Monday, November 19, 2018

Access to copulation decreases measures of male sexual motivation when male subjects were visually exposed to the female they had copulated with & this effect is not counteracted by the view of a new female

Effects of a novel partner and sexual satiety on the expression of male sexual behavior and brain aromatase activity in quail. Catherinede Bournonville et al. Behavioural Brain Research, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2018.11.026

Abstract: This study was designed to determine whether changes in sexual motivation acutely regulate brain estrogen synthesis by aromatase. Five experiments (Exp.1-5) were first conducted to determine the effect of recent mating and of the presentation of a new female (Coolidge effect) on sexual motivation. Exp.1-2 showed that 10 min or overnight access to copulation decreases measures of male sexual motivation when male subjects were visually exposed to the female they had copulated with and this effect is not counteracted by the view of a new female. Exp.3 showed that sexual motivation is revived by the view of a new female in previously unmated males only allowed to see another female for 10 min. After mating for 10 min (Exp.4) or overnight (Exp.5) with a female, males showed a decrease in copulatory behavior that was not reversed by access to a new female. Exp.6 and 7 confirmed that overnight copulation (Exp.6) and view of a novel female (Exp.7) respectively decreases and increases sexual behavior and motivation. Yet, these manipulations did not affect brain aromatase activity except in the tuberal hypothalamus. Together these data confirm that copulation or prolonged view of a female decrease sexual motivation but a reactivation of sexual motivation by a new female can only be obtained if males had only seen another female but not copulated with her, which is different in some degree from the Coolidge effect described in rodents. Moreover changes in brain aromatase do not simply reflect changes in motivation and more complex mechanisms must be considered.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

For the dreamer, the dream world is the real world, best explained in terms of the concept of mental ownership: the exogenous nature of that narrative is the result of an individual assuming perspectival, not personal, ownership of the content

B. Klein, Stan. (2018). The phenomenology of REM-sleep dreaming: The contributions of personal and perspectival ownership, subjective temporality, and episodic memory. Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice. 10.1037/cns0000174

Abstract: Although the dream narrative, of (bio)logical necessity, originates with the dreamer, he or she typically is not aware of this. For the dreamer, the dream world is the real world. In this article, I argue that this nightly misattribution is best explained in terms of the concept of mental ownership (e.g., Albahari, 2006; Klein, 2015a; Lane, 2012). Specifically, the exogenous nature of the dream narrative is the result of an individual assuming perspectival, but not personal, ownership of the content she or he authored (i.e., “The content in my head is not mine. Therefore it must be peripherally perceived”). Situating explanation within a theoretical space designed to address questions pertaining to the experienced origins of conscious content has a number of salutary consequences. For example, it promotes predictive fecundity by bringing to light empirical generalizations whose presence otherwise might have gone unnoticed (e.g., the severely limited role of mental time travel within the dream narrative).

Saving regret (the wish in hindsight to have saved more earlier in life): little of the variation is explained by procrastination & psychological factors; unemployment, health & divorce explain much more

Saving Regret. Axel H. Börsch-Supan, Tabea Bucher-Koenen, Michael D. Hurd, Susann Rohwedder. NBER Working Paper No. 25238, Nov 2018. https://www.nber.org/papers/w25238

Abstract: We define saving regret as the wish in hindsight to have saved more earlier in life. We measured saving regret and possible determinants in a survey of a probability sample of those aged 60-79. We investigate two main causes of saving regret: procrastination along with other psychological traits, and the role of shocks, both positive and negative. We find high levels of saving regret but relatively little of the variation is explained by procrastination and psychological factors. Shocks such as unemployment, health and divorce explain much more of the variation. The results have important implications for retirement saving policies.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Gene discovery & polygenic prediction from a genome-wide association study in 1.1 million individuals: Explain 11–13% of the variance in educational attainment & 7–10% in cognitive performance

Gene discovery and polygenic prediction from a genome-wide association study of educational attainment in 1.1 million individuals. James J. Lee et al. Nature Genetics, volume 50, pages1112–1121 (Jul 2018). https://www.nature.com/articles/s41588-018-0147-3

Abstract: Here we conducted a large-scale genetic association analysis of educational attainment in a sample of approximately 1.1 million individuals and identify 1,271 independent genome-wide-significant SNPs. For the SNPs taken together, we found evidence of heterogeneous effects across environments. The SNPs implicate genes involved in brain-development processes and neuron-to-neuron communication. In a separate analysis of the X chromosome, we identify 10 independent genome-wide-significant SNPs and estimate a SNP heritability of around 0.3% in both men and women, consistent with partial dosage compensation. A joint (multi-phenotype) analysis of educational attainment and three related cognitive phenotypes generates polygenic scores that explain 11–13% of the variance in educational attainment and 7–10% of the variance in cognitive performance. This prediction accuracy substantially increases the utility of polygenic scores as tools in research.

Associations & civil society as key factors in a healthy liberal democracy: do individuals who are members of civil associations vote less for populist parties?; & does membership in associations decrease when populist parties are in power?

Populism and Civil Society. Tito Boeri; Prachi Mishra; Chris Papageorgiou; Antonio Spilimbergo. Int'l Monetary Fund, Working Paper No. 18/245, Nov 16, 2018. https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WP/Issues/2018/11/17/Populism-and-Civil-Society-46324

Summary: Populists claim to be the only legitimate representative of the people. Does it mean that there is no space for civil society? The issue is important because since Tocqueville (1835), associations and civil society have been recognized as a key factor in a healthy liberal democracy. We ask two questions: 1) do individuals who are members of civil associations vote less for populist parties? 2)does membership in associations decrease when populist parties are in power? We answer thesequestions looking at the experiences of Europe, which has a rich civil society tradition, as well as of Latin America, which already has a long history of populists in power. The main findings are that individuals belonging to associations are less likely by 2.4 to 4.2 percent to vote for populist parties, which is large considering that the average vote share for populist parties is from 10 to 15 percent. The effect is strong particularly after the global financial crisis, with the important caveat that membership in trade unions has unclear effects.

Active-sampling policies & their relation to attention & curiosity: Sampling & search depend on individual preferences over cognitive states, including attitudes towards uncertainty, learning progress & types of information

Towards a neuroscience of active sampling and curiosity. Jacqueline Gottlieb & Pierre-Yves Oudeyer. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, volume 19, pages758–770 (2018), https://www.nature.com/articles/s41583-018-0078-0

Abstract: In natural behaviour, animals actively interrogate their environments using endogenously generated ‘question-and-answer’ strategies. However, in laboratory settings participants typically engage with externally imposed stimuli and tasks, and the mechanisms of active sampling remain poorly understood. We review a nascent neuroscientific literature that examines active-sampling policies and their relation to attention and curiosity. We distinguish between information sampling, in which organisms reduce uncertainty relevant to a familiar task, and information search, in which they investigate in an open-ended fashion to discover new tasks. We review evidence that both sampling and search depend on individual preferences over cognitive states, including attitudes towards uncertainty, learning progress and types of information. We propose that, although these preferences are non-instrumental and can on occasion interfere with external goals, they are important heuristics that allow organisms to cope with the high complexity of both sampling and search, and generate curiosity-driven investigations in large, open environments in which rewards are sparse and ex ante unknown.

Generational changes in personality & frequencies of individual words 1900-2002: Modest increase for Extraversion-, Agreeableness-, and Stability-related adjectives; Intellect-related words increased up to 1960, then declined

Generational Changes in Personality: The Evidence From Corpus Linguistics. Eka Roivainen. Psychological Reports, https://doi.org/10.1177/0033294118805937

Abstract: According to theory, social change is interconnected with changes in mental phenomena and language. In the present study, secular change in the usage frequencies of common English personality adjectives (n = 336) qualifying the word person was analyzed over the period 1900 to 2002. It was hypothesized that words that represent those personality traits that are advantageous in occupations typical for modern societies have increased in frequency. The results show changes in the frequencies of individual words but stability across the five major categories of trait adjectives in the Google Books English fiction corpus. A modest increase for Extraversion-, Agreeableness-, and Stability-related adjectives was observed in the Google Books English 2012 corpus. Frequency of Intellect-related words increased up to 1960 and then declined. The results suggest that (a) human nature has changed little over the 20th century, (b) generational changes in personality are not strongly reflected in language, or (c) the corpus linguistic method used is not reliable for studying generational changes in personality.

Keywords: Personality, generational change, Google Ngram, corpus linguistics, societal change

I’m not the person I used to be: Bad actions that happened further in the past are more morally wrong than those that happened more recently

Stanley, M. L., Henne, P., Iyengar, V., Sinnott-Armstrong, W., & De Brigard, F. (2017). I’m not the person I used to be: The self and autobiographical memories of immoral actions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 146(6), 884-895. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000317

Abstract: People maintain a positive identity in at least two ways: They evaluate themselves more favorably than other people, and they judge themselves to be better now than they were in the past. Both strategies rely on autobiographical memories. The authors investigate the role of autobiographical memories of lying and emotional harm in maintaining a positive identity. For memories of lying to or emotionally harming others, participants judge their own actions as less morally wrong and less negative than those in which other people lied to or emotionally harmed them. Furthermore, people judge those actions that happened further in the past to be more morally wrong than those that happened more recently. Finally, for periods of the past when they believed that they were very different people than they are now, participants judge their actions to be more morally wrong and more negative than those actions from periods of their pasts when they believed that they were very similar to who they are now. The authors discuss these findings in relation to theories about the function of autobiographical memory and moral cognition in constructing and perceiving the self over time.


Check also The neural correlates of moral decision-making: A systematic review and meta-analysis of moral evaluations and response decision judgements. Beverley Garrigan, Anna L.R. Adlam, Peter E. Langdon. Brain and Cognition, Volume 108, October 2016, Pages 88-97. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bandc.2016.07.007
Corrigendum to “The neural correlates of moral decision-making: A systematic review and meta-analysis of moral evaluations and response decision judgements” in Brain and Cognition, Volume 111, February 2017, Pages 104-106

Highlights
•    We compared brain activation when making your own moral decision or when evaluating another’s decision.
•    We included 28 experiments and used activation likelihood estimate analysis.
•    The left middle temporal gyrus, cingulate gyrus, and medial frontal gyrus was active for both types of decisions.
•    Making your own decision also activated the left and right middle temporal gyrus and the right precuneus.
•    Making a decision about yourself involves additional brain areas.

Abstract: The aims of this systematic review were to determine: (a) which brain areas are consistently more active when making (i) moral response decisions, defined as choosing a response to a moral dilemma, or deciding whether to accept a proposed solution, or (ii) moral evaluations, defined as judging the appropriateness of another’s actions in a moral dilemma, rating moral statements as right or wrong, or identifying important moral issues; and (b) shared and significantly different activation patterns for these two types of moral judgements. A systematic search of the literature returned 28 experiments. Activation likelihood estimate analysis identified the brain areas commonly more active for moral response decisions and for moral evaluations. Conjunction analysis revealed shared activation for both types of moral judgement in the left middle temporal gyrus, cingulate gyrus, and medial frontal gyrus. Contrast analyses found no significant clusters of increased activation for the moral evaluations-moral response decisions contrast, but found that moral response decisions additionally activated the left and right middle temporal gyrus and the right precuneus. Making one’s own moral decisions involves different brain areas compared to judging the moral actions of others, implying that these judgements may involve different processes.

Arguably this is causal evidence that teacher expectations affect students' educational attainment

Teacher Expectations Matter. Nicholas W. Papageorge, Seth Gershenson, Kyung Min Kang. NBER Working Paper No. 25255, Nov 2018. https://www.nber.org/papers/w25255

Abstract: We develop and estimate a joint model of the education and teacher-expectation production functions that identifies both the distribution of biases in teacher expectations and the impact of those biases on student outcomes via self-fulfilling prophecies. Our approach leverages a unique feature of a nationally representative dataset: two teachers provided their educational expectations for each student. Identification of causal effects exploits teacher disagreements about the same student, an idea we formalize using lessons from the measurement error literature. We provide novel, arguably causal evidence that teacher expectations affect students' educational attainment: Estimates suggest an elasticity of college completion with respect to teachers' expectations of about 0.12. On average, teachers are overly optimistic about students' ability to complete a four-year college degree. However, the degree of over-optimism of white teachers is significantly larger for white students than for black students. This highlights a nuance that is frequently overlooked in discussions of biased beliefs: less biased (i.e., more accurate) beliefs can be counterproductive if there are positive returns to optimism or if there are socio-demographic gaps in the degree of teachers' optimism; we find evidence of both.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Greater frequency of group sex is associated with buying sex, sex with an injection drug user, being high during sex, condomless vaginal sex, victimization history, & sexually transmitted infection incidence

Frequency of Group Sex Participation and Risk for HIV/STI Among Young Adult Nightclub Scene Participants. Mance E. Buttram, Maria E. Pagano & Steven P. Kurtz. International Journal of Sexual Health, Volume 30, 2018 - Issue 1, Pages 12-19. https://doi.org/10.1080/19317611.2017.1385561

ABSTRACT: Objectives: This study examines frequency of group sex participation and associated characteristics and behaviors among a sample of heterosexual young adult participants in Miami's nightclub scene (n = 498).

Methods: Baseline survey assessments were analyzed using zero-inflated binomial regression.

Results: Forty-one percent of the sample reported group sex participation history. Greater frequency of group sex is associated with buying sex, sex with an injection drug user, being high during sex, condomless vaginal sex, victimization history, and sexually transmitted infection incidence (p < .02).

Conclusions: Sexually transmitted infection prevention and intervention efforts should address risks associated with group sex participation.

KEYWORDS: Group sex, heterosexual, STI, HIV, substance use

Orgasm Range and Variability in Humans: Among others, exercise, sleep, drug use, riding in vehicles & rollercoasters, breastfeeding, eating, reading, defecating, auditory stimulation, childbirth, getting tattoed or pierced

Orgasm Range and Variability in Humans: A Content Analysis. Debby Herbenick, Katie Barnhart, Karly Beavers & Dennis Fortenberry. International Journal of Sexual Health, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/19317611.2018.1491920

Abstract: Orgasm frequently occurs from sexual and/or genital stimulation but has been documented outside these contexts and may be better conceptualized as a set of neuropsychological processes.

Objective: To document a range of orgasm experiences.

Methods: A content analysis of 687 anonymously posted online comments related to nonsexual orgasms.

Results: Orgasm types include those related to exercise, sleep, drug use, riding in vehicles, breastfeeding, eating, auditory stimulation, and childbirth, among others.

Conclusions: Orgasm is experienced in association with varied forms of sensory stimulation. This study provides information about the diversity of human orgasm, informing sex education, therapy, and practice.

Keywords: Non-genital orgasm, spontaneous orgasm, orgasm, exercise-induced orgasm

Participants were provided with a list of racist behaviors that purportedly were enacted from a fellow student but in fact were based on the participants’ own behaviors; consistently evaluated themselves as less racist

Examining the asymmetry in judgments of racism in self and others. Angela C. Bell, Melissa Burkley & Jarrod Bock. The Journal of Social Psychology, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00224545.2018.1538930

ABSTRACT: Across three experiments, participants were provided with a list of racist behaviors that purportedly were enacted from a fellow student but in fact were based on the participants’ own behaviors. People consistently evaluated themselves as less racist than this comparison other, even though this other’s racist behaviors were identical to their own. Studies 2a and 2b demonstrate this effect is quite robust and even occurs under social pressure and social consensus conditions in which participants were free to express their racial biases. Thus, it appears that people are less likely to base their racist trait ratings on behavioral evidence when evaluating themselves compared to when they are evaluating another. Taken together, this work provides evidence for the consistency and robustness of self-enhanced social comparisons as applied to the trait domain of racism. Further, this work sheds insight into why people deny they are racist when they act racist.

KEYWORDS: Better than average effect, racism, self-enhancement, self-perception, self-other differences

The effects of parental divorce on individuals’ commitment to same-sex relationships

The effects of parental divorce on individuals’ commitment to same-sex relationships. Lisa M. Godfrey, Amanda D. Kuryluk & Sarah W. Whitton. Marriage & Family Review, Volume 54, 2018 - Issue 8, Pages 806-818. https://doi.org/10.1080/01494929.2018.1503988

Abstract: Research on the intergenerational transmission of divorce has demonstrated that individuals who come from divorced families have reduced commitment to the institution of marriage, which may translate to reduced commitment to one’s current relationship. We tested the association between two components of relationship commitment (dedication and constraint) and parental divorce in a sample of 251 adults in same-sex relationships. Results demonstrated that parental divorce was significantly associated with lower dedication commitment among women, but not men. Parental divorce was not associated with constraint commitment for either gender. These findings suggest that, consistent with research on individuals in different-sex relationships, women in same-sex relationships who come from divorced families may feel less dedicated to their own relationships, putting them at greater risk for relationship instability and divorce.

Keywords: parental divorce, relationship commitment, same-sex couples


When given an opportunity to release the robots from restrainers, as they do for conspecifics, we found that rats did release the robots, & moreover, were significantly more likely to release helpful than unhelpful robots

Quinn, L. K., Schuster, L. P., Aguilar-Rivera, M., Arnold, J., Ball, D., Gygi, E., Heath, S., Holt, J., Lee, D. J., Taufatofua, J., Wiles, J., & Chiba, A. A. (2018). When rats rescue robots. Animal Behavior and Cognition, 5(4), 368–379. https://doi.org/10.26451/abc.05.04.04.2018

Abstract: Robots are increasingly being used to monitor and even participate in social interactions with animals in their own environments. Robotic animals enable social behaviors to be observed in natural environments, or specifically elicited under the control of an experimenter. It is an open question to what extent animals will form positive social connections with such robots. To test this, we familiarized rats to two rat-sized robots, one exhibiting “social” behaviors, including helping, while the other was also mobile but not helpful. When given an opportunity to release the robots from restrainers, as they do for conspecifics, we found that rats did release the robots, and moreover, were significantly more likely to release the helpful than the unhelpful robot. These findings indicate that robots can elicit helpful behavior from rats, and that rats will even discriminate between robots on the basis of their behaviors.

Keywords: Rat, Robot, Reciprocity, Pro-social

Gender differences were smaller than previously theorized, with 10.3% of men and 7.0% of women endorsing clinically relevant levels of distress or impairment associated with difficulty controlling sexual feelings, urges, & behavior

Prevalence of Distress Associated With Difficulty Controlling Sexual Urges, Feelings, and Behaviors in the United States. Janna A. Dickenson et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2018;1(7):e184468. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.4468

Key Points

Question  What is the prevalence among US men and women of the primary feature of compulsive sexual behavior disorder, distress and impairment associated with having difficulty controlling one’s sexual feelings, urges, and behaviors?

Findings  In this survey study, we found that 8.6% of the nationally representative sample (7.0% of women and 10.3% of men) endorsed clinically relevant levels of distress and/or impairment associated with difficulty controlling sexual feelings, urges, and behaviors.

Meaning  The high prevalence of such symptoms has major public health relevance as a sociocultural problem and indicates a significant clinical problem that should be recognized by health care professionals.

Abstract

Importance  The veracity, nomenclature, and conceptualizations of sex addiction, out-of-control sexual behavior, hypersexual behavior, and impulsive or compulsive sexual behavior are widely debated. Despite such variation in conceptualization, all models concur on the prominent feature: failing to control one’s sexual feelings and behaviors in a way that causes substantial distress and/or impairment in functioning. However, the prevalence of the issue in the United States is unknown.

Objective  To assess the prevalence of distress and impairment associated with difficulty controlling sexual feelings, urges, and behaviors among a nationally representative sample in the United States.

Design, Setting, and Participants  This survey study used National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior data to assess the prevalence of distress and impairment associated with difficulty controlling sexual feelings, urges, and behaviors and determined how prevalence varied across sociodemographic variables. Participants between the ages of 18 and 50 years were randomly sampled from all 50 US states in November 2016.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Distress and impairment associated with difficulty controlling sexual feelings, urges, and behavior were measured using the Compulsive Sexual Behavior Inventory–13. A score of 35 or higher on a scale of 0 to 65 indicated clinically relevant levels of distress and/or impairment.

Results  Of 2325 adults (1174 [50.5%] female; mean [SD] age, 34.0 [9.3] years), 201 [8.6%] met the clinical screen cut point of a score of 35 or higher on the Compulsive Sexual Behavior Inventory. Gender differences were smaller than previously theorized, with 10.3% of men and 7.0% of women endorsing clinically relevant levels of distress and/or impairment associated with difficulty controlling sexual feelings, urges, and behavior.

Conclusions and Relevance  The high prevalence of this prominent feature associated with compulsive sexual behavior disorder has important implications for health care professionals and society. Health care professionals should be alert to the high number of people who are distressed about their sexual behavior, carefully assess the nature of the problem within its sociocultural context, and find appropriate treatments for both men and women.

Strategies people spontaneously use in their everyday lives to regulate their persistence during aversive activities; trait self-control & strategy use appear to represent separate routes to good self-regulation

Hennecke, Marie, Thomas Czikmantori, and Veronika Brandstätter. 2018. “Doing Despite Disliking: Self-regulatory Strategies in Everyday Aversive Activities.” PsyArXiv. November 7. doi:10.31234/osf.io/ps7fk

Abstract: We investigated the self-regulatory strategies people spontaneously use in their everyday lives to regulate their persistence during aversive activities. In pilot studies (pooled N = 794), we identified self-regulatory strategies from self-reports and generated hypotheses about individual differences in trait self-control predicting their use. Next, deploying ambulatory assessment (N = 264, 1940 reports of aversive/challenging activities), we investigated predictors of the strategies’ self-reported use and effectiveness (trait self-control, demand types). The popularity of strategies varied across demands. In addition, people higher in trait self-control were more likely to focus on the positive consequences of a given activity, set goals, and use emotion regulation. Focusing on positive consequences, focusing on negative consequences (of not performing the activity), thinking of the near finish, and emotion regulation increased perceived self-regulatory success across demands, whereas distracting oneself from the aversive activity decreased it. None of these strategies, however, accounted for the beneficial effects of trait self-control on perceived self-regulatory success. Hence, trait self-control and strategy use appear to represent separate routes to good self-regulation. By considering trait- and process-approaches, these findings promote a more comprehensive understanding of self-regulatory success and failure during people’s daily attempts to regulate their persistence.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Thoughts about the present were common during social interaction, felt pleasant, but lacked to meaningfulness; about the past were relatively unpleasant and involuntary

Baumeister, Roy. 2018. “Everyday Thoughts in Time: Experience Sampling Studies of Mental Time Travel.” PsyArXiv. October 2. doi:10.31234/osf.io/3cwre

Abstract: Time is an important yet mysterious aspects of human conscious experience. We investigated time in everyday thoughts. Two community samples, contacted at random points for three (Study 1; 6,686 reports) and 14 days (Study 2; 2,361 reports), reported on their most recent thought. Both studies found that thoughts about the present and future were frequent, whereas thoughts about the past were rare. Thoughts about the present were common during social interaction, felt pleasant, but lacked to meaningfulness. Thoughts about the future included desires to satisfy goals and usually involved planning. Thoughts about the past were relatively unpleasant and involuntary. Subjective experiences of past and future thoughts often were similar and differed from present focus, consistent with views that memory and prospection use similar mental structures. Taken together, the present work provides unique insights into the conscious experience of time highlights the pragmatic utility of future thought.

Though women are generlly more liberal than men, on marijuana legalization are more conservative; best explanations are women's greater religiosity and men's greater drug use

Gender and the Politics of Marijuana. Laurel Elder, Steven Greene. Social Science Quarterly, https://doi.org/10.1111/ssqu.12558

Abstract

Objectives: The objectives of this study were to understand why, even though women are more liberal than men on a broad range of issues, when it comes to the increasingly prominent issue of marijuana legalization, the direction of the gender gap is reversed, with women more conservative than men.

Methods: Relying on a 2013 Pew survey—unique for the extensiveness of its marijuana questions, including marijuana usage—we explore and attempt to explain the nature of this unusual gender gap. We test several hypotheses rooted in the different life experiences of women and men.

Results: We find that women's role as mothers cannot explain this gap, and that mothers are in fact no different from those without children in terms of their support for marijuana policy, as well as their reported use of marijuana. The greater religiosity of women does play a prominent role in the gender gap on marijuana policy, but does not account for the full difference of opinion between women and men. Our findings suggest that men's greater propensity relative to women to use marijuana is a major driver behind the gender gap.

Conclusions: Not only are attitudes on marijuana legalization likely to continue to liberalize, but as marijuana legalization and marijuana use become normalized, rather than viewed as immoral and dangerous behavior, the existing gender gap should shrink.

Rats prefer social interaction to drug addiction

Volitional social interaction prevents drug addiction in rat models. Marco Venniro, Michelle Zhang, Daniele Caprioli, Jennifer K. Hoots, Sam A. Golden, Conor Heins, Marisela Morales, David H. Epstein & Yavin Shaham. Nature Neuroscience, volume 21, pages1520–1529 (2018). https://www.nature.com/articles/s41593-018-0246-6

Abstract: Addiction treatment has not been appreciably improved by neuroscientific research. One problem is that mechanistic studies using rodent models do not incorporate volitional social factors, which play a critical role in human addiction. Here, using rats, we introduce an operant model of choice between drugs and social interaction. Independent of sex, drug class, drug dose, training conditions, abstinence duration, social housing, or addiction score in Diagnostic & Statistical Manual IV-based and intermittent access models, operant social reward prevented drug self-administration. This protection was lessened by delay or punishment of the social reward but neither measure was correlated with the addiction score. Social-choice-induced abstinence also prevented incubation of methamphetamine craving. This protective effect was associated with activation of central amygdala PKCδ-expressing inhibitory neurons and inhibition of anterior insular cortex activity. These findings highlight the need for incorporating social factors into neuroscience-based addiction research and support the wider implantation of socially based addiction treatments.

Pet dogs, like all other tested animals, appear to be unable to learn a seemingly simple lesson: That less can mean more

Any reward will do: Effects of a reverse-reward contingency on size preference with pet dogs (Canis lupus familiaris). Jonathan K. Fernand, Haleh Amanieh, David J. Cox, Nicole R. Dorey. Learning & Behavior, https://link.springer.com/article/10.3758/s13420-018-0343-0

Abstract: The reverse-reward contingency (RRC) task involves presenting subjects with a choice between one plate containing a large amount of food and a second plate containing a small amount of food. Subjects are then required to select the smaller of the two options in order to receive the larger-magnitude reward. The RRC task is a commonly used paradigm for assessing complex cognition, such as inhibitory control, in subjects. To date, the RRC task has not been tested with pet dogs as subjects, and it may provide insights to their ability to perceive quantities of differing magnitudes. Nine dogs were tested in an RRC task involving three conditions. In Condition 1, plates of food were presented, and the dogs were allowed to consume their choice. In Condition 2, plates with different-sized symbols resembling the quantities of food in Condition 1 were presented, and dogs received food quantities of the same size as their choice (e.g., a larger-magnitude reward for selecting the plate with the larger shape). In Condition 3, the same plates were presented, but dogs received a reverse-sized quantity of food, relative to their choice (e.g., a smaller-magnitude reward for selecting the plate with the larger shape). A novel addition here to the traditional RRC task was the inclusion of a third, empty (control) plate that was present throughout all conditions, and no programmed consequences were provided when that plate was selected. Our results were consistent with the previous RRC literature: All dogs developed and maintained a preference for the larger stimulus option across conditions. The use of symbolic representations did not ameliorate performance on the RRC task. Applied implications are discussed.

Keywords: Contingency reversal Reverse-reward contingency Visual discrimination

This evidence supports the view that financial cycles are a recurrent and inherent feature of the financial system, strengthening the case for macroprudential and monetary policies that lean against the wind

Measuring financial cycle time. Andrew Filardo, Marco Jacopo Lombardi and Marek Raczko. BIS Working Papers, No 755, Nov 14 2018. https://www.bis.org/publ/work755.htm

Summary

Focus: Even though the Great Financial Crisis sparked interest in financial cycles, researchers and policymakers have yet to forge a workhorse model. One reason is the disagreement about key factors leading to the crisis. While some argue it resulted from a unique set of developments that exposed weaknesses in the financial regulatory system, others point to broad similarities across past boom-bust experiences. They infer from these similarities that cycles are an inherent feature of financially liberalised economies. We look at broad historical swings in financial cycles to weigh up these views.

Contribution: This paper adds a new perspective to the literature on empirical financial cycles. It highlights the recurring and inherent nature of swings in financial conditions, which result in costly booms and busts. However, this characterisation does not appear so obvious when looking at conventionally plotted historical data (that is, observed in calendar time). We shed light on the facts by distinguishing between financial cycles in calendar time and in what we call "financial cycle time".

Findings: Extending the methods pioneered by James Stock (1987) in his study of business cycles, we find that historical swings in the financial cycle exhibit statistical time deformation, which is time-varying. Changes in this gap between calendar time and financial cycle time are strongly associated with time-varying macrofinancial risk perceptions. Key risk indicators include the long-term real interest rate, inflation volatility and corporate credit spreads. The implications for statistical modelling, endogenous risk-taking economic behaviour and policy are highlighted. This evidence supports the view that financial cycles are a recurrent and inherent feature of the financial system, strengthening the case for macroprudential and monetary policies that lean against the wind.

Abstract: Motivated by the traditional business cycle approach of Burns and Mitchell (1946), we explore cyclical similarities in financial conditions over time in order to improve our understanding of financial cycles. Looking back at 120 years of data, we find that financial cycles exhibit behaviour characterised by recurrent, endogenous swings in financial conditions, which result in costly booms and busts. Yet the recurrent nature of such swings may not appear so obvious when looking at conventionally plotted time-series data (that is, observed in calendar time). Using the pioneering framework developed by Stock (1987), we offer a new statistical characterisation of the financial cycle using a continuous-time autoregressive model subject to time deformation, and test for systematic differences between calendar and a new notion of financial cycle time. We find the time deformation to be statistically significant, and associated with levels of long-term real interest rates, inflation volatility and the perceived riskiness of the macro-financial environment. Implications for statistical modelling, endogenous risk-taking economic behaviour and policy are highlighted.

JEL classification: E32, G01, F32, F34, E58, E71, D80
Keywords: financial cycles, continuous-time autoregressive models, time deformation, behavioural economics, endogenous risk-taking behaviour, central banking

More attractive faces—especially of the other sex—were looked at longer; the more sociosexually unrestricted participants who were single had the highest attractiveness-attention correlation

How relationship status and sociosexual orientation influence the link between facial attractiveness and visual attention. Aleksandra Mitrovic, Juergen Goller, Pablo P. L. Tinio, Helmut Leder. PLOS One, Nov 14, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0207477

Abstract: Facial attractiveness captures and binds visual attention, thus affecting visual exploration of our environment. It is often argued that this effect on attention has evolutionary functions related to mating. Although plausible, such perspectives have been challenged by recent behavioral and eye-tracking studies, which have shown that the effect on attention is moderated by various sex- and goal-related variables such as sexual orientation. In the present study, we examined how relationship status and sociosexual orientation moderate the link between attractiveness and visual attention. We hypothesized that attractiveness leads to longer looks and that being single as well as being more sociosexually unrestricted, enhances the effect of attractiveness. Using an eye-tracking free-viewing paradigm, we tested 150 heterosexual men and women looking at images of urban real-world scenes depicting two people differing in facial attractiveness. Participants additionally provided attractiveness ratings of all stimuli. We analyzed the correlations between how long faces were looked at and participants’ ratings of attractiveness and found that more attractive faces—especially of the other sex—were looked at longer. We also found that more sociosexually unrestricted participants who were single had the highest attractiveness-attention correlation. Our results show that evolutionary predictions cannot fully explain the attractiveness-attention correlation; perceiver characteristics and motives moderate this relationship.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

People who were either not religious at all or very religious were the ones who most supported the killing of animals; belief in God in itself was related to less support for killing animals

Religiosity and Support for Killing Animals: Evidence of a Curvilinear Relationship. Uri Lifshin, Jeff Greenberg & Daniel Sullivan. Anthrozoös, Pages 695-709. https://doi.org/10.1080/08927936.2018.1529352

ABSTRACT: Prior research shows that the correlation between religiosity and support for animal rights can be positive, negative, or zero. We hypothesized that this relationship may actually be curvilinear, where a moderate degree of religiosity may reduce support for killing animals (compared with non-religiosity or atheism), but a very high degree of religiosity (e.g., fundamentalism) might increase support for killing animals. We tested this hypothesis in a large sample of American undergraduate students, using a correlational study design with self-report measures of religiosity and of support for killing animals in different domains. The results indicated that, in support of our hypothesis, the relationship between religiosity and support for killing animals is curvilinear, as moderate levels of religiosity were related to less support for killing animals. People who were either not religious at all or very religious were the ones who most supported the killing of animals. Belief in God in itself was related to less support for killing animals. We then replicated the curvilinear relationship between religiosity and support for killing animals using data from four experiments from a previously published article on support for killing animals. We briefly consider possible explanations for these findings, the limitations of the study, and propose directions for future research. Overall, we believe that this study helps clarify the complex relationship between religiosity and support for killing animals, and advances the scientific understanding of the psychological forces that motivate people to support or object to the killing of animals.

Keywords: attitudes, belief in God, human–animal interaction, killing, religiosity

The 2000s should be seen as an exceptional period in the global economy during which multinational firms benefitted from reduced labour costs through offshoring, while capitalising on existing firm-specific intangibles (brand names) at little marginal cost

Factor Incomes in Global Value Chains: The Role of Intangibles. Wen Chen, Bart Los, Marcel P. Timmer. NBER Working Paper No. 25242, https://www.nber.org/papers/w25242

Abstract: Recent studies document a decline in the share of labour and a simultaneous increase in the share of residual (‘factorless’) income in national GDP. We argue the need for study of factor incomes in cross-border production to complement country studies. We define a GVC production function that tracks the value added in each stage of production in any country-industry. We define a new residual as the difference between the value of the final good and the payments to all tangibles (capital and labour) in any stage. We focus on GVCs of manufactured goods and find the residual to be large. We interpret it as income for intangibles that are (mostly) not covered in current national accounts statistics. We document decreasing labour and increasing capital income shares over the period 2000-14. This is mainly due to increasing income for intangible assets, in particular in GVCs of durable goods. We provide evidence that suggests that the 2000s should be seen as an exceptional period in the global economy during which multinational firms benefitted from reduced labour costs through offshoring, while capitalising on existing firm-specific intangibles, such as brand names, at little marginal cost.




Altruistic indulgence: people voluntarily consume high-calorie foods to make other people feel comfortable and pleasant instead of guilty

Altruistic indulgence: people voluntarily consume high-calorie foods to make other people feel comfortable and pleasant. Youjae Yi, Jacob C. Lee & Saetbyeol Kim. Social Influence, https://doi.org/10.1080/15534510.2018.1546616

ABSTRACT: We explored a novel phenomenon where people in certain social contexts voluntarily consume high-calorie foods with the altruistic motive of making other people feel comfortable and pleasant. We hypothesized that people are likely to choose a high-calorie food, especially around others with whom they have communal relationships (e.g., friends), because of the desire to induce in others feelings of pleasantness rather than guilt. A field study at a café shows that this phenomenon emerges in the real world, and a scenario-based experiment supports our altruistic account with mediation analyses. The alternative explanation of a social acceptance account is ruled out.

KEYWORDS: Indulgence, altruism, decision making for others, social eating, social influence

Aging and Decision-Making: A Conceptual Framework for Future Research

Aging and Decision-Making: A Conceptual Framework for Future Research - A Mini-Review. C E Löckenhoff. Gerontology 2018;64:140-148. https://doi.org/10.1159/000485247

Abstract: Age differences in decision-making are of theoretical interest and have important practical implications, but relevant lines of work are distributed across multiple disciplines and often lack integration. The present review proposes an overarching conceptual framework with the aim of connecting disjointed aspects of this field of research. The framework builds on process models of decision-making and specifies potential mechanisms behind age effects as well as relevant moderators including task characteristics and contextual factors. After summarizing the extant literature for each aspect of the framework, compensatory mechanisms and ecological fit between different components of the model are considered. Implications for real-life decision-making, remaining research gaps, and directions for future research are discussed.

Psychoanalytic as well as cognitive-behavioural long-term treatments lead to significant and sustained improvements of depressive symptoms of chronically depressed patients exceeding effect sizes of other international outcome studies

Outcome of Psychoanalytic and Cognitive-Behavioural Long-Term Therapy with Chronically Depressed Patients: A Controlled Trial with Preferential and Randomized Allocation. Marianne Leuzinger-Bohleber et al. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, https://doi.org/10.1177/0706743718780340

Abstract

Objective: For chronic depression, the effectiveness of brief psychotherapy has been limited. This study is the first comparing the effectiveness of long-term cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and long-term psychoanalytic therapy (PAT) of chronically depressed patients and the effects of preferential or randomized allocation.

Methods: A total of 252 adults met the inclusion criteria (aged 21-60 years, major depression, dysthymia, double depression for at least 24 months, Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptoms [QIDS] >9, Beck Depression Inventory II [BDI] >17, informed consent, not meeting exclusion criteria). Main outcome measures were depression self-rating (BDI) and rating (clinician-rated QIDS [QIDS-C]) by independent, treatment-blinded clinicians. Full remission rates (BDI ≤12, QIDS-C ≤5) were calculated. An independent center for data management and biostatistics analyzed the treatment effects and differences using linear mixed models (multilevel models and hierarchical models).

Results: The average BDI declined from 32.1 points by 12.1 points over the first year and 17.2 points over 3 years. BDI overall mean effect sizes increased from d = 1.17 after 1 year to d = 1.83 after 3 years. BDI remission rates increased from 34% after 1 year to 45% after 3 years. QIDS-C overall effect sizes increased from d = 1.56 to d = 2.08, and remission rates rose from 39% after 1 year to 61% after 3 years. We found no significant differences between PAT and CBT or between preferential and randomized allocation.

Conclusions: Psychoanalytic as well as cognitive-behavioural long-term treatments lead to significant and sustained improvements of depressive symptoms of chronically depressed patients exceeding effect sizes of other international outcome studies.

Keywords: chronic, treatment-resistant depression, psychoanalytic psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioural therapy, long-term psychotherapy, remission, outcome

Propaganda & Nation Building: Those exposed to government propaganda have lower salience of ethnicity, increased inter-ethnic trust & show more willingness to interact face-to-face with members of another ethnic group

Arthur Thomas Blouin and Sharun W. Mukand, "Erasing Ethnicity? Propaganda, Nation Building and Identity in Rwanda," Journal of Political Economy, https://doi.org/10.1086/701441

Abstract: This paper examines whether propaganda broadcast over radio helped to change inter-ethnic attitudes in post-genocide Rwanda. We exploit variation in exposure to the government’s radio propaganda due to the mountainous topography of Rwanda. Results of lab-in-the-field experiments show that individuals exposed to government propaganda have lower salience of ethnicity, increased inter-ethnic trust and show more willingness to interact face-to-face with members of another ethnic group. Our results suggest that the observed improvement in inter-ethnic behavior is not cosmetic, and reflects a deeper change in inter-ethnic attitudes. The findings provide some of the first quantitative evidence that the salience of ethnic identity can be manipulated by governments.

Popular derogatory terms are associated with trait Antagonism, as well as other behaviors that comprise Antagonism’s nomological network (bullying, psychopathy, etc.)

The anatomy of an insult: Popular derogatory terms connote important individual differences in Agreeableness/Antagonism. Courtland S. Hyatt, Jessica L. Maples-Keller, Chelsea E. Sleep, Donald R. Lynam, Joshua D. Miller. Journal of Research in Personality, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2018.11.005

Highlights
•    Insults are commonly used, but less is known about what they connote.
•    Asshole, dick, and bitch are the most commonly used insults.
•    Self-endorsement of insults is associated with trait Antagonism.
•    Insult endorsement is also related to antisocial behavior (e.g,. aggression).
•    Colloquial phrases appear to convey important personality-related information.

Abstract: In the current series of studies, we investigate the psychosocial connotations of common insults. In Studies 1 and 2, we investigated the most frequently used insults to denigrate men and women (asshole, dick, bitch), and generated trait profiles that can be considered prototypical of each insult. In Studies 3 and 4, we examined how these insults are relevant to other key indicators of interpersonal functioning, including aggression, social information processing, personality disorders, and substance use. We also gathered thin-slice and informant reports. Each of the insults was associated with trait Antagonism, as well as other behaviors that comprise Antagonism’s nomological network (e.g., bullying, psychopathy, etc.). Results are discussed in terms of the importance of everyday language to psychological research.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

White dreams (feeling of having had a dream experience without being able to specify this experience any further): What studying contentless dreams can teach about the neural basis of dreaming & conscious experiences

White dreams are made of colours: What studying contentless dreams can teach about the neural basis of dreaming and conscious experiences. Peter Fazekas, Georgina Nemeth, MortenOvergaard. Sleep Medicine Reviews, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2018.10.005

Summary: Reports of white dreams, the feeling of having had a dream experience without being able to specify this experience any further, make up almost one third of all dream reports, yet this phenomenon—until very recently—had not yet been in the focus of targeted investigations. White dreams are typically interpreted as forgotten dreams, and are sidelined as not being particularly informative with regard to the nature of dreaming. In this review article, we propose a paradigm shift with respect to the status of white dreams arguing that focusing on this phenomenon can reveal fundamental insights about the neural processes that occur in the dreaming brain. As part of this paradigm shift, we propose a novel interpretation of what white dreams are. This new interpretation is made possible by recent advancements in three different though interrelated fields focusing on dreaming, mental imagery, and wakeful perception. In this paper, we bring these different threads together to show how the latest findings from these fields fit together and point towards a general framework regarding the neural underpinnings of conscious experiences that might turn out to be highly relevant not just for dream research but for all aspects of studying consciousness.

Use investigative powers to dramatize how policy rollbacks on clean air and water are hurting children’s health, leading to thousands more deaths and increased chronic pulmonary and heart disease

By Paul Bledsoe, PPI Strategic Advisor

By all accounts, House Democrats return to Washington this week to begin planning their priorities for 2019 in an aggressive frame of mind. But on climate change and energy issues, rather than simply responding to Trump’s latest provocation (like those regarding California wildfires), they must step back and take a strategic approach.
This means Democrats must have the discipline to subordinate all other considerations to the key goal of creating the political and policy conditions needed to enact landmark energy and climate legislation after 2020, when they may well win back the White House and Senate. Indeed, how they handle energy and climate in the next two years will play a critical role in determining whether they gain the power to act.

Despite bright spots in Nevada and several Governors races, the mid-term elections held some cautionary lessons. The defeat in Washington State of a carbon tax referendum and several other climate-related measures in Arizona and Colorado, along with apparent state-wide losses in “ground-zero” climate impacts states of Florida and Texas, should be sobering.
The politics of climate change are complex, even for voters already suffering from its impacts. Swing voters will not respond to far-left ideological crusades or simple-minded attempts to rigidly impose “best” climate policies from above. Such approaches have largely failed as political matter for nearly 30 years now.
The good news is that winning House control allows Democrats to develop economically-framed climate change messages and policies that are powerfully in America’s self-interest and also popular with voters. Democrats must starkly contrast their cost-effective climate policies with the nihilistic and defeatist policy rollbacks of Trump Republicans, rollbacks that are putting our people, economy and security at risk.
But making climate action a popular mainstream political issue will require a strategy that integrates climate policies more coherently into broader economic, public safety and security messages and goals that the American people already share, setting the stage for policy action in 2021.
With these goals in mind, House Democrats should establish a set of basic principles to guide their approaches on climate and energy over the next two years, including:
Frame climate change as a kitchen table issue of rising economic costs, public safety and national security. Climate impacts are here and now, already costing thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars. Stop “debating” proven climate science, and focus less on technical issues. Discuss climate change in immediate, human, local, economic, safety and security terms. More dollars and sense, fewer charts and graphs.  Here and now, not about 2050.
Hold Trump accountable for policy rollbacks and the climate change impacts that are costing taxpayers billions, harming public health and worsening climate change. Focus oversight attention on the huge economic and human costs of climate impacts, including larger storms, bigger wildfires, sea-level rise, infectious disease and other impacts. Use investigative powers to dramatize how policy rollbacks on clean air and water are hurting children’s health, leading to thousands more deaths and increased chronic pulmonary and heart disease, and how freezing fuel economy is hitting drivers at the pump. Shine a spotlight on Trump’s arbitrary and capricious rollbacks of sensible regulations on super climate pollutants like methane and HFCs.
Integrate climate policy into infrastructure, tax reform, national security, and disaster-response bills, instead of standalone “climate” proposals. When climate action is included as part of overall pro-growth economic and security policies that benefit middle class and working-class Americans, it will be more popular. For example, do not pursue standalone carbon taxes legislation; such taxes should only be included as part of overall pro-growth tax reform proposals (and be voted on no earlier than 2021). Repeal the Republican tax giveaway and replacing it will tax policies that benefit the middle and working class. In other words, undertake climate action as part of pro-growth economic, job creation, infrastructure and security policy, not just environmental policy.
Don’t force Democrats to take purely symbolic but politically problematic votes. Keep your power dry. Save difficult votes for 2021 or whenever Democrats next have the actual power to make key climate legislation become law.
Invoke a can-do Democratic spirit: America can meet the energy and climate challenge and lead the world, if Democrats are in charge. Trump and Republicans are climate defeatists, who deny the very existence of climate change because they have no solutions to deal with it. Simply put, Trump and Republicans are climate wimps—the problem is just too tough for them. But not for Democrats. The party of John Kennedy’s Space Race and the Apollo Project must embrace the opportunity to create American Energy Abundance and Climate Protection together. We have the technology; now Democrats must inspire the country to provide the political will.
Most of all, create a DEMOCRATIC brand of economically-focused energy and climate action—separate and apart from national environmental groups. For too long, Democrats have ceded their climate messaging to green groups and alienated huge parts of the electorate. Embrace the full U.S. energy economy miracle that occurred under Obama, including renewable energy, efficiency, new advanced technologies and well-regulated natural gas and oil production. Use the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Climate Change to gain attention to the role of Democratic policies in creating the US remarkable clean energy economy boom, cutting US oil imports, creating millions of good new jobs, while transitioning to a much lower carbon economy.
The focus must be on creating policy measures and the political conditions that together will allow climate change to play a far larger, more advantageous role in the 2020 campaign against Trump, and that will lead to enactment of effective climate policy when Democrats win back all levers of federal power.
Just as war is too important for generals alone, climate change is far too sweeping and important an issue to be dealt with by far-left environmentalists. It is not, ultimately, even an “environmental issue” as we classically think of them. Instead, it is about protecting our safety, security, and economy, and providing ourselves and our children the more hopeful future that all Americans desire. Democrats have a chance to deliver on this promise in the near future, if they will be politically strategic, now.

Consistent Lying Decreases Belief in the Truth: Consistent false assents increased belief in those false events & consistent false denials decreased belief in those true events

Liar Liar: Consistent Lying Decreases Belief in the Truth. Danielle Polage. Applied Cognitive Psychology, accepted article, https://doi.org/10.1002/acp.3489

Summary: This study investigated the effects of lying on belief ratings for autobiographical childhood events. Participants lied by trying to convince the experimenter that likely events had not happened and that unlikely events had happened. Participants consistently lied, consistently told the truth, and alternated lying and truth telling across two sessions. Results showed that consistent false assents increased belief in those false events and that consistent false denials decreased belief in those true events. False denials had a larger influence on belief than did false assents. False assents that were told first were more likely to increase in belief than were false assents told in the second session. False denials decreased belief in the true event regardless of when they were told. These results suggest that lying influences confidence ratings both by increasing belief in a lied about event and by decreasing belief in a true event.

The discomfort regarding sex between one’s partner & robot competitors is not explained by personal characteristics (self-esteem, subjective physical attractiveness) but rather by technology-related variables (negative attitude towards robots, anthropomorphism)

Jealousy 4.0? An empirical study on jealousy-related discomfort of women evoked by other women and gynoid robots. Jessica M. Szczuka and Nicole C. Krämer. Paladyn, Journal of Behavioral Robotics, https://doi.org/10.1515/pjbr-2018-0023

Abstract: While first empirical studies on sexual aspects of human-robot interaction mostly focus on male users’ acceptance, there is no empirical research on how females react to robotic replications of women. To empirically investigate whether robots can evoke the same kind of jealousy-related discomfort as do other women, we conducted an online study in which 848 heterosexual female participants from Germany reacted to the idea that their partner had sexual intercourse with either another woman, a human-like female-looking robot, or a machine-like female-looking robot. The results revealed dimensions in which the jealousy-related discomfort was higher for female competitors compared to the robotic ones (e.g., discomfort caused by the idea of sexual intercourse), whereas in others the robots evoked the same or higher levels of jealousy-related discomfort (e.g., discomfort caused by feelings of inadequacy, discomfort caused by shared emotional and time resources). The variance in the discomfort regarding sexual interactions between one’s partner and robotic competitors could not be explained by personal characteristics (such as self-esteem, subjective physical attractiveness) but rather by technology-related variables (e.g., negative attitude towards robots, a tendency towards anthropomorphism) and the attitude towards sexual non-exclusivity in relationships. The study provides first empirical insights into a question which is of relevance for a responsible handling of sexualized technologies.

Keywords: jealousy, human-robot interaction, sex robots


Role of relative intelligence in mate preferences: Equally intelligent partners were satisficing mates; women wanted long-term partners who were smart, men wanted short-term partners who were less smart

Is smart sexy? Examining the role of relative intelligence in mate preferences. Peter K. Jonason et al. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 139, 1 March 2019, Pages 53-59, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2018.11.009

Highlights
•    Manipulated level of relative intelligence in potential partners
•    Equally intelligent partners were satisficing mates.
•    Women wanted long-term partners who were smart.
•    Men wanted short-term partners who were less smart.
•    Women's mate value predicted preferences for intelligence.

Abstract: There has been a recent surge of research on the role of intelligence in mate preferences. To advance this area of research, in two online studies (N = 743), we manipulated relative, as opposed to absolute, intelligence and examined desirability in long-term and short-term relationships. In Study 1, we also examined the role of mate value towards understanding differences in desirability and, in Study 2, we also manipulated target's level of physical attractiveness. The sexes found less intelligent partners less desirable, a more intelligent partner was no more desirable than partner who was equal in intelligence, and intelligence was particularly valued as a long-term mate. In addition, mate value was correlated with rejecting less intelligent mates and desiring more intelligent ones in women only. And, last, we found that once men and women found sufficient rates of attractiveness for their short-term partners, they care about the intelligence of their partner.

People Make the Same Bayesian Judgment They Condemn and Punish in Others

People Make the Same Bayesian Judgment They Criticize in Others. Jack Cao, Max Kleiman-Weiner, Mahzarin R. Banaji. Psychological Science, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797618805750

Abstract: When two individuals from different social groups exhibit identical behavior, egalitarian codes of conduct call for equal judgments of both individuals. However, this moral imperative is at odds with the statistical imperative to consider priors based on group membership. Insofar as these priors differ, Bayesian rationality calls for unequal judgments of both individuals. We show that participants criticized the morality and intellect of someone else who made a Bayesian judgment, shared less money with this person, and incurred financial costs to punish this person. However, participants made unequal judgments as a Bayesian statistician would, thereby rendering the same judgment that they found repugnant when offered by someone else. This inconsistency, which can be reconciled by differences in which base rate is attended to, suggests that participants use group membership in a way that reflects the savvy of a Bayesian and the disrepute of someone they consider to be a bigot.

Keywords: judgment, accuracy, fairness, social cognition, base rates, open data, open materials

Monday, November 12, 2018

Participants talk about their personal past 2 to 3 times as much as their personal future (i.e., retrospective bias), in contrast to research showing a prospective bias in thinking behavior

Conversational Time Travel: Evidence of a Retrospective Bias in Real Life Conversations. Burcu Demiray, Matthias R. Mehl and Mike Martin. Front. Psychol.,  Nov 13 2018 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02160

We examined mental time travel reflected onto individuals’ utterances in real-life conversations using a naturalistic observation method: Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR, a portable audio recorder that periodically and unobtrusively records snippets of ambient sounds and speech). We introduced the term conversational time travel and examined, for the first time, how much individuals talked about their personal past versus personal future in real life. Study 1 included 9,010 sound files collected from 51 American adults who carried the EAR over 1 weekend and were recorded every 9 min for 50 s. Study 2 included 23,103 sound files from 33 young and 48 healthy older adults from Switzerland who carried the EAR for 4 days (2 weekdays and 1 weekend, counterbalanced). 30-s recordings occurred randomly throughout the day. We developed a new coding scheme for conversational time travel: We listened to all sound files and coded each file for whether the participant was talking or not. Those sound files that included participant speech were also coded in terms of their temporal focus (e.g., past, future, present, time-independent) and autobiographical nature (i.e., about the self, about others). We, first, validated our coding scheme using the text analysis tool, Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count. Next, we compared the percentages of past- and future-oriented utterances about the self (to tap onto conversational time travel). Results were consistent across all samples and showed that participants talked about their personal past two to three times as much as their personal future (i.e., retrospective bias). This is in contrast to research showing a prospective bias in thinking behavior, based on self-report and experience-sampling methods. Findings are discussed in relation to the social functions of recalling the personal past (e.g., sharing memories to bond with others, to update each other, to teach, to give advice) and to the directive functions of future-oriented thought (e.g., planning, decision making, goal setting that are more likely to happen privately in the mind). In sum, the retrospective bias in conversational time travel seems to be a functional and universal phenomenon across persons and across real-life situations.

The sleep regulatory paradigm invokes “top-down” imposition of sleep on the brain by sleep regulatory circuits, but many cases are difficult to explain using that paradigm, including unilateral sleep, sleep-walking, & poor performance after sleep deprivation

Local Sleep, James M. Krueger et al. Sleep Medicine Reviews, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2018.10.001

Summary: The historic sleep regulatory paradigm invokes “top-down” imposition of sleep on the brain by sleep regulatory circuits. While remaining conceptually useful, many sleep phenomena are difficult to explain using that paradigm, including, unilateral sleep, sleep-walking, and poor performance after sleep deprivation. Further, all animals sleep after non-lethal brain lesions, regardless of whether the lesion includes sleep regulatory circuits, suggesting that sleep is a fundamental property of small viable neuronal/glial networks. That small areas of the brain can exhibit non-rapid eye movement sleep-like states is summarized. Further, sleep-like states in neuronal/glial cultures are described. The local sleep states, whether in vivo or in vitro, share electrophysiological properties and molecular regulatory components with whole animal sleep and exhibit sleep homeostasis. The molecular regulatory components of sleep are also involved in plasticity and inflammation. Like sleep, these processes, are initiated by local cell-activity dependent events, yet have at higher levels of tissue organization whole body functions. While there are large literatures dealing with local initiation and regulation of plasticity and inflammation, the literature surrounding local sleep is in its infancy and clinical applications of the local sleep concept are absent. Regardless, the local use-dependent sleep paradigm can advise and advance future research and clinical applications.

We respond negatively to those who “say one thing but do another” when there is a high degree of misalignment (i.e., perceive low “behavioral integrity”), & interpret the misalignment as a claim to an undeserved moral benefit (i.e., interpret it as hypocrisy)

From inconsistency to hypocrisy: When does “saying one thing but doing another” invite condemnation? Daniel A. Effrona et al. Research in Organizational Behavior, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.riob.2018.10.003

Abstract: It is not always possible for leaders, teams, and organizations to practice what they preach. Misalignment between words and deeds can invite harsh interpersonal consequences, such as distrust and moral condemnation, which have negative knock-on effects throughout organizations. Yet the interpersonal consequences of such misalignment are not always severe, and are sometimes even positive. This paper presents a new model of when and why audiences respond negatively to those who “say one thing but do another.” We propose that audiences react negatively if they (a) perceive a high degree of misalignment (i.e., perceive low “behavioral integrity”), and (b) interpret such misalignment as a claim to an undeserved moral benefit (i.e., interpret it as hypocrisy). Our model integrates disparate research findings about factors that influence how audiences react to misalignment, and it clarifies conceptual confusion surrounding word-deed misalignment, behavioral integrity, and hypocrisy. We discuss how our model can inform unanswered questions, such as why people fail to practice what they preach despite the risk of negative consequences. Finally, we consider practical implications for leaders, proposing that anticipating and managing the consequences of misalignment will be more effective than trying to avoid it altogether.

Norway: Both sexes are more satisfied in long-term relationships than short-term or intermediate ones, with no sex differences among singles; results are inconsistent with both sexual strategies theory & third wave feminism

Intermediate Relationships and a Nuanced, Feministic Evolutionary Psychology - A Quantitative Study of Relationship Status, Sexual Behavior and Emotions. Nina Charlotte Sølsnes. Master thesis, Institutt for psykologi, Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet. 2018. https://brage.bibsys.no/xmlui/handle/11250/2571153

Abstract: Many studies in evolutionary psychology (EP) make a major distinction between short-term vs. long-term relationship status. The current study suggests that relationships with low commitment and intermediate duration are frequent. There is reason to assume that; sexual strategies theory predicts that there will be sex differences in satisfaction depending on relationship status, where men in general are more satisfied with opportunities for short-term mating than women are. Possibly women in intermediate relationships are less satisfied due to low commitment from partners. Third wave feminism predicts that women in intermediate relationships will be more or equally satisfied than men, due to possible exploration of sexuality with greater safety than short-term allows. Participants (N=529) answered questions regarding relationship status, satisfaction and excitement, commitment and quality, and expectancies and sexual behavior. Sample were Norwegian students. 10% of the respondents belonged in the intermediate group. The results are inconsistent with both theoretical approaches. Both sexes are more satisfied in long-term relationships than short-term. There are no sex differences among singles, inconsistent with both perspectives. There were no sex differences in the intermediate group. The intermediates had the same levels of satisfaction as the singles, while excitement was similar to those in relationships. The implications of the findings in relation to both evolutionary psychology and third wave feminism, as well as implications for further research on sexual behavior, are discussed.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

In the absence of a clear majority, the diversity of social information produces opposite effects on herding behavior and subjective uncertainty

Navajas, Joaquin, Oriane Armand, Bahador Bahrami, and Ophelia Deroy. 2018. “Diversity of Opinions Promotes Herding in Uncertain Crowds.” PsyArXiv. April 5. doi:10.31234/osf.io/mvy25

Abstract: Classic and recent studies demonstrate how we fall for the ‘tyranny of the majority’ and follow the dominant trend, perhaps wisely, when uncertain. In many social interactions, however, there is no clearly identified majority, and aggregating the various opinions of others is non-trivial. We asked whether in such conditions herding behavior depends on statistical properties of social information, namely, the variance of opinions in a group. Participants privately estimated the price of eight anonymous paintings. Then, in groups of five, they discussed and agreed on a shared estimate for four paintings. Finally, they provided revised individual estimates for all paintings. We observed that groups converged to each other and boosted their confidence. However, the more diverse groups herded more and showed less confidence. These findings suggest that, in the absence of a clear majority, the diversity of social information produces opposite effects on herding behavior and subjective uncertainty.

Insomnia and mortality: a meta-analysis shows that longevity is not impacted

Insomnia and mortality: a meta-analysis. Nicole Lovato, Leon Lack. Sleep Medicine Reviews, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2018.10.004

Summary: The purpose of this review was to evaluate the strength of evidence for a relationship between risk of mortality and frequent and ongoing insomnia using a meta-analytic strategy.

Seventeen studies, including a total of 36,938,981 individuals followed up for a mean of 11.6 years, reporting the investigation of the association between mortality and frequent (≥3 nights/week), ongoing (≥1 month) insomnia were identified.

There was no difference in the odds of mortality for those individuals with symptoms of insomnia when compared to those without symptoms (OR= 1.06, 95%CI=0.61-1.84, p=.84). This finding was echoed in the assessment of the rate of mortality in those with and without symptoms of insomnia using the outcomes of multivariate models, with the most complete adjustment for potential confounders, as reported by the individual studies included in this meta-analysis (HR= 1.07, 95%CI=.96-.1.19, p=.22). Additional analyses revealed a tendency for an increased risk of mortality associated with hypnotic use.

The current evidence reinforces the use of cognitive therapy, within a CBTi framework, as a frontline non-pharmacological treatment for insomnia to reassure patients their longevity will not be impacted as a consequence of suffering from insomnia.

Humans & news media prioritize outlying information & one reason for a negativity bias in news consumption & production is that negative information is more “outlying”: that is, further away from expectations

A Model of Attentiveness to Outlying News. P J Lamberson, Stuart Soroka. Journal of Communication, Volume 68, Issue 5, 1 October 2018, Pages 942–964, https://doi.org/10.1093/joc/jqy040

Abstract: This paper offers a formal-theoretical account for the preponderance of negative news content. It draws on work suggesting that humans and news media prioritize outlying information and argues that one reason for a negativity bias in news consumption and production is that negative information is more “outlying”: that is, further away from expectations. Expectations change over time, however, and so too do negativity (and other) biases. This dynamic is explored using some simple simulations, followed by an empirical explication using data on the U.S. economy alongside media coverage of the economy and public economic expectations. The end result is a broadly-generalizable account of the shifting prominence of “outlying” information.

The Salafi Worldview and the Hermeneutical Limits of Mainstream Sunni Critique of Salafi-Jihadism

The Salafi Worldview and the Hermeneutical Limits of Mainstream Sunni Critique of Salafi-Jihadism. Adis Duderija. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, https://doi.org/10.1080/1057610X.2018.1529359

Abstract: The aim of this article is to point to the hermeneutical limits of the critique of mainstream Sunnism vis-a-vis the Salafi-jihadist interpretations with particular reference to the literature produced by the proponents of the IS. The main argument the article makes is that by subscribing to what will be termed a “Salafi worldview,” mainstream Sunnism shares many interpretationally crucial epistemological and methodological mechanisms with those adopted by the proponents of the ideology behind the IS. As such mainstream Sunnism has strong hermeneutical limits that do not allow it to be in a position to mount an interpretationally effective rebuttal of many beliefs and practices Salafi-jihadists resort to including those pertaining to apostasy, enslavement, and gender-related issues.

Low levels of professional competency across professional domains can be due to difficulty measuring relevant outcomes, impoverished performance feedback, & lack of accurate assessment tools or decision aids

Assessment of Expert Performance Compared Across Professional Domains. Rick P. Thomas, Ashley Lawrence. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, Volume 7, Issue 2, June 2018, Pages 167-176, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jarmac.2018.03.009

Abstrac: In this paper, we review several task characteristics to explain why experts across domains differ in their level of skill (expertise). Domains may have low levels of professional competency because of difficulty measuring relevant outcomes, impoverished performance feedback, and lack of accurate assessment tools or decision aids. Acknowledging that domains differ furthers research on expertise because it elucidates some common controversies. For example, the role of nurture (job-relevant experience) versus nature (talent or pre-existing abilities) in skilled performance, and the problem that expert-level knowledge and fast decision-making do not always translate into superior performance across domains—the process–performance paradox. Moreover, recommendations for improving domain competence must take into account the underlying differences among domains to provide recommendations appropriate for the current level of competency exhibited by the professionals in the domain.

General Audience Summary: The goal of this paper is to explain why variability in performance exists between professional domains. For example, weather forecasters accurately predict next-day precipitation 82 percent of the time, whereas clinical psychologists and psychiatrists only accurately predict patient violence 39 percent of the time. We review evidence that specific professional domains may have low levels of skill because of difficulty measuring relevant outcomes, impoverished performance feedback, and lack of accurate assessment tools or decision aids. Weather forecasters have access to accurate and usable feedback for their 24-hour precipitation forecasts, whereas clinical psychologists do not have access to feedback of that quality for their predictions of violence. Understanding how differences between professional domains affect performance advances recommendations for improving competence. We also address important issues like why some professionals do not perform better as they gain experience and whether guided practice is really the only ingredient needed to develop high-level skill by evalu-ating the veracity of the claim that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to develop expertise. Similarly, we evaluate whether popular examples, like Shaquille O’Neal’s free-throw shooting improvement under Ed Pablashkis and Judit Polgár’s skill development in chess under her father’s tutelage, are truly mentorship success stories.

Check also Erekson, D. M., Janis, R., Bailey, R. J., Cattani, K., & Pedersen, T. R. (2017). A longitudinal investigation of the impact of psychotherapist training: Does training improve client outcomes? Journal of Counseling Psychology, 64(5), 514-524. https://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2017/11/a-longitudinal-investigation-of-impact.html

Choosing the vocational compared with the academic pathway was associated with higher conscientiousness & less interest in investigative, social, and enterprising activities

School or Work? The Choice May Change Your Personality. Jessika Golle et al. Psychological Science, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797618806298

Abstract: According to the social-investment principle, entering new environments is associated with new social roles that influence people’s behaviors. In this study, we examined whether young adults’ personality development is differentially related to their choice of either an academic or a vocational pathway (i.e., entering an academic-track school or beginning vocational training). The personality constructs of interest were Big Five personality traits and vocational-interest orientations. We used a longitudinal study design and propensity-score matching to create comparable groups before they entered one of the pathways and then tested the differences between these groups 6 years later. We expected the vocational pathway to reinforce more mature behavior and curtail investigative interest. Results indicated that choosing the vocational compared with the academic pathway was associated with higher conscientiousness and less interest in investigative, social, and enterprising activities.

Keywords: educational pathways, personality development, Big Five traits, vocational interests, propensity-score analysis

Gender differences in adult numeracy are larger in societies that combine egalitarianism with gender segregation in the labour market, & smaller in countries with more inequitable gender relations; this is not an outcome of female disempowerment

Gender differences in adult numeracy: a comparative study. Rose Cook. Thesis submitted for the degree of PhD, UCL, June 2018. http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/10055384/1/Cook_10055384_thesis.pdf

Abstract: This thesis presents a comparative study of gender differences in adult numeracy in 20 OECD countries. It explores the ways in which the widespread male advantage in adult numeracy is associated with gender relations. Gender relations are measured in terms of gender differences in power and status, the gender division of paid and unpaid labour, and gender culture. The thesis uses quantitative secondary analysis of data from the OECD ’s 2012 Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), which provides direct measures of adults’ numeracy skills. The analysis proceeds from an original theoretical framework which combines insights from life course research on the determinants of skills in adulthood, as well as integrating feminist theory of multidimensional gender relations. At the individual level, the results demonstrate that female advances in education do not necessarily equalise adult numeracy. Women’s participation in the labour market is also not enough to guarantee equal levels of adult numeracy: women must also be able to access occupations that use numeracy skills. Cross-nationally, there is no obvious empirical relationship between gender inequality, conventionally conceived, and the gender difference in adult numeracy. Instead, paradoxically, gender differences in adult numeracy are larger in societies that combine egalitarianism with gender segregation in the labour market, and smaller in countries with relatively inequitable gender relations. Overall, there is little evidence that gender differences in adult numeracy are associated with conventional indicators of gender inequality in this sample of countries. The thesis thereby questions the findings of previous research and suggests that instead of being framed as an outcome of female disempowerment, gender differences in adult numeracy should be understood in relation to the multidimensionality of gender relations in post-industrial societies.

Cats were tested in a two-way choice test with human gazing cues; found the hidden food with high success rate by following referential gazes; verbal ostensive cues before gazing made establishing of eye contact with cats faster

Cats (Felis silvestris catus) read human gaze for referential information. Péter Pongrácz, Julianna Szulamit Szapu, Tamás Faragó. Intelligence, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intell.2018.11.001

Highlights
•    Cats were tested in a two-way choice test with human gazing cues.
•    Cats found the hidden food with high success rate by following referential gazes.
•    Verbal ostensive cues before gazing made establishing of eye contact with cats faster.

Abstract: Companion cats often occupy the same anthropogenic niche as dogs in human families. Still, cat cognition remains an underrepresented research subject in ethology. Our goal was to examine whether two components that are crucial in dog-human communicative interactions (sensitivity to ostensive signals; gaze following) are also present in cats. In a two-object choice task, we used dynamic and momentary gazing in ostensive and non-ostensive communicative situations. We tested 41 cats at their owner's home. Cats on the group level achieved a 70% overall success rate, showing that they are capable of following human gaze as a referential cue. Cats' success rate was unaffected both by the type of gazing and the presence/absence of ostensive communication, showing that the subjects followed readily even the more difficult momentary cues. We found a trend (p = 0.085), showing that young cats (max. 1 year old) may achieve higher success rate than adult animals. Ostension had a significant effect on the latency of eye contact, which was the shortest when the experimenter called the cat's attention with ostensive signals (p = 0.006). Our results are the first that prove cats' ability to follow human gaze, which is considered to be one of the more difficult visual referential signals given during human-animal interactions. Although ostension did not affect the success rate of cats, we found ostensive human signals to be a more effective attention elicitor compared to non-ostensive vocalizations. Our study therefore provided the first insight to the existence of sensitivity to human ostension in another non-human species besides dogs. These results emphasize the possible relevance of the domestication process and responsiveness to socialization in the development of human-compatible socio-cognitive skills even in such animals as the cat, where the ancestor was not a highly social species.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Inside China’s training camps for "soft" boys: “we were too attentive to him and deprived him of the opportunity to be independent. He was not confident and wept at setbacks. He was like a sensitive girl.”

Inside China’s training camps, where boys are learning how to be men. Zhuang Pinghui. South China Morning Post, Nov 04 2018. https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2171040/inside-chinas-training-camps-where-boys-are-learning-how-be-men


Excerpts:

Wearing headbands reading “Tough Guy” and chanting slogans such as “Who is the best? I am the best”, “Who are we? We are the man”, they were there to learn all about focus, cooperation and competition through lectures, games and American football.

It was the fifth day of an 18-day course held on weekends for boys aged seven to 11 that aims to rescue them from their day-to-day, all-female environment and prevent them from being “oversensitive, vulnerable, whiny, petty or irresponsible”.

Members of the Boys’ Club recite declarations of manhood at the beginning of lectures, which include subjects such as safeguarding their country, honour and dreams.

They make vows to be ambitious and competent as an eagle, smart and kind as a dolphin and persistent and down-to-earth as a horse.

The boys address each other as “comrade” or tongzhi, which literally means to share the same ambition.

Boys’ Club founder Tang Haiyan was a physical education teacher in Beijing before starting his specialised training centre in 2012. Since then, more than 20,000 children have taken part in his courses, including some who travel from far outside Beijing to follow his unique programme.

“There is a crisis in boys’ education and I threw myself into practical actions to save them and help them find their lost masculinity,” Tang said.

This was long before state media became concerned about the softer, more androgynous physical appearance of modern male celebrities and their potential impact on society and young children.

When a nationally televised show for school pupils caused a public outcry in September this year, many parents of boys realised their sons were just not man enough and since then have been spending big bucks on a mission to reverse the trend.

For about 10,000 yuan (US$1,400) parents can sign up their sons for 18 sessions of weekend training. There are other, shorter themed activities such as running topless in winter, climbing a mountain in temperatures of minus 30 degrees Celsius in Heilongjiang, China’s northernmost province, or trekking for a week across a desert.

Last weekend some of the children dressed up as soldiers and played a real-life version of the popular video game Counter-Strike on the set of patriotic military film Wolf Warrior.

Zhang Haiwei, mother of 12-year-old Tong Tong in Qingdao, in the eastern province of Shandong, was determined to send her son for 14 days of military-style training in Beijing after hearing a lecture by Tang five years ago.

“Tong Tong’s father was busy and not around much. I looked after my son and he had been surrounded by women all the time. He was weak and wept whenever there was some difficulty,” Zhang said.

“It might be that we were too attentive to him and deprived him of the opportunity to be independent. He was not confident and wept at setbacks. He was like a sensitive girl.”

[...]

Tang said most boys were raised by their mother and grandmothers, and surrounded by female teachers in school who, in turn, set the same standard for boys as girls – such as to be quiet, behave and not to be naughty all the time.

This, Tang said, was unfair and put boys in a disadvantaged position.

“Boys behave differently from girls and they develop at a different pace, but I have been to many schools, top or average, and it has become a crisis in society that boys are overshadowed by girls,” he said.

“Their confidence has been shattered. We must help boys regain the true colours of men, their masculinity.”

[...]

He felt the boy was being spoiled and would not be able to handle a life like his own in the army, with its long and hard physical exercises.

So two years ago, when he learned Tang was coming to his city, Zhang signed the boy up for two weeks of military style-training that included walking weights across sand, carrying cabers – the Scottish long pole – wrestling, and American football.

“My son Ming Ming came back a changed person,” he said.

“He knew what discipline was and followed rules strictly. He understood the meaning of persistence, team cooperation and competition.”

He signed up for more courses.

They argue that spatial-processing principles in the hippocampal-entorhinal region provide a geometric code to map information domains of cognitive spaces for high-level cognition

Navigating cognition: Spatial codes for human thinking. Jacob L. S. Bellmund, Peter Gärdenfors, Edvard I. Moser, Christian F. Doeller. Science, Vol. 362, Issue 6415, eaat6766, Nov 09 2018. DOI: 10.1126/science.aat6766

A framework for cognitive spaces: Ever since Tolman's proposal of cognitive maps in the 1940s, the question of how spatial representations support flexible behavior has been a contentious topic. Bellmund et al. review and combine concepts from cognitive science and philosophy with findings from neurophysiology of spatial navigation in rodents to propose a framework for cognitive neuroscience. They argue that spatial-processing principles in the hippocampal-entorhinal region provide a geometric code to map information domains of cognitive spaces for high-level cognition and discuss recent evidence for this proposal.

Abstract: The hippocampal formation has long been suggested to underlie both memory formation and spatial navigation. We discuss how neural mechanisms identified in spatial navigation research operate across information domains to support a wide spectrum of cognitive functions. In our framework, place and grid cell population codes provide a representational format to map variable dimensions of cognitive spaces. This highly dynamic mapping system enables rapid reorganization of codes through remapping between orthogonal representations across behavioral contexts, yielding a multitude of stable cognitive spaces at different resolutions and hierarchical levels. Action sequences result in trajectories through cognitive space, which can be simulated via sequential coding in the hippocampus. In this way, the spatial representational format of the hippocampal formation has the capacity to support flexible cognition and behavior.

Structured Abstract

BACKGROUND: Ever since Edward Tolman’s proposal that comprehensive cognitive maps underlie spatial navigation and, more generally, psychological functions, the question of how past experience guides behavior has been contentious. The discovery of place cells in rodents, signaling the animal’s position in space, suggested that such cognitive maps reside in the hippocampus, a core brain region for human memory. Building on the description of place cells, several other functionally defined cell types were discovered in the hippocampal-entorhinal region. Among them are grid cells in the entorhinal cortex, whose characteristic periodic, six-fold symmetric firing patterns are thought to provide a spatial metric. These findings were complemented by insights into key coding principles of the hippocampal-entorhinal region: Spatial representations vary in scale along the hippocampal long axis, place cells remap to map different environments, and sequential hippocampal activity represents nonlocal trajectories through space. In humans, the existence of spatially tuned cells has been demonstrated in presurgical patients, and functional magnetic resonance imaging provides proxy measures for the noninvasive investigation of these processing mechanisms in human cognition. Intriguingly, recent advances indicate that place and grid cells can encode positions along dimensions of experience beyond Euclidean space for navigation, suggesting a more general role of hippocampal-entorhinal processing mechanisms in cognition.

ADVANCES: We combine hippocampal-entorhinal processing mechanisms identified in spatial navigation research with ideas from cognitive science describing a spatial representational format for cognition. Cognitive spaces are spanned by dimensions satisfying geometric constraints such as betweenness and equidistance, enabling the representation of properties and concepts as convex regions of cognitive space. We propose that the continuous population code of place and grid cells in the hippocampal-entorhinal region maps the dimensions of cognitive spaces. In these, each stimulus is located according to its feature values along the relevant dimensions, resulting in nearby positions for similar stimuli and larger distances between dissimilar stimuli. The low-dimensional, rigid firing properties of the entorhinal grid system make it a candidate to provide a metric or distance code for cognitive spaces, whereas hippocampal place cells flexibly represent positions in a given space. This mapping of cognitive spaces is complemented by the additional coding principles outlined above: Along the hippocampal long axis, cognitive spaces are mapped with varying spatial scale, supporting memory and knowledge representations at different levels of granularity. Via hippocampal remapping, spaces spanned by different dimensions can be flexibly mapped and established maps can be reinstated via attractor dynamics. The geometric definition of cognitive spaces allows flexible generalization and inference, and sequential hippocampal activity can simulate trajectories through cognitive spaces for adaptive decision-making and behavior.

OUTLOOK: Cognitive spaces provide a domain-general format for processing in the hippocampal-entorhinal region, in line with its involvement beyond navigation and memory. Spatial navigation serves as a model system to identify key coding principles governing cognitive spaces. An important question concerns the extent to which firing properties of spatially tuned cells are preserved in cognitive spaces. Technological advances such as calcium imaging will clarify coding principles on the population level and facilitate the translation to human cognitive neuroscience. Spatial navigation is mostly investigated in two dimensions and naturally limited to three dimensions; however, the processing of complex, multidimensional concepts is vital to high-level human cognition, and the representation of such high-dimensional spaces is an intriguing question for future research. Further, the role of brain networks acting in concert with the hippocampus, in navigation specifically and cognitive function in general, will provide insight into whether and how cognitive spaces are supported beyond the hippocampal-entorhinal region. Finally, the precise way in which cognitive spaces and trajectories through them are read out for behavior remains to be elucidated.

Found some evidence that both self-reported formidability is associated with higher levels of conservatism in women & self-reported grip strength with conservatism in men

Is Formidability Associated with Political Conservatism? Nicholas Kerry, Damian R. Murray. Evolutionary Psychological Science, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40806-018-0181-5

Abstract: Physical formidability has played an important role in intra-sexual competition throughout human history, influencing social capital and, in turn, social cognition. However, the degree to which physical formidability is associated with social and political attitudes in contemporary environments remains poorly understood. The current studies tested the hypotheses that formidability is associated with more politically conservative attitudes and, more specifically, less support for financial egalitarianism and more approval of military intervention. Across three studies, comprised of both online and undergraduate samples (two pre-registered; total N > 900), we found some evidence that both self-reported formidability and grip strength were associated with higher levels of conservatism. However, this evidence was inconsistent across different measures and across samples, with relatively small effects for some conservatism measures and no effects for others. There also emerged sex differences, such that self-reported formidability was a better predictor of conservatism in women and objective grip strength was a better predictor of conservatism in men. Unlike previous research, we did not find consistent evidence of a relationship between formidability and either financial egalitarianism or military approval. Attempted experimental manipulations of formidability in studies 2 and 3 yielded inconsistent results.

Keywords: Political attitudes Human capital Strategic morality Formidability Conservatism Pre-registration