a gendered one, primarily used by men to facilitate a particularly masculinized construction of positive emotional expression

No Homo: Gendered Dimensions of Homophobic Epithets Online. C. J. Pascoe, Sarah Diefendorf. Sex Roles, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11199-018-0926-4

Abstract: We examine a case of homophobic language online, specifically the deployment of the phrase “no homo,” shorthand for “I’m not a homosexual.” An analysis of 396 instances (comprising 1061 individual tweets) of the use of the phrase “no homo” on the social media platform Twitter suggests that the phrase is a gendered epithet that conveys cultural norms about masculinity. The first finding is that the phrase is used more often by male tweeters than by female tweeters. The second, as predicted by the literature on homophobia, is that the phrase is used in a negative emotional context to convey disapproval for men’s homosexuality or behavior that is not gender normative. The third finding is that the modal use of the phrase “no homo” is in a positive emotional context, accompanying expressions of men’s pleasure, desire, affection, attachment, and friendship. Our analysis suggests that the phrase “no homo” is a gendered one, primarily used by men to facilitate a particularly masculinized construction of positive emotional expression. Our research adds to and complicates findings on the relationship between homophobia and masculinity that suggests that homophobia is an organizing principal of masculinity in western cultures.

The Link Between Self-Dehumanization and Immoral Behavior

The Link Between Self-Dehumanization and Immoral Behavior. Maryam Kouchaki et al.
Psychological Science, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797618760784

Abstract: People perceive morality to be distinctively human, with immorality representing a lack of full humanness. In eight experiments, we examined the link between immorality and self-dehumanization, testing both (a) the causal role of immoral behavior on self-dehumanization and (b) the causal role of self-dehumanization on immoral behavior. Studies 1a to 1d showed that people feel less human after behaving immorally and that these effects were not driven by having a negative experience but were unique to experiences of immorality (Study 1d). Studies 2a to 2c showed that self-dehumanization can lead to immoral and antisocial behavior. Study 3 highlighted how self-dehumanization can sometimes produce downward spirals of immorality, demonstrating initial unethical behavior leading to self-dehumanization, which in turn promotes continued dishonesty. These results demonstrate a clear relationship between self-dehumanization and unethical behavior, and they extend previous theorizing on dehumanization.

Keywords: morality, self-dehumanization, repeated dishonesty, open data, preregistered

Sex differences in navigation strategy and efficiency

Sex differences in navigation strategy and efficiency. Alexander P. Boone, Xinyi Gong, Mary Hegarty. Memory & Cognition, https://link.springer.com/article/10.3758/s13421-018-0811-y

Abstract: Research on human navigation has indicated that males and females differ in self-reported navigation strategy as well as objective measures of navigation efficiency. In two experiments, we investigated sex differences in navigation strategy and efficiency using an objective measure of strategy, the dual-solution paradigm (DSP; Marchette, Bakker, & Shelton, 2011). Although navigation by shortcuts and learned routes were the primary strategies used in both experiments, as in previous research on the DSP, individuals also utilized route reversals and sometimes found the goal location as a result of wandering. Importantly, sex differences were found in measures of both route selection and navigation efficiency. In particular, males were more likely to take shortcuts and reached their goal location faster than females, while females were more likely to follow learned routes and wander. Self-report measures of strategy were only weakly correlated with objective measures of strategy, casting doubt on their usefulness. This research indicates that the sex difference in navigation efficiency is large, and only partially related to an individual’s navigation strategy as measured by the dual-solution paradigm.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

From 2016, a way to detect psychopaths: Stable individual differences in moral behavior can be systematically observed in daily life, and that their stability is comparable to the stability of neutral language behavior

From 2016: Eavesdropping on Character, Assessing Everyday Moral Behaviors. Kathryn L. Bollich et al. J Res Pers. 2016 Apr; 61: 15–21. DOI 10.1016/j.jrp.2015.12.003

Abstract: Despite decades of interest in moral character, comparatively little is known about moral behavior in everyday life. This paper reports a novel method for assessing everyday moral behaviors using the Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR)—a digital audio-recorder that intermittently samples snippets of ambient sounds from people's environments—and examines the stability of these moral behaviors. In three samples (combined N = 186), participants wore an EAR over one or two weekends. Audio files were coded for everyday moral behaviors (e.g., showing sympathy, gratitude) and morally-neutral comparison language behaviors (e.g., use of prepositions, articles). Results indicate that stable individual differences in moral behavior can be systematically observed in daily life, and that their stability is comparable to the stability of neutral language behaviors.

Keywords: moral character, moral behavior, Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR), temporal stability, personality, naturalistic observation, ambulatory assessment

Thirty years of sexual behaviour at a Canadian university: Romantic relationships, hooking up, and sexual choices... since at least 1990, the majority have been primarily monogamous

Thirty years of sexual behaviour at a Canadian university: Romantic relationships, hooking up, and sexual choices. Nancy S. Netting, Meredith K. Reynolds. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, Volume 27 Issue 1, May 2018, pp. 55-68. https://doi.org/10.3138/cjhs.2017-0035

Abstract: Every 10 years from 1980 to 2010, students in a British Columbia university were surveyed about age of sexual initiation, number of partners, and degree of emotional intimacy within their partnerships. Between 1980 and 1990, the socially acceptable prerequisite for premarital sex appeared to shift from the promise of marriage to mutual love. This change was demonstrated by a fall in the virginity rate among unmarried females, and the rise of monogamous romantic relationships for males. From 1980 through 2010, men reported more sexual partners than did women, with a smaller, though rising, proportion of serious relationships. Since 1990, never-married students were classified into three sexual behavioural groups: monogamists (about 55%), abstainers (30%), and multi-partnered “experimenters” (20% of men throughout each decade, and 7.6% of women in 1990–2000, rising to 14.4% in 2010). Experimenters generally reported concurrent partners, most of them casual. Since 1980, most sexually active students have experienced both romantic relationships and casual sexual partnerships, yet since at least 1990, the majority have been primarily monogamous. This article traces the changes and continuities in romantic relationships, casual sex, and sexual behavioural groups over 30 years, concluding that contrary to the claims of popular media and some academics, casual sex (“hookup culture”) has not replaced romantic relationships as the most common form of student sexual behaviour.

KEY WORDS: Student sexual behaviour, romantic relationships, monogamy, hookup culture, casual sex, friends with benefits, sexual revolution, sexual scripts, emerging adulthood

Personality change among newlyweds: Declines in agreeableness for husbands and wives, declines in extraversion for husbands, declines in openness and neuroticism for wives, and increases in conscientiousness for husbands

Lavner, J. A., Weiss, B., Miller, J. D., & Karney, B. R. (2018). Personality change among newlyweds: Patterns, predictors, and associations with marital satisfaction over time. Developmental Psychology, 54(6), 1172-1185. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/dev0000491

Abstract: The early years of marriage are a time of significant personal and relational changes as partners adjust to their new roles, but the specific ways that spouses’ personalities may change in early marriage and how these changes are associated with spouses’ marital satisfaction trajectories have been overlooked. Using 3 waves of data collected over the first 18 months of marriage (N = 338 spouses, or 169 heterosexual newlywed marriages), we examined changes in spouses’ self-reported Big 5 personality traits over time and the association between initial levels and changes in personality and spouses’ concurrent marital satisfaction trajectories. Results indicated significant changes in personality over time, including declines in agreeableness for husbands and for wives, declines in extraversion for husbands, declines in openness and neuroticism for wives, and increases in conscientiousness for husbands. These results did not differ by spouses’ age, demographics, relationship length prior to marriage, cohabitation prior to marriage, initial marital satisfaction, or parenthood status. Initial levels of personality as well as changes in personality over time were associated with spouses’ marital satisfaction trajectories. Taken together, these findings indicate that newlywed spouses’ personalities undergo meaningful changes during the newlywed years and these changes are associated with changes in spouses’ marital satisfaction. Further research is needed to understand the processes underlying changes in personality early in marriage and to examine the mechanisms linking changes in personality and changes in marital satisfaction.

Per political party: Americans' Attitudes on Individual or Racially Inflected Genetic Inheritance

Americans' Attitudes on Individual or Racially Inflected Genetic Inheritance. Jennifer Hochschild, Maya Sen. On Reconsidering Race: Social Science Perspectives on Racial Categories in the Age of Genomics. Edited by Kazuko Suzuki, Edited by Diego A. von Vacano. https://global.oup.com/academic/product/reconsidering-race-9780190465285

From the Nov 2013 paper, about Importance of individual, and of racial or ethnic, genetic inheritance, by partisan affiliation:

Democrats and Republicans hold roughly similar views, while the category of Independents, Undecided, and “Other” differ systematically from both sets of partisans. With regard to racial or ethnic genetic inheritance (shaded columns), Independents are less likely than the other two groups to see racial inheritance in six of the eight characteristics. That includes the three items that are generally assumed to be heritable (eye color, sickle cell anemia, and cystic fibrosis), for which the Independents are arguably mistaken. But it also includes the more ambiguous category of intelligence.

With regard to individual genetic inheritance, Democrats and Republicans again resemble one another, while Independents differ. Setting aside homosexuality, Independents are again  The least likely to make genetic attributions to the three genetically-linked traits, but they are most likely to make genetic attributions to the three ambiguous traits of heart disease, intelligence, and aggressiveness. Again, reassuringly we see no variation in the very low proportions attributing the flu to either type of inheritance.

We need further research to explain the anomaly of the Independents, and how or why partisanship relates to other possible associations (for example, education, gender, and race with views about genetic determinism. But these results conform to the general finding in the academic literature that “pure” Independents and nonpartisans (the Undecided or Others) are less knowledgeable about current events and political and social facts (Keith et al. 1992). The surprising and intriguing result is the lack of difference between Republicans and Democrats in the degree to which they concur with the social constructivist view, either with regard to racial or ethnic inheritance or individual ancestral inheritance. If the GKAP survey represents Americans in general, the question of biological or social causation is not polarized in the public in the way that it is among knowledgeable experts.

This similarity is reinforced by the overall average likelihood of making genetic attributions. As we have found in every previous analysis, for all items in all groups, there are fewer attributions to racial or ethnic inheritance than to individual ancestral inheritance. But within that framework, Republicans and Democrats closely resemble one another in accepting both types of genetic causes, while Independents are less likely to accept either individual genetic inheritance or, especially, racial or ethnic genetic inheritance. That is not what we expected, and it warrants further study.

The surprise deepens when we look only at the five items that are not generally understood as heritable. For those items, Independents are the most likely to make genetic attributions, both for individual ancestral inheritance and for group-based inheritance – but Democrats are more likely than Republicans to do so, again for both types of inheritance. Even setting aside the three items that are arguably not socially constructed, Republicans are closer to being social constructivists than are Democrats. In light of the normative valences with which this chapter started, that finding needs further exploration.

The Anomalous Case of Homosexuality: We have noted several times that responses to the item, “being gay or lesbian,” differ from responses to the other three traits (heart disease, intelligence, and a tendency toward violence) for which genetic and environmental or choice-based explanations are more ambiguous. We turn finally to a direct consideration of this item. Hypothesis H5.5 posits that views on homosexuality are an exception to our overall expectation about the link between partisanship (or ideology) and social constructivism, and that is indeed the case. As table 5 shows, Democrats are much more likely than Independents or Republicans to attribute being gay or lesbian to “genes,” and slightly more likely to attribute being gay or lesbian to “race or ethnicity.” Indeed, Democrats’ relatively high agreement with “genes” for that item helps to explain the fact that overall they are less socially constructivist than Republicans.10 [10 It does not fully explain that surprising result, however, since Democrats are also just as likely or slightly more likely than Republicans to explain heart disease, intelligence, and aggression through genetic causes]

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