Thursday, March 1, 2018

If there’s a penis, it’s most likely a man: Investigating the social construction of gender using eye tracking

If there’s a penis, it’s most likely a man: Investigating the social construction of gender using eye tracking. Frederike Wenzlaff, Peer Briken, Arne Dekker. PLOS One,

Abstract: In their foundational work on the social construction of gender, Kessler and McKenna (1978) investigated the relationship between gender attribution and genital attribution. We used digital reproductions of the original stimuli to replicate their findings in the current social context. To further investigate the underlying decision processes we applied eye tracking. The stimuli shown varied in the composition of gender cues: from those more commonly associated with maleness to associated with femaleness. Applying the ethnomethodological approach originally used, participants were asked to decide for each stimulus whether they saw a man or a woman and to indicate subjective confidence with the decision. In line with the original results we found that the genital attribution contributed immensely to the gender attribution. Also, male gender was ascribed more often when the penis was present than was female gender when the vulva was shown. Eye tracking revealed that overall most dwell time as a proxy for important information was dedicated to the head, chest and genital areas of all the stimuli. Total dwell time depended on whether the gender attribution was made in line with the depicted genital, if the genital was a penis. Attributing female gender when a penis was present was associated with longer total dwell time, unlike attributing male gender with a vulva shown. This is indicative of higher cognitive effort and more difficulty ignoring the penis as opposed to the vulva. We interpret this finding in context of the persistent male dominance as well as to the socio-cultural understanding of the vulva as a concealed and therefore seemingly absent organ. In summary, we were able to show that the gender attribution is still closely linked to genital attribution when having a binary forced choice task and that the penis is a special cue in this attribution process.

Jünger, Gerlach, & Penke, 2018. No Evidence for Ovulatory Cycle Shifts in Women’s Preferences for Men’s Behaviors in a Pre-registered Study

Jünger, Julia, Tanja M Gerlach, and Lars Penke 2018. “Jünger, Gerlach, & Penke, 2018. No Evidence for Ovulatory Cycle Shifts in Women’s Preferences for Men’s Behaviors in a Pre-registered Study”. PsyArXiv. March 1.

Abstract: The existence of ovulatory cycle shifts in women’s mate preferences has been discussed controversially. There is evidence that naturally cycling women in their fertile phase, compared to their luteal phase, evaluate specific behavioral cues in men as more attractive for short-term relationships. However, recent research has cast doubt on these findings. We addressed this debate in a large, pre-registered within-subject study including salivary hormone measures and luteinizing hormone tests. One-hundred-fifty-seven female participants rated natural videos of 70 men in flirtatious dyadic interactions on sexual and long-term attractiveness. Multilevel comparisons across two ovulatory cycles revealed significant cycle shifts: When fertile, women’s ratings of men’s sexual and long-term attractiveness increased. Contrary to previous findings, behavioral cues as displayed in men’s flirting behavior did not interact with cycle phase to predict these shifts. Effects were only found for partnered women, not for singles. Hormonal mechanisms and implications for estrus theories are discussed.

Found that luck is more important than good traits for lifetime reproductive success

Pluck or Luck: Does Trait Variation or Chance Drive Variation in Lifetime Reproductive Success? Robin E. Snyder, and Stephen P. Ellner. The American Naturalist,

Abstract: While there has been extensive interest in how intraspecific trait variation affects ecological processes, outcomes are highly variable even when individuals are identical: some are lucky, while others are not. Trait variation is therefore important only if it adds substantially to the variability produced by luck. We ask when trait variation has a substantial effect on variability in lifetime reproductive success (LRS), using two approaches: (1) we partition the variation in LRS into contributions from luck and trait variation and (2) we ask what can be inferred about an individual’s traits and with what certainty, given their observed LRS. In theoretical stage- and size-structured models and two empirical case studies, we find that luck usually dominates the variance of LRS. Even when individuals differ substantially in ways that affect expected LRS, unless the effects of luck are substantially reduced (e.g., low variability in reproductive life span or annual fecundity), most variance in lifetime outcomes is due to luck, implying that departures from “null” models omitting trait variation will be hard to detect. Luck also obscures the relationship between realized LRS and individual traits. While trait variation may influence the fate of populations, luck often governs the lives of individuals.

Keywords: reproductive skew, lifetime reproductive success, trait variation, individual stochasticity, Rissa tridactyla, Pseudoroegneria spicata, Artemisia tridentata