Saturday, October 7, 2017

The Impact of Physical Dominance on Male Customers’ Status-Signaling Consumption

The Abercrombie & Fitch Effect: The Impact of Physical Dominance on Male Customers’ Status-Signaling Consumption. Tobias Otterbring et al. Journal of Marketing Research. In-Press,

Abstract: Consumer lay theory suggests that women will spend more money than men in the presence of a physically dominant male employee, while theories of intrasexual competition from evolutionary psychology predict the opposite outcome. A retail field study demonstrates that male customers spend more money and purchase more expensive products than their female counterparts in the presence (vs. absence) of a physically dominant male employee. This effect has a more powerful impact on male customers who lack bodily markers of dominance (shorter stature or measures linked to lower levels of testosterone). When confronted with other physically dominant (vs. non-dominant) men, these male customers are particularly prone to signal status through price or logo size. Their elevated feelings of intrasexual (male-to-male) competitiveness drive them to spend more money on status-signaling, but not functional products, and to prefer and draw larger brand logos. As pictorial exposure is sufficient for the effect to occur, these findings are not limited to in-store interactions with dominant male employees, but have broad implications for marketing and advertising.

Origins of sinister rumors: A preference for threat-related material in the supply and demand of information

Origins of sinister rumors: A preference for threat-related material in the supply and demand of information. Timothy Blaine, Pascal Boyer. Evolution and Human Behavior,

•    Risk-related rumors are more common than benefit-related rumors.
•    Threat information is more often transmitted than non-threatening negative information.
•    Also, people seek additional information about threats more than about other topics.
•    This could explain why so many rumors are about potential danger.

Abstract: Many rumors convey information about potential danger, even when these dangers are very unlikely. In four studies, we examine whether micro-processes of cultural transmission explain the spread of threat-related information. Three studies using transmission chain protocols suggest a) that there is indeed a preference for the deliberate transmission of threat-related information over other material, b) that it is not caused by a general negativity or emotionality bias, and c) that it is not eliminated when threats are presented as very unlikely. A forced-choice study on similar material shows the same preference when participants have to select information to acquire rather than transmit. So the cultural success of threat-related material may be explained by transmission biases, rooted in evolved threat-detection and error-management systems, that affect both supply and demand of information.

Keywords: Cultural transmission; Rumors; Threat detection; Error management; Cultural beliefs; Negativity bias

Death as a metaphor for ostracism: social invincibility, autopsy, necromancy, and resurrection

Death as a metaphor for ostracism: social invincibility, autopsy, necromancy, and resurrection. Andrew Hales. Mortality,

Abstract: Metaphors can be powerful tools for theory building in psychological sciences. I entertain death as a theoretical metaphor for ostracism and explore the degree to which they share key properties. Death is universal (we all die), caused (by some things and not others), totally non-functional (the dead cannot do or experience anything) and irreversible (death is permanent). Ostracism, in some of its forms, shares these key properties. If ostracism is social death then it follows that: (1) never being ostracised constitutes social invincibility, (2) pondering the reasons why one was ostracised constitutes a social autopsy, (3) receiving even trace amounts of acknowledgement, while being otherwise totally ostracised constitutes social necromancy and (4) being reincluded constitutes social resurrection. These four constructs are discussed along with new research questions and predictions that arise from them.

Keywords: Death, ostracism, metaphor, social invincibility, reinclusion

Region-Specific Association of Subjective Cognitive Decline With Tauopathy Independent of Global β-Amyloid Burden

Region-Specific Association of Subjective Cognitive Decline With Tauopathy Independent of Global β-Amyloid Burden. Rachel F. Buckley et al. JAMA Neurol. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2017.2216

IMPORTANCE The ability to explore associations between reports of subjective cognitive decline (SCD) and biomarkers of early Alzheimer disease (AD) pathophysiologic processes (accumulation of neocortical β-amyloid [Aβ] and tau) provides an important opportunity to understand the basis of SCD and AD risk.

OBJECTIVE To examine associations between SCD and global Aβ and tau burdens in regions of interest in clinically healthy older adults.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS This imaging substudy of the Harvard Aging Brain Study included 133 clinically healthy older participants (Clinical Dementia Rating Scale global scores of 0) participating in the Harvard Aging Brain Study who underwent cross-sectional flortaucipir F 18 (previously known as AV 1451, T807) positron emission tomography (FTP-PET) imaging for tau and Pittsburgh compound B carbon 11–labeled PET (PiB-PET) imaging for Aβ. The following 2 regions for tau burden were identified: the entorhinal cortex, which exhibits early signs of tauopathy, and the inferior temporal region, which is more closely associated with AD-related pathologic mechanisms. Data were collected from June 11, 2012, through April 7, 2016.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Subjective cognitive declinewas measured using a previously published method of z-transforming subscales from the Memory Functioning Questionnaire, the Everyday Cognition battery, and a 7-item questionnaire. The Aβ level was measured according to a summary distribution volume ratio of frontal, lateral temporal and parietal, and retrosplenial PiB-PET tracer uptake. The FTP-PET measures were computed as standardized uptake value ratios. Linear regression models focused on main and interactive effects of Aβ, entorhinal cortical, and inferior temporal tau on SCD, controlling for age, sex, educational attainment, and Geriatric Depression Scale score.

RESULTS Of the 133 participants, 75 (56.3%) were women and 58 (43.6%) were men; mean (SD) age was 76 (6.9) years (range, 55-90 years). Thirty-nine participants (29.3%) exhibited a high Aβ burden. Greater SCD was associated with increasing entorhinal cortical tau burden (β = 0.35; 95%CI, 0.19-.52; P < .001) and Aβ burden (β = 0.24; 95%CI, 0.08-.40; P = .005), but not inferior temporal tau burden (β = 0.10; 95%CI, −0.08 to 0.28; P = .27). This association between entorhinal cortical tau burden and SCD was largely unchanged after accounting for Aβ burden (β = 0.36; 95%CI, 0.15-.58; P = .001), and no interaction influenced SCD (β = −0.36; 95%CI, −0.34 to 0.09; P = .25). An exploratory post hoc whole-brain analysis also indicated that SCD was predominantly associated with greater tau burden in the entorhinal cortex.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Subjective cognitive decline is indicative of accumulation of early tauopathy in the medial temporal lobe, specifically in the entorhinal cortex, and to a lesser extent, elevated global levels of Aβ. Our findings suggest multiple underlying pathways that motivate SCD that do not necessarily interact to influence SCD endorsement. As such, multiple biological factors must be considered when assessing SCD in clinically healthy older adults.

Consumption of fake news is a consequence, not a cause of their readers’ voting preferences

Kahan, Dan M., Misinformation and Identity-Protective Cognition (October 2, 2017). SSRN,

Abstract: This paper synthesizes existing work on misinformation relating to policy-relevant facts. It argues that misinformation has the greatest power to mislead when it interacts with identity-protective cognition.

Keywords: Identity Protective Reading, Misinform

Reasoning axiomatically from general dynamics of belief formation, commentators have tended to identify public consumption of “fake news” as an important part of Donald Trump’s victory [...] Allcott and Gentzkow (2017) report that individuals were much more likely to represent that they had read, agreed with, and shared articles that were favorable toward their preferred political candidate or unfavorable toward that candidate’s opponent. This is evidence, then, that consumption of the stories (or story: the average number of fake news articles read by a voter, A&G calculated, was 1) were a consequence, not a cause of their readers’ voting preferences.

Check also: Polarized Mass or Polarized Few? Assessing the Parallel Rise of Survey Nonresponse and Measures of Polarization. Amnon Cavari and Guy Freedman. The Journal of Politics,

Gender differences in environmental concern are smaller in societies with higher levels of gender inequality, economic scarcity, power distance, and collectivism

Cross-National Variation of Gender Differences in Environmental Concern: Testing the Sociocultural Hindrance Hypothesis. Hoi-Wing Chan, Vivien Pong, Kim-Pong Tam. Environment and Behavior,

Abstract: Although it is widely accepted that women are more pro-environmental than men, findings regarding gender differences in environmental concern have actually been mixed. In this study, we attempt to reconcile these mixed findings by considering the influence of sociocultural contexts. Specifically, we propose that some sociocultural contexts tend to hinder the psychological process that underlies gender differences in environmental concern. We tested this sociocultural hindrance hypothesis with an international survey data set (International Social Survey Programme) that involved respondents from 32 countries. We found that gender differences in environmental concern were smaller in societies with higher levels of gender inequality, economic scarcity, power distance, and collectivism. These results highlight the need to examine both the “why” and “when” questions for gender differences in environmental concern. They also indicate the importance of considering not only individual-level variables but also societal-level factors in the study of environmental concern.

Sleep and the gut microbiome: antibiotic-induced depletion of the gut microbiota reduces nocturnal sleep in mice

Sleep and the gut microbiome: antibiotic-induced depletion of the gut microbiota reduces nocturnal sleep in mice. Jonathan Elliott Lendrum, Bradley Seebach, Barrett Klein, Sumei Liu. doi:

Abstract: Several bacterial cell wall components such as peptidoglycan and muramyl peptide are potent inducers of mammalian slow-wave sleep when exogenously administered to freely behaving animals. It has been proposed that the native gut microflora may serve as a quasi-endogenous pool of somnogenic bacterial cell wall products given their quantity and close proximity to the intestinal portal. This proposal suggests that deliberate manipulation of the host's intestinal flora may elicit changes in host sleep behavior. To test this possibility, we evaluated 24 h of sleep-wake behavior after depleting the gut microbiota with a 14 d broad-spectrum antibiotic regimen containing high doses of ampicillin, metronidazole, neomycin, and vancomycin. High-throughput sequencing of the bacterial 16S rDNA gene was used to confirm depletion of fecal bacteria and sleep-wake vigilance states were determined using videosomnography techniques based on previously established behavioral criteria shown to highly correlate with standard polysomnography-based methods. Additionally, considering that germ-free and antibiotic-treated mice have been earlier shown to display increased locomotor activity, and since locomotor activity has been used as a reliable proxy of sleep, we suspected that the elevated locomotor activity previously reported in these animals may reflect an unreported reduction in sleep behavior. To examine this potential relationship, we also quantified locomotor activity on a representative subsample of the same 24 h of video recordings using the automated video-tracking software ANY-maze. We found that antibiotic-induced depletion of the gut microbiota reduced nocturnal sleep, but not diurnal sleep. Likewise, antibiotic-treated mice showed increased nocturnal locomotor activity, but not diurnal locomotor activity. Taken together, these results support a link between the gut microbiome and nocturnal sleep and locomotor physiology in adult mice. Additionally, our findings indicate that antibiotics may be insomnogenic via their ability to diminish gut-derived bacterial somnogens. Given that antibiotics are among the most commonly prescribed drugs in human medicine, these findings have important implications for clinical practice with respect to prolonged antibiotic therapy, insomnia, and other idiopathic sleep-wake and circadian-rhythm disorders affecting an estimated 50-70 million people in the United States alone.