Sunday, September 17, 2017

How the Presence of Others Affects Desirability Judgments in Heterosexual and Homosexual Participants

Scofield, John E, Bogdan Kostic, and Erin M Buchanan. 2017. “How the Presence of Others Affects Desirability Judgments in Heterosexual and Homosexual Participants”. Open Science Framework. September 17.

Abstract: Mate-choice copying is a mating strategy wherein females rely on contextual information to assist in securing accurate assessments of potential mates. Mate-choice copying has been extensively studied in non-human species and has begun to be examined in humans as well. Hill and Buss (2008) found evidence of opposing effects for men and women in desirability judgments based on the presence of other opposite-sex people. The current project successfully replicated Hill and Buss (2008), Experiment 1, finding support for the desirability enhancement effect and the desirability diminution effect. The current project also extended Hill and Buss, Experiment 1, to include homosexual participants. Homosexual men showed similar patterns as heterosexual women, and homosexual women showed similar patterns as heterosexual men, revealing differences across sexual orientation in human mate-choice copying.

The purpose of the current project was to replicate Hill and Buss (2008), Experiment 1 and to extend their findings to include homosexual populations. Hill and Buss found opposing sex differences while investigating the presence of others on judgments of desirability. Hill and Buss found evidence for the desirability enhancement effect, in which females rated male targets surrounded by females as more desirable compared to those same males surrounded by other males. Desirability judgments had the opposite effect on male participants, known as the desirability diminution effect. Male participants rated target females as less desirable when surrounded by males, compared to when those same females were surrounded by other females.

Females were suggested to employ mate-choice copying mating tactics, such as social information provided in stimulus photographs when making mate assessments. In evolutionary theory, females may take into consideration the presence of other females, providing cues to the mate quality of males. Specifically, with females surrounding males, the mate quality of the male is assumed to be higher. Men were shown not to use typical mate-choice copying mating tactics. Males rated female targets surrounded by males as less desirable than when surrounded by other females or when alone. Males were suggested to assess potential mates with a probabilistic orientation, suggesting that the presence of other males in the scene hint at a decreased probability of gaining access to that mate, negatively influencing desirability judgments of that target female.


Results showed that homosexual male participants rated target males surrounded by females as more desirable compared to male targets surrounded by other males. Homosexual female participants, however, showed the opposite effect in that they rated target females less desirable when surrounded by males compared to when surrounded by females. This result is contrary to our predictions that heterosexual and homosexual judgments would both follow similar patterns, dictated per biological sex (regardless of sexual orientation). That is, homosexual and heterosexual men would both exhibit the desirability diminution effect, and both homosexual and heterosexual women would exhibit the desirability enhancement effect.

Liberals and Conservatives Are Similarly Motivated to Deny Attitude-Inconsistent Science

Science Denial Across the Political Divide -- Liberals and Conservatives Are Similarly Motivated to Deny Attitude-Inconsistent Science. Anthony N. Washburn, Linda J. Skitka. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 10.1177/1948550617731500

Abstract: We tested whether conservatives and liberals are similarly or differentially likely to deny scientific claims that conflict with their preferred conclusions. Participants were randomly assigned to read about a study with correct results that were either consistent or inconsistent with their attitude about one of several issues (e.g., carbon emissions). Participants were asked to interpret numerical results and decide what the study concluded. After being informed of the correct interpretation, participants rated how much they agreed with, found knowledgeable, and trusted the researchers’ correct interpretation. Both liberals and conservatives engaged in motivated interpretation of study results and denied the correct interpretation of those results when that interpretation conflicted with their attitudes. Our study suggests that the same motivational processes underlie differences in the political priorities of those on the left and the right.

Check also: Kahan, Dan M. and Peters, Ellen, Rumors of the 'Nonreplication' of the 'Motivated Numeracy Effect' are Greatly Exaggerated (August 26, 2017). Available at SSRN:

And: Biased Policy Professionals. Sheheryar Banuri, Stefan Dercon, and Varun Gauri. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 8113.

And: Dispelling the Myth: Training in Education or Neuroscience Decreases but Does Not Eliminate Beliefs in Neuromyths. Kelly Macdonald et al. Frontiers in Psychology, Aug 10 2017.

And: Wisdom and how to cultivate it: Review of emerging evidence for a constructivist model of wise thinking. Igor Grossmann. European Psychologist, in press. Pre-print:

Liberals Possess More National Consensus on Political Attitudes in the US

Liberals Possess More National Consensus on Political Attitudes in the United States -- An Examination Across 40 Years. Peter Ondish, Chadly Stern. Social Psychological and Personality Science,

Abstract: Do liberals or conservatives have more agreement in their political attitudes? Recent research indicates that conservatives may have more like-minded social groups than do liberals, but whether conservatives have more consensus on a broad, national level remains an open question. Using two nationally representative data sets (the General Social Survey and the American National Election Studies), we examined the attitudes of over 80,000 people on more than 400 political issues (e.g., attitudes toward welfare, gun control, same-sex marriage) across approximately 40 years. In both data sets, we found that liberals possessed a larger degree of agreement in their political attitudes than did conservatives. Additionally, both liberals and conservatives possessed more consensus than did political moderates. These results indicate that social–cognitive motivations for building similarity and consensus within one’s self-created social groups may also yield less consensus on a broad, national level. We discuss implications for effective political mobilization and social change.

“All my life I have been told that capitalism, particularly the American type, was bad,” Mr. Gujanicic, 63, said

As China Moves In, Serbia Reaps Benefits, With Strings Attached. By BARBARA SURK. The New York Times, Sep 09, 2017,

Mileta Gujanicic, a steelworker and union leader, is one of those who hope China fulfills its vision for the Smederevo mill: He has worked there for 40 years and says he got used to the ways of the Americans, whom he called “the aristocracy of the industrial world.”

“All my life I have been told that capitalism, particularly the American type, was bad,” Mr. Gujanicic, 63, said. “But we workers have been valued, well paid and respected when the Americans ran this place.”

The Chinese approach to running the mill, he said, is sharply different. So far, the new owners have maintained their pledge to retain jobs. But none of the promises Mr. Xi made during his visit have been kept.

Workers’ contracts are veiled in secrecy, safety standards have fallen, maintenance is at the bare minimum, and contact between the owners and the employees does not exist, he said. The erosion of workers’ rights and the employers’ disregard of labor laws are troubling, he said.

My comment: Mr Gujanicic, 63, was a Communist some time, but changed his opinion. What do you think, that he is being (more or less) objective, or that he has idealized his American bosses?

Research: The readability of scientific texts is decreasing over time

Research: The readability of scientific texts is decreasing over time. Pontus Plavén-Sigray et al. eLife 2017;6:e27725.

Abstract: Clarity and accuracy of reporting are fundamental to the scientific process. Readability formulas can estimate how difficult a text is to read. Here, in a corpus consisting of 709,577 abstracts published between 1881 and 2015 from 123 scientific journals, we show that the readability of science is steadily decreasing. Our analyses show that this trend is indicative of a growing use of general scientific jargon. These results are concerning for scientists and for the wider public, as they impact both the reproducibility and accessibility of research findings.

My comment: Why is this so? Is there a part of snob behavior? A way to separate oneself from the great unwashed?