Monday, September 25, 2017

Contradicting effects of self-insight: Self-insight can conditionally contribute to increased depressive symptoms

Contradicting effects of self-insight: Self-insight can conditionally contribute to increased depressive symptoms. Miho Nakajima, Keisuke Takano, and Yoshihiko Tanno. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 120, 1 January 2018, Pages 127–132,

•    Self-insight has been considered as a factor that enhances psychological adjustment.
•    However, we found that the adaptive effect of self-insight was conditional.
•    Self-insight with high negative self-complexity was related to increased depression.

Abstract: Past research has suggested that self-insight functions as a genuine factor to enhance psychological adjustment. However, because most of the previous studies had used a cross-sectional design, a prospective study was warranted to establish the temporal and causal relationship between self-insight and depressive symptoms. Another important issue was that there seems to be a moderator that influences the adaptive function of self-insight. Stein and Grant (2014) suggested that positive self-evaluation mediates the association between self-insight and well-being. This result could imply that self-insight does not lead to well-being with negative self-evaluation. In this study, therefore, we conducted a longitudinal questionnaire survey to examine the prospective effect of self-insight on future depressive symptoms with self-complexity as a putative moderator. A complete dataset of 93 Japanese undergraduates was analyzed. The prospective analysis showed a significant moderating role of negative self-complexity in the associations among self-insight, depressive symptoms, and stress; people with high self-insight and low negative self-complexity were less likely to be influenced by stressors, whereas those with high self-insight and high negative self-complexity showed significant increases in depressive symptoms after stressful experiences. These findings implicate that the adaptive effect of self-insight can be conditional depending on the extent of negative self-complexity.

Keywords: Self-insight; Self-complexity; Depressive symptoms

Sleep pressure after sleep deprivation in flies can be counteracted by raising their sexual arousal

Regulation of sleep homeostasis by sexual arousal. Esteban J Beckwith et al. eLife 2017;6:e27445 doi: 10.7554/eLife.27445

Abstract: In all animals, sleep pressure is under continuous tight regulation. It is universally accepted that this regulation arises from a two-process model, integrating both a circadian and a homeostatic controller. Here we explore the role of environmental social signals as a third, parallel controller of sleep homeostasis and sleep pressure. We show that, in Drosophila melanogaster males, sleep pressure after sleep deprivation can be counteracted by raising their sexual arousal, either by engaging the flies with prolonged courtship activity or merely by exposing them to female pheromones.

Finally, to investigate whether mere sexual arousal is responsible for this effect, we used flies mutant in the TDC2 gene, that possess lower levels of tyramine and octopamine (Crocker and Sehgal, 2008) and were previously shown to court male as well as female flies (Huang et al., 2016). We hypothesised that if these flies are sexually aroused by both male and female partners, they should then respond with a suppression of sleep rebound to both conditions of social interaction. This was what we observed indeed (Figure 8D,E). In flies with a bi-sexual orientation, both MF and MM interaction lead to a strong suppression of sleep rebound.

[...] migratory birds and cetaceans were reported to have the ability to suppress sleep at certain important periods of their lives, namely during migration or immediately after giving birth (Fuchs et al., 2009; Lyamin et al., 2005; Rattenborg et al., 2004); flies, similarly, were shown to lack sleep rebound after starvation-induced sleep deprivation (Thimgan et al., 2010) or after induction of sleep deprivation through specific neuronal clusters (Seidner et al., 2015). Perhaps even more fitting with our findings is the observation that male pectoral sandpipers, a type of Arctic bird, can forego sleep in favour of courtship during the three weeks time window of female fertility (Lesku et al., 2012). It appears, therefore, that animals are able to balance sleep needs with other, various, biological drives. It would be interesting to see whether these drives act to suppress sleep through a common regulatory circuit. Rebound sleep has always been considered one of the most important features of sleep itself. Together with the reported death by sleep deprivation, it is frequently used in support of the hypothesis that sleep is not an accessory phenomenon but a basic need of the organism (Cirelli and Tononi, 2008). Understanding the regulation of rebound sleep, therefore, may be crucial to understanding the very function of sleep. Interestingly, in our paradigm rebound sleep is not postponed, but rather eliminated. Moreover, on rebound day, the sleep architecture of sexually aroused male flies does not seem to be affected: the sleep bout numbers appear to be similar to their mock control counterparts, while the length of sleep bouts is, if anything, slightly reduced (Figure 1 – figure supplement 1).

Do casual gaming environments evoke stereotype threat? Examining the effects of explicit priming and avatar gender

Do casual gaming environments evoke stereotype threat? Examining the effects of explicit priming and avatar gender. Linda K. Kaye. Charlotte R. Pennington, and Joseph J. McCann. Computers in Human Behavior,

•    Assessing stereotype threat in an under-explored domain.
•    Operationalising avatar gender as a subtle threat on gaming outcomes.
•    No evidence of stereotype threat effects on gaming performance.

Abstract: Despite relatively equal participation rates between females and males in casual gaming, females often report stigmatisation and prejudice towards their gaming competency within this sub-domain. Applying the theoretical framework of “stereotype threat”, this research examined the influence of explicit stereotype priming on females' casual gameplay performance and related attitudes. It also investigated whether the gender of the game avatar heightens susceptibility to stereotype threat. One hundred and twenty females were allocated randomly to one of four experimental conditions in a 2 (Condition: Stereotype threat, Control) x 2 (Avatar gender: Feminine, Masculine) between-subjects design. They completed a short gaming task and measures of social identity, competence beliefs, gameplay self-efficacy and self-esteem. Findings indicate that priming explicitly a negative gender-related stereotype did not appear to have a significant detrimental impact on gameplay performance or gameplay-related attitudes. Additionally, gameplay performance was not affected significantly by manipulating the gender of the gaming avatar. These findings suggest that, although females appear to be knowledgeable about negative gender-gaming stereotypes, these might not impact performance. Moreover, females tend not to endorse these beliefs as a true reflection of their gaming ability, representing a positive finding in view of the prevailing negative attitudes they face in gaming domains.

Keywords: Stereotype threat; Digital gaming; Competence; Self-concept; Gender; Avatars

Hypocognition impoverishes one’s mental world, leaving cognitive deficits in recognition, explanation & memory while fueling social chauvinism & conflict in political & cultural spheres

Wu, K., & Dunning, D. (2017). Hypocognition: Making Sense of the Landscape Beyond One’s Conceptual Reach. Review of General Psychology,

Abstract: People think, feel, and behave within the confines of what they can conceive. Outside that conceptual landscape, people exhibit hypocognition (i.e., lacking cognitive or linguistic representations of concepts to describe ideas or explicate experiences). We review research on the implications of hypocognition for cognition and behavior. Drawing on the expertise and cross-cultural literatures, we describe how hypocognition impoverishes one’s mental world, leaving cognitive deficits in recognition, explanation, and memory while fueling social chauvinism and conflict in political and cultural spheres. Despite its pervasive consequences, people cannot be expected to identify when they are in a hypocognitive state, mistaking what they conceive for the totality of all that there is. To the extent that their channel of knowledge becomes too narrow, people risk submitting to hypocognition’s counterpart, hypercognition (i.e., the mistaken overapplication of other available conceptual notions to issues outside their actual relevance).

We remember lies better than truths, but we expect the opposite

Besken, M. (2017). Generating Lies Produces Lower Memory Predictions and Higher Memory Performance Than Telling the Truth: Evidence for a Metacognitive Illusion. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition,

Abstract: Manipulations that induce disfluency during encoding generally produce lower memory predictions for the disfluent condition than for the fluent condition. Similar to other manipulations of disfluency, generating lies takes longer and requires more mental effort than does telling the truth; hence, a manipulation of lie generation might produce patterns similar to other types of fluency for memory predictions. The current study systematically investigates the effect of a lie-generation manipulation on both actual and predicted memory performance. In a series of experiments, participants told the truth or generated plausible lies to general knowledge questions and made item-by-item predictions about their subsequent memory performance during encoding, followed by a free recall test. Participants consistently predicted their memory performance to be higher for truth than for lies (Experiments 1 through 4), despite their typically superior actual memory performance for lies than for the truth (Experiments 1 through 3), producing double dissociations between memory and metamemory. Moreover, lying led to longer response latencies than did telling the truth, showing that generating lies is in fact objectively more disfluent. An additional experiment compared memory predictions for truth and lie trials via a scenario about the lie-generation manipulation used in the present study, which revealed superior memory predictions of truth than of lies, providing proof for a priori beliefs about the effects of lying on predicted memory (Experiment 5). The effects of the current lie-generation manipulation on metamemory are discussed in light of experience-based and theory-based processes on making judgments of learning. Theoretical and practical implications of this experimental paradigm are also considered.

My commentary: We remember lies better than truths, but we expect the opposite ("revealed superior memory predictions of truth than of lies, providing proof for a priori beliefs about the effects of lying on predicted memory").

Cheap Renewable Contracts Could Be Options In Disguise

Cheap Renewable Contracts Could Be Options In Disguise
Financial Times, September 25 2017

Jonathan Ford

When prices tumble for a product or service, there is generally an observable reason. It might be a cunning technological fix that dramatically boosts productivity, for instance, or the sudden slide in a key input cost. But nothing so obvious can convincingly explain why it is suddenly much cheaper to produce electricity from offshore wind turbines.

Check also:
Subsidy-Free Wind Farms Risk Ruining the Industry’s Reputation. By Jess Shankleman

 The latest round of renewable auctions has seen two big projects awarded contracts guaranteeing a fixed price of £57.50 per megawatt hour for their output when the blades start turning sometime in the next decade. That is a very big dip from the first round, which required subsidies of some £150/MWh to be profitable. Even the cheapest of previous vintages were north of £110.

It is not so long since British wind power bosses were vowing — amid widespread scepticism — that they could reduce costs to £100/MWh by 2020. Yet these auction results suggest a far steeper decline in offshore costs.

Of course, it is always worth peering behind the headlines to put numbers in context. The sums quoted are 2012 prices. The actual figure in today’s money is therefore £64/MWh; a still subsidy-rich 50 per cent above the current wholesale price of about £40.

The real question though is how the industry can support such a reduction. Take overall costs, for instance. Most studies do not yet point to projects breaking even at £57.50. According to a recent review by the UK’s Offshore Wind Programme Board, so-called levelised costs for new wind projects at the point of commitment (ie not yet built, but button decisively pressed) declined by 7 per cent annually from £142/MWh in 2010-11 to just £97 in 2015-16, driven by factors such as the use of larger turbines and better siting. But while these are impressive figures even they cannot explain a further £40 drop in such a short space of time.

What’s more, by far the biggest component of those costs is capital expenditure, and another study suggests that progress here is much more nuanced. A new report led by Gordon Hughes, a former professor of economics at Edinburgh University, and published by the sceptical Global Warming Policy Foundation, has analysed the reported capital costs of 86 projects across Europe. These show that while technological advances are driving down costs by 4 per cent annually, this gain is being offset as the industry moves out into deeper and more challenging waters. So, depending on where future projects are sited, there may even be no clear downward trend at all.

It may be possible that the auction-winning projects have specific reasons for being able to deliver low prices. For instance, the Hornsea II project sponsored by Denmark’s Dong Energy sits next to a first farm that is also being built by the same company (at far higher rates of subsidy), offering the opportunity to share support infrastructure, as well as the link between the turbines and the grid.

But it is also possible that the promoters view the CFD contract as a pretty loose commitment. “Potentially these bids could be seen as more of an option on future capacity,” said Allan Baker, Société Générale’s global head of power advisory and project finance at Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance Summit last week.

Just three giant wind farms have taken all the capacity in the current auction, which at 3.2GW is equivalent to 60 per cent of Britain’s current offshore fleet. That means the competition is in effect shut out.

The contracts do not represent an absolute commitment. According to the UK government, the developers could withdraw were they unable to obtain financing, with only a limited penalty. What they would mainly lose was the right to pop the same project into a later auction round.

So to the extent, for instance, that contracts depend on yet-to-be developed technologies, such as 15MW turbines, or squeezing contractor prices, there would be little cost to cancelling were developers not to get the deals they hoped for.

And even beyond construction, the CFD could conceivably be revoked by the operator were it prepared to pay a significant, not ruinous, financial penalty, Prof Hughes reckons. So should wholesale prices rise well above the level of the fixed strike price in future, developers might be able to flip across and benefit from (superior) market rates. That might happen, for instance, were the government to introduce a higher carbon price.

Subsidy-Free Wind Farms Risk Ruining the Industry’s Reputation

Subsidy-Free Wind Farms Risk Ruining the Industry’s Reputation. By Jess Shankleman

Energy companies that stunned the world by offering to build wind farms with no subsidy may ruin the industry’s reputation by never actually delivering on their promises.
That’s the warning of industry executives, who are cautious about the future of zero-subsidy offshore wind farms planned in Germany this year. Developers led by Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG and Dong Energy A/S are betting they can sell the electricity they produce from the wind farms at a profit without any help from taxpayers.
“The offshore wind industry needs to be careful,” Irene Rummelhoff, executive vice president at Statoil ASA’s New Energy Solutions unit, said at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit in London on Tuesday. “They’re taking on these options, and when you get to the delivery date, if they’re not able to build the projects, it will ruin the reputation of the industry.”
The German government may not have the right rules in place to ensure developers actually deliver on their winning bids, said Thomas Karst, senior vice president at MHI Vestas Offshore Wind AS.
“The regulatory power lies with the owners of the concessions and they may or may not get built, so that model from the regulatory point of view doesn’t really work,” Karst said at the same conference.
It’s not just in Germany where the costs of offshore wind power are falling. The U.K. and Netherlands have both seen record low bids during the past year that surprised even industry insiders. Last week, developers led by Dong won bids to develop wind farms in British waters for as little as 57.50 pounds ($77.61) a megawatt-hour, well below the cost of the next nuclear reactors.
Winning bidders in the German auctions based business cases on giant wind turbines, soaring as high as The Shard in London and generating as much as 15 megawatts of power each. Those machines haven’t been built yet and aren’t due until the next decade.
“The question is are they actually deliverable? Potentially these bids could be seen as more of an option on future capacity,” said Allan Baker, global head of power advisory and project finance at Societe Generale SA.

The robotic system has reduced rejects from 20 pct to 5 pct, mostly due to improvements in hygiene & handling

Spanish farm produce supplier reduces human workers from 500 to 100 using robots. David Edwards. Robotics & Automation News, September 19, 2017,

Spanish farm produce supplier El Dulze has reduced its human workforce from 500 down to just 100 with the use of robots, according to a report on

The company is said to be using Fanuc robots – LR Mate 200iB models – which use vision systems to even out the production line so the vegetables are not bunched up too close together for packing.

The robots also appear to be picking heads of lettuce and placing them in containers, or plastic packaging.

A total of 68 robots have been installed at the El Dulze facility in Murcia, and they process approximately 550,000 heads of lettuce every day.

The robotic system is also said to have reduced rejects from 20 per cent to 5 per cent, mostly due to improvements in hygiene and handling.

Managing director José Sánchez is quoted by as saying: “This business has traditionally been labour intensive but today labour is increasingly unavailable.

“This region has a major shortage of labour – many workers in the industry are immigrants but this hasn’t solved our problem.

“As minimal skill is needed we have a real problem with labour and turnover of these workers is high – they just seem to come and go.

“Reducing the amount of people has made everything more hygienic and damage to the lettuces caused by handling is now minimal.”