Wednesday, January 31, 2018

How Fleeting Is Fame? Collective Memory for Popular Music

Spivack, Stephen, Nathaniel H Spilka, and Pascal Wallisch 2018. “How Fleeting Is Fame? Collective Memory for Popular Music”. PsyArXiv. February 1. psyarxiv.com/tdfyc

Abstract: In this paper, we investigated the collective memory for popular music. To assess how well number-one hits are recognized over time, we randomly selected top songs from the last 76 years and presented them to a large sample of mostly millennial participants. In response to hearing each selection, participants were prompted to indicate whether they recognized each song. We found three distinct phases in collective memory: a steep linear drop-off in recognition for the music from this millennium, a stable plateau from the 1960s to the 1990s, and a further but more gradual drop-off for music from the 1940s and 1950s. More than half of recognition variability between songs can be accounted for by exposure as measured by Spotify play counts. We conclude that in the musical realm, fame is fleeting - but perhaps not as fleeting as previously suggested.

Languages with many speakers tend to be structurally simple while small communities sometimes develop languages with great structural complexity. The opposite pattern is observed for non-structural properties of language such as vocabulary size

Simpler grammar, larger vocabulary: How population size affects language. Florencia Reali, Nick Chater, Morten H. Christiansen. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.2586

Abstract: Languages with many speakers tend to be structurally simple while small communities sometimes develop languages with great structural complexity. Paradoxically, the opposite pattern appears to be observed for non-structural properties of language such as vocabulary size. These apparently opposite patterns pose a challenge for theories of language change and evolution. We use computational simulations to show that this inverse pattern can depend on a single factor: ease of diffusion through the population. A population of interacting agents was arranged on a network, passing linguistic conventions to one another along network links. Agents can invent new conventions, or replicate conventions that they have previously generated themselves or learned from other agents. Linguistic conventions are either Easy or Hard to diffuse, depending on how many times an agent needs to encounter a convention to learn it. In large groups, only linguistic conventions that are easy to learn, such as words, tend to proliferate, whereas small groups where everyone talks to everyone else allow for more complex conventions, like grammatical regularities, to be maintained. Our simulations thus suggest that language, and possibly other aspects of culture, may become simpler at the structural level as our world becomes increasingly interconnected.

Warm and touching tears: tearful individuals are perceived as warmer because we assume they feel moved and touched

Warm and touching tears: tearful individuals are perceived as warmer because we assume they feel moved and touched. Janis H. Zickfeld & Thomas W. Schubert. Cognition and Emotion, https://doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2018.1430556

ABSTRACT: Recent work investigated the inter-individual functions of emotional tears in depth. In one study (Van de Ven, N., Meijs, M. H. J., & Vingerhoets, A. (2017). What emotional tears convey: Tearful individuals are seen as warmer, but also as less competent. British Journal of Social Psychology, 56(1), 146–160. Https://doi.org/10.1111/bjso.12162) tearful individuals were rated as warmer, and participants expressed more intentions to approach and help such individuals. Simultaneously, tearful individuals were rated as less competent, and participants expressed less intention to work with the depicted targets. While tearful individuals were perceived as sadder, perceived sadness mediated only the effect on competence, but not on warmth. We argue that tearful individuals might be perceived as warm because they are perceived as feeling moved and touched. We ran a pre-registered extended replication of Van de Ven et al. Results replicate the warmth and helping findings, but not the competence and work effects. The increase in warmth ratings was completely mediated by perceiving feeling moved and touched. Possible functions of feeling moved and touched with regard to emotional tears are discussed.

KEYWORDS: Tears, feeling moved, stereotype content model, kama muta

Do the Right Thing: Experimental evidence that preferences for moral behavior, rather than equity or efficiency per se, drive human prosociality

Do the Right Thing: Experimental evidence that preferences for moral behavior, rather than equity or efficiency per se, drive human prosociality. Valerio Capraro, David G. Rand. Judgment and Decision Making, Vol. 13, No. 1, January 2018, pp. 99-111. http://journal.sjdm.org/17/171107/jdm171107.html

Abstract: Decades of experimental research show that some people forgo personal gains to benefit others in unilateral anonymous interactions. To explain these results, behavioral economists typically assume that people have social preferences for minimizing inequality and/or maximizing efficiency (social welfare). Here we present data that cannot be explained by these standard social preference models. We use a “Trade-Off Game” (TOG), where players unilaterally choose between an equitable option and an efficient option. We show that simply changing the labelling of the options to describe the equitable versus efficient option as morally right completely reverses the correlation between behavior in the TOG and play in a separate Dictator Game (DG) or Prisoner’s Dilemma (PD): people who take the action framed as moral in the TOG, be it equitable or efficient, are much more prosocial in the DG and PD. Rather than preferences for equity and/or efficiency per se, our results suggest that prosociality in games such as the DG and PD are driven by a generalized morality preference that motivates people to do what they think is morally right.

Keywords: prosociality, morality, equity, efficiency

Higher status people derogate ideological opponents less (i.e., evaluate them more charitably); greater rhetoric handling prowess (RHP: feeling more confident and less intimidated while arguing) mediates the effect

Aiden P. Gregg, Nikhila Mahadevan, and Constantine Sedikides (2018). Taking the High Ground: The Impact of Social Status on the Derogation of Ideological Opponents. Social Cognition: Vol. 36, Special Issue: The Status of Status: Vistas from Social Cognition, pp. 43-77. https://doi.org/10.1521/soco.2018.36.1.43

Abstract: People tend to derogate their ideological opponents. But how does social status affect this tendency? We tested a prediction derived from hierometer theory that people with higher status would derogate ideological opponents less (i.e., evaluate them more charitably). We further predicted that greater rhetoric handling prowess (RHP: feeling more confident and less intimidated while arguing) would mediate the effect. Study 1 established a link between higher status and lesser opponent derogation correlationally. Study 2 did so experimentally. Using a scale to assess RHP developed and validated in Study 3, Study 4 established that RHP statistically mediated the correlational link between status and derogation. In Study 5, experimentally manipulating status affected RHP as predicted. However, in Study 6, experimentally manipulating RHP did not affect opponent derogation as predicted. Thus, our findings were substantially, but not entirely, consistent with our theoretically derived predictions. Implications for hierometer theory, and related theoretical approaches, are considered.

KEYWORDS: derogation, status, social status, rhetoric, hierometer theory

For the poor, thoughts about cost and money are triggered by mundane circumstances, they are difficult to suppress, they change mental associations, and they interfere with other experiences

Anuj K. Shah, Jiaying Zhao, Sendhil Mullainathan, and Eldar Shafir (2018). Money in the Mental Lives of the Poor. Social Cognition: Vol. 36, Special Issue: The Status of Status: Vistas from Social Cognition, pp. 4-19. https://doi.org/10.1521/soco.2018.36.1.4

Abstract: Recent research has studied how resource scarcity draws attention and creates cognitive load. As a result, scarcity improves some dimensions of cognitive function, while worsening others. Still, there remains a fundamental question: how does scarcity influence the content of cognition? In this article, we find that poor individuals (i.e., those facing monetary scarcity) see many everyday experiences through a different lens. Specifically, thoughts about cost and money are triggered by mundane circumstances, they are difficult to suppress, they change mental associations, and they interfere with other experiences. We suggest that the poor see an economic dimension to many everyday experiences that to others may not appear economic at all.

KEYWORDS: scarcity, money, spontaneous thoughts, financial concerns, attention

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Androstadienone, a Chemosignal Found in Human Sweat, Increases Individualistic Behavior and Decreases Cooperative Responses in Men

Androstadienone, a Chemosignal Found in Human Sweat, Increases Individualistic Behavior and Decreases Cooperative Responses in Men. A Banner, I Frumin, S G Shamay-Tsoory. Chemical Senses, bjy002, https://doi.org/10.1093/chemse/bjy002

Abstract: A growing body of evidence suggests that humans can communicate socially relevant information, such as aggression, dominance and readiness for competition, through chemosensory signals. Androstadienone (androsta-4,16,-dien-3-one), a testosterone-derived compound found in men's axillary sweat, is a main candidate for a human pheromone that may convey such information. The current study aimed to investigate whether androstadienone serves as a chemosignaling threat cue to men, thus triggering avoidance behavior during competitive interaction with another man. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, within-subject study design, 30 healthy, normosmic, heterosexual male participants completed the Social Orientation Paradigm (SOP), a monetary game played against a fictitious partner that allows three types of responses to be measured in the context of provocation: an aggressive response, an individualistic withdrawal response, and a cooperative response. Participants completed the SOP task twice, once under exposure to androstadienone and once under exposure to a control solution. The results indicate that androstadienone increased individualistic responses while it decreased cooperative responses. These findings support the role of androstadienone as a threatening signal of dominance that elicits behavioral avoidance and social withdrawal tendencies, possibly as a submissive response.

The echo chamber is overstated: the moderating effect of political interest and diverse media

The echo chamber is overstated: the moderating effect of political interest and diverse media. Elizabeth Dubois & Grant Blank. Information, Communication & Society, https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2018.1428656

ABSTRACT: In a high-choice media environment, there are fears that individuals will select media and content that reinforce their existing beliefs and lead to segregation based on interest and/or partisanship. This could lead to partisan echo chambers among those who are politically interested and could contribute to a growing gap in knowledge between those who are politically interested and those who are not. However, the high-choice environment also allows individuals, including those who are politically interested, to consume a wide variety of media, which could lead them to more diverse content and perspectives. This study examines the relationship between political interest as well as media diversity and being caught in an echo chamber (measured by five different variables). Using a nationally representative survey of adult internet users in the United Kingdom (N = 2000), we find that those who are interested in politics and those with diverse media diets tend to avoid echo chambers. This work challenges the impact of echo chambers and tempers fears of partisan segregation since only a small segment of the population are likely to find themselves in an echo chamber. We argue that single media studies and studies which use narrow definitions and measurements of being in an echo chamber are flawed because they do not test the theory in the realistic context of a multiple media environment.

KEYWORDS: Echo chamber, high-choice media environment, political interest, media diversity, survey

Check also: Polarized Mass or Polarized Few? Assessing the Parallel Rise of Survey Nonresponse and Measures of Polarization. Amnon Cavari and Guy Freedman. The Journal of Politics, https://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2018/03/polarized-mass-or-polarized-few.html


There is a small positive relation between service quality and percentage of a bill tipped; service quality was a stronger predictor of percentage of the bill tipped than food quality, frequency of patronage, and dining party size

Banks, G. C., Woznyj, H. M., Kepes, S., Batchelor, J. H. and McDaniel, M. A. (), A meta-analytic review of tipping compensation practices: An agency theory perspective. Personnel Psychology. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/peps.12261

Tipping represents a form of compensation valued at over $50 billion a year in the U.S. alone. Tipping can be used as an incentive mechanism to reduce a principal-agent problem. An agency problem occurs when the interests of a principal and agent are misaligned and it is challenging for the principal to monitor or control the activities of the agent. However, past research has been limited in the investigation of the extent to which tipping is effective at addressing this problem. Following an examination of 74 independent studies with 12,271 individuals, meta-analytic results indicate that there is a small, positive relation between service quality and percentage of a bill tipped (rho =.15 without outliers). Yet, in support of the idea behind tipping, relative weights analyses illustrate that service quality was a stronger predictor of percentage of the bill tipped than food quality, frequency of patronage, and dining party size. Evidence also suggests that racial minority servers tend to be tipped less than White servers (Cohen's d = .17), and females tend to be tipped more than males (Cohen's d = .15). Still, given the magnitude of the effect, one might question if tipping is an effective compensation practice to reduce the principal-agent problem. We discuss theoretical and practical implications for future research.

Only Bad for Believers? Religion, Pornography Use, and Sexual Satisfaction Among American Men

Only Bad for Believers? Religion, Pornography Use, and Sexual Satisfaction Among American Men. Perry, Samuel L., Whitehead, Andrew L. The Journal of Sex Research, https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2017.1423017

Abstract: Research has often demonstrated a negative association between pornography use and various intrapersonal and relationship outcomes, particularly for men. Several recent studies, however, have suggested that the negative association between pornography use and these indicators is stronger among more religious Americans, suggesting that moral incongruence (engaging in an activity that violates one’s sacred values) and the attendant shame or cognitive dissonance, rather than pornography use per se, may be the primary factor at work. The current study tested and extended this theory by examining how religion potentially moderates the link between pornography use and sexual satisfaction in a national random sample of American adults (N = 1,501). Analyses demonstrated that while pornography use was negatively associated with sexual satisfaction for American men (not women), among men who rarely attended religious services or held a low opinion of the Bible this negative association essentially disappeared. Conversely, the negative association between frequency of pornography consumption and sexual satisfaction was more pronounced for men with stronger ties to conventional religion. These findings suggest that the connection between pornography use and sexual satisfaction, especially for men, depends largely on what viewing pornography means to consumers and their moral community and less so on the practice itself.

Offspring sex ratio: Coital rates and other potential causal mechanisms

Offspring sex ratio: Coital rates and other potential causal mechanisms. William H.James, VictorGrech. Early Human Development, Volume 116, January 2018, Pages 24-27. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2017.10.006

Highlights
•    Sex ratios at birth (SRB) are elevated by increased coital rates.
•    Maternal stress induces male foetal losses.
•    Periconceptual parental hormone concentrations may influence SRB.
•    Understanding SRB influences may help understand causes of diseases with unusual SRB.
•    E.g.: testicular cancer, hepatitis B, Toxoplasma gondii and, perhaps, prostatic cancer

Abstract: In recent years, scientists have begun to pay serious attention to the hypothesis that human parental coital rates around the time of conception causally influences the sexes of subsequent births. In this paper, the grounds of the argument are outlined. The point is important because, if the hypothesis were credible, it can potentially explain one of the best established (and otherwise unexplained) epidemiological features of sex ratio at birth – its rises during and just after World Wars 1 and 2 insofar as increased coital rates increase the ratio. Moreover, the greater the understanding of the variations of sex ratio at birth, the greater will be the understanding of the causes of those selected diseases associated with unusual sex ratios at birth (testicular cancer, hepatitis B, Toxoplasma gondii, and, perhaps, prostatic cancer).

Our primary result is that collective bargaining rights lead to about a 27% increase in complaints of officer misconduct for the typical sheriff’s office

Dharmapala, Dhammika and McAdams, Richard H. and Rappaport, John, The Effect of Collective Bargaining Rights on Law Enforcement: Evidence from Florida (December 31, 2017). University of Chicago Coase-Sandor Institute for Law & Economics Research Paper No. 831; U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 655. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3095217

Abstract: Growing controversy surrounds the impact of labor unions on law enforcement behavior. Critics allege that unions impede organizational reform and insulate officers from discipline for misconduct. The only evidence of these effects, however, is anecdotal. We exploit a quasi-experiment in Florida to estimate the effects of collective bargaining rights on law enforcement misconduct and other outcomes of public concern. In 2003, the Florida Supreme Court’s Williams decision extended to county deputy sheriffs collective bargaining rights that municipal police officers had possessed for decades. We construct a comprehensive panel dataset of Florida law enforcement agencies starting in 1997, and employ a difference-in-difference approach that compares sheriffs’ offices and police departments before and after Williams. Our primary result is that collective bargaining rights lead to about a 27% increase in complaints of officer misconduct for the typical sheriff’s office. This result is robust to the inclusion of a variety of controls. The time pattern of the estimated effect, along with an analysis using agency-specific trends, suggests that it is not attributable to preexisting trends. The estimated effect of Williams is not robustly significant for other potential outcomes of interest, however, including the racial and gender composition of agencies and training and educational requirements.

Keywords: Collective bargaining rights; police unions; police misconduct; law enforcement

The effects of social priming, the voodoo theory of social psychology, manifested themselves only when the experiments weren't double blinded, exposing a self-fulfilling prophecy

The Role of Experimenter Belief in Social Priming. Thandiwe S. E. Gilder, Erin A. Heerey. Psychological Science, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797617737128

Abstract: Research suggests that stimuli that prime social concepts can fundamentally alter people’s behavior. However, most researchers who conduct priming studies fail to explicitly report double-blind procedures. Because experimenter expectations may influence participant behavior, we asked whether a short pre-experiment interaction between participants and experimenters would contribute to priming effects when experimenters were not blind to participant condition. An initial double-blind experiment failed to demonstrate the expected effects of a social prime on executive cognition. To determine whether double-blind procedures caused this result, we independently manipulated participants’ exposure to a prime and experimenters’ belief about which prime participants received. Across four experiments, we found that experimenter belief, rather than prime condition, altered participant behavior. Experimenter belief also altered participants’ perceptions of their experimenter, suggesting that differences in experimenter behavior across conditions caused the effect. Findings reinforce double-blind designs as experimental best practice and suggest that people’s prior beliefs have important consequences for shaping behavior with an interaction partner.

Keywords: social power, priming, experimenter effects, open data, preregistered

h/t: Rolf Degen https://twitter.com/DegenRolf/status/958243341338054657

Monday, January 29, 2018

Participants reported feeling younger than they actually were and wanting to be younger than their chronological age

Subjective Age and Its Correlates Among Middle-Aged and Older Adults. Shiri Shinan-Altman, Perla Werner. The International Journal of Aging and Human Development, https://doi.org/10.1177/0091415017752941

Abstract: The present study evaluates discrepancies in subjective age as reported by middle-age persons (aged 44–64 years) in comparison to older adults (aged 65 years and older), using a multidimensional definition of the concept. A convenience sample of 126 middle-aged and 126 older adults completed subjective age measures (felt age, desired age, and perceived old age), attitudes toward older adults, knowledge about aging, and sociodemographic questionnaires. Overall, participants reported feeling younger than they actually were and wanting to be younger than their chronological age. Perceived mean for old age was about 69 years. Discrepancies in felt age and desired age were significantly larger for the older group compared to the middle-aged group. Regarding perceived old age, compared to the younger group, older adults reported that old age begins at an older age. Findings suggest that middle-aged and older adults’ perceptions regarding themselves and regarding old age in general are independent and need, therefore, separate research and practical attention.

Keywords: subjective age, older adults, middle aged

Men’s and Women’s Youngest and Oldest Considered and Actual Sex Partners

Antfolk, Jan, 2018. “Men’s and Women’s Youngest and Oldest Considered and Actual Sex Partners”. PsyArXiv. January 29. doi:10.1177/1474704917690401

Abstract: Whereas women prefer slightly older sexual partners, men—regardless of their age—have a preference for women in their twenties. Earlier research has suggested that this difference between the sexes’ age preferences is resolved according to women’s preferences. Earlier research has not, however, sufficiently considered that the age-range of considered partners might change over the life span. Here, we investigated the age limits (youngest and oldest) of considered and actual sex partners in a population-based sample of 2,655 adults (aged 18-50 years). Over the investigated age span, women reported a narrower age-range than men and women tended to prefer slightly older men. We also show that men’s age-range widens as they get older: While they continue to consider sex with young women, men also consider sex with women their own age or older. Contrary to earlier suggestions, men’s sexual activity thus reflects also their own age-range, although their potential interest in younger women is not likely converted into sexual activity. Compared to homosexual men, bisexual and heterosexual men were more unlikely to convert young preferences into actual behavior, supporting female-choice theory.

Participants liked targets less, were less romantically interested in targets, and rated targets as less attractive after discovering political dissimilarity with them

Mallinas, Stephanie, Jarret Crawford, and Shana Cole 2018. “Political Opposites Do Not Attract: The Effects of Ideological Dissimilarity on Impression Formation”. PsyArXiv. January 29. psyarxiv.com/p3j8v

Abstract: Past research shows that people like others who are similar to themselves, and that political partisans tend to dislike those with opposing viewpoints. Two studies examined how initial person impressions changed after discovering that the target held similar or dissimilar political beliefs. Using potential mates as targets, we found that participants liked targets less, were less romantically interested in targets, and rated targets as less attractive after discovering political dissimilarity with them. Further, they became more uncomfortable with targets after discovering ideological dissimilarity. Theoretical implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.

In women, pleasure prioritization & sexual agency are associated with lower odds of performing undesired sexual acts to please a partner—and sexual agency is associated with lower odds of succumbing to verbal pressure for intercourse

“Bad Girls” Say No and “Good Girls” Say Yes: Sexual Subjectivity and Participation in Undesired Sex During Heterosexual College Hookups. Heather Hensman Kettrey. Sexuality & Culture, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12119-018-9498-2

Abstract: Young people’s sexuality is often discursively constructed within the confines of a masculine/feminine binary that minimizes young women’s sexual subjectivity (i.e., desire, pleasure, and agency) while taking young men’s subjectivity for granted. Accordingly, young women who acknowledge themselves as sexual subjects are constructed as “bad girls” who incite males’ purportedly uncontrollable desire and, thus, invite undesired sexual attention. However, there is reason to hypothesize that young women who view themselves as sexual subjects may be less likely than other women to engage in undesired sexual activity (i.e., sex that their partners desire, but they do not desire for themselves). In this study, I used data from the Online College Social Life Survey (N = 7255) to explore relationships between two measures of sexual subjectivity (i.e., pleasure prioritization and sexual agency) and college women’s participation in undesired sexual activity during hookups (i.e., performance of undesired sexual acts to please a partner and succumbing to verbal pressure for intercourse). Logistic regression analyses suggest that pleasure prioritization and sexual agency are associated with lower odds of performing undesired sexual acts to please a partner—and sexual agency is associated with lower odds of succumbing to verbal pressure for intercourse. These findings point to the importance of sexuality education that includes discussions of women’s sexual subjectivity.

Consciousness of the Future as a Matrix of Maybe: Pragmatic Prospection and the Simulation of Alternative Possibilities

Baumeister, Roy, Heather M Maranges, and Hallgeir Sjåstad 2018. “Consciousness of the Future as a Matrix of Maybe: Pragmatic Prospection and the Simulation of Alternative Possibilities.”. PsyArXiv. January 29. psyarxiv.com/a3r7h

Abstract: Thinking about the future highlights the constructive nature of consciousness, as opposed to merely representing what is there — because the future is not yet available to be seen. We elaborate this point to emphasize how consciousness deals in alternative possibilities, and indeed preconscious interpretation confers meaning by recognizing these alternatives. Crucially, the goal of prospection is less to predict what is sure to happen than to prepare for action in situations defined by sets of incompatible alternative options, each of which might or might not come true. We review multiple lines of evidence indicating that people conceptualize the future as just such a matrix of maybe. Thus, people think of the future as highly changeable. Most prospective thinking involves planning, which is designed to bring about one outcome rather than alternatives. Optimism may often reflect an initial, automatic response that is soon followed by conscious appreciation of obstacles and other factors that can produce less desired, alternative outcomes. People moralize the future more than the past, presumably to promote the more desirable outcomes. Anticipated emotion helps people evaluate future possible outcomes. People specifically anticipate the matrix of maybe and sometimes seek to preserve multiplicity of options. We integrate these patterns of findings with a pragmatic theory of prospection: Thinking of the future as a multi-maybe matrix is useful for guiding action.

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Recent laboratory work provides further evidence that it takes the power of conscious human thought to project the future as a matrix of maybe. Redshaw and Suddendorf (2016) provided dramatic evidence that human children far surpass adult nonhuman apes on this. Their apparatus was a tube shaped like an inverted Y. Thus, a ball or grape was dropped into the top and could come out either opening at the bottom. Either the participant caught it or it was gone. One could guess by holding one’s hand under either of the openings, thereby succeeding about half the time — or one could use both hands to cover both openings, thereby succeeding 100% of the time. Two-year-old human children failed to solve this, but three-year-olds and older children all soon achieved the perfect solution and caught the ball on every subsequent trial. In contrast, chimpanzees and orangutans never solved it. In fact, a couple of them stumbled by accident on the correct solution, happening to use both hands and catching the treat — but they failed to learn even from this success and on the next trial went back to one-hand guessing. Thus, success at this task required adjusting one’s behavior to the fact that two different outcomes are possible, and this was apparently beyond the mental powers of the smartest nonhuman primates, whereas human children could all figure it out. Human children could understand the future as multiple different maybes, but grownup apes apparently cannot think that way.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Unconscious bias in Australian Public Service shortlisting processes: APS officers discriminated in favour of female and minority candidates

Going blind to see more clearly: unconscious bias in Australian Public Service shortlisting processes. Results of a randomised controlled trial. Michael J. Hiscox, Tara Oliver, Michael Ridgway, Lilia Arcos-Holzinger, Alastair Warren and Andrea Willis. Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government (BETA) in partnership with the Australian Public Service Commission, Jun 2017. https://www.pmc.gov.au/domestic-policy/behavioural-economics/going-blind-see-more-clearly-unconscious-bias-australian-public-service-aps-shortlisting-processes

Women are under-represented in management and executive level positions across the private and public sectors. In 2016, women comprised 59.0% of the Australian Public Service (APS), but accounted for 48.9% of its executive level officers and only 42.9% of its Senior Executive Service (SES) officers. These statistics may reflect gender discrimination in hiring and promotion processes as a result of unconscious cognitive biases that affect decision-making.

Addressing the gender imbalance across the APS is the key priority of the Australian Public Service Gender Equality Strategy 2016-19. Aimed at driving high performance and boosting productivity the strategy calls for the APS to reflect contemporary reality and states that the APS must embrace diversity and that it should benefit from people of all backgrounds.

Study: This study aimed to test the magnitude of gender and ethnic minority bias in APS shortlisting processes, and the impact of introducing a gender/ethnicity-blind approach to reviewing job applications for shortlisting purposes.

The study was a randomised controlled trial conducted in partnership with 15 APS agencies. Participants were drawn from senior and executive level officers in these agencies. To identify any effects participants were asked to complete a fictitious shortlisting exercise with 16 fictitious CVs. The aim was to see whether de-identifying a CV (by removing a candidate’s name and personal information) changed the way it was assessed.

Results: The results showed that overall, de-identifying applications at the shortlisting stage does not appear to assist in promoting diversity within the APS in hiring. Overall, APS officers discriminated in favour of female and minority candidates.


We tend to considerably overestimate the extent to which party supporters belong to party-stereotypical groups, like 32% of Democrats are LGBT (6% in reality) and 38% of Republicans earn over $250,000 per year (2%)

The Parties in our Heads: Misperceptions About Party Composition and Their Consequences. Douglas J. Ahler, Gaurav Sood. Aug 2017, http://gsood.com/research/papers/partisanComposition.pdf

Abstract: We document a large and consequential bias in how Americans perceive the major political parties: people tend to considerably overestimate the extent to which party supporters belong to party-stereotypical groups. For instance, people think that 32% of Democrats are LGBT (vs. 6% in reality) and 38% of Republicans earn over $250,000 per year (vs. 2% in reality). Experimental data suggest that these misperceptions are genuine and party-specific, not artifacts of expressive responding, innumeracy, or ignorance of base rates.  These misperceptions are widely shared, though bias in out-party perceptions is larger. Using observational and experimental data, we document the consequences of this perceptual bias. Misperceptions about out-party composition are associated with partisan affect, beliefs about out-party extremity, and allegiance to one’s own party. When provided information about the out-party’s actual composition, partisans come to see its supporters as less extreme and feel less socially distant from them.

Keywords: groups, parties, partisanship, perception, polarization

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Cross-cultural studies indicate that women's sexual attractiveness generally peaks before motherhood & declines with age. Cues of female youth are thought to be attractive because humans maintain long-term pair bonds, making reproductive value (future reproductive potential) particularly important to males

Male Chimpanzees Prefer Mating with Old Females. Martin N. Muller, Melissa Emery Thompson, Richard W. Wrangham. Current Biology, Volume 16, Issue 22, p2234–2238, November 21 2006. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2006.09.042

Summary: Cross-cultural studies indicate that women's sexual attractiveness generally peaks before motherhood and declines with age [1]. Cues of female youth are thought to be attractive because humans maintain long-term pair bonds, making reproductive value (i.e. future reproductive potential) particularly important to males [2, 3]. Menopause is believed to exaggerate this preference for youth by limiting women's future fertility [1, 4]. This theory predicts that in species lacking long-term pair bonds and menopause, males should not exhibit a preference for young mates. We tested this prediction by studying male preferences in our closest living relative, the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes). We show that despite their promiscuous mating system, chimpanzee males, like humans, prefer some females over others. However, in contrast to humans, chimpanzee males prefer older, not younger, females. These data robustly discriminate patterns of male mate choice between humans and chimpanzees. Given that the human lineage evolved from a chimpanzee-like ancestor, they indicate that male preference for youth is a derived human feature, likely adapted from a tendency to form unusually long term mating bonds

Cross-cultural studies indicate that women's sexual attractiveness generally peaks before motherhood & declines with age. Cues of female youth are thought to be attractive because humans maintain long-term pair bonds, making reproductive value (future reproductive potential) particularly important to males

Romantic attraction, likelihood of selecting, & subsequent interpersonal outcomes with a dating partner almost exclusively depend on perception of the dating partner’s mate value: the higher, the better. No evidence for the idea that people feel attracted to & select dating partners whom they perceive to have a mate value similar to their own

Wurst, Stefanie N., Sarah Humberg, and Mitja Back 2018. “Preprint of "the Impact of Mate Value in First and Subsequent Real-life Romantic Encounters"”. Open Science Framework. January 26. osf.io/adej3

Abstract: We provide a first systematic investigation of the most prominent hypotheses about the impact of mate value on interpersonal attraction in real-life early-stage romantic encounters. Using Response Surface Analysis, we simultaneously examined how (a) people’s perception of their own mate value, (b) their perception of a potential partner’s mate value, and (c) the interplay between the two mate values impact initial romantic attraction and selection as well as subsequent interpersonal outcomes after selection. Data came from the “Date me for Science” speed-dating study (n = 398), in which participants who mutually selected each other at the speed-dating event were followed up with 3 assessments in the 6 weeks after the event to assess subsequent outcomes. Participants’ romantic attraction, likelihood of selecting, and subsequent interpersonal outcomes with a dating partner almost exclusively depended on their perception of their dating partner’s mate value: the higher, the better. There was no evidence for the popular matching hypothesis, which states that people feel attracted to and select dating partners whom they perceive to have a mate value similar to their own. Implications of these findings for theory and research on the impact of mate value on romantic attraction and selection are discussed.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Investigating the influence of symptoms of depression on the passive use of Facebook, as well as on selective self-presentation, and on negative perceptions of life

Passive Facebook-Nutzung, selektive Selbstdarstellung und negative Wahrnehmungen des eigenen Lebens: Mehrgruppen Cross-Lagged Panelanalysen zu differentiellen Effekten im Kontext psychologischen Wohlbefindens. Sebastian Scherr, Marlene Schmitt. In: M&K Medien & Kommunikationswissenschaft, Seite 58 - 74, Jahrgang 66 (2018), Heft 1, DOI 10.5771/1615-634X-2018-1-58

Abstract: We discuss findings from an online panel survey (n = 514) investigating the influence of symptoms of depression on the passive use of Facebook, as well as on selective self-presentation, and on negative perceptions of life over the course of one year. Drawing on multigroup cross-lagged panel analyses, the results of the study show that a depressive symptomatology is associated with negative perceptions of life that result from the viewing of other users’ photos. Contrary to many previous findings, selective self-presentation gained importance and increased passive forms of Facebook use as well as negative perceptions of life in the group of users with a severe depressive symptomatology. We discuss these findings in light of their implications for social media use in the course of a depression.

We explored crowdsourced ratings as a strategy to curb unrealistic optimism in advisors. Instead of calibrating expectations, these ratings propagated and exaggerated the unrealistic optimism

Leong, Y. C., & Zaki, J. (2018). Unrealistic optimism in advice taking: A computational account. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 147(2), 170-189. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000382

Abstract: Expert advisors often make surprisingly inaccurate predictions about the future, yet people heed their suggestions nonetheless. Here we provide a novel, computational account of this unrealistic optimism in advice taking. Across 3 studies, participants observed as advisors predicted the performance of a stock. Advisors varied in their accuracy, performing reliably above, at, or below chance. Despite repeated feedback, participants exhibited inflated perceptions of advisors’ accuracy, and reliably “bet” on advisors’ predictions more than their performance warranted. Participants’ decisions tightly tracked a computational model that makes 2 assumptions: (a) people hold optimistic initial expectations about advisors, and (b) people preferentially incorporate information that adheres to their expectations when learning about advisors. Consistent with model predictions, explicitly manipulating participants’ initial expectations altered their optimism bias and subsequent advice-taking. With well-calibrated initial expectations, participants no longer exhibited an optimism bias. We then explored crowdsourced ratings as a strategy to curb unrealistic optimism in advisors. Star ratings for each advisor were collected from an initial group of participants, which were then shown to a second group of participants. Instead of calibrating expectations, these ratings propagated and exaggerated the unrealistic optimism. Our results provide a computational account of the cognitive processes underlying inflated perceptions of expertise, and explore the boundary conditions under which they occur. We discuss the adaptive value of this optimism bias, and how our account can be extended to explain unrealistic optimism in other domains.

Moral Self-judgment Is Stronger for Future Than Past Actions

Sjastad, Hallgeir, and Roy Baumeister. 2018. “Moral Self-judgment Is Stronger for Future Than Past Actions”. PsyArXiv. January 26. psyarxiv.com/8dawm

Abstract: When, if ever, would a person want to be held responsible for his or her choices? Across four studies (N = 915), people assigned more moral responsibility to themselves for their future than their past actions. This included thinking that they should receive more blame and punishment for future misdeeds than for past ones, and more credit and reward for future good deeds than for past ones. The tendency to moralize the future more than the past was mediated by anticipating (one’s own) emotional reactions and concern about one’s reputation, which was stronger in the future as well. The findings fit the pragmatic view that people moralize the future more than the past partly to guide their choices and actions, such as by increasing their motivation to restrain selfish impulses and build long-term cooperative relationships with others. We conclude that the psychology of moral responsibility has a strong future component.

Sexual Orientation and Leadership Suitability: How Being a Gay Man Affects Perceptions of Fit in Gender-Stereotyped Positions

Sexual Orientation and Leadership Suitability: How Being a Gay Man Affects Perceptions of Fit in Gender-Stereotyped Positions. Renzo J. Barrantes, A. Eaton. Sex Roles, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11199-018-0894-8

Abstract: The current set of studies examines perceptions of gay men’s fitness for leadership positions in the workplace. In two between-subjects experiments we examined the effect of a male employee’s sexuality on perceptions of his suitability for stereotypically feminine, masculine, and gender-neutral managerial positions, as well as potential mediators (perceptions of target agency and communion) and moderators (target out status) of these effects. In Study 1, 341 U.S. college student participants rated a gay male target as more communal and more suitable for feminine managerial positions than an otherwise identical heterosexual target, irrespective of his “out” status. Moreover, ratings of communion mediated the relationship between targets’ sexuality and suitability for feminine leadership. No differences between gay and heterosexual targets in targets’ agency or targets’ suitability for masculine or gender-neutral managerial positions were detected. Study 2 used a sample of 439 U.S. adults and an ambiguous target’s résumé to replicate and expand Study 1. This study provided participants with conflicting information on targets’ agency and communion, and it assessed the same dependent variables of targets’ agency, communion, and leadership suitability for various positions. Study 2 again found that ratings of communion significantly mediated the relationship between male targets’ sexuality and perceived suitability for feminine managerial roles. These findings extend previous research on perceptions of gay men in the workplace and have practical implications for being “out” at work.

Drivers of Rising Housing Construction Costs: city permitting processes, design and building code requirements, workforce regulations and ordinances, procurement requirements, and environmental regulations

Perspectives: Practitioners Weigh in on Drivers of Rising Housing Construction Costs in San Francisco. Carolina Reid and Hayley Raetz | Terner Center for Housing Innovation Blog, January 2018. https://ternercenter.berkeley.edu/blog/archives/2018/01 > http://ternercenter.berkeley.edu/uploads/San_Francisco_Construction_Cost_Brief_-_Terner_Center_January_2018.pdf

To provide just one example from a review of LIHTC cost certifications, in 2000, it cost approximately $265,000 per unit to build a 100-unit affordable housing building for families in the city, accounting for inflation. In 2016, a similar sized family building cost closer to $425,000 per unit, not taking into account other development costs (such as fees or the costs of capital) or changes in land values over this time period. As a result of these cost increases, developers need more subsidy for every unit, at a time when public resources for affordable housing have been dwindling.

[...]

[...] Macroeconomic conditions (including the cost of capital), labor market cycles and lack of skilled subcontractors, and trade policies (that influence the price of materials) all influence the cost of building.

But construction costs in San Francisco are also driven by local decisions and processes that are within the control of city agencies. Interviews and focus groups identified four local drivers of rising construction costs: city permitting processes, design and building code requirements, workforce regulations and ordinances, procurement (small and local business) requirements, and environmental regulations.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Despite participants’ unfamiliarity with the societies represented, the random sampling of each music excerpt, the very short duration, & the enormous diversity of this music, the ratings demonstrated accurate and cross-culturally reliable inferences about song functions on the basis of song forms alone

Form and Function in Human Song. Samuel A. Mehr et al. Current Biology, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2017.12.042

Highlights
•People in 60 countries listened to songs from 86 mostly small-scale societies
•They successfully inferred song functions on the basis of song form alone
•Listener ratings were guided by both contextual and musical features of the songs
•Human song therefore exhibits widespread form-function associations

Summary: Humans use music for a variety of social functions: we sing to accompany dance, to soothe babies, to heal illness, to communicate love, and so on. Across animal taxa, vocalization forms are shaped by their functions, including in humans. Here, we show that vocal music exhibits recurrent, distinct, and cross-culturally robust form-function relations that are detectable by listeners across the globe. In Experiment 1 , internet users (n = 750) in 60 countries listened to brief excerpts of songs, rating each song’s function on six dimensions (e.g., “used to soothe a baby”). Excerpts were drawn from a geographically stratified pseudorandom sample of dance songs, lullabies, healing songs, and love songs recorded in 86 mostly small-scale societies, including hunter-gatherers, pastoralists, and subsistence farmers. Experiment 1 and its analysis plan were pre-registered. Despite participants’ unfamiliarity with the societies represented, the random sampling of each excerpt, their very short duration (14 s), and the enormous diversity of this music, the ratings demonstrated accurate and cross-culturally reliable inferences about song functions on the basis of song forms alone. In Experiment 2 , internet users (n = 1,000) in the United States and India rated three contextual features (e.g., gender of singer) and seven musical features (e.g., melodic complexity) of each excerpt. The songs’ contextual features were predictive of Experiment 1 function ratings, but musical features and the songs’ actual functions explained unique variance in function ratings. These findings are consistent with the existence of universal links between form and function in vocal music.

Keywords: music, song, form, function, vocalization, culture, evolution, diversity, universality

The Rising Importance of Muscularity in the Thin Ideal Female Body

Thin Is In? Think Again: The Rising Importance of Muscularity in the Thin Ideal Female Body. Frances Bozsik et al. Sex Roles, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11199-017-0886-0

Abstract: Research has documented an increased emphasis on fitness in media targeting women. However, it is unclear whether this emphasis has resulted in increased muscularity in the perceived ideal female body shape. We sought to evaluate whether the ideal female figure has incorporated increased muscularity into the existing ideal body type that already emphasizes thinness. In Study 1, 78 female undergraduates evaluated images of U.S. beauty pageant winners over the past 15 years on dimensions of thinness, muscularity, and attractiveness. Results indicated that muscularity and thinness ratings of pageant winners significantly increased over time. In Study 2, 64 female undergraduates evaluated two different versions of the same image of a model: a Thin Muscular image and a Thin Only image in which the appearance of muscularity was removed through digital editing. When images were presented in pairs, results indicated that participants found the Thin Muscular image more attractive than the Thin Only image. These results suggest that the current perceived ideal female figure includes both extreme thinness and muscularity and that women prefer this muscular thin figure to a solely thin figure. These findings have implications for clinical treatments related to body image, compulsive exercise, and media literacy.

Will a household return a letter that has been incorrectly addressed? On average, we find that half of all letters were returned

The Misaddressed Letter Experiment. Gweneth Leigh & Andrew Leigh. Applied Economics Letters, https://doi.org/10.1080/13504851.2018.1430323

ABSTRACT: We design a new field experiment to test pro-social behaviour: will a household return a letter that has been incorrectly addressed? On average, we find that half of all letters were returned. Return rates do not vary significantly according to the gender, race or ethnicity of the fictitious addressee. However, return rates are higher in more affluent neighbourhoods.

KEYWORDS: Field experiments, discrimination, altruism

Back burners are desired prospective romantic/sexual partners that people communicate with to establish a future romantic or sexual relationship. Singles did not differ from those in committed romances in the number of back burners reported

Maintaining Relationship Alternatives Electronically: Positive Relationship Maintenance in Back Burner Relationships. Jayson L. Dibble, Narissra M. Punyanunt-Carter & Michelle Drouin. Communication Research Reports, https://doi.org/10.1080/08824096.2018.1425985

Abstract: Back burners are desired prospective romantic/sexual partners that people communicate with to establish a future romantic or sexual relationship. We surveyed 658 college students about the extent to which they reported using various positive relationship maintenance strategies (positivity, openness, assurances) during communication with their most important back burner. Consistent with previous research, singles did not differ from those in committed romances in the number of back burners reported; however, singles and casual daters utilized the positive maintenance strategies to a greater extent than did those in committed relationships. Men reported using more assurances than did women, but the sexes did not differ on the other strategies utilized. Implications and limitations are discussed.

Keywords: Back Burners, Casual Sexual Relationships, Communication Technology, Interpersonal Communication, Positive Relationship Maintenance Behaviors

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Letter to Mr Erdogan: "Worried by your health, Mr President"

To: President Erdogan, [xxx]@tccb.gov.tr
Subject: Worried by your health, Mr President

Dear Mr President, I am deeply worried about your health after reading the version of your words that the New York Times published a couple of days ago (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/22/world/middleeast/turkey-syria-kurds-us.html):
"
On Monday, he took another swipe at the United States, saying, “Our country does not envy the soil of others.”

“When the operation achieves its aims, it would be over,” Mr. Erdogan told a group of businessmen in the presidential palace. “Some, or America, are asking us about the duration. And I am asking America, ‘Was your timing determined in Afghanistan?’ When the job is done. We are not eager to stay. We know when to pull out. And we do not care to have permission from anyone to do this.”
".

The lack of temperance, absent care with words, acute exhibition of lack of respect for the US and the US President, the null fear for consequences, show that the rumors that you reached a harsh deterioration of mental health are almost a certainty.

Pending a psychiatric evaluation, once we reached this point, to be of help to everyone involved, the people, the peace, the region's stability, the many lives involved, shouldn't be a good decision to leave power?

Those who review your speeches seem not to be really helpful, since comments like those above were, in the end, spoken.

Courage, Mr President! We all must know when to retire. Your age (in this specific case) and your poor decisions (like the the bad advisors you chose) seem to counsel your leaving the great office of the presidency for the many young and capable people that can do a better job for the people and the country.

May I suggest some spa in the Crimea? Or if you like not-so-warm weather, maybe a dacha in the mountains near Sochi, to have good laughs with the Great Statesman Mr Putin while having tea.

Best Regards,

[phone, e-mail, other data]

Mediatization and the Disproportionate Attention to Negative News. The case of airplane crashes

Mediatization and the Disproportionate Attention to Negative News. The case of airplane crashes. Toni G. L. A. van der Meer, Anne C. Kroon, Piet Verhoeven & Jeroen Jonkman. Journalism Studies, https://doi.org/10.1080/1461670X.2018.1423632

Abstract: Do news media increasingly portray a distorted world image when reporting menace? The purpose of this study is to investigate how media attention for negative incidents evolves over time and how this relates to real-world trends and public responses. A longitudinal content analysis (1991–2015) of media coverage of aviation incidents is used to provide a systematic investigation into the trends of media attention related to real-world data. Results show that while the total number of aviation incidents declined across time, relative media attention increased. Time series analysis revealed that media attention for these negative incidents was negatively associated with shifts in public responses—i.e. air travel behavior—whereas real-world statistics on aviation incidents did not seem to explain variation in public behavior. Moreover, when exploring the variation in the coverage of media attention, increasing presence of mediatization facets was observed as a potential explanation for the over-time rise in disproportional attention to negative news. In conclusion, news media may have a blind spot for progression and a distorted media reality can be a predictor of public responses instead of reality itself.

KEYWORDS: mediatization, negative news, news media logics, public responses, time series analysis

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Chimpanzees appear to perceive similarity in primate faces in a similar way to humans. Information about perceptual similarity is likely prioritized over the potential influence of previous experience

Visual discrimination of primate species based on faces in chimpanzees. Duncan A. Wilson, Masaki Tomonaga. Primates, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10329-018-0649-8

Abstract: Many primate studies have investigated discrimination of individual faces within the same species. However, few studies have looked at discrimination between primate species faces at the categorical level. This study systematically examined the factors important for visual discrimination between primate species faces in chimpanzees, including: colour, orientation, familiarity, and perceptual similarity. Five adult female chimpanzees were tested on their ability to discriminate identical and categorical (non-identical) images of different primate species faces in a series of touchscreen matching-to-sample experiments. Discrimination performance for chimpanzee, gorilla, and orangutan faces was better in colour than in greyscale. An inversion effect was also found, with higher accuracy for upright than inverted faces. Discrimination performance for unfamiliar (baboon and capuchin monkey) and highly familiar (chimpanzee and human) but perceptually different species was equally high. After excluding effects of colour and familiarity, difficulty in discriminating between different species faces can be best explained by their perceptual similarity to each other. Categorical discrimination performance for unfamiliar, perceptually similar faces (gorilla and orangutan) was significantly worse than unfamiliar, perceptually different faces (baboon and capuchin monkey). Moreover, multidimensional scaling analysis of the image similarity data based on local feature matching revealed greater similarity between chimpanzee, gorilla and orangutan faces than between human, baboon and capuchin monkey faces. We conclude our chimpanzees appear to perceive similarity in primate faces in a similar way to humans. Information about perceptual similarity is likely prioritized over the potential influence of previous experience or a conceptual representation of species for categorical discrimination between species faces.

A Nuclear Twin Family Study of Self-Esteem

Bleidorn, W., Hufer, A., Kandler, C., Hopwood, C. J., and Riemann, R. (2018) A Nuclear Twin Family Study of Self-Esteem. Eur. J. Pers., doi: 10.1002/per.2136

Abstract: Twin studies suggest that both genes and environments influence the emergence and development of individual differences in self-esteem. However, different lines of research have emphasized either the role of genes or of environmental influences in shaping self-esteem, and the pathways through which genes and environments exert their influence on self-esteem remain largely unclear. In this study, we used nationally representative data from over 2000 German twin families and a nuclear twin family design (NTFD) to further our understanding of the genetic and environmental influences on individual differences in self-esteem. Compared with classical twin designs, NTFDs allow for finer-grained descriptions of the genetic and environmental influences on phenotypic variation, produce less biased estimates of those effects, and provide more information about different environmental influences and gene–environment correlation that contribute to siblings' similarity. Our NTFD results suggested that additive and non-additive genetic influences contributed to individual differences in self-esteem as well as environmental influences that are both shared and not shared by twins. The shared environmental component mostly reflected non-parental influences. These findings highlight the increased sensitivity afforded by NTFDs but also remaining limitations that need to be addressed by future behavioural genetic work on the sources of self-esteem.

Effects of physical attractiveness on political beliefs: more attractive individuals are more likely to report higher levels of political efficacy, identify as conservative, and identify as Republican

Effects of physical attractiveness on political beliefs. Rolfe Daus Peterson and Carl L. Palmer. Politics and the Life Sciences, Volume 36, Issue 2, Fall 2017 , pp. 3-16. https://doi.org/10.1017/pls.2017.18

Abstract: Physical attractiveness is an important social factor in our daily interactions. Scholars in social psychology provide evidence that attractiveness stereotypes and the “halo effect” are prominent in affecting the traits we attribute to others. However, the interest in attractiveness has not directly filtered down to questions of political behavior beyond candidates and elites. Utilizing measures of attractiveness across multiple surveys, we examine the relationship between attractiveness and political beliefs. Controlling for socioeconomic status, we find that more attractive individuals are more likely to report higher levels of political efficacy, identify as conservative, and identify as Republican. These findings suggest an additional mechanism for political socialization that has further implications for understanding how the body intertwines with the social nature of politics.

Intelligence and Offending: A Longitudinal Examination of the Differential Detection Hypothesis

Schwartz, Joseph A, and Kevin M Beaver. 2018. “Intelligence and Offending: A Longitudinal Examination of the Differential Detection Hypothesis”. PsyArXiv. January 23. psyarxiv.com/z8wmg

Abstract: A well-developed literature has documented a negative and robust association between IQ and criminal behavior.  At the same time, relatively little is known about the factors that ultimately contribute to the association, with the existing research revealing two possibilities.  First, in line with population heterogeneity, IQ scores may tap internalized sources of influence that collectively increase underlying levels of criminality.  Second, the differential detection hypothesis indicates that lower scores on IQ tests do not necessarily result in increases in criminal behavior, but rather result in a greater likelihood of coming into contact with law enforcement.  The current study analyzed data from the Pathways to Desistance Study (N = 1,354) to examine the merits of these explanations.  The results of survival analysis, which included controls for a time-stable, trait-based measure of criminality (measured using a latent trait-state-occasion approach) and other covariates, revealed a small, but negative and statistically significant, association between IQ and arrest, providing support for the differential detection hypothesis.  Implications for future research and theoretical development are provided along with a discussion of the further incorporation of the concept of intelligence into the criminological literature.

Audio and video increase awareness of incivility cues as well as participants’ evaluations of negative, emotional, and entertaining tone

Platforms for Incivility: Examining Perceptions Across Different Media Formats. Emily Sydnor. Political Communication, Volume 35, 2018 - Issue 1: Studying Politics Across Media. Pages 97-116. https://doi.org/10.1080/10584609.2017.1355857

Abstract: This article investigates how the mix of attributes present across different media shapes perceptions of incivility. I argue that certain modalities, particularly the channel and structure of a media platform, facilitate the perception of media as more uncivil even if the content is kept the same. To test this argument, I conduct two survey experiments in which participants are randomly assigned to treatments in which the substantive content and text remains the same but is packaged to mimic different media types. Generally, audio and video increase awareness of incivility cues as well as participants’ evaluations of negative, emotional, and entertaining tone. There are also differences in the extent to which individuals notice incivility on Twitter than on other text-based media platforms. The social media platform is also particularly entertaining in comparison to the other platforms studied. This article demonstrates that media attributes interact to shape our understanding and identification of uncivil language. Furthermore, it suggests that more attention should be focused on identifying the different sets of characteristics that make incivility more or less likely or salient in political media.

Keywords: hybridity, incivility, media platforms, mix of attributes theory, perceptions

I found consistently higher memory for unattractive over both attractive and medium-attractive faces

The influence of facial attractiveness on recognition memory: Behavioural findings and electrophysiological evidence. Carolin S. Altmann, Dissertation zur Erlangung des akademischen Grades doctor philosophiae (Dr. phil.), Friedrich-Schiller-Universität, Jena.

This thesis is based on a series of experiments that aimed to better understand the influence attractiveness has on memory while always controlling for perceived distinctiveness. First, I created a large stimulus pool of 1100 faces and obtained ratings on a number of relevant dimensions (see sections 2.1 and 3). In the first study, I investigated if memory for faces increased linearly with increasing attractiveness or whether this relationship was more complex (see section 3). In the second study, I investigated the combined influence of attractiveness and gender on recognition memory to competitively test predictions of perceptual expertise, social cognition, and alternative accounts (see section 4). In the third study, l, I investigated encoding-related neural correlates of the attractiveness effect on memory at retrieval (see section 5) whereas the first two experiments focused on ERP memory effects during retrieval.

Taken together, I found consistently higher memory for unattractive over both attractive and medium-attractive faces. Further, medium-attractive faces were significantly less well remembered than attractive faces in studies 1 and 2, and numerically in study 3. This difference disappeared when emotional relevance, i.e. valence and arousal, was taken into account. Inspection of ERPs showed increased P2 amplitudes for medium-attractive faces at retrieval in studies 1 and 2, and a pronounced Dm effect in this component in study 3. Thus, the attractiveness effect on face recognition memory seems already rooted in evolved, i.e. more refined and higher-level, perceptual processing of faces reflected in the P2. Overarchingly, these findings argue in favour of perceptual accounts, i.e. representational clustering (see sections 1.6.1 and 6.2.4), as both attractive and medium-attractive faces are supposedly more densely clustered in participants’ mental storage. The current data further indicate some contribution of emotional relevance. As no significant influence of face or participant gender was observed, there was also no compelling evidence for accounts of social cognition.

Giving advice enhances the adviser’s sense of power because it gives the adviser perceived influence over others’ actions; people with a high tendency to seek power are more likely to give advice than those with a low tendency

Advice Giving: A Subtle Pathway to Power. Michael Schaerer et al. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167217746341

Abstract: We propose that interpersonal behaviors can activate feelings of power, and we examine this idea in the context of advice giving. Specifically, we show (a) that advice giving is an interpersonal behavior that enhances individuals’ sense of power and (b) that those who seek power are motivated to engage in advice giving. Four studies, including two experiments (N = 290, N = 188), an organization-based field study (N = 94), and a negotiation simulation (N = 124), demonstrate that giving advice enhances the adviser’s sense of power because it gives the adviser perceived influence over others’ actions. Two of our studies further demonstrate that people with a high tendency to seek power are more likely to give advice than those with a low tendency. This research establishes advice giving as a subtle route to a sense of power, shows that the desire to feel powerful motivates advice giving, and highlights the dynamic interplay between power and advice.

Keywords: advice giving, social power, social influence, political motivation

The Effect of Germ Movement on the Construal of Mental States in Germs: The Moderating Role of Contamination Fear

The Effect of Germ Movement on the Construal of Mental States in Germs: The Moderating Role of Contamination Fear. John H. Riskind, Dylan K. Richards. Cognitive Therapy and Research, February 2018, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 36–47. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10608-017-9877-2

Abstract: In two studies, we examined a novel relationship between movement and anthropomorphism—the attribution of human characteristics to nonhuman agents—in relation to germs. Furthermore, we examined whether individual differences in contamination fear and disgust proneness moderated the effect of movement on the tendency to anthropomorphize germs. Following an initial study that demonstrated associations between imagined germ movement, contamination fear, and the attribution of malevolent intentions to germs, we conducted a second study that experimentally manipulated germ movement with a brief film clip of magnified germs. The results of the second study showed that the experimental manipulation of germ movement increased attributions of malevolent intentions to germs and enhanced the tendencies of individuals with higher levels of contamination fear to attribute some general human characteristics to germs (i.e., intentions, feelings). These findings suggest that the attribution of malevolent intentions to germs may be a cognitive distortion that contributes to the maintenance of contamination fear, which may afford a novel treatment target. Perceived movement may serve as an antecedent to the attribution of malevolent intentions to germs and thus exacerbate the tendency to make these attributions.

Decreases in extraversion are attenuated for individuals categorized as light-to-moderate drinkers, while decreases in conscientiousness were accentuated by having experienced alcohol dependence symptoms

Luchetti, M., Terracciano, A., Stephan, Y. and Sutin, A. R. (), Alcohol use and personality change in middle and older adulthood: Findings from the Health and Retirement Study. Journal of Personality. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/jopy.12371

Abstract

Objective: Personality is known to predict alcohol consumption but how alcohol use is related to personality change is less clear, especially at older ages. The present study examined the effects of level of alcohol consumption and history of dependence on change in the five-factor model personality traits in a national cohort of Americans aged over 50.

Method: Over 10,000 adults who participated in 2006-08 waves of the Health and Retirement Study reported on personality and alcohol use and were followed over 4 years.

Results: Latent difference score models indicated decreases in extraversion to be attenuated for individuals categorized as light-to-moderate drinkers at baseline, while decreases in conscientiousness were accentuated by having experienced alcohol dependence symptoms. Moreover, personality difference scores correlated with changes in the amount of alcohol consumed at follow-up.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that patterns of alcohol consumption are associated with changes in personality across the second half of the lifespan.

Introduction of Uber ride-sharing service is associated with lower DUI and fatal accident rates. For some specifications, there are also less arrests for assault and disorderly conduct. There is an increase in vehicle thefts

Dills, A. K. and Mulholland, S. E. (2018), Ride-Sharing, Fatal Crashes, and Crime. Southern Economic Journal. doi:10.1002/soej.12255

Abstract: The advent of smart-phone based, ride-sharing applications has revolutionized the vehicle for hire market. Advocates point to the ease of use, lower prices, and shorter wait times compared to hailing a taxi or prearranging limousine service. Others argue that proper government oversight is necessary to protect ride-share passengers from driver error or vehicle parts failures and violence from unlicensed strangers. Using U.S. county-level data from 2007 through 2015, we investigate whether the introduction of the ride-sharing service Uber is associated with changes in fatal vehicle crashes and crime. We find that Uber's entry lowers the rate of DUIs and fatal accidents. For some specifications, we also find declines in arrests for assault and disorderly conduct. Conversely, we observe an increase in vehicle thefts.

We argue that anger likely plays a major role in motivating individuals to engage in the biased assimilation of political information—an evaluative bias in favor of information that bolsters one's views and against information that undercuts them

Suhay, E. and Erisen, C. (2018), The Role of Anger in the Biased Assimilation of Political Information. Political Psychology. doi:10.1111/pops.12463

Abstract: Political psychologists have established that politically motivated reasoning is a common phenomenon; however, the field knows comparatively less about the psychological mechanisms that drive it. Drawing on advances in the understanding of the relevance of emotion to political reasoning and behavior, we argue that anger likely plays a major role in motivating individuals to engage in the biased assimilation of political information—an evaluative bias in favor of information that bolsters one's views and against information that undercuts them. We test this proposition with two online studies, the second of which includes a quasi-representative sample of Americans. The studies support our expectations. Individuals felt more negative emotions toward arguments that undermined their attitudes and positive emotions toward arguments that confirmed them; however, anger was nearly alone in fueling biased reactions to issue arguments.

The younger a person feels, the more likely he or she will use the Internet

Young at heart and online? Subjective age and internet use in two Swiss survey studies
Alexander Seifert ORCID Icon & Hans-Werner Wahl. Educational Gerontology, https://doi.org/10.1080/03601277.2018.1427495

ABSTRACT: Subjective age (SA) indicates how old a person feels. SA has been found to be a marker of an individual’s physical and psychological functioning and openness for new aging experiences. Thus, it can be generally considered as beneficial in promoting healthy aging. We hypothesized that the younger a person feels, the more likely he or she will use the Internet. We evaluated two secondary analyses based on two cross-sectional and representative telephone surveys of 1790 participants (n = 1299, age ≥ 70 years; n = 491, age ≥ 65 years) in Switzerland. Univariate and multivariate analyses, controlled for a number of relevant confounders, confirmed the relationship between lowered SA and heightened Internet use. Given that we were able to analyze two relatively large and representative data sets, we regard our findings, although based on cross-sectional studies, as rather robust. Longitudinal research is required to examine the causal direction of this relationship.

Monday, January 22, 2018

The strongest insights into the biological bases of social connection come from animal research, which shows that social bonds rely on the same neurochemicals that support general motivation, among them opioids

Opioids and Social Connection. Tristen K. Inagaki. Current Directions in Psychological Science, https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721417735531

Abstract: Social connection, the pleasurable, subjective experience of feeling close to and bonded with other people, is critical for well-being and continued social bonding. Despite the importance of social connection for many important outcomes, few researchers have experimentally examined how humans connect with those to whom they feel close. The strongest insights into the biological bases of social connection come from animal research, which shows that social bonds rely on the same neurochemicals that support general motivation. One class of neurochemicals, opioids, has received increased attention in recent years with the rise of pharmacological methods to manipulate opioids in humans. This article reviews emerging findings to show that opioids affect social feelings, behaviors, and perceptions in both positive and negative social experiences and concludes with the implications of such findings. Future work should consider the subjective feelings of social connection felt during interactions with close social contacts in order to further the understanding of social connection.

Keywords: social affiliation, social bonding, attachment, social reward, endogenous opioids

A compilation of heat flux recordings from Greenland show the existence of geothermal heat sources beneath GIS and could explain high glacial ice speed areas such as the Northeast Greenland ice stream

High geothermal heat flux in close proximity to the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream. Søren Rysgaard, Jørgen Bendtsen, John Mortensen & Mikael K. Sejr. Scientific Reports 8, Article number: 1344 (2018), doi 10.1038/s41598-018-19244-x

Abstract: The Greenland ice sheet (GIS) is losing mass at an increasing rate due to surface melt and flow acceleration in outlet glaciers. Currently, there is a large disagreement between observed and simulated ice flow, which may arise from inaccurate parameterization of basal motion, subglacial hydrology or geothermal heat sources. Recently it was suggested that there may be a hidden heat source beneath GIS caused by a higher than expected geothermal heat flux (GHF) from the Earth’s interior. Here we present the first direct measurements of GHF from beneath a deep fjord basin in Northeast Greenland. Temperature and salinity time series (2005–2015) in the deep stagnant basin water are used to quantify a GHF of 93 ± 21 mW m−2 which confirm previous indirect estimated values below GIS. A compilation of heat flux recordings from Greenland show the existence of geothermal heat sources beneath GIS and could explain high glacial ice speed areas such as the Northeast Greenland ice stream.

Monastic Tibetan Buddhists showed significantly greater fear of death than any other group. The monastics were also less generous than other groups about the prospect of giving up a slightly longer life in order to extend the life of another

Nichols, S., Strohminger, N., Rai, A. and Garfield, J. (2018), Death and the Self. Cogn Sci. doi:10.1111/cogs.12590

Abstract: It is an old philosophical idea that if the future self is literally different from the current self, one should be less concerned with the death of the future self (Parfit, 1984). This paper examines the relation between attitudes about death and the self among Hindus, Westerners, and three Buddhist populations (Lay Tibetan, Lay Bhutanese, and monastic Tibetans). Compared with other groups, monastic Tibetans gave particularly strong denials of the continuity of self, across several measures. We predicted that the denial of self would be associated with a lower fear of death and greater generosity toward others. To our surprise, we found the opposite. Monastic Tibetan Buddhists showed significantly greater fear of death than any other group. The monastics were also less generous than any other group about the prospect of giving up a slightly longer life in order to extend the life of another.

The cryptic reaction shot has grown dramatically in movies. The shots are designed to enhance viewers’ emotional involvement with characters. They depict a facial gesture that reflects a slightly negative and slightly aroused emotional state

Cutting, J. E. and Armstrong, K. L. (2018), Cryptic Emotions and the Emergence of a Metatheory of Mind in Popular Filmmaking. Cogn Sci. doi:10.1111/cogs.12586

Abstract: Hollywood movies can be deeply engaging and easy to understand. To succeed in this manner, feature-length movies employ many editing techniques with strong psychological underpinnings. We explore the origins and development of one of these, the reaction shot. This shot typically shows a single, unspeaking character with modest facial expression in response to an event or to the behavior or speech of another character. In a sample of movies from 1940 to 2010, we show that the prevalence of one type of these shots—which we call the cryptic reaction shot—has grown dramatically. These shots are designed to enhance viewers’ emotional involvement with characters. They depict a facial gesture that reflects a slightly negative and slightly aroused emotional state. Their use at the end of conversations, and typically at the end of scenes, helps to leave viewers in a state of speculation about what the character is thinking and what her thoughts may mean for the ongoing narrative.

Is Accurate, Positive, or Inflated Self-perception Most Advantageous for Psychological Adjustment? A Competitive Test of Key Hypotheses

Humberg, Sarah, Michael Dufner, Felix D Schönbrodt, Katharina Geukes, Roos Hutteman, Albrecht Kuefner, Maarten van Zalk, Jaap J A Denissen, Steffen Nestler, and Mitja Back. 2018. “Preprint of "is Accurate, Positive, or Inflated Self-perception Most Advantageous for Psychological Adjustment? A Competitive Test of Key Hypotheses"”. Open Science Framework. January 21. osf.io/9w3bh

Abstract: Empirical research on the (mal-)adaptiveness of favorable self-perceptions, self-enhancement, and self-knowledge has typically applied a classical null-hypothesis testing approach and provided mixed and even contradictory findings. Using data from five studies (laboratory and field, total N = 2,823), we employed an information-theoretic approach combined with Response Surface Analysis to provide the first competitive test of six popular hypotheses: that more favorable self-perceptions are adaptive versus maladaptive (Hypotheses 1 and 2: Positivity of self-view hypotheses), that higher levels of self-enhancement (i.e., a higher discrepancy of self-viewed and objectively assessed ability) are adaptive versus maladaptive (Hypotheses 3 and 4: Self-enhancement hypotheses), that accurate self-perceptions are adaptive (Hypothesis 5: Self-knowledge hypothesis), and that a slight degree of self-enhancement is adaptive (Hypothesis 6: Optimal margin hypothesis). We considered self-perceptions and objective ability measures in two content domains (reasoning ability, vocabulary knowledge) and investigated six indicators of intra- and interpersonal psychological adjustment. Results showed that most adjustment indicators were best predicted by the positivity of self-perceptions, there were some specific self-enhancement effects, and evidence generally spoke against the self-knowledge and optimal margin hypotheses. Our results highlight the need for comprehensive simultaneous tests of competing hypotheses. Implications for the understanding of underlying processes are discussed.

Exploring the Great Schism in the Social Sciences: Confirmation Bias and the Interpretation of Results Relating to Biological Influences on Human Behavior and Psychology

Exploring the Great Schism in the Social Sciences: Confirmation Bias and the Interpretation of Results Relating to Biological Influences on Human Behavior and Psychology. Jeffrey Winking. Evolutionary Psychology,  https://doi.org/10.1177/1474704917752691

Abstract: The nature–nurture debate is one that biologists often dismiss as a false dichotomy, as all phenotypic traits are the results of complex processes of gene and environment interactions. However, such dismissiveness belies the ongoing debate that is unmistakable throughout the biological and social sciences concerning the role of biological influences in the development of psychological and behavioral traits in humans. Many have proposed that this debate is due to ideologically driven biases in the interpretation of results. Those favoring biological approaches have been accused of a greater willingness to accept biological explanations so as to rationalize or justify the status quo of inequality. Those rejecting biological approaches have been accused of an unwillingness to accept biological explanations so as to attribute inequalities solely to social and institutional factors, ultimately allowing for the possibility of social equality. While it is important to continue to investigate this topic through further research and debate, another approach is to examine the degree to which the allegations of bias are indeed valid. To accomplish this, a convenience sample of individuals with relevant postgraduate degrees was recruited from Mechanical Turk and social media. Participants were asked to rate the inferential power of different research designs and of mock results that varied in the degree to which they supported different ideologies. Results were suggestive that researchers harbor sincere differences of opinion concerning the inferential value of relevant research. There was no suggestion that ideological confirmation biases drive these differences. However, challenges associated with recruiting a large enough sample of experts as well as identifying believable mock scenarios limit the study’s inferential scope.

Keywords: confirmation bias, academia, evolutionary studies, cognitive bias, MTurk

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Studying Gay and Straight Males' Implicit Gender Attitudes to Understand Previously Found Gender Differences in Implicit In-Group Bias

Studying Gay and Straight Males' Implicit Gender Attitudes to Understand Previously Found Gender Differences in Implicit In-Group Bias. Yvonne Emig, Oyvind Jorgensen. Current Research in Social Psychology 25, 8, 1. http://www.uiowa.edu/crisp

Abstract: Previous research shows that men overall, in contrast to women, do not show a typical implicit in-group preference. One proposed explanation is greater interest in sex among males. If so, then gay males should show an implicit preference for males whereas straight males should prefer females. We tested this hypothesis using a modified version of the Brief Implicit Association Test on 38 gay and 65 straight males. The hypothesis was supported. As the majority of participants in previous studies on implicit gender attitudes are expected to be straight, this could contribute to the low implicit in-group bias among males.

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Several explanations have been proposed in the literature for the lack of implicit in-group bias among men. One possible explanation for men's intergroup attitudes is maternal bonding, which takes into account that children usually spend more time with the mother and therefore tend to favor their mother over the father (Rudman & Goodwin, 2004). This may be important because many implicit attitudes may be formed through early experiences in the childhood (Rudman, 2004; Skowronski & Lawrence, 2001). Accordingly, Dunham et al. (2015) found that men's gender attitudes change over their lifespan; while 5-year old boys still prefer their own gender, adult men tend to show stronger positive implicit attitudes toward women (Dunham et al., 2015). Perceived threat and stronger association of men with violence are other possible factors, which could explain men's implicit gender associations (Dunham et al., 2015; Rudman & Goodwin, 2004). As men are usually strongly associated with physical threat (such as violence and aggression), men may prefer the less-threatening gender women (Rudman & Goodwin, 2004).

One factor explaining the differences in implicit gender attitudes among men and women could be sexuality. There are gender differences in regard to which stimuli (female or male) cause sexual arousal. While heterosexual women in general tend to be aroused by pictures of men and women, heterosexual men are usually solely aroused by pictures of women (Chivers, Seto, & Blanchard, 2007). Other general differences between men and women seem to be on which behavior they are focused on (e.g. on copulation or a larger scope of activities) and which type of sexual activity arouses them most (Fisher, Aron, Mashek, & Brown, 2002). Sex drive, defined as the strength of motivation for sex, is found to be either more constant (Fisher et al., 2002) or generally stronger (Baumeister, 2000; Baumeister, Catanese, & Vohs, 2001; Peplau, 2003) in men than in women, which could explain why (heterosexual) men do not favor men on implicit associations and why (heterosexual) women do not show pro-male bias. Liking sex was, in Rudman and Goodwin's (2004) study, a predictor of in-group bias among sexually experienced men. However, the sexual explanations (such as liking sex or number of sexual encounters) would not explain a man's lack of in-group bias if this man were gay. So, in the present study, we test whether sexual orientation (gay or straight) is related to implicit gender attitudes among men. In accordance with a sex drive explanation, we expect straight males to show a stronger implicit preference for females than males compared to gay men.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Initial failure made people underestimate how good it would feel to succeed in the future (systematic tendency to downplay the value of inaccessible rewards &outcomes). The predictions of low happiness appear to be a defensive maneuver to prevent disappointment. People high in achievement motivation constituted the main exception.

Sjastad, Hallgeir, Roy Baumeister, and Michael Ent. 2018. “Greener Grass or Sour Grapes? How People Value Future Goals After Initial Failure”. PsyArXiv. January 20. psyarxiv.com/er7q9

Abstract: If initial failure makes future success seem out of reach, do people think that such success would bring them more or less happiness than if initial performance had gone well? Across five experiments (N=690), participants were randomly assigned to receive good or poor feedback on a practice trial of a cognitive test (Studies 1-4) and their academic performance (Study 5). Those who received poor feedback predicted that they would feel less happy about a future top performance than those who received good feedback. However, when all participants received a top score on the actual test they became equally happy, regardless of initial feedback. That is, initial failure made people underestimate how good it would feel to succeed in the future. Inspired by Aesop’s fable of the fox and the grapes, we term this phenomenon the “sour-grape effect”: A systematic tendency to downplay the value of inaccessible rewards and outcomes. A pilot study revealed that people did not anticipate this result even when predicting how others would feel. The predictions of low happiness appear to be a defensive maneuver to prevent disappointment, as indicated by other ratings of whether the trait was relevant to self-concept and one’s future life outcomes. People high in achievement motivation constituted the main exception, as they remained engaged with the task and predicted (correctly) that success would bring them joy. A pre-registered experiment replicated all effects and confirmed mediation and moderation. Findings are interpreted in connection with cognitive dissonance, self-concept defense, adaptive preferences, and affective forecasting.

Initial failure made people underestimate how good it would feel to succeed in the future (systematic tendency to downplay the value of inaccessible rewards &outcomes). The predictions of low happiness appear to be a defensive maneuver to prevent disappointment. People high in achievement motivation constituted the main exception.

Lack of Increase in Sexual Drive and Function After Dopaminergic Stimulation in Women – contrary to what happens with men

Lack of Increase in Sexual Drive and Function After Dopaminergic Stimulation in Women. Tillmann H. C. Krüger et al. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, Volume 44, 2018 - Issue 1, Pages 61-72 | https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2017.1318797

ABSTRACT: Human and animal data indicate that the dopaminergic system plays a crucial role in sexual drive and function. Using a double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover design, this prototype study investigated the effect of the D2 dopamine agonist cabergoline on sexual parameters in 13 healthy women. Cardiovascular and genital parameters were monitored continuously. Sexual drive and function were measured using self-report sexual experience scales. In contrast to previous theories and assumptions, we found that cabergoline did not alter objective and subjective sexual parameters in healthy women. This finding suggests that there may be sex differences in the influence of the dopaminergic system on human sexual functioning.

Author claims that twelve-month-olds understand that foreign languages can communicate

Voulez-vous jouer avec moi? Twelve-month-olds understand that foreign languages can communicate. Athena Vouloumanos. Cognition, Volume 173, April 2018, Pages 87–92. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2018.01.002

Abstract: Infants understand that speech in their native language allows speakers to communicate. Is this understanding limited to their native language or does it extend to non-native languages with which infants have no experience? Twelve-month-old infants saw an actor, the Communicator, repeatedly select one of two objects. When the Communicator could no longer reach the target but a Recipient could, the Communicator vocalized a nonsense phrase either in English (infants’ native language), Spanish (rhythmically different), or Russian (phonotactically different), or hummed (a non-speech vocalization). Across all three languages, native and non-native, but not humming, infants looked longer when the Recipient gave the Communicator the non-target object. Although, by 12 months, infants do not readily map non-native words to objects or discriminate most non-native speech contrasts, they understand that non-native languages can transfer information to others. Understanding language as a tool for communication extends beyond infants’ native language: By 12 months, infants view language as a universal mechanism for transferring and acquiring new information.

Keywords: Language acquisition; Non-native language; Infant cognitive development; Communication; Speech perception

Intellectual humility and openness to the opposing view

Intellectual humility and openness to the opposing view. Tenelle Porter & Karina Schumann. Self and Identity, Volume 17, 2018 - Issue 2, https://doi.org/10.1080/15298868.2017.1361861

Abstract: Strong disagreements have stymied today’s political discourse. We investigate intellectual humility – recognizing the limits of one’s knowledge and appreciating others’ intellectual strengths – as one factor that can make disagreements more constructive. In Studies 1 and 2, participants with higher intellectual humility were more open to learning about the opposition’s views during imagined disagreements. In Study 3, those with higher intellectual humility exposed themselves to a greater proportion of opposing political perspectives. In Study 4, making salient a growth mindset of intelligence boosted intellectual humility, and, in turn, openness to opposing views. Results suggest that intellectual humility is associated with openness during disagreement, and that a growth mindset of intelligence may increase intellectual humility. Implications for current political polarization are discussed.

Keywords: Humility, open-mindedness, growth mindset, politics, disagreement

Rare delusional ideation of zoanthropy

Seltener Wahninhalt Zooanthropie / Rare delusional ideation of zoanthropy. Kräenbring, J., Zellner, N. & Warninghoff, J. Der Nervenarzt (2018) 89: 92. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00115-017-0285-3

[Automatic translation]

In 2010, a 45-year-old geriatric nurse was admitted to a psychiatric hospital for the first time with a severe depressive episode without psychotic symptoms and treated with venlafaxine and amitriptyline. Full remission and part-time work continued for 5 years. By the end of 2015, the patient had discontinued the above-mentioned medication, as she suspected it was a cause of new diarrhea and nausea. In 2016, she was re-hospitalized due to 6 weeks of mood swings with lack of drive and 3 days of confusion.

Findings, therapy and course

Psychopathologically, in this second inpatient psychiatric recording a substantive dementia, paracineses and a rife train of thought. Determined to be a tadpole, the patient made meandering movements with her body, which we interpreted as an expression of this conviction.

Diagnostically, the criteria of an acute schizophreniform disorder were met. The conviction that we are a tadpole was a bizarre delusion, which is a clear symptom of schizophrenia according to ICD-10 (International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10). The symptom constellation had occurred only a few hours before the inpatient admission, so that the time criterion of schizophrenia was not met. Physical and apparative investigations gave no indication of an organic genesis. A drug addiction test yielded only negative findings.

Treatment is with 4 mg of risperidone per day. After about a week, the patient stated that she was no longer a tadpole but was still convinced that she had been born a tadpole. Paracines were no longer observable. After about 3 weeks of treatment no delusions was explored more.

Exploring the Relationship Between Narcissism and Extreme Altruism

Exploring the Relationship Between Narcissism and Extreme Altruism. Daniel White, Marianna Szabo and Niko Tiliopoulos. The American Journal of Psychology, Vol. 131, No. 1 (Spring 2018), pp. 65-80. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/amerjpsyc.131.1.0065

Abstract: Extreme altruism is defined as prosocial behavior that violates social norms or the law. Little research has been done on this phenomenon, although research into related areas suggests that, surprisingly, extreme altruistic activities may be associated with traits traditionally associated with narcissism. This relationship was explored by comparing members of the public, people involved in prosocial activities within socially and legally accepted realms, and members of the Real-Life Superhero (RLSH) movement. The RLSH movement is a subculture whose prosocial-directed activities often exceed social norms and legal constraints. These include patrolling and conducting community and citizen police work in superhero-inspired uniforms, which has on several occasions resulted in altercations with other civilians or with law enforcement. The results suggest that there is a relationship between certain traits within the narcissism spectrum and the proclivity to engage in extreme altruism. These traits include grandiose fantasy, self-sacrificing self-enhancement, and devaluing. Furthermore, these traits are expressed at significantly higher levels in people who engage in extreme altruism more often. Finally, a model based predominantly on narcissism indicated a strong ability to predict group membership among the three groups. The findings suggest that a reconceptualization that reflects the capacity of these traits to be expressed in a prosocial or antisocial behavior is needed to explain this relationship.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Preferences for moral vs. immoral traits (mercifulness vs. mercilessness, honesty vs. dishonesty, sexual fidelity vs. infidelity, and altruism vs. selfishness) in others are conditional

Preferences for moral vs. immoral traits in others are conditional. David E. Melnikoff and April H. Bailey. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doi 10.1073/pnas.1714945115

Significance: It is commonly argued that humans have a dominant preference for morality traits vs. immorality traits in others—that is, irrespective of the surrounding context, morality fosters liking, and immorality fosters disliking. The results of four experiments oppose this view by showing that situational goals can eliminate and even reverse the preference for morality vs. immorality in others. These findings suggest that our preference for morality vs. immorality is conditional on the demands of our current goals and cannot be attributed solely to innate, “hardwired” links or personal learning experiences. They also suggest that immoral people sometimes win public adoration, and the power that comes with it, not in spite of but precisely because of their immorality.

Abstract: The preference for morality in others is regarded as a dominant factor in person perception. Moral traits are thought to foster liking, and immoral traits are thought to foster disliking, irrespective of the context in which they are embedded. We report the results of four studies that oppose this view. Using both explicit and implicit measures, we found that the preference for morality vs. immorality in others is conditional on the evaluator’s current goals. Specifically, when immorality was conducive to participants’ current goals, the preference for moral vs. immoral traits in others was eliminated or reversed. The preferences for mercifulness vs. mercilessness (experiment 1), honesty vs. dishonesty (experiment 2), sexual fidelity vs. infidelity (experiment 3), and altruism vs. selfishness (experiment 4) were all found to be conditional. These findings oppose the consensus view that people have a dominant preference for moral vs. immoral traits in others. Our findings also speak to nativist and empiricist theories of social preferences and the stability of the “social contract” underlying productive human societies.

Resting autonomic nervous system activity is unrelated to antisocial behaviour dimensions in adolescents: Cross-sectional findings from a European multi-centre study

Resting autonomic nervous system activity is unrelated to antisocial behaviour dimensions in adolescents: Cross-sectional findings from a European multi-centre study. Martin Prätzlich et al. Journal of Criminal Justice, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2018.01.004

Highlights
•    Respiration rate and antisocial behaviour were positively associated in females.
•    Covariates rendered links between the ANS and antisocial behaviour non-significant.
•    For both sexes, a low and a high arousal cluster arose.
•    Smoking was strongly related to antisocial behaviour and comorbid psychopathology.

Abstract

Purpose: Autonomic nervous system (ANS) functioning has long been studied in relation to antisocial behaviour, but relevant measures (heart rate, heart rate variability, pre-ejection period, respiration rate) have rarely been considered together. This study investigated the relationship between these measures and antisocial behaviour.

Methods: Using a sample of 1010 youths with (47.8%) and without conduct disorder (52.2%) aged between 9 and 18 years (659 females, 351 males, mean age = 14.2 years, SD = 2.4), principal component analysis (PCA) was applied to various measures of psychopathology and antisocial behavior. Structural equation modelling was performed in order to test whether the ANS measures predicted PCA-dimensions. Cluster analysis was used in order to classify patterns of ANS activity. Analyses were performed separately for males/females and controlled for body-mass-index, age, caffeine use, cigarette smoking, sports, socioeconomic status, medication, cardiac problems.

Results: The PCA yielded three components: antisocial behaviour/comorbid psychopathology, narcissistic traits, and callous-unemotional traits. ANS measures were only weakly correlated with these components. Cluster analysis yielded high and low arousal clusters in both sexes. When controlling for covariates, all associations disappeared.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that resting ANS measures are only weakly related to antisocial behaviour and indicate that smoking should be considered as an important covariate in future psychophysiological studies.

Keywords: Autonomic nervous system; Antisocial behaviour; Callous-unemotional traits; Smoking; Cluster analysis; Sex

An exploratory study of what people with intellectual disabilities find attractive about romantic partners and how they perceive themselves as romantic partners

Donnachie, Madeline (2017). An exploratory study of what people with intellectual disabilities find attractive about romantic partners and how they perceive themselves as romantic partners. D Clin Psy thesis, University of Glasgow. http://theses.gla.ac.uk/8422/

Abstract

Background: Whilst romantic or sexual attraction is a major research topic in the general population, little is known about people with intellectual disabilities’ views of attractiveness. Research exploring desirable romantic partner traits has indicated that people with intellectual disabilities appeared to hold less conventional views of physical attraction. This research explored what people with intellectual disabilities found attractive in others, as well as whether they thought other people found them desirable.

Method: Twenty-nine adults with intellectual disabilities and twenty-nine adults without intellectual disabilities, all aged between 16 and 40 years old, were recruited from Further Education institutions and voluntary community organisations across Central and West Scotland. Depending on their sexual orientation, participants were shown 50 images of men or women’s faces and asked to rate how attractive they thought the faces were. A semi-structured interview explored participants’ reasons for their highest and lowest ratings, their views of themselves as desirable to others and what they thought were important qualities in a romantic partner.

Results: A strong association was found between what men and women with intellectual disabilities and those without intellectual disabilities considered attractive in romantic partners. With regards to self-perceived desirability as a romantic partner people with intellectual disabilities were more likely to consider themselves desirable or attractive to others compared to their non-disabled peers.

Conclusions: Consideration should be given to how people with intellectual disabilities’ self-perceptions may influence their dating preferences and relationship development. Speaking to people with intellectual disabilities openly about attraction and desirability could provide an opportunity to explore who they view as possible partners and to find ways to help individuals develop relationships. Limitations of the study and ideas for future research are discussed.