Monday, August 21, 2017

Is There a Dark Side to Mindfulness? Relation of Mindfulness to Criminogenic Cognitions

Is There a Dark Side to Mindfulness? Relation of Mindfulness to Criminogenic Cognitions. June Tangney et al. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin,

Abstract: In recent years, mindfulness-based interventions have been modified for use with inmate populations, but how this might relate to specific criminogenic cognitions has not been examined empirically. Theoretically, characteristics of mindfulness should be incompatible with distorted patterns of criminal thinking, but is this in fact the case? Among both 259 male jail inmates and 516 undergraduates, mindfulness was inversely related to the Criminogenic Cognitions Scale (CCS) through a latent variable of emotion regulation. However, in the jail sample, this mediational model also showed a direct, positive path from mindfulness to CCS, with an analogous, but nonsignificant trend in the college sample. Post hoc analyses indicate that the Nonjudgment of Self scale derived from the Mindfulness Inventory: Nine Dimensions (MI:ND) largely accounts for this apparently iatrogenic effect in both samples. Some degree of self-judgment is perhaps necessary and useful, especially among individuals involved in the criminal justice system.

Examining Regulatory Capture: Evidence from the NHL

Examining Regulatory Capture: Evidence from the NHL. Gregory DeAngelo, Adam Nowak and Imke Reimers. Contemporary Economic Policy, doi:10.1111/coep.12240

Abstract: Regulatory capture has garnered significant attention, but poses a difficult empirical exercise since most relationships between regulators and regulated parties occur behind closed doors. In this research, we overcome this problem by analyzing an environment where the behavior of both the regulator and regulated parties are publicly available. Specifically, we utilize data from the National Hockey League (NHL) to examine the impact of general experience as a referee as well as experience refereeing a particular team on the assignation of penalties. We find that gaining general experience as a referee significantly reduces the number of penalties that a referee assigns. However, as a referee gains experience refereeing a specific team, they significantly reduce the number of penalties assessed to this team relative to teams that they have less experience refereeing, confirming that regulatory capture is observed among referees and teams in the NHL.

Having power increases accuracy in perception of bodily signals

Social Power Increases Interoceptive Accuracy. Mehrad Moeini-Jazani et al. Frontiers in Psychology, August 2017.

Abstract: ***Building on recent psychological research showing that power increases self-focused attention, we propose that having power increases accuracy in perception of bodily signals***, a phenomenon known as interoceptive accuracy. Consistent with our proposition, participants in a high-power experimental condition outperformed those in the control and low-power conditions in the Schandry heartbeat-detection task. We demonstrate that the effect of power on interoceptive accuracy is not explained by participants' physiological arousal, affective state, or general intention for accuracy. Rather, consistent with our reasoning that experiencing power shifts attentional resources inward, we show that the effect of power on interoceptive accuracy is dependent on individuals' chronic tendency to focus on their internal sensations. Moreover, we demonstrate that individuals' chronic sense of power also predicts interoceptive accuracy similar to, and independent of, how their situationally induced feeling of power does. We therefore provide further support on the relation between power and enhanced perception of bodily signals. Our findings offer a novel perspective - a psychophysiological account - on how power might affect judgments and behavior. We highlight and discuss some of these intriguing possibilities for future research.

Entwicklung der Punitivität und ausgewählter Einflussfaktoren in der deutschen Bevölkerung in den Jahren 2004 bis 2014

Entwicklung der Punitivität und ausgewählter Einflussfaktoren in der deutschen Bevölkerung in den Jahren 2004 bis 2014 (Development of punitivity and selected influencing factors in the German population in the years 2004 to 2014), von Dirk Baier, Stephanie Fleischer und Michael Hanslmaier. Monatsschrift für Kriminologie und Strafrechtsreform 2017, 1 - 25 (Heft 1)

To date, little is known about –on the one hand– trends in punitivity and other crime related attitudes and –on the other hand– on the explanations of these trends in the German population since the year 2000. Using four representative surveys from 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2014 the study confirms that individual punitive attitudes decrease independent of the indicator that is used. Looking at fear of crime or perceived crime trends the same changes are identified. Explanatory factors of these trends are a rising educational level of the population, a decline in parental violence, a decrease in the number of people who watch television news of private stations and a decrease in the number of people who read tabloid newspapers. However, all the considered influencing factors can not completely explain the trend in punitivity.

Allerdings können diese vier Faktoren nicht komplett den Entwicklungstrend in der Punitivität erklären. Aus diesem Grund wurden noch weitere Einflussfaktoren betrachtet, zu denen allerdings nur unvollständige Informationen vorliegen. Diese verweisen auf drei weitere Faktoren, die die Entwicklung der Punitivität beeinflusst haben dürften: Erstens handelt es sich um die Internetnutzung. Internetnutzer im Allgemeinen, Nutzer von Internetangeboten deutschlandweiter Tageszeitungen oder öffentlich-rechtlicher Nachrichten im Besonderen weisen eine niedrigere Punitivität auf, zugleich steigen (tendenziell) deren Anteile. Zweitens macht es einen Unterschied, über welche Kanäle man über Verbrechen informiert wird. Erfährt man hauptsächlich über die Medien von Verbrechen, dann erhöht dies die Punitivität; es sind zugleich aber immer weniger Menschen, die sich über die »klassischen« Medien informieren. Das Internet wird in dieser Hinsicht immer wichtiger – was mit Blick auf die Punitivität als unproblematisch einzustufen ist (s.u.). Drittens sinkt der Autoritarismus, der ein wichtiger Einflussfaktor der Punitivität ist.

Die Untersuchung der verschiedenen Einflussfaktoren hat zugleich einige unerwartete Ergebnisse zutage gefördert, die an dieser Stelle erwähnt, aber nicht vertieft diskutiert werden können. So finden sich für alle vier betrachteten Viktimisierungsvariablen (Diebstahl, Körperverletzung, Raub, Wohnungseinbruch) keine Zusammenhänge mit der Punitivität. Es zeigt sich damit zumindest in Bezug auf die bundesdeutsche Bevölkerung, dass Opfer von Straftaten kein Bedürfnis haben, die Täter allgemein härter zu bestrafen. Ein unerwarteter Einfluss ergibt sich für die positiven Erziehungserfahrungen: Befragte, die von einer liebevollen Erziehung berichten, sind punitiver eingestellt (vgl. hierfür auch Baier et al. 2011, 102 f.). Eine solche Erziehung sollte eher davor schützen, härtere Sanktionsformen zu unterstützen. Gleichwohl ist der Effekt letztlich nur in der Befragung 2010 zu beobachten, weshalb er nicht zu hoch gewichtet werden sollte. Ein unerwartetes Ergebnis ergibt sich zudem für die Ost-West-Variable. So erweisen sich Befragte aus Westdeutschland über die Zeit hinweg konstant als weniger punitiv als Befragte aus Ostdeutschland. Dies zeigt sich, wie zusätzliche Auswertungen belegen, bei beiden Punitivitätsindikatoren.

My comment: Because those four factors do not explain the trend in diminishing punitivity, further influencing factors were considered, but only incomplete information is available. These point to three other factors that may have influenced the development of punitivity: First, it is the Internet use. Internet users in general, users of Internet offers in Germany daytime newspapers or public-law news in particular have a lower punitivity. Secondly, it makes a difference about which channels inform about crimes, but fewer and fewer people get information from the "classical" media. The Internet is becoming more and more important in this regard - which can be considered as unproblematic with regard to the punitivity (see above). Thirdly, the authoritarianism, which is an important factor of influence of punitivity.

The investigation of the various influencing factors also revealed some unexpected results, which can be mentioned here but can not be dealt with in depth. For example, there are no correlations with punitivity for all four victimization variables (theft, bodily injury, robbery, burglary). An unexpected influence is found in the positive educational experiences: respondents reporting a loving education are more punitive (see also Baier et al., 2011, 102f.), when the authors expected that such an education should rather protect against harder forms of sanctions. At the same time, the effect is only to be observed in the 2010 survey, which is why it should not be over-weighted. An unexpected result also results for the geographical east-west variable. For example, respondents from West Germany are consistently less punitive than respondents from East Germany. This shows, as additional evaluations prove, with both punitivity indicators.

Behavioral Compensation Before and After Eating at the Minnesota State Fair

Lenne, R. L., Panos, M. E., Auster-Gussman, L., Scherschel, H., Zhou, L., & Mann, T. (2017, August 21). Behavioral Compensation Before and After Eating at the Minnesota State Fair. Appetite,

Abstract: People regulate their eating behavior in many ways. They may respond to overeating by compensating with healthy eating behavior or increased exercise (i.e., a sensible tradeoff), or by continuing to eat poorly (i.e., disinhibition). Conversely, people may respond to a healthy eating event by subsequently eating poorly (i.e., self-licensing) or by continuing to eat healthily (i.e., promotion spillover). We propose that people may also change their behaviors in anticipation of an unhealthy eating event, a phenomenon that we will refer to as pre-compensation. Using a survey of 430 attendees of the Minnesota State Fair over two years, we explored whether, when, and how people compensated before and after this tempting eating event. We found evidence that people use both pre-compensatory and post-compensatory strategies, with a preference for changing their eating (rather than exercise) behavior. There was no evidence that people who pre-compensated were more likely to self-license by indulging in a greater number of foods or calories at the fair than those who did not. Finally, people who pre-compensated were more likely to also post-compensate. These results suggest that changing eating or exercise behavior before exposure to a situation with many tempting foods may be a successful strategy for enjoying oneself without excessively overeating.

My comment: some people atones for eating sins even before actually indulging in food.

Male Violence and Sexual Intimidation in a Wild Primate Society

Male Violence and Sexual Intimidation in a Wild Primate Society. Baniel, Alice et al. Current Biology , Volume 27 , Issue 14 , 2163 - 2168.e3, Jul 2017.

    •Male aggression preferentially targets fertile females in chacma baboons
    •Male aggression represents a major source of injuries for fertile females
    •Male aggressors have higher mating success in the long term, but not immediately
    •These results provide evidence for sexual intimidation in a wild non-human primate

Summary: Sexual violence occurring in the context of long-term heterosexual relationships, such as sexual intimidation, is widespread across human populations [ 1–3 ]. However, its evolutionary origins remain speculative because few studies have investigated the existence of comparable forms of sexual coercion in animals [ 4, 5 ], in which repeated male aggression toward a female provides the aggressor with delayed mating benefits [ 6 ]. Here, we test whether male aggression toward females functions as sexual coercion in wild chacma baboons (Papio ursinus). We found support for all three main predictions of the sexual coercion hypothesis [ 7 ]: male aggression (1) is greatest against cycling females, (2) is costly and represents the main source of injuries for cycling females, and (3) increases male mating success with their victims in the future. Detailed analysis of chronological sequences between aggression and matings ruled out other coercive mechanisms, such as short-term harassment and punishment, by showing that aggression and matings are temporally decoupled. This decoupling may explain why some forms of sexual violence have been largely overlooked in well-studied animal populations despite their likely impact on the fitness of both sexes. Finally, we found no support for alternative hypotheses such as a female preference for aggressive males [ 8, 9 ]. This new, detailed study of the forms and intensity of sexual intimidation in a wild primate suggests that it may be widespread across mammalian societies, with important implications for understanding the evolution of mate choice and sexual conflict in mammals, as well as the origins of human sexual violence.

Keywords: sexual conflict, sexual coercion, intersexual aggression, intimidation, promiscuous mating, injury, mating success, sex roles, primates

My comment: this behavior has been observed in at least two primate species, chimpanzees and now baboons... It could mean that it is a very old behavior in humans, not a recent one or due to socialization (although the environment can ameliorate simptoms or can make them more salient).

Check also: Sexually Coercive Male Chimpanzees Sire More Offspring. Joseph T. Feldblum et al. Current Biology, Volume 24, Issue 23, p2855–2860, 1 December 2014.

    •Aggression toward sexually receptive females correlated with male mating success
    •Aggression toward non-sexually receptive females was associated with paternity
    •The effect of aggression on paternity was strongest for high-ranking males
    •This represents the first genetic evidence of long-term sexual coercion in mammals

Summary: In sexually reproducing animals, male and female reproductive strategies often conflict [ 1 ]. In some species, males use aggression to overcome female choice [ 2, 3 ], but debate persists over the extent to which this strategy is successful. Previous studies of male aggression toward females among wild chimpanzees have yielded contradictory results about the relationship between aggression and mating behavior [ 4–11 ]. Critically, however, copulation frequency in primates is not always predictive of reproductive success [ 12 ]. We analyzed a 17-year sample of behavioral and genetic data from the Kasekela chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) community in Gombe National Park, Tanzania, to test the hypothesis that male aggression toward females increases male reproductive success. We examined the effect of male aggression toward females during ovarian cycling, including periods when the females were sexually receptive (swollen) and periods when they were not. We found that, after controlling for confounding factors, male aggression during a female’s swollen periods was positively correlated with copulation frequency. However, aggression toward swollen females was not predictive of paternity. Instead, aggression by high-ranking males toward females during their nonswollen periods was positively associated with likelihood of paternity. This indicates that long-term patterns of intimidation allow high-ranking males to increase their reproductive success, supporting the sexual coercion hypothesis. To our knowledge, this is the first study to present genetic evidence of sexual coercion as an adaptive strategy in a social mammal.
Also: Survival of the Fittest and the Sexiest: Evolutionary Origins of Adolescent Bullying. Jun-Bin Koh, and Jennifer S. Wong. Journal of Interpersonal Violence,
And also: We, Too, Are Violent Animals. By Jane Goodall, Richard Wrangham, and Dale Peterson. Those who doubt that human aggression is an evolved trait should spend more time with chimpanzees and wolves  The Wall Street Journal, January 5, 2013, on page C3,
And also: Romanticizing the Hunter-Gatherer. William Buckner. Quillette, December 16, 2017.