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Friday, January 24, 2020

Leaders with business experience make smaller contributions to collective defense because they are egoistic and more comfortable relying on a powerful ally for their defense

When Do Leaders Free‐Ride? Business Experience and Contributions to Collective Defense. Matthew Fuhrmann. American Journal of Political Science, January 17 2020.

Abstract: The logic of free‐riding expects that individuals will underinvest in public goods, but people often behave in ways that are inconsistent with this prediction. Why do we observe variation in free‐riding behavior? This study addresses this question by examining contributions to an important international public good—collective defense in military alliances. It develops a behavioral theory of free‐riding in which the beliefs of world leaders are important for explaining investments in public goods. The argument holds that leaders with business experience make smaller contributions to collective defense because they are egoistic and more comfortable relying on a powerful ally for their defense. An analysis of defense expenditures in 17 non‐U.S. members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization from 1952 to 2014 provides evidence consistent with the theory. The findings suggest that leaders with business experience are more likely than other heads of government to act as self‐interested utility maximizers.

Sex Differences in Misperceptions of Sexual Interest Can Be Explained by Sociosexual Orientation and Men Projecting Their Own Interest Onto Women

Sex Differences in Misperceptions of Sexual Interest Can Be Explained by Sociosexual Orientation and Men Projecting Their Own Interest Onto Women. Anthony J. Lee et al. Psychological Science, January 23, 2020.

Abstract: Sex differences in misperceptions of sexual interest have been well documented; however, it is unclear whether this cognitive bias could be explained by other factors. In the current study, 1,226 participants (586 men, 640 women) participated in a speed-dating task in which they rated their sexual interest in each other as well as the sexual interest they perceived from their partners. Consistent with previous findings, results showed that men tended to overperceive sexual interest from their partners, whereas women tended to underperceive sexual interest. However, this sex difference became negligible when we considered potential mediators, such as the raters’ sociosexual orientation and raters’ tendency to project their own levels of sexual interest onto their partners. These findings challenge the popular notion that sex differences in misperceptions of sexual interest have evolved as a specialized adaptation to different selection pressures in men and women.

Keywords: attraction, sociosexual orientation, speed dating, mean-level bias, tracking accuracy, error-management theory, open data

Sexual Orientation and Cognitive Ability: A Multivariate Meta-Analytic Follow-Up

Sexual Orientation and Cognitive Ability: A Multivariate Meta-Analytic Follow-Up. Yin Xu, Sam Norton, Qazi Rahman. Archives of Sexual Behavior, January 23 2020.

Abstract: A cross-sex shift model of human sexual orientation differences predicts that homosexual men should perform or score in the direction of heterosexual women, and homosexual women in the direction of heterosexual men, in behavioral domains such as cognition and personality. In order to test whether homosexual men and women’s cognitive performance was closer to that of heterosexual men or that of heterosexual women (i.e., sex-atypical for their sex and closer to that of the opposite-sex), we conducted a multivariate meta-analysis based on data from our previous meta-analysis (Xu, Norton, & Rahman, 2017). A subset of this data was used and comprised 30 articles (and 2 unpublished datasets) and 244,434 participants. The multivariate meta-analysis revealed that homosexual men were sex-atypical in mental rotation (Hedges’ g = −0.36) and the water level test (Hedges’ g = −0.55). In mental rotation, homosexual men were in-between heterosexual men and women. There was no significant group difference on spatial location memory. Homosexual men were also sex-atypical on male-favoring spatial-related tasks (Hedges’ g = −0.54), and female-favoring spatial-related tasks (Hedges’ g = 0.38). Homosexual women tended to be sex-typical (similar to heterosexual women). There were no significant group differences on male-favoring “other” tasks or female-favoring verbal-related tasks. Heterosexual men and women differed significantly on female-favoring “other” tasks. These results support the cross-sex shift hypothesis which predicts that homosexual men perform in the direction of heterosexual women in sex differentiated cognitive domains. However, the type of task and cognitive domain tested is critical.

Keywords: Sexual orientation Meta-analysis Sex differences Cognition Spatial Verbal


This analysis produced three main findings. First, homosexual men were sex-atypical in studies measuring mental rotations, the water level test, male-favoring spatial-related tasks, and female-favoring spatial-related tasks. That is, homosexual men’s cognitive performance was closer to that of heterosexual women than heterosexual men. Second, homosexual women were no different to heterosexual women, despite some tendency to be sex-atypical in certain domains (e.g., female-favoring verbal-related tasks). Third, there was considerable heterogeneity in the data as we found in our original meta-analysis.
The magnitude of the effect sizes revealed in the current multivariate meta-analysis was similar to that of our prior univariate meta-analysis. Once again, we found that homosexual men showed a cross-sex shift in male- and female-favoring spatial tasks, which is consistent with our prior demonstration that effect size was the highest for spatial tasks in men (Xu et al., ). The results for women were also consistent with previous work, suggesting that homosexual women are by and large sex-typical in most cognitive domains. However, given that the studies included in the current multivariate meta-analysis are a subsample of those from our prior study, the reduced number of studies may have contributed to the non-significant results found in women.
Our results should not be interpreted as indicating that homosexual men performed exactly the same as heterosexual women. In other words, we find little evidence of a complete sex inversion in this behavioral domain among homosexual men. Task type and cognitive domain are clearly critical. Traditionally, male-favoring spatial tasks (particularly mental rotation and spatial relations) appear to be most sensitive to sexual orientation differences. This is most likely due to the fact that they show robust general sex differences (Voyer et al., ) and that this domain provided the greatest number of studies. The cross-sex shifted pattern displayed by homosexual men is consistent with that found in several other behavioral domains such as sex-typed behavior and personality (Bailey et al., ). However, the effect sizes found here are much smaller than for other traits associated with sexual orientation, such as childhood gender nonconformity (Bailey et al., ).
In general, the body of work supports the prenatal androgen theory which predicts that homosexual men should show cross-sex shifts in sex differentiated behavioral domains in line with the atypical shift in their sexual partner orientation (Ellis & Ames, ). As the present study did not directly measure prenatal androgen levels, caution must be exercised in interpretation. However, some remarks regarding the patterns reported here and their relationship to the prenatal androgen model are worthwhile. The evidence for a cross-sex shift in cognition is inconsistent with research using putative markers of prenatal androgen exposure. For example, digit ratio (2D:4D) is a marker ascribed to the actions of prenatal androgen levels. However, nonheterosexual women have more masculine digit ratios (indicating greater exposure to prenatal androgens) than heterosexual women, but there is no significant difference in digit ratios between heterosexual and nonheterosexual men (Grimbos, Dawood, Burriss, Zucker, & Puts, ). Similarly, differences in handedness are a feature sometimes ascribed to the actions of prenatal testosterone acting on developing brain asymmetries. However, both nonheterosexual men and women are significantly more likely to be non-right-handed than heterosexual men and women rather than cross-sex shifted (Lalumière, Blanchard, & Zucker, ). As mentioned earlier, sexual orientation-related differences in sex-typed behavior (e.g., play and peer preferences), personality, and sexual orientation target preference itself (the preference for males or females as sexual and romantic partners) are much larger than cognitive differences (Bailey et al., ). Some of these traits (sex-typed behaviors) may show substantially larger sex and sexual orientation-related differences during childhood than other traits (cognition). Thus, it is possible that these discrepant findings where some traits show cross-sex shifts (cognition, sex-typed behavior) while others do not (somatic traits), or where cross-sex shifts are found in some traits in females (digit ratio) but not in males, point to a possible patterning of causal pathways by trait, sex, and developmental stage.
As mentioned before, the number and extent of critical periods for prenatal sex hormone actions might be important. There is a growing theoretical suggestion that males may have more than one critical period (e.g., prenatal, early postnatal, and pubertal), while females may have several but longer sustaining “sensitive periods” in which sex hormones and other developmental processes may act over a longer time period to influence behavioral outcomes (McCarthy et al., ). It is important to note that there are no longitudinal studies linking direct measures of prenatal androgens, such as amniotic levels of fetal testosterone, with later sexual orientation and cognition in humans. Such prospective studies would provide the critical test of the prenatal androgen model. Such studies will also need to control for important confounders or third factors such as genetics (e.g., genetic correlations between the traits in question over time). Such third factors might also be more important in the causal association between male sexual orientation and associated behavioral traits. One such factor is the well-known fraternal birth order effect (FBO; Blanchard, ). This refers to the robust finding that homosexual men have more older brothers than heterosexual men, an effect ascribed to maternal immune responses triggered by carrying successive male fetuses which affects sexual differentiation of the brain of later born males (Bogaert et al., ). One study has reported no significant association between FBO and spatial cognition in heterosexual and homosexual males (Rahman, ; cf. Bogaert, ).
The current meta-analysis had several important limitations. Many of these are similar to those in our original meta-analysis so will not be repeated here. However, specific to the present analysis, we note that the heterogeneity between studies was high given the broad 95% confidence intervals. We have suggested that methodological variation (e.g., cognitive domain differences) is a significant contributor to this heterogeneity. Second, the number of studies for some cognitive domains included in the multivariate meta-analysis was small, which generally resulted in broad 95% confidence intervals (e.g., spatial location memory, female-favoring tasks, and male-favoring other tasks). Broad 95% confidence intervals indicate considerable uncertainty in effect sizes. Thus, more research with appropriate sample sizes is needed and this may change the conclusions. Finally, we were unable to find sufficient numbers of studies which reported within-group correlations between multiple cognitive tasks (only four studies reported the correlations). This latter point is of note for future research because having within-group correlations between tasks would permit the calculation of multivariate effect sizes (such as Mahalanobis D or other indices of multivariate distances). Such metrics would allow tests of the overall magnitude of sexual orientation differences where the groups differ along many variables of interest or where the construct is multidimensional (Del Giudice, ).

Thursday, January 23, 2020

From 2019: Synaptic and brain-expressed gene sets relate to the shared genetic risk across five psychiatric disorders

Synaptic and brain-expressed gene sets relate to the shared genetic risk across five psychiatric disorders. Anke R. Hammerschlag, Christiaan A. de Leeuw, Christel M. Middeldorp and Tinca J. C. Polderman. Psychological Medicine, July 22 2019.

Background Mounting evidence shows genetic overlap between multiple psychiatric disorders. However, the biological underpinnings of shared risk for psychiatric disorders are not yet fully uncovered. The identification of underlying biological mechanisms is crucial for the progress in the treatment of these disorders.

Methods We applied gene-set analysis including 7372 gene sets, and 53 tissue-type specific gene-expression profiles to identify sets of genes that are involved in the etiology of multiple psychiatric disorders. We included genome-wide meta-association data of the five psychiatric disorders schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, autism spectrum disorder, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. The total dataset contained 159 219 cases and 262 481 controls.

Results We identified 19 gene sets that were significantly associated with the five psychiatric disorders combined, of which we excluded five sets because their associations were likely driven by schizophrenia only. Conditional analyses showed independent effects of several gene sets that in particular relate to the synapse. In addition, we found independent effects of gene expression levels in the cerebellum and frontal cortex.

Conclusions We obtained novel evidence for shared biological mechanisms that act across psychiatric disorders and we showed that several gene sets that have been related to individual disorders play a role in a broader range of psychiatric disorders.


The current gene-set analyses revealed various new sets of genes – in particular related to the synapse and neuronal functions – and gene-expression profiles of multiple brain tissues that play a role in shared genetic risk across five psychiatric disorders. The most strongly associated gene set was the highly-brain-expressed genes, which has previously been related to ASD (Pinto et al., 2014). However, as this gene set contains over 5000 genes with many different functions, this observation particularly confirms the polygenic nature of psychiatric disorders and its association with brain processes. This finding is in concordance with our tissue-type analysis, which showed the importance of gene expression of brain tissues for psychiatric disorders. Gene expression profiles of the cerebellum showed the strongest association, which confirms studies reporting cerebellar dysfunction in various psychiatric disorders (Phillips et al., 2015). Our finding of an additional effect of expression profiles of the frontal cortex is supported by observations that dysfunction of this region and related networks underlie cognitive and behavioral disturbances in psychiatric disorders (Fornito et al., 2015).
In addition, we identified multiple gene sets related to the synapse, which aligns with synaptic functions of several identified genes for multiple individual psychiatric disorders (Schizophrenia Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, 2014; Wray et al., 2018; Demontis et al., 2019; Grove et al., 2019; Stahl et al., 2019). Three of these gene sets point to a specific role of calcium channels, a well-established mechanism related to SCZ (Ripke et al., 2013; Schizophrenia Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, 2014; Pardinas et al., 2018) and suggested for BP and MDD as well (Cross-Disorder Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, 2013b; Wray et al., 2018). A common role across additional disorders is further supported by a cross-disorder genome-wide meta-analysis reporting genes related to the functioning of these channels (Schork et al., 2019). We also replicated a cross-disorder role for the postsynapse, although our findings do not support the previously reported role of histone and immune pathways (The Network and Pathway Analysis Subgroup of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, 2015). The target genes of MIR137, a microRNA that is one of the best replicated genetic risk factors for SCZ (Cross-Disorder Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, 2013b; Ripke et al., 2013; Pardinas et al., 2018), have not been implicated yet in other disorders and we now show that alterations in this network of genes are likely also involved in other psychiatric disorders. Multiple studies have reported the involvement of MIR137 in synaptic function, by regulating synaptogenesis, synapse maturation and synaptic transmission (Strazisar et al., 2014; Verma et al., 2015; He et al., 2018). Furthermore, our results suggest a shared role for FMRP targets which have previously been related to SCZ and ASD based on CNVs (Pinto et al., 2014; Szatkiewicz et al., 2014), de novo mutations (Iossifov et al., 2012; Fromer et al., 2014), rare variants (Purcell et al., 2014), and common variants (Schizophrenia Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, 2014; Jansen et al., 2017; Pardinas et al., 2018). FMRP is an RNA-binding protein involved in the regulation of translation. The binding transcripts code mainly for postsynaptic proteins (Darnell et al., 2011), and loss of FMRP results in widespread deficits in synaptic plasticity (Darnell and Klann, 2013). Taken together, all identified gene sets converge to an important contribution of communication between neurons, which is supported by the implication of a more common role of altered cortical connectivity in psychiatric disorders (Fornito et al., 2015).
Of note, the biological annotations of gene sets comprise a complex and challenging process, e.g., due to the multiple functions of many genes and incomplete knowledge. The construction of gene sets is in general based on different approaches such as shared cellular mechanism, co-expression patterns, protein-protein interaction, or co-localization. Hence, sets of genes may be based upon different inclusion criteria, creating an overlap between gene sets, as also illustrated by the current study. Clearly, it is important to recognize the impact of particular annotations on gene-set analysis results and their biological interpretation.
To address this issue of confounding and redundancy in gene sets, we applied conditional analyses. This provided insight in how different gene-set associations relate to each other, and whether identified functions may not be biologically relevant to the disorders but rather induced by confounding factors (de Leeuw et al., 2018). Brain-specific gene expression could be such a general confounder for our identified synaptic and neuronal gene sets, but the conditional analyses demonstrated that most of their associated signals were independent of brain expression levels. The conditional analyses between the identified gene sets revealed that part of these gene-set associations is not independent, which might be induced by a more extensive underlying function. Nevertheless, several independent associations suggest that multiple synaptic mechanisms are contributing risk factors for psychiatric disorders. These mechanisms may serve as starting points for future functional studies to disentangle their relation to psychiatric disorders, and potentially provide a first resource for the identification of drug targets and for drug repositioning (Breen et al., 2016).
Our cross-disorder gene-set and gene-property analyses are built on a meta-analysis of the gene-based associations with the individual disorders, therefore possible opposite effects of genetic variants are not taken into account. To explore if genetic variants are related to multiple disorders but with opposite effects, we performed an SNP-based meta-analysis of the five disorders and conducted a gene-set and gene-property analysis based on those results. In this analysis, genetic variants with opposite effects across disorders are cancelled out. Although these results showed strong correlations with the original analysis, we detected differences in association strength that point to partial differences in direction of SNP effects between the disorders for most identified gene sets. Interestingly, the effects on calcium channel activity are unidirectional across disorders. The outcome of different effects across disorders is supported by the recent finding that the highly correlated disorders SCZ and BD are differentiated by several genetic loci with opposite directions of effects (Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, 2018). It has indeed been shown that in addition to genetic variants with effects on a general dimension of cross-disorder liability, specific variants uniquely differentiate between psychiatric disorders (Grotzinger et al., 2019). Furthermore, the general cross-disorder liability could reflect biological mechanisms that are related to specific overlapping symptoms, e.g. sleep disturbances, depressive symptoms and cognitive problems. This hypothesis is supported by the finding that polygenic components underlie multiple symptom dimensions of SCZ and BD (Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, 2018). Exploring the biological mechanisms that may drive specific symptoms across disorders is therefore required to further advance our understanding of the complexity of the genetic overlap. Moreover, the identification of these mechanisms may help to develop individual-centered therapy driven by symptoms instead of general disorders. Moving the focus from dichotomies to the level of the individual is required to advance precision medicine (Senn, 2018).
We note that the associations of our identified gene sets were to a large extent driven by SCZ. This is in line with previous studies that reported multiple gene sets associated with SCZ (Ripke et al., 2013; Schizophrenia Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, 2014; Pardinas et al., 2018). Yet, hardly any gene sets have been detected for other psychiatric disorders despite the recent successes in identifying many genetic loci for multiple disorders that resulted from the fast increase in sample sizes that approach, or even exceed, the sample sizes of SCZ studies. This suggests that less successful findings for disorders such as MDD are unlikely a result of less statistical power. One possible explanation is that the identified gene sets of the current study have a true stronger effect on SCZ. One could also speculate that that SCZ has a different genetic architecture, or is less genetically heterogeneous compared to other disorders, but future studies are needed to address these issues.
In conclusion, the current study provides novel evidence for shared biological mechanisms that act across psychiatric disorders based on gene-set and gene-property analyses. We showed that several gene sets that previously only had been associated with individual disorders also play a role in a broader range of psychiatric disorders, supporting the view of a common pathogenesis across disorders. This indicates that the genetic overlap between disorders is not randomly distributed, but can be explained by specific biological mechanisms. The strongest evidence in our results was for the involvement of synaptic functions, and gene expression profiles of the cerebellum and frontal cortex. The genetic data collection of additional psychiatric disorders is rapidly increasing and will make it possible to extend our analyses to other disorders in the near future. Understanding the shared biological mechanisms between psychiatric disorders may provide a hint towards a general vulnerability for multiple psychiatric disorders, and could result in potential treatment for a broad spectrum of psychiatric disorders.

Crocodile tears: Pretenders are seen as significantly more manipulative, less reliable, less warm, less competent; are less welcomed as friends, colleagues, neighbors, & babysitter

The damaging effects of perceived crocodile tears for an individual’s image. Inge van Roeyen, Madelon Riem, Marko Toncic and Ad Vingerhoets. Front. Psychol. Jan 2020. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00172

Abstract: Emotional tears are uniquely human and play an essential role in the communication of distress in adults. Several studies have shown that individuals are more willing to offer emotional support and help a person in tears. Preliminary evidence suggests that this greater willingness to provide support is mediated via perceived warmth and helplessness. Moreover, tearful individuals are regarded as more reliable and honest. In the current study, we examined whether people can reliably distinguish genuine and fake crying, and what the further consequences for the evaluation of the crier are. A total of 202 participants (73 men, 129 women) were exposed to brief movie clips of genuine and fake crying adults and were asked to evaluate the criers. Results show that women were slightly better at identifying fake and genuine crying. How the crying was perceived subsequently seemed to have a strong influence on the further evaluation of the "crier." Criers regarded as pretenders were perceived as significantly more manipulative, less reliable, less warm, and less competent. Further, the respondents felt less connected with the perceived pretenders, who were less welcomed as friends, colleagues, neighbors, and babysitter. They were also qualified as significantly less fit for "reliable" professions (judge, teacher, police officer, scientist, and physician). In contrast, the ratings of their fitness for "unreliable" professions (banker, CEO, journalist, real estate salesman, and politician) yielded a significant difference in only one video clip (and contrary to expectations). Our findings thus indicate that the subjective labeling of crying as fake is associated with a significantly less positive perception of the "crying" person, regardless of whether the crying is actually fake or genuine. Crocodile tears thus seem to be associated with a severe risk of a damaging effect for a crier's image.

Keywords: Crying, Tears, Genuine, image, Perception

Men's odds of marriage are decreased by working in predominantly female occupations; working in a predominately female occupation increases the odds that men have never married by ages 30 & 40

Occupational Sex Composition and Marriage: The Romantic Cost of Gender‐Atypical Jobs. Elizabeth Aura McClintock. Journal of Marriage and Family, January 22 2020.

Abstract: The author considers the mechanisms by which occupational sex composition (the proportion of women and men in an occupation) might be associated with romantic transitions in the United States. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 to 2014, the author estimates the odds of marriage during a period of 35 years as a function of occupational and personal characteristics. Men's odds of marriage are decreased by working in predominately female occupations (75%–100% female) when compared with working in predominately male occupations (0%–25% female) or integrated (26%–74% female) occupations. Also, working in a predominately female occupation increases the odds that men have never married by ages 30 and 40. Women's odds of marriage are unrelated to occupational sex composition. Although the author focuses on marriage, the results are robust to including cohabitation as a competing risk. The author uses data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health 1994 to 2008 to replicate these findings in a more recent cohort with additional control variables. The romantic penalty for men's occupational gender atypicality demonstrates the continued devaluation of female activities and attributes and the resulting rigidity of expectations for men's gendered behavior, which may reinforce occupational segregation.

The “mystical stance” – the capacity to become immersed in the religious experience, to enter into trance states, arose as one of several mechanisms we developed to bond our relatively large social groups

Dunbar, RIM. 2019. “Religion, the Social Brain and the Mystical Stance.” Archive for Psychology of Religion.

Abstract: This paper explores the implications of the social brain and the endorphin-based bonding mechanism that underpins it for the evolution of religion. I argue that religion evolved as one of the behavioural mechanisms designed to facilitate community bonding when humans first evolved the larger social groups of ~150 that now characterise our species. This is not a matter of facilitating cooperation, but of engineering social cohesion – a very different problem. Analysis of the size of C19th utopian communities suggests that a religious basis both allowed larger groups to form and greatly enhanced their longevity. I suggest that religion evolved in two stages: an early immersive form with no formal structure based on trance-dancing (a form still evident in the rituals and practices of many hunter-gatherers) and a later form which had more formal structures and gave rise to our modern doctrinal religions. I argue that the modern doctrinal religions did not replace ancestral immersive religions but rather that the doctrinal component was overlain on the ancient immersive form, thereby giving rise to the mystical stance that underlies all world religions. I suggest that it is this mystical stance that causes the constant upwelling of cults and sects within world religions.

Key words: community bonding, endorphins, trance, immersive religion


In this article, I have proposed an alternative view of the evolution of religion that combines the social brain hypothesis with the neurobiology of social bonding. I argue that the predominant focus on the cognitive and formal ritual aspects of religion overlooks what may, in fact, be by far the most important aspect of religion and the reason why people believe and behave religiously. This is the emotional “raw feels” component that arises from engaging in religious rituals. This phenomenon is what I refer to as the “mystical stance” – the capacity to become immersed in the religious experience, to enter into trance states. This arose, I suggest, as one of several mechanisms that humans developed to bond their relatively large social groups. I suggest that the doctrinal aspects of the modern world religions have simply been grafted onto this ancient substrate, and that this may explain some peculiar features of modern doctrinal religions such as their constant tendency to fragment into sects and cults. Doctrinal (or world) religions as we know them seem to date only from the Neolithic, even though the cognitive capacities that are necessary for modern religions (mentalising and language) long predate this. They seem to have arisen as a mechanism for bonding large numbers of people living in relatively cramped conditions. Although Neanderthals and other archaic humans may well have had both religion and language, the cognitive evidence unequivocally suggests that these would have been less sophisticated than those found in modern humans. This implies that religion as we know it (but still in its immersive, adoctrinal form) only arose with the appearance of modern humans around 200,000 years ago.

Gore on climate: This is Thermopylae. This is Agincourt. This is Dunkirk. This is the Battle of the Bulge. This is 9/11

Al Gore compares climate crisis to historic events like 9/11. Sam Meredith. CNBC, Jan 23 2020.

Delivering closing remarks at a World Economic Forum panel session on Wednesday, Gore spoke passionately about the climate emergency.

At one stage, the co-founder of Generation Investment Management compared the scale of the crisis to a number of infamous historic events.

It is “way worse” than many realize and intensifying “way faster” than people appreciate, Gore said.

“This is Thermopylae. This is Agincourt. This is Dunkirk. This is the Battle of the Bulge. This is 9/11,” he added.

Gore’s comments follow the the hottest year on record for the world’s oceans, the second-hottest year for global average temperatures, and wildfires from the U.S. to the Amazon to Australia.

Check also The climate crisis is not just about the environment, but about human rights, justice, & political will; colonial, racist, & patriarchal systems of oppression have created & fueled it; they must be dismantled:
Why We Strike Again. Greta Thunberg, Luisa Neubauer, Angela Valenzuela. Project Syndicate, Nov 29, 2019.

And: Greta Thunberg's character, as the press summarized her speech at the UN Climate Summit, Sep 23, 2019

A surprising fact about the 2016 election is that Trump received fewer votes from whites with the highest levels of racial resentment than Romney did in 2012

Who Put Trump in the White House? Explaining the Contribution of Voting Blocs to Trump’s Victory. Justin Grimmer, William Marble. ecember 12, 2019.

Abstract: A surprising fact about the 2016 election is that Trump received fewer votes from whites with the highest levels of racial resentment than Romney did in 2012. This fact is surprising given studies that emphasize “activation” of racial conservatism in 2016—the increased relationship between vote choice and racial attitudes among voters. But this relationship provides almost no information about how many votes candidates receive from individuals with particular attitudes. To understand how many votes a voting bloc contributes to a candidate’s total, we must also consider a bloc’s size and its turnout rate. Taking these into account, we find that Trump’s most significant gains came from whites with moderate attitudes about race and immigration. Trump’s vote totals improved the most among swing voters: low-socioeconomic status whites who are political moderates. Our analysis demonstrates that focusing only on vote choice is insufficient to explain sources of candidate support in the electorate.

4 Conclusion
In this paper we demonstrate that the common practice of regressing vote choice on individual characteristics is largely uninformative about where a candidate support lies in the electorate. This is because vote choice is only one component of the contribution of voting blocs to a
candidate’s vote total. We must also know how prevalent a group is in the electorate and the turnout rate of the group to know how much a group contributes to a candidate’s vote total. Taking these three components into account, we first show that even though racial and ethnic attitudes were activated in 2016, they did not contribute a distinctive number of votes to Trump. We show that Trump’s net vote total among whites with the highest levels of racial resentment was smaller than Romney’s. Further, we find that Trump’s relative support grew more among white moderates on immigration than among white conservatives on immigration, and that Trump received an almost identical share of votes from former Obama voters as Romney. Rather than these explanations, we show that Trump received an increase in relative support among low-SES whites who are independents and political moderates. We find Trump gained support among whites who are disabled and retired, but we see only limited evidence that Trump gained support among whites who reside in depressed economic contexts. Our analyses cannot answer causal questions about the optimal campaign strategy for a candidate, nor does it provide conclusive evidence about who campaigns should target to win elections. Yet, our results do show that Trump improved over Romney among voters who are regularly identified as “swing” voters (Hill, 2017). These voters casted more votes for Trump in 2016 than they did Romney in 2012, and this group of voters supported Clinton at much lower rates than they supported Obama. Despite concerns about ideological polarization, increased partisan acrimony, and low engagement among independents, these findings imply that white swing voters comprise an important voting bloc for presidential campaigns and are likely to remain so in future elections. Of course, as the electorate becomes less white, other racial groups are likely to comprise this crucial group of swing voters (Barreto and Segura, 2014; Fraga, 2018). Our results also show that analyses that focus on activation of attitudes overstate the importance of racial and immigration conservatives to Trump’s victory. For example, Sides, Tesler and Vavreck (2019) argue white racial and immigration conservatives who switched from Obama to Trump were pivotal to Trump’s victory in close states. Their evidence, how
ever, is based on regressions of vote switching on racial and ethnic attitudes among white voters in close states and not an explicit calculation of votes. To do the vote calculation, we replicate our analysis on immigration attitudes subsetting to respondents who voted for Obama in the prior election.15 We find that among former Obama voters, Trump improved his relative support most among moderates on the immigration scale, despite clear evidence from the vote choice term that immigration was activated in 2016 among former Obama voters. However, there are very few people who reported voting for Obama in the previous election with very conservative immigration attitudes. Thus, our main findings about immigration—the Trump benefited from gains among moderate—are replicated even among former Obama voters. Of course, in close elections small groups of voters can swing the outcome. However, there are many such groups of potentially pivotal voters. Our results show that explanations that focus on activation alone miss the largest changes in the electorate. Methodologically, our paper demonstrates that if the goal is to explain election results, studying only the correlation between attitudes and vote choice among those who turn out to vote is insufficient to know where a candidate receives votes. And worse, focusing only on vote choice can produce misleading or outright incorrect estimates of where a candidate receives support. The implications of this are far reaching for how social scientists explain the results of elections and how they use experiments to make recommendations for campaign strategy. If the goal of the activation literature is understanding why a candidate won an election, then much of the current practice of how elections are analyzed needs to be expanded to also include measures of turnout and composition. Further, the activation literature’s focus on vote choice and attitudes does not eliminate the need to consider turnout rates or changes in composition. In fact, regressions of vote choice on attitudes could still be deeply biased by differential turnout across attitude levels or changes in composition of attitudes in the electorate. For example, by focusing only on vote choice of those who turnout, there is a clear selection issue: only those individuals who vote can report a vote choice. As a result, even in studies focused on activation, differential turnout could create an impression of attitude
activation when actually the differences across elections are due solely to differential changes in turnout (Nyhan, Skovron and Titiunik, 2017; Knox, Lowe and Mummolo, 2019). Our results also have implications for experimental analyses of campaign strategies. For example, experimentalists regularly run interventions focused on vote choice and use the results to assess the efficacy of particular campaign strategies. But our analysis shows that it is also essential to consider the share of the electorate who could receive the treatment, how the treatment affects turnout, and the vote choice among those treated. Without including this information, experimental analyses could provide misleading estimates on how a strategy could affect a candidate’s vote total. Our simple statistics and quantities of interest provide the relevant quantities for understanding where a candidate’s support increases in the electorate.

Across primate species, immature females demonstrate greater interest in infants than males do, likely because practice with infant care increases a mother's chance of keeping her baby alive

Sex Differences in Primate Social Relationships During Development. Joyce F. Benenson. In The Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology and Behavioral Endocrinology. Edited by Lisa L. M. Welling and Todd K. Shackelford. May 2019. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190649739.013.3

Abstract: The chapter focuses on the social development of immature primates across several species in the Cercopithecidae and Hominidae families, in particular rhesus macaques, the great apes, and humans. The chapter provides an overview of critical factors that characterize the rearing environments of immature females and males, including social structure, residence patterns, and dominance relations. Regardless of rearing environment, consistent sex differences in immatures occur in relationships with mothers, adult males, same-sex peers, and infants. Additionally, sex differences regularly are found in rates of development, quests for dominance, frequency of social play, and rate and intensity of direct aggression across species.

Keywords: Sex differences, primates, social relationships, development, social behavior, dominance, aggression, social play

Religious attendance as factors in wellbeing and social engagement

Religiosity and religious attendance as factors in wellbeing and social engagement. R.I.M. Dunbar. Religion, Brain & Behavior, Jan 22 2020.

ABSTRACT: There is accumulating evidence that being an active member of a social community predicts health, wellbeing and even survival. I use data from an online survey to determine whether religious behavior has the same effect. The results suggest that religiosity and attendance at religious services most strongly affect engagement with the local community and through that the numbers of friends someone has, as well as the level of trust in the local community and bondedness with friends and family. However, they seem to have little direct impact on happiness or life satisfaction. Frequency of attendance at religious services (but not private prayer) is associated with a larger sympathy group and a greater sense of bonding to congregation members. I suggest that regular attendees may feel they can count on the emotional support of congregation members more readily than they can conventional friends and family because they interact with them more often.

KEYWORDS: Wellbeing, happiness, trust, support clique, religiosity, emotional support


This study yields two main findings. First, in contrast to the context of feasting, religiosity and religious attendance form a close knit functional unit that is somewhat separated off from other aspects of people’s psychological and sociological domains, with few direct effects on these two aspects of their behavior. Second, attendance at religious functions (but not religiosity indices or private prayer to quite the same extent) positively influences both the size of the sympathy group and the sense of engagement in the local community (by which is meant the wider community, not just the congregation), as well as bondedness to other members of the congregation.
Note that engagement with the wider community increases roughly linearly with frequency of attendance, but sympathy group size seems to involve more of a phase transition that suddenly rises to a new level once attendance reaches a certain level (at least once a week). Conventionally, people list only 3–7 individuals in their support clique—a finding that has been reported consistently across studies (Sutcliffe et al., 2012). We see much the same pattern among those who attend religious functions only intermittently (once a month or less): in Figure 2(a), these average a very consistent 7. Those who attend religious services at least once a week, however, list around 20 individuals, or three times as many as the societal norm. It could be that those who attend services frequently are over-enthusiastic in rating their relationships with other people. However, an alternative explanation may be that seeing and interacting with a large number of people at a daily or weekly service creates the sense of bonding intensity normally associated with support cliques. Weekly interaction is the frequency required for creating and maintaining the intense bonds found among best friends (the inner core of ∼5 most intimate friends and family that form the support clique) (Sutcliffe et al., 2012). It may be no accident that the Abrahamic religions, at least, enjoin their members to attend a weekly service.
This sense of belonging or bondedness may well be compounded by the belief that shared interests and beliefs (Dunbar, 2018) and the charitable demands of most religions will make fellow congregation members (but not strangers, and perhaps not even less religious friends) more willing to provide the kinds of intense, time-costly emotional support that one would normally expect only from a member of one’s support clique. In effect, being a member of a congregation that meets regularly may create a large support clique that one can rely on. People who were more assiduous in their attendance at religious services also felt more engaged with the wider community within which they lived (many of whom they will not know personally). This second finding suggests that actively religious people may indeed be genuinely more willing to invest time and effort into the welfare of other people (i.e., behave altruistically for the greater good of the community).
In retrospect, it would have been desirable to have included questions on both the size of the subject’s congregation and how long subjects had been a member. It may be that the size of the congregation directly affected how many people were listed in the support clique and sympathy group for the reasons suggested above. A more important complication is that there is a potential confound between frequency of attendance at services and how long someone has been attending a particular place of worship: it may be that the effects attributed to attendance in these analyses are in fact due to length of association with a particular congregation (and hence familiarity with its members). Future studies should consider these variables.
Contrary to some previous studies (Francis, Ziebertz, & Lewis, 2003; Mookerjee & Beron, 2005), the survey found less evidence that religious people, or those who attended religious functions more often, were consistently happier, or more satisfied with their lives. This suggests that any beneficial effects of an actively religious life come not through elevated feelings of happiness and contentment, but through the communal moral, social, and perhaps financial support provided by the congregation and the sense of belonging that a close-knit congregation creates. Historically, congregations have usually been the main source of financial support for parishioners who have fallen on hard times. Examples include both the Poor Roll in English and Scottish parishes that, for over two centuries until the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, provided poor relief for the destitute with funds raised by charitable donations from the congregation, as well as the Islamic tradition that charity to beggars may be not refused on a Friday.
The results strongly suggest that it is active participation in the religious services that is important, rather than merely a sense of being religious. Religiosity certainly plays a role, as does engaging in private religious activities like prayer, but Figure 1 rather strongly suggests that there is a causal sequence running from private prayer to religiosity to regular attendance, which in turn creates a greater commitment to being engaged with the wider community. From this, there is a small residual effect the leads to larger sympathy and support groups. This suggests that it is the active participation in communal rituals, not the belief state or predisposition to believe, that is instrumental in creating these psycho-social effects and benefits. It may be that the particular beliefs of a religion serve a different function—such as persuading people to keep turning up to the regular religious services (Dunbar, 2013) or to maintain an appropriate degree of moral rectitude (the supernatural punishment hypothesis: Johnson, 2005).

How to get along with your tc

From absolutecarrot blog, no date, Tumblr:, accessed Jan 23 2020:

How to get along with your tc
These are my notes I found in a folder from a while back, I hope they help :^)

Also keep in mind that these are my personal notes that I have found work for me, so they may not work for everyone, and feel free to add anything you think is useful
⦁        Always try to be happy
⦁        Don’t overthink
⦁        Be funny
⦁        Don’t be clingy (but be excited to see them, there’s a difference)
⦁        Smile a lot, laugh at their jokes
⦁        Compliment them
⦁        Listen to them, remember the small things
⦁        Act mature, don’t act childish/stupid
⦁        Be relaxed, don’t be jumpy
⦁        Be confident
⦁        Don’t talk about trauma
⦁        Talk to them as much as you can, it doesn’t matter what you say, as long as you say something
⦁        Seem interested, ask how their day/weekend was
⦁        Stand out, be quirky, be someone they remember
⦁        Tease them (nicknames, inside jokes, ect.)
⦁        Take care of yourself (shower, workout, dress nice, be presentable)
⦁        Maybe accidentally get caught staring a couple times ;)
⦁        Eye contact
⦁        Try not to get jealous, they have a lot of students so they can’t give all their attention to you 24/7, but that doesn’t mean they don’t like you
⦁        I know I said this already but inside jokes are always fun and something they remember
⦁        Light physical contact (high five, fist bump, an accidental brush, ect.)

Contrary to previous findings, higher psychopathic traits were not associated with higher liking ratings for bitter stimuli, but instead associated with higher disgust ratings

Exploring the Relationship Between Psychopathy and Taste Perception. Mehmet K. Mahmut & Breanna Banzer, Chemosensory Perception, Jan 23 2020.

Introduction  Higher psychopathic traits have been consistently associated with poorer olfactory abilities; however, only one study as reported by Sagioglou and Greitemeyer (Appetite 96:299-308, 2016) has explored whether psychopathy is linked to taste perception. Using self-report measures, Sagioglou and Greitemeyer (2016) found higher psychopathic traits were associated with higher liking ratings for bitter stimuli. The aim of the current study was to determine whether direct assessment of taste perception was linked with psychopathic traits.

Methods Seventy-eight participants (41 females) rated four tastants (i.e. bitter, sweet, salty and sour), at four concentrations. For each of the 16 stimuli, participants rated how much they liked, how disgusting and how intense they perceived each tastant.

Results  Contrary to previous findings, higher psychopathic traits were not associated with higher liking ratings for bitter stimuli, but instead associated with higher disgust ratings of bitter stimuli. Moreover, higher psychopathic traits were associated with higher taste intensity ratings, suggesting psychopathy may be associated with increased taste sensitivity.

Conclusions  Higher degrees of psychopathic traits are associated with higher disgust ratings of bitter stimuli.

Implications  The findings suggest that the chemical senses may be another confirmatory method for differentiating those with low and high psychopathic traits.

Check also Common, nonsexual masochistic preferences (enjoying the burn of spicy food, disgusting jokes, pounding heart, painful massage) are positively associated with antisocial personality traits:
Common, nonsexual masochistic preferences are positively associated with antisocial personality traits. Christina Sagioglou, Tobias Greitemeyer. Journal of Personality, November 16 2019.