Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Analytic Atheism: A Cross-culturally Weak and Fickle Phenomenon?

Gervais, Will M, Michiel van Elk, Dimitris Xygalatas, Ryan McKay, Mark Aveyard, Emma E K BUCHTEL, Ilan Dar-Nimrod, et al. 2017. “Analytic Atheism: A Cross-culturally Weak and Fickle Phenomenon?”. PsyArXiv. December 6.

Abstract: Religious belief is a topic of longstanding interest to psychological science, however the psychology of religious disbelief is a relative newcomer. One prominently discussed model is analytic atheism, wherein analytic thinking overrides religious intuitions and instruction. Consistent with this model, performance-based measures of reliance on analytic thinking predict religious disbelief in WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, & Democratic) samples. However, the generality of analytic atheism remains unknown. Drawing on a large global sample (N = 3459) from 13 religiously, demographically, and culturally diverse societies, we find that analytic atheism is in fact quite fickle cross-culturally, only appearing robustly in aggregate analyses and in three individual countries. Such complexity implies a need to revise simplistic theories of religious disbelief as primarily grounded in cognitive style. The results provide additional evidence for culture’s effects on core beliefs, highlighting the power of comparative cultural evidence to clarify core mechanisms of human psychological variation.

Evidence for a sex effect during overimitation: boys copy irrelevant modelled actions more than girls across cultures

Evidence for a sex effect during overimitation: boys copy irrelevant modelled actions more than girls across cultures. Aurélien Frick, Fabrice Clément, Thibaud Gruber.

Abstract: Children are skilful at acquiring tool-using skills by faithfully copying relevant and irrelevant actions performed by others, but poor at innovating tools to solve problems. Five- to twelve-year-old urban French and rural Serbian children (N = 208) were exposed to a Hook task; a jar containing a reward in a bucket and a pipe cleaner as potential recovering tool material. In both countries, few children under the age of 10 made a hook from the pipe cleaner to retrieve the reward on their own. However, from five onward, the majority of unsuccessful children succeeded after seeing an adult model manufacturing a hook without completing the task. Additionally, a third of the children who observed a similar demonstration including an irrelevant action performed with a second object, a string, replicated this meaningless action. Children's difficulty with innovation and early capacity for overimitation thus do not depend on socio-economic background. Strikingly, we document a sex difference in overimitation across cultures, with boys engaging more in overimitation than girls, a finding that may result from differences regarding explorative tool-related behaviour. This male-biased sex effect sheds new light on our understanding of overimitation, and more generally, on how human tool culture evolved.

Energizing, activating, & hedonic effects of fast thinking -- The effects are independent of thought content, fluency, and goal progress

Consequences of Thought Speed. Kaite Yang*, Emily Pronin. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology,

Abstract: The speed of thinking is a frequently overlooked aspect of mental life. However, the pace of thought is an essential property of thinking, and its consequences have recently begun to be discovered. In this chapter, we review the psychological consequences of accelerated and decelerated thought pace. We begin by examining how the manipulation of thought speed alters mood, self-perception, risk-taking, creativity, and arousal. We highlight the energizing, activating, and hedonic effects of fast thinking, and we show how thought-speed effects are independent of thought content, fluency, and goal progress. We describe an adaptive theory of thought speed wherein psychological responses to the acceleration of thinking confer adaptive advantages for confronting novel, urgent, and rapidly changing situations, and engaging in behaviors driven by appetitive motivation. Lastly, we discuss implications of thought speed and its manipulation for treatment of mental illness, for design and delivery of communications and messages, and for life in the age of rapid access and exposure to information.

Keywords: Thought speed; Emotion; Behavioral activation; Risk-taking; Creativity; Mania

Common knowledge, coordination, and the logic of self-conscious emotions

Common knowledge, coordination, and the logic of self-conscious emotions. Kyle A. Thomas, Peter DeScioli, Steven Pinker. Evolution and Human Behavior,

Imagine spilling a plate of food into your lap in front of a crowd. Afterwards, you might fix your gaze on your cell phone to avoid acknowledging the bumble to onlookers. Similarly, after disappointing your family or colleagues, it can be hard to look them in the eye. Why do people avoid acknowledging faux pas or transgressions that they know an audience already knows about?

Following a transgression, people feel the negative self-conscious emotions of shame, embarrassment, or guilt, and these emotions help them regulate their relationships [...]. A transgressor has displayed ineptitude, which can damage his reputation as a valuable cooperator, or a disregard for someone’s welfare, which can damage his reputation as a trustworthy cooperator. The discomfort caused by the resulting emotions, even when privately felt, motivates a person to manage these threats by drawing his attention to the transgression and motivating him to make amends and avoid similar acts in the future [...].

The idea that self-conscious emotions regulate relationships also explains why the presence of an audience intensifies feelings of embarrassment, shame, and guilt [...] If onlookers infer that a transgression is the result of a stable disposition that predicts future incompetence or exploitation, they now have reason to devalue, ostracize, or punish the transgressor. To prevent these damaging consequences, the transgressor must persuade the onlookers either that the act was not intentional and hence unrepresentative of his underlying disposition, or that he will change his disposition and will not repeat the behavior in the future. Moreover, for such assurances to be more than self-serving cheap talk, they must be made credible: The transgressor must endure a cost, in the form of visible discomfort and perhaps tangible restitution, and display signs that the changed priorities are products of involuntary emotions rather than conscious strategic calculations. Indeed, research on the psychology of contrition and forgiveness shows that the negative self-conscious emotions have these specifications

Out-of-Control Sexual Behavior in Women

Out-of-Control Sexual Behavior in Women. Montgomery-Graham, S. Current Sexual Health Reports, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 200–206, December 2017.


Purpose of Review: The goals of this article are to review the current research on out-of-control sexual behavior, also known as problematic hypersexuality, or hypersexual disorder, as it relates to women. Specifically, the paper reviews the existing epidemiological data, conceptualization of the symptoms, and measurement instruments used clinically and concludes by critically reviewing the small body of recent empirical research on out-of-control sexual behavior in women.

Recent Findings: Women are understudied and often not included in research about out-of-control sexual behavior. Empirical research studies use differing samples—clinical, community, and convenience samples—and use varying scales that capture different elements of the problematic hypersexuality construct. No clear clinical picture of women and problematic hypersexuality exists currently.

Summary: Future research should include women so researchers and clinicians can better understand clinical presentations, etiology, case conceptualization, and treatment of women presenting with beliefs and feelings that their sexual behavior is out of control.

Attitudinal Change Toward Same-Sex Parents: the Effect of the Explanation of the Etiology of the Homosexual Sexual Orientation

Attitudinal Change Toward Same-Sex Parents: the Effect of the Explanation of the Etiology of the Homosexual Sexual Orientation. Livia García, Gloria Garcia-Banda, Marcos Pascual-Soler, Laura Badenes-Ribera. Sexuality Research and Social Policy,

Abstract: The attributional theory of stigma maintains that the rejection of the stigmatized group increases when attributions are made to controllable causes rather than to genetic factors. Our study has two objectives: one, to provide evidence for the bifactorial structure of the scale of Beliefs about Children’s Adjustment in Same-Sex Families Scale (BCASSFS); and two, to carry out a direct replication of a previous experimental study about the effect of the etiology of the homosexual sexual orientation on attitudes toward same-sex parents. The sample was composed of 229 Spanish university students with a mean age of 26.18 years (SD = 9.43). This study demonstrates that the rejection of same-sex parents is greater when the homosexual sexual orientation is attributed to learning. The effect is observed in the scores on the two subscales: traditional rejection or individual opposition and modern rejection or normative opposition. The practical implications of our findings are related to homophobia intervention programs in educational settings or in the promotion of social change.