Saturday, February 17, 2018

Merely Watching Others Perform Can Foster an Illusion of Skill Acquisition

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

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

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

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

Cues of woman’s fertility predict prices for sex with prostitutes. Pavol Prokop et al. Current Psychology,

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

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

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

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

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

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

'Terrorist' or 'mentally ill': Motivated Biases Rooted in Partisanship Shape Attributions About Violent Actors

Noor, Masi, Nour Kteily, Birte Siem, and Agostino Mazziotta 2018. “'Terrorist' or 'mentally ill': Motivated Biases Rooted in Partisanship Shape Attributions About Violent Actors”. PsyArXiv. February 16.

Abstract: We investigated whether motivated reasoning rooted in partisanship affects the attributions individuals make about violent attackers’ underlying motives and group memberships. Study 1 demonstrated that on the day of the Brexit referendum pro–leavers (vs. pro–remainers) attributed an exculpatory (i.e., mental health) versus condemnatory (i.e., terrorism) motive to the killing of a pro-remain politician. Study 2 demonstrated that pro– (vs. anti–) immigration perceivers in Germany ascribed a mental health (vs. terrorism) motive to a suicide attack by a Syrian refugee, predicting lower endorsement of punitiveness against his group (i.e., refugees) as a whole. Study 3 experimentally manipulated target motives, showing that Americans distanced a politically-motivated (vs. mentally ill) violent individual from their ingroup and assigned him harsher punishment— patterns most pronounced amongst high group identifiers.