Thursday, July 4, 2999

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Friday, September 21, 2018

Genital Piercing: Childhood and Adolescent Behaviors That Serve as Predictors and Scores on Scales Measuring Hypersexuality and Risky Sexual Behavior, Sexual Orientation, Depression, Conflict, Intimacy, & Sexual Satisfaction

Genital Piercing: Childhood and Adolescent Behaviors That Serve as Predictors and Scores on Scales Measuring Hypersexuality and Risky Sexual Behavior, Sexual Orientation, Depression, Conflict, Intimacy, and Sexual Satisfaction. Karen Griffee et al. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, Volume 24, 2017 - Issue 1-2, Pages 58-78.
https://doi.org/10.1080/10720162.2017.1290563

ABSTRACT: Groups of 62 women and 25 men with genital piercings were compared to same-sex controls without genital piercing (2,549 women and 1,427 men, respectively) on measures of sexual orientation, intimacy, conflict, sexual satisfaction, depression, numbers of sexual partners, and numbers of times they engaged in sexual behaviors with female and male partners as adults. As adults, both women and men with genital piercings scored higher on the measures of same-sex orientation, hypersexuality, and risky sexual behavior and had more adult male partners and same-sex partners than controls. Women with genital piercings were more likely than controls to endorse being sexually addicted.

Sister-brother Incest: Findings were consistent with other reports of early and persistent hyper-eroticization of incest victims

Sister-brother Incest: Data from Anonymous Computer Assisted Self Interviews. Stephen L. O'Keefe, Keith W. Beard, Sam Swindell, Sandra S. Stroebel, Karen Griffee & Debra H. Young. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, Volume 21, 2014 - Issue 1, https://doi.org/10.1080/10720162.2013.877410

Abstract: Retrospective data were entered anonymously by 1,178 adult men using computer-assisted self-interview. Twenty-seven were victims of sister-brother incest (SBI), 119 were victims of child sexual abuse by an adult female (CSA-AF) before 18 years of age, 1,032 were controls. SBI was often the first sexual experience for the victim. Our findings were consistent with other reports of early and persistent hyper-eroticization of incest victims. SBI increased the likelihood of engaging in behaviors as an adult consistent with a co-existing or primary male-male sexual orientation, and SBI and CSA-AF had deleterious impacts on adult men's sexual adjustment with their adult partners.

Adult Women: 10.6% had exposed themselves in public, 5.1% reported having urges to expose themselves in public, 5.9% had engaged in some sort of sex with underage males, & 2.4% reported they had sexual intercourse with underage males

Exhibitionism and Sex with Underage Males in Adult Women. Sandra S. Stroebel et al. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, https://doi.org/10.1080/10720162.2018.1476944

Abstract: Data from 2,607 female participants in an anonymous computerized study were entered by the participants themselves: 276 (10.6%) had exposed themselves in public, 134 (5.1%) reported having urges to expose themselves in public, 153 (5.9%) had engaged in some sort of sex with underage males, and 100 (2.4%) reported they had sexual intercourse with underage males. As predicted by conditioning, modeling, and critical period learning theories, exposure to nudity within the nuclear family and partnered early sexual experimentation involving breast or genital exposure significantly increased the likelihood of participants exposing themselves in public and having such urges.

Smartphones reduce smiles between strangers

Smartphones reduce smiles between strangers. Kostadin Kushlev et al. Computers in Human Behavior, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2018.09.023

Highlights
•    Strangers smiled less to one another when they had their phones in a waiting room.
•    Participants were randomly assigned in pairs to have or not have their phones.
•    Smiling behavior was coded by trained researchers blind to hypotheses.
•    The effects applied to frequency of Duchenne smiles and to total smiling time.
•    This preregistered study shows that phones are altering the fabric of social life.

Abstract: New developments in technology—from the printing press to television—have long facilitated our capacity for “absent presence,” enabling us to escape the limits of our immediate environment. Does being constantly connected to other people and activities through our smartphones diminish the need to engage with others in the immediate social world, reducing the likelihood of approach behavior such as smiling? In a preregistered experiment, strangers waited together with or without their smartphones; their smiling was later coded by trained assistants. Compared to participants without smartphones, participants with smartphones exhibited significantly fewer smiles of any kind and fewer genuine (Duchenne) smiles. These findings are based on objective behavioral coding rather than self-report and provide clear evidence that being constantly connected to the digital world may undermine important approach behavior.

World-class athletes are perceived as more facially attractive than amateur athletes, with women athletes perceived as more facially attractive than men, & these findings generally occur to a greater extent for female than male respondents

Facial Attractiveness as a Function of Athletic Prowess. Richard P. Bagozzi et al. Evolutionary Psychology, https://doi.org/10.1177/1474704918801369

Abstract: We investigate the relationship between facial attractiveness and athletic prowess. We study the connection between subjective facial attractiveness (measured on a 5-point scale of judged facial attractiveness) and athletes by gender and age of respondents. Five age classes were investigated in Studies 1–5: preadolescents (average age: 8.85 years: n = 92), adolescents (average age: 15.8 years; n = 82), young adults (average age: 21.6 years; n = 181), middle-aged adults (average age: 47.5 years; n = 189), and older adults (65 years old; n = 183). The findings show that world-class athletes are perceived as more facially attractive than amateur athletes, with women athletes perceived as more facially attractive than men, and these findings generally occur to a greater extent for female than male respondents. These findings hold for preadolescents, adolescents, young adults, and older adults. However, results were mixed for middle-aged adults where generally amateur athletes were evaluated more attractive than world-class and men athletes more attractive than women.

Keywords: facial attractiveness, athletic prowess, age and gender differences

Marital satisfaction and mortality in the United States adult population: Reducing marital dissatisfaction may increase longevity

Whisman, M. A., Gilmour, A. L., & Salinger, J. M. (2018). Marital satisfaction and mortality in the United States adult population. Health Psychology, http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/hea0000677

Abstract
Objective: The present study examined the association between marital satisfaction and all-cause mortality in a large, representative sample of American adults. Gender was evaluated as a potential moderator of this association.

Method: Ratings of marital satisfaction from married adults < 90 years of age (N = 19,246) were extracted from the 1978 – 2010 waves of the General Social Survey and linked to mortality data from the National Death Index. Discrete-time survival analysis was used to evaluate the association between marital satisfaction and mortality.

Results: After statistically adjusting for demographic variables, the odds of dying for married individuals who described their marriage as very happy or pretty happy were significantly lower than the odds of dying for married individuals who described their marriage as not too happy. The association between marital satisfaction and mortality was not moderated by gender.

Conclusions: The significant prospective association between marital satisfaction and mortality suggests that reducing marital dissatisfaction may increase longevity. Further longitudinal research is warranted to (a) replicate the current findings, and (b) evaluate whether increasing marital satisfaction through clinical intervention increases longevity

Contagion theory, including the nature of essence & its relation to conceptions of the soul and self, backward contagion, the process of transmission & whether contact is necessary or sufficient for it to occur, relation between positive & negative contagion

Carol Nemeroff and Paul Rozin, "Back in Touch with Contagion: Some Essential Issues," Journal of the Association for Consumer Research 0, no. 0 (-Not available-): 000. https://doi.org/10.1086/699971

Abstract: Since the introduction of contagion theory to the psychological literature in the 1980s and 1990s, research and interest in the topic have proliferated, especially as related to consumer perceptions and preferences. In this article we review current conceptual issues in contagion theory, including the nature of essence and its relation to conceptions of the soul and self, backward contagion, the process of transmission and whether contact is necessary or sufficient for it to occur, the relation between positive and negative contagion, the status of the eight originally proposed defining features of psychological contagion, and the companion “law of similarity.” We conclude with a discussion of sustainability-relevant applications of contagion theory in the public interest, such as food and water supply and safety, ownership and the sharing economy, and health care. Future research should devote increased attention to cultural differences in psychological contagion and begin to explore emerging impacts of virtual environments on the extended sense of self, reality, and attendant contagion-based thinking

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Public Health in a Cross-National Lens: The Surprising Strength of the American System Compared to France and the UK

Public Health in a Cross-National Lens: The Surprising Strength of the American System. Michael S. Sparer, Anne-Laure Beaussier. J Health Polit Policy Law (2018) 43 (5): 825-846. https://doi.org/10.1215/03616878-6951175

Abstract: Critics of the US health system argue that a higher proportion of the health dollar should be spent on public health, both to improve outcomes and to contain costs. Attempts to explain the subordinate status of public health in America highlight such factors as distrust in government, federalism, and a bias toward acute care. This article considers these assumptions by comparing public health in the United States, England, and France. It finds that one common variable is the bias toward acute care. That the United States has such a bias is not surprising, but the similar pattern cross-nationally is less expected. Three additional findings are more unexpected. First, the United States outperforms its European peers on several public health metrics. Second, the United States spends a comparable proportion of its health dollar on prevention. Third, these results are due partly to a federalism twist (while all three nations delegate significant responsibility for public health to local governments, federal officials are more engaged in the United States) and partly to the American version of public health moralism. We also consider the renewed interest in population health, noting why, against expectations, this trend might grow more quickly in the United States than in its European counterparts.

Costly female appearance-enhancement provides cues of short-term mating effort: The case of cosmetic surgery

Costly female appearance-enhancement provides cues of short-term mating effort: The case of cosmetic surgery. Hannah K. Bradshaw et al. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 138, 1 February 2019, Pages 48-55. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2018.09.019

Abstract: Across three studies, we explore the relationship between cosmetic surgery, which functions as a costly appearance-enhancement tactic, and women's short-term mating effort. Study 1 demonstrates that women who exert increased short-term mating effort are more accepting of costly appearance-enhancement techniques (i.e., cosmetic surgery), but not relatively low-cost appearance-enhancement techniques (i.e., facial cosmetics). Study 2 and 3 further show that both men and women use information regarding a female targets' cosmetic surgery usage to infer increased short-term mating effort. Moreover, Study 3 demonstrates that inferences of short-term mating effort do not differ as a function of whether the target received facial or body cosmetic surgery. The findings of the current research demonstrate that women's engagement in extreme beautification procedures can influence others' perceptions of their short-term mating effort.

Reimagining of Schrödinger’s cat breaks quantum mechanics — and stumps physicists: In a multi-‘cat’ experiment, the textbook interpretation of quantum theory seems to lead to contradictory pictures of reality, physicists claim

Reimagining of Schrödinger’s cat breaks quantum mechanics — and stumps physicists. Davide Castelvecchi. Nature https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-06749-8

In a multi-‘cat’ experiment, the textbook interpretation of quantum theory seems to lead to contradictory pictures of reality, physicists claim.


In the world’s most famous thought experiment, physicist Erwin Schrödinger described how a cat in a box could be in an uncertain predicament. The peculiar rules of quantum theory meant that it could be both dead and alive, until the box was opened and the cat’s state measured. Now, two physicists have devised a modern version of the paradox by replacing the cat with a physicist doing experiments — with shocking implications.

Quantum theory has a long history of thought experiments, and in most cases these are used to point to weaknesses in various interpretations of quantum mechanics. But the latest version, which involves multiple players, is unusual: it shows that if the standard interpretation of quantum mechanics is correct, then different experimenters can reach opposite conclusions about what the physicist in the box has measured. This means that quantum theory contradicts itself.

The conceptual experiment has been debated with gusto in physics circles for more than two years — and has left most researchers stumped, even in a field accustomed to weird concepts. “I think this is a whole new level of weirdness,” says Matthew Leifer, a theoretical physicist at Chapman University in Orange, California.

The authors, Daniela Frauchiger and Renato Renner of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, posted their first version of the argument online in April 2016. The final paper appears in Nature Communications on 18 September1. (Frauchiger has now left academia.)


Weird world

Quantum mechanics underlies nearly all of modern physics, explaining everything from the structure of atoms to why magnets stick to each other. But its conceptual foundations continue to leave researchers grasping for answers. Its equations cannot predict the exact outcome of a measurement — for example, of the position of an electron — only the probabilities that it can yield particular values.

Quantum objects such as electrons therefore live in a cloud of uncertainty, mathematically encoded in a ‘wavefunction’ that changes shape smoothly, much like ordinary waves in the sea. But when a property such as an electron’s position is measured, it always yields one precise value (and yields the same value again if measured immediately after).

The most common way of understanding this was formulated in the 1920s by quantum-theory pioneers Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg, and is called the Copenhagen interpretation, after the city where Bohr lived. It says that the act of observing a quantum system makes the wavefunction ‘collapse’ from a spread-out curve to a single data point.

The Copenhagen interpretation left open the question of why different rules should apply to the quantum world of the atom and the classical world of laboratory measurements (and of everyday experience). But it was also reassuring: although quantum objects live in uncertain states, experimental observation happens in the classical realm and gives unambiguous results.

Now, Frauchiger and Renner are shaking physicists out of this comforting position. Their theoretical reasoning says that the basic Copenhagen picture — as well as other interpretations that share some of its basic assumptions — is not internally consistent.
What’s in the box?

Their scenario is considerably more involved than Schrödinger’s cat — proposed in 1935 — in which the feline lived in a box with a mechanism that would release a poison on the basis of a random occurrence, such as the decay of an atomic nucleus. In that case, the state of the cat was uncertain until the experimenter opened the box and checked it.

In 1967, the Hungarian physicist Eugene Wigner proposed a version of the paradox in which he replaced the cat and the poison with a physicist friend who lived inside a box with a measuring device that could return one of two results, such as a coin showing heads or tails. Does the wavefunction collapse when Wigner’s friend becomes aware of the result? One school of thought says that it does, suggesting that consciousness is outside the quantum realm. But if quantum mechanics applies to the physicist, then she should be in an uncertain state that combines both outcomes until Wigner opens the box.

Frauchiger and Renner have a yet more sophisticated version (see ‘New cats in town’). They have two Wigners, each doing an experiment on a physicist friend whom they keep in a box. One of the two friends (call her Alice) can toss a coin and — using her knowledge of quantum physics — prepare a quantum message to send to the other friend (call him Bob). Using his knowledge of quantum theory, Bob can detect Alice’s message and guess the result of her coin toss. When the two Wigners open their boxes, in some situations they can conclude with certainty which side the coin landed on, Renner says — but occasionally their conclusions are inconsistent. “One says, ‘I’m sure it’s tails,’ and the other one says, ‘I’m sure it’s heads,’” Renner says.

[https://media.nature.com/w800/magazine-assets/d41586-018-06749-8/d41586-018-06749-8_16132794.png]

The experiment cannot be put into practice, because it would require the Wigners to measure all quantum properties of their friends, which includes reading their minds, points out theorist Lídia Del Rio, a colleague of Renner’s at ETH Zurich.

Yet it might be feasible to make two quantum computers play the parts of Alice and Bob: the logic of the argument requires only that they know the rules of physics and make decisions based on them, and in principle one can detect the complete quantum state of a quantum computer. (Quantum computers sophisticated enough to do this do not yet exist, Renner points out.)


Duelling interpretations

Physicists are still coming to terms with the implications of the result. It has triggered heated responses from experts in the foundations of quantum theory, many of whom tend to be protective of their pet interpretation. “Some get emotional,” Renner says. And different researchers tend to draw different conclusions. “Most people claim that the experiment shows that their interpretation is the only one that is correct.”

For Leifer, producing inconsistent results should not necessarily be a deal breaker. Some interpretations of quantum mechanics already allow for views of reality that depend on perspective. That could be less unsavoury than having to admit that quantum theory does not apply to complex things such as people, he says.

Robert Spekkens, a theoretical physicist at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada, says that the way out of the paradox could hide in some subtle assumptions in the argument, in particular in the communication between Alice and Bob.

“To my mind, there’s a lot of situations where taking somebody’s knowledge on board involves some translation of their knowledge.” Perhaps the inconsistency arises from Bob not interpreting Alice's message properly, he says. But he admits that he has not found a solution yet.

For now, physicists are likely to continue debating. “I don’t think we’ve made sense of this,” Leifer says.

In mice: Clearance of senescent glial cells prevents tau-dependent pathology and cognitive decline

Clearance of senescent glial cells prevents tau-dependent pathology and cognitive decline. Tyler J. Bussian, Asef Aziz, Charlton F. Meyer, Barbara L. Swenson, Jan M. van Deursen & Darren J. Baker. Nature (2018), https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0543-y

Abstract: Cellular senescence, which is characterized by an irreversible cell-cycle arrest1 accompanied by a distinctive secretory phenotype2, can be induced through various intracellular and extracellular factors. Senescent cells that express the cell cycle inhibitory protein p16INK4A have been found to actively drive naturally occurring age-related tissue deterioration3,4 and contribute to several diseases associated with ageing, including atherosclerosis5 and osteoarthritis6. Various markers of senescence have been observed in patients with neurodegenerative diseases7,8,9; however, a role for senescent cells in the aetiology of these pathologies is unknown. Here we show a causal link between the accumulation of senescent cells and cognition-associated neuronal loss. We found that the MAPTP301SPS19 mouse model of tau-dependent neurodegenerative disease10 accumulates p16INK4A-positive senescent astrocytes and microglia. Clearance of these cells as they arise using INK-ATTAC transgenic mice prevents gliosis, hyperphosphorylation of both soluble and insoluble tau leading to neurofibrillary tangle deposition, and degeneration of cortical and hippocampal neurons, thus preserving cognitive function. Pharmacological intervention with a first-generation senolytic modulates tau aggregation. Collectively, these results show that senescent cells have a role in the initiation and progression of tau-mediated disease, and suggest that targeting senescent cells may provide a therapeutic avenue for the treatment of these pathologies.

Self-assessed intelligence & relations with constructs associated with intelligence, tendencies & opportunities to develop intelligence, constructs associated with biased self-assessments, & positive states and life achievements

The “Other” Relationships of Self-Assessed Intelligence: A Meta-Analysis. Matt C. Howard, Joshua Cogswell. Journal of Research in Personality, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2018.09.006

Highlights
•    SAI is most often studied alongside psychometric intelligence or gender.
•    The current article “takes stock” of the “other” relationships of SAI.
•    SAI is meta-analytically shown to be related to other important variables.
•    SAI is meta-analytically shown to be related to several aspects of well-being.

Abstract: The primary goal of the current article is to “take stock” of the “other” relationships of self-assessed intelligence (SAI). The current article groups the relationships of SAI into four categories: constructs associated with intelligence (openness, emotional intelligence), tendencies and opportunities to develop intelligence (conscientiousness, education, age, SES, prior IQ test experience), constructs associated with biased self-assessments (extraversion, neuroticism, narcissism, honesty-humility, race), and positive states and life achievements (positive self-regard, psychological well-being, academic achievement). The meta-analytic results demonstrate that almost all variables from these four categories significantly relate to SAI, with the exception of prior IQ test experience. These relationships are also consistent when accounting for psychometric intelligence, and no studied moderator variables consistently influence the magnitude of these results.

People possess a functionally integrated mental system to detect conspiracies that in all likelihood has been shaped in an ancestral human environment in which hostile coalitions—that is, conspiracies that truly existed—were a frequent cause of misery

Conspiracy Theories: Evolved Functions and Psychological Mechanisms. Jan-Willem van Prooijen, Mark van Vugt. Perspectives on Psychological Science, https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691618774270

Abstract: Belief in conspiracy theories—such as that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were an inside job or that the pharmaceutical industry deliberately spreads diseases—is a widespread and culturally universal phenomenon. Why do so many people around the globe believe conspiracy theories, and why are they so influential? Previous research focused on the proximate mechanisms underlying conspiracy beliefs but ignored the distal, evolutionary origins and functions. We review evidence pertaining to two competing evolutionary hypotheses: (a) conspiracy beliefs are a by-product of a suite of psychological mechanisms (e.g., pattern recognition, agency detection, threat management, alliance detection) that evolved for different reasons, or (b) conspiracy beliefs are part of an evolved psychological mechanism specifically aimed at detecting dangerous coalitions. This latter perspective assumes that conspiracy theories are activated after specific coalition cues, which produce functional counterstrategies to cope with suspected conspiracies. Insights from social, cultural and evolutionary psychology provide tentative support for six propositions that follow from the adaptation hypothesis. We propose that people possess a functionally integrated mental system to detect conspiracies that in all likelihood has been shaped in an ancestral human environment in which hostile coalitions—that is, conspiracies that truly existed—were a frequent cause of misery, death, and reproductive loss.

Keywords: conspiracy theories, evolutionary psychology, coalitions, adaptation, by-product

Vegans view their diets as more central to their identity, take more pride in their diets, feel more stigmatized for following their diets, have stronger dietary motivations, & judge omnivorous dieters more harshly than do vegetarians

A Comparison of Dietarian Identity Profiles Between Vegetarians and Vegans. Daniel L. Rosenfeld. Food Quality and Preference, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodqual.2018.09.008

Highlights
•    Vegans view their diets as more central to their identity than do vegetarians.
•    Vegans take more pride in their diets than do vegetarians.
•    Vegans feel more stigmatized for following their diets than do vegetarians.
•    Vegans have stronger dietary motivations than do vegetarians.
•    Vegans judge omnivorous dieters more harshly than do vegetarians.

Abstract: Vegetarianism and veganism are often grouped together in nutritional and psychological investigations. Yet an emerging body of literature has highlighted that vegetarians and vegans differ along a number of neurological, attitudinal, and behavioral variables. In this research, I found that vegetarians and vegans exhibit different dietarian identity profiles. Compared to vegetarians, vegans saw their dietary patterns as more intertwined with their identity (higher centrality), had more positive feelings toward their dietary in-group (higher private regard), felt as if other people judge them more negatively for following their dietary patterns (lower public regard), evaluated out-group dieters more negatively (lower out-group regard), and had stronger motivations for following their dietary patterns (higher prosocial, personal, and moral motivations). By distinguishing between vegetarians and vegans more concretely, investigators can capture meaningful within-group heterogeneity in how people think, feel, and behave when it comes to eschewing animal products.

Volunteering improves subjective well-being, offsetting 20-53pct of W-B losses from unemployment & 16-30pct of W-B losses from long-term health conditions, benefitting the most unhappy; don't last beyond a year

Does Kindness Lead to Happiness? Voluntary Activities and Subjective Well-Being. Elisabetta Magnani, Rong Zhu. Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socec.2018.09.009

Highlights
•    This paper investigates empirically the effects of voluntary activities on subjective well-being;
•    We show that volunteering significantly improves people’s subjective well-being;
•    The positive effects of volunteering are highly heterogeneous along the well-being distribution;
•    We find evidence of complete subjective well-being adaptation one year after volunteering;
•    We explore three channels through which volunteering affects subjective well-being.

Abstract: This paper investigates empirically the effects of voluntary activities on subjective well-being. After controlling for individual fixed effects, we show that volunteering significantly improves people’s subjective well-being. The positive well-being effects of volunteering are highly heterogeneous, with larger impact at the lower end of the distribution of subjective well-being. Our dynamic analysis shows that the beneficial effects of volunteering are transitory. We find evidence of complete subjective well-being adaptation one year after volunteering. We show that more frequent socialisation, increasing satisfaction with feeling part of local community and rising satisfaction with neighbourhood living in are three channels for the contemporaneous positive linkage between volunteering and subjective well-being.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

People judged that altering some moral facts was impossible—not even God could turn morally wrong acts into morally right acts; but thought that God could make physically impossible and logically impossible events occur

Reinecke, Madeline G., and Zachary Horne. 2018. “Immutable Morality: Even God Could Not Change Some Moral Facts.” PsyArXiv. September 19. doi:10.31234/osf.io/yqm4

Abstract: The idea that morality depends on God is a widely held belief. This belief entails that the moral “facts” could be otherwise because, in principle, God could change them. Yet, some moral propositions seem so obviously true (e.g., the immorality of killing someone just for pleasure) that it is hard to imagine how they could be otherwise. In two experiments, we investigated people’s intuitions about the immutability of moral facts. Participants judged whether it was even possible, or possible for God, to change moral, logical, and physical facts. In both experiments, people judged that altering some moral facts was impossible—not even God could turn morally wrong acts into morally right acts. Strikingly, people thought that God could make physically impossible and logically impossible events occur. These results demonstrate the strength of people’s metaethical commitments and shed light on the nature of morality and its centrality to thinking and reasoning.

Girls surpass boys in educational attainment: The best explanation is boys' greater disperson of academic achievement

What Explains the Gender Gap Reversal in Education? The Role of the Tail Hypothesis. Laurent Bossavie, Ohto Kanninen. Policy  Research  Working  Paper 8303. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/29213/WPS8303.pdf

Abstract: The gender gap reversal in educational attainment is ubiquitous in high-income countries, as well as in a growing share of low- and middle-income countries. To account for the reversal, this paper proposes a theoretical framework in which the interplay between the distributions of academic aptitudes and changes in the net benefits of schooling over time affect the gender composition of those getting more schooling. The framework is used to formulate and test alternative hypotheses to explain the reversal. The paper introduces the tail dynamics hypothesis, which builds on the lower dispersion of academic achievement among females observed empirically. It also studies the mean dynamics hypothesis, which is based on previous literature. Both hypotheses can explain the reversal in this framework. However, the assumption behind the tail hypothesis is better supported by the data. Its predictions are also consistent with gender differences in Scholastic Achievement Test score dynamics and in international test score distributions that cannot be explained by previous theories.

Canada Health System: The status quo represents a compromise struck decades ago between payers & physicians & organizations, & the current system works just well enough for those who both need it & vote; but cannot readily meet the changing health care needs of a population

Lessons From the Canadian Experience With Single-Payer Health Insurance: Just Comfortable Enough With the Status Quo. Noah Ivers et al. JAMA Intern Med. 2018;178(9):1250-1255. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.3568

Abstract: With single-payer public health insurance again on the political radar in the United States at both the state (California) and federal (Democrat party) levels, the performance of the Canadian health care system during the last 50 years and the lessons it may offer should be considered. Canadians are proud of their universal approach to health insurance based on need rather than income. The system has many strengths, such as the ease of obtaining care, relatively low costs, and low administrative costs, with effectiveness and safety roughly on par with other countries, including those, such as the United States, that spend considerably more per capita. There are increasing frustrations, however, with system performance, especially with issues related to access and coordination of care. Medicine has changed dramatically since the introduction of Canadian Medicare in the late 1960s, which primarily covered acute care physician and hospital services—the needs of the time. Meaningful reforms that match coverage and services to changing needs, especially those of community-based patients with multiple chronic conditions, have been difficult to implement. The status quo represents a compromise struck decades ago between payers and physicians and organizations that provide health care, and the current system works just well enough for those who both need it and vote. Enacting substantial change simply carries too much risk. Perhaps the most important lesson that the United States can learn from Canada’s experience during the last 50 years is that a single-payer health care system solves a lot of problems, but it does not equate to an integrated, well-managed system that can readily meet the changing health care needs of a population.

Feedback loop of environmental unpredictability and harshness which destabilizes intrauterine hormonal conditions in mothers, leading to global health problems, and nonheterosexual preferences in female offspring; bonobos and lions examples are discussed

A Life History Approach to the Female Sexual Orientation Spectrum: Evolution, Development, Causal Mechanisms, and Health. Severi Luoto, Indrikis Krams, Markus J. Rantala. Archives of Sexual Behavior, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-018-1261-0

Abstract: Women’s capacity for sexual fluidity is at least as interesting a phenomenon from the point of view of evolutionary biology and behavioral endocrinology as exclusively homosexual orientation. Evolutionary hypotheses for female nonheterosexuality have failed to fully account for the existence of these different categories of nonheterosexual women, while also overlooking broader data on the causal mechanisms, physiology, ontogeny, and phylogeny of female nonheterosexuality. We review the evolutionary-developmental origins of various phenotypes in the female sexual orientation spectrum using the synergistic approach of Tinbergen’s four questions. We also present femme-specific and butch-specific hypotheses at proximate and ultimate levels of analysis. This review article indicates that various nonheterosexual female phenotypes emerge from and contribute to hormonally mediated fast life history strategies. Life history theory provides a biobehavioral explanatory framework for nonheterosexual women’s masculinized body morphology, psychological dispositions, and their elevated likelihood of experiencing violence, substance use, obesity, teenage pregnancy, and lower general health. This pattern of life outcomes can create a feedback loop of environmental unpredictability and harshness which destabilizes intrauterine hormonal conditions in mothers, leading to a greater likelihood of fast life history strategies, global health problems, and nonheterosexual preferences in female offspring. We further explore the potential of female nonheterosexuality to function as an alloparental buffer that enables masculinizing alleles to execute their characteristic fast life history strategies as they appear in the female and the male phenotype. Synthesizing life history theory with the female sexual orientation spectrum enriches existing scientific knowledge on the evolutionary-developmental mechanisms of human sex differences.

Keywords: Female sexual orientation Homosexuality Neurodevelopment Evolutionary-developmental psychology Behavioral endocrinology Life history evolution Women’s health

Lead us not into temptation: The seven deadly sins as a taxonomy of temptations

Lead us not into temptation: The seven deadly sins as a taxonomy of temptations. Edward Burkley, Melissa Burkley, Jessica Curtis, Thomas Hatvany. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, https://doi.org/10.1111/spc3.12416

Abstract: People constantly experience a tug‐of‐war between their self‐control on one end and their temptations on the other. Although a great deal of research has examined such self‐control dilemmas, much of it has focused on the “push” of self‐control rather than the “pull” of temptations. To facilitate future work on this latter construct, we sought to create a taxonomy of temptations. Using a top‐down approach, we relied on the philosophical and historical concept of the seven deadly sins—gluttony, greed, lust, sloth, envy, pride, and wrath—to identify and define the most commonly experienced temptations. In support of this taxonomy, we review evidence for the role that self‐control plays in resisting each of these seven temptation domains, including work on trait self‐control and momentary exertions of self‐control. Where applicable, we identify areas where research is lacking and make suggestions for future work. Lastly, we discuss how this taxonomy offers researchers both theoretical and practical benefits.

Difficult to know if the effects of alcohol consumption on mate-selection are due to social factors or cohabitation leading to becoming more similar over time; found that genetic variants related to alcohol may, via effect on alcohol behaviour, influence mate selection

Alcohol consumption and mate choice in UK Biobank: comparing observational and Mendelian randomization estimates. Laurence J Howe, Dan J Lawson, Neil M Davies, Beate St. Pourcain, Sarah J Lewis, George Davey Smith, Gibran Hemani. bioRxiv, https://doi.org/10.1101/418269

Abstract: Alcohol use is correlated within spouse-pairs, but it is difficult to disentangle the effects of alcohol consumption on mate-selection from social factors or cohabitation leading to spouses becoming more similar over time. We hypothesised that genetic variants related to alcohol consumption may, via their effect on alcohol behaviour, influence mate selection. Therefore, in a sample of over 47,000 spouse-pairs in the UK Biobank we utilised a well-characterised alcohol related variant, rs1229984 in ADH1B, as a genetic proxy for alcohol use. We compared the phenotypic correlation between spouses for self-reported alcohol use with the association between an individual's self-reported alcohol use and their partner's rs1229984 genotype using Mendelian randomization. This was followed up by an exploration of the spousal genotypic concordance for the variant. We found strong evidence that both an individual's self-reported alcohol consumption and rs1229984 genotype are associated with their partner's self-reported alcohol use. The Mendelian randomization analysis, found that each unit increase in an individual's weekly alcohol consumption increased their partner's alcohol consumption by 0.29 units (95% C.I. 0.20, 0.38; P=2.15x10-9). Furthermore, the rs1229984 genotype correlated within spouse-pairs, suggesting that some spousal correlation existed prior to cohabitation. Although the SNP is strongly associated with ancestry, our results suggest that this concordance is unlikely to be explained by population stratification. Overall, our findings suggest that alcohol behaviour directly influences mate selection.

Living longer with help from others: Seeking advice lowers mortality risk

Living longer with help from others: Seeking advice lowers mortality risk. Rebecca K Delaney, Nicholas A Turiano, JoNell Strough. Journal of Health Psychology, https://doi.org/10.1177/1359105316664133

Abstract: Associations between self-sufficiency and advice seeking with mortality risk were examined to assess the long-term implications of individualistic and interpersonally oriented strategies. Wave 1 participants from the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States (N = 6116, 25–75 years, Mage = 46.38 years) completed questionnaires assessing demographics, self-sufficiency, advice seeking, social support, and health. Cox proportional hazard models indicated that each standard deviation increase in seeking advice was associated with an 11 percent decreased hazard of dying 20 years later. Self-sufficiency was not significantly related. Future research should examine contexts in which interpersonal strategies are adaptive, as seeking advice from others promotes longevity.

Keywords: advice seeking, dependence, independence, mortality, social support

“Bad” agents are identified more quickly & accurately than benign ones; but incorrectly attributing bad character to good people damages existing relationships; cognitive mechanism permits flexible updating of beliefs to forgive sooner

Siegel, Jenifer, Christoph Mathys, Robb Rutledge, and Molly Crockett. 2018. “Beliefs About Bad People Are Volatile.” PsyArXiv. September 17. doi:10.1038/s41562-018-0425-1

Abstract: People form moral impressions rapidly, effortlessly, and from a remarkably young age. Putatively “bad” agents command more attention and are identified more quickly and accurately than benign or friendly agents. Such vigilance is adaptive, but can also be costly in environments where people sometimes make mistakes, because incorrectly attributing bad character to good people damages existing relationships and discourages forming new ones. The ability to accurately infer others’ moral character is critical for healthy social functioning, but the computational processes that support this ability are not well understood. Here we show that moral inference is explained by an asymmetric Bayesian updating mechanism where beliefs about the morality of bad agents are more uncertain (and thus more volatile) than beliefs about the morality of good agents. This asymmetry appears to be a property of learning about immoral agents in general, as we also find greater uncertainty for beliefs about bad agents’ non-moral traits. Our model and data reveal a cognitive mechanism that permits flexible updating of beliefs about potentially threatening others, a mechanism that could facilitate forgiveness when initial bad impressions turn out to be inaccurate. Our findings suggest that negative moral impressions destabilize beliefs about others, promoting cognitive flexibility in the service of cooperative but cautious behavior.

“Happiness pie” (approx 50% of differences are due to genetic factors, 10pct to life circumstances, & 40% available to be changed via volition) is a defective theory; & it is not clear how we can influence substantially our own happiness level

Brown, Nicholas J. L., and Julia M. Rohrer. 2018. “Re-slicing the “happiness Pie”: A Re-examination of the Determinants of Well-being” PsyArXiv. September 18. doi:10.31234/osf.io/qv85g

Abstract: In an influential article, Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, and Schkade (2005) argued that individuals have considerable leeway to increase their levels of chronic happiness. These authors supported their arguments with a model (subsequently popularized under the name of the “happiness pie”) in which approximately 50% of individual differences in happiness are due to genetic factors and 10% to life circumstances, leaving 40% available to be changed via volitional activities. We re-examined Lyubomirsky et al.’s claims and found several apparent deficiencies in their chain of arguments. First, it is not clear that such a split between the possible sources of variance in individual happiness is informative with respect to an individual’s potential to influence his or her well-being. Second, the suggested semi-formalized model of happiness suffers from several weaknesses that might bias the model in favor of assigning more variance to volitional activities. Third, the estimates for the variance attributable to genetic factors and life circumstances that were used to determine the relative size of the slices of the “happiness pie” are questionable. We conclude that there is little empirical evidence for the variance decomposition suggested by the “happiness pie,” and that even if it were valid, it is not necessarily informative with respect to the question of whether individuals can truly exert substantial influence over their own chronic happiness level.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Real Story of Those Empty New York City Storefronts : Retail employment is rising, in part, because of job growth outside of Manhattan; overall, the number of retail establishments in NYC is up 15% since 2007

The Real Story of Those Empty New York City Storefronts. Michael Mandel. Progressive Policy Institute Blog, Sep 10 2018. https://www.progressivepolicy.org/blog/the-real-story-of-those-empty-new-york-city-storefronts-3/

[Edited:]


Last week, the New York Times produced a visually stunning story about shuttered storefronts in NYC. The story’s premise, told in pictures, was a simple one:

*** New York City’s streetscape has been transformed — visually and economically — by the staggering numbers of vacant storefronts now dotting its most popular retail corridors.

We’ve all seen the empty storefronts, and they are certainly striking.  However, while the story had data on retail vacancy rates, there were no figures on retail employment or active retail establishments. I thought I’d fill in the gap.

First, here’s a chart of retail jobs in NYC, courtesy of the BLS. It turns out that despite the empty storefronts, NYC retail employment is at a 30-yr high. Retail jobs even rose in 2018, based on the first 7 months of the year:

[https://www.progressivepolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/NYCretail.png]

Retail employment is rising, in part, because of job growth outside of Manhattan.  For example, retail employment in Brooklyn is up 34% since 2007.  Retail employment in the Bronx is up 30%, albeit off a low base. People can now shop in their home boroughs, rather than coming into Manhattan. This is a good thing:

[https://www.progressivepolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/NYCretailjobsboroughs.png]

The BLS also counts the number of retail establishments with employees. This is especially interesting, given the emphasis in the NY Times article on empty storefronts. What we see is that the number of retail establishments has fallen in Manhattan since 2007. But every other borough is up significantly. For example, the number of retail establishments in Brooklyn is up by 31% since 2007. Overall, the number of retail establishments in NYC is up 15% since 2007:

[https://www.progressivepolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/NYCretailestablishmentsborough.png]

How can we explain this? In part, the vacant storefronts are the unintended result of  prosperity.  New York City has seen an enormous amount of development in recent years, including construction of ground-level retail as part of housing and office construction.  That’s how we can simultaneously get growing retail employment and empty storefronts.

But there’s another factor as well. Government figures tell us that retail is a low-productivity, low-pay industry (auto dealership are an exception).  Real wages for production and nonsupervisory workers in retail are at the same level as they were thirty years ago.   Productivity growth for grocery stores and department stores has been stunningly slow for thirty years (annual productivity growth rates of 0.4% and 0.7%, respectively, since 1987).

So the piled-up mountains of imported clothing and food shipped from afar found in most stores may no longer be the best use of some of the most expensive real estate in the world.  Perhaps we need to be thinking in terms of alternative uses for ground level space, like a return to light manufacturing of custom goods based on advanced technologies.  That may need a change in zoning, and a change in thinking about urban space as well.  But for now, realize that empty storefronts do not mean that the jobs have gone away.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger: Psychological trauma and its relationship to enhanced memory control

Hulbert, J. C., & Anderson, M. C. (2018). What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger: Psychological trauma and its relationship to enhanced memory control. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000461

Abstract: Control processes engaged in halting the automatic retrieval of unwanted memories have been shown to reduce the later recallability of the targets of suppression. Like other cognitive skills that benefit from practice, we hypothesized that memory control is similarly experience dependent, such that individuals with greater real-life experience at stopping retrieval would exhibit better inhibitory control over unwanted memories. Across two experiments, we found that college students reporting a greater history of trauma exhibited more suppression-induced forgetting of both negative and neutral memories than did those in a matched group who had reported experiencing little to no trauma. The association was especially evident on a test of suppression-induced forgetting involving independent retrieval cues that are designed to better isolate the effects of inhibitory control on memory. Participants reporting more trauma demonstrated greater generalized forgetting of suppressed material. These findings raise the possibility that, given proper training, individuals can learn to better manage intrusive experiences, and are broadly consistent with the view that moderate adversity can foster resilience later in life.

Should we men in search of girls feel lonely? Neil Shinhababu says we shouldn't, there are "Possible Girls" somewhere (although it is not really somewhere)

Possible Girls. Neil Shinhababu. 2008. https://philpapers.org/archive/SINPG

Abstract: I argue that if David Lewis’ modal realism is true, modal realists from different possible worlds can fall in love with each other. I offer a method for uniquely picking out possible people who are in love with us and not with our counterparts. Impossible lovers and trans-world love letters are considered. Anticipating objections, I argue that we can stand in the right kinds of relations to merely possible people to be in love with them and that ending a trans-world relationship to start a relationship with an actual person isn’t cruel to one’s otherworldly lover.

---
Excerpts:
David Lewis famously holds that reality consists not only of our own universe, but also of countless other universes as real as our own. According to Lewis' modal realism, every possible way that a universe could be is instantiated by one of these .possible worlds.. Lewis calls our world the "actual world," but "actual" signifies only that it is the universe he happens to inhabit. He regards "actual" as an indexical like "I" or "here" - a resident of another world could use it to refer to her world. "Possible" indicates some world that the speaker might or might not inhabit. The reason we never meet the residents of other worlds is that they.re as stuck in their worlds as we are in ours. Their worlds and ours aren.t spatiotemporally or causally connected.

The ability to causally interact with your partner is important to many aspects of happy romantic relationships, but not to all of them. It.s quite pleasant simply to know that your partner loves you and appreciates being loved by you. A loving relationship with a faraway person can enhance one's self-esteem and turn loneliness into contentment. As a lonely philosopher, I've come to wonder: If modal realism is true, can I have a loving relationship with someone from another possible world?

This paper will try to answer that question. The answer, I think, is yes. Given that every possible world is real, I shouldn.t feel lonely. There are many possible girls out there in worlds where modal realism is widely accepted. Some of the girls are single, and are pining for a boy in a world that isn't their own. Some of them are pining for a boy who fits exactly my description, down to the smallest detail. Some worlds hold legions of girls who desire a boy from a world other than theirs, and who fits exactly my description.

Since I.m not good at dealing with lots of romantic relationships at once, I.ll want to pick just one of the girls. It shouldn.t be hard to find one who will suit my desires . the space of logical possibility abounds with kind, beautiful, intelligent girls who want a boy exactly like me. The notion of a closest possible world, used in Lewis. analysis of counterfactuals, might be useful in narrowing down the options. Once I think out the characteristics that I want my girlfriend to have, maybe I''ll just choose the closest possible world to ours where there's only one girl like that, and who wants a boy like me. The girl from that world will be my girlfriend.

There is a problem with this proposal, though. [...]

There is a way to get love letters from your possible girlfriend [...]

While relationships with possible girls involve a broadening of my romantic horizons, some suggest that I’m still being too narrow-minded. They would have me go beyond the Lewisian framework and consider relationships with impossible girls. These girls inhabit impossible worlds where some propositions are both true and false. [...]

There is one more issue to consider. With luck, at some point I’ll find an actual girlfriend. Since I don’t want to be unfaithful, I’ll have to break up with my possible girlfriend if I want to enter into an actual relationship. One might criticize me for this. My possible girlfriend is spending eons of her life singing about me and my world! Isn’t it heartless to break up with someone who has so much invested in a relationship?

This is not as big a problem as it seems. Since all the facts about my doings will be in my possible girlfriend’s song – they’re ways that my world differs from hers – the fact that I’m destined to break up with her will be something she knows from the outset. She could’ve chosen a more permanent boyfriend from among my counterparts. It’s mysterious why she still chose me. But actual girls are mysterious to me in many ways, [...]

Avoiding sedentary behaviors requires more cortical resources than avoiding physical activity: An EEG study

Avoiding sedentary behaviors requires more cortical resources than avoiding physical activity: An EEG study. Boris Cheval et al. Neuropsychologia, Volume 119, October 2018, Pages 68-80. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2018.07.029

Highlights
•    Individuals are slower at approaching sedentary than physical activity stimuli.
•    Individuals are quicker at avoiding sedentary than physical activity stimuli.
•    These effects are particularly pronounced in physically active individuals.
•    Avoiding sedentary behaviors is associated with high levels of conflict monitoring and inhibition.
•    Additional brain resources are required to escape a general attraction toward sedentary behaviors.

Abstract: Why do individuals fail to exercise regularly despite knowledge of the risks associated with physical inactivity? Automatic processes regulating exercise behaviors may partly explain this paradox. Yet, these processes have only been investigated with behavioral outcomes (i.e., based on reaction times). Here, using electroencephalography, we investigated the cortical activity underlying automatic approach and avoidance tendencies toward stimuli depicting physical activity and sedentary behaviors in 29 young adults who were physically active or physically inactive but with the intention of becoming physically active. Behavioral results showed faster reactions when approaching physical activity compared to sedentary behaviors and when avoiding sedentary behaviors compared to physical activity. These faster reactions were more pronounced in physically active individuals and were associated with changes during sensory integration (earlier onset latency and larger positive deflection of the stimulus-locked lateralized readiness potentials) but not during motor preparation (no effect on the response-locked lateralized readiness potentials). Faster reactions when avoiding sedentary behaviors compared to physical activity were also associated with higher conflict monitoring (larger early and late N1 event-related potentials) and higher inhibition (larger N2 event-related potentials), irrespective of the usual level of physical activity. These results suggest that additional cortical resources were required to counteract an attraction to sedentary behaviors. Data and Materials [https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1169140]. Preprint [https://doi.org/10.1101/277988].

Lucid nightmares: A survey of their frequency, features, and factors in lucid dreamers

Stumbrys, T. (2018). Lucid nightmares: A survey of their frequency, features, and factors in lucid dreamers. Dreaming, 28(3), 193-204. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/drm0000090

Abstract: This article reports the first systematic study on lucid nightmares—terrifying lucid dreams with a lack of dream control. An online survey was completed by 634 participants, of whom 574 had had previous lucid dream experience. According to the reports of lucid dreamers, less than half of them had experienced a lucid nightmare, and only 1% of them could be considered as suffering from lucid nightmares—experiencing them once a week or more frequently. Lucid nightmares appear to be as distressing as ordinary nightmares. Lack of dream control and intense fear are among their most common features, followed by violent autonomous dream characters and the inability to wake up. Lucid nightmares are more likely to occur for women and nightmare sufferers, yet also for more frequent lucid dreamers and for those who experience lucid dreams spontaneously rather than them being induced deliberately. Key methodological points, for example, whether the awakening criterion in the definition of lucid nightmares should be included, are addressed, and suggestions for future research are provided.

Immunocompetence Handicap Hypothesis fails; but a context-dependent tradeoff between energetic investment in male reproductive effort and some aspects of immune function (complex interactions between physical characteristics, physiological processes, and immune activity)

Life History Tradeoffs Between Testosterone and Immune Function Among Shuar Forager-Horticulturalists of Amazonian Ecuador. Theresa E. Gildner, PhD Thesis, Department of Anthropology, University of Oregon, Jun 2018. https://scholarsbank.uoregon.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1794/23822/Gildner_oregon_0171A_12256.pdf?sequence=1

The sex hormone testosterone supports male reproduction. However, testosterone is hypothesized to suppress immune activity, resulting in a tradeoff between energetic investment in reproductive ef fort and immune function. The Immunocompetence Handicap Hypothesis (ICHH) therefore argues that testosterone-linked masculine traits honestly signal health status to prospective mates, as only uninfected males should be able to maintain high testosterone levels. Still, this proposed tradeoff remains poorly tested among human men, especially among natural fertility populations experiencing high infectious disease burdens. This dissertation therefore tested the ICHH among indigenous Shuar men of Amazonian Ecuador. Specifically, this project examined testosterone variation patterns and assessed how male investment in reproductive effort is associated with reproductive success and immune function.

The first study tested testosterone level variation among Shuar men in relation to body composition, age, and style of life factors. This study demonstrated that age and BMI interactions shape testosterone levels in complex ways, such that the relationship between body composition and testosterone profile varies throug hout the life course. The second study investigated whether individual reproductive success was significantly influenced by masculine trait development and parasite load. These results failed to v support the hypotheses that masculine traits increased reprod uctive success or honestly signaled lack of parasitic disease. Instead, a significant positive association was observed between a composite score of masculine traits and Ascaris lumbricoides infection load; suggesting that male investment in reproductive effort may increase parasitic infection risk.

The final study assessed whether testosterone levels were negatively associated with four measures of immune function (parasite load, C-Reactive Protein [CRP], Immunoglobulin-G [IgG], and Immunoglobulin-E [IgE]). Testosterone levels were inversely associated with CRP levels and a positive relationship between testosterone levels and Trichuris trichiura infection load was documented, suggesting increased investment in reproductive effort may suppress some aspects of immune function and increase parasite burden. Overall, these studies fail to support the ICHH, but do indicate a context-dependent tradeoff between energetic investment in male reproductive effort and some aspects of immune function; thereby demonstrat ing complex interactions between physical characteristics, physiological processes, and immune activity in human men.

Arising out of the experience that other people see the world differently: The others, for some basic intellectual and moral defect, are unable to see things “as they really are” and to react to them in a “normal way”

From the Fundamental Attribution Error to the Truly Fundamental Attribution Error and Beyond: My Research Journey. Lee Ross. Perspectives on Psychological Science, https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691618769855

Abstract: This essay traces continuities and changes in focus of research and theory in my career. I describe early work on insensitivity to role-conferred advantages in self-presentation (and the personal experiences that prompted that work) and the subsequent identification and naming of the “fundamental attribution error.” I next describe my work on the role that construal processes play in determining responses to various decision-making and attributional contexts. That work, in turn, culminated in identification and exploration of what I now deem the truly “fundamental attribution error”: the illusion of superior personal objectivity and its various consequences for interpersonal and intergroup interactions. I conclude with the lessons I have drawn from my applied work on conflict resolution.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Approximately 16% of all participants were classified as having illusory mental health, & scored significantly lower on scales indicative of interpersonal problems and structural personality dysfunctions

Patients with illusory mental health: A challenge for psychotherapeutic treatment and empirical research in psychotherapy. Carsten Spitzer, Oliver Masuhr, Ulrich Jaeger, Sebastian Euler. Psychotherapeut, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00278-018-0299-8

Abstract: There is practically no systematic knowledge about patients in psychotherapy, who have scores in the healthy range of symptom-related self-report questionnaires and thus are termed patients with illusory mental health. This explorative study involving 6585 psychotherapy inpatients analyzed the frequency in the total sample and whether or not they differ from patients with clinically relevant symptoms with respect to sociodemographic features, interpersonal problems and impairments of their personality structure. Approximately 16% of all participants were classified as having illusory mental health. These were numerically slightly younger than patients with relevant symptoms but other differences regarding sociodemographic characteristics did not emerge. Patients with illusory mental health scored significantly lower on scales indicative of interpersonal problems and structural personality dysfunctions. The diagnostic and therapeutic implications of these findings and associated challenges for empirical psychotherapeutic research are discussed.

Inconsistent with the original study, participants' distrust of atheists (and gays and lesbians) did not vary by secular authority reminders

Crawford, Jarret. 2018. “Replication of Gervais & Norenzayan (2012) Study 3.” PsyArXiv. September 17. doi:10.31234/osf.io/th9bp

Abstract: Gervais and Norenzayan (2012) conducted three studies examining the effects of reminders of secular authority reduced distrust in atheists. They concluded that reminders of secular authority (compared to a control condition) reduced distrust specifically of atheists, but not other outgroups (i.e., gays and lesbians). We conducted a preregistered, high-powered replication of Study 3 of Gervais and Norenzayan (2012). Inconsistent with the original study, we did not observe the hypothesized interaction effect. In other words, participants' distrust of atheists (and gays and lesbians) did not vary by secular authority reminders.

The upright walking posture group showed significantly improved psychological states including less low arousal negative affect, less sleepiness, less pain & marginally greater feelings of power than the slumped walking posture group

The effects of walking posture on affective and physiological states during stress. Jessie Hackford, Anna Mackey, Elizabeth Broadbent. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbtep.2018.09.004

Highlights
•    An experimentally altered walking style impacted psychological states during stress.
•    Walking style also impacted physiological states during stress.
•    Changing the way a person walks may improve their responses to stress.

Abstract

Background and objectives: Embodiment theory proposes that motor processes are associated with emotions and cognitions. Previous research has shown that walking posture can influence affective memory bias. This study further investigated this theory by looking at the effects of an upright versus slumped walking posture on psychological and physiological states when faced with a psychological stressor.

Methods: Seventy-three healthy adults completed baseline self-report measures of affect, power, and sleepiness, and physiological measures of blood pressure, galvanic skin response, and skin temperature. After walking in their usual posture, the same self-report and physiological measures were obtained. Participants were then randomly allocated into one of two groups where they were asked to walk in either an upright posture or a slumped posture. While walking, participants underwent a psychological stressor. After experimental walking, the same self-report and physiological measures were obtained.

Results: The upright walking posture group showed significantly improved psychological states including less low arousal negative affect, less sleepiness, less pain and marginally greater feelings of power than the slumped walking posture group. Physiologically, the upright walking posture group showed significantly lower systolic blood pressure, galvanic skin response, and marginally lower skin temperature than the slumped walking posture group.

Limitations: This was a short-term laboratory-based experiment and results may not generalise to other situations.

Conclusions: Walking posture can affect both psychological and physiological states. Applications of these findings may have implications for improving mental and physiological health.

There was a honeymoon effect during the marriage year; happiness levels were significantly higher than the baseline within 3 years of marriage; marriage, on average, enhances happiness more and longer for women than for men

Marriage and Happiness: Evidence from Taiwan. Hung-Lin Tao. Journal of Happiness Studies, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10902-018-0029-5

Abstract: Using Taiwan’s PSFD data and within-between panel data models, this study investigated the relation between marriage and happiness. It did not find a selection effect, indicating that there is no statistical evidence that married people were happier two or more years before getting married. There was a honeymoon effect during the marriage year. Several samples were constructed to investigate whether happiness level quickly returned to the baseline after marriage. The results of most samples showed that the happiness levels were significantly higher than the baseline within 3 years of marriage. Although the happiness level after the fourth year of marriage is not significant, its magnitude is not small, indicating a diversity of happiness status after 3 years of marriage. Marriage, on average, enhances happiness more and longer for women than for men.

Keywords: Happiness Marriage Set-point hypothesis Full adaptation Partial adaptation

While the predicted correlation does not replicate for every single available measure of support for inequality, the overall data pattern strongly suggests that for males, but not females, upper‐body strength correlates positively with support for inequality

Upper‐Body Strength and Political Egalitarianism: Twelve Conceptual Replications. Michael Bang Petersen, Lasse Laustsen. Political Psychology, https://doi.org/10.1111/pops.12505

Abstract: Animal models of conflict behavior predict that an organism's behavior in a conflict situation is influenced by physical characteristics related to abilities to impose costs on adversaries. Stronger and larger organisms should be more motivated to seek larger shares of resources and higher places in hierarchies. Previous studies of human males have suggested that measures of upper‐body strength are associated with measures of support for inequality including Social Dominance Orientation (SDO), a measure of individual differences in support for group‐based hierarchies. However, other studies have failed to replicate this association. In this article, we reexamine the link between upper‐body strength and support for inequality using 12 different samples from multiple countries in which relevant measures were available. These samples include student and locally representative samples with direct measures of physical strength and nationally representative samples with self‐reported measures related to muscularity. While the predicted correlation does not replicate for every single available measure of support for inequality, the overall data pattern strongly suggests that for males, but not females, upper‐body strength correlates positively with support for inequality.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Taxes matter for innovation: higher personal and corporate income taxes negatively affect the quantity, quality, and location of inventive activity at the macro and micro levels; at the macro level, there are cross-state spillovers or business-stealing

Taxation and Innovation in the 20th Century. Ufuk Akcigit, John Grigsby, Tom Nicholas, Stefanie Stantcheva. NBER Working Paper No. 24982, September 2018. http://www.nber.org/papers/w24982

This paper studies the effect of corporate and personal taxes on innovation in the United States over the twentieth century. We use three new datasets: a panel of the universe of inventors who patent since 1920; a dataset of the employment, location and patents of firms active in R&D since 1921; and a historical state-level corporate tax database since 1900, which we link to an existing database on state-level personal income taxes. Our analysis focuses on the impact of taxes on individual inventors and firms (the micro level) and on states over time (the macro level). We propose several identification strategies, all of which yield consistent results: i) OLS with fixed effects, including inventor and state-times-year fixed effects, which make use of differences between tax brackets within a state-year cell and which absorb heterogeneity and contemporaneous changes in economic conditions; ii) an instrumental variable approach, which predicts changes in an individual or firm's total tax rate with changes in the federal tax rate only; iii) a border county strategy, which exploits tax variation across neighboring counties in different states. We find that taxes matter for innovation: higher personal and corporate income taxes negatively affect the quantity, quality, and location of inventive activity at the macro and micro levels. At the macro level, cross-state spillovers or business-stealing from one state to another are important, but do not account for all of the effect. Agglomeration effects from local innovation clusters tend to weaken responsiveness to taxation. Corporate inventors respond more strongly to taxes than their non-corporate counterparts.

Participants’ dishonesty seems to be independent to payoff uncertainty; they lie when lies generate certain payoffs, but do not lie more when lies can reduce payoff uncertainty; participants do not use lies as a strategy to secure their payoffs

Uncertain lies How payoff uncertainty affects dishonesty. Jeremy Celse et al. Journal of Economic Psychology, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joep.2018.09.003

Highlights
•    Participants’ dishonesty seems to be independent to payoff uncertainty.
•    Participants lie when lies generate certain payoffs.
•    Participants do not lie more when lies can reduce largely payoff uncertainty.
•    Participants do not lie more when lies can reduce marginally payoff uncertainty.
•    Participants do not use lies as a strategy to secure their payoffs.

Abstract: In this paper we experimentally explore how lying changes when its consequences are not certain. We argue that, when consequences are not certain, lying is morally less costly because the action of lying does not mechanically result in the obtainment of the benefit and this produces a lower feeling of responsibility in case the benefit is obtained. Moreover, we argue that the smaller the impact of lying on the probability to obtain the benefit the lower is the feeling of responsibility. We test our predictions using a modified die-under-the-cup task where misreporting, rather than delivering a higher payoff, increases the likelihood to get a prize. Overall we have four treatments where the reported outcome affects the probability to get a prize to a different extent. Contrary to our prediction, we do not observe any treatment difference suggesting that lying is independent to the extent to which it increases the probability to get a benefit. This result suggests that the willingness to lie to secure a benefit and the willingness to lie to marginally increase the probability to obtain a benefit are very similar.

Further declines in divorce rates: Marriage is become more selective, and more stable, even as attitudes toward divorce are becoming more permissive, & cohabitation has grown less stable

Cohen, Philip N. 2018. “The Coming Divorce Decline.” SocArXiv. September 15. doi:10.31235/osf.io/h2sk6

Abstract: This paper analyzes the odds of divorce from 2008 to 2016 (soon 2017), using multivariate models of marital events data from the American Community Survey. I find that the falling observed divorce rates over the last decade are apparent in the fully adjusted model as well. Further, age specific divorce rates show that the trend in the last decade has been driven by younger women (despite higher divorce rates among older women than in the past). Finally, I analyze the characteristics of newly-married couples over the last decade, and identify trends that portend further declines in divorce rates. Marriage is become more selective, and more stable, even as attitudes toward divorce are becoming more permissive, and cohabitation has grown less stable. The U.S. is progressing toward a system in which marriage is rarer, and more stable, than it was in the past, representing an increasingly central component of the structure of social inequality.

Of 1857 small mammal visits we recorded, only two occasions showed evidence of what could be considered as voluntary wheel running behavior; over hundred-fold fewer than previously reported

Does voluntary wheel running exist in Neotropical wild mammals? Peter van Lunteren et al. bioRxiv, https://doi.org/10.1101/409409

Abstract: Running wheels are frequently used to improve the welfare of captive animals, increase environmental enrichment, and, by doing so, reduce stereotypic behaviors. It is, however, still debated whether or not wheel running itself is a stereotypy. New evidence emerged when Meijer and Robbers (2014, Proc. Royal Soc. B) reported voluntary wheel running of wild animals in the Netherlands. Since stereotypic behaviors are exclusively attributed to captive animals, the occurrence of wheel running in the wild suggests that this behavior is non-stereotypic. Our study explores that same line of investigation, examining whether wild animals will voluntarily use running wheels in a natural area in Paraguay in comparison to the urban and semi-urban settings in the Netherlands. Of the 1857 small mammal visits we recorded, only two occasions showed evidence of what could be considered as wheel running behavior; over hundredfold fewer than previously reported. The potential reasons for the observed difference in wheel running activity, such as different species pool or seasonality, are discussed. The difference, however, is likely to be due to the much lower probability of Neotropical mammals in a remote natural site encountering man-made objects and experiencing urbanization-related behavioral patterns. Additionally, in the light of our findings, we review the definition of wheel running as a stereotypic behavior.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Paraphilic thoughts & behaviors are not really a deviation from normalcy, rather they are quite widespread in the young population: Men report a higher prevalence of voyeurism, exhibitionism, sadism, & frotteurism; women a higher prevalence of fetishism and masochism

Castellini G, Rellini AH, Appignanesi C, et al. Deviance or Normalcy? The Relationship Among Paraphilic Thoughts and Behaviors, Hypersexuality, and Psychopathology in a Sample of University Students. The Journal of Sexual Medicine. Volume 15, Issue 9, September 2018, Pages 1322-1335. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsxm.2018.07.015

Abstract

Introduction: The actual definitions of paraphilic thoughts or behaviors and hypersexuality are still a matter of debate in the scientific community, and few studies have evaluated their psychopathological correlates in non-clinical samples of both men and women.

Aim: This study aimed at shedding light on the gender differences in terms of frequency of paraphilic fantasies and behaviors, and the relationship among paraphilias, hypersexuality, and general psychopathology.

Methods: A sample of 775 university students (243 men, 532 women) was recruited from 6 Italian universities using questionnaires posted in social networks. Paraphilic behaviors, fantasies, and masturbation during these fantasies were evaluated, as well as hypersexuality, psychopathological correlates, self-perceived gender identity, and a history of adverse childhood conditions.

Main Outcome Measures: Participants were assessed on the presence of paraphilic fantasies, behaviors, and masturbation related to paraphilic thoughts, and evaluated by means of the Symptom Checklist 90-Revised, the Hypersexual Disorder Screening Inventory, the International Index of Erectile Function, the Female Sexual Function Index, the Gender Identity/Gender Dysphoria Questionnaire, and the Childhood Experience of Care and Abuse Questionnaire.

Results: In the present survey, 50.6% of the men and 41.5% of the women reported at least 1 behavior considered paraphilic. A gender difference in the prevalence of the main paraphilic interests and behaviors was observed, with men reporting a higher prevalence of voyeurism, exhibitionism, sadism, and frotteurism, and a higher prevalence of fetishism and masochism in women. Both general psychopathology and sexual dysfunctions were associated with hypersexuality, rather than with the content of sexual fantasies. Finally, an association between childhood adversities and hypersexuality was found in women but not in men.

Clinical Implications: Understanding the psychopathological correlates of paraphilic fantasies/behaviors and hypersexuality may allow clinicians to develop specific psychological and pharmacological interventions.

Strengths & Limitations: This is one of the few studies assessing paraphilic phenomenology and psychopathological correlates of hypersexuality in a non-clinical sample of both men and women.

Conclusion: The results seem to demonstrate that paraphilic thoughts and behaviors are not really a deviation from normalcy, rather they are quite widespread in the young population, and the distinction between healthy and pathological sexual interests may be better replaced by an all-encompassing approach considering ego-dystonic sexuality, hypersexuality, and their psychopathological correlates.

The First-Daughter Effect: The Impact of Fathering Daughters on Men’s Preferences for Gender-Equality Policies

The First-Daughter Effect: The Impact of Fathering Daughters on Men’s Preferences for Gender-Equality Policies. Elizabeth A Sharrow, Jesse H Rhodes, Tatishe M Nteta, Jill S Greenlee. Public Opinion Quarterly, https://doi.org/10.1093/poq/nfy037

Abstract: An extensive literature on the politics of the family suggests that familial relationships play a central role in individuals’ political socialization and can ultimately shape one’s policy preferences. A current debate within this literature deals with the impact of daughters on fathers’ political attitudes. In this article, we address this debate in relation to a specific set of policy preferences and ask: Does the experience of fathering daughters affect men’s opinions toward gender-equality policies? In addressing this question, this study examines three theoretically motivated propositions: first, that having a daughter leads men to see the benefits of and support public policies that aim to reduce gender inequality; second, that fathers with a larger proportion of daughters express stronger support for these policies; and finally, that having a daughter as a man’s first child is a critical event in the political socialization of men, such that this experience of “first-daughterhood” will lead to higher levels of support for gender-equality policies. We use original representative survey data from a module on the 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES) to test these three hypotheses. The results of our analyses suggest that the experience of having a daughter as a first child—but not the effect of having a daughter in general nor the experience of fathering a higher proportion of daughters—significantly increases fathers’ support for policies designed to increase gender equality.

Confirmation bias theory of salience: consumers tend to disregard information (like a tax) that does not align with their intention to purchase an item, and this lack of alignment increases in the size of the tax

Naomi Feldman, Jacob Goldin, and Tatiana Homonoff (2018), Raising the Stakes: Experimental Evidence on the Endogeneity of Taxpayer Mistakes, National Tax Journal, 71:2, pp. 201-230. DOI: doi.org/10.17310/ntj.2018.2.01

Abstract: Recent evidence suggests consumers fail to account for taxes that are excluded from a good's displayed price. What is less understood is whether and how such "salience effects" depend on the magnitude of the tax. We conduct a laboratory shopping experiment with real stakes to study the effect of tax size on salience. We find no evidence that salience effects decline as the tax rate increases; we document a statistically significant salience effect at a tax rate that is considerably larger than the tax rates at which such effects have been previously documented. In fact, our results are more consistent with the hypothesis that higher taxes make consumers less attentive (at least for the range of taxes we consider). This result can be explained by a confirmation bias theory of salience: consumers tend to disregard information (like a tax) that does not align with their intention to purchase an item, and this lack of alignment increases in the size of the tax

Gender-Based Occupational Segregation and Sex Differences in Sensory, Motor, and Spatial Aptitudes

Gender-Based Occupational Segregation and Sex Differences in Sensory, Motor, and Spatial Aptitudes. Michael Baker, Kirsten Cornelson. Demography, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13524-018-0706-3

Abstract: Research on sex differences in humans documents gender differences in sensory, motor, and spatial aptitudes. These aptitudes, as captured by Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) codes, predict the occupational choices of men and women in the directions indicated by this research. We simulate that eliminating selection on these skills reduces the Duncan index of gender-based occupational segregation by 20 % to 23 % in 1970 and 2012, respectively. Eliminating selection on DOT variables capturing other accounts of this segregation has a smaller impact.

The psychology of vegetarianism: Recent advances and future directions

The psychology of vegetarianism: Recent advances and future directions. Daniel L. Rosenfeld. Appetite, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2018.09.011

Abstract: Whereas vegetarianism has long garnered attention from nutritional science and philosophy, psychological research exploring this eating behavior has emerged only in the past few decades. Six years ago, Ruby (2012) reviewed the extant literature on the psychology of vegetarianism, showcasing its promise as “a blossoming field of study.” In the time since, this line of research truly has blossomed, as subsequent work has addressed prior knowledge gaps and initiated new lines of inquiry. While evidence on previously studied topics of dietary motivation, moral values, gender, differences between vegetarians and vegans, barriers to dietary change, and disordered eating has continued to expand, new lines of research on identity, social experiences, flexitarianism, culture, and prospective vegetarianism have emerged. Recent psychometric advancements, moreover, have constructed useful measures to assess relevant constructs. The current review synthesizes this amalgam of research, identifying emergent themes and highlighting promising directions for future inquiry.

What people prefer and what they think they prefer in short- and long-term partners: The effects of the menstrual cycle phase, hormonal contraception, pregnancy, and the marital and the parenthood status on partner preferences

What people prefer and what they think they prefer in short- and long-term partners. The effects of the phase of the menstrual cycle, hormonal contraception, pregnancy, and the marital and the parenthood status on partner preferences. Jaroslav Flegr et al. Evolution and Human Behavior, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2018.09.003

Abstract: The issue with most studies concerned with mate selection preferences in humans is that they rely on declarations and rational actions of experimental subjects, which are affected by their pre-conceived opinions and prejudices. Moreover, current research suggests that subcortical structures and processes, rather than the neocortex, play the principal role in actual partner choice behaviour. Consequently, we have only limited information on how relevant our current knowledge is in relation to real-life human ethology. To address these issues, we surveyed 2718 women and 4073 men between the ages of 16–50 and compared their declared and observed preferences for various properties in short-term and long-term partners. We found differences between what the subjects declared to prefer and what they preferred in reality: for example, men declared that wealth was the second least desirable property out of eleven in short-term partners, but we observed that in reality, they considered wealth the third most important factor after charisma and sense of humour. Similarly, while women declared that dominance and masculinity were desirable properties in short-term partners, in the observational part of the study, they showed little preference for these traits. Furthermore, we investigated the effects of the phase of the menstrual cycle, hormonal contraception, pregnancy, and partnership and parenthood status on these preferences. We found some support for the good parents hypothesis and no support for the good genes and the immunocompetence handicap hypotheses when observed, rather than declared preferences were considered. We also detected that hormonal contraception, and parenthood and partnership status influenced declared preferences in considerable ways, but had only a small, if any, impact on observed preferences. We suggest interpreting the results of studies reliant on declarations and rational actions of experimental subjects with great caution.

First detect gender, then attractiveness: Attractiveness follows gender in terms of underlying neural processes; early face attractiveness assessment seems to rely on gender-stereotypes

First gender, then attractiveness: Indications of gender-specific attractiveness processing via ERP onsets. Claus-Christian Carbon e al. Neuroscience Letters
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2018.09.009


Highlights
•    Facial gender and attractiveness: Key features to study face processes.
•    Processing onsets estimated by LRP- and N200-effects.
•    Attractiveness follows gender in terms of underlying neural processes.
•    Early face attractiveness assessment seems to rely on gender-stereotypes.
•    Used paradigm is promising to further uncover the time course of face perception.

Abstract: We followed an ERP-based approach to gain knowledge on the dependence and temporal order of two essential processes of face perception: attractiveness and gender. By combining a dual-choice task with a go/nogo-paradigm focusing on the LRP and N200-effect, we could estimate the processing times and onsets of both types of face processing. The analyses of the LRP revealed that gender aspects were processed much earlier than attractiveness. Whereas gender was already analysed 243.9 ms post-stimulus onset, attractiveness came into play 58.6 ms later, i.e. after a post-stimulus onset delay of 302.5 ms. This resulting pattern was mirrored by the analyses of the N200-effect, an effect available mainly frontally which is supposed to correlate with the inhibition of inappropriate responses. Taking the onset of the N200 effect as an estimator for the moment at which information has been processed sufficiently for task decision, we could trace the N200 effect at 152.0 ms for go/nogo-decision on gender, while not as early as 206.7 ms on attractiveness. In sum, processing of facial attractiveness seems to be based on gender-specific aesthetic pre-processing, for instance via activating gender-specific attractiveness prototypes which show focused processing of certain facial aspects.

From 2017: Female Waist-to-Hip Ratio (WHR) is correlated to divorce frequency

Chiappa, P., & Singh, S. (2017). Sexual dimorphism in waist-to-hip ratio and divorce frequency in human populations. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, 11(3), 221-241. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/ebs0000100

Abstract: The current study tests a series of evolutionary predictions about the changing opportunities for human male mate choice and female Waist-to-Hip Ratio (WHR) across populations. We predicted that the divorce frequency (that we used as a reflection of the frequency of male mate choice) would be positively correlated with sexual dimorphism in WHRs across human populations. With published data, we built 2 samples, 1 at the international level and the other at the national level. The results showed that sexual dimorphism in WHR is positively correlated with the divorce-to-married ratio in 68 countries worldwide, as well as in the 32 Mexican states. Taken together, our results suggest that the opportunity for human male mate choice, based on female WHR, varies among human populations. We discuss the possibility of connecting this variation to human diversity in divorce practices. We conclude that human male mate choice is a circumstantially conditioned selective process responsible for such dimorphism and suggest that cultural and social aspects are potentially powerful in examining the factors capable of strengthening or weakening the selective process.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Claim: Conversion To Buddhism Has Brought Literacy, Gender Equality And Well-Being To Dalits (2017)

Conversion To Buddhism Has Brought Literacy, Gender Equality And Well-Being To Dalits. Manu Moudgil, IndiaSpend, July 1, 2017. www.indiaspend.com/cover-story/conversion-to-buddhism-has-brought-literacy-gender-equality-and-well-being-to-dalits-18224

There are more than 8.4 million Buddhists in India and 87% of them are converts from other religions, mostly Dalits who changed religion to escape Hindu caste oppression. The remaining 13% of Buddhists belong to traditional communities of the north-east and northern Himalayan regions.

Today, these converts to Buddhism–also called neo-Buddhists–enjoy better literacy rates, greater work participation and sex ratio than Scheduled Caste Hindus, the group from which most converts emerge, according to an IndiaSpend analysis of 2011 Census data.

Given that converts make for 87% of the Buddhist population in India and most of them are Dalits, our analysis goes with the assumption that the benefits of growth in the community accrue mostly to the Dalits.

Buddhists have a literacy rate of 81.29%, higher than the national average of 72.98%, according to Census data [http://www.censusindia.gov.in/2011census/Religion_PCA.html]. The literacy rate among Hindus is 73.27% while Scheduled Castes have a lower literacy rate of 66.07%.

“Most Dalits at the senior levels of administration are Buddhists,” said Satpal Tanwar, a leader of Bhim Army, the activist organisation accused of the Saharanpur violence of May 5, 2017, and now mulling mass conversion of Dalits to Buddhism. “This is because Buddhism lends them self-confidence as compared to the caste system which tends to rationalise their low social status through vague concepts like bad karma.”


Better literacy rates

It is only in the traditional communities of the northeast, especially in Mizoram (48.11%) and Arunachal Pradesh (57.89%), that Buddhists have a lower literacy rate than the population average.

On the other hand, Chhattisgarh (87.34%), Maharashtra (83.17%) and Jharkhand (80.41%) have the most number of literate Buddhists. The conversion movement has been the strongest in Maharashtra, followed by Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh.

           [full article with maps and links in the URL above]


h/ t: anonymous contributor

The fallacy of role substitution (the fallacy of differential reasoning): Acceptability of two different lines of reasoning (e.g., one for friends and one for enemies)

The fallacy of role substitution (the fallacy of differential reasoning), in Smart Is asStupid Does: Exploring bases of erroneous reasoning of smart people regarding learning and other disabilities. Elena L. Grigorenko & Donna Lockery, chp 8 in Why smart people can be so stupid, Robert J. Sternberg (ed.). Cambridge, MA: Yale University, 2002.

The fallacy of role substitution (the fallacy of differential reasoning). Excerpt.

This fallacy refers to a type of reasoning, the structure and content of which changes depending on the position from which the arguing is done. The fallacy invokes the acceptability of two different lines of reasoning (e.g., one for friends and one for enemies). As an illustration of this fallacy, consider the following.

The City of Manchester Democratic Party Committee endorsed Peter Leonard, a fifty-three-year-old man with a specific reading disability who had an IQ of 80 and reading skills at a third-grade level (Good Morning America, Mar. 19, 1998). Mr. Leonard had won a seat on the Manchester school board. The city’s Republican leader, Marc Pappas, said that Leonard was a nice man who had the best intentions, but he questioned whether Leonard would be able to represent his constituents adequately. What is noteworthy, however, is that Pappas admitted that if Leonard had been a Republican with this same learning disability, the Republicans would have supported him (Union Leader, Nov. 12, 1999).

Here, while reasoning as a Republican opposing a Democratic Party candidate, Mr. Pappas questioned the quality of the candidate—the concern being not whether Mr. Leonard did or did not have a learning disability, but whether he could represent his constituents adequately. Mr. Pappas’s reasoning changed, however, when he was asked what he and his party colleagues would do were Mr. Leonard a Republican. Put in this conditional position, Mr. Pappas did not bring up the question of Mr. Leonard’s personal qualities but concentrated instead on his group membership. This kind of reasoning, which stresses the importance of being correctly a≈liated politically rather than of making justified and consistent inferences following common sense, is quite e√ective in creating the stereotype according to which people with learning disabilities will be given special considerations.

How Does the World Google the Internet, Anxiety, and Happiness?

How Does the World Google the Internet, Anxiety, and Happiness? Snehasish Banerjee. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, Vol. 21, No. 9, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2018.0206

Abstract: This article investigates how the world uses Google, the most popular search engine, to look for information about the “Internet” as well as two symptoms of emotional well-being, namely “anxiety” and “happiness.” Data corresponding to 202 countries were collected for a period of 5 years from 2013 to 2017 using Google Trends, a free surveillance tool that reports data from the search engine. The search volume of “Internet” was positively correlated with that of “anxiety” as well as “happiness.” Furthermore, the article analyzed if the search volumes correlated with actual emotional well-being measured using the World Happiness Index provided by the United Nations (UN) and the Life Satisfaction Index provided by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The search volume of “anxiety” showed positive correlations with both the indices. The results are discussed, and new directions for future research are identified.

Supernatural agents reliably appear in nightmares & unpleasant dreams in association with diminished agency in the dreamer; diminished agency in an individual may facilitate supernatural agent cognitions

Cognitions in Dreams. Patrick McNamara et al. Journal of Cognition and Culture, Volume 18, Issue 3-4, pages 428 – 450. DOI: 10.1163/15685373-12340038

Purpose: To test the hypothesis that supernatural agents (SAs) appear in nightmares and dreams in association with evidence of diminished agency within the dreamer/dream ego.

Methods: Content analyses of 120 nightmares and 71 unpleasant control dream narratives.

Results: We found that SAs overtly occur in about one quarter of unpleasant dreams and about half of nightmares. When SAs appear in a dream or nightmare they are reliably associated with diminished agency in the dreamer. Diminished agency within the dreamer occurs in over 90% of dreams (whether nightmares or unpleasant dreams) that have overt SAs. In about half of nightmare reports the SA appears suddenly with no clear emergence pattern. In some two thirds of unpleasant dreams, however, the SA emerged from a human character. The SA’s gender was indeterminate in most dreams with SAs but the SA communicated with the dreamer in 24% of nightmares and only 13% of unpleasant dreams. In most nightmares, the SA intended to harm the dreamer and in one third of nightmares the dreamer was the victim of physical agression by the SA. SA intentions in unpleasant dreams were more varied and actually benign in 13% of cases.

Conclusion: Supernatural agents reliably appear in nightmares and unpleasant dreams in association with diminished agency in the dreamer. Diminished agency in an individual may facilitate supernatural agent cognitions.

Keywords: dreams; religious cognition; nightmares; supernatural agents; agency

Size distortions are intrinsic to self-face representation, characterised for a tendency to overestimate its width: The metric map for self-face representation shows larger distortion for the nose, followed by the mouth and the eyes

My true face: Unmasking one's own face representation. Laura Mora et al. Acta Psychologica, Volume 191, November 2018, Pages 63-68. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2018.08.014

Highlights
•    Size distortions are intrinsic to self-face representation, characterised for a tendency to overestimate its width.
•    Self-face length perception is compartmentalised into upper and bottom regions.
•    The metric map for self-face representation shows larger distortion for the nose, followed by the mouth and the eyes.
•    There is an asymmetrical representation of the face, with over representation of the right hemispace.
•    Face representation relies on influences from visual experience, typical body posture, frequency of use and functionality.

Abstract: Face recognition has been the focus of multiple studies, but little is still known on how we represent the structure of one's own face. Most of the studies have focused on the topic of visual and haptic face recognition, but the metric representation of different features of one's own face is relatively unknown. We investigated the metric representation of the face in young adults by developing a proprioceptive pointing task to locate face landmarks in the first-person perspective. Our data revealed a large overestimation of width for all face features which resembles, in part, the size in somatosensory cortical representation. In contrast, face length was compartmentalised in two different regions: upper (underestimated) and bottom (overestimated); indicating size differences possibly due to functionality. We also identified shifts of the location judgments, with all face areas perceived closer to the body than they really were, due to a potential influence of the self-frame of reference. More importantly, the representation of the face appeared asymmetrical, with an overrepresentation of right side of the face, due to the influence of lateralization biases for strong right-handers. We suggest that these effects may be due to functionality influences and experience that affect the construction of face structural representation, going beyond the parallel of the somatosensory homunculus.

People’s judgments of morally-significant events were affected by the likelihood of the event: They were more upset about events that were unexpected (a robbery at a clothing store) than events that were more expected (a robbery at a convenience store)

Powell, Derek, and Zachary Horne. 2018. “Expectations Bias Moral Evaluations.” PsyArXiv. September 13. doi:10.31234/osf.io/s7fu2

Abstract: People’s expectations play an important role in their reactions to events. There is often disappointment when events fail to meet expectations and a special thrill to having one’s expectations exceeded. We propose that expectations influence evaluations through information-theoretic principles: less expected events do more to inform us about the state of the world than do more expected events. An implication of this proposal is that people may have inappropriately muted responses to morally significant but expected events. In two preregistered experiments, we found that people’s judgments of morally-significant events were affected by the likelihood of that event. People were more upset about events that were unexpected (e.g., a robbery at a clothing store) than events  that were more expected (e.g., a robbery at a convenience store). We argue that this bias has pernicious moral consequences, including leading to reduced concern for victims in most need of help.

Cross-national gender differences in the enrollment in & completion of science, technology, engineering, & mathematics M. Open Online Courses: Females were less likely than males to enroll in STEM MOOCs, but were equally likely to complete them

Cross-national comparison of gender differences in the enrollment in and completion of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics Massive Open Online Courses. Suhang Jiang et al. PLOS One, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0202463

Abstract: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have the potential to democratize education by providing learners with access to high-quality free online courses. However, evidence supporting this democratization across countries is limited. We explored the question of MOOC democratization by conducting cross-national comparisons of gender differences in the enrollment in and completion of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) MOOCs. We found that while females were less likely than males to enroll in STEM MOOCs, they were equally likely to complete them. Further, a higher probability to enroll in STEM MOOCs and smaller gender gaps in STEM MOOC enrollment and completion were found in less gender-equal and less economically developed countries.