Friday, October 13, 2017

Sharing of science is most likely among male scientists

Sharing of science is most likely among male scientists. Jorg J. M. Massen, Lisa Bauer, Benjamin Spurny, Thomas Bugnyar & Mariska E. Kret. Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 12927 (2017), doi:10.1038/s41598-017-13491-0

Abstract: Humans are considered to be highly prosocial, especially in comparison to other species. However, most tests of prosociality are conducted in highly artificial settings among anonymous participants. To gain a better understanding of how human hyper-cooperation may have evolved, we tested humans’ willingness to share in one of the most competitive fields of our current society: academia. Researchers were generally prosocial with 80% sharing a PDF of one of their latest papers, and almost 60% willing to send us their data. Intriguingly, prosociality was most prominent from male to male, and less likely among all other sex-combinations. This pattern suggests the presence of male-exclusive networks in science, and may be based on an evolutionary history promoting strong male bonds.

Bromance: More emotional stability, emotional disclosure, social fulfilment, & better conflict resolution, compared to emotional lives shared with girlfriends

Privileging the Bromance: A Critical Appraisal of Romantic and Bromantic Relationships. Stefan Robinson, Adam White, Eric Anderson. Men and Masculinities,

Abstract: In this research, utilizing data from thirty semistructured interviews, we examine how heterosexual undergraduate men compare their experiences of bromances to that of their romantic relationships (romances). We find that the increasingly intimate, emotive, and trusting nature of bromances offers young men a new social space for emotional disclosure, outside of traditional heterosexual relationships. Participants state that the lack of boundaries and judgment in a bromance is expressed as emotionally rivalling the benefits of a heterosexual romance. Our participants mostly determined that a bromance offered them elevated emotional stability, enhanced emotional disclosure, social fulfilment, and better conflict resolution, compared to the emotional lives they shared with girlfriends. Thus, this research provides an empirically grounded conceptual framework for understanding men’s view of close homosocial relationships in comparison to their romantic relationship in the twenty-first century.


Sex differences in empathy for pain: It seems there is no or very small role for autonomic regulation

Sex differences in empathy for pain: What is the role of autonomic regulation? Lincoln Tracy and Melita Giummarra. Psychophysiology, Volume 54, Issue 10, October 2017, Pages 1549–1558.

Abstract: Empathy involves both affective and cognitive components whereby we understand, and express concerns for, the experiences of others. Women typically have superior trait empathy compared with men, which seems to have a neurological basis with sex differences in the structure and function of neural networks involved in empathy. This study investigated sex differences in empathy for pain using the Empathy for Pain Scale, and examined whether these trait differences were associated with disruptions in autonomic regulation, specifically via the parasympathetic nervous system (measured through the square root of the mean squared differences of successive R-R intervals; RMSSD) both at rest and during a socioevaluative stress task (i.e., the serial sevens task). Compared with men, women reported higher empathic concern (Cohen's r = .25) and affective distress (Cohen's d = 0.65) toward another in pain. In both men and women, there was a decrease in lnRMSSD in the stress task compared to rest. Sex moderated the relationship between resting lnRMSSD and self-reported empathic concern. Specifically, there was no clear association between empathic concern and lnRMSSD in men whereas in women there was a negative relationship, with lower resting lnRMSSD associated with higher empathic concern, and higher lnRMSSD associated with lower levels of empathic concern that were similar to men. These findings suggest that empathic feelings may result from poorer psychophysiological regulation, and concur with previous research displaying sex-specific relationships between resting heart rate variability and emotion regulation abilities.

Some support for a sex, drugs, rock&roll connection, particularly among male performers & female listeners

Sex Drugs and Rock and Roll: Evidence Supporting the Storied Trilogy. Marissa A. Harrison & Susan M. Hughes. Human Ethology Bulletin, Volume 32, No 3, 63-84.

ABSTRACT: Sex, drugs, and rock and roll (SDRR) is a storied trilogy in popular culture. However, in scientific literature, there is little empirical evidence to determine if there is a positive relationship between these three phenomena, despite biological, psychological, and social reasons that would suggest they are connected. Via questionnaire, we asked participants to self-report alcohol and drug use, sexual behaviors and attitudes, and musical ability and preference. Although evidence was limited, there was some support for an SDRR connection, particularly among male performers and female listeners of rock and “harder” music. Interestingly, this mimics patterns of several bird species where males are the producers and females are the consumers of song. Ethological considerations and future directions are discussed.

Keywords: Rockmusic, birdsong, sex and drugs, substance use.

On Disease and Deontology -- Influence of Disease Threat on Moral Vigilance

On Disease and Deontology: Multiple Tests of the Influence of Disease Threat on Moral Vigilance. Damian Murray, Nicholas Kerry & Will Gervais. Social Psychological and Personality Science,

Abstract: Threat has been linked to certain facets of moral cognition, but the specific implications of disease threat for moral judgment remain poorly understood. Across three studies, we investigated the role of perceived disease threat in shaping moral judgment and hypothesized that perceived disease threat would cause people to be more sensitive to moral violations (or more “morally vigilant”). All three studies found a positive relationship between dispositional worry about disease transmission and moral vigilance. Additional analyses suggested that this worry was more strongly related to vigilance toward binding moral foundations. Study 3 demonstrated that moral vigilance was higher in individuals for whom the threat of disease was experimentally made salient, relative to individuals in both a neutral and a nondisease threat condition. Taken together, these results suggest that perceived disease threat may influence people’s moral vigilance across moral domains.

My comment: The Conservatives are a bore, but are not stupid. They are more empirical than Progressives, and many of their obsessions (security/defense, religion/morality, and maybe patriotism) have perfectly normal motivations, not only instincts/genetic programming. Progressives should try to understand better Conservatives (and viceversa, obviously :-) ).

Prejudice Reduction: What Works? A Review and Assessment of Research and Practice

Prejudice Reduction: What Works? A Review and Assessment of Research and Practice. Elizabeth Levy Paluck and Donald P. Green. Annu. Rev. Psychol. 2009. 60:339–67. 10.1146/annurev.psych.60.110707.163607

Abstract: This article reviews the observational, laboratory, and field experimental literatures on interventions for reducing prejudice. Our review places special emphasis on assessing the methodological rigor of existing research, calling attention to problems of design and measurement that threaten both internal and external validity. Of the hundreds of studies we examine, a small fraction speak convincingly to the questions of whether, why, and under what conditions a given type of intervention works. We conclude that the causal effects of many widespread prejudice-reduction interventions, such as workplace diversity training and media campaigns, remain unknown. Although some intergroup contact and cooperation interventions appear promising, a much more rigorous and broad-ranging empirical assessment of prejudice-reduction strategies is needed to determine what works.

Key Words: field experiments, evaluation, stereotype reduction, cooperative learning, contact hypothesis, peace education, media and reading interventions, diversity training, cultural competence, multicultural education, antibias education, sensitivity training, cognitive training

Rolling out the most comprehensive social control -- China to create national name-and-shame system for ‘deadbeat borrowers’

China to create national name-and-shame system for ‘deadbeat borrowers’

By He Huifeng
South China Morning Post. Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Anyone who fails to repay a bank loan will be blacklisted and have their personal details made public
Those who fail to repay a bank loan will be blacklisted, and they will have their name, ID number, photograph, home address and the amount they owe published or announced through various channels – including in newspapers, online, on radio and television, and on screens in buses and public lifts.

[...]In the southern city of Guangzhou, the personal details of some 141 debt defaulters have so far been displayed on screens in buses, commercial buildings and on media platforms at the request of local courts.

Meanwhile in Jiangsu, Henan and Sichuan provinces, the courts have teamed up with telecoms operators to create a recorded message – played every time someone calls – for those who fail to repay their loans. The message tells the caller: “The person you are calling has been put on a blacklist by the courts for failing to repay their debts. Please urge this person to honour their legal obligations.”   

Check this: China’s New Tool for Social Control: A Credit Rating for Everything. By Josh Chin and Gillian Wong

Beijing wants to give every citizen a score based on behavior such as spending habits, turnstile violations and filial piety, which can blacklist citizens from loans, jobs, air travel
WSJ, Nov. 28, 2016

Having more Neanderthal genes favor having social fear, autistic tendencies, and depressive tendencies

Using Personal Genome Technology and Psychometrics to Study the Personality of the Neanderthals. Glenn Geher, Richard Holler, David Chapleau, Jessica Fell, Bernadine Gangemi, Morgan Gleason, Vania Rolon, Andrew Shimkus & Briana Tauber. Human Ethology Bulletin, Volume 32, No 3, 34-46, DOI:

ABSTRACT: The Neanderthals’ extinction has been, according to modern biological anthropologists, greatly exaggerated. Research from multiple sources has consistently provided strong evidence of hybridization between ancestral Neanderthals and Ancestrally Modern Humans (AMHs). Personal genome technology, such as that used by the personal-genomic company, 23andMe, provides individuals with information regarding their particular genetic overlap with Neanderthal DNA. Given the fact that most personality traits show some heritable component, this research sought to examine if one’s degree of Neanderthal genetic overlap (or Neanderthal Quotient; NQ) is significantly related to a variety of personality traits – traits that, based on anthropological research – may have characterized our ancient Neanderthal cousins. Using an online survey administered to more than 200 adults from around the world who had had their personal genomes mapped, we found that NQ was positively related to such variables as social fear, anxiety, and promiscuity, while being negatively related to scores on a performance-based measure of imaginativeness. Most of these relationships remained significant in regression models that added age and gender into the equations, suggesting that these findings are likely relatively reliable. Findings suggest that high levels of NQ tend to correspond to social fear, autistic tendencies, and depressive tendencies – a constellation of results that is consistent with the conception of Neanderthals as being ill-suited for large-scale social living.

Keywords: Neanderthal, personality, personal genome, social anxiety, fear, sociosexuality.

Song practice as a rewarding form of play in songbirds, correlating with opioid and endocannabinoid markers in the brain

Song practice as a rewarding form of play in songbirds. Lauren V. Riters et al. Behavioural Processes,

•    To use song effectively in reproductive contexts, songbirds must practice singing.
•    Song practice is associated with positive affect and activity in reward systems.
•    Song practice correlates with opioid and endocannabinoid markers in the brain.
•    Multiple aspects of play behavior parallel what is observed for song practice.
•    Song practice may be considered a rewarding form of play behavior.

Abstract: In adult songbirds, the primary functions of song are mate attraction and territory defense; yet, many songbirds sing at high rates as juveniles and outside these primary contexts as adults. Singing outside primary contexts is critical for song learning and maintenance, and ultimately necessary for breeding success. However, this type of singing (i.e., song “practice”) occurs even in the absence of immediate or obvious extrinsic reinforcement; that is, it does not attract mates or repel competitors. Here we review studies that support the hypothesis that song practice is stimulated and maintained by intrinsic reward mechanisms (i.e., that it is associated with a positive affective state). Additionally, we propose that song practice can be considered a rewarding form of play behavior similar to forms of play observed in multiple young animals as they practice sequences of motor events that are used later in primary adult reproductive contexts. This review highlights research suggesting at least partially overlapping roles for neural reward systems in birdsong and mammalian play and evidence that steroid hormones modify these systems to shift animals from periods of intrinsically rewarded motor exploration (i.e., singing in birds and play in mammals) to the use of similar motor patterns in primary reproductive contexts.

Keywords: Communication; Endocannabinoids; Learning; Opioids; Reward