Monday, October 23, 2017

Deep down my enemy is good: Thinking about the true self reduces intergroup bias

Deep down my enemy is good: Thinking about the true self reduces intergroup bias. Julian De Freitas, & Mina Cikara. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology,

Abstract: Intergroup bias — preference for one's in-group relative to out-groups — is one of the most robust phenomena in all of psychology. Here we investigate whether a positive bias that operates at the individual-level, belief in a good true self, may be leveraged to reduce intergroup bias. We find that even stereotypically threatening out-group agents are believed to have a good true self (Experiment 1). More importantly, consideration of an in-group and out-group members' true self reduces intergroup bias, both in the form of explicit evaluative judgments (Experiment 2) and actual donation behavior (Experiment 3). Across studies, the palliative effects of thinking of an individual's true self generalize to that individual's entire group. In sum, a simple intervention — thinking about another's true self — reduces the gap in how people evaluate and treat out-group relative to in-group members. We discuss implications of these findings for conflict reduction strategies.

Keywords: Intergroup bias; True self; Essentialism; Lay theories

Performance Trends in AI. By S R Constantin

Performance Trends in AI. S R Constantin. Updated Oct 2017.

Deep learning has revolutionized the world of artificial intelligence. But how much does it improve performance?  How have computers gotten better at different tasks over time, since the rise of deep learning?

In games, what the data seems to show is that exponential growth in data and computation power yields exponential improvements in raw performance. In other words, you get out what you put in. Deep learning matters, but only because it provides a way to turn Moore’s Law into corresponding performance improvements, for a wide class of problems.  It’s not even clear it’s a discontinuous advance in performance over non-deep-learning systems.

In image recognition, deep learning clearly is a discontinuous advance over other algorithms.  But the returns to scale and the improvements over time seem to be flattening out as we approach or surpass human accuracy.

In speech recognition, deep learning is again a discontinuous advance. We are still far away from human accuracy, and in this regime, accuracy seems to be improving linearly over time.

In machine translation, neural nets seem to have made progress over conventional techniques, but it’s not yet clear if that’s a real phenomenon, or what the trends are.

In natural language processing, trends are positive, but deep learning doesn’t generally seem to do better than trendline.

Chess AI compared to humans:

Arcade games AI compared to humans:

Much more at the link above.

Projection of attraction to alternative partners predicts anger and negative behavior in romantic relationships

The wandering eye perceives more threats: Projection of attraction to alternative partners predicts anger and negative behavior in romantic relationships. Angela Neal & Edward Lemay. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships,

Abstract: The current study tested the predictions that (a) people project their own attraction to alternative romantic or sexual partners onto their romantic partners and (b) this projection shapes anger and negative behavior toward romantic partners. These predictions were supported in a dyadic daily experiences study of 96 heterosexual romantic couples. Participants’ self-reported attraction to alternative partners predicted perceptions of the partner’s interest independently of, and more strongly than, the partner’s own self-reported attraction, suggesting that participants projected their own extradyadic attraction onto their partners. Furthermore, this projection predicted perceivers’ own anger and negative behaviors directed at their partners more strongly than did the partner’s self-reported attraction. Results suggest that participants were angry and antagonistic when they thought their partners were interested in alternative partners, but that this suspicion was a projection of their own attraction to alternatives more than it was an accurate reflection of their partner’s attraction. Results suggest that projection of extradyadic attraction has an important influence on relationship quality and may exacerbate the negative relationship consequences of attraction to alternative partners.

Why would people project their own extradyadic attraction? This projection may occur as a result of people’s own extradyadic attraction being readily able to come to mind when they are trying to discern partner’s attraction, which then may bias subsequent judgments (Tversky & Kahneman, 1973). Or, as research has also suggested (for discussion, see Lemay & Clark, 2015), this projection may be a result of motivated cognition, in that people particularly interested in alternatives may exaggerate their partner’s interests in order to alleviate their own guilt, justify their own extradyadic attraction, or, in the case of projecting lack of extradyadic attraction, create a desired sense of security in a mutually monogamous relationship. Future research should examine these possible motivations for projecting one’s level of extradyadic attraction.

The current research suggests that detecting infidelity may be more complex than previously thought. Prior research suggests that people tend to believe that certain cues are diagnostic of a partner’s interest in alternative partners or engagement in infidelity, such as the partner’s anger, critical or argumentative behavior, emotional disengagement, change in sexual behavior or appearance, sexual disinterest, reluctance to spend time with the partner, and increased time spent with another person (Shackelford & Buss, 1997). Perhaps the current participants relied on these sorts of cues to accurately detect fluctuations in their partner’s extradyadic attraction, a possibility that should be directly examined in future research. However, in the current research, perception of partners’ extradyadic attraction depended more on the perceiver’s own attraction, suggesting that projection typically overpowers the use of valid cues in discerning partners’ attraction.  This may be the case, because people generally believe their partners are similar to them (Kenny & Acitelli, 2001), the cues to infidelity may often be ambiguous, and because of the motivations to see partners as similarly described above. Future research should examine whether particular cues are so diagnostic of the partner’s level of attraction that they can override projection biases. Furthermore, the very interpretation of cues to infidelity may vary as a function of desires to see partners’ extradyadic attraction as similar to one’s own. For example, a person who is, himself, not attracted to extradyadic partners may be motivated to interpret his partner’s lack of sexual interest as a result of his partner’s stressful career. His partner, in contrast, may falsely perceive his anxiety as an indicator that his own extradyadic attraction is just as high as her own. Indeed, effects of gender, threat, and anxiety about relationships on interpretation of infidelity cues (Kruger, Fisher, Edelstein, Chopik, Fitzgerald, & Strout, 2013; Schutzwohl & Koch, 2004) suggest that use of these cues interacts with perceivers’ beliefs and motivations.  The current results suggest that projection is an additional important source of these interpretations. As suggested by interdependence theory (e.g., Agnew et al., 1998; Aron & Aron, 1997), as people become more and more dependent on their partners, they tend to view themselves and their partners as intertwined and the partner as part of oneself.  This growing sense of connection and similarity may increase people’s tendencies to rely on projection as heuristic in discerning their partner’s qualities, resulting in increasing tendencies to project extradyadic attraction. These considerations underscore that a complete understanding of perceptions of infidelity and related perceptions of extradyadic attraction must go beyond identifying cues to infidelity to also account for the forces that lead people to assume that their partner is just as (un)trustworthy as themselves.

Presentation letter to date girls

Presentation letter to date girls

hi, this is Jordi!

1 I'm 55 yo, married, working as IT Consultant in xxx. I'd love to meet a girly girl that, like me, doesn't believe in eternal love/marriage, has much interest in knowledge (science, engineering, politics), music, architecture, opera, museums, exhibitions, poetry, & ocultism/divination/the irrational (i.e., economy   :-)  ), with almost zero interest in cooking, sports, small talk.

I do not like much going to the countryside, I prefer cities. To walk the streets, to talk about the subjects above (including talking about the job), to share some time frequently.

2  Politics: Libertarian, I welcome leftists and rightists alike. I do not criminalize others & can talk to (non-violent) D Trump/Hillary R Clinton voters, the alt-right/the alt-left, feminists, etc. But only minimum, polite contact with nazis/communists.

3  Religion: I am an Atheist (educated as a Calvinist/Puritan), but respect religions & religious people & most customs.

4  Dislikes: Too many! Some of them:
4.1  I cannot imagine myself causing physical or mental pain to a girl. So do not ask me to hit you... not interested in BDSM.

4.2  I expect of a person in whom I am taking interest to behave well with everyone, irrespective of their skin color, religion, ethnicity, economic status, national origin, political party, how well they do their job when they work for us, ... I dislike very much people who is not polite with the others.

4.3  I do not like to be instructed or talked to in a patronizing way about ethics & morals... That includes trying to make a vegetarian of me, or a member of your religion, or to make me drink alcohol/smoke drugs, or believe how wrong is not defending the equal rights of animals, etc. We have our opinions and we can talk about them but there is no need to try to convert anyone. Not me, at least.

4.4  I deeply dislike extremisms. Minimum, but always polite contact with reflexive anti-American, anti-Arab, anti-Israeli, anti-Palestinian, anti-Christian, anti-Muslim, anti-Chinese, etc., guys.


Please read the 'About me' section. Afterwards:

You are a young girl that loves to talk to a real man (tender, polite, who loves kittens and videos about them) and have time with him. Also, with time, some affection and physical tenderness would be expected... But you decide how far we go. If I fall in love with you, you may have the Platonic version if not ready for the real one.

You are considerate with all others regardless of their perceived flaws. Always courteous with everyone, a classy woman.

You are over-cultivated, a real nerd, and like as little small talk as possible (some may be needed   :-)   ). No soccer, basketball, tennis, food, wine/alcohol or cooking talk. Maybe table tennis... :-)

Of course, I am not demanding exclusivity or faithfulness. I expect you to have a boyfriend or girlfriend, or several of them, or a lot of them. No problem with that. But I will adore you and won't even flirt with others. But only for the time we are interested in each other, of course, because some day, we will part. It will be a drama-free relationship.

No problem with your having pets, or your drinking/smoking, either. But, since you are a nerd, you don't take too much alcohol and nothing that can affect your cognitive skills.

You are respectful of the old --- that means that you talk lovingly about your parents/ guardians/ teachers/etc. If they hurt you, we will overcome that anger and end the process being, both of us, better persons than before meeting each other.

If you are religious/spiritual, you are not a zealot, but respectful of other ideas. Same with extreme politization.

You may not expect of me leaving my wife. She is a good person and needs help. Our relationship will be temporary.

And last but not least, you spend some time helping a charity, or the neighbors that cannot fend for themselves, or some other do-good stuff; return trays to the disposal areas in the junk food restaurant; do not leave chairs in the wrong place, preventing others from easy movement and access; do not litter; do not park illegally; do not jump the queue; ***you (and me) err in the side of caution to avoid offending others*** (but you may and should be more direct with me, obviously :-) ).

My expections about sex with you: I want you to teach me how to give you pleasure. Please let me be your pupil and lab assistant! :-)

dating site

Death and failure: A cautionary tale of death anxiety and alternate causality

Death and failure: A cautionary tale of death anxiety and alternate causality. Christopher Michael Jackson. A thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. September, 2017.


Many believe that the fear of death is central to the human experience. Theoretically, this fear stems from the human cognitive capacity to project ourselves into the future and contemplate the world without us in it. Awareness —either conscious or unconscious— of our mortality is the central cause of what researchers call death anxiety, which we manage on a day-to-day basis by protecting our cultural worldviews. These views (which range in diversity from a belief in God to the belief that America is the grea test country on earth) act as a crutch to lean on when confronted with terrifying reminders of our mortality.

The data on the fear of death and death anxiety are inconsistent. Some data suggests that we are afraid of death, but the majority of data suggest that death anxiety is low. The leading thanatocentric theory, Terror Management Theory (TMT), makes the claim that we do not show death anxiety because we are well practised at suppressing the terrifying thoughts of death; however, this claim is non-falsifiable.

The present research does its best to test these claims against the competing theory, the Meaning Maintenance Model (MMM), which stipulates that thoughts of our mortality threaten our meaning framework. We know how the world works and reminders of death make us question that certainty, although death is only one example of a thing that makes us question ourselves. This thesis uses the inconsistent data as a starting point and asks, "Are we actually afraid of death?" in two parts. Part one (which includes Studies 1, 2, and 3) proposes the question philosophically and empirically. Study 1 directly asked participants what they were afraid of. 'Death' was listed by approximately 27% of the respondents ('One's own death' was listed by approximately 21%) and death anxiety scores were moderate. 'Failure' was the most prevalent fear. It was listed by approximately 61% of the participants. Study 2 , more indirectly, analysed written reflections on the ir mortality. When asked about how their own death made them feel, participants wrote more negative emotional words than positive emotional words. Both positive and negative emotional words were more prevalent when writing about death than writing about neutral controls. Study 3 had participants speak about their own deaths —or a neutral television condition— in front of a camera. Facial recognition software was unable to detect any meaningful emotional differences between those two conditions. These studies look ed for (and fail ed to find) direct signs o f death anxiety. Some indirect signs of death anxiety were found (e.g., increased negative emotional word usage), but nothing that suggests a ubiquitous and universal fear of death.

Part two, which includes Studies 4 and 5, explores an alternate cause of death anxiety from Study 1 : failure. The final two studies explore the mediated relationship between personal failure, the need for closure, and death anxiety. Closure is a construct that links TMT and the MMM. Study 4 asked participants to think about personal life successes or personal life failures and then complete need for closure and death anxiety scales. Need for Closure (NFC) mediated the relationship. Participants that thought about life failures showed an increased need for closure, which subs equently led to an increase in death anxiety. Study 5 tested the relationship between death and failure by ad ding a mortality salience condition to the previous study. This final study failed to replicate the find ings of Study 4. It did, however, find a link between NFC and death anxiety.

Taken together, these studies reiterate that the terror from TMT seems to be missing. Failure was the most commonly cited fear , though it is unclear whether death and failure are related. The relationship between NFC and death anxiety is the most promising finding. The implications of these relationships as they relate to existing theories on death and dying are discussed.

Perceived Shared Condemnation Intensifies Punitive Moral Emotions

Perceived Shared Condemnation Intensifies Punitive Moral Emotions. Naoki Konishi et al. Sci Rep. 2017; 7: 7289. Published online 2017 Aug 4. doi:  10.1038/s41598-017-07916-z

Abstract: Punishment facilitates large-scale cooperation among humans, but how punishers, who incur an extra cost of punishment, can successfully compete with non-punishers, who free-ride on the punisher’s policing, poses an evolutionary puzzle. One answer is by coordinating punishment to minimise its cost. Notice, however, that in order to effectively coordinate their punishment, potential punishers must know in advance whether others would also be willing to punish a particular norm violator. Such knowledge might hinder coordination by tempting potential punishers to free-ride on other punishers. Previous research suggests that moral emotions, such as moral outrage and moral disgust, serve as a commitment device and drive people to carry out the costly act of punishment. Accordingly, we tested whether the perception of socially shared condemnation (i.e., knowledge that others also condemn a particular violator) would amplify moral outrage and moral disgust, and diminish empathy for the violator. Study 1 (scenario-based study) revealed that perceived shared condemnation was correlated positively with moral outrage and moral disgust, and negatively with empathy. Study 2 experimentally demonstrated that information indicating that others also condemn a particular norm violation amplified moral outrage. Lastly, Study 3 (autobiographical recall study) confirmed the external validity of the finding.

Limiting Consumer Choice, Expanding Costly Litigation: An Analysis of the CFPB Arbitration Rule

US Treasury Dept
Limiting Consumer Choice, Expanding Costly Litigation: An Analysis of the CFPB Arbitration Rule
Oct 23 2017

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Treasury Department today released a report that examines the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) arbitration rule. The Treasury report delves into the analysis CFPB used to prohibit mandatory arbitration clauses.  It outlines important limitations to the data behind CFPB’s rule and explains that CFPB did not appropriately consider whether prohibiting arbitration clauses would advance consumer protection or serve the public interest.

The Treasury report found that:
  • The CFPB’s rule will impose extraordinary costs—generating more than 3,000 additional class action lawsuits over the next five years, imposing more than $500 million in additional legal defense fees, and transferring $330 million to plaintiffs’ lawyers;
  • The CFPB’s data show that the vast majority of class action lawsuits deliver no relief to the class—and that consumers very rarely claim relief available to them;
  • The CFPB did not show that its rule will achieve a necessary increase compliance with the federal consumer financial laws, despite the rule’s high costs; and
The CFPB failed to consider less onerous alternatives to its ban on mandatory arbitration clauses across market sectors.

Nearly a century ago, Congress made private agreements to resolve disputes through arbitration “valid,irrevocable, and enforceable” underthe Federal Arbitration Act.

This longstanding federal policy in favor of private dispute resolution serves
the twin purposes of economic efficiency and freedom of contract. In the Dodd-
Frank Act, Congress authorized the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to limit or ban the use of arbitration agreements in consumer financial contracts only if the Bureau concludes that its restrictions are “in the public interest and for the protection of consumers.”
Against this background, in July 2017, the Bureau issued its final rule (the “Rule”) prohibiting consumers and providers of financial products and services from agreeing to resolve future disputes through arbitration rather than class-action litigation.
The Rule follows the Bureau’s study of arbitration,
summarized in a 2015 report to
Congress. The Arbitration Study attempted
an empirical analysis of
both the arbitral awards and
class action settlements that consumers obtained for a variety of claims.
But the data the Bureau
limited in ways that raise
serious questions about its conclusions
and undermine
the foundation of the Rule its
. More fundamentally, the Bureau failed to
prohibiting mandatory
arbitration clauses in consumer financial contracts would serve
either consumer protection
the public interest
—its two statutory mandates. Neither the St
the Rule
showing. Instead,
on closer inspection,
the Study and the Rule
demonstrate that:
The Rule will impose extraordinary costs—based on the Bureau’s own incomplete
projects that
generate more than 3
class action lawsuits
over the next five years
. Meanwhile,
affected businesses
will spend more than $500
in additional legal defense fees, $330 million in payments to plaintiffs’ lawyers,
and $1.7
billion in additional settlements
the Bureau’s
estimates do not account for
increases in state court litigation.
Affected businesses are unlikely to simply absorb
these new financial burdens.
he Office of the Comptroller of the Currency recently reported
Bureau’s own data show that the Rule’s costs will
likely be passed
consumers in the form of higher borrowing costs
for credit card users, among other burdens
The vast m
ajority of consumer class actions deliver zero relief to the putative members of
the class.
According to the Bureau’s own data, only 13% of consumer class action lawsuits
result in class
-wide recovery—
meaning tha
t in 87% of cases, either no plaintiffs or only
named plaint
iffs receive relief of any kind.
The Bureau projects that, out
of the 3,000
additional class actions the Rule will generate, four
in five
recovery for the
putative class of con
In the fraction of class actions that generate class
relief, few affected consumers
demonstrate interest in recovery.
On average, only
4% of plaintiffs entitled
to claim
settlement funds actually do so. This suggests that consumers value class action litigation far
less than the Bureau believes they should.
This is not surprising given that plaintiffs who do
claim funds from class action settlements receive, on average, $32.35 per person.
Rule will effect a large wealth trans
fer to plaintiffs’ attorneys
n average, plaintiff
attorneys’ fees account for approximately 31% of the
plaintiffs receive from
class action settlements
—and in many types of cases, much more. In an average case,
plaintiffs’ attorneys
more than $1 million; actual plaintiffs receive $32 each.
Bureau’s data indicate that the Rule will transfer an additional $330 million over five years
from affected businesses to the plaintiffs’ bar.
The Bureau failed reasonably to consider whether improved disclosures regarding
arbitration would serve consumer interests
than its regulatory ban.
The Bureau’s own
data show that the
marketplace offers choices to consumers
regarding arbitration
; the
vast majority of contracts in the major
market segments
do not contain
mandatory arbitration
If the Bureau is concerned that consumers are unaware of arbitration clauses, more
prominent disclosure of such clauses would be a lower cost, choice
means to
advance consumer protection
The Bureau did not adequately
assess the share of class actions that are without merit.
Courts and commentators have long recognized that defendants settle even
meritless lawsuits.
As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has explained, the class mechanism
“places pressure on the
defendant to settle even unmeritorious claims.”
The Bureau
the force of this
and failed to assess the costs of meritless litigation that the Rul
e will generate
The Bureau offered
no foundation for its assumption that the Rule will
with federal consumer financial laws.
The Bureau “
that the current level of
compliance in consumer finance markets is generally sub
and insists that
will protect consumers by remedying that assumed compliance gap.
after years of study,
the Bureau has identified no evidence indicat
ing that firms that do not use arbitration clauses
treat their customers better or have higher levels of compliance with the law. As a result, the
Bureau cannot credibly claim that the
Rule would yield
more efficient levels of
In view of these defects, it is clear that
the Rule does not satisfy
the statutor
y prerequisites
for banning
the use of arbitration agreements
under the Dodd-
Frank Act
. The Bureau has not made
a reasoned showing that increased consumer class action litigation will
result in a net
consumers or to
the public as a whole. B
ased on the Bureau’s own data, it is far more likely that
the Rule will generate massive economic costs
—borne by businesses and consumers alike
dwarf the
speculative benefits of
the Bu
reau’s theorized increase in

Is the trait trustingness affected the effect of fishy (vs unpleasant, and neutral) odors on suspicion, creative reasoning, and perceptions of other’s trustworthiness?

In the nose, not in the beholder: Embodied cognition effects override individual differences. Prem Sebastian, LeahKaufmann, and Xochitl de la Piedad Garcia.

Lee and Schwarz (2012) found a relationship between fishy odor and suspicion.
• Study 2: Students in a hallway sprayed with fish smell invested significantly less in an economic game relying on trust compared to students in either a fart spray or control condition.

Lee, Kim and Schwarz (2015) also found that a fishy odor affected critical reasoning via suspicion.
• Study 2: Participants exposed to an incidental fishy odor were more likely utilise negative hypothesis testing, and avoid confirmation bias, than those in a control condition as demonstrated by performance on the Wason would provide the first evidence of an interaction between metaphorical effects and individual differences.

These studies demonstrated the effect of the embodied metaphor of fishiness.

To date, embodied cognition has focussed on effects observed in moment-to-moment bodily states. However, it seems likely individual differences may affect the extent to which bodily states are affected by embodied effects. For example, is the degree to which fishy odor motivates suspicion a function of participant’s own trustingness?

The interaction between individual differences and embodied effects have yet to be considered.

The aim of the current study was to examine whether trait trustingness affected the effect of fishy (vs unpleasant, and neutral) odors on suspicion, creative reasoning, and perceptions of other’s trustworthiness.

The extent and causes of academic text recycling or ‘self-plagiarism’

The extent and causes of academic text recycling or ‘self-plagiarism’. S.P.J.M. Horbach amd W. Halffman. Research Policy,

•    Text recycling is a common form of dubious behaviour in journal publications.
•    The extent of text recycling varies considerably between research fields.
•    The extent of text recycling is positively related to author’s productivity.
•    Problematic text recycling occurs more often in articles with few co-authors.
•    Existence of editorial policy statements reduces the extent of text recycling.

Abstract: Among the various forms of academic misconduct, text recycling or ‘self-plagiarism’ holds a particularly contentious position as a new way to game the reward system of science. A recent case of alleged ‘self-plagiarism’ by the prominent Dutch economist Peter Nijkamp has attracted much public and regulatory attention in the Netherlands. During the Nijkamp controversy, it became evident that many questions around text recycling have only partly been answered and that much uncertainty still exists. While the conditions of fair text reuse have been specified more clearly in the wake of this case, the extent and causes of problematic text recycling remain unclear. In this study, we investigated the extent of problematic text recycling in order to obtain understanding of its occurrence in four research areas: biochemistry & molecular biology, economics, history and psychology. We also investigated some potential reasons and motives for authors to recycle their text, by testing current hypotheses in scholarly literature regarding the causes of text recycling. To this end, an analysis was performed on 922 journal articles, using the Turnitin plagiarism detection software, followed by close manual interpretation of the results. We observed considerable levels of problematic text recycling, particularly in economics and psychology, while it became clear that the extent of text recycling varies substantially between research fields. In addition, we found evidence that more productive authors are more likely to recycle their papers. In addition, the analysis provides insight into the influence of the number of authors and the existence of editorial policies on the occurrence of problematic text recycling.