Thursday, January 18, 2018

Genetics, the Rearing Environment, and the Intergenerational Transmission of Divorce: A Swedish National Adoption Study

Genetics, the Rearing Environment, and the Intergenerational Transmission of Divorce: A Swedish National Adoption Study. Jessica E. Salvatore et al. Psychological Science, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797617734864

Abstract: We used classical and extended adoption designs in Swedish registries to disentangle genetic and rearing-environment influences on the intergenerational transmission of divorce. In classical adoption analyses, adoptees (n = 19,715) resembled their biological parents, rather than their adoptive parents, in their history of divorce. In extended adoption analyses, offspring (n = 82,698) resembled their not-lived-with fathers and their lived-with mothers. There was stronger resemblance to lived-with mothers, providing indirect evidence of rearing-environment influences on the intergenerational transmission of divorce. The heritability of divorce assessed across generations was 0.13. We attempted to replicate our findings using within-generation data from adoptive and biological siblings (ns = 8,523–53,097). Adoptees resembled their biological, not adoptive, siblings in their history of divorce. Thus, there was consistent evidence that genetic factors contributed to the intergenerational transmission of divorce but weaker evidence for a rearing-environment effect of divorce. Within-generation data from siblings supported these conclusions.

Keywords: divorce, intergenerational transmission, adoption study, extended adoption study, sibling study

Government-Sponsored Mass Killing and Civil War Reoccurrence

Gary Uzonyi, Richard Hanania; Government-Sponsored Mass Killing and Civil War Reoccurrence, International Studies Quarterly, Volume 61, Issue 3, September 1 2017, Pages 677–689, https://doi.org/10.1093/isq/sqx050

Abstract: Why do civil wars reoccur? Some scholars emphasize the role of post-war factors, while others locate the causes of civil war recurrence in the dynamics of the conflicts themselves. We build a theory that bridges these arguments by focusing on mass killing. We argue that government mass killing during war reduces opportunities for the opposition to return to military conflict in the future. This allows for longer periods of post-conflict peace. However, government atrocities that begin after the end of a civil war create new grievances without diminishing the ability of opponents to fight. This makes a faster return to conflict more likely. Statistical analysis of all civil wars between 1946 and 2006 strongly supports our arguments, even when we account for selection effects regarding when governments are more likely to engage in mass killing. These results reveal that both during-war and post-war tactics influence civil war recurrence, but that the same tactic can produce different effects depending on the timing of its use.

Compassionate Love for a Romantic Partner Across the Adult Life Span: Believers experienced greater compassionate love than nonbelievers, and individuals in love presented greater compassionate love than those who were not in love

Compassionate Love for a Romantic Partner Across the Adult Life Span. Félix Neto, Daniela C. Wilks. European Journal of Psychology, Vol 13, No 4 (2017), https://doi.org/10.5964/ejop.v13i4.1373

Abstract: Compassionate love has received research attention over the last decade, but it is as yet unclear how it is experienced over a lifetime. The purpose of this study was to investigate compassionate love for a romantic partner throughout the adult life span, exploring individual differences in the propensity to experience compassionate love in regard to age, gender, religion, love status, love styles, and subjective well-being. The results showed that religion and love status display significant effects on compassionate love. Believers experienced greater compassionate love than nonbelievers, and individuals in love presented greater compassionate love than those who were not in love. Love styles and subjective well-being were found to be related to compassionate love. These findings corroborate studies that indicate that individuals who experience higher compassionate love for a romantic partner are more likely to report Eros, Agape, and subjective well-being.

Keywords: aging; compassionate love; love styles; subjective well-being

Scientific Uncertainty in the Press: How Newspapers Describe Initial Biomedical Findings — the public is increasingly poorly informed about the uncertainty inherent in initial biomedical findings

Scientific Uncertainty in the Press: How Newspapers Describe Initial Biomedical Findings. Estelle Dumas-Mallet et al. Science Communication, https://doi.org/10.1177/1075547017752166

Abstract: Newspapers preferentially cover initial biomedical findings although they are often disconfirmed by subsequent studies. We analyzed 426 newspaper articles covering 40 initial biomedical studies associating a risk factor with 12 pathologies and published between 1988 and 2009. Most articles presented the study as initial but only 21% mentioned that it must be confirmed by replication. Headlines of articles with a replication statement were hyped less often than those without. Replication statements have tended to disappear after 2000, whereas hyped headlines have become more frequent. Thus, the public is increasingly poorly informed about the uncertainty inherent in initial biomedical findings.

Keywords: uncertainty, initial biomedical studies, hype, health communication, newspapers


Divisive discussion topics are associated with both a greater level of self-reported threat and a greater tendency to perceive neutral faces as threatening

Divisive Topics as Social Threats. Joseph J. P. Simons, Melanie C. Green. Communication Research, http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0093650216644025?journalCode=crxa

Abstract: The current work provides evidence for a psychological obstacle to the resolution of divisive social issues (e.g., affirmative action, drug legalization); specifically, people approach discussions of these issues with a threatened mind-set. Across three studies, it is shown that the prospect of discussing topics which divide social opinion is associated with threatened responding (the dissensus effect). Divisive discussion topics are associated with both a greater level of self-reported threat (Studies 1 and 3) and a greater tendency to perceive neutral faces as threatening (Study 2). Furthermore, the effect is shown to be robust across manipulations of social opinion (ratings of multiple social issues in Studies 1 and 2; fictional polling data in Study 3), and was not reducible to individual attitude extremity (Studies 1 and 3) or a valence effect (Study 2).

Keywords: social cognition, attitudes, threat, social opinion, inconsistency

Expected Sanctions for Expressing Minority Opinions in Offline and Online Communication

What Do We Fear? Expected Sanctions for Expressing Minority Opinions in Offline and Online Communication. German Neubaum, Nicole C. Krämer. Communication Research, http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0093650215623837

Abstract: This work proposes the expectation of sanctions as a promising construct to advance spiral of silence research in face-to-face and computer-mediated contexts. We argue that situational factors influence people’s expectations about how their social environment would punish them should they express their viewpoint in a hostile opinion climate. These expected sanctions are suggested to explain the variance in people’s willingness to express a minority opinion across different social situations. An experiment showed that the expectation of being personally attacked can explain why people are more willing to voice a deviant opinion in offline rather than online environments. Findings also revealed that in contemporary social networking websites, wherein users commonly face a personally relevant audience, people are prone to hold back their opinion as they expect losing control over the reactions of their audience. This research extends previous knowledge by presenting a more differentiated theoretical view of the fear of isolation and specifying its role in different situations of public deliberation.

Keywords: spiral of silence, expected sanctions, minority opinion, computer-mediated communication

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We don't share political opinions with co-workers to avoid potential conflict, giving the impression of greater homogeneity and, paradoxically, more polarization. Check also “It could turn ugly”: Selective disclosure of attitudes in political discussion networks. Sarah K.Cowan and Delia Baldassarri. Social Networks, Volume 52, January 2018, Pages 1-17. http://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2017/11/we-dont-share-political-opinions-with.html

Humans show a significant rightward bias during embracing. Additionally, we showed that this general motor preference is strongly modulated by emotional contexts

Embracing your emotions: affective state impacts lateralisation of human embraces. Julian Packheiser et al. Psychological Research, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00426-018-0985-8

Abstract: Humans are highly social animals that show a wide variety of verbal and non-verbal behaviours to communicate social intent. One of the most frequently used non-verbal social behaviours is embracing, commonly used as an expression of love and affection. However, it can also occur in a large variety of social situations entailing negative (fear or sadness) or neutral emotionality (formal greetings). Embracing is also experienced from birth onwards in mother–infant interactions and is thus accompanying human social interaction across the whole lifespan. Despite the importance of embraces for human social interactions, their underlying neurophysiology is unknown. Here, we demonstrated in a well-powered sample of more than 2500 adults that humans show a significant rightward bias during embracing. Additionally, we showed that this general motor preference is strongly modulated by emotional contexts: the induction of positive or negative affect shifted the rightward bias significantly to the left, indicating a stronger involvement of right-hemispheric neural networks during emotional embraces. In a second laboratory study, we were able to replicate both of these findings and furthermore demonstrated that the motor preferences during embracing correlate with handedness. Our studies therefore not only show that embracing is controlled by an interaction of motor and affective networks, they also demonstrate that emotional factors seem to activate right-hemispheric systems in valence-invariant ways.