Thursday, December 7, 2017

Comparative assessments of dietary sugars on cognitive performance

The “sweet” effect: Comparative assessments of dietary sugars on cognitive performance. Rachel Ginieis et al. Physiology & Behavior,

•    Glucose and sucrose ingestion led to negative cognitive performances.
•    Negative effects due to blood glucose increase were more evident with overnight fasting.
•    Sugar effects on cognitive abilities are likely to be glucose-mediated.
•    Sweetness perception does not play a role in moderating cognitive performances.

Abstract: In recent years there has been increasing interest in studying cognitive effects associated with sugar consumption. Neuro-cognitive research has confirmed that glucose, as a main energy substrate for the brain, can momentarily benefit cognitive performances, particularly for memory functioning. However, there is still limited understanding of relative effects of other common sugars (e.g., fructose and sucrose) on cognitive performance. The present study tested in 49 people the effects of three common dietary sugars against a placebo sweetener (i.e., sucralose), on performance of three well-studied cognitive tasks – simple response time, arithmetic, and Stroop interference, all of which are suggested to rely on the prefrontal lobe. A double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over experimental design was used. Results revealed that ingestion of glucose and sucrose led to poorer performances on the assessed tasks as opposed to fructose and the placebo (p < 0.05); these effects were particularly pronounced under the fasting condition in comparison to the non-fasting condition (p < 0.001). Overall, these results indicate that cognitive effects of sugar are unlikely to be mediated by the perception of sweetness. Rather, the effects are mediated by glucose. Further research should systematically assess effects of dietary sugars on other cognitive domains, such as memory, to give further insights on effects of sugar consumption.

Keywords: Glucose facilitation effect; Sucrose; Fructose; Attention

The CSI-education effect: Do potential criminals benefit from forensic TV series?

The CSI-education effect: Do potential criminals benefit from forensic TV series? Andreas M.Baranowski, Anne Burkhardt, Elisabeth Czernik, Heiko Hecht. International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice.

•    Overview over the state of the CSI effect.
•    First article to experimentally test if consumers of forensic series are better in committing crimes.
•    4 studies with mixed methodology to ensure reliability of the results.
•    Support of the notion that there is no connection between consumption of forensic series and skills in committing a crime.

Abstract: Forensic series have become popular over the last two decades. They have raised the importance of forensic evidence in the eyes of the public (CSI effect). However, it has not been investigated to what extent criminals may learn about forensic evidence through these shows. We used multiple approaches to tackle this potential CSI-education effect. First, we analyzed crime statistics for crime and detection rate. Second, we asked convicted criminals about their impressions about the usefulness of crime shows for covering up a crime. Third, we asked fans of crime series and a control group of non-watchers to slip into the role of a criminal by enacting the cleaning up a murder crime scene. Finally, a sample of 120 subjects had to clean up the scene of a would-be murder using a model. In none of these experiments did we find supportive evidence for the CSI-education effect.

Selfishness is attributed to men who help young women: Signaling function of male altruism

Selfishness is attributed to men who help young women: Signaling function of male altruism.
Yuta Kawamura, Takashi Kusumi. Letters on Evolutionary Behavioral Science, Vol 8, No 2 (2017).

Abstract: To investigate the function of altruism as a mating signal especially among males, the present study examined whether the motivation of a man who behaves altruistically toward a woman is more likely to be perceived as selfish by a third party. In two studies, participants read vignettes about one person helping a stranger, after which they rated the helpers’ perceived selfish motivation. We manipulated the sex of the recipient and helper (Study 1) and the recipient’s age (young vs. old; Study 2). In both studies, a man who helped a young woman was regarded as having a more selfish motivation than was an individual who helped the same sex. Conversely, although a woman who helped a man was viewed as more selfish than was a woman who helped another woman, the effect was smaller than when the helper was male (Study 1). Furthermore, a man who helped an old woman was not regarded as more selfish than was a man who helped another man (Study 2). These results support the notion that male altruism works as a courtship display.

Folk intuitions about disadvantageous and advantageous inequity aversion

It’s not fair: Folk intuitions about disadvantageous and advantageous inequity aversion. Alex Shaw and Shoham Choshen-Hillel. Judgment and Decision Making, Vol. 12, No. 3, May 2017, pp. 208-223.

Abstract: People often object to inequity; they react negatively to receiving less than others (disadvantageous inequity aversion), and more than others (advantageous inequity aversion). Here we study people’s folk intuitions about inequity aversion: what do people infer about others’ fairness concerns, when they observe their reactions to disadvantageous or advantageous inequity? We hypothesized that, people would not intuitively regard disadvantageous inequity aversion by itself as being rooted in fairness, but they would regard advantageous inequity aversion by itself as being rooted in fairness. In four studies, we used vignettes describing inequity aversion of a made up alien species to assess people’s folk intuitions about inequity aversion. The studies supported our main hypothesis that disadvantageous inequity aversion, without advantageous inequity aversion, does not fit people’s folk conception of fairness. Instead, participants reported it to be rooted in envy. According to these results, the claim that disadvantageous inequity aversion reveals a concern with fairness, does not readily accord with people’s intuitions. We connect these findings to other pieces of evidence in the literatures of behavioral economics, developmental psychology, and social psychology, indicating that lay people’s intuitions may be on the mark in this case. Specifically, unlike advantageous inequity aversion, disadvantageous inequity aversion need not be rooted in a sense of fairness.

Keywords: fairness, inequity aversion, envy, social comparison, equity