Sunday, July 30, 2017

The smartphone and the driver’s cognitive workload: A comparison of Apple, Google, and Microsoft’s intelligent personal assistants

Strayer, D. L., Cooper, J. M., Turrill, J., Coleman, J. R., & Hopman, R. J. (2017). The smartphone and the driver’s cognitive workload: A comparison of Apple, Google, and Microsoft’s intelligent personal assistants. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology/Revue canadienne de psychologie expérimentale, 71(2), 93-110.

Abstract: The goal of this research was to examine the impact of voice-based interactions using 3 different intelligent personal assistants (Apple’s Siri, Google’s Google Now for Android phones, and Microsoft’s Cortana) on the cognitive workload of the driver. In 2 experiments using an instrumented vehicle on suburban roadways, we measured the cognitive workload of drivers when they used the voice-based features of each smartphone to place a call, select music, or send text messages. Cognitive workload was derived from primary task performance through video analysis, secondary-task performance using the Detection Response Task (DRT), and subjective mental workload. We found that workload was significantly higher than that measured in the single-task drive. There were also systematic differences between the smartphones: The Google system placed lower cognitive demands on the driver than the Apple and Microsoft systems, which did not differ. Video analysis revealed that the difference in mental workload between the smartphones was associated with the number of system errors, the time to complete an action, and the complexity and intuitiveness of the devices. Finally, surprisingly high levels of cognitive workload were observed when drivers were interacting with the devices: “on-task” workload measures did not systematically differ from that associated with a mentally demanding Operation Span (OSPAN) task. The analysis also found residual costs associated using each of the smartphones that took a significant time to dissipate. The data suggest that caution is warranted in the use of smartphone voice-based technology in the vehicle because of the high levels of cognitive workload associated with these interactions

Genetic and environmental sources of individual differences in views on aging

Kornadt, A. E., & Kandler, C. (2017). Genetic and environmental sources of individual differences in views on aging. Psychology and Aging, 32(4), 388-399.

Abstract: Views on aging are central psychosocial variables in the aging process, but knowledge about their determinants is still fragmental. Thus, the authors investigated the degree to which genetic and environmental factors contribute to individual differences in various domains of views on aging (wisdom, work, fitness, and family), and whether these variance components vary across ages. They analyzed data from 350 monozygotic and 322 dizygotic twin pairs from the Midlife Development in the U.S. (MIDUS) study, aged 25–74. Individual differences in views on aging were mainly due to individual-specific environmental and genetic effects. However, depending on the domain, genetic and environmental contributions to the variance differed. Furthermore, for some domains, variability was larger for older participants; this was attributable to increases in environmental components. This study extends research on genetic and environmental sources of psychosocial variables and stimulates future studies investigating the etiology of views on aging across the life span.

Investigating the origins of political views: Biases in explanation predict conservative attitudes in children and adults

Investigating the origins of political views: Biases in explanation predict conservative attitudes in children and adults. Larisa Hussak and Andrei Cimpian. Developmental Science,

Abstract: We tested the hypothesis that political attitudes are influenced by an information-processing factor - namely, a bias in the content of everyday explanations. Because many societal phenomena are enormously complex, people's understanding of them often relies on heuristic shortcuts. For instance, when generating explanations for such phenomena (e.g., why does this group have low status?), people often rely on facts that they can retrieve easily from memory - facts that are skewed toward inherent or intrinsic features (e.g., this group is unintelligent). We hypothesized that this bias in the content of heuristic explanations leads to a tendency to (1) view socioeconomic stratification as acceptable and (2) prefer current societal arrangements to alternative ones, two hallmarks of conservative ideology. Moreover, since the inherence bias in explanation is present across development, we expected it to shape children's proto-political judgments as well. Three studies with adults and 4- to 8-year-old children (N = 784) provided support for these predictions: Not only did individual differences in reliance on inherent explanations uniquely predict endorsement of conservative views (particularly the stratification-supporting component; Study 1), but manipulations of this explanatory bias also had downstream consequences for political attitudes in both children and adults (Studies 2 and 3). This work contributes to our understanding of the origins of political attitudes.

Peer influence on children’s reading skills: A social network analysis of elementary school classrooms

Cooc, N., & Kim, J. S. (2017). Peer influence on children’s reading skills: A social network analysis of elementary school classrooms. Journal of Educational Psychology, 109(5), 727-740.

Research has found that peers influence the academic achievement of children. However, the mechanisms through which peers matter remain underexplored. The present study examined the relationship between peers’ reading skills and children’s own reading skills among 4,215 total second- and third-graders in 294 classrooms across 41 schools. One innovation of the study was the use of social network analysis to directly assess who children reported talking to or seeking help from and whether children who identified peers with stronger reading skills experienced higher reading skills. The results indicated that children on average identified peers with stronger reading skills and the positive association between peer reading skills and children’s own reading achievement was strongest for children with lower initial levels of reading skills. The study has implications for how teachers can leverage the advantages of peers via in-class activities

The costs and benefits of sexual communal motivation for couples coping with vulvodynia

Muise, A., Bergeron, S., Impett, E. A., & Rosen, N. O. (2017). The costs and benefits of sexual communal motivation for couples coping with vulvodynia. Health Psychology, 36(8), 819-827.

Abstract: Objective: Most women with vulvodynia—a prevalent, chronic, vulvovaginal pain condition—engage in intercourse with their partners despite experiencing pain. Their motivation for doing so appears to be interpersonally oriented (e.g., to meet their partners’ sexual needs), but the costs and benefits of such motivations are unknown. We tested whether sexual communal strength (being responsive to a partner’s sexual needs) and unmitigated sexual communion (focusing on a partner’s sexual needs to the exclusion of one’s own needs) were associated with sexual function, and sexual and relationship satisfaction in couples with coping with vulvodynia. Method: In an 8-week daily experience study, 95 women diagnosed with vulvodynia and their partners reported on sexual communal strength, unmitigated sexual communion, sexual function, and sexual and relationship satisfaction on days when sexual activity occurred. Results: On days when women reported higher sexual communal strength, both they and their partners reported greater sexual function and satisfaction, and their partners reported greater relationship satisfaction. When women’s partners reported higher sexual communal strength, both they and the women reported better sexual function, partners reported greater sexual satisfaction, and women reported greater relationship satisfaction. On days when women reported higher unmitigated sexual communion, they reported poorer sexual function and lower sexual satisfaction, and both the women and partners reported lower relationship satisfaction. When women’s partners reported higher unmitigated sexual communion, they reported poorer sexual function. Conclusions: These novel aspects of sexual motivation should be targeted in psychological interventions aimed to improve the sexual and relationship well-being of affected couples.

A large-scale horizontal-vertical illusion produced with small objects separated in depth

Li, Z., & Durgin, F. H. (2017). A large-scale horizontal-vertical illusion produced with small objects separated in depth. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 43(8), 1473-1479.

Abstract: We conducted two experiments (total N = 81) to investigate the basis for the large-scale horizontal-vertical illusion (HVI), which is typically measured as 15%–20% and has previously been linked to the presence of a ground plane. In a preliminary experiment, vertical rods of similar angular extents that were either large (4.5–7.5 m) and far, or small (0.9–1.5 m) and near, were matched to horizontal extents in a virtual environment by adjustment of horizontal gaps or rods. Large/far objects showed a larger HVI (∼13%) than did small objects (∼7%), as has been shown before, but the horizontal gap normally used to measure the large-scale HVI was not the source of the larger bias. In the second experiment, we found that simply separating the comparison rod in depth from the vertical rod (thus forcing an evaluation of size at a distance) was sufficient to produce a large HVI (17%), even with small rods. The results are interpreted in light of evidence that the large-scale HVI is dependent on ground plane orientation and may be related to differential angular expansion in the visual coding of elevation and azimuth.

Resource loss and gain following military reserve duty in Israel: An assessment of conservation of resources (COR) theory

Goldfarb, R., & Ben-Zur, H. (2017). Resource loss and gain following military reserve duty in Israel: An assessment of conservation of resources (COR) theory. International Journal of Stress Management, 24(2), 135-155.

Abstract: According to Israeli law, citizens aged 20–40 are obligated to fulfill military reserve duty in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Guided by the theory of conservation of resources (COR; Hobfoll, 2001), this study examined the association of resource loss and gain (economic, time, familial, work, and personal resources) with level of reserve combat soldiers’ distress and satisfaction with their service following the termination of their reserve duty. The sample consisted of 139 male Israeli citizens, ages 23–40, serving as reserve soldiers in the IDF. Using an Internet-based questionnaire, prior to the start of their reserve duty (Time 1), the respondents completed questionnaires assessing psychological traits, social support, and psychological distress. Following the reserve service period (Time 2), the respondents completed a short inventory of resource loss and gain related to the service, and assessments of psychological distress and satisfaction with the service. The main results showed that resource loss was higher on average than resource gain and was associated positively with distress and negatively with satisfaction with the service, whereas resource gain was positively associated with satisfaction only. The findings are compatible with COR theory and point to areas in which reserve soldiers could be assisted in fulfilling the task of maintaining national security while simultaneously preserving personal well-being.

The development of real-time stability supports visual working memory performance: Young children’s feature binding can be improved through perceptual structure

Simmering, V. R., & Wood, C. M. (2017). The development of real-time stability supports visual working memory performance: Young children’s feature binding can be improved through perceptual structure. Developmental Psychology, 53(8), 1474-1493.

Abstract: Working memory is a basic cognitive process that predicts higher-level skills. A central question in theories of working memory development is the generality of the mechanisms proposed to explain improvements in performance. Prior theories have been closely tied to particular tasks and/or age groups, limiting their generalizability. The cognitive dynamics theory of visual working memory development has been proposed to overcome this limitation. From this perspective, developmental improvements arise through the coordination of cognitive processes to meet demands of different behavioral tasks. This notion is described as real-time stability, and can be probed through experiments that assess how changing task demands impact children’s performance. The current studies test this account by probing visual working memory for colors and shapes in a change detection task that compares detection of changes to new features versus swaps in color-shape binding. In Experiment 1, 3- to 4-year-old children showed impairments specific to binding swaps, as predicted by decreased real-time stability early in development; 5- to 6-year-old children showed a slight advantage on binding swaps, but 7- to 8-year-old children and adults showed no difference across trial types. Experiment 2 tested the proposed explanation of young children’s binding impairment through added perceptual structure, which supported the stability and precision of feature localization in memory—a process key to detecting binding swaps. This additional structure improved young children’s binding swap detection, but not new-feature detection or adults’ performance. These results provide further evidence for the cognitive dynamics and real-time stability explanation of visual working memory development

Babies and math: A meta-analysis of infants’ simple arithmetic competence

Christodoulou, J., Lac, A., & Moore, D. S. (2017). Babies and math: A meta-analysis of infants’ simple arithmetic competence. Developmental Psychology, 53(8), 1405-1417.

Abstract: Wynn’s (1992) seminal research reported that infants looked longer at stimuli representing “incorrect” versus “correct” solutions of basic addition and subtraction problems and concluded that infants have innate arithmetical abilities. Since then, infancy researchers have attempted to replicate this effect, yielding mixed findings. The present meta-analysis aimed to systematically compile and synthesize all of the primary replications and extensions of Wynn (1992) that have been conducted to date. The synthesis included 12 studies consisting of 26 independent samples and 550 unique infants. The summary effect, computed using a random-effects model, was statistically significant, d = +0.34, p < .001, suggesting that the phenomenon Wynn originally reported is reliable. Five different tests of publication bias yielded mixed results, suggesting that while a moderate level of publication bias is probable, the summary effect would be positive even after accounting for this issue. Out of the 10 metamoderators tested, none were found to be significant, but most of the moderator subgroups were significantly different from a null effect. Although this meta-analysis provides support for Wynn’s original findings, further research is warranted to understand the underlying mechanisms responsible for infants’ visual preferences for “mathematically incorrect” test stimuli.

Catching fire and spreading it: A glimpse into displayed entrepreneurial passion in crowdfunding campaigns

Li, J. (J.), Chen, X.-P., Kotha, S., & Fisher, G. (2017). Catching fire and spreading it: A glimpse into displayed entrepreneurial passion in crowdfunding campaigns. Journal of Applied Psychology, 102(7), 1075-1090.

Abstract: Crowdfunding is an emerging phenomenon that enables entrepreneurs to solicit financial contributions for new projects from mass audiences. Drawing on the elaboration likelihood model of persuasion and emotional contagion theory, the authors examined the importance of displayed entrepreneurial passion when seeking resources in a crowdfunding context. They proposed that entrepreneurs’ displayed passion in the introductory video for a crowdfunding project increases viewers’ experienced enthusiasm about the project (i.e., passion contagion), which then prompts them to contribute financially and to share campaign information via social-media channels. Such sharing further facilitates campaign success. In addition, the authors proposed that perceived project innovativeness strengthens the positive effect of displayed passion on social-media exposure and the funding amount a project garners. They first tested their hypotheses in 2 studies using a combination of survey and archival data from the world’s 2 most popular crowdfunding platforms: Indiegogo (Study 1) and Kickstarter (Study 2). They then conducted an experiment (Study 3) to validate the proposed passion contagion process, and the effect of displayed entrepreneurial passion at the individual level. Findings from these 3 studies significantly supported their hypotheses. The authors discuss the theoretical and practical implications of their findings.

Robin Hood effects on motivation in math: Family interest moderates the effects of relevance interventions

Häfner, I., Flunger, B., Dicke, A.-L., Gaspard, H., Brisson, B. M., Nagengast, B., & Trautwein, U. (2017). Robin Hood effects on motivation in math: Family interest moderates the effects of relevance interventions. Developmental Psychology, 53(8), 1522-1539.

Abstract: Using a cluster randomized field trial, the present study tested whether 2 relevance interventions affected students’ value beliefs, self-concept, and effort in math differently depending on family background (socioeconomic status, family interest (FI), and parental utility value). Eighty-two classrooms were randomly assigned to either 1 of 2 intervention conditions or a control group. Data from 1,916 students (Mage = 14.62, SDage = 0.47) and their predominantly Caucasian middle-class parents were obtained via separate questionnaires. Multilevel regression analyses with cross-level interactions were used to investigate differential intervention effects on students’ motivational beliefs 6 weeks and 5 months after the intervention. Socioeconomic status, FI, and parental utility values were investigated as moderators of the intervention effects. The intervention conditions were especially effective in promoting students’ utility, attainment, intrinsic value beliefs, and effort 5 months after the intervention for students whose parents reported lower levels of math interest. Furthermore, students whose parents reported low math utility values especially profited in terms of their utility and attainment math values 5 months after the intervention. No systematic differential intervention effects were found for socioeconomic status. These results highlight the effectiveness of relevance interventions in decreasing motivational gaps between students from families with fewer or more motivational resources. Findings point to the substantial importance of motivational family resources, which have been neglected in previous research.

Not just sticks and stones: Indirect ethnic discrimination leads to greater physiological reactivity

Huynh, V. W., Huynh, Q.-L., & Stein, M.-P. (2017). Not just sticks and stones: Indirect ethnic discrimination leads to greater physiological reactivity. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 23(3), 425-434.


Objectives: We examined the effect of indirect ethnic discrimination on physiological reactivity (i.e., cortisol, blood pressure, heart rate) in Latino emerging adults.

Method: Participants (N = 32) were randomly assigned to be exposed to indirect ethnic discrimination (experimental condition) or not (control condition) while undergoing a cognitive stress task.

Results: Greater total cortisol output was observed in participants in the experimental condition, relative to those in the control condition. No significant differences in heart rate or blood pressure were noted.

Conclusions: Results suggest that witnessing ethnic discrimination affects cortisol recovery responses, but not cardiovascular reactivity. Words that are not intentionally hurtful or directed at a specific person may still “hurt”—affecting biological processes associated with hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis and potentially leading to long-term health consequences

Music education, academic achievement, and executive functions

Holochwost, S. J., Propper, C. B., Wolf, D. P., Willoughby, M. T., Fisher, K. R., Kolacz, J., . . . Jaffee, S. R. (2017). Music education, academic achievement, and executive functions. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 11(2), 147-166.

Abstract: This study examined whether music education was associated with improved performance on measures of academic achievement and executive functions. Participants were 265 school-age children (Grades 1 through 8, 58% female, and 86% African American) who were selected by lottery to participate in an out-of-school program offering individual- and large-ensemble training on orchestral instruments. Measures of academic achievement (standardized test scores and grades in English language arts and math) were taken from participants’ academic records, whereas executive functions (EFs) were assessed through students’ performance on a computerized battery of common EF tasks. Results indicated that, relative to controls, students in the music education program scored higher on standardized tests, t(217) = 2.74, p = .007; earned better grades in English language arts, t(163) = 3.58, p < .001, and math, t(163) = 2.56, p = .011; and exhibited superior performance on select tasks of EFs and short-term memory. Further analyses revealed that although the largest differences in performance were observed between students in the control group and those who had received the music program for 2 to 3 years, conditional effects were also observed on 3 EF tasks for students who had been in the program for 1 year. These findings are discussed in light of current educational policy, with a particular emphasis on the implications for future research designed to understand the pathways connecting music education and EFs.

False Polarization and False Moderation: Political Opponents Overestimate the Extremity of Each Other's Ideologies but Underestimate Each Other's Certainty

False Polarization and False Moderation: Political Opponents Overestimate the Extremity of Each Other's Ideologies but Underestimate Each Other's Certainty. Craig Blatz and Brett Mercier. Social Psychological and Personality Science,

Abstract: Past research finds that people hold moderate views on political issues while believing others are extreme. This false polarization has been demonstrated across a variety of different attitude dimensions and is explained by naive realism, the belief that one holds an unbiased view of reality. We argue that because people believe they see the world objectively, they should be very certain about their opinions, more certain than others expect. In three studies, we tested this false moderation of attitude certainty hypothesis and attempted to replicate past research on false polarization of attitude stance and perceived ideology of others. All three studies revealed a false moderation effect on judgments of certainty. Additionally, we replicate the finding that people false polarize others' ideology but do not find evidence for false polarization of specific stance.

Experiences of nursing students regarding sexual dreams

Gutiérrez-Puertas, L., Márquez-Hernández, V. V., & Aguilera-Manrique, G. (2017). Experiences of nursing students regarding sexual dreams. Dreaming, 27(2), 137-147.

Abstract: The aim of this study was to describe the experiences related to sexual dreams in a sample of nursing degree students from the University of Almería, Spain. The research instrument used was an adapted version of the Sexual Dream Experience Questionnaire. This questionnaire is composed of 32 items, divided into 4 dimensions: Joyfulness, Aversion, Familiarity, and Bizarreness. The main results highlighted differences in relation to sex—men have more sexual dreams than women and place more importance on them. While foreplay is involved in the erotic dreams of both men and women, regular partners rarely appear in them. Male dreams tend to include more sexual partners than female dreams and the percentage of men or women who had dreamed about being raped or abused in their sexual dreams was very low. Ultimately, students showed a strong desire to have sexual dreams.

People are willing to pay less for a risky prospect than for its worst possible outcome

Reminder of how averse we are to risks:

Gneezy et al. (2006) documented that people were willing to pay less for a risky prospect than for its worst possible outcome. For instance, people were willing to pay an average of $26.10 for a $50 Barnes and Noble gift card but only $16.12 for a gamble where participants were guaranteed to win either a $50 or $100 gift card, each with a 50% probability. This general finding has been replicated by many independent research teams (e.g., Andreoni & Sprenger, 2011; Newman & Mochon, 2012; Simonsohn, 2009; Wang, Feng, & Keller, 2013; Yang, Vosgerau, & Loewenstein, 2013). *

In a previous summary: When Risk Is Weird: Unexplained Transaction Features Lower Valuations. Robert Mislavsky and Uri Simonsohn. Management Science,

Effects of professional experience and time pressure on passport-matching performance

Wirth, B. E., & Carbon, C.-C. (2017). An easy game for frauds? Effects of professional experience and time pressure on passport-matching performance. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 23(2), 138-157.

Abstract: Despite extensive research on unfamiliar face matching, little is known about factors that might affect matching performance in real-life scenarios. We conducted 2 experiments to investigate the effects of several such factors on unfamiliar face-matching performance in a passport-check scenario. In Experiment 1, we assessed the effect of professional experience on passport-matching performance. The matching performance of 96 German Federal Police officers working at Munich Airport was compared with that of 48 novices without specific face-matching experience. Police officers significantly outperformed novices, but nevertheless missed a high ratio of frauds. Moreover, the effects of manipulating specific facial features (with paraphernalia like glasses and jewelry, distinctive features like moles and scars, and hairstyle) and of variations in the physical distance between the faces being matched were investigated. Whereas manipulation of physical distance did not have a significant effect, manipulations of facial features impaired matching performance. In Experiment 2, passport-matching performance was assessed in relation to time constraints. Novices matched passports either without time constraints, or under a local time limit (which is typically used in laboratory studies), or under a global time limit (which usually occurs during real-life border controls). Time pressure (especially the global time limit) significantly impaired matching performance.

Holistic processing of static and moving faces

Zhao, M., & Bülthoff, I. (2017). Holistic processing of static and moving faces. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 43(7), 1020-1035.

Abstract: Humans’ face ability develops and matures with extensive experience in perceiving, recognizing, and interacting with faces that move most of the time. However, how facial movements affect 1 core aspect of face ability—holistic face processing—remains unclear. Here we investigated the influence of rigid facial motion on holistic and part-based face processing by manipulating the presence of facial motion during study and at test in a composite face task. The results showed that rigidly moving faces were processed as holistically as static faces (Experiment 1). Holistic processing of moving faces persisted whether facial motion was presented during study, at test, or both (Experiment 2). Moreover, when faces were inverted to eliminate the contributions of both an upright face template and observers’ expertise with upright faces, rigid facial motion facilitated holistic face processing (Experiment 3). Thus, holistic processing represents a general principle of face perception that applies to both static and dynamic faces, rather than being limited to static faces. These results support an emerging view that both perceiver-based and face-based factors contribute to holistic face processing, and they offer new insights on what underlies holistic face processing, how information supporting holistic face processing interacts with each other, and why facial motion may affect face recognition and holistic face processing differently.

Does the cerebellum contribute to human navigation by processing sequential information?

Tedesco, A. M., etal. (2017). Does the cerebellum contribute to human navigation by processing sequential information? Neuropsychology, 31(5), 564-574.


Objective: Several authors have proposed that the cerebellum has an important role in functions of higher order as a general mode of sequence detection, independently from the nature of the information. The aim of this study was to verify whether the cerebellum mediates the processing of navigational sequential information and to determine whether it is influenced by the modality of the stimuli presentation.

Method: We tested 12 cerebellar patients and 12 healthy age-matched participants in 2 comparable navigational tasks (Walking Corsi Test and the Magic Carpet) requiring to memorizing a sequence of spatial locations. The 2 tasks differ each other for the modality of stimuli presentation: in the Walking Corsi Test the sequence is shown by an examiner that walks on the carpet, whereas in the Magic Carpet it is shown by a computer that lights up the tiles in the sequence. We hypothesize that different mental processes are implicated between the Walking Corsi Test and the Magic Carpet. Indeed, whereas watching the examiner, who performs the sequence on the carpet, allows the patient to simulate the action mentally in the Walking Corsi Test, such simulation cannot be triggered in the Magic Carpet.

Results: Our results showed that cerebellar patients obtained scores significantly lower than control participants only in the Magic Carpet.

Conclusions: We interpreted the patients’ performance as a specific deficit in detecting and ordering single independent stimuli as a sequence, when the maintenance of stimulus–response associations is more demanding.

Perceptions of masculinity and fatherhood among men experiencing homelessness

Rice, A., Kim, J. Y. C., Nguyen, C., Liu, W. M., Fall, K., & Galligan, P. (2017). Perceptions of masculinity and fatherhood among men experiencing homelessness. Psychological Services, 14(2), 257-268.

Abstract: This study explored the perceptions of fatherhood held by 11 men living in a homeless shelter. Using consensual qualitative research methodology (CQR; Hill, 2012), we investigated perceptions of masculinity and fatherhood among fathers experiencing homelessness. Participants described (a) their perceptions of masculinity and fatherhood and changes resulting from homelessness, (b) physical and psychological challenges of being a father experiencing homelessness, and (c) expectations of homeless fathers. The fathers generally expressed feelings of low self-esteem related to their perceived difficulty fulfilling the role of providers for their family; however, they also adapted their view of fatherhood to include roles suited to their situation, such as that of guide, teacher, and role model. Suggestions are made for clinicians in helping fathers navigate and develop these roles, and limitations and directions for future research are discussed.

This Hamptons trailer park is a billionaire hotspot - the indescribable cachet that comes with shabby chic

This Hamptons trailer park is a billionaire hotspot. By Jennifer Gould Keil. NY Post, Jul 26, 2017.

Owning a trailer at the park has become the ultimate status symbol for the tony Long Island town’s summering rich and famous, many of whom use their relatively modest mobile digs as a second pad to escape with the family or even as a glorified changing room after a long day of romping in Montauk’s waves.

There’s also the indescribable cachet that comes with shabby chic.

“All you own is the box of air above the land,” noted a former Montauk Shores trailer owner. “Whoever buys here is essentially buying a 24-foot-wide-by-50-foot-long box of air.”

Remember: The Perils of Proclaiming an Authentic Organizational Identity. By Balázs Kovács, Glenn Carroll & David Lehman. Sociological Science, January 2017,


Why Elites Love Authentic Lowbrow Culture: Overcoming High-Status Denigration with Outsider Art. By Oliver Hahl, Ezra W. Zuckerman, Minjae Kim
American Sociological Review,

Characterizing autism-relevant social behavior in poodles (Canis familiaris) via owner report

Zamzow, R. M., Lit, L., Hamilton, S., & Beversdorf, D. Q. (2017). Characterizing autism-relevant social behavior in poodles (Canis familiaris) via owner report. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 131(2), 139-149.

Abstract: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by deficits in social communication and the presence of restricted, repetitive behaviors. It can be difficult to model the complex behavioral features of this disorder with rodent models, which have limited similarity to human behaviors. The domestic dog may be a promising model of complex human behavior, including core features of ASD. The present study examines ASD-relevant social behavior in Miniature and Standard Poodles using an owner-report questionnaire with questions adapted from the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (Lord, Rutter, DiLavore, & Risi, 2000). A previous study identified 3 behavioral constructs examined by this questionnaire: initiation of reciprocal social behaviors, response to social interaction, and communication. In the present study, confirmatory and experimental factor analyses used to assess how collected data fit with the previous model revealed moderate model fit and a similar factorial structure. Between-breed comparisons across these factors and at the individual question level revealed differences between Miniature and Standard Poodles in showing behaviors. Cluster analyses used to group dogs within each breed according to social behavior identified smaller subgroups of dogs with less social behavior across all 3 factors compared with the average within each breed. Within- and between-breed differences in social behavior warrant investigation of genetic variation underlying this complex trait as it relates to ASD-relevant behavior.

The Authoritarian Left Withdraws from Politics: Ideological Asymmetry in the Relationship between Authoritarianism and Political Engagement

The Authoritarian Left Withdraws from Politics: Ideological Asymmetry in the Relationship between Authoritarianism and Political Engagement. Christopher Federico, Emily Fisher & Grace Deason. Journal of Politics, July 2017, Pages 1010-1023,

Abstract: In this article, we argue that authoritarianism will be associated with reduced political interest and participation to a greater extent among those who identify with the left rather than the right because left-leaning politics - which challenges the status quo - threatens more instability and flux. Using data from the United States, we provide evidence for this first hypothesis. Using multinational European data, we also provide support for a second hypothesis that this interaction would be more evident in "Westernized" contexts, where the traditional left-right difference is clearly defined, than in Eastern European countries, where its meaning is less distinct; and we conceptually replicate the authoritarianism results using a measure of support for "conservation" values favoring security, conformity, and tradition. Together, these results suggest that the lower visibility of left-wing authoritarianism relative to its counterpart on the right may be due in part to greater withdrawal from politics among left-leaning authoritarians.

Keywords: authoritarianism, values, ideology, political engagement.

The role of need for uniqueness in belief in conspiracy theories

"I know things they don't know!": The role of need for uniqueness in belief in conspiracy theories. Anthony Lantian et al. Social Psychology, May/June 2017, Pages 160-173,

Abstract: In the current research, we investigated whether belief in conspiracy theories satisfies people's need for uniqueness. We found that the tendency to believe in conspiracy theories was associated with the feeling of possessing scarce information about the situations explained by the conspiracy theories (Study 1) and higher need for uniqueness (Study 2). Further two studies using two different manipulations of need for uniqueness (Studies 3 and 4) showed that people in a high need for uniqueness condition displayed higher conspiracy belief than people in a low need for uniqueness condition. This conclusion is strengthened by a small-scale meta-analysis. These studies suggest that conspiracy theories may serve people's desire to be unique, highlighting a motivational underpinning of conspiracy belief.

Check also:

Imhoff, R., and Lamberty, P. K. (2017) Too special to be duped: Need for uniqueness motivates conspiracy beliefs. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., doi: 10.1002/ejsp.2265,


A Birther and a Truther: The Influence of the Authoritarian Personality on Conspiracy Beliefs. Sean Richey. Politics & Policy, June 2017, Pages 465-485,

Meditation for posttraumatic stress: more high-quality data needed to confirm benefits

Hilton, L., et al. (2017). Meditation for posttraumatic stress: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 9(4), 453-460.

Objective: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis that synthesized evidence from randomized controlled trials of meditation interventions to provide estimates of their efficacy and safety in treating adults diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This review was based on an established protocol (PROSPERO: CRD42015025782) and is reported according to PRISMA guidelines. Outcomes of interest included PTSD symptoms, depression, anxiety, health-related quality of life, functional status, and adverse events.

Method: Meta-analyses were conducted using the Hartung-Knapp-Sidik-Jonkman method for random-effects models. Quality of evidence was assessed using the Grade of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) approach.

Results: In total, 10 trials on meditation interventions for PTSD with 643 participants met inclusion criteria. Across interventions, adjunctive meditation interventions of mindfulness-based stress reduction, yoga, and the mantram repetition program improve PTSD and depression symptoms compared with control groups, but the findings are based on low and moderate quality of evidence. Effects were positive but not statistically significant for quality of life and anxiety, and no studies addressed functional status. The variety of meditation intervention types, the short follow-up times, and the quality of studies limited analyses. No adverse events were reported in the included studies; only half of the studies reported on safety.

Conclusions: Meditation appears to be effective for PTSD and depression symptoms, but in order to increase confidence in findings, more high-quality studies are needed on meditation as adjunctive treatment with PTSD-diagnosed participant samples large enough to detect statistical differences in outcomes.

Rejecting a Bad Option Feels Like Choosing a Good One

Rejecting a Bad Option Feels Like Choosing a Good One. Hanna Perfecto et al. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,

Abstract: Across 4,151 participants, the authors demonstrate a novel framing effect, attribute matching, whereby matching a salient attribute of a decision frame with that of a decision's options facilitates decision-making. This attribute matching is shown to increase decision confidence and, ultimately, consensus estimates by increasing feelings of metacognitive ease. In Study 1, participants choosing the more attractive of two faces or rejecting the less attractive face reported greater confidence in and perceived consensus around their decision. Using positive and negative words, Study 2 showed that the attribute's extremity moderates the size of the effect. Study 3 found decision ease mediates these changes in confidence and consensus estimates. Consistent with a misattribution account, when participants were warned about this external source of ease in Study 4, the effect disappeared. Study 5 extended attribute matching beyond valence to objective judgments. The authors conclude by discussing related psychological constructs as well as downstream consequences.

Trends in First Names Foreshadowed Hillary Clinton's Electoral Defeat

Trends in First Names Foreshadowed Hillary Clinton's Electoral Defeat. Stefano Ghirlanda.
Cliodynamics: The Journal of Quantitative History and Cultural Evolution, 2017,

Abstract: I examine trends in the popularity of first names around the years of USA presidential elections, showing that the names 'Hillary' and 'Hilary' decreased abruptly by more than 90% in popularity following the 1992 election of Hillary Clinton's husband Bill. I show that this outcome is unique to the 1992 election, and argue that it may evidence a "dislike" for Hillary Clinton's public image among both Democratic and Republican voters, which may have eventually contributed to Hillary Clinton's losing the 2016 presidential election.

Health and Spirituality

Health and Spirituality. By Tyler J. VanderWeele, PhD; Tracy A. Balboni, MD, MPH; Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH
JAMA. Published online July 27, 2017. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.8136

Recent studies suggest a broad protective relationship between religious participation and population health. A report from the Nurses’ Health Study, which followed up more than 74 000 study participants for 16 years, found that women who attended weekly religious services had a lower mortality rate compared with those who had never attended religious services (actual rates of 845 vs 1229 per 100 000/y, respectively; adjusted hazard ratio, 0.74),4 and those who attended religious services more than once per week had an even lower mortality rate (actual rates of 740 vs 1229 per 100 000/y; adjusted hazard ratio, 0.67), suggesting a possible dose-response relationship.

Multivariable adjustment for extensive confounders did not substantially attenuate the association, suggesting that some of the association might be causal. Although the findings may still be subject to unmeasured factors and residual confounding4 (eg, personal, social, psychological, and socioeconomic characteristics), sensitivity analysis suggested that the association was moderately robust to such unmeasured confounding. Another report from the Nurses’ Health Study noted that attendance at religious services was associated with a reduction in depression risk (adjusted relative risk, 0.71) and a 6-fold reduction in suicide risk (from 6.5 to 1.0 per 100 000/y).5

Possible mechanisms include that religious service participation may enhance the social integration that promotes healthy (eg, tobacco-free) behaviors and provides social support, optimism, or purpose. A recent meta-analysis of 10 prospective studies with more than 136 000 participants showed having higher purpose in life was associated with a reduction (relative risk, 0.83) in all-cause mortality and cardiovascular events.6 Because randomized trials are not possible (assignment of behaviors such as service attendance and life purpose is infeasible), these population-based studies represent the strongest available evidence.

Additional investigations suggest the value of spiritual approaches to medical care within the clinical realm, particularly in the end-of-life setting. In a multisite, prospective study7 of 343 patients with advanced cancer, those whose medical teams (eg, clinicians, chaplains) attended to their spiritual needs had quality-of-life scores at life’s end that were 28% greater on average than those who did not receive such spiritual care (20.3 vs 15.8; highest possible score, 30). In addition, patients reporting high support of their spiritual needs by their medical teams (26%) compared with the large majority who did not receive such care (74%) had a higher odds of transitioning to hospice care (adjusted odds ratio, 3.5).

In contrast, when religious communities supplied spiritual care in the absence of the medical team (43%), patients with terminal illness had a lower odds of receiving hospice services (adjusted odds ratio, 0.37) together with a higher odds of receiving aggressive medical interventions (eg, resuscitation and ventilation) during the last week of life (adjusted odds ratio, 2.6).7 Other studies indicate that most patients with serious illness experience spiritual struggles, such as feeling punished or abandoned by God, associated with decrements in patient well-being.7 All these findings suggest the need for clinicians to integrate spiritual care into end-of-life settings for patients who wish to receive it.


>>> Interesting data for those of you who are spiritual.