Friday, December 15, 2017

Understanding Libertarian Morality: The Psychological Dispositions of Self-Identified Libertarians (2012)

Understanding Libertarian Morality: The Psychological Dispositions of Self-Identified Libertarians. Ravi Iyer, Spassena Koleva, Jesse Graham, Peter Ditto, Jonathan Haidt. PLoS,

Abstract: Libertarians are an increasingly prominent ideological group in U.S. politics, yet they have been largely unstudied. Across 16 measures in a large web-based sample that included 11,994 self-identified libertarians, we sought to understand the moral and psychological characteristics of self-described libertarians. Based on an intuitionist view of moral judgment, we focused on the underlying affective and cognitive dispositions that accompany this unique worldview. Compared to self-identified liberals and conservatives, libertarians showed 1) stronger endorsement of individual liberty as their foremost guiding principle, and weaker endorsement of all other moral principles; 2) a relatively cerebral as opposed to emotional cognitive style; and 3) lower interdependence and social relatedness. As predicted by intuitionist theories concerning the origins of moral reasoning, libertarian values showed convergent relationships with libertarian emotional dispositions and social preferences. Our findings add to a growing recognition of the role of personality differences in the organization of political attitudes.

Summary at The Largest Study Ever of Libertarian Psychology. Jonathan Haidt. Aug 26 2012. (with full links). Extract:
1) On moral values: Libertarians match liberals in placing a relatively low value on the moral foundations of loyalty, authority, and sanctity (e.g., they’re not so concerned about sexual issues and flag burning), but they join conservatives in scoring lower than liberals on the care and fairness foundations (where fairness is mostly equality, not proportionality; e.g., they don’t want a welfare state and heavy handed measures to enforce equality). This is why libertarians can’t be placed on the spectrum from left to right: they have a unique pattern that is in no sense just somewhere in the middle. They really do put liberty above all other values.

2) On reasoning and emotions: Libertarians have the most “masculine” style, liberals the most “feminine.” We used Simon Baron-Cohen’s measures of “empathizing” (on which women tend to score higher) and “systemizing”, which refers to “the drive to analyze the variables in a system, and to derive the underlying rules that govern the behavior of the system.” Men tend to score higher on this variable. Libertarians score the lowest of the three groups on empathizing, and highest of the three groups on systemizing. (Note that we did this and all other analyses for males and females separately.) On this and other measures, libertarians consistently come out as the most cerebral, most rational, and least emotional. On a very crude problem solving measure related to IQ, they score the highest. Libertarians, more than liberals or conservatives, have the capacity to reason their way to their ideology.

3) On relationships: Libertarians are the most individualistic; they report the weakest ties to other people. They score lowest of the three groups on many traits related to sociability, including extroversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. They have a morality that matches their sociability – one that emphasizes independence, rather than altruism or patriotism.

In other words: Libertarians, liberals, and conservatives all differ from each on dozens of psychological traits, which help to explain why people – even siblings in the same family — gravitate to different ideological positions as they grow up. Understanding these psychological differences will be crucial for politicians and political movements that want to appeal to libertarians, who are often left out as so much attention is lavished on liberals and conservatives.

What is behind envy? Approach from a psychosocial perspective

What is behind envy? Approach from a psychosocial perspective. Ginés Navarro-Carrillo, Ana-María Beltrán-Morillas, Inmaculada Valor-Segura & Francisca Expósito.  Revista de Psicología Social/International Journal of Social Psychology, Volume 32, 2017 - Issue 2, Pages 217-245.

Abstract: Envy strongly influences many spheres of social life. However, the psychology of envy is still in its infancy. A theoretical and empirical examination of envy was performed with a psychosocial focus via two exploratory studies. In Study 1 (N = 141), participants were asked to describe an event in which they experienced envy, indicating which people they envied and the reasons for that envy. In Study 2 (N = 311), the relationship between envy and several psychosocial variables such as self-efficacy, self-esteem and perceived control were analysed, as well as the predisposition to express aggressive behaviours in response to this emotion. The results of Study 1 revealed that friends were the most envied people, and abilities or personal skills were the most frequent sources of envy. Likewise, the results of Study 2 showed that self-efficacy, self-esteem and perceived control predicted envy, which in turn predicted the expression of verbal aggressive behaviours.

Sex differences in academic strengths contribute to gender segregation in education and occupation: A longitudinal examination of 167,776 individuals

Sex differences in academic strengths contribute to gender segregation in education and occupation: A longitudinal examination of 167,776 individuals. S. Dekhtyar et al. Intelligence,

•    Women and men exhibit different patterns of academic strengths at age 16.
•    Men and women pursue careers reflecting their earlier academic strengths.
•    Career gender segregation is related to the extent careers demand varying skills.
•    Sex differences in academic strengths cannot fully explain gendered career choices.

Abstract: We investigate whether sex differences in academic strengths have an impact on society by affecting the career choices made by women and men. By longitudinally following 167,776 individuals from Sweden, we found that (1) more 16-year old girls than boys had a relative strength in verbal/language school subjects than in technical/numerical ones, whereas more boys than girls had a relative strength in technical/numerical school subjects than in verbal/language ones; (2) when these girls and boys attained higher education and entered employment, they largely pursued careers cognitively matching their initial academic strengths; (3) while individuals generally made career choices in line with their academic strengths, men and women matched on these strengths nevertheless made rather distinct career choices, in particular women with technical/numerical strengths who largely avoided careers demanding these skills; (4) sex distribution in education and occupation was related to the extent these career paths were perceived as either numerically or verbally demanding. Taken together, although gender segregation is to some extent associated with individuals making choices matching their academic strengths, the vast discrepancies in career outcomes between men and women can be only in part attributed to sex differences in academic performance.

Gender differences in romantic relationship memories: who remembers? Who cares?

Gender differences in romantic relationship memories: who remembers? Who cares? Diane Holmberg, Tabatha M. Thibault & Jennifer D. Pringle. Memory,

ABSTRACT: Two studies were conducted to assess patterns of gender differences in memory for romantic relationship events. Results suggested that people believe that women have better memory for romantic relationship events than men, that better relationship memory predicts higher levels of relationship well-being, and that the association between relationship memory and relationship well-being is somewhat stronger for women than for men. Women did tend to have somewhat better relationship memory than men, as assessed via subjective reports from both partners in mixed-sex relationships, and via the number of details partners provided when asked to recall a specific relationship event (i.e., their first date). Consistent with the lay theories, both own and partner’s better relationship memory predicted higher levels of relationship well-being; however, the association between better relationship memory and higher levels of relationship well-being was equally strong for both genders. Implications and future research directions are discussed.

KEYWORDS: Relationships, gender differences, relationship well-being, lay theories

In the domain of instrumental harm, deontological agents were uniformly preferred across a variety of social roles. Regarding impartial beneficence, are preferred for roles of direct interaction (friend, spouse, etc)

Everett, Jim A C, Nadira S Faber, Julian Savulescu, and Molly Crockett. 2017. “Everett Et Al. The Cost of Being Consequentialist”. PsyArXiv. December 15.

Abstract: Previous work has demonstrated that people are more likely to trust “deontological” agents who reject instrumentally harming one person to save a greater number than “consequentialist” agents who endorse such harm in pursuit of the greater good. It has been argued that these differential social perceptions of deontological vs. consequentialist agents could explain the higher prevalence of deontological moral intuitions. Yet consequentialism involves much more than decisions to endorse instrumental harm: another critical dimension is impartial beneficence, defined as the impartial maximization of the greater good, treating the well-being of every individual as equally important. In three studies (total N = 1,634), we investigated preferences for deontological vs. consequentialist social partners in both the domains of instrumental harm and impartial beneficence, and consider how such preferences vary across different types of social relationships. Our results demonstrate consistent preferences for deontological over consequentialist agents across both domains of instrumental harm and impartial beneficence: deontological agents were viewed as more moral and trustworthy, and were actually entrusted with more money in a resource distribution task. However, preferences for deontological agents were stronger when those preferences were revealed via aversion to instrumental harm than impartial beneficence. Finally, in the domain of instrumental harm, deontological agents were uniformly preferred across a variety of social roles, but in the domain of impartial beneficence, people prefer deontologists for roles requiring direct interaction (friend, spouse, boss) but not for more distant roles with little-to-no personal interaction (political leader).

Direct replication of Gervais & Norenzayan (2012): No evidence that analytic thinking decreases religious belief

Direct replication of Gervais & Norenzayan (2012): No evidence that analytic thinking decreases religious belief. Clinton Sanchez, Brian Sundermeier, Kenneth Gray, Robert J. Calin-Jageman. PLoS One,

Abstract: Gervais & Norenzayan (2012) reported in Science a series of 4 experiments in which manipulations intended to foster analytic thinking decreased religious belief. We conducted a precise, large, multi-site pre-registered replication of one of these experiments. We observed little to no effect of the experimental manipulation on religious belief (d = 0.07 in the wrong direction, 95% CI[-0.12, 0.25], N = 941). The original finding does not seem to provide reliable or valid evidence that analytic thinking causes a decrease in religious belief.

Check also Epistemic rationality: Skepticism toward unfounded beliefs requires sufficient cognitive ability and motivation to be rational. Tomas Ståhl, Jan-Willem van Prooijen. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 122, February 01 2018, Pages 155–163.

And: Public Perceptions of Partisan Selective Exposure. Perryman, Mallory R.. The University of Wisconsin - Madison, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2017. 10607943.

And: Dispelling the Myth: Training in Education or Neuroscience Decreases but Does Not Eliminate Beliefs in Neuromyths. Kelly Macdonald et al. Frontiers in Psychology, Aug 10 2017.

And: Wisdom and how to cultivate it: Review of emerging evidence for a constructivist model of wise thinking. Igor Grossmann. European Psychologist, in press. Pre-print:
And: Science Denial Across the Political Divide — Liberals and Conservatives Are Similarly Motivated to Deny Attitude-Inconsistent Science. Anthony N. Washburn, Linda J. Skitka. Social Psychological and Personality Science,

And: Biased Policy Professionals. Sheheryar Banuri, Stefan Dercon, and Varun Gauri. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 8113.

And: Individuals with greater science literacy and education have more polarized beliefs on controversial science topics. Caitlin Drummond and Baruch Fischhoff. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 114 no. 36, pp 9587–9592, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1704882114

And: Expert ability can actually impair the accuracy of expert perception when judging others' performance: Adaptation and fallibility in experts' judgments of novice performers. By Larson, J. S., & Billeter, D. M. (2017). Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 43(2), 271–288.
And: Bottled Water and the Overflowing Nanny State, by Angela Logomasini. How Misinformation Erodes Consumer Freedom. CEI, February 17, 2009

And Competing cues: Older adults rely on knowledge in the face of fluency. By Brashier, Nadia M.; Umanath, Sharda; Cabeza, Roberto; Marsh, Elizabeth J.
Psychology and Aging, Vol 32(4), Jun 2017, 331-337.