Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Investigating the Relationship Between Self-Perceived Moral Superiority and Moral Behavior Using Economic Games

Investigating the Relationship Between Self-Perceived Moral Superiority and Moral Behavior Using Economic Games. Ben M. Tappin, Ryan T. McKay. Social Psychological and Personality Science,  https://doi.org/10.1177/1948550617750736

Abstract: Most people report that they are superior to the average person on various moral traits. The psychological causes and social consequences of this phenomenon have received considerable empirical attention. The behavioral correlates of self-perceived moral superiority (SPMS), however, remain unknown. We present the results of two preregistered studies (Study 1, N = 827; Study 2, N = 825), in which we indirectly assessed participants’ SPMS and used two incentivized economic games to measure their engagement in moral behavior. Across studies, SPMS was unrelated to trust in others and to trustworthiness, as measured by the trust game, and unrelated to fairness, as measured by the dictator game. This pattern of findings was robust to a range of analyses, and, in both studies, Bayesian analyses indicated moderate support for the null over the alternative hypotheses. We interpret and discuss these findings and highlight interesting avenues for future research on this topic.

Keywords: moral superiority, self-perception, traits, behavior, economic games

Men are presented with higher facial prominence than women in the media (this is called face-ism) -- In lab, as expected, men cropped their photos with higher facial prominence than women did

Self-presentation in Online Professional Networks: Men's Higher and Women's Lower Facial Prominence in Self-created Profile Images. Sabine Sczesny and Michèle C. Kaufmann. Front. Psychol., January 17 2018 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.02295

Men are presented with higher facial prominence than women in the media, a phenomenon that is called face-ism. In naturalistic settings, face-ism effects could be driven by gender biases of photographers and/or by gender differences in self-presentation. The present research is the first to investigate whether women and men themselves create this different facial prominence. In a controlled laboratory study, 61 participants prepared a picture of themselves from a half-body photograph, allegedly to be uploaded to their profile for an online professional network. As expected, men cropped their photos with higher facial prominence than women did. However, women and men did not differ in the self-presentational motivations, goals, strategies, and personality variables under investigation, so that the observed face-ism effect could not be explained with these variables. Generally, the higher participants' physical appearance self-esteem, the higher was their self-created facial prominence.

The Elusive Backfire Effect: Mass Attitudes’ Steadfast Factual Adherence

The Elusive Backfire Effect: Mass Attitudes’ Steadfast Factual Adherence. Thomas Wood,  Ethan Porter. Political Behavior, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11109-018-9443-y

Abstract: Can citizens heed factual information, even when such information challenges their partisan and ideological attachments? The “backfire effect,” described by Nyhan and Reifler (Polit Behav 32(2):303–330.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11109-010-9112-2, 2010), says no: rather than simply ignoring factual information, presenting respondents with facts can compound their ignorance. In their study, conservatives presented with factual information about the absence of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq became more convinced that such weapons had been found. The present paper presents results from five experiments in which we enrolled more than 10,100 subjects and tested 52 issues of potential backfire. Across all experiments, we found no corrections capable of triggering backfire, despite testing precisely the kinds of polarized issues where backfire should be expected. Evidence of factual backfire is far more tenuous than prior research suggests. By and large, citizens heed factual information, even when such information challenges their ideological commitments.

Artificial Intelligence And the Challenges of Detecting Rude Conversational Behaviour

On the Challenges of Detecting Rude Conversational Behaviour. Karan Grewal, Khai N. Truong. arXiv.org Computer Science > Human-Computer Interaction, arXiv:1712.09929 [cs.HC], https://arxiv.org/abs/1712.09929

Abstract: In this study, we aim to identify moments of rudeness between two individuals. In particular, we segment all occurrences of rudeness in conversations into three broad, distinct categories and try to identify each. We show how machine learning algorithms can be used to identify rudeness based on acoustic and semantic signals extracted from conversations. Furthermore, we make note of our shortcomings in identifying rudeness in conversations.


One-on-one interactions are important in everyday social settings. For instance, in order to attract a potential partner, it is imperative that an individual behave in an appropriate manner. Unfortunately, one-on-one interactions can often result in one party exhibiting rude or inappropriate conversational behaviour. In many cases, the offending party is not aware of the severity of their actions and does not intend to offend the other party. For example, certain individuals may be socially unaware of how others perceive their behaviour. Individuals with learning disabilities, such as autism, may follow this trend. Likewise, young children often lack awareness of their behaviour { a possible explanation for the presence of bullying in elementary schools and why children are generally regarded as immature. In both cases, monitoring a user's conversational behaviour and making them aware of it via active feedback while they are engaged in a one-on-one interaction would be helpful towards correcting their behaviour in such scenarios.

In the last century, there has been a lot of work in the linguistics and psychology domains which attempt to define politeness and acceptable behaviour pertaining to two-person interactions. The most popular of these is Penelope Brown and Steven Levinson's Politeness theory [2]. This theory states that all individuals have two faces: a positive self-image which is the desire to be approved by others, and a negative self-image which is the desire of actions to be unimpeded by others. According to Politeness theory, any external actions which threaten one or more of an individual's faces, such disrespectful gestures, constitute impoliteness. Also, Geoffrey Leech's principle of politeness states that if two individuals are interacting, then there will be some form of disagreement or tension if both individuals are pursuing mutually-incompatible goals -- likening the chance of rude behaviour [8]. Here, goals refers to a psychological state of being. In contrast, Bruce Fraser argues against the theories formulated by Leech, Brown, and Levinson by pointing out that each culture has its own set of social norms which define acceptable behaviour [6]. Therefore, as Fraser argues, the question of whether an individual is behaving in an inappropriate manner is entirely dependent on the context of his/her actions. This view aligns with Robin Lako's notable example of the speaking style in New York [7].  As she states, New Yorkers often use profanity in a casual sense without any intent to offend or be impolite.  However, their conversational behaviour is likely to be interpreted as rude in other cultures.

Is there a grounded definition of rudeness with respect to speech which can be derived from classical theories of politeness? In this study, we define define the notion of rude conversational behaviour and explore methods to identify this type of behaviour in two-person interactions. We do this by extracting acoustic and semantic information from an individual's speech and develop methods which attempt to pinpoint exact instances of rude conversational behaviour. Also, we highlight some existing problems which make the task at hand dicult through our findings. Note that we only focus on signals extracted speech data.

Do the media unintentionally make mass killers into celebrities? An assessment of free advertising and earned media value

Do the media unintentionally make mass killers into celebrities? An assessment of free advertising and earned media value. Adam Lankford. Celebrity Studies, https://doi.org/10.1080/19392397.2017.1422984

ABSTRACT: In recent years, some critics have suggested that the media make mass killers into celebrities by giving them too much attention. However, whether the media coverage these offenders receive actually approaches the amounts given to celebrities has never been tested. This study compared perpetrators of seven mass killings during 2013–2017 with more than 600 celebrities over the same time period. Findings indicate that the mass killers received approximately $75 million in media coverage value, and that for extended periods following their attacks they received more coverage than professional athletes and only slightly less than television and film stars. In addition, during their attack months, some mass killers received more highly valued coverage than some of the most famous American celebrities, including Kim Kardashian, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, and Jennifer Aniston. Finally, most mass killers received more coverage from newspapers and broadcast/cable news than the public interest they generated through online searches and Twitter seems to warrant. Unfortunately, this media attention constitutes free advertising for mass killers that may increase the likelihood of copycats.

KEYWORDS: Mass shooters, media coverage, celebrity culture, fame, advertising

Dreaming of a Brighter Future: Anticipating Happiness Instills Meaning in Life

Dreaming of a Brighter Future: Anticipating Happiness Instills Meaning in Life. Wijnand A. P. van Tilburg and Eric R. Igou. Journal of Happiness Studies, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10902-018-9960-8

Abstract: We theorized and tested that people’s predictions of their future as brighter than the present fulfill an important purpose: they give a sense of meaning to life. We systematically tested this existentialist hypothesis by adopting a self-regulatory approach. Study 1 indicates that envisioning a happier future helps people to find meaning in everyday life behaviors, provided that these are perceived to be instrumental for the pursuit of happiness. Consistently, Study 2 shows that envisioning such increases in future happiness is particularly employed by those who are prone to seek meaning in life. Finally, Study 3 reveals that after people envision a brighter future their perceived meaning in life increases, and it does so especially for those prone to search for meaning in life. Together, these studies suggest that imagining future happiness in part serves the function of perceiving life as meaningful. This research is novel, and builds on and contributes to the literature on meaning making, happiness, well-being, and affective forecasting.

Check also Rolf Degen: The joy of things to come: Anticipatory pleasure confers an euphoric bliss that can go far beyond the enjoyment of wish fulfillment, Oct 8, 2014, https://plus.google.com/101046916407340625977/posts/7XyDuM6k5fF