Tuesday, July 31, 2018

1 in 4 people preferred the perceptual concept of dark over the perceptual concept of light; these people scored higher in neuroticism, experienced greater depressive feelings in daily life; dark preferences shared relationship with generalised anxiety symptoms

Hello darkness my old friend: preferences for darkness vary by neuroticism and co-occur with negative affect. Michelle R. Persich, Jessica L. Bair, Becker Steinemann, Stephanie Nelson, Adam K. Fetterman & Michael D. Robinson. Cognition and Emotion, https://doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2018.1504746

ABSTRACT: Metaphors frequently link negative affect with darkness and associations of this type have been established in several experimental paradigms. Given the ubiquity and strength of these associations, people who prefer dark to light may be more prone to negative emotional experiences and symptoms. A five study investigation (total N = 605) couches these ideas in a new theoretical framework and then examines them. Across studies, 1 in 4 people preferred the perceptual concept of dark over the perceptual concept of light. These dark-preferring people scored higher in neuroticism (Studies 1 and 2) and experienced greater depressive feelings in daily life (Study 3). Moreover, dark preferences shared a robust relationship with depressive symptoms (Study 4) as well as generalised anxiety symptoms (Study 5). The results provide novel insights into negative affectivity and extend conceptual metaphor theory in a way that is capable of making individual difference predictions.

KEYWORDS: Neuroticism, negative affect, conceptual metaphor, darkness, preferences

Pettiness, or intentional attentiveness to trivial details of resource exchanges harms communal-sharing relationships by making (even objectively generous) exchanges feel transactional

Kim, T., Zhang, T., & Norton, M. I. (2018). Pettiness in social exchange. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000463

Abstract: We identify and document a novel construct—pettiness, or intentional attentiveness to trivial details—and examine its (negative) implications in interpersonal relationships and social exchange. Seven studies show that pettiness manifests across different types of resources (both money and time), across cultures with differing tolerance for ambiguity in relationships (the United States, Switzerland, Germany, and Austria), and is distinct from related constructs such as generosity, conscientiousness, fastidious, and counternormativity. Indeed, people dislike petty exchanges even when the (petty) amount given is more generous (e.g., a gift card for $5.15 rather than $5), suggesting that pettiness may in some instances serve as a stronger relationship signal than are actual benefits exchanged. Attentiveness to trivial details of resource exchanges harms communal-sharing relationships by making (even objectively generous) exchanges feel transactional. When exchanging resources, people should be wary of both how much they exchange and the manner in which they exchange it.

In both sexes, hormone levels play an important role by increasing the sensitivity towards the sexual signals emitted by the potential partners & determining the expression of sexual signals that allows the potential partner or intra-sexual competitor to identify the reproductive status

Sexual Incentive and Choice. Armando Ferreira-Nuño et al. Current Sexual Health Reports, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11930-018-0158-1

Abstract
Purpose of the Review: In the present manuscript, we review the most important sexual cues in rodents and mammals that influence mate choice. Sexual cues lead to the approach and selection of a partner.

Recent Findings: In both sexes, hormone levels play an important role by increasing the sensitivity towards the sexual signals emitted by the potential partners and determining the expression of sexual signals that allows the potential partner or intra-sexual competitor to identify the reproductive status. Similarly, sexual cues emitted by both sexes can modify the hormonal status of the potential partner or intra-sexual competitors, so that they can be better skilled reproductively for sexual competition.

Summary: Future research should analyze the impact of the use of hormonal contraceptives, since it has been shown that they alter the sexual signals emitted and could influence the selection of partners in humans. In addition, this review will be important for anyone using a rodent model to understand sexual motivation.

Did China think Donald Trump was bluffing on trade? How Beijing got it wrong

Did China think Donald Trump was bluffing on trade? How Beijing got it wrong. Wendy Wu Kristin Huang. South China Morning Post, Jul 31, 2018
https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2157028/did-china-think-donald-trump-was-bluffing-trade-how

With China and the United States at the centre of the biggest international trade dispute in decades, the South China Morning Post takes an in-depth look at the changing relationship between Beijing and Washington. In the second of a two-part series, Wendy Wu and Kristin Huang explain how China was caught off guard by US President Donald Trump’s aggressive trade action and explores whether Beijing is to blame for the conflict

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China’s ruling Communist Party’s tightened control over think tanks and a crackdown on extravagance could be having an impact on how the leadership handles foreign affairs – and weakening Beijing’s understanding of US politics under President Donald Trump.

Sources and analysts say that Beijing appears to have been caught off guard by Trump’s protectionist trade blitz, and that it underestimated rising anti-China sentiment among the US elite.

Even last month when US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross visited Beijing, some in the capital were still hoping Washington could be persuaded not to go ahead with its threat to slap punitive tariffs on Chinese goods.

But the US was not convinced, imposing 25 per cent duties on US$34 billion of Chinese products from July 6 – prompting Beijing to do the same. Washington now plans to apply 10 per cent tariffs on another US$200 billion of Chinese goods, and Trump has said he is ready to put duties on every import from China.

“They [the Chinese leadership and researchers] didn’t realise how bad the sentiment here is getting. They thought Trump was just bluffing, and they still think like that,” according to a former US policy adviser, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“They say this is about the midterm elections and things will change after that. They are totally wrong and they totally misread the situation. I feel partly this is because they have become more insulated, and partly because nobody dares to tell Beijing that they are wrong.”


VICTIM OF ITS OWN POLICY?

Sources and observers told the South China Morning Post that the problem is policies introduced by Beijing – driven by a need to consolidate the party’s power – that have discouraged policy advisers from having in-depth discussions with their US counterparts that would help them to understand the latest thinking in Washington, or from speaking their minds.

That has left Beijing without a comprehensive strategy to deal with the Trump administration, at least on the trade front, at a time of heightened tension and rivalry.

Six years ago, as President Xi Jinping’s major crackdown on corruption began, Beijing introduced a series of rules to curb overspending, including limits on government officials, academics and policy advisers travelling abroad.

Since then, many officials have had to hand in their personal passports and instead use special government duty passports when travelling – and in most cases they are barred from staying overseas for more than a week.

The policy has made it harder to get approval for overseas trips, according to a telecoms professor from a university in central China, who did not want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter. He said he had to go through an extra checking process – from both the university and government agencies – before he could go to Honolulu for an international conference this year.

“Any teachers with PhD degrees or mid-level school leaders have to hand in their passports and other travel documents like the Exit-Entry Permit for Travelling to and from Hong Kong and Macau,” the professor said, adding that they were expected to use government duty passports.

The impact of the policy has also been noticed in the United States. A researcher with a US think tank said he and his colleagues welcomed discussions with their Chinese counterparts, but it was difficult because Beijing only allowed them to make brief visits.

“It’s getting difficult to have the Chinese [government advisers] to stay here for long. They are all on very short-term visas,” the researcher said. “They told us it is Beijing’s policy.”

Chinese advisers had been stymied by that policy, he said.

“This is bad. If they can only come and stay here for less than a week, it’s hard for them to really do the fact-finding and understand the changing sentiment in DC and New York. I think this is partly why the Chinese are not reading the situation here correctly,” the researcher said.

At the same time, Beijing is tightening ideological control in all aspects of life, including on university campuses, and demanding that the party line be strictly adhered to. Any unauthorised discussion of government policies can result in a reprimand for “improper discussion of a party directive”.

That has left Chinese advisers and Western diplomats worried about whether their suggestions will be filtered before they reach top-level officials, to ensure they are politically correct.

A former US official who frequently travels to China said Chinese advisers and officials who had previously been outspoken had become extremely tight-lipped, even in unofficial and private talks.

“It’s more difficult to know what they are thinking as they are just repeating the government and party rhetoric,” the former official said. “This will lead to a higher risk of wrong decisions, even fatal mistakes.”

An overreliance on traditional back-door channels is compounding the situation. According to the former US policy adviser, Beijing relies too much on the Wall Street and political elite, including Henry Paulson and Henry Kissinger, to understand US politics – people who do not have any influence over Trump.

“Trump doesn’t listen to them or talk to them. I think the Chinese leadership underestimated the situation,” the former adviser said.

Early on, Beijing had looked to Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner – the US president’s daughter and son-in-law, who are White House advisers – to build closer ties with Washington. But that approach was short-lived amid concern that relying on connections with Trump’s family could hurt China’s image, and with Kushner facing controversy over Russia’s involvement in the 2016 US presidential election.


LAST-MINUTE PLANS

With a trade war now under way, the finance ministry is stepping up research and policy consultation on US issues. Last week it set up an alliance of 20 think tanks to do just that, with one of its tasks to “conduct fundamental research, policy studies and prospective studies”.

Researchers involved in the alliance said China’s existing research on US affairs did not go deep enough, and it had left Beijing ill-prepared for the trade tussle.

Trump has said repeatedly, even before he came to power, that he would take a tough line on China – for example, naming Beijing as a currency manipulator.

But in Beijing, plans to handle Trump’s threats were often made at the last minute, according to a source in frequent contact with senior Chinese officials.

The source gave the example of China failing to analyse further measures to keep trade relations on track after the two sides agreed to a 100-day plan to improve economic ties in April last year, when Xi met Trump at the president’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

As trade tensions worsened, Beijing sent Vice-Premier Liu He to Washington in February and again in March, offering to buy more US products. But the list of products was prepared in a very “hasty manner”, according to the source.

“This sort of thing should have been done much earlier, as part of a comprehensive strategy, not just something that was drawn up overnight, days ahead of an important visit,” the source said.

Added to that, the State Council’s Development Research Centre, a liberal government think tank, has been left out of trade policy discussions by the party’s inner circle, according to the source.

Policy advice is vetted and submitted to the top leadership by the Central Financial and Economic Affairs Commission but “we have no idea how much of it has been passed to them”, the source said.

In April, a prominent Chinese economist who had been in the US on an academic trip, told an audience at Tsinghua University of how differently the spiralling trade conflict was being seen in America compared with China.

At that stage, think tanks and policymaking agencies in Washington had nearly completed plans for trade actions to be taken against Beijing and had reached consensus “not on whether there would be trade friction with China, but on the need to observe how China would respond”, according to a transcript of the economist’s speech.

“But from what was being said in domestic media, and public comments by Chinese officials before we left Beijing [for the US trip], it seemed that China was unprepared for the trade friction to come. The prevailing sentiment was that bilateral ties were manageable and on a normal track,” the economist said.


NOT ENOUGH DATA

A big problem for China in handling the trade dispute with the US is that it lacks data and detailed scenario analyses, observers say.

One example is a study from May looking at the impact of US tariffs on China’s GDP growth. It was carried out by two researchers with the National Development and Reform Commission but based on US statistics. It is unclear whether the data was adjusted to reflect Beijing’s view of bilateral trade, but it concluded that GDP growth would be dragged down by about 0.2 percentage points – the same estimate reached in another government-backed study that looked specifically at the effect of 25 per cent tariffs on US$50 billion of products.

A former Chinese trade official said the estimates lacked detail and failed to take into account structural differences and changes in the supply chain.

That compares to the approach in Washington – its Section 301 investigation into China’s trade practices was accompanied by more than 3,000 footnotes and supported by data analysis and case studies, according to a Beijing think tank researcher.

“Although a lot of US-focused research has been done in China, we don’t have the depth and the detailed analysis. A lot of it is just superficial,” said the researcher, whose think tank is part of the new finance ministry alliance.

“We’re hoping our research and policy suggestions will reach the key decision makers through this new alliance,” the researcher added.

Wang Huiyao, founder and president of the Centre for China and Globalisation, another alliance member, said Beijing urgently needed research and data to give it a better understanding of the overall picture.
“Other than bilateral diplomatic ties, China must do more research on China-US trade numbers, on US laws and US industries,” Wang said.

Motivation could also be part of the problem, with some Chinese academics still driven by grants and fame, according to a government think tank researcher who focuses on US studies.

“China has sent scholars and researchers to the US for decades, yet they end up chasing personal gain because they are under pressure to publish papers in certain journals as soon as possible – or they’re busy applying for government-funded projects,” said the researcher, from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

“There are really very few Chinese who are out there in the field doing deep research on US culture, society and on politics.”

Emotional Function During Aging, Chapter 20 Of The Wiley Handbook on the Aging Mind and Brain

Emotional Function During Aging. Kuan‐Hua Chen, Steven Anderson.
Chapter 20, The Wiley Handbook on the Aging Mind and Brain. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118772034.ch20

Summary: This chapter reviews the literature on age‐related change in discrete emotions, current models and theories of emotional aging. It introduces an integrated perspective of aging and emotion (IPAE), intended to provide a comprehensive view of how aging may differentially affect the generation and regulation of discrete emotions. The chapter focuses on normal aging, although the boundary between normal and pathological brain aging can be vague, and many of the principles have implications for aging associated with the numerous psychiatric and neurological conditions that impact emotion. It also focuses on general trends in emotional functioning associated with aging, but also considers important individual differences. It is notable that age‐related increases in the complexity of emotional experience occurs across both positive and negative emotion domains. The chapter elaborates current theories and models proposed to explain these age‐related patterns in the generation and regulation of emotion.

Localization of an epileptic orgasmic feeling to the right amygdala, using intracranial electrodes

Localization of an epileptic orgasmic feeling to the right amygdala, using intracranial electrodes. Laurence Chatona et al. Cortex, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2018.07.013

Abstract: The limbic system has well-known functions in the regulation of human emotions and behaviour in general and sexual behaviour in particular. However, it is not clear which components of the limbic system are involved in orgasmic feelings. Although orgasmic aura can be elicited by direct electrical stimulation of the right mesial temporal lobe, the location of spontaneous and isolated orgasmic auras have not yet been reported in the literature. Here, we report on the first case of spontaneous orgasmic aura associated with a discharge in the right amygdala, following an investigation with depth electrodes in a woman with temporal lobe epilepsy. Her ictal orgasmic feeling reportedly felt the same as her physiological orgasms. This case sheds light on the amygdala’s key role in human sexual function.

Mapping sweetness preference across the lifespan for culturally different societies: unlike most western societies, Hadza and Tsimane’ show no decline in sweet preference with age; may be related to high energy expenditure

Mapping sweetness preference across the lifespan for culturally different societies. Robert Pellegrino et al. Journal of Environmental Psychology, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2018.07.012

Highlights
•    Both Hadza and Tsimane’ societies liked sweetness more than the Polish society, with Hadza having the highest preference for sweets.
•    Unlike most western societies, Hadza and Tsimane’ show no decline in sweet preference with age.
•    Sweet taste preferences may be related to high energy expenditure that is maintained throughout the lifetime of some non-western societies or highly sweet foods (e.g. honey) as the main energy replenishment source.

Abstract: The preference of sweetened foods can be influenced by a variety of biological, psychological, sociological, and environmental factors. In this study, we focused on differences across three distinct societies: 1) a modern society (i.e., Polish people, n=199), 2) forager-horticulturalists from Amazon/Bolivia (Tsimane', n=138), and 3) traditional hunter-gatherers from Tanzania (Hadza, n=81). To measure sweet preference, participants were asked to drink three cups containing slightly acidic solutions (pH = 2.79) varying in sucrose concentration (w/v; 0%, 25%, 67%). Only 6% of the Polish participants chose the sweetest cup as their favorite, while this cup was chosen by 76% of the Hadza and 53% of the Tsimane’ participants. Further, age was a inversely related to sweet preference for Polish participants; however, age did not predict preferences for both Tsimane’ and Hadza tribes. We discuss our findings in the context of environmental and cultural differences between the participating populations.

Brain training, mindset, grit, deliberate practice, and the bilingual advantage are premised on the idea that environmental factors are the overwhelming determinants of success in real-world pursuits; none of them help significatively

Moreau, David, Brooke N. Macnamara, and Zach Hambrick. 2018. “Overstating the Role of Environmental Factors in Success: A Cautionary Note.” PsyArXiv. July 30. doi:10.31234/osf.io/sv9pz

Abstract: Several currently popular areas of research—brain training, mindset, grit, deliberate practice, and the bilingual advantage—are premised on the idea that environmental factors are the overwhelming determinants of success in real-world pursuits. Here, we describe the major claims from each of these areas of research, before discussing evidence for these claims, with a particular focus on meta-analyses. We then suggest that overemphasizing the malleability of abilities and other traits can have negative consequences for individuals, science, and society. We conclude with a call for balanced appraisals of the available evidence concerning this issue, to reflect current scientific discrepancies, and thereby enable informed individual decisions and collective policies.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Grieving Orca Carries Dead Calf for More Than 3 Days

Grieving Orca Carries Dead Calf for More Than 3 Days: ‘She’s Just Not Letting Go.’ Mihir Zaveri. The New York Times, Jul 27 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/27/science/grieving-orca-dead-calf.html

Her dead calf resting on her nose, an orca has swum in mourning for more than three days in the Pacific Northwest.

The calf died Tuesday morning, half an hour after it was born off the coast of Victoria, British Columbia, to a 20-year-old whale called J35. It was the first calf known to have been born to the local population, known as the Southern Resident killer whales, since 2015.

“I think she’s just grieving, unwilling at this point to let the calf go, like, ‘Why, why, why?’” said Ken Balcomb, founder and chief scientist for the San Juan Island-based Center for Whale Research, who has tracked the population for more than 40 years.

Southern Resident killer whales, which consist of three different pods, generally stay near British Columbia and Washington State, though some swim north to Alaska and south to California. Researchers fear the decline of the population, which has been besieged by a shrinking gene pool, dwindling food supply and environmental degradation.

Orcas have been shown to have complex social circles, use vocal communication, and exhibit emotions like grief. The whales do sometimes carry the bodies of their dead calves on the water’s surface — another whale was seen doing so in the Pacific Northwest for a few hours in 2010.

But J35’s sad journey, which began near Victoria and has taken her some 150 miles around the San Juan Islands and Vancouver, has continued for an unusually long time, researchers said. It has become a devastating symbol, and an uncannily pointed one, for the whales’ plight.

“We know it happens, but this one is kind of on tour almost, like she’s just not letting go,” Mr. Balcomb said.

J35 was spotted again Friday morning near the southern end of the San Juan Islands, he said. She has largely been balancing the dead calf on her nose.

“Sometimes she bites the flipper and pulls it up,” he said. “The calf sinks because it doesn’t have enough of a blubber layer, and it goes down. She dives down and picks it back up and brings it to the surface.”

Mr. Balcomb’s team first started monitoring the area’s orca population in 1976. They numbered about 70 at the time, after approximately 50 were removed from the wild to become attractions in marine parks.

About 20 years later, after federal protections were implemented, the number of whales in the population peaked at around 100. Then it started to decline again, and today, there are about 75 left.

Given that number, there should be about nine babies born each year, Mr. Balcomb said. Instead, no calves had been born since 2015.

“Once they stop reproducing, they may still swim around here for 50 more years, but there will be no babies,” he said. “Functionally, they will be extinct.”

The population decline, and the lack of new baby whales, has largely been attributed to their primary prey, the King salmon, or Chinook, dying off.

Jan Ohlberger, a research scientist at the University of Washington’s School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, said that the orcas prefer the larger Chinook salmon that are richer in energy, but that they have steadily declined over the last several decades.

He said it could be because of overfishing or climate. “We don’t really know,” he said. “There’s a lot of hypothesizing about that.”

Conservationists have said the whale population has also declined because of inbreeding, noise pollution from ship traffic, and municipal and industrial waste and other chemicals being spilled into the water.

There are more potential threats on the horizon. A recent agreement to expand the Trans Mountain Pipeline, which carries oil from Alberta to British Columbia, would multiply tanker traffic through the orcas’ habitat and expose them to more noise and potential spills. Construction on that pipeline is expected to begin in August.

In May, Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington convened the Southern Resident Orca Task Force, a group of state, tribal, provincial and federal officials, to help protect the region’s orcas.

“The loss of a newborn orca calf from our endangered southern resident killer whale population underscores what’s at stake as we work to protect these iconic, beautiful animals from vanishing completely,” Mr. Inslee tweeted this week.

Mr. Balcomb, who sits on the governor’s task force, said J35’s plight has become a rallying point for the efforts to protect the whales.

“Everybody is devastated,” he said. “This is very, very dramatic, saddening, disheartening.”

Follow Mihir Zaveri on Twitter: @MihirZaveri.

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Check also Prolonged transport and cannibalism of mummified infant remains by a Tonkean macaque mother. Arianna De Marco, Roberto Cozzolino, and Bernard Thierry. Primates, https://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2017/09/prolonged-transport-and-cannibalism-of.html

Why are you cheating on Tinder? Between 18-25% of Tinder users is in a committed relationship while on Tinder; non-single Tinder users are more likely to report casual sexual behavior; personality differences were found between non-single users & other groups

Why are you cheating on Tinder? Exploring users’ motives and (dark) personality traits. Elisabeth Timmermans, Elien De Caluwé, Cassandra Alexopoulos. Computers in Human Behavior, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2018.07.040

Highlights
•    Between 18-25% of Tinder users is in a committed relationship while on Tinder
•    Non-single vs. single Tinder users differ significantly on nine Tinder motives
•    Non-single Tinder users are more likely to report casual sexual behavior
•    Personality differences were found between non-single users and other groups
•    Non-single users’ personality was significantly related to their Tinder motives

Abstract: We present an exploratory study examining why people in a relationship use Tinder and whether they score higher on certain (dark) personality traits compared to single users and non-users in a committed relationship. Our results indicate that non-single Tinder users differ significantly on nine Tinder motives from single Tinder users. Moreover, non-single Tinder users generally report a higher number of romantic relationships, French kisses, one night stands, and casual sexual relationships with other Tinder users compared to single Tinder users. In terms of (dark) personality traits, non-single Tinder users score significantly lower on Agreeableness and Conscientiousness, and significantly higher on Neuroticism and Psychopathy compared to non-users in a committed relationship. For non-single Tinder users, lower scores on Agreeableness and Neuroticism and higher scores on Psychopathy and Machiavellianism are significantly correlated with the sexual Tinder motive. Additionally, Narcissism and Machiavellianism were positively associated with using Tinder for an ego-boost. Non-single users who reported to have had offline encounters with other Tinder users reported higher scores on Extraversion and Openness to Experience compared to non-single users who never had an offline encounter.

Red-fronted lemurs (Eulemur rufifrons) anoint their perianal-genital areas & tails with chewed millipedes, likely to self-medicate againts gastrointestinal parasite infections by Oxyuridae nematodes, providing both prophylactic & therapeutic effects

Potential self-medication using millipede secretions in red-fronted lemurs: combining anointment and ingestion for a joint action against gastrointestinal parasites? Louise R. Peckre et al. Primates, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10329-018-0674-7

Abstract: Self-anointing, referring to the behaviour of rubbing a material object or foreign substance over different parts of the body, has been observed in several vertebrate species, including primates. Several functions, such as detoxifying a rich food source, social communication and protection against ectoparasites, have been proposed to explain this behaviour. Here, we report observations of six wild red-fronted lemurs (Eulemur rufifrons) of both sexes and different age classes anointing their perianal-genital areas and tails with chewed millipedes. Several individuals also ingested millipedes after prolonged chewing. In light of the features of the observed interactions with millipedes, and the nature and potential metabolic pathways of the released chemicals, we suggest a potential self-medicative function. Specifically, we propose that anointing combined with the ingestion of millipedes’ benzoquinone secretions by red-fronted lemurs may act in a complementary fashion against gastrointestinal parasite infections, and more specifically Oxyuridae nematodes, providing both prophylactic and therapeutic effects.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

I am violent because I don't feel sexy: Violent individuals of both sexes are the ones that report significantly lower levels of mate value, and other undesirable traits

Poster 49. I am violent because I don't feel sexy .Ana Maria Fernandez, Jose Muñoz-Reyes, Oriana Figueroa, Paula Pavez, Maryanne Fisher. Human Behavior and Evolution Society, 30th Annual Meeting, July 2018. http://www.hbes.com/conference/hbes2018/

Abstract: According to the mating literature, people who are attractive enjoy high status among their peers, and are often selected and pursued by the opposite sex as romantic partners. High mate value is characterized by increased delivery of benefits, in comparison to low mate value. The struggle of unattractive individuals is different, and it has been documented that low mate value tends to underlie the delivery of costs and more conflict within reproductive relationships. We evaluated the mate value of 132 heterosexual couples, and compared the sample according to a clinical as well as a paper and pencil assessment of partner violence. The results are consistent with the literature, showing that violent individuals of both sexes are the ones that report significantly lower levels of mate value, and other undesirable traits. We discuss that high mate value brings about more benefit delivery than relationship costs, while the reverse is true of low mate value.

Alcohol, Generosity and Empathy: There was a negative association between generosity & reported alcohol consumption, & no significant association between empathy & alcohol consumption

Alcohol, Generosity and Empathy. David Fielding, Stephen Knowles, Kirsten Robertson. Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socec.2018.07.005

Highlights
•    A Dictator Game experiment was conducted to measure subjects‟ level of generosity.
•    Subject empathy was measured using the Empathy Quotient Scale.
•    There was a negative association between generosity and reported alcohol consumption.
•    There was no significant association between empathy and reported alcohol consumption.

ABSTRACT: Existing studies suggest that chronic alcohol dependency (or recovery from alcohol dependency) is associated with lower levels of empathy and generosity. We present results from a charitable donation experiment that was designed to test for associations with moderate variation in the level of alcohol consumption rather than with the incidence of chronic dependency. We find that higher levels of alcohol consumption (and also higher levels of alcohol expenditure) are associated with significantly less generosity. However, there is no significant association between alcohol consumption / expenditure and empathy (as measured by the Interpersonal Reactivity Index) or between alcohol consumption / expenditure and materialism (as measured by the Material Values Scale). This suggests that the relationship between alcohol expenditure and generosity may be mediated through some other channel.

Rolf Degen summarizing: For singles, the ideal partner should combine the right mix of similarity and superiority in personality, but when push comes to shove, they settle for less

Similar to and/or Better than Oneself? Singles' Ideal Partner Personality Descriptions. Jie Liu et al. European Journal of Personality, https://doi.org/10.1002/per.2159

Abstract: Using the HEXACO Model of Personality, we explored two kinds of ideal partner preferences regarding personality traits, namely, to what extent people prefer partners similar to themselves (similarity preference) and to what extent people prefer partners with more desirable trait levels than themselves (aspirational assortative preference). We conducted five studies (overall N > 900) across four countries (China, Denmark, Germany, and the USA), looking at both HEXACO factors and facets, using both self‐report questionnaires and real‐life data (personal profiles from a dating website), and comprising both student and more heterogeneous samples. The results provided support for both kinds of ideal partner preferences, with important differences across traits. Specifically, similarity preference was supported by all studies concerning all HEXACO traits, and aspirational assortative preference was supported by all four self‐report studies (though not the dating website study) concerning all HEXACO traits except for Openness to Experience. Concerning differences in preferences among the HEXACO traits, similarity preference was particularly pronounced for Honesty–Humility and Openness to Experience, moderate for Agreeableness and Conscientiousness, and less pronounced for Emotionality and Extraversion. Aspirational assortative preference, by contrast, was particularly pronounced for Emotionality, Extraversion, and Agreeableness, moderate for Honesty–Humility, and inconsistent for Conscientiousness.

Awe has traditionally been considered a religious or spiritual emotion; but the disposition to experience awe predicts a more accurate understanding of how science works, rejection of creationism, & rejection of unwarranted teleological explanations more broadly

Awe as a Scientific Emotion. Sara Gottlieb, Dacher Keltner, Tania Lombrozo. Cognitive Science, https://doi.org/10.1111/cogs.12648

Abstract: Awe has traditionally been considered a religious or spiritual emotion, yet scientists often report that awe motivates them to answer questions about the natural world, and to do so in naturalistic terms. Indeed, awe may be closely related to scientific discovery and theoretical advance. Awe is typically triggered by something vast (either literally or metaphorically) and initiates processes of accommodation, in which existing mental schemas are revised to make sense of the awe‐inspiring stimuli. This process of accommodation is essential for the kind of belief revision that characterizes scientific reasoning and theory change. Across six studies, we find that the tendency to experience awe is positively associated with scientific thinking, and that this association is not shared by other positive emotions. Specifically, we show that the disposition to experience awe predicts a more accurate understanding of how science works, rejection of creationism, and rejection of unwarranted teleological explanations more broadly.

We study gender differences in altruistic behaviour and in expected altruism; women are significantly more altruistic than men; & both women and men expect women to be more altruistic than men

Gender differences in altruism on Mechanical Turk: Expectations and actual behaviour. Pablo Brañas-Garza, Valerio Capraro, Ericka Rascón-Ramírez. Economics Letters, Volume 170, September 2018, Pages 19-23. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.econlet.2018.05.022

Highlights
•    We study gender differences in altruistic behaviour. We also study gender differences in expected altruism.
•    We use a sample of Amazon Mechanical Turk crowdworkers living in the US (simple ¿ 4,000 workers).
•    We show that women are significantly more altruistic than men. We also show that both women and men expect women to be more altruistic than men.

Abstract: Whether or not there are gender differences in altruistic behaviour in Dictator Game experiments has attracted considerable attention in recent years. Earlier studies found women to be more altruistic than men. However, this conclusion has been challenged by more recent accounts, which have argued that gender differences in altruistic behaviour may be a peculiarity of student samples and may not extend to other groups. Here we study gender differences in altruisticbehaviour and, additionally, in expectations of altruistic behaviour, in a sample of Amazon Mechanical Turk crowdworkers living in the US. In Study 1, we report a mega-analysis of more than 3, 500 observations and we show that women are significantly more altruistic than men. In Study 2, we show that both women and men expect women to be more altruistic than men.

Check also Morality Is for Choosing Sides. Peter DeScioli, Robert Kurzban. https://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2018/07/morality-is-for-choosing-sides-not-for.html

And Theories of human altruism: a systematic review. Svetlana Feigin, Glynn Owens and Felicity Goodyear-Smith. Annals of Neuroscience and Psychology, 2014. https://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2018/04/theories-of-human-altruism-future.html

Saturday, July 28, 2018

NYT Very Surprised That "A Fear of Lawsuits Really Does Seem to Result in Extra Medical Tests"

Defensive Medicine: Evidence from Military Immunity. Michael D. Frakes, Jonathan Gruber. NBER Working Paper No. 24846, July 2018. http://www.nber.org/papers/w24846

Abstract: We estimate the extent of defensive medicine by physicians, embracing the no-liability counterfactual made possible by the structure of liability rules in the Military Heath System. Active-duty patients seeking treatment from military facilities cannot sue for harms resulting from negligent care, while protections are provided to dependents treated at military facilities and to all patients—active-duty or not—that receive care from civilian facilities. Drawing on this variation and exploiting exogenous shocks to care location choices stemming from base-hospital closures, we find suggestive evidence that liability immunity reduces inpatient spending by 5% with no measurable negative effect on patient outcomes.

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A Fear of Lawsuits Really Does Seem to Result in Extra Medical Tests. By Margot Sanger-Katz
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/23/upshot/malpractice-lawsuits-medical-costs.html
Doctors are known for complaining about how the malpractice system adds costs. But it has been hard to prove, until now.
The New York Times, July 23, 2018

Back in 2010, Tom Price, then a congressman, said he knew the chief reason health care cost so much: “Defensive medicine” was costing the United States $650 billion per year — about 26 percent of every dollar spent.

The widely dismissed estimate from Dr. Price, an orthopedic surgeon who went on to become President Trump’s health and human services secretary before resigning last fall, was memorable for its magnitude.

But American doctors often rail against the country’s medical malpractice system, which they say forces them to order unnecessary tests and procedures to protect themselves if a patient sues them. Some prominent health economists, including those at the Congressional Budget Office, have tended to play down such costs, arguing that medical practice is not too warped by fear of lawsuits. But the question has proved difficult to study, since patients nearly everywhere can sue. Without a control group, it’s hard to know how differently doctors might act if they were less worried about liability.

Researchers from Duke and M.I.T. have found a pocket of America that is different, and they now offer what is perhaps the most precise estimate of how much defensive medicine matters, at least for care in the hospital. They found that the possibility of a lawsuit increased the intensity of health care that patients received in the hospital by about 5 percent — and that those patients who got the extra care were no better off.

“There is defensive medicine,” said Jonathan Gruber, a health economist at M.I.T. and an author of the paper, which was published in draft form Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research.  “But that defensive medicine is not explaining a large share of what’s driving U.S. health care costs.”

Mr. Gruber and Michael D. Frakes, a Duke economist and lawyer, looked at the health care system for active-duty members of the military. Under longstanding law, such patients get access to a government health care system but are barred from suing government doctors and hospitals for malpractice. Their family members can also use the military hospitals, but they can sue for malpractice if they wish.

Their study looked at what happened to the hospital care that military members received when a base closing forced them to use their benefits in civilian hospitals, where it was possible to sue. Spending on their health care increased, particularly on extra diagnostic tests.

They also found that, even within the military hospitals, family members who could sue tended to get more tests than those who could not.

Previous research has primarily looked at the effects of smaller legal reforms, like state caps on the awards that malpractice victims can collect in court. Those studies showed some declines in medical spending related to the policies. But they tended to be small, and yearly variation in medical spending made it difficult to be sure how much of the difference was  because of the legal change.

“They did a nice job of finding a population of patients who are being treated by doctors who didn’t have any liability,” said Mark McClellan, the director of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. Dr. McClellan was a top health official in the George W. Bush administration, which pushed for national liability caps.

The paper’s focus on the hospital allowed the researchers to have a lot of precision in their measurements. But it means they didn’t capture all the places where defensive medicine might occur. It’s possible, for example, that liability concerns cause treatment to rise by more than 5 percent for emergency room patients who go home the same day — or not at all in a typical office visit.

Mr. Frakes and Mr. Gruber examined a large number of quality indicators to determine whether the doctors who practiced less intense medicine on their military patients were somehow cutting corners.  Each measure differed, and there were some places where harm couldn’t be ruled out, but they found no place where the quality of care in the military hospital appeared to clearly be worse.  That finding suggests that, when doctors do extra treatment or testing to avoid liability, they are not necessarily taking extra steps that make their patients any healthier.

“It suggests that physicians change their behavior in response to liability considerations, but they don’t do it in a very calibrated way,” said Michelle Mello, a professor of law and health policy at Stanford, who has studied medical malpractice. “They tend to make a lot of changes that don’t result in better patient care.”

In the federal government and in states, there are frequent proposals to limit medical liability, but there have been no serious efforts to eliminate medical malpractice rights altogether. Mr. Gruber said the paper’s estimates were best viewed as a kind of ceiling for the effects of more realistic reforms.

Any law that limits the cases where patients can sue, or the amount of money they can collect, is likely to lower medical use  in the hospital by less than the 5 percent they measured in their study.

Amitabh Chandra, a health economist at Harvard, said the best policies needed to lower the burden on physicians while still generating “social value.” He said that continued research on the relationship between malpractice pressure and health care quality was important as different approaches were tested.

The most popular state action has been to impose caps on monetary damages. In the paper, the authors suggest different types of changes to malpractice policy, including one in which doctors would be shielded from liability if they adhered to common standards of care. Ms. Mello suggested studying a system in which administrative courts, instead of juries, determined liability and damages.

Other possible approaches haven’t been tried, like a system used for childhood vaccines, in which patients are paid if they are harmed by medical care, regardless of fault.

“Policymakers have only experimented with a limited set of types of reforms to date,” Mr. Frakes said. “We haven’t experimented a lot with more structural reforms to the system.”

Margot Sanger-Katz is a domestic correspondent and writes about health care for The Upshot. She was previously a reporter at National Journal and The Concord Monitor and an editor at Legal Affairs and the Yale Alumni Magazine. @sangerkatz • Facebook

A version of this article appears in print on July 24, 2018, on Page B4 of the New York edition with the headline: Doctors’ Fear of Lawsuits May Hit Patients in the Wallet, Study Hints

Cognitive neuroscience of person identification: Comparing the processes by which people are identified through face & voice, find that face recognition accuracy suffers little or no cost with increases in set size; voice recognition accuracy declines markedly beyond a handful of possibilities

The cognitive neuroscience of person identification. Irving Biederman et al. Neuropsychologia, Volume 116, Part B, 31 July 2018, Pages 205-214. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2018.01.036

Highlights
•    The processes by which people are identified through face and voice are compared.
•    Face recognition accuracy suffers little or no cost with increases in set size.
•    Voice recognition accuracy declines markedly beyond a handful of possibilities.
•    The deficit in congenital phonagnosia need not be perceptual.
•    Face and voice recognition abilities are uncorrelated.

Abstract: We compare and contrast five differences between person identification by voice and face. 1. There is little or no cost when a familiar face is to be recognized from an unrestricted set of possible faces, even at Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP) rates, but the accuracy of familiar voice recognition declines precipitously when the set of possible speakers is increased from one to a mere handful. 2. Whereas deficits in face recognition are typically perceptual in origin, those with normal perception of voices can manifest severe deficits in their identification. 3. Congenital prosopagnosics (CPros) and congenital phonagnosics (CPhon) are generally unable to imagine familiar faces and voices, respectively. Only in CPros, however, is this deficit a manifestation of a general inability to form visual images of any kind. CPhons report no deficit in imaging non-voice sounds. 4. The prevalence of CPhons of 3.2% is somewhat higher than the reported prevalence of approximately 2.0% for CPros in the population. There is evidence that CPhon represents a distinct condition statistically and not just normal variation. 5. Face and voice recognition proficiency are uncorrelated rather than reflecting limitations of a general capacity for person individuation.

Keywords: Voice recognition, Phonagnosia, Face recognition, Prosopagnosia, Face imagination, Voice imagination

Trigger warnings may inadvertently undermine some aspects of emotional resilience: They increase peoples' perceived emotional vulnerability to trauma, the belief that trauma survivors are vulnerable, & increase anxiety to written material perceived as harmful

Trigger warning: Empirical evidence ahead. Benjamin W.Bellet, Payton J.Jones, Richard J. McNally. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbtep.2018.07.002

Highlights
•    Trigger warnings increase peoples' perceived emotional vulnerability to trauma.
•    Trigger warnings increase peoples' belief that trauma survivors are vulnerable.
•    Trigger warnings increase anxiety to written material perceived as harmful.

Abstract

Background and objectives: Trigger warnings notify people of the distress that written, audiovisual, or other material may evoke, and were initially used to provide for the needs of those with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Since their inception, trigger warnings have become more widely applied throughout contemporary culture, sparking intense controversy in academia and beyond. Some argue that they empower vulnerable individuals by allowing them to psychologically prepare for or avoid disturbing content, whereas others argue that such warnings undermine resilience to stress and increase vulnerability to psychopathology while constraining academic freedom. The objective of our experiment was to investigate the psychological effects of issuing trigger warnings.

Methods: We randomly assigned online participants to receive (n = 133) or not receive (n = 137) trigger warnings prior to reading literary passages that varied in potentially disturbing content.

Results: Participants in the trigger warning group believed themselves and people in general to be more emotionally vulnerable if they were to experience trauma. Participants receiving warnings reported greater anxiety in response to reading potentially distressing passages, but only if they believed that words can cause harm. Warnings did not affect participants' implicit self-identification as vulnerable, or subsequent anxiety response to less distressing content.

Limitations: The sample included only non-traumatized participants; the observed effects may differ for a traumatized population.

Conclusions: Trigger warnings may inadvertently undermine some aspects of emotional resilience. Further research is needed on the generalizability of our findings, especially to collegiate populations and to those with trauma histories.

When comparing ideal partner preferences, continually-coupled individuals rated Warmth/Trustworthiness and Vitality lower than newly-coupled individuals: Coupled individuals adjust their ideal mate preferences according to their actual partner

Coupled individuals adjust their ideal mate preferences according to their actual partner. Radka Kučerová, Zsófia Csajbók, Jan Havlíček. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 135, 1 December 2018, Pages 248-257. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2018.07.019

Abstract: It has been suggested that coupled individuals tend to adjust their ideal partner preferences according to their actual partner. In Study 1, we developed a mate preference trait-list and found a four-factor structure (Physical attractiveness, Status/Resources, Vitality, and Warmth/Trustworthiness), which we confirmed in Study 2. In Study 3, we compared ideal and actual partner preferences in continually-coupled and newly-coupled individuals. Ideal partner preferences were recorded in continually-coupled participants while in the relationship and in single participants before they established a relationship. Results showed that discrepancy between ideal and actual partner evaluations was lower in continually-coupled than in newly-coupled individuals when computing Manhattan distance between them. When comparing ideal partner preferences, continually-coupled individuals rated Warmth/Trustworthiness and Vitality lower than newly-coupled individuals. No difference between continually-coupled and newly-coupled individuals was found in their actual partner evaluations. Our results indicate that relationship status significantly affects ideal partner preferences.

Against the widespread belief that modern-day loneliness is inevitable, negative, and universal, loneliness is relatively recent invention, dating from around 1800 that needs to be understood firstly as an “emotion cluster” composed of a variety of affective states

This “Modern Epidemic”: Loneliness as an Emotion Cluster and a Neglected Subject in the History of Emotions. Fay Bound Alberti. Emotion Review, https://doi.org/10.1177/1754073918768876

Abstract: Loneliness is one of the most neglected aspects of emotion history, despite claims that the 21st century is the loneliest ever. This article argues against the widespread belief that modern-day loneliness is inevitable, negative, and universal. Looking at its language and etymology, it suggests that loneliness needs to be understood firstly as an “emotion cluster” composed of a variety of affective states, and secondly as a relatively recent invention, dating from around 1800. Loneliness can be positive, and as much a part of the body as the mind. Using a longue durée approach, I argue that we cannot understand loneliness as a “modern epidemic” without considering its history, its meanings, its practice, and its links with the body.

Keywords: emotion, history, loneliness, longue durée

Friday, July 27, 2018

Malicious poisonings: Agent choice was found to differ between experts & non-experts (depending on whether the event was a threat or a genuine contamination incident); attacks by poison experts were found to be no more deadly than attacks perpetrated by non-experts

Poisoning expertise and outcomes in malicious contamination incidents. Sarah Kilbane. Journal of Criminal Psychology, https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/JCP-02-2018-0008?journalCode=jcp

Abstract:

Purpose: It is often assumed that poisoners and product tamperers are likely to share an interest in or knowledge of poisonous substances. The purpose of this paper is to determine whether perpetrators with existing poison knowledge will choose different contaminating agents than non-experts, as well as whether there is a link between poison expertise and outcomes in malicious contamination cases. Based on their expertise, it is expected that those perpetrators with some form of existing poison knowledge would select more concerning and difficult to obtain agents, and that attacks committed by experts would result in more harm than attacks by non-experts.

Design/methodology/approach: A content analysis was conducted on qualitative descriptions of malicious contamination events, with relevant behavioural variables identified as being present or absent for each individual case. Differences between experts and non-experts in agent choice and incident outcome were then explored using descriptive statistics, contingency tables and Mann-Whitney U tests.

Findings: Agent choice was found to differ between experts and non-experts, with different agents chosen depending on whether the event was a threat or a genuine contamination incident. However, attacks by poison experts were found to be no more deadly than attacks perpetrated by non-experts.

Originality/value: This research provides the first known analysis comparing agent choice and outcomes in malicious contamination incidents as a factor of perpetrator knowledge. Investigative applications are discussed.

Keywords: Expertise, CBRN, Threat, Malicious contamination, Poisoning, Product tampering

Rolf Degen summarizing: Neuroscientists failed to pinpoint the brain correlate of boredom, arguably because many people find their own thoughts so entertaining that they are not easily bored

Finding Consistency in Boredom by Appreciating its Instability. Caitlin Mills, Kalina Christoff. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2018.07.001

Abstract: Boredom has recently piqued cognitive neuroscientific interest, but remains a challenge to scientific investigation in this field. We propose that to advance this research, we should (i) seek greater consistency of operationalization and measurement across studies and participants; and (ii) appreciate the temporal instability of boredom and its ensuing dynamics.


Abstract: Boredom has recently piqued cognitive neuroscientific interest, but remains a challenge to scientific investigation in this field. We propose that to advance this research, we should (i) seek greater consistency of operationalization and measurement across studies and participants; and (ii) appreciate the temporal instability of boredom and its ensuing dynamics.

1932: The electoral sway of the Depression was quite limited, the government was not seen by most voters (including FDR ones) as the major culprit or as having been ineffective in alleviating it; moreover, there was no widespread “doom and gloom” about the future

The American Voter in 1932: Evidence from a Confidential Survey. Helmut Norpoth. PS: Political Science & Politics, https://doi.org/10.1017/S1049096518001014

Abstract: In 1932, the American electorate was surveyed in a poll that has languished in the archives. The survey was conducted by Houser Associates, a pioneer in market research. It interviewed face-to-face a representative cross section about voter choices and issue attitudes. Although conducted on behalf of the Hoover campaign, the poll was not biased in his favor. The most striking revelation is that the electoral sway of the Depression was quite limited. The government was not seen by most voters as the major culprit or as having been ineffective in alleviating it. Even many FDR voters agreed. Moreover, there was no widespread “doom and gloom” about the future. What loomed larger in 1932 was the issue of Prohibition. The American people overwhelmingly favored repeal. The Democratic stand on it—that is, outright repeal—was a sure electoral winner, given Hoover’s staunch defense of Prohibition.

After deciding among moral (but not nonmoral) options, people (in Western cultures) tend to choose more variety in an unrelated task, likely because choosing more variety helps them reassert their sense of choice

Kouchaki, M., Smith, I. H., & Savani, K. (2018). Does deciding among morally relevant options feel like making a choice? How morality constrains people’s sense of choice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pspa0000128

Abstract: We demonstrate that a difference exists between objectively having and psychologically perceiving multiple-choice options of a given decision, showing that morality serves as a constraint on people’s perceptions of choice. Across 8 studies (N = 2,217), using both experimental and correlational methods, we find that people deciding among options they view as moral in nature experience a lower sense of choice than people deciding among the same options but who do not view them as morally relevant. Moreover, this lower sense of choice is evident in people’s attentional patterns. When deciding among morally relevant options displayed on a computer screen, people devote less visual attention to the option that they ultimately reject, suggesting that when they perceive that there is a morally correct option, they are less likely to even consider immoral options as viable alternatives in their decision-making process. Furthermore, we find that experiencing a lower sense of choice because of moral considerations can have downstream behavioral consequences: after deciding among moral (but not nonmoral) options, people (in Western cultures) tend to choose more variety in an unrelated task, likely because choosing more variety helps them reassert their sense of choice. Taken together, our findings suggest that morality is an important factor that constrains people’s perceptions of choice, creating a disjunction between objectively having a choice and subjectively perceiving that one has a choice.

Musical activity during waking seems related to a higher amount of music dreams: About 6% of all remembered dreams contained music, & frequency was significantly higher when the participants spent time with music activities in waking (singing, playing an instrument)

König, N., Fischer, N., Friedemann, M., Pfeiffer, T., Göritz, A. S., & Schredl, M. (2018). Music in dreams and music in waking: An online study. Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, and Brain, 28(2), 65-70. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pmu0000208

Abstract: A connection between music and dreams has been reported in many cultures. Although inspirations by dreams were reported for famous musicians, there are few studies investigating the occurrence of music dreams in the general population. In the present online study, 1,966 participants filled out an online questionnaire concerning their involvement in music in waking and the occurrence of music in dreams. The basic framework for the study was the continuity hypothesis of dreaming; that is, more musical activity during waking should be related to a higher amount of music dreams. About 6% of all remembered dreams contained music, and the frequency was significantly higher when the participants spent time with music activities in waking like singing, playing an instrument, or listening actively to music—supporting the continuity hypothesis. In addition, music dreams were associated with more positive emotions. Future research should study the effects of music in waking on music in dreams over a longer period of time (dream diaries), as well as the dreams of professional musicians.

In professional settings gossipers are more likely to share positive and non-malicious gossip than negative and malicious one; gossipers tend to purposely plan the content to be shared by considering the target-receiver interpersonal closeness

Are we truly wicked when gossiping at work? The role of valence, interpersonal closeness and social awareness. Vito Tassiello, Sara Lombardi, Michele Costabile. Journal of Business Research, Volume 84, March 2018, Pages 141-149. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2017.11.013

Highlights
•    Gossip is a form of conversation that involves three actors simultaneously: the gossiper, the receiver, and the target.
•    In professional settings gossipers are more likely to share positive and non-malicious gossip than negative and malicious one.
•    Gossipers tend to purposely plan the content to be shared by considering the target-receiver interpersonal closeness.

Abstract: This paper questions the belief that gossip is always damaging and that people are more interested in negative than in positive information about others. Starting from this, we seek to understand whether a certain valenced gossip (positive vs. negative and malicious vs. non-malicious) is more likely to be spread in the workplace. We test this relationship through three experimental studies by considering the moderating effect of the social linkages among the actors involved in the gossip. We found that positive and non-malicious gossip are more likely to be shared with co-workers especially when the gossip object belongs to the receiver's social group and when the gossiper reckons that the receiver may verify the news heard. We interpret these results with the lens of impression management, in that people transmit certain gossip to their co-workers with the aim of gaining social status and reputation within their organization, fostering their social bonds.

How our brains may change as a function of systematic changes in our environments: We offer some initial predictions for changes in neural structure and function that may occur in the coming decades

Varnum, Michael E. W., PhD, and Ryan S. Hampton. 2018. “Cultural Changes in Neural Structure and Function.” PsyArXiv. July 27. doi:10.31234/osf.io/52eg3

Abstract: Human cultures are not static. An emerging body of research has documented cultural changes in a wide variety of behaviors, psychological tendencies, and cultural products. Increasingly, this field has also begun to test hypothesis regarding the causes of these changes and to create forecasts for future patterns of change. Yet to date, the question of how our brains may change as a function of systematic changes in our environments has received relatively little attention and scant empirical testing. In the present chapter we begin by reviewing the literature on cultural change, including Varnum and Grossmann’s program of research using a behavioral ecology framework to understand patterns of cultural change. Next we offer some initial predictions for changes in neural structure and function that may occur in the coming decades. Finally, we offer some ideas about how empirical research testing these predictions might be conducted and discuss challenges and opportunities for extending the study of cultural change to neuroscience.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Unintended Consequences of Eliminating Tax Havens: Shifting investment abroad, reducing domestic employment

Unintended Consequences of Eliminating Tax Havens. Juan Carlos Suárez Serrato. NBER Working Paper No. 24850, July 2018. www.nber.org/papers/w24850

JEL No. F23,H25,H26,H32,J23

ABSTRACT: We show that eliminating firms’ access to tax havens has unintended consequences for economic growth. We analyze a policy change that limited profit shifting for US multinationals, and show that the reform raised the effective cost of  investing in the US. Exposed firms respond by reducing global  investment and  shifting investment abroad — which lowered their domestic investment by 38% — and by reducing domestic employment by 1.0 million jobs. We then show that the costs of eliminating tax havens are persistent and geographically concentrated, as more exposed local labor markets experience declines in employment and income growth for over 15 years. We discuss implications of these results for other efforts to limit profit shifting, including new taxes on intangible income in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

Happiness Scales: The findings in the literature are highly dependent on one's beliefs about the underlying distribution of happiness in society, or the social welfare function chosen; any conclusions derived rely on the assumption that all individuals report their happiness in the same way

The Sad Truth About Happiness Scales: Empirical Results. Timothy N. Bond, Kevin Lang. NBER Working Paper No. 24853, July 2018. www.nber.org/papers/w24853

Abstract: We replicate nine key results from the happiness literature: the Easterlin Paradox, the ‘U-shaped’ relation between happiness and age, the happiness trade-off between inflation and unemployment, cross-country comparisons of happiness, the impact of the Moving to Opportunity program on happiness, the impact of marriage and children on happiness, the ‘paradox’ of declining female happiness, and the effect of disability on happiness. We show that none of the findings can be obtained relying only on nonparametric identification. The findings in the literature are highly dependent on one's beliefs about the underlying distribution of happiness in society, or the social welfare function one chooses to adopt. Furthermore, any conclusions reached from these parametric approaches rely on the assumption that all individuals report their happiness in the same way. When the data permit, we test for equal reporting functions, conditional on the existence of a common cardinalization from the normal family. We reject this assumption in all cases in which we test it.

Postcoital Dysphoria: Prevalence and Correlates among Males

Postcoital Dysphoria: Prevalence and Correlates among Males. Joel Maczkowiack & Robert D Schweitzer. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2018.1488326

Abstract: Consensual sexual activity is believed to be associated with a positive emotional experience, however, Postcoital Dysphoria (PCD) is a counter-intuitive phenomenon characterized by inexplicable feelings of tearfulness, sadness, or irritability following otherwise satisfactory consensual sexual activity. Prevalence of PCD has been reported among females, but not among males. The present study utilized an anonymous online questionnaire to examine the prevalence and correlates of PCD amongst an international sample including 1,208 male participants. Forty one percent reported experiencing PCD in their lifetime and 20% reported experiencing PCD in the previous four weeks. Between 3 - 4% of the sample reported experiencing PCD on a regular basis. PCD was found to be associated with current psychological distress, childhood sexual abuse, and several sexual dysfunctions. Results indicate that the male experience of the resolution phase may be far more varied, complex, and nuanced than previously thought and lay a foundation for future research investigating PCD among males. Findings have implications for therapeutic settings as well as the general discourse regarding the male sexual experience.

Key words: Dysphoria, Postcoital, Gender, Males, Resolution

Most Recent Sexual Event: Respondents younger than 30 were significantly more likely to indicate they did not kiss because kissing would have been too intimate with their partner

Kissing, Cuddling, and Massage at Most Recent Sexual Event: Findings from a U.S. Nationally Representative Probability Sample. Debby Herbenick et al. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2018.1494648

Abstract: Using data from the 2014 National Survey of Sexual Health & Behavior, a probability survey of Americans aged 14+, we assessed the prevalence and correlates of kissing, cuddling, and massage during 1493 individuals’ most recent sexual event from the past year. Most respondents reported kissing (87%) and cuddling (70%); fewer (23%) reported massage. Each was significantly associated with age, education, and relationship structure. Respondents younger than 30 were significantly more likely to indicate they did not kiss because kissing would have been too intimate with their partner. Only cuddling was significantly associated with event-level emotional intimacy and sexual pleasure.

Keywords: kissing, cuddling, massage, affection, population-based sexual behavior

Sexual behavior/experience was predicted by body fat percentage; in men, fantasy was related to total self-concept; sexual behavior/experience was related to likeability; in women, arousal was predicted by cardiovascular endurance; total self-concept was related to both orgasm and sex drive/desire

An investigation of the relationship between physical fitness, self-concept, and sexual functioning. LM Jiannine, J Educ Health Promot. 2018 May 3;7:57. doi: 10.4103/jehp.jehp_157_17. eCollection 2018.

Abstract
BACKGROUND: Obesity and inactivity have led to an increasing number of individuals with sexual dysfunctions (43% of women; 31% of men). Small bouts of exercise can drastically improve sexual functioning. Thus, the present study is designed to examine the effects of physical fitness and self-concept on sexual functioning.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Fitness assessments and questionnaires were administered to 133 participants between the ages of 18 and 50 years. Physical fitness was assessed through body composition, cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, and muscular endurance. Self-concept was presented as a total self-concept score and as six individual concepts of self. Sexual function was presented as both an aggregate score and five separate constructs of sexual functioning - fantasy/cognition, arousal, orgasm, behavior/experience, and drive/desire.

RESULTS: The results indicated that sexual behavior/experience was predicted by body fat percentage. In men, fantasy was related to total self-concept; sexual behavior/experience was related to likeability. In women, arousal was predicted by cardiovascular endurance. Total self-concept was related to both orgasm and sex drive/desire. Power and muscular strength were significantly related to number of sexual partners in women but not men.

CONCLUSIONS: The present study adds to the growing body of evidence indicating a positive relationship between physical fitness and sexual health. Individuals with sexual dysfunctions, particularly women, who are not persuaded by the currently publicized benefits of physical activity, may be inclined to exercise to improve sexual functioning.

KEYWORDS: Exercise; physical fitness; self-concept; sexual behavior; sexual functioning

Perceived physical strength in men is attractive to women but may come at a cost to ejaculate quality

Perceived physical strength in men is attractive to women but may come at a cost to ejaculate quality. Yong Zhi Foo et al. Animal Behaviour, Volume 142, August 2018, Pages 191-197. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2018.06.019

Highlights
•    Physical strength is negatively associated with ejaculate quality in men.
•    Physical strength also predicts male mating success.
•    Attractiveness explains the strength – mating success relationship.
•    Male strength increases attractiveness at a cost to ejaculate quality.
•    Our results reveal a trade-off between pre- and post mating sexual selection in men.

Abstract: Studies of sexual selection acting on physical strength in humans have focused mostly on its role in premating male–male competition. Recent theoretical frameworks suggest that male strength could be subject to trade-offs with postmating sperm competitiveness. Here, we examined whether male strength is linked to ejaculate quality. We also asked whether strength is attractive to women and affects male self-reported mating success. Perceived strength was negatively associated with ejaculate quality as predicted by the trade-off hypothesis. Perceived strength positively predicted attractiveness and both perceived strength and attractiveness shared similar variance in predicting self-reported mating success. Our findings indicate that despite the benefits to premating sexual selection, having greater strength may come at a cost to sperm competitiveness.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Children by the age of 6 begin to value ideas over labor; adults value the contribution of the laborer more than the contribution of the idea giver, even when examiners were idea givers; laborers receive more praise for positive outcomes, but less blame for negative outcomes, relative to idea givers

Burgmer, P., Forstmann, M., & Stavrova, O. (2018). Ideas are cheap: When and why adults value labor over ideas. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000473

Abstract: What do people value about a creation: the idea behind it or the labor needed for its implementation? Recent developmental research suggests that children by the age of 6 begin to value ideas over labor. Yet, much less is known about whether adults similarly attribute a higher value to ideas and idea givers than to labor and idea executors. In seven studies (N = 1,463), we explored the relative valuation of ideas versus labor in adults, its mechanisms and boundary conditions. Participants learned about an idea giver and a laborer who collaborated to create a product and indicated who deserves ownership and monetary compensation for the product. Contrary to what has been reported for children, Studies 1a–1c found that participants valued the contribution of the laborer more than the contribution of the idea giver. This labor-valuation effect emerged even when participants themselves were idea givers (Study 1b), and it was replicated across different populations (including legal professionals, Study 1c) and contexts (e.g., art works and businesses, Study 2). Studies 3a and 3b established perceived effort as a central psychological process behind the labor-valuation effect. Finally, Study 4 extended the effect to the realm of praise and blame judgments, showing that laborers receive more praise for positive outcomes, but less blame for negative outcomes, relative to idea givers. The current findings may provide a useful framework for understanding the role of effort in lay people’s valuation of ideas and labor, thereby bridging research on creativity, effort, and valuation judgments.

Mate Choice Copying in Humans: Women were more likely to rate male targets as more desirable when presented alongside a female while no obvious effects were detected with male choice

Mate Choice Copying in Humans: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Amany Gouda-Vossos et al. Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40750-018-0099-y

Abstract
Objective: Mate choice copying (MCC) is a type of non-independent mate choice where the ‘probability of acceptance’ of a potential mate increases if they are observed to be chosen by others first. The phenomenon was first demonstrated in several non-human taxa, with studies on humans conducted shortly after. The effect has been consistently documented among women choosing men (female choice), with mixed results among men choosing women (male choice). To understand and test the overall level of support for MCC in humans, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis, including a sensitivity analysis for publication bias.

Methods: We found that the two most commonly used methods of studying MCC in humans involved either the ‘addition’ of a cue (opposite sex other) or the ‘augmentation’ of cues (manipulating ‘mate quality’ of opposite sex other). We performed separate meta-analyses for these two approaches, splitting each into male choice and female choice.

Results: Women were more likely to rate male targets as more desirable when presented alongside a female while no obvious effects were detected with male choice. These sex differences disappeared in studies that ‘augment’ cues, as both sexes rated targets as more attractive when in the presence of more desirable others. We also detected high levels of heterogeneity in effect sizes and a moderate publication bias in favor of positive reports of MCC.

Conclusions: Our results provide clarification for documented sex differences (or lack thereof) in human MCC. We also discuss the importance of method consistency in studies that transfer ideas from non-human to human behavioral studies, highlighting replication issues in the light of the publication crisis in psychological science.


The more positive (excited, interested, or happy) participants felt after one speed-dating interaction partner, the less attracted they were toward a new interaction partner, & the more negative they felt (irritated or bored), the more attracted they were

The impact of emotions on romantic judgments. Sequential effects in a speed-dating study. Laura Sels et al. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, https://doi.org/10.1177/0265407518789288

Abstract: How do our feelings impact the romantic judgments and decisions we make? In a speed-dating context, where people have to judge potential romantic partners sequentially, we investigated whether and how participants’ prior affective state guided romantic desire toward and actual choice for an interaction partner. We found evidence for contrast effects, meaning that romantic judgments contrasted with the affective states participants were in at the start of a new interaction. The more positive (excited, interested, or happy) participants felt after one interaction partner, the less attracted they were toward a new interaction partner, and the more negative they felt (irritated or bored), the more attracted they were. The effect of negative emotions (NEs) was primarily visible in men, for whom more prior NEs even increased the chance of choosing an interaction partner at the end of the evening. The effect of positive emotions (PEs), however, had faded away when people chose their date at the end. Additional analyses revealed that specific emotions showed differential effects on romantic desire and actual choice and that contrast effects were mediated but not fully explained (at least in the case of PEs) by desire toward the previous interaction partner.

Keywords: Dating, emotion, feelings, judgment and decision-making, romantic attraction

Women are more likely to use social media in a conformist and protective way whereas men have a higher probability to be provocative; subjective life satisfaction more powerfully predicts provocative use compared to age or education

Exploring Selective Exposure and Selective Avoidance Behavior in Social Media. Sanna Malinen, Aki Koivula, Teo Keipi, Ilkka Koiranen. SMSociety '18 Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Social Media and Society, Pages 350-354. https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=3217943

Abstract: This study investigates social media users' preferences of encountering or actively avoiding undesired content and conflicts in social interaction with others. Based on a nationwide survey (N=3706) conducted in Finland and using principal component analysis, we identify three different types of social media use in relation to online information sharing and social interaction: conformist, provocative and protective. We then modelled those variations according to demographic variables and subjective life satisfaction. We found that women are more likely to use social media in a conformist and protective way whereas men have a higher probability to be provocative. We also found that younger and more educated people have a higher probability to use social media in a conformist and protective way. Finally, we suggest that subjective life satisfaction more powerfully predicts provocative use compared to age or education.

Monday, July 23, 2018

I Can Smell Them: People with more extreme political attitudes are better in inferring political affiliation from politicians' faces, regardless whether the politicians and perceivers are from the same or different countries

Interpersonal accuracy in a political context is moderated by the extremity of one's political attitudes. Dominique Muller, Florian Delmas, Michaela Wänke. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Volume 79, November 2018, Pages 95-106. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2018.07.001

Highlights
•    People with more extreme political attitudes are better in inferring political affiliation from politicians´ faces.
•    Extremity can be seen as a facet of attitude strength, but other facets of attitude strength are not related to accuracy.
•    The findings hold regardless whether the politicians and perceivers are from the same or different countries.

Abstract: The political orientation of others can be perceived above chance level from looks alone. However, the effect is usually small and there is considerable interpersonal variance. We propose that the ability to accurately perceive others' political orientation is highest for those who hold more extreme political views themselves, as compared to people with more moderate views. This is because more extreme persons have a higher need to establish clear group boundaries and distinguish between political allies and adversaries. In six studies we investigate the proposed relationship, using participants from three different countries and two different sets of politicians as targets. In line with our hypothesis, attitude extremity was associated with higher accuracy. The robustness of our findings is supported by a small-scale meta-analysis over our studies. An alternative account that attitude strength in general – of which attitude extremity is a sub-facet – would lead to higher accuracy was not supported. Implications and suggestions for future research on interpersonal accuracy are discussed.

Extramarital affairs tend to make people happy, helping to be in love & to have at least biweekly sexual events with the outside partner; and even after the outside partnership ends, there is a higher life satisfaction rating than before the outside partnership

Having Your Cake and Eating It, Too: Factors Impacting Perception of Life Satisfaction During Outside Partnerships. Alicia M. Walker. Sexuality & Culture, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12119-018-9545-z

Abstract: Considering both the prevalence of infidelity and the preoccupation in the U.S. with achieving personal happiness, the question of whether participating in affairs increases perception of life satisfaction is a relevant one. This study utilized a sample population of married individuals specifically seeking extramarital sexual encounters (n = 1070) and investigated those factors which influence the individual’s overall perception of life satisfaction before, during, and after their affairs. Findings indicate that while affairs do tend to make respondents happy, a number of factors influence perception of life satisfaction during an affair, including a belief that an outside partner is required to remain in a primary partnership, a desire to remain in the primary partnership, at least biweekly sexual events with the outside partner, a belief that the individual loves their outside partner, and seeking out the partnership due to sexual dissatisfaction within the primary partnership. There was also a gender effect. A surprising finding was that even after the outside partnership ends, respondents reported a higher life satisfaction rating than before the outside partnership.

Female Eye Attractiveness – Where Beauty Meets Science

Female Eye Attractiveness – Where Beauty Meets Science. Martin Gründl et al. Journal of Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcms.2018.05.034

Summary
Introduction: While periorbital and -ocular surgery ranks amongst the most frequently performed plastic surgical procedures, only scarce information exists regarding the contributing factors of ageing and its systematic anatomic assessment. The presented study, based on measuring distinct physical landmarks, aimed to gather data to provide a foundation of in-depth periorbital analysis in order to more clearly define female eye attractiveness.

Methods: 80 probands (age range: 30 to 50 years, M = 38.4±6.5 years) were asked to judge 60 standardized high-resolution digital pictures of female eye regions in respect to the perceived age (in years) and attractiveness (7-point Likert scale). All photographs were objectively evaluated and measured utilizing a total of 38 distinct landmarks. The data was analyzed by calculating correlations between relevant measured eye area parameters and mean attractiveness ratings including age estimations.

Results: Overall, it was found that several specific eye shape features correlate with attractiveness and perceived age. For instance, large visible height of the iris and large upward and lateral inclination of both eye axis and eyebrows correlated moderately to strongly with attractiveness (p<0 .05="" br="">
Conclusion: Regarding the female eye, there exist distinct periorbital anatomic features and landmarks which contribute to a youthful appearance and attractiveness. Knowledge regarding these facts may serve as an important guideline for pre- and post-operative patient analysis.

Participants (n = 103) interact with a researcher in a testing room that imposed low or high perceptual load. Midway through the conversation, the researcher was replaced by another person. Thirty‐nine percent of participants failed to detect the change

Perceptual load affects change blindness in a real‐world interaction. Gillian Murphy, Lisa Murphy. Applied Cognitive Psychology, https://doi.org/10.1002/acp.3441

Summary: Change blindness is the striking inability to detect seemingly obvious changes that occur between views of a scene. The current study assessed perceptual load as a factor that may affect change blindness for human faces. The study had participants (n = 103) interact with a researcher in a testing room that imposed low or high perceptual load. Midway through the conversation, the researcher was replaced by another person. Thirty‐nine percent of participants failed to detect the change. There was a significant effect of perceptual load, with greater change detection under low load (71%) than high load (52%). This research suggests that the perceptual load imposed by a task may have a significant effect on the likelihood of change blindness and ought to be considered in future research.

People consistently remember being more generous in the past than they actually were; when people perceive their own actions as selfish, they can remember having acted more equitably, thus minimizing guilt and preserving their self-image

Motivated misremembering: Selfish decisions are more generous in hindsight. Ryan W Carlson et al. https://psyarxiv.com/7ck25/

Significance statement: Fairness is widely endorsed in human societies, but less often practiced. Here we demonstrate how memory distortions may contribute to this discrepancy. Across three experiments (N = 1005), we find that people consistently remember being more generous in the past than they actually were. We show that this effect occurs specifically for individuals whose decisions fell below their own fairness standards, irrespective of how high or low those standards were. These findings suggest that when people perceive their own actions as selfish, they can remember having acted more equitably, thus minimizing guilt and preserving their self-image.

Abstract: People often prioritize their own interests, but also like to see themselves as moral. How do individuals resolve this tension? One way to both maximize self-interest and maintain a moral self-image is to misremember the extent of one’s selfishness. Here, we tested this possibility. Across three experiments, participants decided how to split money with anonymous partners, and were later asked to recall their decisions. Participants systematically recalled being more generous in the past than they actually were, even when they were incentivized to recall accurately. Crucially, this effect was driven by individuals who gave less than what they personally believed was fair, independent of how objectively selfish they were.  Our findings suggest that when people’s actions fall short of their own personal standards, they may misremember the extent of their selfishness, thereby warding off negative emotions and threats to their moral self-image.

Key Words: memory, motivation, morality, generosity, decision-making

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The anger group showed higher levels of aggression and status seeking, with the moderator effect of anger intensity; also showed higher dominance scores, differing significantly from the fear, sadness, and/or control groups

Effects of anger on dominance-seeking and aggressive behaviors. João Carlos Centurion Cabral, Rosa Maria Martins de Almeida. Evolution and Human Behavior, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2018.07.006

Abstract: Anger may have evolved to orchestrate social bargaining behaviors, which ultimately can lead to establishment of dominance hierarchies. Although the relationship between anger and dominance has strong empirical support, most studies have focused on visual cues of dominance. Across two experiments, we tested the hypothesis that anger increases dominance-seeking and agonistic behaviors in those who feel it. In the first experiment (n = 82), we induced anger through a hostile mock debate and measured corrugator electromyographic activity, testosterone and cortisol levels, status-seeking tendency, and aggression using behavioral tasks. Compared with the control group, the anger group showed higher levels of aggression and status seeking, with the moderator effect of anger intensity. In the second experiment (n = 162), anger, fear, sadness, and neutral state were induced by film clips, after which dominance-related behavioral tendencies were assessed. The anger group showed higher dominance scores, differing significantly from the fear, sadness, and/or control groups. These findings reinforce the notion that feelings of anger can cause an increase in status-seeking and agonistic behaviors, leading to possible action tendencies for the establishment of dominance hierarchies.

Keywords: Anger, Dominance, Aggression, Emotion, Steroid hormones

Why do angry people overestimate their intelligence? Neuroticism as a suppressor of the association between Trait-Anger and subjectively assessed intelligence

Why do angry people overestimate their intelligence? Neuroticism as a suppressor of the association between Trait-Anger and subjectively assessed intelligence. Marcin Zajenkowski, Gilles E.Gignac. Intelligence, Volume 70, September–October 2018, Pages 12-21. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intell.2018.07.003

Highlights
•    Trait-Anger and Neuroticism are substantially inter-correlated positively.
•    Trait-Anger is positively related to subjectively assessed intelligence (SAI).
•    Neuroticism is negatively related to SAI.
•    Neuroticism suppresses the association of anger and SAI.
•    The effects hold even after controlling for objective intelligence.

Abstract: Trait-Anger and Neuroticism are substantially inter-correlated positively. However, there is some theoretical and empirical research that supports the notion that Trait-Anger and Neuroticism are influenced by several processes differentially. For instance, Trait-Anger is linked to optimistic bias, increased sense of control, approach motivation and high Narcissism. In contrast, Neuroticism correlates with pessimism, low sense of control, withdrawal motivation and low Narcissism. Building on these previous findings, we hypothesized that Trait-Anger and Neuroticism would be positively and negatively, respectively, associated with subjectively assessed intelligence (SAI). Furthermore, we expected that these two traits would act as mutual suppressors in predicting SAI. The results of two studies (ns = 303 and 225) supported our hypotheses. Trait-Anger was positively and Neuroticism negatively related to SAI, even after controlling for objective intelligence. These results are consistent with previous research which suggests that SAI is more substantially associated with personality than objective intelligence. Additionally, in study 2, we found that Narcissism mediated (partially) the relationship between Trait-Anger and SAI. In the discussion, we suggest that there might be two faces of Trait-Anger: one related to anxiety and one to overconfidence. Finally, a potential role of intelligence positive illusions in Trait-Anger is proposed.

Living in human environments help to develop motor skills, embodied cognition, & the use of objects to extend cognition in the animals, so the time needed for foraging for food is reduced, & furnishes opportunities for social learning, including emulation

Cheng, K., & Byrne, R. W. (2018). Why human environments enhance animal capacities to use objects: Evidence from keas (Nestor notabilis) and apes (Gorilla gorilla, Pan paniscus, Pongo abelii, Pongo pygmaeus). Journal of Comparative Psychology, http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/com0000121

Abstract: Formal training programs, which can be called education, enhance cognition in human and nonhuman animals alike. However, even informal exposure to human contact in human environments can enhance cognition. We review selected literature to compare animals’ behavior with objects among keas and great apes, the taxa that best allow systematic comparison of the behavior of wild animals with that of those in human environments such as homes, zoos, and rehabilitation centers. In all cases, we find that animals in human environments do much more with objects. Following and expanding on the explanations of several previous authors, we propose that living in human environments and the opportunities to observe and manipulate human-made objects help to develop motor skills, embodied cognition, and the use of objects to extend cognition in the animals. Living in a human world also furnishes the animals with more time for such activities, in that the time needed for foraging for food is reduced, and furnishes opportunities for social learning, including emulation, an attempt to achieve the goals of a model, and program-level imitation, in which the imitator reproduces the organizational structure of goal-directed actions without necessarily copying all the details. All these factors let these animals learn about the affordances of many objects and make them better able to come up with solutions to physical problems

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Gains vs Losses: Anticipation is associated with time preference, such that the more people enjoy anticipating an event, the more they prefer to delay it, & the more they dread it, the more they prefer to accelerate it

Kisses vs. shocks: Anticipation asymmetries explain time preferences for gains vs. losses. David J. Hardisty, Shane Frederick, Elke U. Weber. Under review. http://davidhardisty.info/downloads/Dread.Manuscript.31.docx

Abstract: The dread of future losses weighs more heavily than the pleasure of anticipating future gains, even after controlling for loss aversion. This happens because waiting for a gain is a mixed emotional experience that is both pleasurable (due to savoring) and painful (due to impatience), whereas waiting for a loss is a more unidimensionally painful experience (dread). Anticipation is associated with time preference, such that the more people enjoy anticipating an event, the more they prefer to delay it, and the more they dread it, the more they prefer to accelerate it. In combination, these findings explain and mediate the "sign" effect in discounting, i.e., the fact that losses are discounted less than gains.

Keywords: intertemporal choice, delay discounting, framing, affect

Maternal pregnancy exposures are assumed to affect offspring health; other factors like paternal & postnatal exposures are also likely to be important, but maternal ones are assumed to be most important; we need to retain a critical perspective regarding this assumption

It's the mother!: How assumptions about the causal primacy of maternal effects influence research on the developmental origins of health and disease. Gemma C.Sharp, Deborah A.Lawlor, Sarah S.Richardson .Social Science & Medicine, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.07.035

Highlights
•    Many maternal pregnancy exposures are assumed to affect offspring health.
•    Other factors like paternal and postnatal exposures are also likely to be important.
•    Nevertheless, maternal pregnancy exposures are assumed to be most important.
•    We need to retain a critical perspective regarding this assumption.
•    Improving the causal evidence base and contextualising findings will help.

Abstract: Research on the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) has traditionally focussed on how maternal exposures around the time of pregnancy might influence offspring health and risk of disease. We acknowledge that for some exposures this is likely to be correct, but argue that the focus on maternal pregnancy effects also reflects implicit and deeply-held assumptions that 1) causal early life exposures are primarily transmitted via maternal traits or exposures, 2) maternal exposures around the time of pregnancy and early infancy are particularly important, and 3) other factors, such as paternal factors and postnatal exposures in later life, have relatively little impact in comparison. These implicit assumptions about the “causal primacy” of maternal pregnancy effects set the agenda for DOHaD research and, through a looping effect, are reinforced rather than tested. We propose practical strategies to redress this imbalance through maintaining a critical perspective about these assumptions.

Rabbits may be able to detect conspecifics in their predators’ scats, thus leading them to, in the short term, avoid areas in which their terrestrial predators’ diet is based on conspecifics, probably as the result of them perceiving a higher risk of predation

European rabbits recognise conspecifics in their predators’ diets. Laura M. Prada, José Guerrero-Casado, Francisco S. Tortosa. acta ethologica, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10211-018-0295-6

Abstract: Rabbits can successfully avoid their enemies by evaluating the risk of predation. They have various defensive strategies, such as morphological adaptations and behaviours patterns, which enable them to perceive their predators and thus reduce the risk of predation. It is well documented that rabbits recognise the scats of terrestrial predators and avoid those areas in which they are present. However, few studies show whether the prey species can recognise the presence of congeners in carnivores’ scats, which would allow them to identify their predators in a more efficient manner. We have carried out a comparative analysis of the use of space made by rabbits on plots on which a neutral odour (water) or the odours of the ferrets’ scats that had consumed either rabbit or another mammal (beef) were applied. Our results showed a lower number of rabbit pellets on those plots containing predator odours than on the control plots. During the first 6 days after applying the first odour, the number of rabbit pellets was lower on plots on which rabbit had been included in the diet when compared with scats obtained from a beef diet. However, no differences between the two experimental plots were recorded during the third visit (9 days after applying the first odour). Our results suggest that rabbits may be able to detect congeners in their predators’ scats, thus leading them to, in the short term, avoid areas in which their terrestrial predators’ diet is based on conspecifics, probably as the result of them perceiving a higher risk of predation.

Males reversed their initial preference for larger females in the presence of a conspecific audience male because they recognized the audience male as a competitor and tried to deceive that male about their real mating preference

Test of the Deception Hypothesis in Atlantic Mollies Poecilia mexicana—Does the Audience Copy a Pretended Mate Choice of Others? Klaudia Witte et al. MDPI.com, http://www.mdpi.com/2079-7737/7/3/40

Abstract: Animals often use public information for mate-choice decisions by observing conspecifics as they choose their mates and then copying this witnessed decision.  When the copier, however, is detected by the choosing individual, the latter often alters its behavior and spends more time with the previously non-preferred mate. This behavioral change is called the audience effect. The deception hypothesis states that the choosing individual changes its behavior to distract the audience from the preferred mate. The deception hypothesis, however, only applies if the audience indeed copies the pretended mate choice of the observed individual. So far, this necessary prerequisite has never been tested. We investigated in Atlantic molly males and females whether, first, focal fish show an audience effect, i.e., alter their mate choices in the presence of an audience fish, and second, whether audience fish copy the mate choice of the focal fish they had just witnessed. We found evidence that male and female Atlantic mollies copy the pretended mate choice of same-sex focal fish. Therefore, a necessary requirement of the deception hypothesis is fulfilled. Our results show that public information use in the context of mate choice can be costly.

Keywords: sexual selection; public information; male mate choice; female mate choice; audience effect; mate-choice copying; social learning; eavesdropping; Atlantic molly; Poecilia mexicana

Secularity, religiosity, and health: Physical and mental health differences between atheists, agnostics, and nonaffiliated theists compared to religiously affiliated individuals

Secularity, religiosity, and health: Physical and mental health differences between atheists, agnostics, and nonaffiliated theists compared to religiously affiliated individuals. Joseph O.Baker, Samuel Stroope, Mark H.Walker. Social Science Research, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssresearch.2018.07.003

Abstract: Extensive literature in the social and medical sciences link religiosity to positive health outcomes. Conversely it is often assumed that secularity carries negative consequences for health; however, recent research outlining different types of secular individuals complicates this assumption. Using a national sample of American adults, we compare physical and mental health outcomes for atheists, agnostics, religiously nonaffiliated theists, and theistic members of organized religious traditions. Results indicate better physical health outcomes for atheists compared to other secular individuals and members of some religious traditions. Atheists also reported significantly lower levels of psychiatric symptoms (anxiety, paranoia, obsession, and compulsion) compared to both other seculars and members of most religious traditions. In contrast, physical and mental health were significantly worse for nonaffiliated theists compared to other seculars and religious affiliates on most outcomes. These findings highlight the necessity of distinguishing among different types of secular individuals in future research on health.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Mate value at a glance: Facial attractiveness reveals women's waist-to-hip ratio and men's household income

Mate value at a glance: Facial attractiveness reveals women's waist-to-hip ratio and men's household income. Ji-eun Shin, Eunkook M.Suh, DaykJang. Personality and Individual Differences. Volume 135, 1 December 2018, Pages 128-130. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2018.07.014

Abstract: Can people make valid inferences about the person's mate value by a glance of his/her face? Eighty-seven independent coders rated how attractive neutral facial pictures of 297 (152 males) undergraduate students were, after viewing each image for 3 s. The facial attractiveness rating significantly correlated with important sex-specific mate qualities. In case of female targets, facial attractiveness predicted their body shape (waist-to-hip ratio; WHR), whereas among males, it correlated with their household income. The results remained after controlling for the positive affectivity reflected in the facial image. It appears that sex-specific markers of mate value are implicitly ingrained in attractive facial features.