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Monday, July 16, 2018

The lure of death: suicide and human evolution

Humphrey N. 2018 The lure of death: suicide and human evolution. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 373: 20170269. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2017.0269

Suicide used to be called self-murder, felo de se. In an evolutionary context, the term murder is not inappropriate. Human beings have always been murderers, killers of other living beings. First, of course, killers of animal prey for meat, but also killers of other men and women. While not every ancient human would have had first-hand experience of assassination, everyone would have known and talked about it. Then, at some point, the idea must have dawned. Here’s how the psychiatrist, Erwin Stengel has put it: ‘At some stage of evolution man must have discovered that he can kill not only animals and fellow-men but also himself. It can be assumed that life has never since been the same to him’ [1, p. 37].

The purpose of this paper is to consider just how radically life changed. I argue that the human mind must have had to evolve to a critical level of sophistication before anyone could arrive at the idea that ‘I can kill myself’. However, from then on, suicide would never have been far from people’s thoughts. When times were hard, some individuals would have been bound to see death as an attractive option. Yet killing themselves would usually—if not always—have been a maladaptive act. I explore how this played out historically, and what remedies, if any, were available.

[...]

But, now, to go deeper: when you think ‘I can kill myself’, who is this ‘self’ and what do you imagine will result from ‘killing’ it? Again, Stengel implies that early humans would have understood the inevitable consequences of self-killing from observing the killing of others. Bodily death, however caused, has effects that anyone can see and take on board. There’s the obvious bodily decay. But the most salient change is in the dead person’s role as an actor in the physical or social world. They will not be coming back. This is a fact of death that non-human animals with complex social lives can also understand up to a point. Frans de Waal describes how, when a group of chimpanzees in the Arnhem Zoo were shown a video film of the alpha-male, Nickie, who had died by drowning 2 years earlier, his erstwhile rivals panicked as if they had seen a ghost [2, p. 214]. By applying this to your own case, you would realize that you yourself once dead will no longer participate directly in the lives of others.

But we must go deeper still. For there is, of course, another meaning of ‘self’, and hence, the probability that self-killingwill have a still more significant result. When your body dies, what happens to your mind? Once you are no longer an actor in the public realm, can you no longer be a thinker or feeler in the private one? This is not of course something you or anyone else can discover from direct observation. But it is perhaps something you can deduce from circumstantial evidence. As a human, with a ‘theory of mind,’ you expect to be able to infer another person’s mental state from their outward behaviour. When, now, you observe that an individual’s body no longer behaves in any way at all—it neither acts spontaneously nor reacts to your probes—you have very good reason to suppose there is no longer anyone at home inside. True, absence of evidence is not entirely reliable as evidence of absence. But, in fact, you yourself have had plenty of direct experience of your own mind going absent at a time of pseudo-death. When you fall asleep, and your body becomes motionless and unresponsive, you know for a fact that your mind temporarily vanishes. You may remember how as a child you cried yourself to sleep and found blessed relief in the ensuing oblivion.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Contrary to theoretical models, experiences of victimization are not central to the development of sexual killers; instead, it is the adoption of various problematic behaviors in childhood that appear as most important

Stepping stones to sexual murder: the role of developmental factors in the etiology of sexual homicide. Eric Beauregard et al. Journal of Criminal Psychology, http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/JCP-02-2018-0010

Abstract:

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of a variety of developmental factors on sexual homicide offenders (SHOs), while taking into account other components of sexual homicide theoretical models.

Design/methodology/approach: A series of logistic regression models are performed using a total of 616 incarcerated adult male sexual offenders from Canada to distinguish between three groups of sexual offenders, SHOs, violent non-homicidal sex offenders (NHSOs) and NHSOs.

Findings: Results indicate that contrary to theoretical models, experiences of victimization are not central to the development of SHOs. Instead, it is the adoption of various problematic behaviors in childhood that appear as most important in the etiology of this particular type of sexual crime. This suggests that the various existing theoretical models of sexual homicide need to be revised and/or tested with additional empirical data.

Originality/value: This is the first study to look at developmental factors using two control groups of NHSOs and violent NHSOs.

Keywords: Theoretical model, Sex offender, Etiology, Sexual homicide, Developmental factor, Sexual murder

People are consistently more sensitive to action than to outcome value in judging the praiseworthiness of good deeds, but not harmful deeds. This observation echoes the finding that people are often insensitive to outcomes in their giving behavior

Yudkin, Daniel A., Annayah M. B. Prosser, and Molly Crockett. 2018. “Actions Speak Louder Than Outcomes in Judgments of Prosocial Behavior.” PsyArXiv. July 14. doi:10.31234/osf.io/vbsp6

Abstract: Recently proposed models of moral cognition suggest that people’s judgments of harmful acts are influenced by their consideration both of those acts’ consequences (“outcome value”), and of the feeling associated with their enactment (“action value”). Here we apply this framework to judgments of prosocial behavior, suggesting that people’s judgments of the praiseworthiness of good deeds are determined both by the benefit those deeds confer to others and by how good they would feel to perform. Three experiments confirm this prediction. After developing a new measure to assess the extent to which praiseworthiness is influenced by action and outcome values, we show how these factors make significant and independent contributions to praiseworthiness. We also find that people are consistently more sensitive to action than to outcome value in judging the praiseworthiness of good deeds, but not harmful deeds. This observation echoes the finding that people are often insensitive to outcomes in their giving behavior. Overall, this research tests and validates a novel framework for understanding moral judgment, with implications for the motivations that underlie human altruism.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

In both the U.S. & Denmark intelligence failed to predict standard party choice; this is due to opposing effects of intelligence on economic and social ideology

Different political systems suppress or facilitate the impact of intelligence on how you vote: A comparison of the U.S. and Denmark. Steven G.Ludeke, Stig H.R.Rasmussen. Intelligence, Volume 70, September–October 2018, Pages 1-6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intell.2018.06.003

Highlights
•    In both the U.S. and Denmark intelligence failed to predict standard party choice.
•    This was due to opposing effects of intelligence on economic and social ideology.
•    Denmark's multi-party system allows non-standard representations of party choice.
•    In Denmark, significant systematic intelligence differences observed between parties.

Abstract: Intelligence is rarely studied as a predictor of vote choice, and at first glance our data supports this neglect: In samples from the U.S. and Denmark (Ns = 1419 and 953), intelligence does not predict the standard operationalization of vote choice in which parties are placed on a single left-vs-right dimension. (Standardized coefficients predicting right-wing vote choice were 0.05 and −0.03, respectively.) However, this apparent non-effect in fact reflects approximately equal and opposite effects of intelligence on vote choice as transmitted through social and economic ideology. In both countries, higher ability predicts left-wing social and right-wing economic views. The impact of intelligence on vote choice is thus most visible in true multi-party systems like Denmark, in which parties do not simply pair similar levels of social and economic conservatism, but instead provide diverse combinations of social and economic ideology. Comparing the parties closest to representing authoritarian egalitarianism (social-right plus economic-left) and libertarianism (social-left plus economic-right), we observed a 0.9 SD intelligence gap.

We look at 3 different measures of political success—electoral success, years in office, & access to an elite political position—& find lower levels of agreeableness are systematically correlated with greater success

Nice guys finish last: personality and political success. Jeroen Joly, Stuart Soroka, Peter Loewen. Acta Politica, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1057/s41269-018-0095-z

Abstract: Is there a link between personality and the electoral and in-office success of politicians? Using the Ten-Item Personality Inventory, we examine whether the Five-Factor Model personality traits are correlated with political success among Belgian elected officials. We look at three different measures of political success, corresponding to different stages of the political career—electoral success, years in office, and access to an elite political position—and find lower levels of agreeableness are systematically correlated with greater success. These results are in line with those found among American and European CEO’s (Boudreau et al. in J Vocat Behav 58(1):53–81, 2001). This study offers a unique insight in the type of personality voters and party leadership look for and reward among politicians.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Do we perceive fine details in the visual periphery? Here, we propose that phenomenology in the visual periphery can be characterized by an inflated sense of perceptual capacity, as observers overestimate the quality of their perceptual inputs

Inflation versus filling-in: why we feel we see more than we actually do in peripheral vision
Brian Odegaard, Min Yu Chang, Hakwan Lau, Sing-Hang Cheung. bioRxiv, https://doi.org/10.1101/263244

Abstract: Do we perceive fine details in the visual periphery? Here, we propose that phenomenology in the visual periphery can be characterized by an inflated sense of perceptual capacity, as observers overestimate the quality of their perceptual inputs. Distinct from the well-known perceptual phenomenon of "filling-in" where perceptual content is generated or completed endogenously, inflation can be characterized by incorrect introspection at the subjective level. The perceptual content itself may be absent or weak (i.e., not necessarily filled-in), and yet such content is mistakenly regarded by the system as rich. Behaviorally, this can be reflected by metacognitive deficits in the degree to which confidence judgments track task accuracy, and decisional biases for observers to think particular items are present, even when they are not. In two experiments using paradigms which exploit unique attributes of peripheral vision (crowding and summary statistics), we provide evidence that both types of deficits are present in peripheral vision, as observers' reports are marked by overconfidence in discrimination judgments and high numbers of false alarms in detection judgments. We discuss potential mechanisms which may be the cause of inflation and propose future experiments to further explore this unique sensory phenomenon.

Marital duration has a negative effect on married men’s physical pleasure of marital sex, & it has no effect on married women’s sexual satisfaction

Liu, C. (2018). A theory of sex difference in changes in marital sexual satisfaction. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/ebs0000120

Abstract: This paper develops and empirically tests a theory of one of the most fundamental sex differences, namely, the sex difference in the changes in marital sexual satisfaction. Previous research reports mixed results on how sexual satisfaction changes over relationship duration. More theoretical and empirical research is needed to better understand how each sex’s sexual satisfaction changes over relationship duration. In this research, applying an evolutionary psychological perspective and human capital theory, I attempt to explain and predict how each sex’s marital sexual satisfaction changes over marital duration. Three testable hypotheses are derived and empirically tested with the National Health and Social Life Survey data. The results show that marital duration has a negative effect on married men’s physical pleasure of marital sex, and it has no effect on married women’s sexual satisfaction. Implications for other aspects of marital sex and for marriage as a social institution for channeling sex are drawn. The limitations of the research are discussed.

Unmarried men’s increased financial satisfaction was associated with decreased relationship satisfaction, and increased financial stress was associated with decreased relationship satisfaction for unmarried men and married women (actor effects)

Totenhagen, C. J., Wilmarth, M. J., Serido, J., & Betancourt, A. E. (2018). Do day-to-day finances play a role in relationship satisfaction? A dyadic investigation. Journal of Family Psychology, 32(4), 528-537. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/fam0000406

Abstract: Prior researchers have found consistent links between financial issues and relationship outcomes. Yet, because most research is cross-sectional or examines these constructs over longer periods of time (e.g., years), the microlevel processes of how and when these changes occur are unclear. In the present study, we use interdependence theory as a guide to examine the daily fluctuations of financial satisfaction and stress as well as their daily associations with relationship quality in married and unmarried heterosexual couples. Using a dyadic 14-day daily diary research design, we found both financial satisfaction and stress demonstrated significant within-person fluctuations, with women demonstrating greater volatility in financial satisfaction than men. Given that individuals varied in their perceptions of financial satisfaction and stress from day to day, we then examined how these fluctuations were associated with daily relationship satisfaction. We expected financial satisfaction would be positively associated with relationship satisfaction for both actors and partners, whereas financial stress would be negatively associated for both actors and partners. Hypotheses were partially supported. Unmarried women’s daily financial satisfaction was associated with increased relationship quality for both themselves (marginal) as well as their partners. An unexpected pattern for unmarried men’s financial satisfaction was found; their increased financial satisfaction was associated with decreased relationship satisfaction. Increased financial stress was associated with decreased relationship satisfaction for unmarried men and married women (actor effects). We discuss implications for research and practice.



Thursday, July 12, 2018

Imagining their Future Selves: Children's Attitudes to Older People and their Expectations of Life at Age 70

Imagining their Future Selves: Children's Attitudes to Older People and their Expectations of Life at Age 70. Katrina Lloyd, Paula Devine, Gemma M. Carney. Children & Society, https://doi.org/10.1111/chso.12289

Abstract: Studies eliciting the views of children on ageing are rare, particularly those that focus on imagining a future self as an ‘old’ person and how this might be linked to current attitudes to older people. To address this gap, 2,365 children participated in an online survey which included questions on ageing. Findings suggest that children who hold negative views about old people visualise poorer outcomes for themselves at age 70. Implications of the findings are discussed in the context of an ageing population and the need to develop strategies to prevent the formation of prejudices against older people from an early age.

Traditional sex behaviors, older age of first intercourse and fewer sex partners, are related to conservative orientations; satisfaction with sex life is related to socially conservatives; adventurous and risky sex behaviors are related more to liberals

The relationship between sexual preferences and political orientations: Do positions in the bedroom affect positions in the ballot box? Peter K.Hatemi, Charles Crabtree, Rose McDermott. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 105, 15 January 2017, Pages 318-325. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2016.10.008

Highlights
•    Traditional sex behaviors (e.g., missionary sex) are related to conservative orientations.
•    Older age of first intercourse and fewer sex partners is associated with social conservativism.
•    Satisfaction with sex life is related to more socially conservative attitudes.
•    Adventurous sexual behaviors (e.g., sex toys) are related to more liberal orientations.
•    Risky-sex behaviors (e.g., sex with stranger), are related to more liberal orientations.

Abstract: Sex provides a strong and enduring drive in humans, infusing attitudes and influencing behavior far beyond its immediate activity. Issues involving sex are among the most prevalent and divisive in modern political discourse. However, little is known about whether the actual sexual behaviors of the public align with their political values. Using a web-based US sample, we assess the relationship between individual sexual practices and political preferences. We find that those who engage in more traditional sexual behaviors, such as missionary position sex and kissing, generally have more socially conservative attitudes, ideologies, and partisan leanings, while those who engage in more masturbation, more adventurous sex, such as using sex toys, and those who engage in more risky sex, such as having sex with someone they met on the same day, and who have more lifetime partners, generally hold more liberal positions. Though they engage in a narrower band of activities, those with more conservative orientations tend be more satisfied with their sex life. We also find substantial heterogeneity across political attitudinal dimensions. For example, individuals who hold more conservative outgroup/punishment attitudes appear similar to those who hold liberal social attitudes when it comes to risky sex behaviors.

Political-Party Affiliation as a Predictor of Usage of an Adultery Website: Democrats were least likely to use it, Libertarians were most likely, & Republicans, Greens, and unaffiliated voters were in-between

American Political-Party Affiliation as a Predictor of Usage of an Adultery Website. Kodi B. Arfer, Jason J. Jones. Archives of Sexual Behavior, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-018-1244-1

Abstract: The more politically conservative Americans are, the more restrictive their sexual attitudes are. A natural follow-up question is how this difference in attitudes relates to actual behavior. But self-reports of sexual behavior may be compromised by a social desirability bias that is influenced by the very sexual attitudes at issue. We employed a non-self-reported measure of sexual behavior: usage of the adultery-focused dating website Ashley Madison. Linking an August 2015 leak of user data from Ashley Madison to 2012 voter registration rolls from five U.S. states, we found 80,000 matches between 200,000 Ashley Madison user accounts and 50 million voters. According to simple rates in the sample, and also to predictively validated regression models controlling for state, gender, and age, we found that Democrats were least likely to use Ashley Madison, Libertarians were most likely, and Republicans, Greens, and unaffiliated voters were in between. Our results provide support for theories arguing that people with stricter sexual attitudes are paradoxically more likely to engage in deviant sexual behavior.

Gay & lesbian individuals are slightly more likely than heterosexual individuals to reside in more urban areas as adults but it is due to a more urban childhood contexts of gay/lesbian individuals relative to heterosexual ones

Urban Migration of Sexual Minorities in the United States: Myth or Reality? Christopher P. Scheitle, Sara K. Guthrie. Sexuality & Culture, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12119-018-9544-0

Abstract: It is often suggested that sexual minorities in the United States, especially gay men and lesbian women, move to urban areas at a higher rate than heterosexual individuals. Existing analyses of this claim are limited for one or more reasons, such as only examining patterns of current residential context without considering movement between contexts or only examining movement for partnered sexual minorities. Utilizing the General Social Survey, a probability survey of the US adult population, we compare patterns of residential context in childhood and adulthood for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual individuals. Initial findings do suggest that gay and lesbian individuals are slightly more likely than heterosexual individuals to reside in more urban areas as adults. However, this difference is explained away by the more urban childhood contexts of gay or lesbian individuals relative to heterosexual individuals. In sum, we find no robust sexuality effect on urban migration.

Potential brain age reversal after pregnancy: younger brains at 4-6 weeks postpartum

Potential brain age reversal after pregnancy: younger brains at 4-6 weeks postpartum. Eileen Luders et al. Neurosciencem https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroscience.2018.07.006

Highlights
•    Brains at late postpartum were estimated to be younger than at early postpartum.
•    On average, that difference was about five years.
•    These findings suggest a substantial restoration / rejuvenation effect after giving birth.
•    The effect seems to be already evident within 4-6 weeks postpartum.

Abstract: Pregnancy is accompanied by complex biological adaptations, including extreme hormonal fluctuations. Moreover, changes on the endocrine level are accompanied by changes in cerebral anatomy, such as reductions in brain or gray matter volume. Since declining brain and tissue volumes are characteristic for normal aging, the question arises of whether such pregnancy-induced anatomical effects are permanent or transient. To answer this question, we acquired high-resolution brain image data of 14 healthy women in their mid-twenties to late thirties at two time points: within 1-2 days of childbirth (early postpartum) and at 4-6 weeks after childbirth (late postpartum). At both time points, we estimated the brain ages for each woman using a well-validated machine learning approach based on pattern recognition. Ultimately, this algorithm – designed to identify anatomical correlates of age across the entire brain – reveals a single score for each individual: the BrainAGE index. Comparing the BrainAGE indices between both time points, female brains at late postpartum were estimated to be considerably younger than at early postpartum. On average, that difference was about five years (mean±SD: 5.4±2.4 years). These findings suggest a substantial restoration / rejuvenation effect after giving birth, which is evident already within the first couple of months.

Rams are selected for genetic traits a producer desires to propagate in his flock; rams with limited interest in ewes was nearly 30% of the total number of breeding rams; cause can be a tempered reward pathway in combination with decreased vigilance and sensory processing in the amygdala

ASAS-SSR Triennial Reproduction Symposium: Looking Back And Moving Forward—How Reproductive Physiology Has Evolved—Male reproductive behavior: sensory signaling in the brain of low-performing domestic rams. Brenda M Alexander. Journal of Animal Science, Volume 96, Issue 7, 29 June 2018, Pages 3003–3008, https://doi.org/10.1093/jas/sky117

Abstract: Rams are selected for genetic traits a producer desires to propagate in his flock. Even though practically all sheep are naturally bred, rams are rarely evaluated for expression of sexual interest or behavior. Research at the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station reported that the proportion of rams with limited interest in ewes was nearly 30% of the total number of breeding rams. Breeding soundness tested rams with low sexual interest sire less than 16% of the lamb crop. Although producers recognize the problem, their usual solution is to increase the number of rams in breeding flocks decreasing the risk of open ewes. Increased costs and a lack of genetic progress are clearly important considerations, but the biological question as to what controls sexual interest remains intriguing. Circulating concentrations of testosterone do not differ by sexual interest among rams. However, following exposure to estrous ewes, sexually active, but not inactive, rams exhibit an increase in LH pulsatile activity, a biological response to sexual stimuli. This begs the question as to whether sexually inactive rams recognize sexual cues. Using c fos activity as an indicator of neural activity, differences in the olfactory pathway were compared among sexually active and inactive rams. Differences in fos activity were not detected in the olfactory bulb or medial amygdala. However, sexually inactive rams had lower fos activity in the central amygdala, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, and medial preoptic area of the hypothalamus following exposure to sexual evocative olfactory stimuli. This suggests sexually inactive rams detect olfactory cues but have decreased vigilance to sensory stimuli and a muted response to sexual signals in areas of the brain required for the execution of sexual performance. With the amygdala receiving and integrating sensory signals from many areas of the brain, sexually inactive rams may lack normal reward mechanisms contributing to their lack of sexual interest. Rams with limited sexual interest have decreased dopamine synthesis and a lower expression of dopamine D2 receptors following exposure to sexual stimuli. Thus, a tempered reward pathway in combination with decreased vigilance and sensory processing in the amygdala may reduce stimulation and/or responsiveness in areas of the brain required for expression of sexual behavior.

Sheep are one of the few animal models in which natural variations in male sexual preferences have been studied experimentally; approximately 8% of rams exhibit sexual preferences for male partners (male-oriented rams)

The Volume of a Sexually Dimorphic Nucleus in the Ovine Medial Preoptic Area/Anterior Hypothalamus Varies with Sexual Partner Preference. Charles E. Roselli et al. Endocrinology, Volume 145, Issue 2, 1 February 2004, Pages 478–483, https://doi.org/10.1210/en.2003-1098

Abstract: Sheep are one of the few animal models in which natural variations in male sexual preferences have been studied experimentally. Approximately 8% of rams exhibit sexual preferences for male partners (male-oriented rams) in contrast to most rams, which prefer female partners (female-oriented rams). We identified a cell group within the medial preoptic area/anterior hypothalamus of age-matched adult sheep that was significantly larger in adult rams than in ewes. This cell group was labeled the ovine sexually dimorphic nucleus (oSDN). In addition to a sex difference, we found that the volume of the oSDN was two times greater in female-oriented rams than in male-oriented rams. The dense cluster of neurons that comprise the oSDN express cytochrome P450 aromatase. Aromatase mRNA levels in the oSDN were significantly greater in female-oriented rams than in ewes, whereas male-oriented rams exhibited intermediate levels of expression. Because the medial preoptic area/anterior hypothalamus is known to control the expression of male sexual behaviors, these results suggest that naturally occurring variations in sexual partner preferences may be related to differences in brain anatomy and capacity for estrogen synthesis.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Competent individuals endorsed cynicism only if it was warranted in a given sociocultural environment; less competent individuals embraced cynicism unconditionally, maybe an adaptive default strategy to avoid the potential costs of falling prey to others’ cunning

The Cynical Genius Illusion: Exploring and Debunking Lay Beliefs About Cynicism and Competence. Olga Stavrova, Daniel Ehlebracht. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167218783195

Abstract: Cynicism refers to a negative appraisal of human nature—a belief that self-interest is the ultimate motive guiding human behavior. We explored laypersons’ beliefs about cynicism and competence and to what extent these beliefs correspond to reality. Four studies showed that laypeople tend to believe in cynical individuals’ cognitive superiority. A further three studies based on the data of about 200,000 individuals from 30 countries debunked these lay beliefs as illusionary by revealing that cynical (vs. less cynical) individuals generally do worse on cognitive ability and academic competency tasks. Cross-cultural analyses showed that competent individuals held contingent attitudes and endorsed cynicism only if it was warranted in a given sociocultural environment. Less competent individuals embraced cynicism unconditionally, suggesting that—at low levels of competence—holding a cynical worldview might represent an adaptive default strategy to avoid the potential costs of falling prey to others’ cunning.

Keywords: cynicism, competence, lay theories, social perception

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Beside the fact that cynicism and wisdom are often intertwined in philosophy, literature, and popular culture, there are multiple other reasons for laypeople to associate cynicism with competence. Cynicism reflects a worldview that human nature is morally corrupt and human actions are driven by self-interest. The power of self-interest as the ultimate motive of human behavior has been discussed in multiple scientific disciplines (Cropanzano, Goldman, & Folger, 2005; Miller & Ratner, 1998). In evolutionary biology, selfinterested behavioral strategies are sometimes described as fitness maximizing and therefore .smart. in evolutionary terms. In neoliberal economic theory, the ability to pursue self-interest is regarded as a sign of perfect rationality (homo oeconomicus). These ideas are widely accepted among laypeople (Bay-Cheng, Fitz, Alizaga, & Zucker, 2015), suggesting that adopting a cynical view and seeing others. behavior as driven by self-interest might constitute a sign of competence in laypeople.s eyes.

At the same time, laypeople might believe cynicism to be diagnostic of substantial life experience. Many people tend to think of life as generally .nasty, brutish and short. (Norton, Anik, Aknin, & Dunn, 2011); hence, accumulating life experience can be considered as inevitably leading to the endorsement of a negative, cynical view. Indeed, research on generalized trust has recently shown that, once the perception of moral character is held constant, distrust can sometimes be seen as a sign of competence (Evans & van de Calseyde, 2017). Similarly, as people generally tend to exaggerate the degree to which others. behavior is driven by egoistic motives (Miller, 1999; Miller & Ratner, 1998), chronically high levels of suspiciousness and cynicism may be considered a sign of competence and experience in dealing with other people.

From an evolutionary perspective, the suspiciousness, precautionary reasoning, and endorsement of the .better safe than sorry. heuristic inherent to cynicism might be seen as features of a competent decision maker (Haselton & Nettle, 2006; Johnson, Blumstein, Fowler, & Haselton, 2013).  According to the error management theory (Haselton & Buss, 2000), in many domains the consequences of false negative errors (e.g., believing that someone is trustworthy when they really are not) have often been more costly than false positive errors (e.g., believing that someone is untrustworthy when they really are trustworthy) over human evolutionary history, making the cognitive system of modern humans biased toward false alarms. As endorsing a cynical view is reflected in a stronger propensity to avoid false negative errors (e.g., the best way not to misplace one.s trust is not to trust at all), cynicism might be seen as a sign of competence.  Taken together, these arguments suggest that, in laypersons.  beliefs, cynicism might be positively associated with competence.

Cynicism and Competence in Reality
Even though social observers might think that being too cynical is wiser than being not cynical enough, this belief might not mirror the real associations of cynicism and competence.  Indeed, studies using the trust game showed that people typically earned more if they were willing to trust strangers rather than not (e.g., Fetchenhauer & Dunning, 2010).  Longitudinal studies corroborated this idea, suggesting that cynical individuals earn lower incomes due to their ineptitude for cooperation, and cynicism might therefore be not that smart in terms of financial success (Stavrova & Ehlebracht, 2016).

Further studies demonstrated that cynicism is more likely to be a worldview endorsed by individuals with lower rather than higher levels of education (Haukkala, 2002; Stavrova & Ehlebracht, 2018) and intelligent individuals. behavior was shown to be more likely to depart from the norms of selfinterest (Solon, 2014). Higher levels of education and competence in a broader sense might help individuals detect and avoid potential deceit in the first place, thus reducing the probability of negative social experiences, which might in turn contribute to a more positive view of human nature (Yamagishi, Kikuchi, & Kosugi, 1999). Indeed a number of studies showed general cognitive ability to be negatively related to cynical hostility (Barnes et al., 2009; Mortensen, Barefoot, & Avlund, 2012) and positively related to trust (Carl, 2014; Carl & Billari, 2014; Hooghe, Marien, & de Vroome, 2012; Oskarsson, Dawes, Johannesson, & Magnusson, 2012; Sturgis, Read, & Allum, 2010). However, even though intelligent individuals are more likely to trust strangers, high IQ is not a good predictor of the ability to differentiate between trustworthy and untrustworthy targets (Bonnefon, Hopfensitz, & De Neys, 2013). In addition, a recent meta-analysis failed to detect an association between measures of cognitive ability and Machiavellianism.a concept that includes a "cynical beliefs about human nature" facet (O.Boyle, Forsyth, Banks, & Story, 2013).

Even if a high level of competence might not allow people to accurately discriminate between honest and dishonest interaction partners, it might allow them to correctly recognize situations or environments where cynicism regarding other people.s motives and intentions might be warranted or not. In other words, high levels of competence might allow individuals to correctly identify the .corruptness. of their environment and adjust their level of cynicism to match it.  Following this reasoning, high-competence individuals might hold adaptable attitudes and recur to cynicism only when it seems warranted, while their less competent counterparts might show more cognitive rigidity and.relying on the .better safe than sorry. heuristic.tend to endorse cynicism indiscriminately. Consistent with evolutionary principles, such a .better safe than sorry. strategy can prove efficient when one lacks the ability to correctly identify the relevant features of the sociocultural context one is confronted with and determine whether cynicism is warranted or not (Brumbach, Figueredo, & Ellis, 2009; Gross, 1996). In this sense, at lower levels of competence, holding a negative, cynical view as a default (assuming that people are guided by self-interest unless proven otherwise) might represent a more viable strategy than holding an overly positive view of others' morality.

In the present research, we assumed that even though cynicism might be positively associated with competence in laypeople.s beliefs, in reality, more competent individuals are less, rather than more, likely to endorse a cynical worldview, giving rise to what can be described as a .cynical genius illusion..  Consistent with the evolutionary arguments laid out above, we also predicted that the negative association between competence and cynicism will depend on the environment.s sociocultural climate. Highly competent individuals will be more likely to endorse cynicism if they live in a country where cynical views seem justified.for example, in a country with corrupted institutions and a weak rule of law.whereas low-competence individuals will embrace cynicism regardless of the characteristics of the sociocultural environment they face.

Contributions of dopaminergic and non-dopaminergic neurons to VTA-stimulation induced neurovascular responses in brain reward circuits

Contributions of dopaminergic and non-dopaminergic neurons to VTA-stimulation induced neurovascular responses in brain reward circuits. Marta Brocka et al. NeuroImage, Volume 177, 15 August 2018, Pages 88-97. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.04.059

Highlights
•    Optogenetic stimulation of the VTA in rats combined with fMRI and SPECT.
•    Dopamine specific stimulation leads to weak fMRI BOLD responses.
•    Less-specific stimulation leads to strong neurovascular responses.
•    rCBF SPECT in awake animals excludes anesthesia effect.
•    Neurovascular signals from the reward system are a poor predictor of DA release.

Abstract: Mapping the activity of the human mesolimbic dopamine system by BOLD-fMRI is a tempting approach to non-invasively study the action of the brain reward system during different experimental conditions. However, the contribution of dopamine release to the BOLD signal is disputed. To assign the actual contribution of dopaminergic and non-dopaminergic VTA neurons to the formation of BOLD responses in target regions of the mesolimbic system, we used two optogenetic approaches in rats. We either activated VTA dopaminergic neurons selectively, or dopaminergic and mainly glutamatergic projecting neurons together. We further used electrical stimulation to non-selectively activate neurons in the VTA. All three stimulation conditions effectively activated the mesolimbic dopaminergic system and triggered dopamine releases into the NAcc as measured by in vivo fast-scan cyclic voltammetry. Furthermore, both optogenetic stimulation paradigms led to indistinguishable self-stimulation behavior. In contrast to these similarities, however, the BOLD response pattern differed greatly between groups. In general, BOLD responses were weaker and sparser with increasing stimulation specificity for dopaminergic neurons. In addition, repetitive stimulation of the VTA caused a progressive decoupling of dopamine release and BOLD signal strength, and dopamine receptor antagonists were unable to block the BOLD signal elicited by VTA stimulation. To exclude that the sedation during fMRI is the cause of minimal mesolimbic BOLD in response to specific dopaminergic stimulation, we repeated our experiments using CBF SPECT in awake animals. Again, we found activations only for less-specific stimulation. Based on these results we conclude that canonical BOLD responses in the reward system represent mainly the activity of non-dopaminergic neurons. Thus, the minor effects of projecting dopaminergic neurons are concealed by non-dopaminergic activity, a finding which highlights the importance of a careful interpretation of reward-related human fMRI data.

Keywords: Optogenetics, BOLD, Dopamine


Libet’s experiment: A complex replication

Libet’s experiment: A complex replication. Tomas Dominik et al. Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 65, October 2018, Pages 1-26. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2018.07.004

Highlights
•    Libet’s experiment was replicated respecting its complexity.
•    The original outcomes were generally replicated with some differences.
•    The report of the urge to move does not always precede the movement onset.
•    The readiness potential precedes the reported time of the urge to move.
•    There is a large interindividual variability in the introspective reports.

Abstract: Libet’s experiment is an influential classical study, which does not stop provoking heated debates. However, a full-scale replication has not been carried out to this day. Libet-style studies have usually focused on isolated ideas and concepts and never on the whole experiment in all its complexity. This paper presents detailed methodological description and results of a complex replication study. The methodology follows Libet’s directions closely in most cases; when it does not, the differences are described and elaborated. The results replicate Libet’s key findings, but substantial differences were found in some of the results’ categories, such as the introspective reports or the number of readiness-potentials found. The discussion also addresses some current problems pertaining the methodology of the Libet-style experiments and provides some recommendations based on a detailed process evaluation.

Presence of a significant other increased facial expression of pain; presence of a stranger decreased physiological arousal; verbal support, mainly from a stranger, decreased pain and arousal; intimate relationships decreased pain through touching and viewing a romantic other

Investigating the influence of social support on experimental pain and related physiological arousal: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Xianwei Che et al. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2018.07.005

Highlights
•    Social presence alone did not affect pain perception.
•    Presence of a significant other increased facial expression of pain.
•    Presence of a stranger decreased physiological arousal.
•    Verbal support, mainly from a stranger, decreased pain and arousal.
•    Intimate relationships decreased pain through touching and viewing a romantic other.

Abstract: Social support is demonstrated to have mixed effects on both pain and related physiological arousal. In this study, a meta-analysis was conducted to characterise these effects. A total of 2416 studies were identified in a systematic search, among which 21 were eligible for the quantitative review. The mere presence of another person was not sufficient to modulate pain perception. However, stranger presence was identified to decrease pain-related arousal (SMD = -0.31), and the presence of a significant other increased facial expression of pain (SMD = 0.21). We further found verbal support to decrease pain (SMD = -0.69) and arousal (SMD = -0.99), and we demonstrated moderate to large analgesic effects of intimate relationships through touching (SMD = -0.95) and viewing (SMD = -0.60) of a romantic partner. Finally, we presented evidence of publication bias for pain-related arousal but not for behavioural pain outcomes. Together, our findings suggest that the impact of social support on pain is context-dependent with clear communications of support and intimate relationships being of particular importance.

Sleep and nesting behavior in primates: The implications of nest construction for sleep quality & cognition, the tree‐to‐ground transition in early hominids, & the peculiarities of human sleep

Sleep and nesting behavior in primates: A review. Barbara Fruth, Nikki Tagg, Fiona Stewart. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, https://doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.23373

Abstract: Sleep is a universal behavior in vertebrate and invertebrate animals, suggesting it originated in the very first life forms. Given the vital function of sleep, sleeping patterns and sleep architecture follow dynamic and adaptive processes reflecting trade‐offs to different selective pressures.

Here, we review responses in sleep and sleep‐related behavior to environmental constraints across primate species, focusing on the role of great ape nest building in hominid evolution. We summarize and synthesize major hypotheses explaining the proximate and ultimate functions of great ape nest building across all species and subspecies; we draw on 46 original studies published between 2000 and 2017. In addition, we integrate the most recent data brought together by researchers from a complementary range of disciplines in the frame of the symposium “Burning the midnight oil” held at the 26th Congress of the International Primatological Society, Chicago, August 2016, as well as some additional contributors, each of which is included as a “stand‐alone” article in this “Primate Sleep” symposium set. In doing so, we present crucial factors to be considered in describing scenarios of human sleep evolution: (a) the implications of nest construction for sleep quality and cognition; (b) the tree‐to‐ground transition in early hominids; (c) the peculiarities of human sleep.

We propose bridging disciplines such as neurobiology, endocrinology, medicine, and evolutionary ecology, so that future research may disentangle the major functions of sleep in human and nonhuman primates, namely its role in energy allocation, health, and cognition.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The likelihood of a relationship ending per unit time goes down with increased duration of search before that relationship, in accord with the foraging prediction

Cohen, S. E., & Todd, P. M. (2018). Relationship foraging: Does time spent searching predict relationship length? Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, 12(3), 139-151. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/ebs0000131

Abstract: Animals foraging for resources often need to alternate between searching for and benefiting from patches of those resources. Here we explore whether such patterns of behavior can usefully be applied to the human search for romantic relationships. Optimal foraging theory (OFT) suggests that foragers should alter their time spent in patches based on how long they typically spend searching between patches. We test whether human relationship search can be described as a foraging task that fits this OFT prediction. By analyzing a large, demographically representative data set on marriage and cohabitation timing using survival analysis, we find that the likelihood of a relationship ending per unit time goes down with increased duration of search before that relationship, in accord with the foraging prediction. We consider the possible applications and limits of a foraging perspective on mate search and suggest further directions for study.

Identification of individual subjects on the basis of their brain anatomical features

Identification of individual subjects on the basis of their brain anatomical features. Seyed Abolfazl Valizadeh, Franziskus Liem, Susan Mérillat, Jürgen Hänggi & Lutz Jäncke. Scientific Reports volume 8, Article number: 5611 (2018), https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-23696-6

Abstract: We examined whether it is possible to identify individual subjects on the basis of brain anatomical features. For this, we analyzed a dataset comprising 191 subjects who were scanned three times over a period of two years. Based on FreeSurfer routines, we generated three datasets covering 148 anatomical regions (cortical thickness, area, volume). These three datasets were also combined to a dataset containing all of these three measures. In addition, we used a dataset comprising 11 composite anatomical measures for which we used larger brain regions (11LBR). These datasets were subjected to a linear discriminant analysis (LDA) and a weighted K-nearest neighbors approach (WKNN) to identify single subjects. For this, we randomly chose a data subset (training set) with which we calculated the individual identification. The obtained results were applied to the remaining sample (test data). In general, we obtained excellent identification results (reasonably good results were obtained for 11LBR using WKNN). Using different data manipulation techniques (adding white Gaussian noise to the test data and changing sample sizes) still revealed very good identification results, particularly for the LDA technique. Interestingly, using the small 11LBR dataset also revealed very good results indicating that the human brain is highly individual.

Men purchase larger, more expensive engagement rings when imagining themselves mated to a more attractive woman; women desire larger, more expensive engagement rings when imagining themselves mated to a less attractive man

The Effect of Mate Value Discrepancy on Hypothetical Engagement Ring Purchases. Jaime M. Cloud,    Madalyn H. Taylor. Evolutionary Psychological Science, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40806-018-0156-6

Abstract: Few material goods entail as high a cost and carry as little practical value as an engagement ring. Despite their obvious signaling value, engagement ring expenditures have rarely been studied. The purpose of the current study was to experimentally manipulate a discrepancy in the physical attractiveness of romantic partners to determine its effect on hypothetical engagement ring purchases. We predicted that (1) men would purchase larger, more expensive engagement rings when imagining themselves mated to a more attractive rather than less attractive woman and (2) women would desire larger, more expensive engagement rings when imagining themselves mated to a less attractive rather than more attractive man. We further predicted a positive correlation between women’s self-ratings of attractiveness and the size and cost of the engagement ring women chose, regardless of target attractiveness. Results supported all three predictions. Data about the cost and quality of actual engagement rings was also collected to explore their correlations with age and attractiveness discrepancies in real-world couples; however, we failed to find a consistent pattern whereby more desirable women received more expensive and higher quality engagement rings. Results from the experimental portion of the current study show that men invest greater resources in attractive women and that increased resource investment can compensate for decreased physical attractiveness within the domain of women’s mate preferences.

Children’s gender-stereotypical dress and appearance might be one of the first representations of children’s emerging sense of gender identity; surprisingly, mothers’ gender-role attitudes were not significantly associated with toddlers’ gender-typed appearance

The Roles of Self-Socialization and Parent Socialization in Toddlers’ Gender-Typed Appearance. May Ling et al. Archives of Sexual Behavior, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-018-1263-y

Abstract: Children’s gender-stereotypical dress and appearance might be one of the first representations of children’s emerging sense of gender identity. Gender self-socialization theories posit that as children become more aware of gender categories, they become motivated to adhere to gender stereotypes, such as by expressing interest in dressing in feminine or masculine ways. Socialization theories predict that children’s gender-typed appearance reflects parents’ choices. For example, gender-traditional parents might dress their children in gender-stereotypical ways. At the same time, dressing in gender-stereotypical ways might contribute to children’s growing awareness of gender categories. The current study investigated the factors associated with gender-typed appearance among 175 (87 girls, 88 boys) Mexican American, Dominican American, and African American 2-year-olds. We examined both child and parent contributions to early gender-typed appearance. To measure children’s early conceptual understanding of gender categories, we assessed children’s use and recognition of gender verbal labels. To examine the influence of parent socialization, we assessed mothers’ gender-role attitudes. Children’s gender-typed appearance was observed and coded during an assessment. Surprisingly, mothers’ gender-role attitudes were not significantly associated with toddlers’ gender-typed appearance. However, toddlers’ gender labeling was associated with their gender-typed appearance, suggesting that self-socialization processes can be found as early as 24 months of age.

No evidence that facial attractiveness, femininity, averageness, or coloration are valid health cues in young adult women

No evidence that facial attractiveness, femininity, averageness, or coloration are valid health cues in young adult women. Ziyi Cai et al. https://osf.io/f9tu2/

Description: Previous reports that women with attractive faces are healthier have been widely cited as evidence that sexual selection has shaped human mate preferences. However, evidence for correlations between women’s physical health and facial attractiveness is equivocal. Moreover, positive results on this issue have generally come from studies of self-reported health in small samples. The current study took standardized face photographs of women who completed three different health questionnaires (Ns=582, 583, 572). Of these women, 221 also provided a saliva sample that was assayed for immunoglobulin A (a marker of immune function). Analyses showed no significant correlations between rated facial attractiveness and either scores on any of the health questionnaires or salivary immunoglobulin A. Furthermore there was no compelling evidence that objective measures of sexual dimorphism of face shape, averageness of face shape, or facial coloration were correlated with health. These null results do not support the prominent and influential assumption that women’s facial attractiveness is a health cue, at least in young adult women.

List of the 20 most charismatic animals. The majority are large exotic, terrestrial mammals. These species were deemed charismatic, mainly because they were regarded as beautiful, impressive, or endangered

The twenty most charismatic species. Céline Albert, Gloria M. Luque, Franck Courchamp. PLOS, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0199149

Abstract: Charisma is a term commonly used in conservation biology to describe species. However, as the term “charismatic species” has never been properly defined, it needs to be better characterized to fully meet its potential in conservation biology. To provide a more complete depiction, we collected information from four different sources to define the species currently considered to be the most charismatic and to understand what they represent to the Western public. First, we asked respondents of two separate surveys to identify the 10 animal species that they considered to be the most charismatic and associate them with one to six traits: Rare, Endangered, Beautiful, Cute, Impressive, and Dangerous. We then identified the wild animals featured on the website homepages of the zoos situated in the world’s 100 largest cities as well as on the film posters of all Disney and Pixar films, assuming in both cases that the most charismatic species were generally chosen to attract viewers. By combining the four approaches, we set up a ranked list of the 20 most charismatic animals. The majority are large exotic, terrestrial mammals. These species were deemed charismatic, mainly because they were regarded as beautiful, impressive, or endangered, although no particular trait was discriminated, and species were heterogeneously associated with most of the traits. The main social characteristics of respondents did not have a significant effect on their choices. These results provide a concrete list of the most charismatic species and offer insights into the Western public’s perception of charismatic species, both of which could be helpful to target new species for conservation campaigns.

Monday, July 9, 2018

A representation of the space immediately surrounding the body is the peripersonal space, PPS. [As with non-defensive behaviors,] there is evidence that representations of PPS are flexible in defensive contexts [...]. Looming images of threatening stimulli (snakes & spiders) were judged as arriving sooner than [rabbits and butterflies].

What is peripersonal space? An examination of unresolved empirical issues and emerging findings. Samuel B. Hunley, Stella F. Lourenco. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science. https://doi.org/10.1002/wcs.1472

Abstract: Findings from diverse fields of study, including neuroscience, psychology, zoology, and sociology, demonstrate that human and non‐human primates maintain a representation of the space immediately surrounding the body, known as peripersonal space (PPS). However, progress in this field has been hampered by the lack of an agreed upon definition of PPS. Since the beginning of its formal study, scientists have argued that PPS plays a crucial role in both defensive and non‐defensive actions. Yet consensus is lacking about the cognitive and neural instantiation of these functions. In particular, researchers have begun to ask whether a single, unified system of spatial‐attentional resources supports both the defensive and non‐defensive functions of PPS or, rather, whether there are multiple, independent systems. Moreover, there are open questions about the specificity of PPS. For example: Does PPS dissociate from other well‐known phenomena such as personal space and the body schema? Finally, emerging research has brought attention to important questions about individual differences in the flexibility of PPS and the distribution of PPS in front compared to behind the body. In this advanced review, we shed light on questions about the nature of PPS, offering answers when the research permits or providing recommendations for achieving answers in future research. In so doing, we lay the groundwork for a comprehensive definition of PPS.

In recent decades, dictatorships based on mass repression have largely given way to a new model based on the manipulation of information. Instead of terror, "informational autocrats" boost their popularity by convincing the public they are competent

Guriev, Sergei M. and Treisman, Daniel, Informational Autocrats (July 5, 2018). https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3208523

Abstract: In recent decades, dictatorships based on mass repression have largely given way to a new model based on the manipulation of information. Instead of terrorizing citizens into submission, "informational autocrats" artificially boost their popularity by convincing the public they are competent. To do so, they use propaganda and silence informed members of the elite by co-optation or censorship. Using several sources--including a newly created dataset of authoritarian control techniques--we document a range of trends in recent autocracies that fit the theory: a decline in violence, efforts to conceal state repression, rejection of official ideologies, imitation of democracy, a perceptions gap between masses and elite, and the adoption by leaders of a rhetoric of performance rather than one aimed at inspiring fear.

Animal pointing: Changing trends and findings from 30 years of research

Krause, M. A., Udell, M. A. R., Leavens, D. A., & Skopos, L. (2018). Animal pointing: Changing trends and findings from 30 years of research. Journal of Comparative Psychology. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/com0000125

Abstract: The past 30 years have witnessed a continued and growing interest in the production and comprehension of manual pointing gestures in nonhuman animals. Captive primates with diverse rearing histories have shown evidence of both pointing production and comprehension, though there certainly are individual and species differences, as well as substantive critiques of how to interpret pointing or “pointing-like” gestures in animals. Early literature primarily addressed basic questions about whether captive apes point, understand pointing, and use the gesture in a way that communicates intent (declarative) rather than motivational states (imperative). Interest in these questions continues, but more recently there has been a dramatic increase in the number of articles examining pointing in a diverse array of species, with an especially large literature on canids. This proliferation of research on pointing and the diversification of species studied has brought new and exciting questions about the evolution of social cognition, and the effects of rearing history and domestication on pointing production and, more prolifically, comprehension. A review of this work is in order. In this article, we examine trends in the literature on pointing in nonhumans. Specifically, we examine publication frequencies of different study species from 1987 to 2016. We also review data on the form and function of pointing, and evidence either supporting or refuting the conclusion that various nonhuman species comprehend the meaning of pointing gestures.


Sunday, July 8, 2018

Just a poster, but who knows... Ease your Partner's Jealousy by Cheating Again: Jealousy Decreases as Partner Number Increases

Poster 61.  Ease your Partner's Jealousy by Cheating Again: Jealousy Decreases as Partner Number Increases. Benjamin Gelbart, Cari M. Pick, Asha Ganesan, Adam Cohen. Human Behavior and Evolution Society, 30th Annual Meeting, July 2018. http://www.hbes.com/conference/hbes2018/

Abstract: A large body of research suggests that men report more jealousy following a partner's imagined sexual infidelity, whereas women report more jealousy following a partner's imagined emotional infidelity (Sagarin et al., 2012). Here, we build upon this resear ch by suggesting that the number of sexual cheating partners with whom one is involved may be a novel cue to the likelihood of concomitant emotional infidelity. Sexual cheating with a single person, particularly when done repeatedly, may cue concurrent emo tional involvement. Conversely, sexual cheating with multiple partners, particularly when consisting of one-time encounters, may suggest that emotional involvement is unlikely. Across two studies in online (N = 345) and undergraduate (N = 488) samples, res ults from regression analyses showed that jealousy is greatest when imagining a romantic partner cheating with a single individual, relative to multiple individuals (ps < .001). This effect held across genders, remained when holding the number of sexual en counters constant, and appeared to be unique to jealousy. Other emotions -- including anger, distress, and disgust -- increased when imagining multiple cheating partners. The relationship between partner number and jealousy was significantly mediated by concerns of emotional attachment. These findings highlight the functionally specialized nature of sexual jealousy.

Humans detect valid facial cues of leadership in chimpanzees

Humans detect valid facial cues of leadership in chimpanzees. Alexander Bor, Darren Schreiber, Sarah Brosnan, Susan Lambeth, Steven Schapiro, Frans de Waal, Mark Van Vugt. Human Behavior and Evolution Society, 30th Annual Meeting, July 2018. http://www.hbes.com/conference/hbes2018/

Abstract: Humans rely on facial cues to assess the leadership ability of their peers, which af fects the selection and assessment of leaders in political and business settings. Prominent theoretical explanations propose that facial cues serve as inputs into an adaptive, context-sensitive followership psychology. Here, we push this evolutionary explanation further by testing if humans are able to identify chimpanzee (pan troglodytes) leaders. Importantly, we do not claim that detecting leadership across species had adaptive benefits. Instead, we argue that it is reasonable to assume that facial cues o f leadership may be similar across humans and chimps due to convergences and/or homologies and that humans’ facial cue detecting mechanisms are triggered by encountering chimpanzee faces. We, therefore, predict that alpha chimpanzees will be perceived to b e more dominant and leader-looking than non-alpha chimpanzees. We test our hypothesis relying on a unique inventory of over 150 standardized photographs of more than 70 captive adult male chimpanzees from three colonies. Naive human raters recruited on Ama zon’s Mechanical Turk rated these photographs on six traits (dominance, age, leader ability, attractiveness, likability and competence). Subsequently, we compare the average trait ratings of alpha and non-alpha targets. Preliminary results show that interrater reliability of evaluations are very high and that alpha males are rated higher on dominance, age and leader ability.

Men & women more strongly blamed men for their own disadvantages, were more supportive of policies that favored women, & donated more to a female-only (vs male-only) homeless shelter. Females showed a stronger in-group bias, perceiving women's harm as more problematic

Man up and take it: Greater concern for female than male suffering. Tania Reynolds, Hallgeir Sjåstad, Chuck Howard, Tyler Okimoto, Roy Baumeister, Karl Aquino, JongHan Kim. Human Behavior and Evolution Society, 30th Annual Meeting, July 2018. http://www.hbes.com/conference/hbes2018/

Throughout human history, women set the upper limit on reproduction. Women's greater physiological contribution to reproduction may have favored psychological mechanisms within individuals aimed at protecting women from harm. Across 5 studies, we tested the prediction that harm to women would evoke greater concern and outrage than equivalent harm to men. In Study 1, participants more readily assumed an unspecified harmed target was a woman than a man, but especially if the terms 'victim/perpetrator' were used. In Study 2, participants expected both female victims and female perpetrators to experience mo re pain than male victims or perpetrators. They were also less willing to forgive and more strongly desired to punish male perpetrators. Using a variety of social scenarios (e.g., affirmative action, sex-biased careers), Studies 3-5 found female harm or di sadvantage evoked more sympathy and outrage and was perceived as more unfair than equivalent male harm or disadvantage. Participants more strongly blamed men for their own disadvantages, were more supportive of policies that favored women, and donated more to a female-only (vs male-only) homeless shelter. Female participants showed a stronger in-group bias, perceiving women's harm as more problematic and more strongly endorsed policies that favored women.

Double Standards of the Political Mind: Results support the Alliance Theory & suggest that ideologies are less morally principled, & more strategic, than has been previously supposed

Double Standards of the Political Mind: Empirical Support for the Alliance Theory. David Pinsof. Human Behavior and Evolution Society, 30t Annual Meeting, July 2018. http://www.hbes.com/conference/hbes2018/

According to many prominent theories in political psychology, ideologies are a type of ethical belief system. According to the Alliance Theory, however, ideologies are collections of ad hoc arguments designed to mobilize support for one's political allies (e.g. the demographic groups associated with one's political party) in particular conflicts. Accordingly, the two frameworks make different predictions about the prevalence of ideological double standards (i.e. inconsistently held moral principles). If ideologies are ethical belief systems, then moral principles should be held consistently. But if ideologies are collections of ad hoc arguments, then moral “principles” should change depending on whether they are applied to one's political allies or enemies. Here, I present American polling data using cellphones and landlines (N = 1,215) showing that majorities of both Democrats and Republicans endorse moral double standards across different questions in the same survey. For example, of the Republicans who trust Vladimir Putin when he said that he did not interfere with the 2016 presidential election, 71% say that Americans should be less trusting of foreigners. Of the Democrats who object to blaming terrorist attacks on Muslims as a group, 65% blame the Charlottesville killing on Trump supporters as a group. Overall, results support the Alliance Theory and suggest that ideologies are less morally principled, and more strategic, than has been previously supposed

Genes associated with homosexual behaviour are, in heterosexuals, associated with greater mating success; genes that predispose to homosexual behaviour may have been evolutionarily maintained in the population because they confer a mating advantage to heterosexual carriers

The evolutionary genetics of homosexuality. Brendan Zietsch, Andrea Ganna, Karin Verweij, Felix Day, Michel Nivard, Robert Maier, Robbee Wedow, Abdel Abdellaoui, Benjamin Neale, John Perry. Human Behavior and Evolution Society, 30t Annual Meeting, July 2018. http://www.hbes.com/conference/hbes2018/

Abstract: Homosexual behaviour in humans is genetically influenced and is associated with having fewer offspring. This presents a Darwinian paradox: why have genes that predispose to homosexual behaviour been maintained in the population despite apparent selection against them? Here we show that genes associated with homosexual behaviour are, in heterosexuals, associated with greater mating success. In in a genotyped sample of more than 400,000 individuals from the UK and USA, we for the first time found genomewide-significant association of specific variants with ever having had a same-sex partner, and hundreds of additional variants were significantly associated in aggregate. Among men and women who had never had a same-sex partner, these same aggregate genetic effects were significantly associated with having more lifetime sexual partners and, in an independent sample, with being judged more physically attractive. Our results suggest that genes that predispose to homosexual behaviour may have been evolutionarily maintained in the population because they confer a mating advantage to heterosexual carriers.

Mate-copying is a form of social learning in which witnessing sexual interactions biases own future mate-choice; female fruit flies can copy the choice for _mutant_ males despite the fact that mating with those induces a significant fitness cost for the observer

Mate-copying for a costly variant in Drosophila melanogaster females. Sabine Nöbel Etienne Danchin Guillaume Isabel. Behavioral Ecology, ary095, https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/ary095

Abstract: Mate-copying is a form of social learning in which witnessing sexual interactions between conspecifics biases an observer individual's future mate-choice. Mate-copying exists in many vertebrates, as well as in Drosophila melanogaster. Here, we show that female fruit flies can copy the choice for mutant males (Curly-wing [Cy] mutants vs. wild types [WTs]) despite the fact that mating with Cy males induces a significant fitness cost for the observer female. When facing WT and Cy males, naive observer females of both phenotypes naturally prefer WT males. In a mate-copying experiment, naive observer Cy or WT females saw a demonstrator female copulating with either a Cy or a WT male aside a lonely male of the opposite phenotype. In the subsequent mate-choice test, the Cy and WT observer females did not change their already high natural preference for WT males after witnessing a WT male copulating during the demonstration. Contrastingly, Cy and WT females increased their preference for the naturally nonpreferred Cy males after witnessing a Cy male copulating, showing that mate-copying also exists for costly variants in invertebrates. Furthermore, mate-copying efficiency did not differ when using neutral artificial variants (coloring, Dagaeff et al. 2016) versus phenotypic variants (this study), suggesting that these 2 types of experiments are equivalently suitable to study mate-copying. We finally discuss how mate-copying can participate to the maintenance of costly traits in a population.

Check also Mate copying in Drosophila melanogaster males. Sabine Nöbel, Mélanie Allain, Guillaume Isabel, Etienne Danchin. Animal Behaviour, Volume 141, July 2018, Pages 9–15. https://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2018/05/mate-copying-has-been-documented-in.html

Mr. Xi’s predecessor, Hu Jintao, proposed less significant constitutional changes 15 months before the amendments became law & tolerated some open debate [...] The wording of Mr. Hu’s revisions was released to the public nearly three months before lawmakers approved them

How Xi Jinping Made His Power Grab: With Stealth, Speed and Guile. Chris Buckley. The New York Times, March 7, 2018
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/07/world/asia/china-xi-jinping-party-term-limit.html

BEIJING — Some 200 senior Communist Party officials gathered behind closed doors in January to take up a momentous political decision: whether to abolish presidential term limits and enable Xi Jinping to lead China for a generation.

In a two-day session in Beijing, they bowed to Mr. Xi’s wish to hold onto power indefinitely. But a bland communiqué issued afterward made no mention of the weighty decision, which the authorities then kept under wraps for more than five weeks.

That meeting of the party’s Central Committee was the culmination of months of secretive discussions that are only now coming to light — and show how Mr. Xi maneuvered with stealth, swiftness and guile to rewrite China’s Constitution.

The decision was abruptly announced only last week, days before the annual session of China’s legislature, the National People’s Congress. The delay was apparently an effort to prevent opposition from coalescing before formal approval of the change by the legislature’s nearly 3,000 members.

The congress is all but certain to approve the change and other constitutional amendments — the first since 2004 — in a vote on Sunday, sweeping away a rule that restricts presidents to two five-year terms and has been in the Constitution for 35 years. The congress alone has the power to amend the Constitution, by a two-thirds vote, but lawmakers, picked by the party, have always passed proposals presented to them.

Even those who thought that they had taken the full measure of Mr. Xi’s ambition are surprised by how fast he has moved.

“I always thought Xi would seek to stay for three or four terms, and could even introduce a new presidential system after his terms were finished. But I never thought the Constitution would be revised so quickly,” said Wu Wei, a former official who advised Zhao Ziyang, the party leader ousted during the mass protests of 1989 in Tiananmen Square.

“For such a major revision to an important clause of the Constitution, the views of the whole public nationwide should have been more broadly sought,” he added, pausing to contain his emotion.

Mr. Xi deployed speed, secrecy and intimidation to smother potential opposition inside and outside the party. He swept past the consensus-building conventions that previous leaders used to amend the Constitution. He installed loyalists to draft and support the amendments. And he kept the whole process under the tight control of the party, allowing little debate, even internally.

Soon after China’s Communist Party announced a plan to end presidential term limits, its censors and propaganda machine kicked into high gear. Here’s how it unfolded.Published OnFeb. 28, 2018CreditImage by Greg Baker/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Mr. Xi first formally proposed amending the Constitution little more than five months ago, at a Sept. 29 meeting of the Politburo, a council of 25 party leaders more powerful than the Central Committee, according to an official account issued at the congress on Monday.

But he did not immediately raise the possibility of removing the term limit, said a retired official, citing a senior serving official. To avoid being seen as dictating changes, Mr. Xi let loyal provincial and city leaders quietly promote the idea in his stead, the retired official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity, citing fear of punishment for describing internal discussions.

At that same meeting, the Politburo agreed to purge one of its own members, Sun Zhengcai, who had once been considered a potential successor to Mr. Xi, on corruption charges — a warning to other party officials that needed little elaboration.

Previous rounds of constitutional amendments in China took much longer and involved at least the trappings of public discussion.

Mr. Xi’s predecessor, Hu Jintao, proposed less significant constitutional changes 15 months before the amendments became law and tolerated some open debate, including forums held by liberal intellectuals. The wording of Mr. Hu’s revisions was released to the public nearly three months before lawmakers approved them in March 2004.

By contrast, Mr. Xi first announced that he wanted to make constitutional changes in December, without specifying what they would be. The full details of the amendments, including the abolition of his term limit, were released to the public only eight days before the National People’s Congress convened.

Mr. Xi kept a tight lid on his machinations. After the Politburo meeting in late September, he entrusted the task of revising the Constitution to just three officials: the chairman of the congress, Zhang Dejiang, and two close allies, Li Zhanshu and Wang Huning, both of whom were elevated last year into the Politburo Standing Committee, the party’s top body.

Mr. Wang has long been sympathetic to the authoritarian argument that China needs a strongman to maintain social order while pushing through painful policies, such as closing down inefficient factories.

“If somewhere lacks a central authority, or central authority is in decline, the country falls into a state of rupture and turmoil,” he said in an interview published in 1995.

In recent speeches, Mr. Xi has echoed that theme, arguing that China faces unprecedented risks and opportunities. “Our party was born under a sense of peril, grew up under a sense of peril and matured under a sense of peril,” he told a meeting of senior officials in December.

Momentum for ending the term limit built in November, when the party began secretly seeking suggestions on possible constitutional changes, according to the official account issued at the congress. Mr. Xi’s allies began an effort to support the change, and in a clue of their effectiveness, the official account said there was “consistent approval for issuing new rules on the term of office of the president.”

Still, Mr. Xi needed to win approval for his plan at the January meeting of the Central Committee, and when and how he did so have been the subject of dispute.

Reuters, citing two unnamed sources, has reported that the Central Committee failed to reach a consensus at the January meeting and convened its next meeting earlier than usual.

But four party insiders — two retired officials, a party newspaper editor and a businessman with family links to the leadership — told The New York Times that Mr. Xi prevailed in January, essentially confirming the official timeline.

Any committee members with misgivings were unlikely to speak out, given the array of punishment they could face, and party elders who may have once opposed such a move — including Mr. Hu and another former president, Jiang Zemin — are too old or too cowed by Mr. Xi’s anticorruption investigations to muster resistance, party insiders said.

Mr. Xi gained the Central Committee’s backing for ending the term limit just three months after winning his second term as party leader, his other main title, and before starting his second term as president.

“It demonstrates Xi’s penchant for rule-breaking,” said Christopher K. Johnson, an expert on Chinese elite politics at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “It’s slowly, slowly, slowly, and then when no one’s looking, he turns around and does something big. I think it comes back to the political shock and awe that really dates back to his arrival.”

Several experts and former party officials who have met Mr. Xi said he appears to be driven to overturn the term limit out of a confluence of confidence and anxiety.

He is confident that he has eliminated potential rivals in the elite and enjoys broad public support after cracking down on corruption. But he is worried that a crisis such as an economic slump or a war over North Korea could weaken his authority, they said.

Even with victory in sight, Mr. Xi appears wary of a potential public backlash. Online commentary on ending the term limit has been heavily censored.

After the official Xinhua news agency first announced the proposal on Twitter, which is blocked in China, the journalist who issued the bulletin in English was punished. A colleague, speaking on condition of anonymity, said officials apparently thought it was too bluntly worded.

Critics said the imperious way in which Mr. Xi scored his constitutional coup was a foretaste of how his power could swell into dangerous hubris. Mr. Xi demolished a political convention that for decades has helped to shield China from the succession struggles that convulsed politics under the earlier leaders Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, they said.

The legislature will go through the motions of debating the constitutional changes, but there is virtually no chance that the handpicked delegates will oppose them in large numbers when they vote.

On Monday, delegates broke into applause twice when a legislative official read out the proposal to end Mr. Xi’s term limit.

“I think we should give Xi 20 years to accomplish the Chinese dream and give us back a strong China,” said Jiao Yun, a congress delegate from northeast China who is chairman of a coal processing company. “The previous 10-year limit doesn’t mesh with China’s long-term development.”

Keith Bradsher and Steven Lee Myers contributed reporting. Adam Wu, Ailin Tang and Zoe Mou contributed research.

Follow Chris Buckley on Twitter: @ChuBailiang.

A version of this article appears in print on March 8, 2018, on Page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Behind Xi’s Power Grab: Stealth, Speed and Guile.

Revisiting Perceiver & Target Gender Effects in Deception Detection: Female targets were easier to “read” (i.e., greater sensitivity) by both sexes & were called liars more frequently than male targets

Revisiting Perceiver and Target Gender Effects in Deception Detection. E. Paige Lloyd, Kevin M. Summers, Kurt Hugenberg, Allen R. McConnell. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10919-018-0283-6

Abstract: Existing research is inconclusive regarding the influence of perceiver gender and target gender on lie detection. Researchers have offered a number of conclusions regarding gender effects in deception detection (e.g., women are better at lie detection than men, participant and target gender interact in predicting deception detection accuracy, there are no gender effects in deception detection). In the current work, we revisit the question of whether and how gender influences lie detection, employing a large database of controlled stimuli, a large sample size, and the analytical advantages provided by signal detection theory. Participants viewed videos of male and female targets telling truths and lies about interpersonal relationships, and after each video, they rendered a truth or lie judgment. Female targets were easier to “read” (i.e., greater sensitivity) and were called liars more frequently than male targets. No effects of participant gender were observed. This work sheds light on an important issue in the lie detection literature (i.e., does gender matter?), and it identifies important considerations for understanding gender biases and cross-gender social interactions.

Trained male rats to associate copulation with wearing a [Velcro jacket]. After training, males were sexually aroused by being fitted with the jacket, and even showed reduced sexual activity when exposed unclothed to females

Evaluation and hedonic value in mate choice. Gil G Rosenthal. Current Zoology, zoy054, https://doi.org/10.1093/cz/zoy054

Abstract: Mating preferences can show extreme variation within and among individuals even when sensory inputs are conserved. This variation is a result of changes associated with evaluative mechanisms that assign positive, neutral, or negative hedonic value to stimuli – that is, label them as attractive, uninteresting, or unattractive. There is widespread behavioral evidence for differences in genes, environmental cues, or social experience leading to marked changes in the hedonic value of stimuli. Evaluation is accomplished through an array of mechanisms that are readily modifiable through genetic changes or environmental inputs, and that may often result in the rapid acquisition or loss of behavioral preferences. Reversals in preference arising from “flips” in hedonic value may be quite common. Incorporating such discontinuous changes into models of preference evolution may illuminate our understanding of processes like trait diversification, sexual conflict, and sympatric speciation.

Keywords: associative learning, mating preference, sensory biology, assortative mating, valence

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Indeed, animals can be trained to develop fetishes: striong, specific preferences for arbitrary stimuly. Pfaus and colleagues trained male rats to associate copulation with wearing a [Velcro jacket]. After training, males were sexually aroused by being fitted with the jacket, and even showed reduced sexual activity when exposed unclothed to females.

Greater national gender inequality significantly predicts greater gender differences in job satisfaction, but not life satisfaction

A Meta-Analysis of Gender Differences in Subjective Well-Being: Estimating Effect Sizes and Associations With Gender Inequality. Cassondra Batz-Barbarich et al. Psychological Science, http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956797618774796

Abstract: Despite global gender inequalities, findings on gender differences in subjective well-being have been inconsistent. We conducted a meta-analysis on gender differences in subjective well-being to account for the type of subjective-well-being measure, sampling variability, and levels of national gender inequality from which samples are gathered. Based on 281 effect sizes for life satisfaction (N = 1,001,802) and 264 for job satisfaction (N = 341,949), results showed no significant gender differences in both types of subjective well-being. Supplementary meta-analyses found significantly lower job satisfaction, but not life satisfaction, in women for studies that used both life-satisfaction and job-satisfaction measures, and studies that relied on measures that previously demonstrated measurement equivalence. Using the Gender Inequality Index, we found that greater national gender inequality significantly predicts greater gender differences in job satisfaction, but not life satisfaction. We discuss the implications of these findings and the use of subjective well-being as a measure of societal progress.

Keywords: gender differences, subjective well-being, life satisfaction, job satisfaction, inequality

Saturday, July 7, 2018

The importance given to appearance was lower among uninvolved (“single”) persons; & single men and women were more dissatisfied with their overall appearance than adults who were romantically involved but not currently cohabitating

Body image and the role of romantic relationships. Maria Fernanda Laus, Sebastião S. Almeida & Lori A. Klos. Cogent Psychology, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/23311908.2018.1496986

Abstract: A variety of sociocultural factors have been recognized as important influences on appearance-related issues but little research has examined the intersection between romantic relationships and body image among adults. This study examined whether self-evaluative and motivational investment in appearance, overweight preoccupation, and body satisfaction differ between men and women who were involved (or not) in a romantic relationship. Moreover, we investigated the associations between relationship experiences (relationship type, relationship length, commitment, passion, and intimacy) and body image. To that, 423 men (Mage = 45.32 ± 13.86 years) and 505 women (Mage = 43.52 ± 13.07 years) completed an online survey through the SurveyMonkey Audience database in the United States, including several measures of body image and relationship functioning. Our results demonstrated that the importance given to appearance was lower among uninvolved (“single”) participants; overweight preoccupation did not differ between men and women who were involved or not in a romantic relationship; and that single men and women were more dissatisfied with their overall appearance than adults who were romantically involved but not currently cohabitating. For men and women, romantic involvement plays a pivotal role in promoting and maintaining a less negative body image. The type of relationship and its functioning are also important aspects related to body image. This study provides some context for understanding the importance of romantic situation on one’s body image.

Keywords: romantic relationships, body image, appearance investment, overweight concerns, body satisfaction, relationship quality

No evidence for attention bias towards threat in clinical anxiety: a meta-analysis of baseline bias in attention bias modification RCTs

No evidence for attention bias towards threat in clinical anxiety: a meta-analysis of baseline bias in attention bias modification RCTs. Anne-Wil Kruijt, Sam Parsons, Elaine Fox. Pre-print 10.31234/osf.io/rfjup

Abstract

Background: Considerable effort and funding are spent on developing Attention Bias Modification (ABM) as a treatment for anxiety disorders. ABM is theorized to exert therapeutic effects through reduction of an increased attentional bias towards threat. Yet, the available meta-analytical evidence for the common assertion that clinical anxiety is characterised by this treat-related attentional bias is thin: the largest meta-analysis to date included n=337 clinically anxious individuals. We propose that baseline measurements in clinical ABM RCTs constitute a hitherto not assessed additional body of data on magnitude of biased attention in clinically anxious samples.

Method: We meta-analysed baseline dot-probe assessed bias for 1005 clinically anxious individuals enrolled in ABM RCTs.

Results: REML analysis indicated no evidence that mean bias index (BI) differs from zero (k= 13, n= 1005, mean BI = 1.8 ms, SE = 1.26 ms, p = .144, 95% CI [-0.6 - 4.3]. Additional Bayes factor analyses also supported the traditional point-nil hypothesis (BF10 = .23), whereas additional interval-based analysis indicated it unlikely that mean bias in clinical anxiety extends beyond the 0 to 5 ms interval. 

Discussion: We discuss our findings with respect to strengths (larger samples, possible bypassing of publication bias), limitations (lack of control comparison, repurposing data), and theoretical and practical context. We suggest that it may be prudent to no longer classify anxious samples as being characterized by bias.

Conclusion: Clinically anxious individuals enrolled in RCTs for Attention Bias Modification are not characterized by attentional bias towards threat at baseline.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Neuronal Mechanisms Recording the Stream of Consciousness–A Reappraisal of Wilder Penfield’s (1891–1976) Concept of Experiential Phenomena Elicited by Electrical Stimulation of the Human Cortex

Neuronal Mechanisms Recording the Stream of Consciousness–A Reappraisal of Wilder Penfield’s (1891–1976) Concept of Experiential Phenomena Elicited by Electrical Stimulation of the Human Cortex. R Nitsch, F W Stahnisch. Cerebral Cortex, bhy085, https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhy085

Abstract: Research on memory has been a major focus in the neurosciences over the past decades. An important advance was achieved by Wilder Penfield at the Montreal Neurological Institute, who reported from the 1930s to the 1950s about experiential phenomena induced by electrical brain stimulation in humans, implying neuronal causation of memory. Since then, neuroscientists have addressed the topic of memory from a range of subdisciplines; however, these reports by Penfield and his group as well as those on patient H. M. by Brenda Milner at the same institution continue to be referenced as groundbreaking. Further experimental work by Nobel laureates Eric Kandel and John O’Keefe, as well as by Edvard and May-Britt Moser related Penfield’s patient documentation to experiential phenomena. However, our reassessment of Penfield’s original patient documentation questions the stance that he had uncovered the “storehouse of memories.” Human memory must be regarded more as context sensitive and as representative of an active reconstructive process, than as a simple recording of events. Hence, strategies aiming at naturalizing all phenomena of mind (including memory) to cellular and molecular mechanisms cannot convincingly refer to Penfield’s electrophysiological studies alone as evidence that memories are solely caused by neuronal firing patterns.

Keywords: brain stimulation, consciousness, cortical organization, memory, temporal lobe

Openness was negatively associated with eating red meat, positively related to fish & unrelated to poultry & overall meat consumption; extraverted people had higher meat consumption of the three types & overall

Personality and meat consumption: The importance of differentiating between type of meat. Tamara M.Pfeiler, Boris Egloff. Appetite, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2018.07.007

Abstract: Recent research has shown that sociodemographic factors and the Big Five personality traits are related to people's overall level of meat consumption. However, there are important differences among various types of meat (e.g., red meat, poultry, and fish) that might lead to differential patterns in how the consumption of specific types of meat is associated with personality and sociodemographic factors. To disentangle these general and specific relationships, we conducted two studies using two large-scale representative samples from different countries: Germany (N = 13,062) and Australia (N = 15,036). Mostly consistent with our expectations, personality and sociodemographic variables showed specific associations with meat consumption, depending on type of meat. For example, in both studies, openness was negatively associated with red meat consumption but positively related to fish consumption, whereas it was unrelated to poultry consumption and overall meat consumption in hierarchical regression analyses in which we controlled for sociodemographic factors. By contrast, extraverted people reported both more consumption of each individual type of meat and more overall meat consumption. In sum, results were largely consistent between the samples, but effect sizes were generally small. Taken together, these two studies underscore the importance of differentiating between meat types when examining individual differences in meat consumption. Implications and future avenues for investigating the link between personality and dietary habits are discussed.

Checking against age, father’s class, education, ethnicity, religiosity, native language & parental divorce, is higher well-being with similar partner? Seems not so.

Verbakel, Ellen, and Christiaan W. S. Monden. 2018. “Higher Well-being with Similar Partner? Testing the Similarity Hypothesis for Socio-demographic Characteristics.” SocArXiv. July 5. doi:10.31235/osf.io/ahwn6

Abstract: Studies on marriage and divorce often assume, explicitly or implicitly, that there is a positive relationship between partner similarity and well-being. We test this similarity hypothesis: do individuals who share more socio-demographic characteristics with their partners report higher well-being than individuals whose partners are less similar? We analyzed information on more than 2,300 married and cohabiting couples aged 18-50 from the UK Understanding Society wave 1 survey. Three dimensions of well-being were assessed: relationship quality, life satisfaction and psychological distress. We examined similarity on seven characteristics separately and as an index of similarity: age, father’s class, education, ethnicity, religiosity, native language, and parental divorce. The results provided no support for the similarity hypothesis: there was no evidence for a positive association between partner similarity and the three well-being measures. We discuss the implications of this finding for our understanding of partner choice and divorce.

Consistent preference for deontological over consequentialist agents: deontological agents were viewed as more moral and trustworthy, &were actually entrusted with more money in a resource distribution task.

Everett, Jim A. C., Nadira S. Faber, Julian Savulescu, and Molly Crockett. 2018. “Everett Et Al. The Cost of Being Consequentialist.” PsyArXiv. July 5. doi:10.31234/osf.io/a2kx6

Abstract: Previous work has demonstrated that people are more likely to trust “deontological” agents who reject instrumentally harming one person to save a greater number than “consequentialist” agents who endorse such harm in pursuit of the greater good. It has been argued that these differential social perceptions of deontological vs. consequentialist agents could explain the higher prevalence of deontological moral intuitions. Yet consequentialism involves much more than decisions to endorse instrumental harm: another critical dimension is impartial beneficence, defined as the impartial maximization of the greater good, treating the well-being of every individual as equally important. In three studies (total N = 1,634), we investigated preferences for deontological vs. consequentialist social partners in both the domains of instrumental harm and impartial beneficence, and consider how such preferences vary across different types of social relationships. Our results demonstrate consistent preferences for deontological over consequentialist agents across both domains of instrumental harm and impartial beneficence: deontological agents were viewed as more moral and trustworthy, and were actually entrusted with more money in a resource distribution task. However, preferences for deontological agents were stronger when those preferences were revealed via aversion to instrumental harm than impartial beneficence. Finally, in the domain of instrumental harm, deontological agents were uniformly preferred across a variety of social roles, but in the domain of impartial beneficence, people prefer deontologists for roles requiring direct interaction (friend, spouse, boss) but not for more distant roles with little-to-no personal interaction (political leader).

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Morality Is for Choosing Sides, not for improving the welfare of families, friends or groups or for altruism

Morality Is for Choosing Sides. Peter DeScioli, Robert Kurzban. descioli.com/papers/descioli.kurzban.morality.choosing.sides.atlas18.pdf

Arguably still worse for altruism theories are moral rules that guarantee welfare losses. Across cultures, moral rules prohibit any number of victimless, mutually profitable transactions. Historically, an obvious example is the prohibition against charging interest, which preventts mutuaally profitable loans. In India, the prohibition against killing cows has long caused substantial harms (Suri, 2015). Any number of similar rules con. tinue to undermine potential welfare gains.

We suggest that the tremendous array of data showing that people's judgments are deontological, along witlh the ubiquity of welfare-destroying moral rules, all constitute serious evidence against welfare-based theories of morality. The side-taking hypothesis does not run afoul of these problems. This theory requires that a rule is known and that its violation can be recognized by observers; because rules are for coordinated side-taking rather than welfare-enhancement, they can include a wide range of contents, including welfare-destroying contents. In short, deontological judgment is a set of observations that is, we think, fatal for welfare theories but consistent with the side-taking theory. There are several other areas of active research that provide evidence relevant to the side-taking hypothesis. First, research has found that people's tendency to moralize an issue depends on their power and alliances [...]. This evidence supports the idea that moral judgernent is a strategy that people selectively deploy depending on whether they are m1ost advantaged when others choose sides according to moral judgment, power, or alliances.  Second, the side-taking theory points to impartiality as a core feature of moral judgment because it is designed as an alternative to partial alliances. Recent work on fairness judgments points to a similar role for impartiality in suppressing alliances in the context of allocating resources (Shaw, 2013). Third, the side-taking hypothesis emphasizes variability in moral rules and also people's debates and arguments about which moral rules will structure side-taking in their community. Consistent with this idea, research shows that people actively advocate for the moral rules that most advantage them over other people [...].

Self-reports of felt emotion were delayed relative to reports of event-directed moral judgments (e.g. badness) & were no faster than person-directed moral judgments (e.g. blame), challenging theories arguing that moral judgments are made on the basis of reflecting on affective states

Cusimano, Corey J., Stuti Thapa Magar and Bertram F. Malle. “Judgment Before Emotion: People Access Moral Evaluations Faster than Affective States.” CogSci (2017). http://research.clps.brown.edu/SocCogSci/Publications/Pubs/Cusimano%20ThapaMagar%20&%20Malle%202017%20CogSci.pdf

Abstract: Theories about the role of emotions in moral cognition make different predictions about the relative speed of moral and affective judgments: those that argue that felt emotions are causal inputs to moral judgments predict that recognition of affective states should precede moral judgments; theories that posit emotional states as the output of moral judgment predict the opposite. Across four studies, using a speeded reaction time task, we found that self-reports of felt emotion were delayed relative to reports of event-directed moral judgments (e.g. badness) and were no faster than person-directed moral judgments (e.g. blame). These results pose a challenge to prominent theories arguing that moral judgments are made on the basis of reflecting on affective states.

Keywords: affect, emotion, moral judgment, reaction time

Why are animate dishes so disturbing?

Why are animate dishes so disturbing? Charles Spence. International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijgfs.2018.07.001

Abstract: Most foods are relatively static on the plate. Food that moves, especially if it does so in an animate manner, captures our attention in a way that would seem to play to society's growing interest with ‘food porn’. At the same time, however, most diners appear to find such movement on the plate or in the bowl rather disconcerting to say the very least. Such animacy may be aversive, ‘horrifying’, in fact, being a term that one sometimes sees used in this context. According to one suggestion, this may be because of a primordial fear of asphyxiation on eating food that still has the capacity to move of its own volition. According to others, however, there may also be something of a taboo around harming living things that many meat eaters try to mitigate by, for example, not calling the animals they eat by the name of the beast: Think steak or beef for cow and pork chop or bacon for pig. It may simply be that it is harder to suppress such thoughts related to the life that was lost, what some call the ‘meat paradox’, when food is animate. The breaking of some sort of taboo might also help to explain the excitement that some feel when they think about eating something that moves. In this article, I provide a brief historical overview of the diner's / chef's / advertiser's fascination with the visual transformation of food on the plate or in food advertising. I take a look at movement, both animate and inanimate, as well as other kinds of transformations, such as foods that change colour before the diner's very eyes. I also look at how technological advances are increasingly starting to offer the creative chef/food designer the opportunity to bring food to life in a way that doesn’t necessarily trigger any concerns with animal welfare, nor threaten the diner with asphyxiation.

Higher IQ in adolescence was related to a younger subjective age 50 years later; this association was mediated by higher openness to experience

Higher IQ in adolescence is related to a younger subjective age in later life: Findings from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study. Yannick Stephan et al. Intelligence, Volume 69, July–August 2018, Pages 195-199. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intell.2018.06.006

Highlights
•    Higher IQ in adolescence was related to a younger subjective age 50 years later.
•    This association was mediated by higher openness to experience.
•    Higher intelligence in adolescence is a resource that promotes subjective aging.

Abstract: Subjective age predicts consequential outcomes in old age, including risk of hospitalization, dementia, and mortality. Studies investigating the determinants of subjective age have mostly focused on aging-related factors measured in adulthood and old age. Little is known about the extent to which early life factors may contribute to later life subjective age. The present study examined the prospective association between IQ in adolescence and subjective age in later life and tested education, disease burden, adult cognition, and personality traits as potential mediators. Participants (N = 4494) were drawn from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study. Data on IQ were obtained in 1957 when participants were in high school. Education, disease burden, cognition, and personality were assessed in 1992–1993, and subjective age was measured in 2011 at age 71 (SD = 0.93). Accounting for demographic factors, results revealed that higher IQ in adolescence was associated with a younger subjective age in late life. Bootstrap analysis further showed that this association was mediated by higher openness. The present study suggests that how old or young individuals feel is partly influenced by lifespan developmental processes that may begin with early life cognitive ability.