Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Lighter hair linked to perceptions of youth, health & attractiveness, leads to more positive perceptions of relationship & parenting potential

Women’s hair as a cue to desired relationship and parenting characteristics. David C. Matz & Verlin B. Hinsz. The Journal of Social Psychology, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00224545.2017.1395791

ABSTRACT: We investigated how women’s hair color (blond, brown, black) and length (short, medium, long) influences males’ judgments about the women’s age, health, physical attractiveness, relationship potential and parenting capability. Results, which are generally consistent with evolutionary psychology approaches, indicate that hair color and to a lesser extent length can affect perceptions of personal characteristics. More specifically, we found that lighter hair (blond and brown) compared to darker hair (black) is generally associated with perceptions of youth, health and attractiveness, and generally leads to more positive perceptions of relationship and parenting potential. Furthermore, the relationships between variables suggest that characteristics directly related to reproductive potential may be inferred from more obvious indirect characteristics. These results suggest that males are able to make complex judgments about women concerning their desirable relationship and parenting potential based on discernable characteristics such as hair color and length.

KEYWORDS: Mate selection, person perception, physical attractiveness, hair color and length

Schadenfreude and re-construal of an objectively undeserved misfortune as a ‘deserved’ misfortune

“It wasn’t your fault, but …...”: Schadenfreude about an undeserved misfortune. Mariëtte Berndsen, rMarika Tiggemann, and Samantha Chapman. Motivation and Emotion, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11031-017-9639-1

Abstract: Although it is well-established that an objectively deserved misfortune promotes schadenfreude about the misfortune, there is a small body of research suggesting that an undeserved misfortune can also enhance schadenfreude. The aim of the present study was to investigate the processes that underlie schadenfreude about an undeserved misfortune. Participants (N = 61) were asked to respond to a scenario in which a person was responsible or not responsible for a negative action. In the responsible condition, two independent routes to schadenfreude were observed: deservingness of the misfortune (traditional route) and resentment towards the target. More importantly, results showed that when the target of the misfortune was not responsible for the negative action, the relationship between schadenfreude and resentment towards the target was mediated by the re-construal of an objectively undeserved misfortune as a ‘deserved’ misfortune. The study further found that expressing schadenfreude about another’s misfortune makes one feel better about oneself without affecting moral emotions. The findings expand our understanding of schadenfreude about undeserved negative outcomes.

Machine learning of neural representations of suicide and emotion concepts identifies suicidal youth

Machine learning of neural representations of suicide and emotion concepts identifies suicidal youth. Marcel Adam Just, Lisa Pan, Vladimir L. Cherkassky, Dana L. McMakin, Christine Cha, Matthew K. Nock & David Brent. Nature Human Behaviour (2017), doi:10.1038/s41562-017-0234-y

Abstract: The clinical assessment of suicidal risk would be substantially complemented by a biologically based measure that assesses alterations in the neural representations of concepts related to death and life in people who engage in suicidal ideation. This study used machine-learning algorithms (Gaussian Naive Bayes) to identify such individuals (17 suicidal ideators versus 17 controls) with high (91%) accuracy, based on their altered functional magnetic resonance imaging neural signatures of death-related and life-related concepts. The most discriminating concepts were ‘death’, ‘cruelty’, ‘trouble’, ‘carefree’, ‘good’ and ‘praise’. A similar classification accurately (94%) discriminated nine suicidal ideators who had made a suicide attempt from eight who had not. Moreover, a major facet of the concept alterations was the evoked emotion, whose neural signature served as an alternative basis for accurate (85%) group classification. This study establishes a biological, neurocognitive basis for altered concept representations in participants with suicidal ideation, which enables highly accurate group membership classification.

Opening a prostitution zone decreases registered sexual abuse and rape by about 30−40 pct in the first 2 years

Street Prostitution Zones and Crime. Paul Bisschop, Stephen Kastoryano, and Bas van der Klaauw. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy 2017, 9(4): 28–63. https://doi.org/10.1257/pol.20150299

Abstract: This  paper  studies  the  effects  of  legal  street  prostitution  zones  on  registered  and  perceived  crime.  We  exploit  a  unique  setting  in  the  Netherlands where these tippelzones were opened in nine cities under different regulation systems. Our difference-in-difference analysis of 25 Dutch cities between 1994–2011 shows that opening a tippelzone decreases registered sexual abuse and rape by about 30−40 percent in the first two years. For cities which enforced licensing in tippel-zones, we also find reductions in drug-related crime and long-term effects on sexual assaults. Effects on perceived drug nuisance depend on the regulation system and the proximity of respondents to the tippelzone.

JEL J16, J47, K42

Ethnic diversity, out-group contacts and social trust in a high-trust society

Ethnic diversity, out-group contacts and social trust in a high-trust society. Karl Loxbo. Acta Sociologica, https://doi.org/10.1177/0001699317721615

Abstract: Although ethnic diversity is widely believed to undermine social trust, several scholars have argued that this outcome ultimately depends on the extent of high-quality contacts between diverse groups as well as the extent of equality in society. This article scrutinises these different hypotheses by exploring the association between ethnic diversity and social trust among Swedish schoolchildren. Building on data from Sweden, where legacies of equality would be expected to provide unique opportunities for building trust among diverse groups, the contribution of the article to the literature is twofold. First, it was found that contextual diversity is only weakly related to adolescents’ trust. Furthermore, while interactions revealed that a higher socio-economic level in a classroom reinforces, rather than cushions, the adverse effect, it is concluded that contextual measures obscure the micro-level dynamic underlying the association between diversity and trust in classrooms. Second, when accounting for compositional effects, and the distinction between in-group and out-group contact, the findings strongly supported the conflict hypothesis, while rejecting the contact hypothesis. The principal finding is that ethnic diversity in a classroom undermines social trust among native-born adolescents, whereas the effect is the exact opposite for minorities. In addition, social trust is only promoted if adolescents interact with members of their ethnic in-group. Because these disconcerting results were found in the high-trust context of Sweden, it is suggested that similar findings are likely in less favourable settings. The article concludes by arguing that the high levels of social trust in traditionally homogenous, but increasingly segregated, countries such as Sweden may conceal the fact that individuals primarily include others who are similar to themselves in their ‘imagined communities’.

Power as an emotional liability: Implications for perceived authenticity and trust after a transgression

Power as an emotional liability: Implications for perceived authenticity and trust after a transgression. Peter Kim et al.. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 146(10), 1379-1401. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000292

Abstract: People may express a variety of emotions after committing a transgression. Through 6 empirical studies and a meta-analysis, we investigate how the perceived authenticity of such emotional displays and resulting levels of trust are shaped by the transgressor’s power. Past findings suggest that individuals with power tend to be more authentic because they have more freedom to act on the basis of their own personal inclinations. Yet, our findings reveal that (a) a transgressor’s display of emotion is perceived to be less authentic when that party’s power is high rather than low; (b) this perception of emotional authenticity, in turn, directly influences (and mediates) the level of trust in that party; and (c) perceivers ultimately exert less effort when asked to make a case for leniency toward high rather than low-power transgressors. This tendency to discount the emotional authenticity of the powerful was found to arise from power increasing the transgressor’s perceived level of emotional control and strategic motivation, rather than a host of alternative mechanisms. These results were also found across different types of emotions (sadness, anger, fear, happiness, and neutral), expressive modalities, operationalizations of the transgression, and participant populations. Altogether, our findings demonstrate that besides the wealth of benefits power can afford, it also comes with a notable downside. The findings, furthermore, extend past research on perceived emotional authenticity, which has focused on how and when specific emotions are expressed, by revealing how this perception can depend on considerations that have nothing to do with the expression itself.

High status males invest more than high status females in lower status same-sex collaborators

High status males invest more than high status females in lower status same-sex collaborators. Henry Markovits et al. PLoS One, September 2017, http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0185408

Abstract: Studies on human cooperation using economic games rarely include ecologically relevant factors. In studies on non-human primates however, both status and sex typically influence patterns of cooperation. Across primate species, high status individuals are more likely to cooperate, though this depends on the species-specific social structure of each sex. Based on human social structure, we predict that higher status males who interact more in hierarchical groups than females, will invest more than high status females in valued same-sex peers after successful cooperation. Across three studies, 187 male and 188 female participants cooperated with a (fictitious) same-sex partner who varied in competence. Participants then divided a reward between themselves and their partner. High status was induced in three different ways in each study, social influence, leadership and power. No overall sex difference in reward sharing was observed. Consistent with the hypothesis however, across all three studies, high status males invested more than high status females in cooperative partners, suggesting that high status males intuitively evaluate sharing rewards with same-sex partners as more beneficial.

How Incidental Confidence Influences Self-Interested Behaviors: A Double-Edged Sword

How Incidental Confidence Influences Self-Interested Behaviors: A Double-Edged Sword. Claire Tsai & Jia Lin Xie. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/bdm.2032

Abstract: The present research investigates how incidental confidence influences self-interested behaviors. It is well established that being in a psychological state of lower confidence causes people to experience psychological aversion that they are motivated to reduce. We study the transfer effect of confidence; people strive to compensate for lower confidence in one domain by obtaining higher status in other unrelated domains. Prior research has linked money with status and suggested that money can increase confidence. Building on this research, we proposed and showed in four experiments that lower incidental confidence increased self-interested behaviors that brought financial gains. Drawing on research on competitive altruism, we also predicted and found that when altruism, rather than money, was seen as the primary source of status, the effect of incidental confidence reversed such that lower incidental confidence decreased self-interested behaviors. Data ruled out alternative explanations and provided consistent evidence for the proposed compensatory mechanism. We also discussed theoretical and practical implications of the present research.

Cool, Callous, and in Control: Superior Inhibitory Control in Frequent Players of Video Games with Violent Content

Cool, Callous, and in Control: Superior Inhibitory Control in Frequent Players of Video Games with Violent Content. Laura Stockdale et al.  Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, nsx115, https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsx115

Abstract: Research on the effects of media violence exposure has shown robust associations among violent media exposure, increased aggressive behavior, and decreased empathy. Preliminary research indicates that frequent players of violent video games may have differences in emotional and cognitive processes compared to infrequent or non-players, yet research examining the amount and content of game play and the relation of these factors with affective and cognitive outcomes is limited. The present study measured neural correlates of response inhibition in the context of implicit attention to emotion, and how these factors are related to empathic responding in frequent and infrequent players of video games with graphically violent content. Participants completed a self-report measure of empathy as well as an affective stop-signal task that measured implicit attention to emotion and response inhibition during electroencephalography (EEG). Frequent players had lower levels of empathy as well as a reduction in brain activity as indicated by P100 and N200/P300 event related potentials (ERPs). Reduced P100 amplitude evoked by happy facial expressions was observed in frequent players compared to infrequent players, and this effect was moderated by empathy, such that low levels of empathy further reduced P100 amplitudes for happy facial expressions for frequent players compared to infrequent players. Compared to infrequent players, frequent players had reduced N200/P300 amplitude during response inhibition, indicating less neural resources were recruited to inhibit behavior. Results from the present study illustrate that chronic exposure to violent video games modulates empathy and related neural correlates associated with affect and cognition.

Keywords: graphic violent video game play, empathy, response inhibition, facial expression processing, stop-signal task, ERPs

Disentangling the Sources of Mimicry: Social Relations Analyses of the Link Between Mimicry and Liking

Disentangling the Sources of Mimicry: Social Relations Analyses of the Link Between Mimicry and Liking. Maike Salazar Kämpf et al. Psychological Science, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797617727121

Abstract: Mimicry is an important interpersonal behavior for initiating and maintaining relationships. By observing the same participants (N = 139) in multiple dyadic interactions (618 data points) in a round-robin design, we disentangled the extent to which mimicry is due to (a) the mimicker’s general tendency to mimic (imitativity), (b) the mimickee’s general tendency to evoke mimicry (imitatability), and (c) the unique dyadic relationship between the mimicker and the mimickee. We explored how these mimicry components affected liking and metaperceptions of liking (i.e., metaliking). Employing social relations models, we found substantial interindividual differences in imitativity, which predicted popularity. However, we found only small interindividual differences in imitatability. We found support for our proposition that mimicry is a substantially dyadic construct explained mostly by the unique relationship between two people. Finally, we explored the link between dyadic mimicry and liking, and we found that a person’s initial liking of his or her interaction partner led to mimicry, which in turn increased the partner’s liking of the mimicker.