Friday, October 27, 2017

Association Between Marijuana Use and Sexual Frequency in the USA

Sun AJ, Eisenberg ML. Association Between Marijuana Use and Sexual Frequency in the United States: A Population-Based Study. J Sex Med 2017;14:1342–1347.


Background: Marijuana use is increasingly prevalent in the United States. Effects of marijuana use on sexual function are unclear, with contradictory reports of enhancement and detriment existing.

Aim: To elucidate whether a relation between marijuana use and sexual frequency exists using a nationally representative sample of reproductive-age men and women.

Methods: We analyzed data from cycle 6 (2002), cycle 7 (2006–2010), and continuous survey (2011–2015) administrations of the National Survey of Family Growth, a nationally representative cross-sectional survey. We used a multivariable model, controlling for demographic, socioeconomic, and anthropographic characteristics, to evaluate whether a relationship between marijuana use and sexual frequency exists.

Outcomes: Sexual frequency within the 4 weeks preceding survey administration related to marijuana use and frequency in the year preceding survey administration.

Results: The results of 28,176 women (average age = 29.9 years) and 22,943 men (average age = 29.5) were analyzed. More than 60% of men and women were Caucasian, and 76.1% of men and 80.4% of women reported at least a high school education. After adjustment, female monthly (incidence rate ratio [IRR] = 1.34, 95% CI = 1.07–1.68, P = .012), weekly (IRR = 1.36, 95% CI = 1.15–1.60, P < .001), and daily (IRR = 1.16, 95% CI = 1.01–1.32, P = .035) marijuana users had significantly higher sexual frequency compared with never users. Male weekly (IRR = 1.22, 95% CI = 1.06–1.41, P = .006) and daily (IRR = 1.36, 95% CI = 1.21–1.53, P < .001) users had significantly higher sexual frequency compared with never users. An overall trend for men (IRR = 1.08, 95% CI = 1.05–1.11, P < .001) and women (IRR = 1.07, 95% CI = 1.04–1.10, P < .001) was identified showing that higher marijuana use was associated with increased coital frequency.

Clinical Implications: Marijuana use is independently associated with increased sexual frequency and does not appear to impair sexual function.

Strengths and Limitations: Our study used a large well-controlled cohort and clearly defined end points to describe a novel association between marijuana use and sexual frequency. However, survey responses were self-reported and represent participants only at a specific point in time. Participants who did not answer questions related to marijuana use and sexual frequency were excluded.

Conclusion: A positive association between marijuana use and sexual frequency is seen in men and women across all demographic groups. Although reassuring, the effects of marijuana use on sexual function warrant further study.

Check also 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.

Clustering of 770,000 genomes reveals post-colonial population structure of North America

Clustering of 770,000 genomes reveals post-colonial population structure of North America. Eunjung Han et al. Nature Communications 8, Article number: 14238 (2017), doi:10.1038/ncomms14238

Abstract: Despite strides in characterizing human history from genetic polymorphism data, progress in identifying genetic signatures of recent demography has been limited. Here we identify very recent fine-scale population structure in North America from a network of over 500 million genetic (identity-by-descent, IBD) connections among 770,000 genotyped individuals of US origin. We detect densely connected clusters within the network and annotate these clusters using a database of over 20 million genealogical records. Recent population patterns captured by IBD clustering include immigrants such as Scandinavians and French Canadians; groups with continental admixture such as Puerto Ricans; settlers such as the Amish and Appalachians who experienced geographic or cultural isolation; and broad historical trends, including reduced north-south gene flow. Our results yield a detailed historical portrait of North America after European settlement and support substantial genetic heterogeneity in the United States beyond that uncovered by previous studies.

Assessment of sexual behavior in rats: the potentials and pitfalls

Assessment of sexual behavior in rats: the potentials and pitfalls. Roy Heijkoop, Patty T. Huijgens , Eelke M.S Snoeren. Behavioural Brain Research,

•    Review of potentials and pitfalls of animal models in rat sexual behavior.
•    Sexual incentive motivation is studied in a different test than sexual behavior.
•    Essential to use the appropriate model for the topic of investigation.
•    Important to be critical of the interpretation of results

Abstract: In the field of behavioral neuroscience, it is essential to use the appropriate animal models for the topic of investigation. The danger of using the wrong model can result in false interpretation of the results. In this review we will discuss the animal models used to study sexual behavior, with a focus on rats. We will discuss the potentials and pitfalls of the different paradigms and try to make recommendations on how research in this field could be optimized. Both male and female sexual behavior are discussed, in addition to sexual motivation.

Keywords: sexual behavior; incentive motivation; behavioral paradigm; rat; female; male

What is consciousness, and could machines have it?

What is consciousness, and could machines have it? Stanislas Dehaene, Hakwan Lau, and Sid Kouider. Science  Oct 27 2017: Vol. 358, Issue 6362, pp. 486-492. DOI: 10.1126/science.aan8871

Abstract: The controversial question of whether machines may ever be conscious must be based on a careful consideration of how consciousness arises in the only physical system that undoubtedly possesses it: the human brain. We suggest that the word “consciousness” conflates two different types of information-processing computations in the brain: the selection of information for global broadcasting, thus making it flexibly available for computation and report (C1, consciousness in the first sense), and the self-monitoring of those computations, leading to a subjective sense of certainty or error (C2, consciousness in the second sense). We argue that despite their recent successes, current machines are still mostly implementing computations that reflect unconscious processing (C0) in the human brain. We review the psychological and neural science of unconscious (C0) and conscious computations (C1 and C2) and outline how they may inspire novel machine architectures.

Who Can Deviate from the Party Line? Political Ideology Moderates Evaluation of Incongruent Policy Position

Who Can Deviate from the Party Line? Political Ideology Moderates Evaluation of Incongruent Policy Positions in Insula and Anterior Cingulate Cortex. Ingrid Johnsen Haas, Melissa N. Baker, and Frank J. Gonzalez. Social Justice Research,

Abstract: Political polarization at the elite level is a major concern in many contemporary democracies, which is argued to alienate large swaths of the electorate and prevent meaningful social change from occurring, yet little is known about how individuals respond to political candidates who deviate from the party line and express policy positions incongruent with their party affiliations. This experiment examines the neural underpinnings of such evaluations using functional MRI (fMRI). During fMRI, participants completed an experimental task where they evaluated policy positions attributed to hypothetical political candidates. Each block of trials focused on one candidate (Democrat or Republican), but all participants saw two candidates from each party in a randomized order. On each trial, participants received information about whether the candidate supported or opposed a specific policy issue. These issue positions varied in terms of congruence between issue position and candidate party affiliation. We modeled neural activity as a function of incongruence and whether participants were viewing ingroup or outgroup party candidates. Results suggest that neural activity in brain regions previously implicated in both evaluative processing and work on ideological differences (insula and anterior cingulate cortex) differed as a function of the interaction between incongruence, candidate type (ingroup versus outgroup), and political ideology. More liberal participants showed greater activation to incongruent versus congruent trials in insula and ACC, primarily when viewing ingroup candidates. Implications for the study of democratic representation and linkages between citizens’ calls for social change and policy implementation are discussed.

TV Canned Emotions. Effects of Genre and Audience Reaction on Emotions

Canned Emotions. Effects of Genre and Audience Reaction on Emotions. Andreas M. Baranowski, Rebecca Teichmann and Heiko Hecht. Art & Perception, Volume 5, Issue 3, pages 312 – 336.
DOI: 10.1163/22134913-00002068

Abstract: Laughter is said to be contagious. Maybe this is why TV stations often choose to add so-called canned laughter to their shows. Questionable as this practice may be, observers seem to like it. If such a simple manipulation, assumingly by inducing positive emotion, can change our attitudes toward the film, does the opposite manipulation work as well? Does a negative sound-track, such as screaming voices, have comparable effects in the opposite direction? We designed three experiments with a total of 110 participants to test whether scream-tracks have comparable effects on the evaluation of film sequences as do laugh-tracks. Experiment 1 showed segments of comedies, scary, and neutral films and crossed them with three sound tracks of canned laughter, canned screams, and no audience sound. Observers had to rate the degree of their subjective amusement and fear as well as general liking and immersion. The sound-tracks had independent effects on amusement and fear, and increased immersion when the sound was appropriate. Experiment 2 was identical, but instead of canned sounds, confederates of the experimenter enacted the sound-track. Here, the effects were even stronger. Experiment 3 manipulated social pressure by explicit evaluations of the film clips, which were particularly influential in comedies. Scream tracks worked as well as laugh tracks, in particular when the film was only mildly funny or scary. The information conveyed by a sound track is able to change the evaluation of films regardless of their emotional nature.

Keywords: laugh track; Humor; canned laughter; immersion; scream track; emotions

Offender Decision-Making in Criminology: Contributions from Behavioral Economics

Offender Decision-Making in Criminology: Contributions from Behavioral Economics.  Greg Pogarsky, Sean Patrick Roche, and Justin T. Pickett. Annual Review of Criminology, Vol. 1:- (Volume publication date January 2018).

Abstract: If there is agency and some decision-making process entailed in criminal behavior, then what are the incentives for crime and for conformity, and what is their role in offending decisions? Incentives have long been the province of economics, which has wide influence in criminology (e.g., Becker 1968, Cook et al. 2014). However, economics has evolved considerably since Becker’s influential model. An important development has been the advent of behavioral economics, which some consider a branch of economics on par with macroeconomics or econometrics (Dhami 2016). Behavioral economics integrates empirical departures from traditional microeconomic theories into a rigorous and more descriptively accurate economic model of choice. This review explains how behavioral economic applications on offender decision-making can help refine criminological theories of choice and identify innovative possibilities for improving crime-control policies.