Wednesday, February 28, 2018

No Evidence for Unethical Amnesia for Imagined Actions: A Failed Replication and Extension

Stanley, Matthew, Brenda W Yang, and Felipe De Brigard 2018. “No Evidence for Unethical Amnesia for Imagined Actions: A Failed Replication and Extension”. PsyArXiv. March 1. psyarxiv.com/kn8ce

Abstract: In a recent paper, Kouchaki and Gino (2016) suggest that memory for unethical actions is impaired, regardless of whether such actions are real or imagined. However, as we argue in the current paper, their claim that people develop “unethical amnesia” confuses two distinct and dissociable memory deficits: one affecting the phenomenology of remembering and another affecting memory accuracy. To further investigate whether unethical amnesia affects memory accuracy, we conducted three studies exploring unethical amnesia for imagined ethical violations. The first study (N = 228) attempts to directly replicate the only study from Kouchaki and Gino (2016) that includes a measure of memory accuracy. The second study (N = 232) attempts again to replicate these accuracy effects from Kouchaki and Gino (2016), while including several additional variables meant to potentially help in finding the effect. The third study (N = 228) is an attempted conceptual replication using the same paradigm as Kouchaki and Gino (2016), but with a new vignette describing a different moral violation. We did not find an unethical amnesia effect involving memory accuracy in any of our three studies. These results cast doubt upon the claim that memory accuracy is impaired for imagined unethical actions. Suggestions for further ways to study memory for moral and immoral actions are discussed.

Self-Presentation Concerns of Appearing Overly Moral

Good, but Not a Goody Two-Shoes: Self-Presentation Concerns of Appearing Overly Moral. Colleen M. Cowgill. Thesis presented to the College of Arts and Sciences of Ohio University, August 2017. http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=ohiou1492991431186931

People are generally motivated to appear moral to others in order to gain trust and be liked. However, there may be conditions under which people may be motivated to appear less moral to others in order to be liked. Given previous research that people often tend to derogate and dislike "do-gooders" and "moral rebels," we hypothesized that people will be motivated to downplay their level of morality in interpersonal interactions after privately receiving feedback that they are far more moral than their peers. Furthermore, we predicted these effects would occur in the realm of morality, but not the realm of intelligence. Hypotheses were partially supported by the results of four studies. Although studies provided evidence that people prefer to be seen as intellectually superior to their peers rather than morally superior on affective measures, other studies provided no behavioral evidence that fear of being seen as a "goody-two-shoes" leads people to downplay their moral behavior.

Keywords: morality; self-presentation; overly moral; optimal distinctiveness

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A recent study showed that participants derogated "moral rebels" who refused to participate in a racist task that the participants themselves agreed to take part in (Monin, Sawyer, Marquez, 2008). This effect was driven by the imagined or implicit reproach of the "moral rebels" against the complicit participants. In another study, participants who were asked to freely associate words with a target group (vegetarians) selected more words with negative connotations if they expected that target group to identify themselves as morally superior to the participants, who were meat-eaters (Minson &Monin, 2012).

Other research has shown that this phenomenon of derogating potentially morally superior others even appears in young children. Although children rated their peers as more likable if they were generous they liked generous children significantly less if those children were more generous than themselves - presumably because those children represented a threatening upward social comparison (Tasim, Dominquez, & Winn, 2015). These do-gooder derogation effects highlight an important potential drawback to being identified as "holier than thou." People tend not to like those they perceive as morally superior to themselves, or those they imagine as deeming themselves morally superior. Additionally, people in danger of being perceived as “holier than thou” may even face social penalties in the form of antisocial punishment.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Demographically diverse crowds are typically not much wiser than homogeneous crowds

Demographically diverse crowds are typically not much wiser than homogeneous crowds. Stephanie de Oliveira and Richard E. Nisbett. PNAS 2018 February, 115 (9) 2066-2071. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1717632115

Significance: Leveraging social diversity to maximize group performance is an important challenge in the organizational sphere. Reported studies examine the effects of demographic diversity on the accuracy of “crowd” judgment—statistically aggregated individual judgments. Results suggest that demographic diversity does not boost crowds’ cognitive diversity to the extent necessary to make diverse crowds much wiser than homogeneous ones. A strong implication is that a decision to seek diverse opinion on matters of fact should be based on a cost/benefit analysis: Will a search for diversity likely pay off in increased accuracy? Payoffs can be maximized by using stronger correlates of cognitive diversity than demographic variables.

Abstract: Averaging independent numerical judgments can be more accurate than the average individual judgment. This “wisdom of crowds” effect has been shown with large, diverse samples, but the layperson wishing to take advantage of this may only have access to the opinions of a small, more demographically homogeneous “convenience sample.” How wise are homogeneous crowds relative to diverse crowds? In simulations and survey studies, we demonstrate three necessary conditions under which small socially diverse crowds can outperform socially homogeneous crowds: Social identity must predict judgment, the effect of social identity on judgment must be at least moderate in size, and the average estimates of the social groups in question must “bracket” the truth being judged. Seven survey studies suggest that these conditions are rarely met in real judgment tasks. Comparisons between the performances of diverse and homogeneous crowds further confirm that social diversity can make crowds wiser but typically by a very small margin.

Individuals cheat significantly more when they interact with a machine rather than a person, regardless of whether the machine is equipped with human features. When interacting with a human, individuals are particularly reluctant to report unlikely favorable outcomes

Honesty in the Digital Age. Alain Cohn, Tobias Gesche and Michel Maréchal (2018), University of Zurich, Working paper series / Department of Economics No. 280, http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/workingpapers.php?id=959

Abstract: Modern communication technologies enable efficient exchange of information, but often sacrifice direct human interaction inherent in more traditional forms of communication. This raises the question of whether the lack of personal interaction induces individuals to exploit informational asymmetries. We conducted two experiments with 866 subjects to examine how human versus machine interaction influences cheating for financial gain. We find that individuals cheat significantly more when they interact with a machine rather than a person, regardless of whether the machine is equipped with human features. When interacting with a human, individuals are particularly reluctant to report unlikely favorable outcomes, which is consistent with social image concerns. The second experiment shows that dishonest individuals prefer to interact with a machine when facing an opportunity to cheat. Our results suggest that human interaction is key to mitigating dishonest behavior and that self-selection into communication channels can be used to screen for dishonest people.

Keywords: Cheating, honesty, private information, communication, digitization, lying costs

What is mood? A computational perspective

What is mood? A computational perspective. James E Clark, Stuart Watson and Karl J Friston. Psychological Medicine, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291718000430

Abstract: The neurobiological understanding of mood, and by extension mood disorders, remains elusive despite decades of research implicating several neuromodulator systems. This review considers a new approach based on existing theories of functional brain organisation. The free energy principle (a.k.a. active inference), and its instantiation in the Bayesian brain, offers a complete and simple formulation of mood. It has been proposed that emotions reflect the precision of – or certainty about – the predicted sensorimotor/interoceptive consequences of action. By extending this reasoning, in a hierarchical setting, we suggest mood states act as (hyper) priors over uncertainty (i.e. emotions). Here, we consider the same computational pathology in the proprioceptive and interoceptive (behavioural and autonomic) domain in order to furnish an explanation for mood disorders. This formulation reconciles several strands of research at multiple levels of enquiry.

What do undergraduates learn about human intelligence? An analysis of introductory psychology textbooks

Warne, R. T., Astle, M. C., & Hill, J. C. (2018). What do undergraduates learn about human intelligence? An analysis of introductory psychology textbooks. Archives of Scientific Psychology, 6(1), 32-50. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/arc0000038

Abstract: Human intelligence is an important concept in psychology because it provides insights into many areas, including neurology, sociology, and health. Additionally, IQ scores can predict life outcomes in health, education, work, and socioeconomic status. Yet, most students of psychology do not have an opportunity to take a class on intelligence. To learn what psychology students typically learn about intelligence, we analyzed 29 textbooks for introductory psychology courses. We found that over 3/4 of textbooks contained inaccurate statements. The five most commonly taught topics were IQ (93.1% of books), Gardner’s multiple intelligences (93.1%), Spearman’s g (93.1%), Sternberg’s triarchic theory (89.7%), and how intelligence is measured (82.8%). We learned that most introductory psychology students are exposed to some inaccurate information about intelligence and may have the mistaken impression that nonmainstream theories (e.g., Sternberg’s or Gardner’s theories) are as empirically supported mainstream theories (such as Spearman’s g).

Impact of Quran in Treatment of the Psychological Disorder and Spiritual Illness: 92.6% support the contention that the Quran has a significant healing influence

Impact of Quran in Treatment of the Psychological Disorder and Spiritual Illness. Ali Ali Gobaili Saged et al. Journal of Religion and Health, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10943-018-0572-8

Abstract: This paper studies the effect of Quranic therapy on psychological diseases and spiritual diseases. The experiments have been conducted on a random sample with 121 patients from both genders. The procedures that have been followed were different sessions with the patients, who were given some verses from the Holy Quran to listen within a specific period of time. After that, each patient was given a remedy program. This study aimed to measure the effectiveness and responsiveness of patients to receive treatment through Quran. This study highlighted the employment of a quantitative research, which achieved its objective through validity and reliability. The results of the effectiveness factor came after ability and willingness and gave a result of 92.6% for those who support the contention that the Quran has a significant healing influence. Also, some of the patients who regularly attended Quranic therapy sessions have been successfully cured, 81.8% of the sample believe that Quranic therapy sessions support their health needs. This study has empirically proved that the sound of the Holy Quran is an effective treatment for those who suffer from spiritual and psychological issues. Folk medicine and other traditional methods of treatment are important field of study that require further investigation. The study also illustrates that it’s highly important for patient to have confidence in his doctor or healer. Furthermore, our results show that the ability and willingness positively and significantly are related to the effectiveness and responsiveness, also effectiveness positively and significantly related to the responsiveness. Therefore, the patients satisfied to receive treatment through Quran and they have the ability and willingness to do so as they believe that Quran is an essential part of their life.

Individual variations in ratings of physical attractiveness were broadly unrelated to rater BMI and suggest that mutual attraction is an unlikely explanation for assortative mating for obesity

Wang, G., Ekeleme-Egedigwe, C. A., El Hamdouchi, A., Sauciuvenaite, J., Bissland, R., Djafarian, K., Ojiambo, R., Ramuth, H., Holasek, S., Lackner, S., Diouf, A., Hambly, C., Vaanholt, L. M., Cao, M., Hacker, M., Kruger, H. S., Seru, T., Faries, M. D. and Speakman, J. R. (2018), Beauty and the Body of the Beholder: Raters’ BMI Has Only Limited Association with Ratings of Attractiveness of the Opposite Sex. Obesity, 26: 522–530. doi:10.1002/oby.22092

Abstract

Objective: Assortative mating for adiposity increases the genetic burden on offspring, but its causes remain unclear. One hypothesis is that people who have high adiposity find other people with obesity more physically attractive than lean people.

Methods: The attractiveness of sets of images of males and females who varied in adiposity were rated by opposite sex subjects (559 males and 340 females) across 12 countries.

Results: There was tremendous individual variability in attractiveness ratings. For female attractiveness, most males favored the leanest subjects, but others favored intermediate fatness, some were indifferent to body composition, and others rated the subjects with obesity as most attractive. For male images rated by females, the patterns were more complex. Most females favored subjects with low levels of adiposity (but not the lowest level), whereas others were indifferent to body fatness or rated the images depicting individuals with obesity as the most attractive. These patterns were unrelated to rater BMI. Among Caucasian males who rated the images of the thinnest females as being more attractive, the magnitude of the effect depended on rater BMI, indicating limited “mutual attraction.”

Conclusions: Individual variations in ratings of physical attractiveness were broadly unrelated to rater BMI and suggest that mutual attraction is an unlikely explanation for assortative mating for obesity.

Cross-national study, USA, Iran, Turkey, shows that the embodiment of an ideal sense of humor was predominantly a male figure

Is an Ideal Sense of Humor Gendered? A Cross-National Study. Sümeyr Tosun, Nafiseh Faghihi and Jyotsna Vaid. Front. Psychol., February 27 2018 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00199

Abstract: To explore lay conceptions of characteristics of an ideal sense of humor as embodied in a known individual, our study examined elicited written narratives by male and female participants from three different countries of origin: United States, Iran, and Turkey. As reported in an earlier previous study with United States-based participants (Crawford and Gressley, 1991), our study also found that the embodiment of an ideal sense of humor was predominantly a male figure. This effect was more pronounced for male than for female participants but did not differ by country. Relative mention of specific humor characteristics differed by participant gender and by country of origin. Whereas all groups mentioned creativity most often as a component of an ideal sense of humor, this attribute was mentioned significantly more often by Americans than by the other two groups; hostility/sarcasm was also mentioned significantly more often by Americans than Turkish participants who mentioned it more often than Iranian participants. Caring was mentioned significantly more often by Americans and Iranians than by Turkish participants. These findings show a shared pattern of humor characteristics by gender but group differences in the relative prominence given to specific humor characteristics. Further work is needed to corroborate the group differences observed and to pinpoint their source.

Monday, February 26, 2018

How Pervasive Is Mind Wandering?

Seli, Paul, Roger E Beaty, James A Cheyne, Daniel Smilek, and Daniel L Schacter 2018. “How Pervasive Is Mind Wandering, Really?”. PsyArXiv. February 26. psyarxiv.com/9pruj

Abstract: Recent claims that people spend 40-50% of their waking lives mind wandering (MW) (Killingsworth & Gilbert, 2010; Kane et al. 2007) have become widely accepted and frequently cited. While acknowledging attention to be inconstant and wavering, and MW to be ubiquitous, we argue and present evidence that such simple quantitative estimates are misleading and potentially meaningless without serious qualification. MW estimates requiring dichotomous judgments of inner experience rely on questionable assumptions about how such judgments are made and the resulting data do not permit straightforward interpretations. We present evidence that estimates of daily-life MW vary dramatically depending on response options provided. Offering participants a range of options in estimating task engagement yielded variable MW estimates, from approximately 60% to 10%, depending on assumptions made about how observers make introspective judgments about their MW experiences and how they understand what it means to be on- or off-task.

‘You Do You’ Feminism: Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer Women’s Perspectives on the Dildo

‘You Do You’ Feminism: Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer Women’s Perspectives on the Dildo. Michaela Madraga, Elly-Jean Nielsen, Todd G. Morrison. Sexuality & Culture, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12119-018-9507-5

Abstract: Historically, feminists have engaged in a contentious debate about the dildo. Some assert that it is an oppressive tool of the patriarchy whereas others proclaim that it is a practical means of expressing lesbian, bisexual, and queer women’s sexuality. To gain some perspective into the current status of this debate, seven non-heterosexual women were interviewed about their attitudes toward dildos. Interviews were examined using inductive thematic analysis, and viewed through the lens of social constructionism. Rather than taking sides in the dildo debates, participants embraced a you do you ideology (i.e., there is no “right” or “wrong” answer when it comes to choosing whether to use or not use dildos). Three themes clustered around this overarching ideology: dildos are optional (à la carte dildo), meanings of dildos are contextually and phenomenologically determined (contextuality of the dildo), and dildos have theoretical implications (critically conscious queers). Participants’ eschewal of the binarized debate about the dildo may be entwined with changing understandings of feminist, gender, and queer theory.

Journalists continue to live in bubbles in their online interactions with each other; most journalists were more likely to interact with journalists who have the same gender, work in the same organization, on the same beat or in the same location

Journalistic Homophily on Social Media: Exploring journalists’ interactions with each other on Twitter. Folker Hanusch & Daniel Nölleke. Digital Journalism, https://doi.org/10.1080/21670811.2018.1436977

Abstract: Journalists have for considerable time been criticized for living in their own bubbles, a phenomenon industry commentators have referred to as groupthink, while in scholarship the tendency of individuals to connect with people who are like them is termed homophily. This age-old process has come under scrutiny in recent times due to the arrival of social network sites, which have been viewed as both working against but also leading to more homophily. In journalism scholarship, these processes are still little understood, however. Focusing on the social network site Twitter and drawing on a large-scale analysis of more than 600,000 tweets sent by 2908 Australian journalists during one year, this study shows that journalists continue to live in bubbles in their online interactions with each other. Most journalists were more likely to interact with journalists who have the same gender, work in the same organization, on the same beat or in the same location. However, the study also demonstrates some notable exceptions as well as the importance of differentiating between types of interaction.

Keywords: homophily, interactions, journalist, social media, Twitter, groupthink, bubble

There are no specific neurophysiological systems of positive or negative affect, and emotional valence is rather an integrative product of many brain systems during estimations of needs and the capacities required to satisfy these needs

Functionality versus dimensionality in psychological taxonomies, and a puzzle of emotional valence. Irina Trofimova. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2017.0167

Abstract: This paper applies evolutionary and functional constructivism approaches to the discussion of psychological taxonomies, as implemented in the neurochemical model Functional Ensemble of Temperament (FET). FET asserts that neurochemical systems developed in evolution to regulate functional-dynamical aspects of construction of actions: orientation, selection (integration), energetic maintenance, and management of automatic behavioural elements. As an example, the paper reviews the neurochemical mechanisms of interlocking between emotional dispositions and performance capacities. Research shows that there are no specific neurophysiological systems of positive or negative affect, and that emotional valence is rather an integrative product of many brain systems during estimations of needs and the capacities required to satisfy these needs. The interlocking between emotional valence and functional aspects of performance appears to be only partial since all monoamine and opioid receptor systems play important roles in non-emotional aspects of behaviour, in addition to emotionality. This suggests that the Positive/Negative Affect framework for DSM/ICD classifications of mental disorders oversimplifies the structure of non-emotionality symptoms of these disorders. Contingent dynamical relationships between neurochemical systems cannot be represented by linear statistical models searching for independent dimensions (such as factor analysis); nevertheless, these relationships should be reflected in psychological and psychiatric taxonomies.

Media usage diminishes memory for experiences

Media usage diminishes memory for experiences. Diana I. Tamir et al. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Volume 76, May 2018, Pages 161–168, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2018.01.006

Highlights
•    Media use during an experience impairs memory for that experience.
•    Media use impairs memory in controlled and naturalistic studies, solo and social experiences.
•    Using media does not reliably reduce engagement or enjoyment of that experience.

Abstract: People increasingly use social media to record and share their experiences, but it is unclear whether or how social media use changes those experiences. Here we present both naturalistic and controlled studies in which participants engage in an experience while using media to record or share their experiences with others, or not engaging with media. We collected objective measures of participants' experiences (scores on a surprise memory test) as well as subjective measures of participants' experiences (self-reports about their engagement and enjoyment). Across three studies, participants without media consistently remembered their experience more precisely than participants who used media. There is no conclusive evidence that media use impacted subjective measures of experience. Together, these findings suggest that using media may prevent people from remembering the very events they are attempting to preserve.

Keywords: Media; Sharing; Pictures; Memory; Engagement; Enjoyment

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Preschoolers’ knowledge about language-specific properties of writing

Otake, S., Treiman, R. and Yin, L. (2018), Preschoolers’ knowledge about language-specific properties of writing. Br J Dev Psychol. doi:10.1111/bjdp.12240

Abstract: According to the differentiation hypothesis, young children's attempts to write show characteristics common to all writing systems, such as linearity. Characteristics that are specific to the writing system of the child's culture emerge only later. We tested this hypothesis by presenting adults who knew both Chinese and English with written productions of Chinese and United States 2- to 5-year-olds and asking them to judge the nationality of the writer. Adults performed significantly above the level expected by chance even with the productions of 2- and 3-year-olds, suggesting that knowledge of language-specific characteristics emerges earlier than previously thought. Children appeared to show more language-specific characteristics in their names than in other writings, for adults performed better with children's names than with other items.

Comment on US’ Taiwan Travel Act challenges Beijing’s red line, by Ling Shengli

To the editor, Global Times

Sir, I read US’ Taiwan Travel Act challenges Beijing’s red line, by Ling Shengli (www.globaltimes.cn/content/1089576.shtml). The author concludes the pamphlet with this sentence: "If any US high-level official pays an official visit to Taiwan, Beijing will treat it as severe provocation and adopt all possible countermeasures, including uniting Taiwan by military force." All of them? All possible measures? Not many, not some, not the most forceful?

Before, he exhibits more of the lack of nuance of someone writing for the hand that feeds him: "Once the Taiwan Travel Act goes into effect, the foundation of Sino-US relationship will be shaken and damage to the ties will be immeasurable." With no hesitation they will be so damaged?

I am worried that the author may be ill, or perhaps entering into senility. I offer him as a suggestion to retire soon and look for a nursing home where to live his last years, since the Jinping Xi regime will take care of him for his use of his brains writing such materials.

Another suggestion is for the editor to stop publishing texts like this one from people that, as academics with a Ph. D., should as a minimum show moderation in the form. The same things could have been said with much better effect with the author just appearing less of a lackey.

Sincerely,

       [name, phone, other data]
       [not keeping here the signature with a personal name as a precaution due
       to the government's aggressiveness with opposing views]

Higher sex ratio at sexual maturity is linked to higher later-life male mortality, likely due to stress caused by low mate availability

Does the sex ratio at sexual maturity affect Men's later-life mortality risks? Evidence from historical China. Emma Zang, Hui Zheng. Social Science & Medicine, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.02.024

Highlights
•    Higher sex ratio at sexual maturity is linked to higher later-life male mortality.
•    This association is likely due to stress caused by low mate availability.
•    A high sex ratio at sexual maturity mitigates the health benefits of marriage.
•    A high sex ratio at sexual maturity exacerbates health disadvantages.

Abstract: This study examines the relationship between the male-to-female sex ratio (measured as the proportion male) at sexual maturity and later-life mortality risks in the context of pre-industrial northeast China, using registration data from the Qing Dynasty. We find that a higher male-to-female sex ratio at sexual maturity is associated with a higher later-life mortality risk among men. This association is likely due to the long-term adverse consequences of stress caused by low mate availability at sexual maturity. We further find that a high sex ratio at sexual maturity mitigates the health benefits of marriage and exacerbates the health disadvantages of holding an official position in Qing China.

Keywords: Sex ratio at sexual maturity; Mortality risks; Life course

Adult Attachment Styles: No Predictive Power (More Freudian Trickery?)

Check this, reality in contact with theory:
The Development of Adult Attachment Styles: Four Lessons. R. Chris Fraley, Glenn I. Roisman. Current Opinion in Psychology, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2018.02.008

Abstract: Why are some adults secure or insecure in their relationships? The authors review four lessons they have learned from longitudinal research on the developmental antecedents of adult attachment styles. First, although adult attachment appears to have its origins in early caregiving experiences, those associations are weak and inconsistent across measurement domains. Second, attachment styles appear to be more malleable in childhood and adolescence than in adulthood, leading to asymmetries in socialization and selection processes. Third, early experiences do not determine adult outcomes. Fourth, there is still a lot to learn, and future research requires examining relationship-specific attachment patterns, the distinction between distal and proximal factors, and interactions between relational and genetic vulnerabilities.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

How to capture the 2 percent or more productivity potential of advanced economies

How to capture the 2 percent or more productivity potential of advanced economies. In Solving the productivity puzzle. By Jaana Remes, James Manyika, Jacques Bughin, Jonathan Woetzel, Jan Mischke, and Mekala Krishnan. McKinsey Global Institute , https://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/meeting-societys-expectations/solving-the-productivity-puzzle

There is no guarantee that the productivity-growth potential we identify will be realized without taking action. While we expect financial crisis–related drags to dissipate, long-term drags may continue, such as slackening demand for goods and services due to changing demographics and rising income inequality and a rise in the share of low-productivity jobs; all of these factors may be further amplified by digitization. At the same time, the nature of digital technologies could fundamentally reshape industry structures and economics in a way that could create new obstacles to productivity growth.

Could long-term demand drags, amplified by digital, and potential industry-breaking effects of digital limit the productivity potential of advanced economies?

While we found that weak demand hurt productivity growth in the aftermath of the financial crisis, looking ahead, there is concern that some demand drags may be more structural than purely crisis-related. There are several “leakages” along the virtuous cycle of growth. Broad-based income growth has diverged from productivity growth, because declining labor share of income and rising inequality are eroding median wage growth, and the rapidly rising costs of housing and education exert a dampening effect on consumer purchasing power. It appears increasingly difficult to make up for weak consumer spending via higher investment, as that very investment is influenced first and foremost by demand for goods and services, and rising returns on investment discourage investment relative to earnings.
Demographic trends may further diminish investment needs through an aging population that has less need for residential and infrastructure investment. These demand drags are occurring while interest rates are hovering near the zero lower bound. All of this may hold back the pace at which capital per worker increases, impact company incentives to innovate, and thus impact productivity growth, slowing down the virtuous cycle of growth.
Digitization may further amplify those leakages, for example if automation compresses labor share of income and increase income inequality by hollowing out middle-class jobs, and may polarize the labor market into “superstars” versus the rest. Unless displaced labor can find new highly productive and high-wage occupations, workers may end up in low-wage jobs that create a drag on productivity growth. Our ability to create new jobs and skill workers will impact prospects for income, demand, and productivity growth.

In contrast to the belief that being inexpressive is cool, we find that in non-competitive contexts, being inexpressive makes people seem cold rather than cool

Warren, C., Pezzuti, T. and Koley, S. (), Is Being Emotionally Inexpressive Cool?. J Consum Psychol. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1002/jcpy.1039

Abstract: Despite a recognition that consumers want to be cool and value cool brands, the literature has only just begun to delineate what makes things cool. Writing by scholars, quotes by celebrities, and norms in fashion advertising are consistent with the view that people become cool by being emotionally inexpressive. The relationship between emotional expression and coolness, however, has not been empirically tested. Our research uses an experimental approach to examine whether being emotionally inexpressive makes people seem more or less cool than smiling. In contrast to the belief that being inexpressive is cool, we find that in non-competitive contexts–an endorser in a clothing advertisement and an athlete interacting with fans–being inexpressive makes people seem cold rather than cool. On the other hand, in competitive contexts–such as an athlete facing his opponent–being inexpressive makes people seem cool by making them appear dominant. Our results have important implications for marketers, advertisers, and consumers trying to cultivate a cool image.

Extremely or very preterm children born in the antenatal corticosteroids and surfactant era show large deficits in intelligence. No improvement in cognitive outcome was observed between 1990 and 2008

Cognitive Outcomes of Children Born Extremely or Very Preterm Since the 1990s and Associated Risk Factors: A Meta-analysis and Meta-regression. E. Sabrina Twilhaar et al. JAMA Pediatr. February 19, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.5323

Key Points

Question:  What are the cognitive outcomes of children born extremely or very preterm since 1990, and what perinatal and demographic factors predict outcome?

Findings:  This meta-analysis of 71 studies (7752 extremely or very preterm and 5155 full-term children) showed a large (0.86 standard deviation) difference in intelligence between extremely or very preterm children and controls, which was stable in children born between 1990 and 2008. Bronchopulmonary dysplasia explained 65% of the variance in intelligence across studies.

Meaning:  Despite advancing perinatal care, cognitive outcomes of children born extremely or very preterm did not improve between 1990 and 2008; preventive strategies to reduce the incidence of bronchopulmonary dysplasia may be crucial to improve outcomes after extremely or very preterm birth.


Abstract

Importance:  Despite apparent progress in perinatal care, children born extremely or very preterm (EP/VP) remain at high risk for cognitive deficits. Insight into factors contributing to cognitive outcome is key to improve outcomes after EP/VP birth.

Objective:  To examine the cognitive abilities of children of EP/VP birth (EP/VP children) and the role of perinatal and demographic risk factors.

Data Sources:  PubMed, Web of Science, and PsycINFO were searched without language restriction (last search March 2, 2017). Key search terms included preterm, low birth weight, and intelligence.

Study Selection:  Peer-reviewed studies reporting intelligence scores of EP/VP children ( < 32 weeks of gestation) and full-term controls at age 5 years or older, born in the antenatal corticosteroids and surfactant era, were included. A total of 268 studies met selection criteria, of which 71 covered unique cohorts.

Data Extraction and Synthesis:  MOOSE guidelines were followed. Data were independently extracted by 2 researchers. Standardized mean differences in intelligence per study were pooled using random-effects meta-analysis. Heterogeneity in effect size across studies was studied using multivariate, random-effects meta-regression analysis.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  Primary outcome was intelligence. Covariates included gestational age, birth weight, birth year, age at assessment, sex, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, small for gestational age, intraventricular hemorrhage, periventricular leukomalacia, bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), necrotizing enterocolitis, sepsis, and postnatal corticosteroid use.

Results:  due to HTML formatting issues, in first comment to this post.

Conclusions and Relevance:  Extremely or very preterm children born in the antenatal corticosteroids and surfactant era show large deficits in intelligence. No improvement in cognitive outcome was observed between 1990 and 2008. These findings emphasize that improving outcomes after EP/VP birth remains a major challenge. Bronchopulmonary dysplasia was found to be a crucial factor for cognitive outcome. Lowering the high incidence of BPD may be key to improving long-term outcomes after EP/VP birth.

There is a teaching instinct; the capacity to teach may precede to even have a mature metacognition; and a teacher will benefit from the interaction, improving understanding on both contents of knowledge

The Teaching Instinct. Cecia I. Calero, A. P. Goldin, M. Sigman. Review of Philosophy and Psychology, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13164-018-0383-6

Abstract: Teaching allows human culture to exist and to develop. Despite its significance, it has not been studied in depth by the cognitive neurosciences. Here we propose two hypotheses to boost the claim that teaching is a human instinct, and to expand our understanding of how teaching occurs as a dynamic bi-directional relation within the teacher-learner dyad. First, we explore how children naturally use ostensive communication when teaching; allowing them to be set in the emitter side of natural pedagogy. Then, we hypothesize that the capacity to teach may precede to even have a mature metacognition and, we argue that a teacher will benefit from the interaction with her student, improving her understanding on both contents of knowledge: her own and her student’s. Thus, we propose that teaching may be the driving force of metacognitive development and may be occurring as an instinct from very early ages.

Both Gender and Cohort Affect Perceptions of Forenames: Perceived age, attractiveness, and intellectual competence

Both Gender and Cohort Affect Perceptions of Forenames, but Are 25-Year-Old Standards Still Valid? Claire Etaugh, Colleen Geraghty. Sex Roles, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11199-018-0903-y

Abstract: Forenames signify considerable information, not only about a person’s gender, but also about that person’s age, social class, and ethnicity, as well as characteristics such as attractiveness and intellectual competence. Kasof (1993) found that research (almost all done in the U.S.) often used gender-typed forenames to identify individuals’ sex or gender in studies of potential gender bias. However, because these forenames signified other traits unrelated to gender, results were confounded in ways often favoring male stimulus persons. To remedy this situation, Kasof identified pairs of female and male forenames that were matched on key variables such as perceived age, attractiveness, and intellectual competence. We found that since 1995, approximately one-third of researchers who manipulated the sex or gender of hypothetical women and men used Kasof’s matched female and male forenames to control for extraneous variables. However, our research with college students revealed that Kasof’s matched forename pairs are now outdated. College students rated Kasof’s forenames (which are characteristic of popular forenames of their parents’ cohort) as less attractive than their own cohort’s popular forenames. Consistent with Kasof’s results, however, popular male forenames continued to be rated as connoting greater intellectual competence than popular female forenames. Implications of these findings are discussed.

If it is true that some degree of talent is necessary to be successful in life, almost never the most talented people reach the highest peaks of success, being overtaken by mediocre but sensibly luckier individuals

Talent vs Luck: the role of randomness in success and failure. A. Pluchino. A. E. Biondo, A. Rapisarda. arXiv:1802.07068 [physics.soc-ph], Feb 20 2018, https://arxiv.org/abs/1802.07068

The largely dominant meritocratic paradigm of highly competitive Western cultures is rooted on the belief that success is due mainly, if not exclusively, to personal qualities such as talent, intelligence, skills, efforts or risk taking. Sometimes, we are willing to admit that a certain degree of luck could also play a role in achieving significant material success. But, as a matter of fact, it is rather common to underestimate the importance of external forces in individual successful stories. It is very well known that intelligence or talent exhibit a Gaussian distribution among the population, whereas the distribution of wealth - considered a proxy of success - follows typically a power law (Pareto law). Such a discrepancy between a Normal distribution of inputs, with a typical scale, and the scale invariant distribution of outputs, suggests that some hidden ingredient is at work behind the scenes. In this paper, with the help of a very simple agent-based model, we suggest that such an ingredient is just randomness. In particular, we show that, if it is true that some degree of talent is necessary to be successful in life, almost never the most talented people reach the highest peaks of success, being overtaken by mediocre but sensibly luckier individuals. As to our knowledge, this counterintuitive result - although implicitly suggested between the lines in a vast literature - is quantified here for the first time. It sheds new light on the effectiveness of assessing merit on the basis of the reached level of success and underlines the risks of distributing excessive honors or resources to people who, at the end of the day, could have been simply luckier than others. With the help of this model, several policy hypotheses are also addressed and compared to show the most efficient strategies for public funding of research in order to improve meritocracy, diversity and innovation.

When listening to rain sounds boosts arithmetic ability

When listening to rain sounds boosts arithmetic ability. Alice Mado Proverbio et al. PLOS One, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0192296

Abstract: Studies in the literature have provided conflicting evidence about the effects of background noise or music on concurrent cognitive tasks. Some studies have shown a detrimental effect, while others have shown a beneficial effect of background auditory stimuli. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of agitating, happy or touching music, as opposed to environmental sounds or silence, on the ability of non-musician subjects to perform arithmetic operations. Fifty university students (25 women and 25 men, 25 introverts and 25 extroverts) volunteered for the study. The participants were administered 180 easy or difficult arithmetic operations (division, multiplication, subtraction and addition) while listening to heavy rain sounds, silence or classical music. Silence was detrimental when participants were faced with difficult arithmetic operations, as it was associated with significantly worse accuracy and slower RTs than music or rain sound conditions. This finding suggests that the benefit of background stimulation was not music-specific but possibly due to an enhanced cerebral alertness level induced by the auditory stimulation. Introverts were always faster than extroverts in solving mathematical problems, except when the latter performed calculations accompanied by the sound of heavy rain, a condition that made them as fast as introverts. While the background auditory stimuli had no effect on the arithmetic ability of either group in the easy condition, it strongly affected extroverts in the difficult condition, with RTs being faster during agitating or joyful music as well as rain sounds, compared to the silent condition. For introverts, agitating music was associated with faster response times than the silent condition. This group difference may be explained on the basis of the notion that introverts have a generally higher arousal level compared to extroverts and would therefore benefit less from the background auditory stimuli.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Human conventions, such as driving on the left or right, can be seen as equilibria within a game. We consider possible nonhuman conventions, including traditional group locations, dominance, territoriality, and conventional signaling

Modeling nonhuman conventions: the behavioral ecology of arbitrary action. David W Stephens Virginia K Heinen. Behavioral Ecology, ary011, https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/ary011

Abstract: This paper considers the relevance of so-called “Lewisian conventions” to the study of nonhuman animals. Conventions arise in coordination games with multiple equilibria, and the apparent arbitrariness of conventions occurs when processes outside the game itself determine which of several equilibria is ultimately chosen. Well-understood human conventions, such as driving on the left or right, can be seen as equilibria within a game. We consider possible nonhuman conventions, including traditional group locations, dominance, territoriality, and conventional signaling, that can be similarly described. We argue that conventions have been ignored in the study of animal behavior because they have been misunderstood. Yet, students of animal behavior are well prepared to understand and analyze conventions because the basic tools of game theory are already well established in our field. In addition, we argue that a research program exploring nonhuman conventions could greatly enrich the study of animal behavior.

Considering the context: social factors in responses to drugs in humans

Considering the context: social factors in responses to drugs in humans. Harriet de Wit, Michael Sayette. Psychopharmacology, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00213-018-4854-3

Abstract

Background: Drugs are typically used in social settings. Here, we consider two factors that may contribute to this observation: (i) the presence of other people may enhance the positive mood effects of a drug, and conversely, (ii) drugs may enhance the value of social stimuli.

Methods: We review evidence from controlled laboratory studies with human volunteers, which investigated either of these interactions between social factors and responses to drugs. We examine the bidirectional effects of social stimuli and single doses of alcohol, stimulants, opioids, and cannabis.

Results: All four classes of drugs interact with social contexts, but the nature of these interactions varies across drugs, and depends on whether the context is positive or negative.

Conclusions: Alcohol and stimulant drugs enhance the attractiveness of social stimuli and the desire to socialize, and social contexts, in turn, enhance these drugs’ effects. In contrast, opioids and cannabis have subtler effects on social interactions and their effects are less influenced by the presence of others. Overall, there is stronger evidence that drugs enhance positive social contexts than that they dampen the negativity of unpleasant social settings. Controlled research is needed to understand the interactions between drugs of abuse and social contexts, to model and understand the determinants of drug use outside the laboratory.

Keywords: Social Context, Alcohol, Stimulant, Opioid, Cannabis, Human

Bad is Stronger Than Good for Stigmatized, but Not Admired Outgroups: Meta-Analytical Tests of Intergroup Valence Asymmetry in Individual-to-Group Generalization Experiments

Bad is Stronger Than Good for Stigmatized, but Not Admired Outgroups: Meta-Analytical Tests of Intergroup Valence Asymmetry in Individual-to-Group Generalization Experiments. Stefania Paolini, Kylie McIntyre. Personality and Social Psychology Review,
https://doi.org/10.1177/1088868317753504

Abstract: Theories of risk aversion, epistemic defense, and ingroup enhancement converge in predicting greater impact of negative (vs. positive) experiences with outgroup members on generalized evaluations of stigmatized outgroups. However, they diverge in predictions for admired outgroups. Past tests have focused on negative outgroups using correlational designs without a control group. Consequently, they have not distinguished between alternative explanations or ascertained the direction of causality/generalization, and they have suffered from self-selection biases. These limitations were redressed by a meta-analysis of experimental research on individual-to-group generalization with positive and negative outgroups (59 tests; 3,012 participants). Controlling for modest confounds, the meta-analysis found a generalization advantage of negative experiences for stigmatized outgroups and a generalization advantage of positive experiences for admired outgroups. These results highlight the centrality of valenced expectations about outgroups, consistent with epistemic defense and ingroup enhancement and inconsistent with risk aversion. Implications for positive changes in intergroup dynamics are discussed.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Persistent light to moderate alcohol intake and lung function: A longitudinal study

Persistent light to moderate alcohol intake and lung function: A longitudinal study. Monica M.Vasquez et al. Alcohol, Volume 67, March 2018, Pages 65-71, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.alcohol.2017.08.013

Highlights
•    Effects of persistent alcohol intake on trajectories of lung function are unknown.
•    Persistent light-to-moderate drinkers had a slower decline of FVC with age.
•    Effects persisted after adjustment for confounders, including smoking.

Abstract: Alcohol intake has been inconsistently associated with lung function levels in cross-sectional studies. The goal of our study was to determine whether longitudinally assessed light-to-moderate alcohol intake is associated with levels and decline of lung function. We examined data from 1333 adult participants in the population-based Tucson Epidemiological Study of Airway Obstructive Disease. Alcohol intake was assessed with four surveys between 1972 and 1992. Subjects who completed at least two surveys were classified into longitudinal drinking categories (“never”, “inconsistent”, or “persistent drinker”). Spirometric lung function was measured in up to 11 surveys between 1972 and 1992. Random coefficient models were used to test for differences in lung function by drinking categories. After adjustment for sex, age, height, education, BMI categories, smoking status, and pack-years, as compared to never-drinkers, persistent drinkers had higher FVC (coefficient: 157 mL, p < 0.001), but lower FEV1/FVC ratio (−2.3%, p < 0.001). Differences were due to a slower decline of FVC among persistent than among never-drinkers (p = 0.003), and these trends were present independent of smoking status. Inconsistent drinking showed similar, but weaker associations. After adjustment for potential confounders, light-to-moderate alcohol consumption was associated with a significantly decreased rate of FVC decline over adult life.


Future thinking in animals: Capacities and limits

Future thinking in animals: Capacities and limits. Jonathan Redshaw, Adam Bulley. In book: The psychology of thinking about the future. Editors: Gabriele Oettingen, Timur Sevincer, Peter Gollwitzer. Guilford Publishing, November 2018. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/310490904_Future_thinking_in_animals_Capacities_and_limits

Abstract: The previous two decades have seen much theoretical and empirical research into the future thinking capacities of non-human animals. Here we critically review the evidence across six domains: (1) navigation and route planning, (2) intertemporal choice and delayed gratification, (3) preparing for future threats, (4) acquiring and constructing tools to solve future problems, (5) acquiring, saving and exchanging tokens for future rewards, and (6) acting with future desires in mind. In each domain we show that animals are capable of considerably more sophisticated future-oriented behavior than was once thought possible. Explanations for these behaviors remain contentious, yet in some cases it may be most parsimonious to attribute animals with mental representations that go beyond the here-and-now. Nevertheless, we also make the case that animals may not be able to represent future representations as future representations – an overarching capacity that allows humans to reflect on their own natural future thinking limits and act to compensate for these limits. Throughout our analysis we make specific suggestions for how future research can continue to make progress on this and other important questions in the field.

Participants were able to distinguish between truthful and deceptive communications of university students, but not of people accused of real-world serious crimes, against the notion that high-stakes deception can be identified through nonverbal cues

Individual Differences in Deception Judgments, Personality Judgments, and Meta-Accuracy. Joshua Braverman, Marley Morrow, & R. Weylin Sternglanz. https://t.co/b4nFGwPMLI

• We found that participants were able to distinguish between truthful and deceptive communications of university students, but not of people accused of real-world serious crimes; this contradicts the notion that high-stakes deception can be reliably identified through nonverbal cues.

• Participants’ personality traits did not predict their ability to detect deception; however, participants who were prone to truth bias were more likely to consider themselves introverted, agreeable, and conscientious, and they felt more anger towards hypothetical cheaters.

• Men, but not women, were overconfident in their deception detection judgments.

Our results show the relative risks of mortality for adoptive parents are always lower than those of parents with biological children

Parity and Mortality: An Examination of Different Explanatory Mechanisms Using Data on Biological and Adoptive Parents. Kieron Barclay, Martin Kolk. European Journal of Population, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10680-018-9469-1

Abstract: A growing literature has demonstrated a relationship between parity and mortality, but the explanation for that relationship remains unclear. This study aims to pick apart physiological and social explanations for the parity–mortality relationship by examining the mortality of parents who adopt children, but who have no biological children, in comparison with the mortality of parents with biological children. Using Swedish register data, we study post-reproductive mortality amongst women and men from cohorts born between 1915 and 1960, over ages 45–97. Our results show the relative risks of mortality for adoptive parents are always lower than those of parents with biological children. Mortality amongst adoptive parents is lower for those who adopt more than one child, while for parents with biological children we observe a U-shaped relationship, where parity-two parents have the lowest mortality. Our discussion considers the relative importance of physiological and social depletion effects, and selection processes.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Thirty years of great ape gestures: Even when informative gestures would be extremely helpful to them—helping their partner in a mutualistic collaborative context—apes do not produce declarative or informative signs

Thirty years of great ape gestures. Michael Tomasello, Josep Call. Animal Cognition, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10071-018-1167-1

Abstract: We and our colleagues have been doing studies of great ape gestural communication for more than 30 years. Here we attempt to spell out what we have learned. Some aspects of the process have been reliably established by multiple researchers, for example, its intentional structure and its sensitivity to the attentional state of the recipient. Other aspects are more controversial. We argue here that it is a mistake to assimilate great ape gestures to the species-typical displays of other mammals by claiming that they are fixed action patterns, as there are many differences, including the use of attention-getters. It is also a mistake, we argue, to assimilate great ape gestures to human gestures by claiming that they are used referentially and declaratively in a human-like manner, as apes’ “pointing” gesture has many limitations and they do not gesture iconically. Great ape gestures constitute a unique form of primate communication with their own unique qualities.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Monkeys form preferences for brand logos repeatedly paired with images of macaque genitals and high status monkeys, even though choosing them provided no tangible rewards (a decision mechanism not operating solely on material outcomes)

Acikalin MY, Watson KK, Fitzsimons GJ, Platt ML (2018) Rhesus macaques form preferences for brand logos through sex and social status based advertising. PLoS ONE 13(2): e0193055. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0193055

Abstract: Like humans, monkeys value information about sex and status, inviting the hypothesis that our susceptibility to these factors in advertising arises from shared, ancestral biological mechanisms that prioritize social information. To test this idea, we asked whether rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) show choice behavior that is similar to humans in response to sex and social status in advertising. Our results show that monkeys form preferences for brand logos repeatedly paired with images of macaque genitals and high status monkeys. Moreover, monkeys sustain preferences for these brand logos even though choosing them provided no tangible rewards, a finding that cannot be explained by a decision mechanism operating solely on material outcomes. Together, our results endorse the hypothesis that the power of sex and status in advertising emerges from the spontaneous engagement of shared, ancestral neural circuits that prioritize information useful for navigating the social environment. Finally, our results show that simple associative conditioning is sufficient to explain the formation of preferences for brand logos paired with sexual or status-based images.

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Prior studies [15] demonstrated that monkeys will forego fruit juice rewards to view socially-relevant images such as photos of the genitals of males and females and the faces of high status males, suggesting these images have intrinsic value for the animals. An analogous study [24] found that American college students will forego monetary rewards for a glimpse of attractive members of the opposite sex, will wait longer to view attractive individuals than unattractive ones, and will work harder to view more attractive individuals, without being aware they are doing so. These findings suggest that people and monkeys spontaneously, and perhaps subconsciously, value socially-relevant information about others. Endorsing this idea, neurons in reward-related brain areas respond to photos of attractive conspecifics in both people and monkeys [25–27].

Together, these observations invite the hypothesis that receptivity to sex and status in advertising arises from spontaneous activation of neural circuits that prioritize social information in association with neural circuits that process brand information. Associations between a product, a social reward, and the cognitive and physiological state this reward induces in the consumer alone may be sufficient to bias preferences toward the product [28]. Through repeated pairings, brand information, including logos, would eventually become prioritized just as social stimuli are, through the process of conditioning [29]. This simple hypothesis remains to be tested directly in the context of responses to sex and status in advertising. This is an important question, as we do not know whether simple conditioning with socially salient stimuli is sufficient to induce preferences for otherwise neutral logos in the context of sex- and status-based advertising, or whether a more complex, culturally-bound decision process found only in humans is necessary to produce this behavior. In other words, can simple conditioning alone lead to preferences for brands with sexual or social-status based associations? Or, are culturally rooted, complex, and uniquely human mechanisms such as effects of sexual or status-based images on self-concept or selective perception necessary for the formation of such preferences [30, 31]? Because Old World monkeys and humans diverged twenty-five million years ago, the presence of this behavior in both species would suggest evolutionarily ancient origins. Shared brain circuits mediating social perception and valuation in rhesus macaques and humans provide a mechanism by which increased valuation of stimuli associated with social information may be translated into preferences for brands associated with sex and status in advertising [22, 32, 33].

The tribal nature of the human mind leads people to value party dogma over truth; those with political sophistication, science literacy, numeracy abilities, and cognitive reflection are more affected

The Partisan Brain: An Identity-Based Model of Political Belief. Jay J. Van Bavel, Andrea Pereira. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2018.01.004

Highlights

Over 2 billion people use social media every day, and many use it to read and discuss politics. Social media also facilitate the spread of fake news and hyper-partisan content.

Online discussions of politicized topics, including political events and issues (e.g., same-sex marriage, climate change, gun control), resemble an echo chamber. That is, posts on these topics are shared primarily by people with similar ideological preferences.

Political polarization is most likely when users employ moral/emotional language. This may reflect ideological differences between people on the left versus right or partisanship.

Online partisan criticism that derogates political opponents increases political polarization.

Liberals are somewhat more likely to share cross-ideological content on social media (i.e., information posted by people with different ideological beliefs).

Democracies assume accurate knowledge by the populace, but the human attraction to fake and untrustworthy news poses a serious problem for healthy democratic functioning. We articulate why and how identification with political parties – known as partisanship – can bias information processing in the human brain. There is extensive evidence that people engage in motivated political reasoning, but recent research suggests that partisanship can alter memory, implicit evaluation, and even perceptual judgments. We propose an identity-based model of belief for understanding the influence of partisanship on these cognitive processes. This framework helps to explain why people place party loyalty over policy, and even over truth. Finally, we discuss strategies for de-biasing information processing to help to create a shared reality across partisan divides.

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In the current paper we describe how the tribal nature of the human mind leads people to value party dogma over truth.

[...]

In this vein, one study examined the relationship between math skills and political problem-solving [58. In the control condition, people who were strong at math were able to effectively solve an analytical problem. However, when political content was added to the same analytical problem – comparing crime data in cities that banned handguns against cities that did not – math skills no longer predicted how well people solved the problem. Instead, liberals were good at solving the problem when it proved that gun control reduced crime, and conservatives were good at solving the problem when it proved the opposite. In short, people with high numeracy skills were unable to reason analytically when the correct answer collided with their political beliefs. This is consistent with research showing that people who score high on various indicators of information processing, such as political sophistication ([59; although see [48), science literacy [60, numeracy abilities [58, and cognitive reflection [61, are the most likely to express beliefs congruent with those of their party.

Partisan identity has been shown to affect memory. People are more likely to incorrectly remember falsehoods that support their partisan identity: Democrats were more likely than Republicans to incorrectly remember G.W. Bush on vacation during the Katrina hurricane, and Republicans were more likely than Democrats to falsely remember seeing Barack Obama shaking hands with the President of Iran.

[...]

Going one step further, there is evidence that political affiliations may even shape the way we see the world. In line with work demonstrating that social identities alter visual processing [65, a study showed that party affiliation shaped people’s perceptions after watching the video of a political protest, in other words an identity-relevant event [66. When participants thought that the video depicted liberally minded protesters (i.e., opposing military recruitment on campus), Republicans were more in favor of police intervention than Democrats, whereas the opposite emerged when participants thought the video showed a conservative protest (i.e., opposing an abortion clinic). Faced with the same visual information, people seem to have seen different things and drawn different conclusions depending on their political affiliations.
The Parties in our Heads: Misperceptions About Party Composition and Their Consequences. Douglas J. Ahler, Gaurav Sood. Aug 2017, http://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2018/01/we-tend-to-considerably-overestimate.html

The echo chamber is overstated: the moderating effect of political interest and diverse media. Elizabeth Dubois & Grant Blank. Information, Communication & Society, http://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2018/01/the-echo-chamber-is-overstated.html

Processing political misinformation: comprehending the Trump phenomenon. Briony Swire, Adam J. Berinsky, Stephan Lewandowsky, Ullrich K. H. Ecker. Royal Society Open Science, published on-line March 01 2017. DOI: 10.1098/rsos.160802, http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/4/3/160802
Competing cues: Older adults rely on knowledge in the face of fluency. By Brashier, Nadia M.; Umanath, Sharda; Cabeza, Roberto; Marsh, Elizabeth J. Psychology and Aging, Vol 32(4), Jun 2017, 331-337. http://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2017/07/competing-cues-older-adults-rely-on.html

Stanley, M. L., Dougherty, A. M., Yang, B. W., Henne, P., & De Brigard, F. (2017). Reasons Probably Won’t Change Your Mind: The Role of Reasons in Revising Moral Decisions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. http://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2017/09/reasons-probably-wont-change-your-mind.html

Science Denial Across the Political Divide — Liberals and Conservatives Are Similarly Motivated to Deny Attitude-Inconsistent Science. Anthony N. Washburn, Linda J. Skitka. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 10.1177/1948550617731500. http://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2017/09/liberals-and-conservatives-are.html

Biased Policy Professionals. Sheheryar Banuri, Stefan Dercon, and Varun Gauri. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 8113. http://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2017/08/biased-policy-professionals-world-bank.html

Dispelling the Myth: Training in Education or Neuroscience Decreases but Does Not Eliminate Beliefs in Neuromyths. Kelly Macdonald et al. Frontiers in Psychology, Aug 10 2017. http://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2017/08/training-in-education-or-neuroscience.html

Individuals with greater science literacy and education have more polarized beliefs on controversial science topics. Caitlin Drummond and Baruch Fischhoff. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 114 no. 36, pp 9587–9592, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1704882114, http://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2017/09/individuals-with-greater-science.html

Expert ability can actually impair the accuracy of expert perception when judging others' performance: Adaptation and fallibility in experts' judgments of novice performers. By Larson, J. S., & Billeter, D. M. (2017). Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 43(2), 271–288. http://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2017/06/expert-ability-can-actually-impair.html

Public Perceptions of Partisan Selective Exposure. Perryman, Mallory R. The University of Wisconsin - Madison, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2017. 10607943. http://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2017/10/citizens-believe-others-especially.html

The Myth of Partisan Selective Exposure: A Portrait of the Online Political News Audience. Jacob L. Nelson, and James G. Webster. Social Media + Society, http://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2017/09/the-myth-of-partisan-selective-exposure.html

Echo Chamber? What Echo Chamber? Reviewing the Evidence. Axel Bruns. Future of Journalism 2017 Conference. http://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2017/09/echo-chamber-what-echo-chamber.html

Fake news and post-truth pronouncements in general and in early human development. Victor Grech. Early Human Development, http://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2017/09/fake-news-and-post-truth-pronouncements.html

Consumption of fake news is a consequence, not a cause of their readers’ voting preferences. Kahan, Dan M., Misinformation and Identity-Protective Cognition (October 2, 2017). Social Science Research Network, http://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2017/10/consumption-of-fake-news-is-consequence.html
Psychology of Intelligence Analysis. Richards J. Heuer, Jr. CIA, Mar 2007. https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/psychology-of-intelligence-analysis/

Curing Analytic Pathologies. Jeffrey R. Cooper. CIA, May 2007. https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/curing-analytic-pathologies-pathways-to-improved-intelligence-analysis-1/

Re-experiencing one’s own life-events is a phenomenon with well-defined characteristics. Maybe a representation of life-events as a continuum exists in the cognitive system, and may be further expressed in extreme conditions of psychological and physiological stress.

The life review experience: Qualitative and quantitative characteristics. Judith Katz, Noam Saadon-Grosman, Shahar Arzy. Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 48, February 2017, Pages 76-86. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2016.10.011

Highlights
•    Life review experience (LRE) is the vivid experience of one’s life-long autobiographical memories.
•    Abundant in patients in extremes situations, the LRE is yet to be thoroughly explored.
•    Phenomenological investigations in patients enable to qualitatively characterize LRE.
•    Quantitative investigation (LRE-scale) was composed as based on these phenomenological elements and run on 264 healthy people.
•    Results hint on a potential role of the neurocognitive mechanism underlying LRE in human cognition.

Abstract

Background: The life-review experience (LRE) is a most intriguing mental phenomenon that fascinated humans from time immemorial. In LRE one sees vividly a succession of one’s own life-events. While reports of LRE are abundant in the medical, psychological and popular literature, not much is known about LRE’s cognitive and psychological basis. Moreover, while LRE is known as part of the phenomenology of near-death experience, its manifestation in the general population and in other circumstances is still to be investigated.

Methods: In a first step we studied the phenomenology of LRE by means of in-depth qualitative interview of 7 people who underwent full LRE. In a second step we extracted the main characters of LRE, to develop a questionnaire and an LRE-score that best reflects LRE phenomenology. This questionnaire was then run on 264 participants of diverse ages and backgrounds, and the resulted score was further subjected to statistical analyses.

Results: Qualitative analysis showed the LRE to manifest several subtypes of characteristics in terms of order, continuity, the covered period, extension to the future, valence, emotions, and perspective taking. Quantitative results in the normal population showed normal distribution of the LRE-score over participants.

Conclusion: Re-experiencing one’s own life-events, so-called LRE, is a phenomenon with well-defined characteristics, and its subcomponents may be also evident in healthy people. This suggests that a representation of life-events as a continuum exists in the cognitive system, and maybe further expressed in extreme conditions of psychological and physiological stress.




Sleep timing is linked to sociosexuality: Evidence from German, Polish, Slovak, and Spanish Females / Those with later sleep timing were less sociosexually restricted

Sleep timing is linked to sociosexuality: Evidence from German, Polish, Slovak, and Spanish females. Juan F Díaz-Morales et al. Time & Society,  https://doi.org/10.1177/0961463X18757390

Abstract: Given the known relationship between eveningness and sociosexuality among females, the aims of this study were: (a) to analyze this relationship in four countries using midsleep time on free days and morning affect measures of morningness–eveningness and (b) to test the role of dark personality and other relevant control variables in this relationship. Data from 1483 females were collected from Poland, Spain, Germany, and Slovakia. Adjusting for age, relationship status, country, age at first intercourse, and Dark Triad traits, the most universal findings were that females with later sleep timing were less sociosexually restricted (3% shared variance with sociosexuality). Sleep timing played a greater role in sociosexuality compared to morning affect. This finding showed that Dark Triad personality is not involved in association between morningness–eveningness and sociosexuality and it added a value to the importance of sleep–wake habits in mating preferences.

Keywords: Morningness–eveningness, sociosexuality, Dark Triad, females, cross-cultural

Social capital and online hate production: A four country survey

Social capital and online hate production: A four country survey. Markus Kaakinen et al. Crime, Law and Social Change, February 2018, Volume 69, Issue 1, pp 25–39, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10611-017-9764-5

Abstract: Hateful, threatening or degrading content has become a common part of today’s online interactions. However, little is known about the people who produce such content. This study analyzes online hate content production and its associations with cognitive indicators of social capital in both offline and online social networks. The data are derived from American, Finnish, German and British Internet users aged 15–30 (N = 3,565). Measures included questions concerning online hate, social capital and contextual control variables. The results indicate that hate content production is rare overall, despite its high visibility, and is related to social capital in two key ways. First, respondents with high social capital in offline social networks were less likely to produce hate content, and second, high social capital in online networks was associated with a higher probability of production.

Legalization of the cannabis market effects: Significant reduction in rapes and property crimes, increased consumption of marijuana & reduced consumption of other drugs and both ordinary & binge alcohol

Crime and the legalization of recreational marijuana. Davide Dragone, Giovanni Prarolo, Paolo Vanin, Giulio Zanella. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2018.02.005

Abstract: First-pass evidence is provided that the legalization of the cannabis market across US states is inducing a crime drop. We exploit the staggered legalization of recreational marijuana enacted by the adjacent states of Washington (end of 2012) and Oregon (end of 2014). Combining county-level difference-in-differences and spatial regression discontinuity designs, we find that the policy caused a significant reduction in rapes and property crimes on the Washington side of the border in 2013-2014 relative to the Oregon side and relative to the pre-legalization years 2010-2012. The legalization also increased consumption of marijuana and reduced consumption of other drugs and both ordinary and binge alcohol. Four possible mechanisms are discussed: the direct psychotropic effects of cannabis; substitution away from violence-inducing substances; reallocation of police effort; reduced role of criminals in the marijuana business.

Keywords: Cannabis; Recreational marijuana; Crime

Check also Gavrilova, E., Kamada, T. and Zoutman, F. (2017), Is Legal Pot Crippling Mexican Drug Trafficking Organisations? The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on US Crime. Econ J. http://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2018/01/is-legal-pot-crippling-mexican-drug.html

Impact of Protestant Evangelism on Economic Outcomes: Significant increases in religiosity & income, no changes in total labor supply, assets, consumption, food security, or life satisfaction, & a clear decrease in perceived relative economic status

Randomizing Religion: The Impact of Protestant Evangelism on Economic Outcomes. Gharad T. Bryan, James J. Choi, Dean Karlan. NBER Working Paper No. 24278, http://www.nber.org/papers/w24278

To test the causal impact of religiosity, we conducted a randomized evaluation of an evangelical Protestant Christian values and theology education program that consisted of 15 weekly half-hour sessions. We analyze outcomes for 6,276 ultra-poor Filipino households six months after the program ended. We find significant increases in religiosity and income, no significant changes in total labor supply, assets, consumption, food security, or life satisfaction, and a significant decrease in perceived relative economic status. Exploratory analysis suggests the program may have improved hygienic practices and increased household discord, and that the income treatment effect may operate through increasing grit.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Men exhibit greater intergroup bias than do women, but in dating, women more strongly prefer to date men of their own racial group. Manipulating women via nationality to control for racial stereotypes, ameliorating or exacerbating the perceived threat, prevents intergroup bias.

An evolutionary perspective on intergroup dating bias. Samantha Brindley, Melissa M. McDonald, Lisa L. M. Welling & Virgil Zeigler-Hill. Comprehensive Results in Social Psychology, https://doi.org/10.1080/23743603.2018.1436939

ABSTRACT: Across a diversity of contexts, men tend to exhibit greater intergroup bias than do women. However, in the domain of dating, this trend is reversed, such that women more strongly prefer to date men of their own racial group. Researchers employing an evolutionary perspective suggest that this sex difference can be explained by an evolutionary history in which men and women faced distinct adaptive challenges in their interactions with outgroup men. For women, outgroup men posed a recurrent threat of sexual coercion. Given the importance of reproductive choice in female mating strategies, this may have exerted selection pressure for psychological mechanisms that promote avoidance of outgroup men. Here we pre-registered a two-study design to examine whether women’s intergroup dating bias, manipulated via nationality to control for racial stereotypes, could be altered by manipulating the formidability of outgroup dating targets, thereby ameliorating or exacerbating their perceived threat. The design did not produce the predicted pattern of intergroup bias, suggesting that the manipulation of group status may need to be stronger. Implications and future directions are discussed.

KEYWORDS: Intergroup bias, mate choice, dating, threat-management, female preferences

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Psychological research has documented a tendency for women, relative to men, to exhibit greater intergroup bias in the context of dating (Hitsch, Hortaçsu, & Ariely, 2010; Hwang, 2013). Furthermore, this bias may not be offset by other person characteristics, such as income, that are typically evaluated positively in male romantic partners (Hitsch, Hortascsu, & Ariely, 2006). This finding may be surprising given that much of the research on intergroup bias suggests that men tend to express greater intergroup bias than women in a variety of other contexts (reviewed in McDonald, Navarrete, & Van Vugt, 2012). Previous research attempting to explain this discrepancy has suggested that women’s greater intergroup bias in romantic and intimate contexts might be the result of an evolutionary history in which women were often the victims of sexual coercion, committed by outgroup men during intergroup conflict (McDonald, Donnellan, Cesario, & Navarrete, 2015). From this perspective, women’s intergroup bias in dating contexts may function to protect women’s reproductive choice by avoiding men more prone to reliance on the use of sexually coercive mating tactics.

Parents of high economic status invest more heavily in sons whereas parents of low economic status invest more heavily in daughters, as predicted by the Trivers-Willard hypothesis

Spending Patterns of Chinese Parents on Children’s Backpacks Support the Trivers-Willard Hypothesis: Results Based on Transaction Data from China’s Largest Online Retailer. Shige Song. Evolution and Human Behavior, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2018.02.005

Abstract: Using the 2015 student backpack transaction data from the largest e-commerce business in China, this study takes a novel “big data” approach to test the patterns of parental sex preference by comparing the difference in cost between blue and pink backpacks at different quantiles of the backpack cost distribution. Unconditional quantile regression results show that, depending on the quantile of choice, the blue-pink difference in backpack cost can be positive, negative, or zero. This indicates the presence of son preference, daughter preference, and gender indifference in the same population. Treating backpack cost as a proxy measure of parental economic status, such results indicate that parents of high economic status invest more heavily in sons whereas parents of low economic status invest more heavily in daughters, as predicted by the Trivers-Willard hypothesis. The discovery of a third group, between the high- and low-status parents, who invest equally in sons and daughters further strengthens the argument.

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trivers%E2%80%93Willard_hypothesis

Review of Rupert Darwall's Green Tyranny, by Matt Ridley – Russian Spies’ Role In The Great Green Hoax

Matt Ridley: Russian Spies’ Role In The Great Green Hoax. The Times, February 19 2018.

A new book argues that nuclear winter, one of the great environmental scares of the 1980s, was fabricated by Moscow
So, Russia does appear to interfere in western politics. The FBI has charged 13 Russians with trying to influence the last American presidential election, including the whimsical detail that one of them was to build a cage to hold an actor in prison clothes pretending to be Hillary Clinton.

Meanwhile, it emerges that the Czech secret service, under KGB direction, near the end of the Cold War had a codename (“COB”) for a Labour MP they had met and hoped to influence — presumably under the bizarre delusion that he might one day be in reach of power.

There is no evidence that Jeremy Corbyn was a spy, or of collusion by Trump campaign operatives with the Russians who are charged. Yet the alleged Russian operation in America was anti-Clinton and pro-Trump. It was also pro-Bernie Sanders and pro-Jill Stein, the Green candidate — who shares with Vladimir Putin a strong dislike of fracking.

The Keystone Cops aspects of these stories should not reassure. The interference by Russian agents in western politics during the Cold War was real and dangerous. A startling example from the history of science has recently been discussed in an important book about the origins of the environmental movement, Green Tyranny by Rupert Darwall.

In June 1982, the same month as demonstrations against the Nato build-up of cruise and Pershing missiles reached fever pitch in the West, a paper appeared in AMBIO, a journal of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, authored by the Dutchman Paul Crutzen and the American John Birks. Crutzen would later share a Nobel prize for work on the ozone layer. The 1982 paper, entitled The Atmosphere after a Nuclear War: Twilight at Noon, argued that, should there be an exchange of nuclear weapons between Nato and the Soviet Union, forests and oil fields would ignite and the smoke of vast fires would cause bitter cold and mass famine: “The screening of sunlight by the fire-produced aerosol over extended periods during the growing season would eliminate much of the food production in the Northern Hemisphere.”

Carl Sagan, astronomer turned television star, then convened a conference on the “nuclear winter” hypothesis in October 1983, supported by leading environmental and anti-war pressure groups from Friends of the Earth to the Audubon Society, Planned Parenthood to the Union of Concerned Scientists. Curiously, three Soviet officials joined the conference’s board and a satellite link from the Kremlin was provided.

In December 1983, two papers appeared in the prestigious journal Science, one on the physics that became known as TTAPS after the surnames of its authors, S being for Sagan; the other on the biology, whose authors included the famous biologists Paul Ehrlich and Stephen Jay Gould as well as Sagan. The conclusion of the second paper was extreme: “Global environmental changes sufficient to cause the extinction of a major fraction of the plant and animal species on Earth are likely. In that event, the possibility of the extinction of Homo sapiens cannot be excluded.”

Who started the scare and why? One possibility is that it was fake news from the beginning. When the high-ranking Russian spy Sergei Tretyakov defected in 2000, he said that the KGB was especially proud of the fact “it created the myth of nuclear winter”. He based this on what colleagues told him and on research he did at the Red Banner Institute, the Russian spy school.

The Kremlin was certainly spooked by Nato’s threat to deploy medium-range nuclear missiles in Europe if the Warsaw Pact refused to limit its deployment of such missiles. In Darwall’s version, based on Tretyakov, Yuri Andropov, head of the KGB, “ordered the Soviet Academy of Sciences to produce a doomsday report to incite more demonstrations in West Germany”. They applied some older work by a scientist named Kirill Kondratyev on the cooling effect of dust storms in the Karakum Desert to the impact of a nuclear exchange in Germany.

Tretyakov said: “I was told the Soviet scientists knew this theory was completely ridiculous. There were no legitimate facts to support it. But it was exactly what Andropov needed to cause terror in the West.” Andropov then supposedly ordered it to be fed to contacts in the western peace and green movement.

It certainly helped Soviet propaganda. From the Pope to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament to the non-aligned nations, calls for Nato’s nuclear strategy to be rethought because of the nuclear winter theory came thick and fast. A Russian newspaper used the nuclear winter to inveigh against “inhuman aspirations of the US imperialists, who are pushing the world towards nuclear catastrophe”. The award of the Nobel peace prize in 1985 to the prominent Russian doctor Evgeny Chazov specifically mentioned his support for the nuclear winter theory.

“Propagators of the nuclear winter thus acted as dupes in a disinformation exercise scripted by the KGB”, concludes Darwall. We can never be entirely certain of this because Tretyakov’s KGB colleagues may have been exaggerating their role and he is now dead. But that the KGB did its best to fan the flames is not in doubt.

It soon became apparent that the nuclear winter hypothesis was plain wrong. As the geophysicist Russell Seitz pointed out, “soot in the TTAPS simulation is not up there as an observed consequence of nuclear explosions but because the authors told a programmer to put it there”. He added: “The model dealt with such complications as geography, winds, sunrise, sunset and patchy clouds in a stunningly elegant manner — they were ignored.” The physicist Steven Schneider concluded that “the global apocalyptic conclusions of the initial nuclear winter hypothesis can now be relegated to a vanishingly low level of probability”.

The physicists Freeman Dyson and Fred Singer, who would end up on the opposite side of the global-warming debate from Schneider and Seitz, calculated that any effects would be patchy and short-lived, and that while dry soot could generate cooling, any kind of dampness risked turning a nuclear smog into a warming factor and a short-lived one at that.

By 1986 the theory was effectively dead, and so it has remained. A nuclear war would have devastating consequences, but the impact on the climate would be the least of our worries.

The stakes were higher in the Cold War than today. The Soviet peace offensive secured the support of many western intellectuals and much of the media, and very nearly prevailed.

Weak Intervention Backfire and Criminal Hormesis: Why Some Otherwise Effective Crime Prevention Interventions Can Fail at Low Doses

Shannon J Linning, John E Eck; Weak Intervention Backfire and Criminal Hormesis: Why Some Otherwise Effective Crime Prevention Interventions Can Fail at Low Doses, The British Journal of Criminology, Volume 58, Issue 2, 15 February 2018, Pages 309–331, https://doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azx019

Abstract: Although crime prevention tactics are designed to reduce offending, some studies have revealed instances where reported crime actually increases after introducing lower intensity interventions. An analogous trend—characterized by low-dose stimulation and high-dose inhibition—called hormesis has already been observed in the natural sciences. We argue that this phenomenon is theoretically applicable to crime prevention. Findings suggest that researchers should test varying intensities of interventions to avoid rejecting ones that would be otherwise effective at higher levels. Research using dose–response techniques and simulation models should be explored to determine whether a weak intervention backfire effect occurred or is possible. Knowledge of such information could lead to more effective crime prevention strategies and better specified analytic models for evaluation.

Considerable numbers of individuals are first-time convicted for offenses committed at age 25 or later; adult-onset offending is relatively more prevalent among females than among males

Adulthood-limited offending: How much is there to explain? Fredrik Sivertsson. Journal of Criminal Justice, Volume 55, March–April 2018, Pages 58–70. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2018.02.002

Highlights
•    The current study uses prospective population-based longitudinal conviction data.
•    Considerable numbers of individuals are first-time convicted for offenses committed at age 25 or later.
•    Adult-onset offending is relatively more prevalent among females than among males.
•    Adult-onset females account for a substantial share of all female adulthood convictions.

Abstract

Purpose: The current study explores male and female adult-onset offending careers in a Swedish population-based longitudinal dataset comprising five successive birth cohorts which are followed prospectively on the basis of detailed conviction data to age 50.

Methods: Adult-onset offenders are compared to juvenile-onset offenders on a number of criminal career measures. Growth curve analysis is employed to visualize average trajectories for convictions during adulthood.

Results: The study found that 22% of convicted males and 38% of convicted females were convicted for the first time for offenses committed between ages 25 and 50. The adult-onset males contributed 19% of all male adulthood convictions and 16% of male violent convictions in adulthood. The adult-onset females contributed 47% of all female adulthood convictions and 48% of female violent convictions in adulthood. While the adolescent-onset trajectories displayed generally decreasing trends for offending in adulthood, adult-onset females displayed increasing trends in relation to trajectories of violence and drug/alcohol-related offending as they approached middle adulthood.

Conclusions: There is a need for developmental and life-course theories of crime to be explicit in explaining adult-onset offending, particularly in relation to gender disparities.

Keywords: Criminal career; Developmental and life-course criminology; Adult-onset offending; Gender; Population studies; Growth curve

Gender identity is a multifactorial complex trait with a heritable polygenic component

The Biological Contributions to Gender Identity and Gender Diversity: Bringing Data to the Table. Tinca J. C. Polderman et al. Behavior Genetics, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10519-018-9889-z

Abstract: The American Psychological Association defines gender identity as, “A person’s deeply-felt, inherent sense of being a boy, a man, or a male; a girl, a woman, or a female; or an alternative gender (e.g., genderqueer, gender nonconforming, gender neutral) that may or may not correspond to a person’s sex assigned at birth or to a person’s primary or secondary sex characteristics” (American Psychological Association, Am Psychol 70(9):832–864, 2015). Here we review the evidence that gender identity and related socially defined gender constructs are influenced in part by innate factors including genes. Based on the data reviewed, we hypothesize that gender identity is a multifactorial complex trait with a heritable polygenic component. We argue that increasing the awareness of the biological diversity underlying gender identity development is relevant to all domains of social, medical, and neuroscience research and foundational for reducing health disparities and promoting human-rights protections for gender minorities.

Male brown widow spiders invest much energy in courtship, and risk cannibalism; by mating with subadult females, males save energy and avoid cannibalism, but instead, choose older adult females, despite not gaining any benefit

Male mate choice in a sexually cannibalistic widow spider. Shevy Waner, Uzi Motro, Yael Lubin, Ally R. Harari. Animal Behaviour, Volume 137, March 2018, Pages 189–196, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2018.01.016

Highlights
•    Male brown widow spiders invest much energy in courtship, and risk cannibalism.
•    By mating with subadult females, males save energy and avoid cannibalism.
•    If mated, subadult females are fertile, but males avoided mating with subadults.
•    Instead, males chose older adult females, despite not gaining any benefit.

Abstract: Males of the brown widow spider, Latrodectus geometricus (Theridiidae), invest energy in courtship displays and are often cannibalized after mating; accordingly, partial sex role reversal is expected. In this species, subadult females are able to mate and produce viable offspring. In contrast to mature females, these subadult females do not cannibalize their mates after copulation. Nevertheless, when given a choice, males preferred mature over subadult females and older over young mature females. We found no benefit for males in mating with the females of their choice. Older females were significantly less fecund than young mature females, and were not more fecund than subadult females. We tested possible advantages in mating with cannibalistic (mature) females, such as an increased probability of plugging the female's genital duct or longer copulations, or disadvantages in mating with subadult females, such as higher remating risk. None of these explanations was supported. Thus, we lack an adaptive explanation for male preference for mature older females. We suggest that older females produce more pheromone to attract males and that males are thus misled into mating with older, more aggressive and less fecund females.

Keywords: brown widow spider; courtship; Latrodectus geometricus; mate choice; sexual cannibalism

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Merely Watching Others Perform Can Foster an Illusion of Skill Acquisition

Easier Seen Than Done: Merely Watching Others Perform Can Foster an Illusion of Skill Acquisition. Michael Kardas, Ed O’Brien. Psychological Science, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797617740646

Abstract: Modern technologies such as YouTube afford unprecedented access to the skilled performances of other people. Six experiments (N = 2,225) reveal that repeatedly watching others can foster an illusion of skill acquisition. The more people merely watch others perform (without actually practicing themselves), the more they nonetheless believe they could perform the skill, too (Experiment 1). However, people’s actual abilities—from throwing darts and doing the moonwalk to playing an online game—do not improve after merely watching others, despite predictions to the contrary (Experiments 2–4). What do viewers see that makes them think they are learning? We found that extensive viewing allows people to track what steps to take (Experiment 5) but not how those steps feel when taking them. Accordingly, experiencing a “taste” of performing attenuates the illusion: Watching others juggle but then holding the pins oneself tempers perceived change in one’s own ability (Experiment 6). These findings highlight unforeseen problems for self-assessment when watching other people.

Keywords: self-assessment, empathy gap, repeated exposure, open data, open materials, preregistered

Cues of woman’s fertility predict prices for sex with prostitutes

Cues of woman’s fertility predict prices for sex with prostitutes. Pavol Prokop et al. Current Psychology, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12144-018-9807-9

Abstract: Prostitution is an exchange of sexual services for economic profit which predominantly reflects men’s desire for sexually attractive women. These preferences could be shaped by sexual selection, as a woman’s sexual attractiveness is believed to be a cue of fertility. Using data from Polish prostitutes, we investigated whether cues of fertility are associated with the price for sex. In line with evolutionary predictions, prostitute’s age and body mass index (BMI) were negatively correlated with the price for sex, while breast size (except for very large breasts) and number of sexual offerings were positively associated with the price for sex. This suggests that young, slim prostitutes with moderate breasts are more expensive than older, stockier, and those with very large breasts. We suggest that commercial sex exploits men’s evolved preferences for sexually attractive women who have high reproductive potential.

Kids becoming less alike: A behavioral genetic analysis of developmental increases in personality variance from childhood to adolescence

Kids becoming less alike: A behavioral genetic analysis of developmental increases in personality variance from childhood to adolescence. René Mõttus et al. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , February 2018. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/323112699_Kids_becoming_less_alike_A_behavioral_genetic_analysis_of_developmental_increases_in_personality_variance_from_childhood_to_adolescence

Lay summary: Children and adolescents tend to grow less alike in personality. It is largely their genetic differences that make them increasingly different. This may be because genetic influences predispose children to particular experiences that then amplify these influences.

Abstract: Recent work in personality development has indicated that the magnitude of individual differences in personality increases over child development. Do such patterns reflect the differentiation of individuals by genotype, an increasing influence of environmental factors, or some (interactive) combination of the two? Using a population-based sample of over 2,500 twins and multiples from the Texas Twin Project, we estimated age trends in the variances in self- and parent-reported measures of the Big Five personality traits between ages eight and eighteen years. We then estimated age trends in the genetic and environmental components of variance in each measure. Individual differences in personality increased in magnitude from childhood through mid-adolescence. This pattern emerged using both children's self-reports and ratings provided by their parents, and was primarily attributable to increases in the magnitude of genetic influences. Most of the increasing genetic variance appeared non-additive, pointing to the possibility that developmental processes tend to make genetically similar individuals disproportionately more alike in their personality traits over time. These findings could reflect increasing or accumulating effects of trait-by-trait interactions; person-by-environment transactions whereby genetically similar people are disproportionally likely to experience similar environments; the activation of dominant genes across developmental transitions (e.g., puberty); or some combination of these three processes, among other factors. Theories of personality development will need to accommodate these descriptive findings, and longitudinal, genetically informed designs are needed to test some of the specific hypotheses springing from this study.

Keywords: Development; Personality; Variance; Behavioral Genetics; Non-additive